Fifth Anniversary of Iraq War Brings More Direct Action

Written by Scott Parkin

Topics: Oil

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Over five years ago, and many times since, we’ve marched, vigiled, written letters, lobbied and taken direct action to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Estimates put the number of Iraqi dead at over 1 million. Over 4,000 coalition troops have been killed. Companies like Halliburton and Blackwater profit directly in Iraq. Companies like Exxon and Chevron profit less directly, but profit all the same.

Tomorrow, March 19th, being the fifth anniversary of the war puts the past five-plus years in perspective for me. I’ve worked with everyone from ragtag bands of activists to national organizations to my own mother trying to stop the madness. I traveled around the country and world campaigning against it.

For a while, I had this thought that “one more protest” or “one more action” would make the difference and end it. In a sense, I guess I was right because most US public opinion is now against it. World opinion definitely is and even major US allies have pulled out the majority of their troops.

Last weekend, the Winter Soldier testimonies from vets of Iraq and Afghanistan happened over the weekend in Silver Spring, MD. KFPA played it all weekend. Some media has covered it (major corp media seems intent on sanitizing the war and declaring victory after last summer’s troop surge). I listened to it when I could. Pretty grim sad things came out which sparked some raw emotion for me.

But it’s not ended. It’s a long campaign on our part and we’re entering year six of it.

Join Direct Action to Stop the War tomorrow in San Francisco or other parts of the country as we make collective voices heard loudly to end the war and occupation of Iraq.

Here’s the press advisory for tomorrow.

—————————————————
Nonviolent Direct Actions Throughout San Francisco
Mark 5th Year Anniversary of the Iraq War

Group that shut the city down 5 years ago will again target war profiteers
and politicians with nonviolent civil disobedience and other creative
protests

WHEN: Wednesday, March 19, 7:30 AM, continuing all day

WHERE: Gather at Market and Sansome Streets. Protest actions will be held
at various SF offices of government officials and war profiteering
corporations

WHAT: Tomorrow on the 5-year-anniversary of the U.S. attack on Iraq, San
Francisco will join some 300 cities throughout the United States that plan
to resist the tragic and costly war and occupation. Coordinated by the
group Direct Action to Stop the War, Bay Area residents from all walks of
life will participate in nonviolent direct actions. Planned actions
include:

• 7:30 am peaceful civil disobedience begins: War machine tours of shame
leaving Sansome and Market throughout the day accompanied by the Brass
Liberation Orchestra.

• Bikes Not Bombs: Bikers will be leaving Justin Herman Plaza at 7:30,
9:00 and 11:00am to support the day’s actions.

• 10:00am Guerrilla Street Theater with legendary performer Keith Hennessy

• 11:00am Words Against War, Market at Montgomery. City Lights Bookstore
co-sponsors an anti-war read-out featuring Jack Hirschman, SF Poet
Laureate; Guillermo Gómez-Peña, performance artist; Rebecca Solnit, author
and activist; and MC James Kass of Youth Speaks.

• 12 noon Iraq War Moratorium action at Diane Feinstein’s office, Market
at Montgomery.

• Decentralized actions continue throughout the afternoon. Contact Blake
McConnell or Michael Reagan for updates.

• 5 pm Civic Center March and Rally organized by A.N.S.W.E.R.

Other actions may included sit-ins and blockades of building entrances
targeting the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and war profiteering
companies such as Bechtel, Chevron, the Carlyle Group and URS Corp.

The actions in San Francisco and throughout the United States will
highlight the human cost of the war – which includes more than 1 million
dead Iraqis* and 3,900 dead US soldiers – as well as the loss of nearly $2
trillion in funds that could have been spent on people’s basic human needs
instead of on death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We want San Franciscans to stop and think about the damage that our
government has done to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Five years of
war and destruction is far more than any people should have to bear, and
we need to hold accountable the government leaders and corporations that
have let this go on for way too long – or even want it to continue because
they’re making a killing off the war,” said Michael B Reagan, organizer
with Direct Action to Stop the War.

WHO: Direct Action to Stop the War is a decentralized network of
individuals and organizations committed to ending the war in Iraq and
Afghanistan. We demand an immediate and unequivocal end to the war.
Tomorrow’s actions are in solidarity with the students who are protesting
at the UC Regents’ meeting nearby, with those who are protesting at the
Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley, and with the acts of civil
disobedience in Washington DC organized by United for Peace and Justice.

For more information about the San Francisco action, see
http://www.actagainstwar.net. For a list of actions throughout the United
States, including a massive nonviolent civil disobedience planned for
Washington, DC, see http://www.5yearstoomany.org/

* Opinion Research Business, January 2008

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. sparki says:

    Post March 19 press release put out by Direct Action to Stop the War, after all the actions had occurred.

