LA March and Rally
In a very real way, the peace movement has already already succeeded because the antiwar message has passed fom the fringes to the mainstream. A recent Gallup Poll showed 52 % of the public think the war was a mistake.This is a huge change in opinion.
A few months ago, it was considered ‘radical” to say Bush lied about the reasons for war, that there never were WMDs, and that it was all about the oil. Now these same sentiments are on the front pages of national newspapers.
None of this, of course, would have happened if not for the amazing resistance of the Iraqi people, who, like most occupied peoples, will do whatever it takes to drive the invaders out of their homeland. Hello Vietnam.
The demos yesterday in DC, SF, and LA were spirited, if a bit smaller than the protests on March 20. I drove the sound truck in the LA demo, this being a 16 ft. flatbed truck with sound and microphones that leads the march, with people on the mikes doing chants and getting the crowd pumped.
It was a different experience, to be sure; leading several thousand people through downtown LA, ignoring traffic lights, surrounded by phalanxes of police on foot, in cars, motorcycles, and bicycles, while organizers ran up to the truck to give me contradictory instructions on what to do next (slow down, speed up, stop), sometimes within seconds of each other!
Danny Glover was a co-chair of the rally. Ron Kovic, State Senator Jackie Goldberg, Blase Bonpane, Military Families Against the War and other luminaries spoke, representing a broad cross section of LA. Peacenik folk duo, The Believers played, as did hip hop artist Wil B., who was joined by one of the Billionaires for Bush (they have a new CD out!), as well as Kerry Getz and some spoken word.
It’s difficult to judge in advance how big a demo will be. March 20 was bigger than we’d thought it would be, this one smaller, even though this happened after the torture photos etc. were released. Given that public sentiment now opposes the Iraq war and that the Bush presidency is crumbling, I’m thinking that things are shifting into another gear.
The election is looming ever-larger, and there’s a sense that things are getting real serious now in this country. Heavy polarization. A war going very badly. Investigations into both the Plame Affair and the tortures. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Watergate when the rotten facade of Nixon’s lies crumbled. When events like that happen, the country focuses on them to the exclusion of everything else. Which is precisely what I think is happening now. So, maybe it’s time for the antiwar movement to mobilize on these new issues too because suddenly events are moving quite fast.