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From the Streets of Detroit

by TOM STEPHENS

Stop the war. Oppose the war. End the war. Feelings and thoughts about a weekend when millions came out for peace. What we want is a political trajectory of organized social opposition to mass murder in Iraq. What we do is protest, march throughout March, educate, organize, speak out against Bush’s insanity and constant lies. We’ll stop the war by as many millions of those people who demonstrated on February 15, 2003 talking and engaging as many others as necessary to finally increase costs to the war makers beyond levels where they are willing to sacrifice to have their blood bath.

Practice nonviolence, racial justice and resistance to aggression. Contradict white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Bush is always talking about “America.” His “America” is massacres at Wounded Knee and My Lai, the railroad of Mumia Abu Jamal, and a million Jim Crow oppressions. His “America” is the catastrophe the “war on terrorism” will become, if Bush follows through with his “Operation Shock and Awe.” Organized, bloody imperial atrocities, promising 800 cruise missiles in the first few days of a blitz against a huge metropolis of People. My America was in the streets yesterday, making history. Many of us won’t go away. Bush, Rove, Cheney & Co. are hanging on by the political skins of their teeth.

This is what the great British war correspondent Robert Fisk’s memorable 9/11/01 phrase, “the awesome cruelty of a doomed People,” comes to: They’ll show those Arabs and Muslims some real, savage awesome cruelty. Ashcroft is at the “Justice” Department preparing the so-called Patriot II Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 in Congress. Local political and labor leaders are increasingly making the dark connection between poverty and racism at home, symbolized by the prison industrial complex’s massive white supremacy machine, and war against Iraq. The peace demonstrators in New York City are fenced in pens, unable to march. Surprise! The institutionalized political mechanisms of power reflect the government’s foreign and domestic policy boondoggles perfectly. They offer bottomless tax cuts for the rich and endless wars for the upwardly mobile poor and minority youth. Call it “reverse affirmative action” for the 21st century, the century of radical inequality, permanent war on terrorism and gigantic US oil empire. The massive scam of corporate money and dishonest advertising glitz known to all the world’s common People today who see through the lies as “Bush’s bullshit.” (Bush merde?)

As the Government Accounting Office takes the hint from the federal judiciary and drops their pursuit of Cheney’s energy task force papers, and the UN Security Council has a moment of sharp, doubtful dialog on the impending massacres, millions of People hit the streets to say “NO WAR” together in a single winter day on this one precious blue and green and brown planet, a huge mass feeling capturing perhaps somewhat of the essence of Dylan’s epic poetry:

Flashing for the warriors

Whose strength is not to fight

Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight

And for each and every underdog soldier in the night

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Tolling for the rebel

Tolling for the rake

Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned and forsaked

Tolling for the outcast, burning constantly at stake

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Striking for the gentle

Striking for the kind

Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind

And the poet and the painter far behind his rightful time

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Tolling for the deaf and blind

Tolling for the mute

For the mistreated mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute

For the misdemeanor of law, chained and cheated by pursuit

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

The people who demonstrated against the war can develop and articulate a discussion with a few million others about how the “war on terrorism” serves the larger political economic system. We should move on to build a passionate, multiracial social movement that challenges and undermines the power of the system that is fomenting this war. It is possible to stop this war, whether the threatened bloody “pre-emptive” air assault on starving Iraqis happens or not. Amen brothers and sisters.

TOM STEPHENS is a lawyer in Detroit, Michigan. He can be reached at: lebensbaum4@earthlink.net.

 

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Tom Stephens is a coordinator of the communications working group of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management (D-REM).  Their web site is at: http://d-rem.org

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