You are here
Home > Posts tagged "Washington DC"

March on DC with your own protest message, not one dictated by NGOs. Yes, you’ll need a banner and poles.

Organizers of the post-inaugural WOMEN'S MARCH in Washington DC this weekend are telling participants not to bring poles for signs or flags, or even knapsacks. Ha ha ha. As you travel across the country to march, remember who's making the real sacrifice. The march coordinators are paid. You are spending the time and expense because you have something to express. Bring it. The only reason organizers want you unequipped is so your [rogue] message won't stray from theirs. Does that sound democratic? They also have a different goal than you. Their mission is to pull off a smooth event. Yours is to make history. As a veteran of countless protest marches, national, regional and international, I encourage newcomers to stick to their nonconformist inclinations. Independent critical thinking is what led you to take action in the first place. To begin, THIS IS YOUR MARCH. Washington DC belongs to you. Inauguration Day and its aftermath belong to you. Just because someone squats a Facebook event on a day conducive to public gathering doesn't give them dibs to call the shots. A stand-alone call to arms, such as MLK's Million Man March or CodePink's A Billion Rising, is another matter. Spontaneous uprisings against historic events are no one organization's to control or temper. Especially if they begin with capitulations to the state. Here's the usual pattern. After a FB event goes viral, nonprofit activist groups jump in to offer their expertise, resources and manpower. The nonprofits thus dominate the details and the event originators have little ground to object. Thrilled to see "their" event succeed, these new-to-the-spotlight activists don't know that street protest is anathema to nonprofits whose existential foundation is not to disrupt politics as usual. Falling into the trap of coordinating ineffective demonstrations is often blamed on newbie error, but in Washington DC, newbies making the newbie mistakes are employees of nonprofits seeded to pretend the event had a grassroots origin. What the NGOs are really doing is setting a prescribed burn, or backfire. Backfire: a fire set intentionally to arrest the progress of an approaching fire by creating a burned area in its path, thus depriving the fire of fuel. Bastards! Fortunately backfire has a further meaning, probably not unrelated to the sketchy forestry strategem. Backfire: rebound adversely on the originator; have the opposite effect to what was intended. Just as DC lobbyists monopolize your representatives, professional activists have staked out the capitol and squatted on what is the public's only access to speak to power. Accept their invitation to come to DC. Thank them for their legal support, their logistics and water bottles, but you'll handle your messaging thank you. NOTES FOR NEXT TIME (If you'd prefer not to dwell on criticism, please skip to the section on RULES. For me, these counterproductive "mistakes" set us back every time we give them a pass.) 1. Telling participants they can't bring stuff like food or chairs! The event's duration is being throttled to what can be endured between meals, without a pause for rest. Do you go to

“In the footsteps of Martin Luther King”, as if he’d lead a meaningless ask-for-nothing commemoration

Another million pawn march, to nowhere, commemorating the corporate brand of "MLK" sterilized of instructional efficacy, sanitized of King's ultimate demands: jobs, economic justice, peace. This weekend's 50th anniversary of the dream speech was the usual reminder that professional organizers abound who will gladly wear out would-be activists until they have no energy for real demonstrations. Of course there's "work that remains to achieve King's Dream", who knows that better than the assholes waylaying it, then every year genuflecting before their sainted fictional MLK.

Will occupying the streets Sept 17, Oct 6 and 15 precipitate an American Fall?

