October 15 was a
global Day of Action and also a day of protest called by UNAC on the
10th Anniversary of war in Afghanistan
. This convergence of events helped to inject rage at
imperialist wars into the tens of thousands of people in motion in cities
across the country.
The connection between the 1% who
profit from government bailouts and from endless wars could not be
On Oct 14 new threats against
Iran and wild charges
of an Iranian assassination attempt were front-page news along with
President Obama announcement to send U.S. Special Forces into Uganda
. Opposition to these newest wars was reflected in signs of
“Occupy Wall Street NOT Iran ” and “U.S. Troops Out of
Africa” that were carried by antiwar protesters across the country. Other
signs raised opposition to U.S. wars in Iraq , Afghanistan , and Libya and Drone Wars on Pakistan , Sudan , Somalia and Yemen , along with demands for “Jobs NOT
Wars” and “Stop Attacks on Muslims and Immigrant Workers”, “End U.S. Aid
to Israel ” and “Free Palestine”.
The New York
demonstration against U.S. wars called months ago by United National
Antiwar Coalition – UNAC, was rescheduled to Wall Street and
Broadway, the center of the Financial District and three blocks from
Zuccotti Plaza’s month long encampment. Hundreds packed the narrow street
and as police pushed to clear the street and sidewalks the march led by a
banner “Wall Street = War Street” and Aya Abdelaziz and other youth on
drums swept north and encircled Zuccotti Park with antiwar signs, banners
and drumming. Hundreds of youth joined in the march, which gathered more
forces as it moved up Broadway.
Police lines again tried to
prevent the antiwar march from marching through a street fare on Broadway
between Canal and Houston . But the drummers and banners
along with militant Philippine youth from BAYAN USA with
|UNAC March begins in NYC
many flags helped
hold the growing protest together. The cheers and applause through this
packed street fare confirmed the deep support for Occupy Wall Street
Marches and actions converged and
separated as demonstrations against banks, a commemoration at the African
burial ground and several union contingents all came together, many
thousands strong at Washington
Square Park and then reformed into all different
contingents headed to Times Square . Tens
of thousands gathered at Times Square, blocking streets in all directions.
The many hundreds of antiwar signs carried in the march earlier in the day
continued to be carried by youth into militant confrontations with police
later at night
This exciting demonstration took
place a day after thousands of people gathered, to stop a late night or
early morning NYPD raid against the occupier in Zuccotti Park . They stood through the night
in the pouring rain at Zuccotti Park to defend it against the
clearing, announced by billionaire Mayor Bloomberg for early Friday
morning. The Occupy Wall Street residents were clearing, bagging and doing
their own cleaning. As dawn broke people were arriving in droves. In an
unprecedented action the AFL-CIO National sent out a late night email
ALERT, and texts calling on people to go to the park immediately to defend
it. Other major unions sent messages and rallied forces. Major antiwar and
social justice organizations were furiously sending messages, making calls
and gathering activists.
By early morning when the
announcement was made that Mayor Bloomberg and the park management had
backed down, the park and the surrounding streets confirmed that they had
Carlos Montes Meeting followed the
In the midst of tens of thousands
of people in the streets of NYC as part of the Saturday Day of Rage there
was a packed meeting at Judson Church on Saturday at 4pm with Carlos
Montes, Victor Toro Defense Committee, NY Committee to Stop FBI
Repression, BAYAN, DRUM and May 1 Immigrant and Workers Rights Committee.
Many people at the meeting on the edge of Washington
Square Park had just come from the UNAC
antiwar march and other actions from Wall Street.(from a New York UNAC
marched against U.S.
wars in Boston on Oct.15, the largest
antiwar protest in Boston in years. This demonstration,
initiated nationally by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and
endorsed by a local coalition of peace and
justice organizations from Mass. and R.I.,
united with Occupy Boston. At least 2/3 of the demonstrators were young
people and students, many participating in their first antiwar protest. In
addition to the standard antiwar chants, popular chants were “How Do You
End A Deficit? End the Wars and Tax the Rich!” and “Banks Got Bailed Out;
People Got Sold Out”.
