Say no to Bush’s war on Iraq
February 14, 2003 | Page 10
NEW YORK City antiwar activists were working around the clock to make the final preparations for the February 15 demonstration against war on Iraq. The protest–sponsored by United for Peace and Justice–is part of an international day of protest in cities across Europe and the U.S.
But as Socialist Worker went to press, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD were trying to block the protest. With less than a week to go, officials were still refusing to grant a parade permit–claiming the turnout will be too large for them to police.
But activists have launched an all-out effort to win the permit. “If we were marching in support of war,” noted actor Danny Glover at a press conference earlier this week, “we would have been granted a permit immediately.”
Organizers accepted the offer of 49th Street and 1st Avenue as a rallying point, but the fight for a march was expected to go down to the wire. At least 20 feeder marches to the rally point are being organized.
After the march the Columbia Antiwar Coalition is sponsoring an event titled “Campuses Say No to War” at Barnard College. Speakers include former United Nations (UN) weapons inspector Scott Ritter, peace activist Rania Masri, New York Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) founder Michael Letwin and Ahmed Shawki of the International Socialist Review.
In San Francisco, antiwar activists are busy organizing for their protest scheduled the next day. The march is sponsored by United for Peace and Justice, the San Francisco Labor Council AFL-CIO, Middle East Children’s Alliance, East Bay Coalition to Stop the Sanctions on Iraq, Labor Committee for Peace and Justice and many more.
More than 1,000 demonstrated in Times Square in New York on February 5 to protest Secretary of State Colin Powell’s appearance before the UN Security Council. Protesters planned to march to a second permitted rally at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, but the police initially said they wouldn’t allow it, because there was no march permit.
“What I want to know, is who gave George Bush a permit to put 100,000 troops in the Middle East?” asked NYCLAW’s Michael Letwin. “For all their bombers, for all their cruise missiles, they are scared” of popular opposition to the war.
On February 10, more than 100 students at Hunter College in New York City marched to the office of Hunter President Jennifer Raab. They demanded that she sign a written statement opposing war in Iraq, a $1,200 proposed tuition hike and a 30 percent proposed cut in state scholarship funds. Protesters occupied her office for several hours and decided to pressure Raab to attend a public forum next week, where she will have to answer to their demands.
At the University of California-Davis, more than 250 students rallied against the war February 6. At Harvard University, 400 people turned out to hear British journalist Robert Fisk speak on February 4. Fisk, a correspondent for London’s Independent newspaper who has been reporting from the Middle East for more than 25 years, linked the present crises in the Middle East to the politics of the West.
The University of North Carolina-Greensboro Campus Antiwar Coalition is hosting a statewide campus antiwar conference February 16. Activists planned this event to coincide with a statewide antiwar march in Raleigh, N.C., February 15.
Unite to stop the war
Nearly 1,000 people applauded antiwar performances February 2 at the Beneficent Congregational Church in Providence, R.I. Nasser Zawia, a professor at the University of Rhode Island, spoke about the racist detentions of Arabs and Muslims. New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 leader Stan Israel assured Zawia, “When they come for you, call me. Because if I don’t fight for you, who will fight when they come for me?”
Israel, a Vietnam vet, announced that his union has passed an antiwar resolution, explaining how the fight for decent health care is all the more frustrating in light of the bloated Pentagon budget.
David Bodamer, Andrew Jagunich, Kate O’Neil, John Osmand, Eric Potma, Lee Wengraf and Chris Yee contributed to this report.