"American Fall" would be a pun, yes. A pan-Arabian-like Spring causing the US anti-democracy to tumble, being the objective. The English riots have put a dark spin on what might be Middle America's reception to popular uprising, but mark the dates, because the brass ring nears whether you have the courage or not, and you won't have the stomach for the alternative.   You've probably already sensed the buzz about #SEPT17, campus groups across the country have been bypassing the conventional chaperones to coordinate OCCUPY WALL STREET. Can they do it? Not without your help, and that doesn't mean switching your phone service or knocking on doors to Get Out The Vote. Donate, organize or help with the logistics. If you've the temerity, attend in person. At the very least, you'll have your expenses reimbursed when the city settles your civil suit against them for false arrest. New York City already budgeted for the insurance policy that will pay the legal settlements for the probably now textbook law enforcement practice of kettling inconvenient protests. Or, thinking positively, you may just witness history. To make history you have to make it. Don't leave it up to the Little Red Hen if you want a piece. Next up is #OCT6, although the day varies regionally. The date marks the 10th anniversary of the Afghan invasion, but social justice groups of all stripes are throwing their sundry complaints unto one banner and have organized marches nationwide. Of course the nationals aims to SEIZE DC, where activists will converge on Freedom Square, English for "Tahrir Square", with plans to camp there until the people's voice is heard. DC has passed ordinances against overnight protests, but Freedom Square may be cut some slack for being off the National Mall. It's a smaller public space which lies on the diagonal between the White House and the Capitol Building, abreast of General Tecumseh Sherman's horse actually. The determination to reclaim American Democracy with an action in DC hopes to recreate Madison Wisconsin on the Potomac, with the same grassroots support for a broad set of issues to which both parties have shown themselves unresponsive. A successful DC foothold will get real traction being closely followed by an international call for a worldwide uprising. #OCT15 is being spearheaded by Spain's movement for GLOBAL DEMOCRACY. Will it dilute regional efforts to have actions running concurrently, or will synchronized demonstrations overwhelm our transnational overseers? We can wait and see, or we can give it our best shot. Here are more graphics in support of the kickoff September 17. Borrowing from Tunisia and Egypt, and before that Chicago 1968, it's US Days of Rage. In the course of a single spring we've seen massive demonstrations which provoked governments to interrupt cellphone service, shut down internet access, and answer protestors with direct gunfire. To what extreme will the USG be driven? What rights remain inviolate in the US? Not communication. Activist cellphones were blocked on the BART in San Francisco to thwart protests against police brutality.

Mr Smith goes to #FuckYouWashington

The netizens are revolting. On the eve of US "austerity measures" the Twitterverse is crowdsourcing its ire against the de facto seat of world government. The unprintable hashtag won't trend on social networks -- it's alleged, even as momentum builds like a movie title mashup. Typical sentiment: FuckYouWashington for putting profit above people. The laundry list of injustices is staggering and as a political party platform, it's writing itself. What is democracy but crowdsourced grievances in search of redress? As tweeters hurry to open external floodgates, it's going to be interesting to see which if any of the social networks decide to unleash its participants from the censorship which constrains the profanity they want to share. #FuckYouWashington for your mass murder, inhumanity, enslavement, penury and usury and then telling me this hashtag is profane.

Operation Iraqi Freedom To Say And Do Exactly What They’re Told

Apparently the Imperialists weren't lying when they said they were bringing American-style "freedoms" In Bahrain and in Iraq... where the Iraqi Puppet Government PIGS have used American style Police Tactics to break up demonstrations, including, with the United States "Freedom" Army standing ready to back them up if the Peasants took the upper hand, simply slaughtering protestors. Something the Colorado Springs Gestapo knows full well, beating and arresting peaceful marchers (mostly elderly and disabled) in the St Patricks Day Parade 2007 "Protesters took to the streets of Iraq again today, demanding the same reforms that have become common cause across the Arab world. But while most nations have chosen violence or empty promises (both of which the Maliki government has dabbled in) to answer these demands, Iraq is also taking a very American idea. On Wednesday the government announced a ban on protests in the capital city of Baghdad, saying that street vendors had complained it was hurting business. The answer was to sequester protesters into specially designated free speech zones. The US began using “free speech areas” to move political dissent away from public view, nominally for security reasons, and became extremely common starting in 2004, when both major party conventions herded protesters into cages that were officially acceptable areas in which to protest. The notion of doing so in Baghdad was mocked by protesters, who insisted that herding them all into soccer stadiums was absurd. Protesters continued to march in the streets instead, and no reports indicate any protesters showed up at the stadiums." The Puppet al Maliki knows how to dance when the Imperial Storm Troopers pull his strings. And the soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors who say they're fighting for OUR freedom there or anywhere else are still lying, as are any of their political allies. One of the slaughters of demonstrators in Iraq happened very recently, when the War-Pigs were applauding demonstrations in Libya and Syria, but, again, having U.S. military standing by in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and of course, Iraq, to make sure the Peasants didn't get too "uppity" and actually TAKE the "freedom" the U.S. Politicians lie so smoothly and say they've "given" to the region. Meanwhile, Bradley Manning languishes in the Torture Dungeons at Quantico for telling the Truth which those same politicians dare not speak. Hillary Rodham-Clinton, Imperialist that she insists she isn't, said that Iran was "meddling" in the pro-democracy movements. Oh, my! How DARE the Iranian people feel concern for something happening in their back yard! Especially since the Puppet Hereditary Dictators in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, and Kuwait are ROYALTY to and the Iranian government is composed of "Peasants". Yeah, piggoes, some "freedom" you're exporting. Gotta admit, though, the beat downs, arrests, torture and murders THEY commit with YOUR backing, are exactly the same as how you treat American Dissidents. For once you Pig Bastards weren't actually Lying.

