Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Don't just believe--organize. Change is up to us.

Whew! What a relief to have an administration in Washington where you can actually count the neoconservative warmongers. It's a welcome change from an administration made up of them.

Think we're being too cynical? Well, this blog post and this press release give you examples of why we think the change in administrations doesn't mean our job out on the bridge is done.

History tells us that, too. Despite what one candidate in the recent election said, we can't elect our way out of war or other social problems. Large numbers of people organized and asserting their will--social movements--are what drive progressive social change, leaving the politicians no choice but to follow. So please don't call politicians our "leaders." Whatever kind of political system it is where people elect their leaders, that's not what we've got. The people we elect are supposedly there to represent us--and they can't read our minds.

One thing that's been on our minds lately is that too few people understand that a blockade is an act of war. If we were to blockade Iran and Iran were to retaliate, we'd be hearing what evil aggressors the Iranians were, not that we'd started something. And Israel, which says a blockade against it was a cause for war in 1967, has long maintained a blockade against Gaza. Yet it claims that rockets fired in response to that blockade were acts of aggression and that its response to those is merely self-defense. Here's what Israeli human rights groups are saying about what they call "the campaign in Gaza."

Since our last update the third member of our group has left town. Two regulars remain, and sometimes we can both manage to get out there at once on Sunday--though rarely right at noon. And one couple occasionally stops by and walks a few brisk circuits around the bridge around the middle of the hour.

It sure is thrilling that this country elected an African American president--and even inaugurated him. It's great to have a president who uses the vocabulary of some of our movements for social change. He may even want to make some of the changes we need made. But the president can't do it. Change is up to us. Don't just believe--organize.


Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Fifth Anniversary of the U.S. Attack on Iraq

Some Events Marking the Anniversary of the Attack
(colored text is a link to more information)
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier Hearings
March 13 through 16

We can't say enough good things about Iraq Veterans Against the War. Please check out the organization overall and these historic hearings:

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan--and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.

The 4-day event is not open to the general public because of limited space at the event site. To bring the testimonies to the general public and GIs all over the world IVAW has made it possible to watch the live broadcasts on line and on television and to listen on line and on the radio. You can find out more about how to watch or listen here. To find a local Winter Soldier screening event or to submit a screening event go to IVAW's events map. Any location with a broadband Internet connection and a projector can be set up for public viewing of the broadcasts. For higher quality video the event will be broadcast by satellite on March 14th and 15th. And there are countless other ways to tune in the hearings.

In Baltimore Red Emma's will be hosting two nights of video updates, screening key talks from that day's testimonies. The screenings are free.
Friday Mar 14, 9 p.m.
Saturday Mar 15, 9 p.m.
Red Emma's has also scheduled a benefit for IVAW on March 22.

Stop Loss Congress
March 10 through 12

Codepink Action Day
March 18

Anne Arundel Peace Action vigil
March 18
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (rain or shine), Spa Creek Bridge spanning Eastport and Annapolis
Marking the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq War and demanding that U.S. troops be withdrawn, the occupation be ended, the United States renounce any ambition for permanent bases in Iraq, and a commitment be made to rebuilding Iraq with funds provided through international organizations not U.S. contractors.
Signs will be available or bring your own. The City of Annapolis prohibits signs on sticks at vigils or demonstrations.
Anne Arundel Peace Action will hold its monthly social at Adams Ribs in the Eastport Shopping Center at 6:30 p.m.

United for Peace and Justice local actions
March 19

Five Years Too Many

(Thanks to the War Resisters League for a list of the events that include links.)

Other Events Continue

Weekly vigils also continue in nearby Baltimore and DC, as in the rest of the country. A recent weekly list of peace and justice events and resources in the Baltimore-DC region E-mailed by the Baltimore Nonviolence Center had 72 entries. You can find some events listed at these DC links: Washington Peace Center and Busboys and Poets and at these Baltimore links: Radical Calendar and Red Emma's Bookstore.

Our Vigil's First 5 Years

March 2, 2008, marked the fifth anniversary of the start of our vigil (to read about how we began go to the August 2006 archive page of this blog). These days we have three consistent participants. Usually two of us stand from noon or thereabouts to 1 p.m. on any given Sunday (we don't often start punctually at noon, and the later shift has faded away). We have lively discussions among ourselves and with some passersby. Not all of the opinions here represent a consensus of opinion among vigil participants.

Often people who stop to speak to us try to boil everything down to Democrats versus Republicans. Some of us look at social change from a very different perspective, in part thanks to the work of historian Howard Zinn. In a recent essay he explains this point of view and some other important points.

Some of us have believed from early on that the purposes of current U.S. policy toward Iraq have been to build permanent bases and seize control of the country's formerly nationalized oil resources. Recent events support this view.

Some of us feel that the Democrats have been disgracefully soft on crime and national security: it's far past time to impeach Dick Cheney and George W. Bush; to set about prosecuting the crimes they and the rest of their administration have committed; and to begin to repair the damage this gang of thugs has done to our nation's basic institutions. See a couple of impeachment links along the right side of this page.

As we turn to the issue of security, please look up the word "homeland" in a dictionary and consider how it fits your beliefs about this country.

