1000s march on capitol against healthcare, on White House for peace. Guess which is covered more…

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Everyone seems to know that the tea party “movement” had a rally on the steps of the capitol yesterday.  They got in the face of a few Congressmen and now every Beltway media outlet from the Washington Post to Meet the Press is talking about it.  But there was another protest in town yesterday.  Thousands of people showed up in front of the White House to tell Obama (and Congress) to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to treat Palestinians fairly, and to generally end the US military empire.

MSNBC estimates that somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 tea party people showed up at the capitol building.  Yet the low end of the estimates for the number of people who showed up at the peace demonstration (including myself) is about 2,500, and the high end is about 10,000.  Where’s our moment on Meet the Press?  Where’s our article in the New York Times?

If you ever needed proof that the tea party “movement” is not really a movement but a few people newly interested in politics magnified one thousand times by a lazy, irresponsibly press, this is it.  Two rallies in DC yesterday.  One was for peace, one was for stopping the health care bill.  One was put together by the ANSWER Coalition and other antiwar groups.  One was put together by the tea party people and their friends in high places.  One had as many as 2,000 people attend.  One had as many as 10,000 people attend.  Yet the smaller tea party protest had a much higher profile in the news than the march for peace!

The peace movement is a real grassroots movement that exists Without the wmagnifying glass of the corporate media to exaggerate the impact of it.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t benefit the Washington Post to admit that the reason the march stopped in front of their building was not actually their “editorial board’s positions on the wars,” but their reporting which – in its substance and topics which are covered – is completely biased in favor of a corporatist, echo chamber view of reality.  Maybe that’s the reason why there was a speaker from Project Censored.

As for what happened at the protest, starting at about noon there were speakers on a platform that had been set up in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House.  When I arrived, I spoke to Mike Gravel for a bit, although he did not give a speech.  Famous personalities like Cindy Sheehan and Ralph Nader spoke, as well as prominent people in the antiwar movement like Kevin Zeese, along with some lesser known people, like a group of high school students.

At one point, the Raging Grannies got up and sang a song in honor of the late Granny D.  I couldn’t find a video of it, but here’s an equally entertaining and poignant song about the Citizens United ruling:

Some speakers were veterans – one of Korea, a few of Afghanistan and Iraq, including one who burnt a flag while saying, “This is what I think of this country!” – and some were mothers who have had their children killed in the line of duty.  One representative of labor spoke, and a few representatives of the Arab and Muslim communities spoke.  There was a strong socialist presence at the rally (maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t run into the tea party protesters…), including speaker and 2009 candidate for mayor of New York City Frances Villar of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

The ages of protesters spanned from toddlers to people who have been on Medicare since before most of the people there were born.  I’m seventeen on Monday and saw plenty of people my age there.  The largest age group was probably those same people who have been showing up at these events since the ’60s.  Some see that as a sign of desperation, that they still have to show up forty years later, but I think it’s admirable that they haven’t given up yet.  An organizer from World Can’t Wait (they are actually having a fundraising drive right now, and I highly recommend you donate at least a few bucks!) said to me yesterday that he hopes I won’t be doing “this same shit” forty years from now.  I hope so, too, but we can, if we need to, take comfort in the words of those great radicals Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.

   The Iraq War – there was massive protests before it officially started, and I stress “officially” because your candidate for president of the, presidency of the EU, and his colleague George Bush knew that they were already…start[ing] the war when they were putting on a show about wanting diplomacy and so on.  But before it was officially started – March, 2003 – there was a massive international protest.  I think that’s the first time in history that an imperialist war has been massively protested before it was officially begun… There was no saturation bombing by B-52s, there was no chemical warfare – horrible enough, but it could’ve been a lot worse.  

