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Old 01-12-2003, 09:22 AM   #16
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Old 01-12-2003, 02:48 PM   #17
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Meanwhile, North Korea's leader gets a little more like Yosemite Sam every day. He's kicking President Bush around as if George were the schoolyard wimp, and Bush has shrunk into a corner with his legs crossed.
Thousands Rally Against War in Iraq, Push Peace
By Erika Hayasaki
Times Staff Writer

January 12 2003

Thousands of people protesting a looming U.S.-led war against Iraq marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, with many chanting, "We want peace!"

According to police, the crowd numbered between 5,000 and 7,000. Many wore their opinions, such as "No War" or "Don't Cut Medicare for Bombs and Missiles," on T-shirts, buttons and baseball caps. Organizers estimated the crowd at 15,000, said Karin Pally, who helped put on the event.

Sponsored by KPFK-FM (90.7) radio and several peace organizations, the protest began just after 11:30 a.m. and ended about 5 p.m., after a march to the Federal Building at Temple and Los Angeles streets.

"All of these people here symbolize one idea: Let's not kill," said Onalysa Flynn, 19, a Los Angeles Valley College student who was attending her first protest. "Why isn't there another way? There's got to be another way."

At the Federal Building, rock singers, poets, activists and actor Martin Sheen, star of the NBC series "The West Wing," denounced war over loudspeakers. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and Los Angeles Urban League President John Mack also took part in the event, which was a precursor to a series of upcoming demonstrations set to take place in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

The rally, monitored by police but with no arrests, followed President Bush's announcement that the U.S. will deploy 62,000 more U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf because of Iraq's continued efforts to manufacture nuclear arms and its refusal to cooperate with United Nations inspections.

Marc Hewitt, 24, of Los Angeles said war is being peddled by Bush for selfish reasons.

"I believe we're going to war for oil," said Hewitt, who attended the rally with his girlfriend, Natalie Wilson, 23, of Long Beach.

Wilson said this demonstration will send a powerful message, but just as important, "it will keep people sane."

"We feel powerless. But when you see people here who are like-minded, it feels good."

Marchers made their way toward the Federal Building via Broadway, passing jewelry and clothing shops, magazine stands and pizza parlors. Weekend shoppers stopped on sidewalks to watch, while some store owners stepped out from behind their registers to view the mile-long parade as it passed.

"I didn't know there would be this many people against war," said George Mobasseri, who owns Modern Broadway, a jeans boutique.

The smell of burning incense and sage lingered. The sound of beating drums echoed down street blocks. Meanwhile, children and adults who live in high-rise apartment complexes on Broadway peered down toward the street, some waving flags in support.

The crowd included Muslim women wearing head scarfs, a man in a suit and tie, an elderly woman with a walking cane, children wearing peace signs on their T-shirts, people in dreadlocks, mohawks and a Princeton University baseball cap.

There was 83-year-old Irja Lloyd, of the Sunset Hall retirement home in the Mid-Wilshire district, who came in her wheelchair with a bowl of grapes and a sign that read: "Speak Your Peace."

"I'm here because I believe in peace, and I have seen too much war," she said.

There was 5-year-old Naima Orozco of Alhambra, who pumped her fists in the air and cheered when an announcer yelled: "You cannot have peace by bombing innocent children and families."

Naima's mother, Irma Valdivia, said she brought her daughter because she wanted her to learn about freedom of speech.

Bonnie Morrison, 46, said when she heard about the demonstration she put on her walking shoes and headed downtown from Pasadena.

"My heart is in this," she said, adding that it was her first protest. The imminent war with Iraq, and the possible large-scale death and devastation it may cause, pushed her to take part in the event, she said.

"At least, if it happens, I know I did what I could to stop it," she said. "I just hope this administration hears us."




STEVE LOPEZ POINTS WEST
Middle-Class Dissent on Display at War Protest
Steve Lopez

January 12 2003

Antiwar rallies tend to draw the usual suspects, and Saturday's in downtown Los Angeles was no exception. You had your socialists, anarchists and various professional protesters among a rag-tag, bang-the-drums throng of several thousand.

But there were baby buggies and suburbanites in khaki shorts mixed into the crowd, some of them looking as if they'd taken a wrong turn on their way to the mall.

