A Small March for Me, a Giant March for the Antiwar Movement

by RON JACOBS

I guess my weekend began when I stopped off at Arlington Cemetery after landing at National Airport in Washington DC. I didn’t go into the grounds but looked over the graves of the thousands of war dead. As always, it had a chilling and emotional effect. I hadn’t planned to go there, it just kind of happened.

Saturday morning I was back on the Metro heading towards the antiwar protest in downtown Washington. The train was crowded with thousands of people carrying signs and distributing literature. It was but one of many heading toward the Ellipse and Washington Monument grounds. A few acres of land that would soon be filled with tens of thousands of antiwar folks.

After disembarking the Metro train I followed the surge of people to the rally area. The first familiar face I ran into was an old adversary who was attending the rally against the antiwar rally sponsored by a variety of right wing groups such as Free Republic. We exchanged hellos, checked in on what we had been up to since the last time we saw each other, shook hands and parted ways. That rally never saw more than 300 people,

The rally was a rally. Lots of speakers-some who droned and some who spoke clever words. A missing child who was found. Thousands of fliers and newspapers distributed expressing seemingly every political and religious viewpoint in the western world. Impatience grew as the speakers went on. By noon folks were lining up on Constitution Avenue, ready to walk. US Labor Against the War brought in a twenty thousand strong contingent from their feeder march. That began the march.

I stuck around the rally for a little while, looking for a good spot to integrate myself in. After the march had been moving for an hour or so I joined it. About an hour later our section of the march had made the three blocks to the White House and were stopped in front of it. The Bread and Puppet Theater was intermittently falling to the ground in simulated bombing raids. The wraith-like puppets the players held reminded me of the object of Munch’s painting "The Scream." Drums crescendoed and voices trilled, then a loud beat on the bass drum and the bodies fell to the ground. Further back the first contingent of Iraq War vets stopped and shouted "Shame!" at the White House. Then came the Gold Star Moms and some Vets for Peace. The crowd was typical of the past several years of protest-multi-hued, all genders,, and all ages. I don’t know how large it was but I was in Lafayette Park in front of the White house for more than three hours and the march was still coming. 300, 000 sounds like a reasonable number.

Signs and t-shirts linked the catastrophes of Iraq and Katrina together. My favorite were the t-shirts that said "Make Levees, Not War." I stood next to a man holding a sign with he picure of Hugo Chavez on it. Many marchers raised their fist when they saw it-Viva Chavez! His appeal is spreading beyond the orders of Venezuela. The march ended with a funeral procession, where marchers carried flag-draped coffins the entire way. Fortunately, the temperature was only in the low 80s and not the 90s like the day before.

By the time I returned to the Washington Monument grounds for the antiwar concert, the DelRays were playing some rousing music and were joined by Wayne Kramer, formerly of the agit-rock group the MC 5. Speakers followed. Then came Cindy Sheehan. Her presence brought the crowd to their feet. After listening to her talk, I realized that while she may only be an average public speaker, she is an incredibly powerful witness. She was then given a star quilt presented by some of the elders of the Lakota Sioux nation. Steve Earle came on and played a few songs from his latest disc and then came the couple, whose political hiphop got the grandmother in front of me dancing. The show went on. I headed out an hour or so later to catch the train. As I did, I walked through the 1912 crosses erected at Washington DC’s Camp Casey-the Iraq War’s growing annex to Arlington Cemetery.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: ron05401@yahoo.com
























CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled "A Saudiless Arabia" by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the "Article"), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the "Website").

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005



 

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”