My WHERE’S WALDO album of DC

Yes, that's me on the right, in the yellow sweatshirt and red cap, shouldering the Coloradans For Peace standard. These are all photographs tweeted, flickr'd and picassa'd by others, for which my red cap and green shirt served in the background. Watching as cameras prepare for A.N.S.W.E.R. rally in Lafayette Park Assembling with other Coloradans for STOP THE WAR march We're behind the coffin with the Stars and Stripes Reaching the White House Police enforce perimeter around arrestees At SDS rally in Farragut Square Camp Out Now main canopy Making posters in the shade. Saturating the camp with Eric Font.

Photos from DC antiwar actions

WASHINGTON DC- First citation issued to Camp Out Now, unloading Funk The War sound gear on northwest quadrangle of National Mall. My PEACE NOW design for the SDS Funk The War BAD ROMANCE march on Friday. Conclusion of Saturday A.N.S.W.E.R. march on the White House, before the eight arrests. Cindy Sheehan's account here. More pictures on Facebook.

Just flew back from DC, arms tired

I hoped to be sending updates from CAMP OUT NOW at the capitol, but a laptop mishap left me unplugged for the week. Have much to report about Sheehan's last stand(s), Obama and St Pats, Cynthia McKinney and the ANSWER march, street-dancing with SDS, Kathy Griffin and DADT, Medea torments AIPAC, Sunday's immigration rally, Kill-the-Bill teabaggers vs. anti-abortion Catholics, RAN tripods at the EPA, the Smithsonian for Complete Idiots, disciples for 911 untruth, Holocaust Denial at the National Museum of the American Indian, and more.

If Camp OUT NOW won’t end the US military corporate empire, will you?

In 2005 Cindy Sheehan staked her tent in Crawford TX until President Bush would deign to meet with her; she didn't pack it up until she had launched an antiwar movement. From there Sheehan met with world leaders, challenged Nancy Pelosi at the polls, and made herself ubiquitous wherever antiwar was raged. This time Sheehan is laying siege to the White House and she's not going to let up until Obama calls off his dogs of war. Will it work? It should. George Bush could have halted the grieving mother's momentum if he'd heard her out. This time no beer summit is going to pass for Obama's promised change. Sheehan has already been arrested in front of the White House, the new president has already snubbed her on Martha's Vineyard. Didn't hear about it? The media can pretend none of this is happening unless Camp OUT NOW reaches critical mass. You should join in. Sheehan's promising no less than the crumbling of the US military corporate empire. Can it happen? It won't happen without you.

Camp OUT NOW delayed for St Pats

PEACE OF THE ACTION and Cindy Sheehan had to delay their March 13 start by two days, to accommodate the Washington DC's St. Patrick's Day. Parade organizers objected to sharing the National Mall with an antiwar protest encampment. Deja vu? Camp OUT NOW will raise their tents on March 15 on the lawns between the White House and the Washington Monument, to protest America's ceaseless war-making. Sheehan and co will direct civil disruptions of DC activities and don't plan to strike the tents until troops -and drones- are OUT. Join them!

Social justice, peace and reparations

Stop U.S. Occupation and War inside U.S. and Abroad! We demand the end of U.S. support for the colonial government of Israel and recognition of all rights of the Palestinian people. We demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Middle East. We demand the removal of U.S. troops and contractors from Colombia and an end to counterinsurgent intervention in Venezuela and South America.