"They're the very people who are being hurt the most by national policies," said Craig Frey, 48, a software engineer from San Diego. Frey held a sign that neatly expressed his middle-class dissent:

"Saddam Didn't Steal My 401(k)."

"They say Iraq is such a threat to the U.S.," he said. "But there are people in the Cabinet who've done more harm to us by protecting corporate criminals."

Another sign in the crowd borrowed from the same theme: "Iraq Never Closed My Health Clinic."

Only a few hundred people had gathered at Olympic and Broadway by 10:30 a.m., and I feared the rally would be a bust. But within an hour, thousands had fallen into line, with more on the way. My guess is that they bolted from their cereal and raced downtown after reading the morning newspaper. Current events these days can really get the blood boiling.

We're on the verge of war against a country that hasn't threatened us and has no nukes anyone can locate. And do you remember those mysterious aluminum tubes that got the White House worked into a lather about an Iraqi nuke program? Looks like it was all a mistake.

Meanwhile, North Korea's leader gets a little more like Yosemite Sam every day. He's kicking President Bush around as if George were the schoolyard wimp, and Bush has shrunk into a corner with his legs crossed.

Kim Jong Il is rolling out his missiles and writing Bush's name on them, practically taunting the world to come get him.

Our response?

We're sending 62,000 more troops to the Persian Gulf to keep an eye on Saddam.

If it sounds batty to you, maybe Craig Frey can explain.

"North Korea doesn't have oil," he said.

Well, it's a little more complicated than that. But I still like the button worn by Frey's wife, Heather Smith, a textiles artist.

"Are you Willing to Die for Exxon?"

Alexis Robinson's answer is no.

Robinson and her husband, Roy, along with their 6-month-old daughter, Emma, and Roy's brother David, took the train from Claremont to save gas. About 10 others had the same idea, said David, all of them boarding at the Claremont Metrolink station.

"We wanted to make a statement," said Alexis, a young mother who had never before attended a political rally.

If the Iraqis had nukes, Alexis said, she might feel differently about the march to war. If they had threatened the U.S. or been linked to Al Qaeda, that could put her in line behind the president, too.

"But without that, are we going to war just because Bush and Cheney want to? What's happening in North Korea makes it all the more hypocritical," Alexis said.

"The Democrats in Congress have no backbone," said her husband, Roy, a studies-abroad counselor at Claremont McKenna College. "The NRA, the Republicans, they stand up and say they're proud of who they are. But isn't there one Democrat who will challenge this?"

Ismael Alsharif, a Web engineer who lived in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, fears that a strike on Iraq will be a gift to those who recruit terrorists. He and three friends from West Hollywood -- Pat Amirault, a TV producer; Mark Zecca, a film producer; and Pat McFadden, an administrative assistant at Disney -- came to the rally with a simple objective.

They hoped a sufficiently large crowd would send the message that reasonable people have legitimate questions about where the United States is headed. Questions about the cost of war, the motives, the benefits, the risks.

Look, the awful truth is that Saddam is scary. Kim Jong Il is, too. But Bush is no slouch in that department, and if we sit here waving a flag over everything he says, the planet could blow.

It's a complicated world and there are no easy answers, said Canoga Park's Merilie Robertson, 74. But she came to the rally with friends from her Presbyterian church and asked a perfectly sensible question:

Why not continue a policy in Iraq that has worked reasonably well to date?

Good question. The situation isn't perfect, but why war, and why now?

The one event that set in motion all this brinkmanship and saber-rattling seems, at times, to have been forgotten. Frey, the software engineer from San Diego, brought it back into focus.

"Why not just go after the terrorists?"

Oh yeah, the terrorists.

I leaned in closer to Frey so I could hear him over the drumbeat, and here's what I read on one of his buttons:

"If you're not totally p-----off, you're not paying attention."
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Old 01-12-2003, 03:37 PM   #18
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Fizzing,

You and the others that oppose this possible military action against Iraq, the next time elections in the UK come around, make sure you vote for those that are more likely to express your views.

Do you really attempt to disrupt the business of people going about their day in occupations? I could see making your presense known, but why target and disrupt their actions or movements? Is that really an effective way to change government policy?

