protesters remain strong

hol's picture

These pics make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

http://www.hyperreal.org/~dana/

I am not in the Ottawa one, even though I was there.
~hol

guideingforce's picture

Wow

That was so completly fabulous, I wish I lived in a big city...

Leisa's picture

Thank You

For that. Brilliant.

jeff's picture

Call me cynical...

... since I am. But I just really don't see the point in these protests. They take place like 4 blocks from my apartment in San Francisco, although i never go to them.

Now, I'm opposed to the war, for the most part. But the event itself seemingly has no point aside from making people who all agree to get together and pat themselves on the back. It's like holding lectures about hate crimes exclusively at gay groups, and every head (except for mine if I were there) would be nodding about how important it is.

I mean, I can't imagine this (not to mention Bush said it won't) will have any impact as far as actually curtailing the impending war. I mean, even the Democrats in the US Congress signed off on it moving forward, so there is little opposition in the actual government, save for a speech here or there.

Not to mention, when I was at the last rally (waiting for a bus out of SF to go fix the Oasis server, but close enough to the rally to inadvertently partake), it was a lot of Bush bashing, communist groups, naked chicks for peace, free mumia banners. Basically, the same leftie groups that would show up for anything against Bush. Martin Sheen, Joan Baez, and such get up and tell people opposed to war that war is bad. they all cheer.

There were cops blocking the street last time (purely to halt traffic for the protesters to cross freely), and the "protesters" were all taking their pictures in front of the cops like they were showing both sides of the equation, them vs. the establishment. But how many protesters drove to the rally in their SUVs? There were a lot parked in the area.

So, I guess, my question is what can we do that would be effective? I'm all for a good case against going to war, since it is a weak case going into one. But standing in Civic Center with our city's regular cast of liberals, nodding at other liberals making fun of Bush... that sounds more like a rally about our moral superiority than anything else. About 300,000 people show up in San Francisco every time they have an anti-war demonstration, seemingly the same bunch every time. Is it doing any good?

I'm talking about on a real, tangible level to actually having any impact on stopping the upcoming war, does it really do any good?

I'm not convinced.

Anyone disagree? :-)

Jeff

Leisa's picture

Acting vs. Actions

While protesting may not be an effective deterrent, I think it does show the rest of the world that America as a whole is not as ignorant and pigheaded as its current leaders. As far as doing something that actually can make a difference, I am at a loss as well. Although I am a sucker for a good protest, lol!

Jesse Joseph's picture

yes

I'm very much against the war.

However, when I watched the protest on C-SPAN I was thourghouly disapointed. They had speacker after speacker go up and say more or less emotional rubbish, about how we are being hypocritical, or how we have done bad things in that past, or other things that compleatly fail to deal with the situation as it stands TODAY. Now maybe that fact that we supporeted Saadam years ago makes a nice footnote, but that should not be the crux of their argument.

If the Peaceniks are serious about stopping this war then they should not only invalidate it in their own terms, but they should also invalidate it in the terms of the War Hawks. Yes, they should explain that the war will be a humanitarian disaster, but they should also explain who it a tactical error on the part of the USA as well.

The prostesters did not even mention the fact that Sadaam is A HORRIBLE guy for crying out loud!!!

linds's picture

ditto

I'm not pro-war, but I do wonder how effective this sort of rallying is. I mean, Dubya stated explicitly this week that he wasn't going to listen.

Another thing that irked me: people coming in from out of town. There were chartered buses everywhere last week. Makes it seem less like a rally for peace and more like a staged, let's pat ourselves on the back sort of thing, to me.

There has to be a better way. One thing I saw in this week's Village Voice was a movement started by a store in Oregon called Thursdays for Peace -- shut down your store or don't buy anything on Thursdays. I'm going to try that one.

~Linds

hol's picture

disagree, me?

Of course I disagree, but my stance on protesting is probably much different.

First of all, I am protesting so that my government (go, Canada!), will not support the Bush regime in this ridiculous bloody oil war. Do I think that protesting leads to effective change, no. No. But it is an integral part of the process.

What is different about these protests is their infiltration into the mainstream consciousness. It's not just the activists who attend these rallies. Mothers with young children, intellectuals, policy makers, students, McDonald

Jesse Joseph's picture

One Point

Bush says that he doesn't care about protesters, but I doubt very much that he doesn't care about polls.

He won [or lost, however you want to look at it] by a VERY close margine last election, and the polls that we have been seeing recently show a dramatic decrease in his support espeicially on matters of domestic policy. One poll put out about half a month ago indicated that if the election was held today between Bush and an UNKNOW democrat, Bush would receive only 5% more votes then his opponent. So when he says he doesn't care about the protesteres he only means to say that he doesn't care for the many good reasons they have for going to war. But I suspect that he DOES care how many of them there are and how many of them will vote in the next election.