Next to the White House

While visiting Washington DC in March, I found it interesting to note the edifices closest to the White House. EAST, WEST The neighbor to the immediate East of the Obama's White House is the Department of the Treasury. Is that any surprise? Of course not, but how bourgeois! I could imagine Scrooge McDuck sneaking across the White House garden twice a day to check his reserves. To the West is what we now call the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. It's the site of the suspicious office fires which may or may not have masked a recent vice-president's misdeeds. The edifice looks straight out of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and check out the plaque which commemorates what the building used to be called: Probably that should be no surprise as well: the White house sandwiched between Treasury and War. "State, War and Navy." How so much less duplicitous than the "Department of Defense." SOUTHWEST Behind the former War offices, to the Southwest of the White House, lies the war memorial to end all war memorials. It's the WWI Memorial, of considerably diminutive size compared to those commemorations of subsequent wars which have spilled unto the Mall, but its form followed the convention of the typical Great War monuments erected throughout Europe among the nations who had participated. Except the American version is dedicated to the "Expeditionary Forces" which I just love. That's what WWI was about for the US. The trenches of Europe were no place Americans needed to defend their freedom. The troops we sent, to relieve France and England, represented a foreign expedition, exactly that. More precisely, our troops were an R&D expedition for our blustering capitalists. (This may be no time or place to note that history books do not link America's WWI experience with the Influenza outbreak of 1917-18, which began in the barracks of US soldiers being mobilized for war. American soldiers took their flu to Europe and ultimately killed 50 million people. Those were not the days before we knew better to stay home to prevent infecting others.) The US entry into WWI was bitterly opposed by a peace movement which the war-opportunist-profiteers maligned as isolationist. Selfish globalization-denying isolationism has been the slander ever since, used against anyone who tries to block military interventions in all their guises. Ultimately WWI was no affair of ours, had the Huns emerged victorious, American foreign affairs would hardly have changed. Our foreign trading partners would have numbered more Germans, that's all. But it's useless to compare alternative outcomes of WWI, all things staying constant, because America participated and profited wildly. If American investors had not jumped in Over There, the greatest business opportunities of blossoming industrialism would have been missed. The opportunities offered by the Europeans fighting amongst themselves, proved to have been momentous. And here was the monument to those lost American lives, sacrificed so that American industrial might, in particular the new banking monopolists, could seize the European spheres of influence throughout the world. Of course the lost lives

Capitalism is Organized Crime

From A.N.S.W.E.R.: --Capitalism is a form of organized crime. The U.S. government is greasing the system's wheels to ensure that banks and big corporations get trillions in bailout funds. Meanwhile, millions of workers are losing their jobs and homes. Deep cuts are gutting public education, making health care even less accessible and decimating much-needed social programs. Police brutality and racial profiling are rampant. Working-class people are being hit from all sides. The conference will link the struggles against war and militarism with the fight for economic justice. This conference will be an important opportunity for political activists to meet, analyze, discuss and propose solutions. The conference organizers believe that a radical reorganization of society is necessary to meet the needs of the people rather than to maximize the profits of bankers and corporate executives who have driven society onto the path of endless war and economic suffering. Featured speakers at the April 19th Conference will include: Marcos García, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Brian Becker, Hodari Abdul-Ali, Eugene Puryear, Prof. Zachary Wolfe, Maurice Carney, Muna Coobtee, Frances Villar, James Circello, and Crystal Kim.

Roughing it in DC

WASHINGTON DC- We caught the Metro, dragged our bags across the streets and sidewalks, but alright, we haven't exactly been roughing it. First stop, the Capitol Hilton, from which we can promenade to the White House. It's a stuffy hotel, with historic presidential-themed porcelain plates on display featuring an eagle that would look more comfortable on Luftwaffe place settings. Marie arranged the other couples nights at the St. Gregorys, the nearer to hang around the university and explore Georgetown. The St. Gregory Hotel was reputedly a favorite of Marlyn Monroe's. Which I suppose is enough to explain the life size statue of Monroe in their lobby. Monroe stands poised above the famous subway vent, her dress permanently fixed immodestly. Billy Wilder had the good sense to shot the scene from the front, but the St. Gregory didn't have that foresight, and they've bent this Monroe forward like a hood ornament, for short customers maybe. I'm not sure the titillating sight is something to complain about. Call it a land mind for involuntary ogling. Easily avoided once you know it's there, but if your mind is on something else, a conversation for example, Monroe's pose catches your reflex unawares.

Warmongers do end run on Vietnam Wall

WASHINGTON DC- Who knew it wasn't just the Vietnam War veterans who had misgivings about Maya Lin's design for a memorial? Fair enough it doesn't celebrate the achievements of our armies. This peripheral statue offers the more conventional bronze tribute. It depicts as addendum, three survivors emerging from the woods, disheveled and still brandishing assault rifles. They appear to regard the wall and its visitors with wariness. I recognize the faces now, they are the chicken hawks who didn't go, but still want to wage war, and had to figure out how to get America over that wall. Nearby, the WWII memorial celebrates the victors more than it commemorates the dead, it's fashioned like a stone coliseum, as might have been fashioned by the world champion rooster after an undefeated string of cockfights.