Is there any situation in which you would support the use of military force? If so, what would that be?
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Old 01-12-2003, 05:30 PM   #19
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Thanks dreadsox, I know you might not agree with my opinions about Iraq, but I really like that you respect people's right to express their opinion on this issue. Like you said a few posts back, it's "democracy in action"

STING, I thought in 2001 I was voting for the party that most closely represented my views. I didn't know then that Blair was going to support attacking Iraq (although maybe I should have realised after his support for the bombing of Kosovo). I definitely didn't support everything the Labour Party did then, but considering that I had a choice of Labour, Tories, Lib Dems or UKIP, Labour were closest. To be honest, I don't think I could bring myself to vote for Labour again, particularly after Blair's actions on this issue. So I agree with you, next election if there is a candidate who more accurately expresses my views, then I'll certainly vote for them.

As for whether causing disruption is a way to change government policy, I think it is. I'll give just one example: two train drivers in Scotland recently refused to move a train which was carrying weapons to a military base. They refused because of their opposition to Iraq. That might seem like a small action, but not only did it disrupt the war machine, it got national publicity here and it inspired thousands of antiwar activists. And what's more, the government will have known about it, the military will have known about it, they'll know that two people are so against this war that they refused to carry out their work because of it. If the government knows that thousands of people will take similar action, maybe walking out of their job for an hour, even going on strike for a day, then they'll have to think carefully about whether they can afford to support attacking Iraq.

I realise I didn't explain very clearly before, but actually in the occupation I used as an example, we weren't necessarily trying to shut down the building as it contained lecture theatres which students had lectures in, so instead we didn't try to disrupt lectures but talked to students as they went in and out of lectures and asked lecturers if we could have two minutes of their lecture to explain to students what we were doing.

And could I ever support military action? Well I wouldn't say I'm a pacifist, so I don't simply oppose ALL military action, but to be honest I couldn't think of a hypothetical scenario in which I would support military action.
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Old 01-12-2003, 06:28 PM   #20
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Is there any military action from history that you think was necessary?
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:44 PM   #21
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees


And guess what? They're still not listening. Those who oppose war are in the majority in this country and yet the government plans to go ahead with it. So what's why I have no problem with occupying buildings or blocking roads. Because the government need to realise that if they go ahead with this illegal and immoral war then the protests we've already seen will look tiny in comparison to the protests if they go ahead with this. They need to know that people are ready to take action against the war, they won't just sit back and accept their government engaging in a war which they don't want and which will kill thousands and thousands of innocent people.

Sorry to have made this post so long, it just pisses me off to hear people who are fighting against an illegal and immoral war insulted in the way they were in the previous post.
Thanks for your reply; I read it in its entirety (even though I'm snipping most of it in this reply).

But can you please explain to me what disrupting the business of thousands ordinary citizens adds to your protest?

It is a powerful statement if you're a train conductor who refuses to deliver weapons to a military base. In this case the risk is almost entirely yours, as you face a loss of wages or termination for your insubordination.

On the other hand, I find it rather cowardly to demonstrate in the streets. By doing this one you impose a burden on large numbers of innocent bystanders without taking any risk upon yourself. (Would you turn yourself in for arrest for such an action?) To draw an example from the illustrious histories of the United States and Britain, protesting in the roads in my opinion carries roughly the moral worth of the Boston Tea Party, an action that so embarrassed Benjamin Franklin that he offered to reimburse the cost of the goods out of his own pocket.
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Old 01-14-2003, 05:51 AM   #22
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Originally posted by STING2
Is there any military action from history that you think was necessary?
I agree with some of the action taken during WWII. That's to say I agree it was necessary to stop what was happening in Germany, however I disagree with some actions later in the war for example the use of atomic weapons in Japan. On the same subject, I read a really interesting argument a few days ago which said that had the Russian Revolution not taken place then Hitler would likely have won WWII. The explanation is that during WWI Russia was comparatively weak militarily (in fact there were even fears that Russia would sign a seperate peace treaty with Germany) but following the industrialisation which occured during the inter-war years, Russia was strong enough to defeat Germany. Anyway, that's a different thread entirely.
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Old 01-14-2003, 06:05 AM   #23
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Originally posted by speedracer
But can you please explain to me what disrupting the business of thousands ordinary citizens adds to your protest?


Because in doing that you also cause disruption to the government, and that's what can make them reconsidering their actions. If workers go on strike in protest at the war it also causes disruption to businesses which in turn will be problematic for the government. If people organised a sit-down protest which blocked traffic it causes inconvenience to the government in that they have to deploy police etc.