So, I think the protesters strategy should be focused on convincing people that the war is foolish. Because it is only through the polls that Bush is gonna give a damn.

marcelle42's picture

To go somewhat with what hol

To go somewhat with what hol had to say... You're right. Protesting is not an effective way to enact policy change, or to change Bush's mind. It just isn't happening. That said, since 9/11 (although less so since the protests started), I've heard a lot about how we're united in the war on terror. It was everywhere. On everything, in everything. It was in my high school's graduation speech, for crying out loud. And it frusterated me, because it led to invisibility for differing opinions (not to mention if you suggested that bombing afghanistan was unwarrented, you were told you were a terrorist by ignorant persons around you.. or maybe that was just me).

We are not united in the war on terror. And I'm sick of being told that I am, being told what I think. And that's what I think the protests are good for: visibility. Like gay pride parades - really not very effective for enacting policy change. Really effective in getting rid of invisibility. So, I think the protest do good in that way.

Karen

jules's picture

my two cents

Bowing first to Hol.

~

Grassroots solidarity. Protesting is only one instrument in the consciousness raising toolbox. It's about representation in its most basic form: people united for one purpose, to stand for a common principle - whatever be that purpose or principle.

It isn't just about walking around the block for a few hours with a placard. That action, that collective action and voice, has a trickle-down effect. If only catalyze a pause, an inventory of standpoint. It defines convictions. It moves others to act, sound their voices. It is about inspiring change. It is about inspiring people to give a damn, even if it happens one individual at a time.

It isn't just about walking around the block for a few hours with a placard. If someone is walking down the street and sees a protest, goes home to talk about it around the dinner table - that, is activism. If someone sees a protest on the news and writes a letter to their government - that, is activism. We protest to be counted that others might inform themselves. It is about information communication self-preservation. Collective preservation.

It isn't just about walking around the block for a few hours with a placard. Activists don't just protest. One instrument. We educate, we lobby, we organize, we learn. And we stand for our principles when they are inconvenient.

And people who come from out of town on chartered buses, Linds? I promise you that a war would be less convenient. And not nearly as tremendous a display of humanity.

And I want to say this: If it weren't for grassroots, street-level organizing and protests and lobbying...if it weren't for other people who came before me and stood for their principles like I stand for mine, my gay self wouldn't be able to live the way I live. And neither would any of you.

~

There's some good talking going on about imperialism and sanctions and the subjectivity of assigning the terrorist label. So if you aren't informed on the protester's perspective, you can start here:

Voices in the Wilderness: Sanctions

Iraq Resource Guide

Antiwar

And if you haven't read last year's congressional report on declassified international arms trades, maybe you should. It's pretty interesting. You know, to find out who sold who their weapons.

metrored's picture

at least give some credit

YES! Protesers in recent years have a tendancy to get ignored. Yes, not everyone who shows up knows exactly what is going on or is capable of debatingthe topic on CNN, BUT 600,000 prostesting in New York is a shitload of people! (it kills me that I couldn't go)
A lot of cities were seeing turnouts larger than the've ever had and as far as I know its not just pot-smoking collges students. These protest are made up of people from all walks of life and the movement is growing, both here and around the world.
Even if they won't change bush's mind, they'll change someonew mind or give someone the courage to stand up to Bush.

Also, It's good that people who drive SUV's show up. That means even soccar moms know imperialism when they see it and they know how to say no.

P.S.
What else would you do, there are already people writing letters and calling congressmen. There won't be another election for two years, how else should people make their voices known

Boygasm's picture

Masturbate for peace

I am opposed to war and it seems pointless to go to war and send more men to loose their life for us. Its going to be like HELL all over again.

http://www.masturbateforpeace.com/

narconut's picture

Pro-War

Sorry you guys. But I'll be protesting the protesters.

jules's picture

then do it

Don't just *say* you will. Stand up. Protest your principles. Exercise your voice. And even if I don't agree with you, you can be damn sure I'll respect you. Because at least you'll be standing for *something*.

But you have to actually stand first.

adbak's picture

Man...

I just went to that site and I didn't realize there were that many war protests. Although I oppose war, I think Saddam does need to go. How? I'll leave that to the experts.

I have one question though. In many of those pictures on the site http://www.hyperreal.org/~dana/ I saw rainbow flags. I'm guessing their rainbow is like our peace sign. Anyone know if those rainbow flags equate peace internationally?

Tiki's picture

mad slogans at peace marches...

Check out these funny placard slogans. They're brilliant!

Dreaming of the Blue Hawaiian Diner...

blindlove's picture

the picture of israelis and p

the picture of israelis and palistinians fighting together for peace made me really happy. i am an israeli, but i am very pro-palistine and pro-peace, so it makes me happy to see something like that.