The march started with a rally at
and ended at Dewey Sq., the site of Occupy Boston, for a
final rally. The route weaved through the major shopping areas of downtown
included stops at the military recruiters, the Hyatt Hotel (where they
fired union workers), a Verizon store, and the Bank of America. The
rallies were chaired by Marilyn Levin, national Co-Coordinator of UNAC,
and Safia Albaiti, from Boston UNAC and the International Socialist
Organization, both of whom addressed the marchers as well (from a Boston
Click here for video of the
Boston march and rally
The Philadelphia Oct. 15 march was sponsored by the Philly
Against War (PAW) coalition, the local UNAC affiliate. The action was a
great success. It was bolstered by the enthusiasm and militancy
accompanying the nationwide Occupy movement. The rally took place on
Independence Mall (near the Liberty Bell), and the march that followed
went to Occupy Philly at City Hall. The action was built upon the themes:
"No to the War Abroad! No to the War at Home!" Two rock bands played for
the first hour of the event. The rally that followed contained a number of
speakers who spoke on a broad range of social issues related to the themes
of the rally (the attacks on health care, attacks on Black youth, etc. as
well as Afghanistan, Palestine, etc.).
through the rally, a feeder march from Occupy Philly arrived. At the close
of the rally, PAW / UNAC led the united, pre-arranged march up
Market Street , one of the main shopping streets of
Philadelphia , to the Occupation encampment in the plaza in
front of City Hall. There were 500 at the rally the march swelled to
around 1000 (From a Philly UNAC
More than 500
people marched here, Oct. 15, to mark the tenth year of the
U.S. war in
Afghanistan with a call
for an end to the occupation and for U.S.
troops to be brought home now.
The event was
organized under the slogan of “Bring the Troops & War Dollars Home Now
– Get Out of Afghanistan!” The Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC)
initiated planning for the event.
participating in OccupyMN in downtown Minneapolis issued a leaflet urging
occupiers to join the Oct. 15 anti-war protest. The leaflet, headlined,
"Hop on the Peace Train,” urged participants to gather and take the light
rail train to join the rally and march. Around 100 people from the
OccupyMN joined the anti-war protest.
near the busy intersection of Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue
, the crowd marched on Lake Street before turning to go to
High School for a
closing rally in the auditorium.
issued by MPAC says, in part, “We call for an end to the
U.S. war in
Afghanistan which has
now been going on for ten years; the longest war in U.S.
history. The conflict has taken the lives of
thousands of Afghan civilians and over 1700 U.S. military personnel and has cost
hundreds of billions in U.S. tax dollars. It is
estimated that it costs $1 million a year to keep one U.S. soldier in Afghanistan
had been planned in cities across the U.S. this
weekend to mark the milestone anniversary and to call for an end to the
war. The call for the Oct. 15 local anti-war actions was initiated by the
United National Antiwar Committee and other organizations.
statement goes on to say, “Polls show that most Afghans want the
to leave - and most Americans agree. Billions of
dollars go to the war in Afghanistan while millions of people in the
are unemployed and losing their housing.”
A range of
speakers addressed the anti-war protest, including Wayne Wittman,
representing the Minnesota State AFL-CIO.
Meredith Aby, of
the Anti-War Committee urged crowd to join the massive protests scheduled
for the G8/NATO summit, stating "While President Bush
started the war in Afghanistan , President Obama
has escalated it. He has sent in more troops and has expanded the conflict
. Both Bush and Obama have repeatedly used the cover
of multi-lateralism and international support as justifications for the
war. In reality though, NATO is used as a fig leaf. This is a
led military intervention and occupation.”
“Normally Minnesotans have to drive 24 hours to get to D.C. to say no to
the warmakers in person. However, this May we will only have to drive
seven. NATO and the G8 are holding a joint summit which highlights that
U.S. military policy is
an extension of U.S. economic policy. We have
the opportunity to go to Chicago to say no
to the warmakers in person while they are in the Midwest and I hope you'll
come with us to demand an end to the war on Afghanistan
the chief steward of AFSCME Local 3800, one of the day’s many endorsing
organizations, said, “It is always the sons and daughters of working
people who are sent off to kill and be killed in wars that do not
represent the interests of themselves or their families. These wars are
not fought to stop terrorism, or for democracy but in the interests of the
large corporations who rely on U.S. military power around the
world to maintain their interests.”
|Twin Cities Anti-war protest group marching
from Lake Street taken by Kim DeFranco
supporting the Oct. 15
action included Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq
Veterans Against the War, Women Against Military Madness, Anti-War
Committee, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Freedom Road Socialist Organization
and many others (from FightBack News).