    Direct Action to Stop the War
    http://www.actagainstwar.net

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT:
    March 19, 2008 Blake McConnell, 415 308 343
    Michael Reagan, 510 846 0490
    PRESS RELEASE

    Nonviolent Direct Actions Throughout San Francisco
    Mark 5th Anniversary of Iraq War

    Group that shut city down five years ago again targets war profiteers and
    politicians with civil disobedience and other creative protests

    SAN FRANCISCO – At least 143 people were arrested in direct actions
    throughout San Francisco today. Demonstrators engaged in acts of peaceful
    civil disobedience to protest the 5th anniversary of the United States’
    invasion of Iraq. San Francisco was one of more than 300 U.S. cities to
    resist the tragic and costly war and occupation. Coordinated by the group
    Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW), Bay Area residents from all walks of
    life participated in nonviolent direct actions targeting corporations and
    government officials that are profiting from or supporting the war.

    At 7:30 a.m., peaceful civil disobedience began. War machine tours of
    shame featuring the Brass Liberation Orchestra visited San Francisco war
    profiteers. A bike brigade, organized by Bikes not Bombs, cruised the
    streets in support of the actions. Also starting at 7:30 a.m., students
    from five University of California campuses blockaded the UC Regents
    meeting, chaining their necks to entrance doors using bicycle u-locks and
    resulting in 12 arrests. Organized by the Free the UC Coalition, students
    demanded an end to the UC’s management of the nation’s nuclear weapons
    facilities, as well as increased funding for education and an end to the
    war. At 8:00 a.m. another group of protesters chained their necks to
    Federal Reserve Building on Market, shutting the building down for an
    hour. A spokesperson said they targeted the Reserve to highlight the
    financial interests behind the war in Iraq. At around 8:00 a.m. the
    Global Exchange Affinity Group, in collaboration with others, was
    successful in shutting down the Chevron offices on California Street. 13
    were arrested when demonstrators blockaded the front entrance and the
    parking lot and staged a sit-in inside the building.

    Several hours later at Kearney and Market 25 members of the DASW “War
    Machine Tour of Shame” were arrested after police tore through a banner
    spanning the length of the street during a die-in in the intersection.
    Throughout the morning dozens of street performers dressed in white
    jumpsuits and black hoods staged ten “stillness disturbances”, in which
    they froze in place for several minutes at a time inside the Westfield
    mall and the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market. At 11:00 the City
    Lights Bookstore co-sponsored “Words Against War” featured readings by
    author Rebecca Solnit, performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and MC
    James Kass of Youth Speaks.

    At noon the Iraq Moratorium led a die-in outside of Diane Feinstein’s
    office at Market and Montgomery. Approximately 60 people were arrested by
    police, including Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg, Father Louis Vitale and
    Bill Simpich. “We are targeting Senator Feinstein because she continues to
    support the war by voting in favor of supplementary war funding
    appropriations, and because she chaired the Military Construction
    Appropriations subcommittee from 2001 through the end of 2005, awarding
    lucrative contracts to companies owned by her husband, Richard Blum,”
    explained Bill Simpich, an organizer with Iraq War Moratorium.

    Members of Act Against Torture staged a blockade in support of the die-in
    on Market Street. 20 people were arrested in their support blockade.
    Dressed in Guantanamo style orange jumpsuits, black hoods, and chains, the
    Act Against Torture had earlier staged street theatre inside Neiman Marcus
    and the Embarcadero Bart Metro Station.

    At 5 p.m., the day’s activities were capped by a march and rally of
    thousands of people at Civic Center Plaza organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R
    coalition.

    “We want San Franciscans to stop and think about the damage that our
    government has done to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Five years of
    war and destruction is far more than any people should have to bear, and
    we need to hold accountable the government leaders and corporations that
    have let this go on for way too long – or even want it to continue because
    they’re making a killing off the war,” said Michael B Reagan, an organizer
    with Direct Action to Stop the War.

    “Speaker Pelosi has neglected her election mandate – and the will of the
    people of San Francisco – to immediately and unequivocally end the war.
    Her inaction allows San Francisco corporations to continue to reap
    millions of dollars in profit from the death and devastation in Iraq,”
    said Adrian Wilson, a DASW organizer

    Today’s protests highlighted the human cost of the war – which includes
    more than 1 million dead Iraqis* and 3,900 dead U.S. soldiers – as well as
    the loss of nearly $2 trillion that could have been spent on basic human
    needs rather than death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Demonstrators used sit-ins and blockades of building entrances targeting
    the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and war profiteering companies
    such as Bechtel, Chevron, the Carlyle Group and URS Corp.

    DASW is a decentralized network of individuals and organizations
    committed to an immediate and unequivocal end to the wars in Iraq and
    Afghanistan. Today’s actions were in solidarity with the students who
    protested the University of California Regents’ meeting nearby, with
    those who are protesting at the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley,
    and with the acts of civil disobedience in Washington, D.C., organized
    by United for Peace and Justice.

    For more information about the San Francisco actions, see
    http://www.actagainstwar.net. For a list of actions throughout the United
    States, including a massive nonviolent civil disobedience planned for
    Washington, D.C., see http://www.5yearstoomany.org/

    * Opinion Research Business, January 2008

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