Quote:
It is a powerful statement if you're a train conductor who refuses to deliver weapons to a military base. In this case the risk is almost entirely yours, as you face a loss of wages or termination for your insubordination.


I agree it's a powerful statement and they did risk their jobs. I think one of the reasons that people feel able to take antiwar action at work is if they know that their trade union supports them. In this case, ASLEF, the train drivers union is opposed to the war, as are numerous other large trade unions, many of which affiliate to the Stop the War Coalition.

Quote:
On the other hand, I find it rather cowardly to demonstrate in the streets. By doing this one you impose a burden on large numbers of innocent bystanders without taking any risk upon yourself. (Would you turn yourself in for arrest for such an action?) To draw an example from the illustrious histories of the United States and Britain, protesting in the roads in my opinion
carries roughly the moral worth of the Boston Tea Party, an action that so embarrassed Benjamin Franklin that he offered to reimburse the cost of the goods out of his own pocket.
I don't really understand why you think protest is cowardly if it doesn't involve risk for the protestor. By this logic it would seem that you'd support actions which might have more risk for the protestor and yet from what you've said already that doesn't seem to be the case. I don't think it's cowardly to go on a demonstration at all - on every demo I've been on I've met people who told me this is their first demo and they were nervous about coming along but now they have. Remember that for lots of people, a demonstration will be the first time they've taken part in any form of protest. And quite honestly, yeah demos might inconvenience people if it means they can't walk through Hyde Park on the day of a demonstration, but it might be two, three at most days out of the year, I don't think it's a huge inconvenience. And "would you turn yourself in for arrest for such an action?" - it's not against the law to demonstrate (despite the Tories' best efforts), so no I wouldn't
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Old 01-14-2003, 07:26 AM   #24
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Boston Tea Party morally embarassing?

WHaaaaaattttt? LOL

I would almost give anything to have been there.


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Old 01-14-2003, 11:52 AM   #25
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Fizzing,

Would you defend the right of abortion opponents, who use similar tactics, to temporarily block abortion clinics and inconvenience those attempting to get an abortion?
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Old 01-14-2003, 12:44 PM   #26
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees


Because in doing that you also cause disruption to the government, and that's what can make them reconsidering their actions.
you are also disrupting the lives of numerous people who want to be no part of this though
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Old 01-14-2003, 12:50 PM   #27
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i dont like sit its, occupations or whatever. i cant remember a time when they have worked (correct me if im wrong).

they tend to make the protestors look like idiots and in turn they lose credibility for their cause.

dreadsox, that was actually a really classy post on the first page! it was nice.

i would love to go to one of these peace rallies, i would really feel good about that, but im in the middle of nowhere.

there must be something i could do though.
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Old 01-14-2003, 01:14 PM   #28
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
Boston Tea Party morally embarassing?

WHaaaaaattttt? LOL

I would almost give anything to have been there.


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You rebel, Dreadsox!!
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Old 01-14-2003, 01:18 PM   #29
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Originally posted by STING2
Fizzing,

Would you defend the right of abortion opponents, who use similar tactics, to temporarily block abortion clinics and inconvenience those attempting to get an abortion?
No I don't. Those protestors are targeting individual women who have made the decision to have an abortion, and often use offensive tactics such as shouting insults ("you're a murder." "you're going to hell" etc being some examples) or showing extremely shocking and inaccurate literature to women. Sorry but I can't support that in any way.
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Old 01-14-2003, 01:22 PM   #30
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Originally posted by Cow of the Seas
i dont like sit its, occupations or whatever. i cant remember a time when they have worked (correct me if im wrong).

they tend to make the protestors look like idiots and in turn they lose credibility for their cause.


Well, one example would be civil rights protests in the 1960s which frequently used the tactics of non-violent protest such as sit-ins. They were pretty successful.

Quote:
i would love to go to one of these peace rallies, i would really feel good about that, but im in the middle of nowhere.

there must be something i could do though.
Yeah, you should definitely go to a rally! It is something which makes you feel really good - there's always a great atmosphere and you feel like you actually have the chance to speak out about an issue which is important to you.

Maybe you could try to organise some sort of rally in your town. Do you have any sort of peace campaign there, or maybe student groups, other political organisations which might get involved? If you don't have a lot of people you could try something like handing out anti-war leaflets in the centre of town, or holding a peace rally outside your town hall. There are loads of possibilities
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