The Chicago march and
rally was held on October 8. It was joined by people
who were participating in the Occupy Chicago movement and attended by 1500
people. The Chicago demonstration was the largest
held in that city in a number of years. Below is a video of the Chicago
|Occupy Toronto, Canada
Seventy people rallied in
against the Wars in response to UNAC call for action and then
marched to the site of the Occupation of Toronto. UNAC
leader, Joe Lombardo spoke at the rally. The
march grew to as many as 150 people and was cheered as it entered the
occupation site. The Toronto occupation started on October
15. At the occupation site the rally continued and was
joined by the large crowd of occupiers
City Hall Rally||
Thirty-one Connecticut organizations endorsed the Bring Our
War Dollars Home! march and rallies, in Hartford on Sunday, Oct. 16.
About 250 people came out to a rally at City Hall, followed by a
march to the State Capitol, and a second rally. Earlier in the week
Occupy Hartford voted to endorse the action and organize a
solidarity march to the occupation site following the demonstration,
where a potluck dinner was served.
The crowd was very diverse, made up of the stalwart peace
activists and many new people, especially youth that have been
inspired and involved in the occupations. People from all over the
state came out including the greater Hartford area, New Haven, and
even the furthest corners of the state. For many, this was their
first experience at an anti-war demonstration.
The program consisted of a variety of speakers including,
Trinity College professor, Vijay Prashad, and President of the CT
AFL-CIO, John Olsen and others.
We had one of the most successful demonstrations since
the early days of the anti-Iraq movement in 2003, attracting about 1000
people. This was due in large part to our close work
with Occupy San Diego and other groups.
The October 15 march and rally involved the coordinated
activity of not only San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice (SDCPJ) but
also Occupy San Diego (OSD), and Education for All (EFA), based at
City College. It also
included Vets for Peace, and several union locals, including community
college teachers (AFT), nurses (NNU), university employees (UPTE CWA), as
well as the San Diego Imperial Counties Central Labor Council.
Some of the union support was possible largely because of the
popularity of Occupy.
The day started at 11 am with a feeder march of about
150 people from the OSD site at Civic Center Plaza through downtown to a nearby
park. Adjacent to the park site, Vets for Peace and the
SDCPJ had hung signs over a freeway bridge ("freeway bannering") opposing
the wars. At the park, we had an open mike, followed by
a program with speakers from participating organizations, including some
great music from a local (and much appreciated) acoustic duo, the Proles,
who sing songs of labor and protest.
By the time we left the park for the return march
through downtown, the group had swelled to about 1000 demonstrators.
This was a large event for San Diego, though not
as large as marches in January/February 2003, or the immigrant's rights
marches of 2006. Nevertheless, just comparing 2011 to
2003 and 2006 should give a sense of the significance of 10/15. (based on
a report from a UNAC supporter)
Norther California UNAC tour in Defense of
Civil Liberties Marking the 10th year of the U.S. war against the
people of Afghanistan
Northern California UNAC held a 13-meeting, 8-day tour
of Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and Stephen Downs
of Project Salam (Support and Legal Advocacy of Muslims).
The tour started on October 15 and ended on October
Jess Sundin of the
Committee to Stop FBI Repression is one of 24 antiwar and solidarity
activists who had their homes raided by the FBI and were given subpoenas
to appear before a federal grand jury. Each meeting
also had a UNAC speaker who helped tie the civil liberties issues to the
so called “War on Terror” and the wars.
The final day of the tour saw the largest meeting as
250 people came together to celebrate the freedom of the last of the
Francisco 8 to be released. The
mostly Black crowed cheered Jess as she recounted her case and solidarized
with the victory that was celebrated that night at the African American
Art and Culture Center in San
Most of the
other meetings were modest in size ranging from 20 – 55 people.
All told, we spoke to audiences totaling approximately
Two interviews on KPFA were also held and KPFA
repeatedly announced the tour on several shows.
The tour helped bring UNAC to several cities in
Northern California where we had not had
organization in the past.
Audiences would often
continue the discussion long after the meetings formally ended.. Most
people were shocked at the depth of the political repression suffered by
Muslim Communities and the potential imprisonment of the 24 FBI raid
victims. They were pleased that UNAC continues to organize against
U.S. wars and relates its work
to the broad range of social issues that are now the common property of an
ever broadening movement. (based on a report from a San Francisco UNAC
where also held in Manchester, NH, Albany, NY, Trenton, NJ, Portland, OR,
Santa Cruz, CA, Augusta, ME, Pittsburgh and other cities.
|Occupy Madrid 10/15/2011|
|Occupy Berlin, Germany
Also, Northern California
UNAC is organizing an “Antiwar week of solidarity and in defense of civil
liberties marking the 10th anniversary of the
U.S. war against the
people of Afghanistan
.” For more information on
that on-going tour, click here.
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