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Camp Democracy Begins!

Although Camp Democracy does not start until tomorrow morning, the 5th of September, there have already been people staying over night watching the tents near the intersection of 15th and Constitution Avenue N.W., located between the Washington Monument and the American History Museum.

This is an exciting time for the movement. Finally, about two-thirds of Americans agree that the war and occupation in Iraq must be ended, Americans are also aware of how they are being short-changed at home. There must be more funds for Hurricane Katrina relief, there must be healthcare for all Americans and it's time to stop the chipping away of our civil liberties! The question is how do we transform this sentiment into action?

Friday and Saturday night, my friend Jamie, a young peace and justice activist camped the nights on site. Friday he was rained on and there was some flooding under two of the tents. Saturday, I went down to visit with him briefly with a mutual friend after we saw the documentary film on the troubled Iraqi elections in 2005, "My Country, My Country!" at the Avalon theater. Excellent film and the film maker spoke to the audience after the show.

Then I visited Camp Democracy again last night, and there was a group of students from University of Maryland holding watch. They were a great group, full of enthusiasm. They are with the student group at College Park called Peace Forum. I only stayed a little while, but it made me hopeful that so many in the younger generation are dedicated to building a more just and peaceful future.

Tuesday evening, DAWN will hold its regular weekly meeting there. We are a open, non-member group who has gone through some internal strife recently, but we are alive and still engaged in organizing. In fact, two of the strong forces in erecting Camp Democracy are Pat Elder and Jose Rodriguez -- two DAWNistas! These two guys have done a lot of the work thus far, in addition to David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org, and Karen Bradley of Democracy Cell Project.

More info for Tuesday, opening day of the camp:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 4, 2006
Contact: Ryan Fletcher 202-641-0277
Michael McPhearson 314-303-8874
Nancy Lessin 617-320-5301
Camp Democracy contact: David Swanson 202-329-7847 or Online at: http://www.campdemocracy.org
Veterans and Military Families Hold Press Conference and Day of Events to Open Camp Democracy September 5th

WASHINGTON, DC - September 5th in Washington DC will witness the opening of a 17-day event called Camp Democracy, a non-partisan camp for peace and democracy, focusing on ending the war in Iraq, righting injustices here at home and on holding accountable the Bush Administration and Congress.

WHO: Veterans of the Iraq War and Other Conflicts, Military and Gold Star Families
WHAT: Silent Procession, Press Conference, and Day of Activities to Open Camp Democracy
WHERE: Camp Democracy will be located at Constitution Avenue and 14th Street NW
WHEN: Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Summary of events on Tuesday, September 5, 2006:
For a full schedule of events, go to: www.campdemocracy.org/schedule

8:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. -Vigil, March around Capitol Building to remember the fallen and remind Congress of the human cost of the War in Iraq (visuals include combat boots and shoes representing the fallen; tombstones, pictures), led by Veteran, Military and Gold Star families. Assembly point is 1st and Independence at 8:00 a.m.; procession steps off at 8:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m. to Noon
• Opening Press Conference featuring Iraq War Veterans, Military Families, Gold Star Families, Veterans of other Conflicts
• Opening Ceremony at Camp Democracy
• Speak-Out featuring members of Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families for Peace

1:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. - Roundtable Discussion: Why We Say "Bring Them Home NOW, and How To Make That Happen (Veterans and Military Families)

4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. - Panel Discussion - How the U.S. anti-war/Peace and Justice movements can support reconciliation and Peace in Iraq and the greater Middle East.

7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Sneak Preview Film Screening: "The Ground Truth" – Iraq Veterans talk about their wounds of war, and the hidden wounds of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; followed by a panel of Veterans and Military Families discussing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Opening soon in major theaters across the country.

9:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. - Concert featuring Anne Feeney http://annefeeney.com and Emma's Revolution http://emmasrevolution.com

For more information see: www.veteransforpeace.org , www.ivaw.org , www.mfso.org www.campdemocracy.org

Technical note: Events in the morning on the 5th will use a sound system powered by batteries. There will be no power outlets available to the media (or anyone else) until after our generators arrive at 11 a.m. and are hooked up and started.

###

Members of Congress, Progressive Democrats of America to “Organize the Progressive Agenda” at Camp Democracy Sept 6th

PDA Main Contact: Tim Carpenter tim@pdamerica.org 413-320-2015
PDA Camp Democracy Contact: Mike Hersh mike@pdamerica.org 240-483-3191
Camp Democracy Contact: David Swanson david@davidswanson.org 202-329-7847

WASHINGTON, DC - Several Members of Congress will join grassroots activists on September 6 to present more effective, better alternatives to the failed, fatal policies of the Bush/Cheney Administration. They will lead discussions about Ending the Iraq War, Implementing Single-Payer Universal Health Care, Helping Katrina / Rita Refugees, and other critical issues.

PDA National Board Members Rep. Lynn Woolsey and Rep. Barbara Lee, (Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus); Rep. Maxine Waters, (Chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus); Rep. Jim McGovern, Sponsor of H.R. 4232: End the War in Iraq Act; Rep. Bob Filner; PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter; PDA Board Members Rev. Lennox Yearwood (CEO Hip Hop Caucus), Steve Cobble, (Peace, Trade, and Voting Rights expert) and Joel Segal (Legislative Aid for Health Policy, for Rep. John Conyers) will present a Progressive Agenda for National Security and Domestic / Human Needs. Local and national political activists will join them. All events will be in the Main Tent on Constitution Ave. between 14 St. and 15 St. near the Washington Monument.

4:00 PM. Rev. Yearwood, just back from New Orleans, will report on continued devastation and suffering then lead a discussion about the campaign to pass the Gulf Coast Reconstruction Act.

5:00 PM. Joel Segal will lead a discussion of HR-676, legislation to implement a universal, single-payer healthcare system, eliminate corporate waste in health care and cover all of the 45 million Americans who lack access to quality health care today.

5:30 PM. Rep. Lynn Woolsey will lead a discussion on legislation to end funding for the Iraq war and to bring the troops home now with Grassroots progressive leaders.

And here's more info about Laura Portias' film "My Country, My Country!":

Comments

knappster said…
If you're going to raise the issue of democracy, I suggest you think about scale.  I say there is no such thing as large-scale democracy, because the necessary communication for true negotiation becomes impossible beyond a certain number of people.  And that number is typically the size of a small village.

The failure of the revolutionary left to address scale signifies its ultimate irrelevance to creating social structures that replace the current dysfunctional ones.
PeteinDC said…
Not a bad point, and I don't really disagree. But I don't see how this results in the left being irrelevant. Rocking the boat and raising awareness are just two very worthwhile endeavors the left is engaged in.
knappster said…
I guess the key modifer is "ultimate" (i.e. in the long run).  The continually unsucessful attempts to raise awareness on a large scale (the bread and butter of activists) does seem ultimately irrelevant to a disillusioned former activist like me.

However, perhaps it's hyperbole for me to use that term.  An activity shared by many people is probably not "irrelevant".

But I still challenge the apparent widespread belief that the same tools and the same path that has resulted in decades of political retreat and bitter disappointment will turn out any different with a new generation of activists.

That challenge (and the considerations of scale) lie at the heart of a new kind of left — one we might call the Green Left (but not the Green Party, which is really part of the same Red Left).

Check out this reference to see what I mean by those terms.

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