And, finally, here is a question so many seem to be grappling with: Is a war for oil a war to protect our way of life? No--quite the opposite. The only way we can keep using energy the way we do is to produce it through renewable sources. An energy policy that aimed to keep the lights on in your house, along with the heater and the air conditioner in their seasons--and to leave you free to drive to the store or go out on your boat when you wanted to--would be a policy that developed clean, renewable sources of energy and produced jobs at a living wage (in addition to cutting waste). Policies that keep us dependent on burning fuel to produce energy leave us vulnerable to price gouging while they destroy both our environment and our economy.

Why are we as a nation subsidizing everything to do with fossil and other fuels but not research and job creation aimed at using clean, renewable sources to produce the energy we use? Why don't we all know that we could put solar collectors on our roofs tomorrow and hook them up to BGE's meter--and on those hot, sunny, summer afternoons when demand for energy peaked our meters would run backwards as we contributed energy to the region's system? Why aren't we driving hybrid cars that have solar collectors and that we can plug in overnight to continue to charge? What kind of mileage could they get?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Occupation Project

Read more about the Occupation Project, a campaign of sustained nonviolent civil disobedience aimed at ending funding for the U.S. war in and occupation of Iraq.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Monday, April 23, 2007

Balto. Tues. p.m.: Make Hip-Hop, Not War

Baltimore, MD: A national "Make Hip Hop Not War" tour makes its final stop, in Baltimore, MD, Tuesday, April 24, at 9 p.m. at St. John's Church at 27th and St. Paul Streets. The tour, being sponsored by Books Not Bombs, Iraq Vets Against the War, and the Hip Hop Caucus, features music and politics.

The tour features Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, Cindy Sheehan of Gold Star Families for Peace, Marine Mom Tina Richards [yep, that's her son's poem in the previous post] of Grassroots America, Kevin Zeese of Democracy Rising, Adam Kokesh of Iraq Vets Against the War, and the students of the University of Maryland Baltimore of Hungry for Peace. Musicians include DJ Chela, Son of Nun, Akir, A-Alikes, Articulate and More.

The tour is designed to demonstrate that real hip hop culture is not gangsta rap, but represents the progressive character of Black America. Rev. Yearwood describes President Bush as "addicted to war" and the Congress as "co-dependent acting just like the person who is addicted."

The tour, which was featured on MTV, believes "it is time for Hip Hop to break the silence. Our generation is fighting and dying in Iraq. Our generation must lead the campaign to bring our troops home." The tour seeks to get more people of color and college students involved in efforts to end the war. The Make Hip Hop Not War tour comes just before college students at the University of Maryland at College Park begin a week-long fast to protest the war, from April 30 to May 4. Students, faculty, and staff will be camping out on the Commons Terrace and fasting from food for the entire week without leaving the area. See
http://www.umbcsoco .org/wiki/ HungryForPeace.

The tour has visited Washington, DC, New York City, Boston, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Chicago, Berkeley and South Bend among other locations.

For more information visit http://www.hiphopcaucus.org.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Read the Poem

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Annapolis Protests Marked the Anniversary of U.S. Attack on Iraq

At least four protests took place in Annapolis around the fourth anniversary of the United States' attack on Iraq and others were held nearby. In the middle of the day Friday several people gathered under the eaves of the Market House to read the names of those killed in Iraq while serving in the U.S. armed forces. The regular weekly antiwar vigil on Spa Creek bridge took place on Sunday. And Move On members organized vigils Monday night in Crofton and Bowie and on the Spa Creek bridge and at Church Circle.

Monday night a large, spirited group marched up and down and back and forth on the Spa Creek bridge from 6 p.m. until nearly 7. A reporter and a photographer from the Capital were there when the last stragglers arrived and before the first to leave did so. Here's a link to their coverage.

Shortly before 7 most of the participants set out to walk to the Church Circle vigil, forming a spontaneous antiwar march through downtown. The marchers joined the vigil already in progress in front of St. Anne's and more participants continued to arrive for most of an hour.

You've got to hand it to Move On. Despite its shortcomings, which you can read about here, the group has provided tools that people at the grass roots have used effectively to organize demonstrations and to find demonstrations to join. The largest demonstrations in Annapolis against the U.S. attack on Iraq have consistently been those organized by or in cooperation with Move On.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Vigils Everywhere!

Here's a link to a list of vigils throughout the area planned for the evening of March 19. Some of them probably didn't get into the many fine calendars you can find through the links in the Who else is protesting? section of this page. There's almost surely one near you, but if not you can start your own.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Join us at our usual day and time to mark the anniversary, if you're so inclined

We will not be scheduling any additional events to mark this anniversary of the U.S. attack on Iraq. Feel free to join us during our regular vigil on Sunday, March 18 (noon or thereabouts until 1 or 2).

Or follow the links under the heading Who Else Is Protesting? on the right side of this page to read about events throughout the Baltimore-Washington area, scheduled to begin as early as March 12 and continue at least through March 19.

We hope you'll find a way to mark the occasion that demonstrates your opposition to this war and the next.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mikulski has constituents arrested

Nonviolent Maryland citizens protesting Iraq War are taken away by Capitol Police; Senator continues to support war funding

Washington, D.C. - At 6:05pm [Feb. 27], Sen. Barbara Mikulski had Capitol Police arrest four of her own constituents when they refused to leave her office. The four were part of a group of 20 that nonviolently occupied Sen. Mikulski’s office for three hours that afternoon, reading the names of Iraqi and American dead in a memorial to those killed, and in a plea to Sen. Mikulski to stop voting for continued war funding.

Read the entire press release on this interesting-looking blog.