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When the Anti-War Movement Came to Atlanta

On October 6, the anniversary eve of the commencement of last year’s bombing in Afghanistan, multitudes of people converged in population centers across the United States. Their purpose was simple: to tell our government, loudly and unequivocally, “Not in our name.”

Many of us have said these words before. Because we disagree with the actions of our government, we are quick to try to absolve ourselves: “Those are only the actions of my government – they aren’t taken with my permission.” It’s not that easy.

We, as citizens of the United States, are responsible for the actions of our government. When we condemn those actions in our thoughts, it is then up to us to resist, and ultimately to bring about a change. The obstacles may seem insurmountable at first, but we can bring this movement to every corner of this country, and we can overcome. Our desire for this change must pervade our everyday lives, whether it is through our voices, our writings, our art, our music, or any other means or talents that we have available.

We must start discussions with our families, our coworkers, and others we meet during our day. We must inspire debate among the people we pass: wear a t-shirt, don a badge, sport a bumper sticker, or distribute a leaflet. We must petition our elected officials, and on November 5 we must use our vote to speak out. Where the government and corporate media have tried to convey certainty and inevitability, we must sow doubt. Where they have tried to instill fear, we must inspire resistance. We must show our fellow Americans that we want peace and we are not afraid, and we must do it now.

Here in the United States, we have been lagging behind our international counterparts. Rallies around the world espousing many of the same causes have eclipsed a million. We have a unique position, however: the American media and government cannot ignore us as they have our counterparts in Europe because the people will see us on the streets, and the people will then begin to question. It is time that we take advantage of this ability, before it is taken away from us in PATRIOT-esque fashion.

For those of us in Atlanta and the southeast, yesterday’s rally was a good step in that direction. The fledgling group of local NION organizers expected fifty people; about three times that many arrived to take part and show solidarity. For an hour and a half, we lined Peachtree Street with signs and chants, and the response was tremendous. A large number of people in passing cars honked, flashed peace signs, or favored us with a friendly wave, and many asked for literature. We received good exposure from the local NBC affiliate, which aired the story in the first third of its broadcast, and Indymedia coverage was superb. After reading the preliminary reports of the tens of thousands that gathered in other cities nationwide, it has become abundantly clear that our message is one that resonates with many Americans. It is now up to us to continue to get it out, and to make it heard.

The events of October 6 were intoxicating for many of us. Throughout the United States, we have stood up and said “Not in our name.” Another world is indeed possible, and we have pledged to make it real. But it is not enough for us to say the words. We must live them.

JONATHAN WRIGHT can be reached at: jonwri@bellsouth.net

 

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