Sunday, September 16, 2007

Anti-War Demonstration News Round Up and comments

I'm so out of the loop that I completely forgot about ANSWER's demonstration in Washington today, because I'm planning to go to one of UFPJ's marches next month and I'm now in the rare position of trying to figure out what the demonstration was like based only on news coverage. First, take a look at these photos posted at the DC indymedia site. The presence of uniformed veterans and their participation in civil disobedience is striking. Sycamore's Diary at Dailykos also has pictures, interesting comments and thoughts from "Kossacks" who were also a presence at the march. What it may have lacked in numbers, it seems to have made up for in spirit. UFPJ's strategy has clearly been to stop doing major DC mobilizations, partly because they don't want to deal with ANSWER. There are a number of local and regional actions planned for the entire month. I would say that the most effective way to get these going among a larger percentage of the population would be to do them through schools and workplaces, neighborhood clubs, etc., which is probably the idea. My question to readers is, do these need to happen on a national basis to be effective? Or is the activism at the regional and local level more meaningful?

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Both the NY Times and the Washington Post had stories comparing the demonstration to the spirit of Anti-Vietnam protests because it became "rowdy" and involved 189 arrests. The Post story reported on the major presence of uniformed Iraq war veterans from IVAW; the Times ignored their presence, and both papers gave substantial coverage to pro-war counter-demonstraters. While one paper referred to "dozens of arrests," the number was close to 200, which I think may be the highest of any mass national anti-Iraq war protest.
More so than usual, the papers suggest that the pro-war demonstrators were equal to the anti-war activists. However, this reportgives the number of 1,000 for the pro-war protesters and the organizers' estimate of 100,000 anti-war protesters. (closer numbers were reported on Indymedia as 50,000 anti-war demonstrators and 500 pro-war demonstrators)
For thoughts on the relatively small size of yesterday's posters, the comments section of Marc Fisher's Washington Post column yields an interesting "view from the American street" on the war, the media, and anti-war activism. Common Dreams, which has the AP story and another set of commentsgives a view from the left.
And now it's time for me to head out. Sorry I've been off the blog so much. I haven't felt motivated by ongoing events and news coverage. Jon Stewart had the best comment on the Petraeus report that I've seen.