Jan 11 mass rally in L.A.
“All wars are civil wars … Each of us owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which we were born.” — Francois Fenelon, 16th Century French Theologian
“Any picture of war seems to be like a plea to stop it. There are very few war pictures that endorse war.” — James Nachtwey, photojournalist, 2002. (Quotes from NION LA website)
Planning is going into high gear for the Sat, Jan 11 No Iraq War rally and march in downtown Los Angeles. Four peace coalitions are working jointly on this, with tens of thousands expected. This could easily be the biggest demonstration in L.A. since the Vietnam War.
The rally will be downtown, marching through normally busy streets, not isolated at the Federal Building in Westwood as past protests have been. We assemble at Olympic & Broadway at 11 am, where a feeder march of students will join us. Then a few introductory speeches and music, followed by the main march.
Up the streets we go, stopping at a state office building for short speeches by SEUI Local 660, the biggest local in the county, who will be asking why are we closing hospitals in L.A. for lack of funds when we are funding war? A good question indeed, especially as twelve public hospitals and clinics have closed recently here, with at least two major hospitals just barely hanging on.
The march then continues to the downtown Federal Building where the main rally will happen. Lots of music, speakers, spoken word, and no doubt many many people. Currently there are at least 20 peace vigils held weekly in L.A., generally at busy intersections between 5-7 pm Friday nights. I’ve been to several. The support we get from passing cars is tremendous. Very few, uh, upraised fingers, and instead, many cars honking in support. That’s one reason I think turnout for the rally will be big – Bush simply does not have support of the populace on this.
In addition to being an active Green and getting word out to Greens about this, I’ve been volunteering with ANSWER, one of the coalitions. Lemme tell you, the logistics and planning for something of this scale are big. Hundreds of phone calls and emails to be answered. Ten of thousands of flyers to be printed and distributed, not to mention the midnight teams of those with posters and glue… (This is probably legal, just don’t push your luck, is the advice given here).
Then there’s the actual rally itself. Three stages. Dozens, if not hundreds of volunteers. Negotiations with the city, and the police, some of it being done by the always amazing National Lawyers Guild.
While we in L.A. are planning this rally, ANSWER is also organizing yet another simultaneous demonstration in D.C. & S.F., this one on Sat. Jan. 18. They did this before, on Oct. 26, and 200,000 turned out in D.C., with 80,000 in D.C. Those numbers could, and probably will, be higher this time. Organizing for Jan. 18 is running well ahead of Oct. 26.
Some are uncertain about ANSWER. After several months volunteering with them, I can only say that they welcome all, are tireless organizers, and want to stop this war before it starts. Anyone who wants to can join in.
And remember, after the rally, we get to go home, and no bombs are falling. Those in the countries the Bush wants to invade are not so lucky.