Iraq war

Iraq war& Social movements and protest25 Mar 2006 01:00 am

Boots Riley, Walnut Creek Rally, March 18 2006

George Miller, Rally, Walnut Creek

Andrew Lichterman

One of the over 500 demonstrations against the Iraq war held last Saturday took place in Walnut Creek, California, a San Francisco Bay Area suburb. Organized by East Bay groups, the event drew a crowd reported by the media at over 3,000. Demonstrators marched from the local Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station to a downtown park, where there was a rally featuring a variety of speakers and musicians, including Congressman George Miller, Norman Solomon, Medea Benjamin, Country Joe McDonald, and rapper Boots Riley. A number of local organizations had booths in a nicely organized space directly behind the rally. The event was one of at least four in the Bay Area Saturday, the others being in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Vallejo.

The Thursday before I had been part of a panel discussion titled “War and Peace: Connecting the Dots,” the first in a series of informal “think tank” sessions sponsored by the Socially Responsible Network, a network of over 200 community-based organizations in Oakland and the surrounding East Bay. Aimee Allison, a Gulf War veteran currently doing counter-recruitment work (and a candidate for the Oakland city council) expressed reservations about the constant round of rallies that have been a main focus of organizing against the war, and argued for putting more resources into face to face organizing efforts, and particularly into counter-recruitment and support for the growing number of people in the military who also oppose the war. This sparked a broader discussion about organizing approaches, ranging from the usefulness of mass rallies in big cities to the recent emphasis on coming up with a “progressive” version of right-wing “public relations” (i.e. propaganda) strategies. (more…)

Strategic weapons and space& Iraq war& Social movements and protest14 Mar 2006 09:55 am

Andrew Lichterman

MacGregor Eddy, a California central coast activist, goes on trial in Santa Barbara, California this Thursday, March 16. Eddy, who believes that activities at Vandenberg Air Force Base violate international law by providing direct support to an Iraq war she believes to be illegal, has been accused of attempting to enter the base unlawfully. At the time, she was carrying written materials supporting her views which she hoped to deliver to base authorities. More information about the trial and about ongoing organizing activities related to Vandenberg can be found at the Vandenberg Peace Legal Defense Fund web site.

Vandenberg, an immense base occupying thirty five miles of California coastline, launches and operates satellites that provide U.S. forces on the ground with space services ranging from weather reports and communications to Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance for bombs. In addition to its everyday support for U.S. military forces fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vandenberg tests intercontinental ballistic missiles and missile defense interceptors, and is likely to play a role in development of the next generation of “prompt global strike” strategic weapons. Vandenberg, along with Fort Greeley, Alaska, also are the first deployment sites for land based mid-course ballistic missile interceptors. I have written a short overview of Vandenberg’s role in the U.S. policy and practice of preventive war for Western States Legal Foundation, Vandenberg Air Force Base: Where the Present and Future of U.S. Warmaking Come Together.

U.S. military& Iraq war& Social movements and protest15 Feb 2006 02:34 pm

Andrew Lichterman

Yesterday, Grandmothers Against the War gathered at the Oakland, California armed forces recruiting center to offer to enlist to replace those serving in Iraq. The recruiters closed and locked their doors. The police closed off the northbound lanes of Broadway, Oakland’s main downtown thoroughfare, and over 300 people demonstrated peacefully against the war on the street and sidewalk in front of the recruiting center.

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