   And furthermore, the Bush Administration had to back down on its war aims.  Step by step, it had to allow elections, which they didn’t want to do; mainly a victory for nonviolent Iraqi protest.  They could kill insurgents, they couldn’t deal with hundreds of thousands of people in the streets, and their hands were tied by the domestic constraints…They had to back down…Iraq’s a horror story, but it could’ve been a lot worse.  So, yes, citizen protest can do something…we know that from this and many other examples.  When there’s no protest and no attention, the power just goes wild.  Like in Cambodia, Northern Laos.

–Noam Chomsky, “Crises and the Unipolar Moment,” October, 2009

You can never predict how something will take place… There’s no way of predicting how a movement develops.  All you can do, really, you do your part, you do whatever you can, you organize with other people, you… You try to get some, some kind of change, and if enough people do enough things, even if they’re little things, they will add up.  Because that’s what happens in movements…just millions of people doing small things which they cannot predict…its results.

–Howard Zinn on The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show

After the speakers, we walked for maybe ten or fifteen blocks.  I spent a lot of the time with my brother, who was filming a lot of what was going on.  In the next few weeks, I’ll make a video or three out of the footage and post it here.  We stopped at the Halliburton headquarters, the Washington Post building, and a few other places.  In front of Halliburton, an effigy of Dick Cheney was torn apart, cursed at, and kicked.

Finally, we again reached the White House, where some protesters – including Cindy Sheehan – laid fake coffins down near the White House, and were arrested for it.  As cops later tore apart the flag-draped coffins and threw the pieces on the ground, protesters yelled, “Don’t let those flags hit the ground.”

After that it calmed down, with people quietly mulling in the street or in Lafayette Park.  Some were sleeping and one man was rapping into a megaphone while a group that had been playing drums for the march played for him and the people dancing around them.

Less people showed up than in 2006 or 2007, but more showed up than in November of 2009, after Obama announced the escalation of forces in Afghanistan.  I have faith in the people.  I think we are starting to realize that these wars are wrong, no matter who is president.

25 comments

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  1. … to seeing the video, rossl.

    Thanks for this report.

    Not surprised the media gave no coverage – for all their camera eyes, they are completely blind to what’s going on in this country even as they help to destroy everything in it.

  2. keep the faith

    • Heather on March 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    or set a car on fire.

    Thank you for going. Thanks for reporting.

    And Happy Birthday.

    • Xanthe on March 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    the huge marches in Chicago prior to our invasion of Iraq was barely covered locally (and surely not nationally).  Those perky little girls on the news often made comments like:  Of course Americans support the war l4 million to 12 – (or something like that) during the l0 second coverage.

    And as I mentioned before when I wake up in the early morning and watch the Russian channel – I’ve seen marches  that were not on tv here as far as I know.

    • TMC on March 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    got better coverage. They screamed racist and homophobic epithets at Congressman. Maybe the war protester need to call out a couple of Congressmen for killing babies because they do by continuing to find these two wars.

    • rossl on March 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm
      Author

    please donate to We Are Not Your Soldiers, an organization that brings veterans around to speak out against military recruiting.  Donate at: http://wearenotyoursoldiers.org

  3. for your “reportage” on the anti-war rally, and thanks for being a part of it.  

    Alma, her daughter, and I attended a “World Can’t Wait” anti-war event October 26, 2006, in D.C., but it had nowhere the amount of people and was hardly at all covered.  It was an effort, though, which was being simultaneously rallied all over the country on that day — coverage, hah!

    I think you will be happy to know that we had solidarity from the German people, yes, it’s so!

    (Lessons learned?)

    • Big Tex on March 22, 2010 at 6:14 am

    If we could just find a way to turn peace into a way to funnel public tax money to American corporations, it would be a lot easier to get our journalists and legislators to pay attention to those who are calling for it.

    • dkmich on March 22, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Old news, rossl, just like torture.  Time for you to look forward and stop all of this dfh stuff.   This is the new Democratic Party and the new economy.  Quit messying them up with things like justice, liberty, and opportunity for all.  

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