Skip to main content

ANSWER Rally (too long) and March (OK)


Today ANSWER, working with Iraq Veterans Against the War, had a two and a half hour anti-war rally at Lafayette Park, followed by a march and civil disobedience at the foot of the Capitol building. The energy of the crowd was great, and it was a diverse crowd, both generationally and ethnically. It was also rather big, about 200,000 -- about half the size of UFPJ's rally and march at the end of January, but ANSWER pulled this off with only two month's lead time. So organizationally it was perfectly promoted.

However, the rally was far too long; about two and a half hours before even starting the march. A few of the speakers were really good (some weren't), but the sound system was lousy. If you have a couple HUNDRED THOUSAND people show up, you probably shouldn't be using a sound system only good for about a crowd of 5,000.

And while I enjoyed the march, the civil disobedience at the foot of the Capitol Building was poorly organized and executed. There should have been more explanations given the crowd. If you are going to have a large die-in, you need to try and separate the folks participating in it from the folks who are not. Not real effective to have people standing right next to people doing the die-in. In addition, some folks not doing civil disobedience were making the situation worse for those who were by standing face to face with the police and hurling insults at them. The situation was not peaceful, and clearly ANSWER did not provide adequate nonviolence training for people participating.

Overall, good to see people out marching against war. It must end! But ANSWER needs to shorten their rallies and provide better planning and support for nonviolent direct actions in the future.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Gays and Lesbians Opposed to Violence (GLOV) Reforms

As appeared in Metro Weekly...

Stirred to Action
Viciousness of recent anti-gay attacks spurs community reaction
by Will O'Bryan
Published on September 18, 2008

Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to motivating a community, a picture -- far more than flow charts of crime statistics or bullet points in a report -- may actually be invaluable. Add to that picture a compelling online essay, and you have the start of a community movement.

With a number of publicized attacks against local gay people in recent months, from Nathaniel Salerno's attack on a Metro train in December to Michael Roike and Chris Burrell being beaten to the ground near the 14th and P Streets NW intersection in August, the viciousness Todd Metrokin suffered in Adams Morgan in July -- written about on The New Gay blog by his friend Chris Farris in late August -- may have been a tipping point.

''There are the anecdotal stories you hear from your friends,'' says Pete Perry, a loca…

A Proposal for We The People to Institute Positive Change

Hello sisters and brothers, subjects of the United States Empire, it has become clear the elected representatives on Capitol Hill no longer truly represent us and our best interests, but rather are serving their elite major campaign contributors. They serve the interests of the extreme rich and large corporations, certainly not the average American worker, student, or retired individual.

In order to improve our government, we, a collective of dedicated social justice activists, propose three demands to those who have power to legislate within the Federal Government. We list those demands here, and will then discuss how to make sure they pass into the law of the land:

1) Universal single payer health care, something that nearly all other developed nations of the world already possess for their citizens. We, as human beings, have a right to good health and to never be financially crippled in this pursuit of our own well-being. We demand that Congress pass House Resolution 676 and a Sen…

What Does Democracy Look Like?/Revolution of the Heart, Pt. 1

"You know that this broken world, with its rising seas and hungry mouths and bodies riddled by police bullets, can be so much better. We can end the toxic corruption that gives us militarized police, and oil-slicked pipeline deals, and hopeless shoeless migrant children like the ones I went to school with in Texas. We can get to the other side together. One road, many lanes."  ~Justin Jacoby Smith, American activist
"How can an organization trying to fix our democracy operate undemocratically? How can an organization tell us that real change happens from the bottom-up. when they themselves operate top-down?" ~Kobi Azoulay, American activist
"In the end, the most important thing is not to do things for people who are poor and in distress, but to enter into relationship with them, to be with them and help them find confidence in themselves and discover their own gifts." ~Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche

"The greatest challenge of the day is: how to brin…