Peace flows from the end of a gunboat

WASHINGTON DC- It's not the "Department of Peace," to contrast with the Department of Defense, although some detractors point out that we have the State Department for that, but visitors to DC will find in the NW corner of the National Mall, the US Navy has conceded a portion of its real estate adjacent the Lincoln Memorial for a US Institute of Peace. Dot org, not dot gov. And what do they mean by "Public Education Center?" It's Pax Americana they're institutionalizing, aka peacekeeping in the gunboat diplomacy sense of the word. And sure enough, according to its website: USIP has been operating on the ground in Iraq since 2004, working with Iraqis to reduce interethnic and interreligious violence, speed up stabilization and democratization, and reduce the need for a U.S. presence in Iraq.

DC March on the Pentagon was fueled by a promising alternative energy: youth

WASHINGTON DC- Speakers were still entertaining an impatient crowd, and coffin carriers were mobilizing for the March to the Pentagon, when from the west came the Black Bloc. Bicycle cops in royal blue lycra scrambled to shepherd the group's healthy gallop as they appeared from over the hill to kick the parade to a sudden start. They virtually led the parade over the bridge, until organizers prevailed upon the interlopers to allow the veterans groups to resume the lead, as planned. But it would not be the last initiative from the Anarchists. (Click on image for better quality, wider crop) 1. THE MARCH Black Bloc gallops into lead position, abruptly starting parade. International Socialist Organization pass Lincoln Memorial Peace groups from Vermont to Georgia Youth and Student A.N.S.W.E.R. West from the Washington Monument Hezbollah crosses Arlington Memorial Bridge Campus Antiwar Network Across the Potomac To the Pentagon Code Pink paraded the parade To military industrial complex in Crystal City 2. INTERRUPTION At a narrowing of the route at the Boeing building, several students blocked the march with a plastic barrier. Raising questions about the gentrified nature and self-policing demeanor of the event organizers and participants. The Black Bloc honored the picket line, thus the Campus Antiwar Network and following groups were brought to a halt. When the Black Bloc decided to move on to next actions, the march resumed. 2b. INTERRUPTION At the first hint of misbehavior, stocky 40-something "videographers" in undercover protest garb were pointing their cameras into the noses of the black-clad participants. 3. MESSAGE VARIETY Why explain? You won't listen. 4. COUNTER PROTEST On the Pentagon lawn, near signs pointing to the "Pentagon Memorial," white folk waited with the usual anti-antiwar slogans. Megaphone versus megaphone. That simple. 5. CONFRONTATION Police in riot gear await march destination at KBR. 6. COLORADANS FOR PEACE (Still more photos to follow...)

Mister Obama, your house is surrounded

WASHINGTON DC- With the White House protected, we can presume, by every manner of Secret Service telemetry, how necessary is it to add beat cops at 45 degree angles? Has this become the customary US welcome to tourists and citizens who gravitate to the White House gate?

Veterans say no to war and occupation

Washington DC- Veterans working with the ANSWER Coalition scaled the Veterans Administration building on Thursday and dropped a banner protesting the continued wars and occupation. The action launches this weekend's MARCH ON THE PENTAGON, marking the 6th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, proclaiming OCCUPATION IS A CRIME.

Advice for next DC Madam

All sex worker administrators working in financial capitals DC or NY or London may want to take note, when affairs go awry, you are entangled with the vice squad, and you are hailed as that episode's "DC Madam," consider making your client list known far and wide, instead of hoping to parlay it for reduced charges. Whether convicted or not, you will shortly be found dead, by your hand, without a sign of foul play. A suicide, like journalists, aids, and other compromised folk before you. Did Deborah Palfrey have any chance, like her colleague Brandy Britton three months before her? Both met with suicide before their tales could really go viral. The Pamela Martin & Associates agency catered to the most powerful mobsters in the world. Including but bigger than US Senators, Vitter or his ilk, including but bigger than government agency or military heads. The now dead girls were in bed with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and USAID. Can you name badder johns? Putin's KGB gang, serviced by the Russian gymnastics team, comes in a distant minor league.

Top