FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why We Protested at Obama’s Speech

On Sunday, February 11th, a group of antiwar students turned out to challenge Barack Obama’s position on Iraq as he held a rally at the UIC Pavilion to kick-start his campaign.

Approximately two dozen antiwar activists from UIC, Northeastern Illinois University and Northwestern University turned out among the crowd of 7,000 Obama supporters to send the message that “antiwar” candidates do not vote to fund war.

The protest included members of the Campus Antiwar Network, Students for Social Justice, the Campus Greens and the International Socialist Organization; many of whom have signed onto the following statement regarding that day’s action:

Currently, Barack Obama is positioning himself as the presidential candidate with antiwar promises; however, he does not stand for immediately removing the troops from Iraq. His plan for redeployment in March 2008 is based on the Iraqi government meeting specific timetables and benchmarks. Given the current situation in Iraqi and the illegitimacy of the U.S. backed Iraqi – timetables and benchmarks are false hopes.

Sixty percent of the U.S. population believes that invading Iraq was wrong and 40% believe we should deny funding for it now. Therefore, we feel it is only fair to demand from Obama antiwar action now — especially given his position as a U.S. Senator.

During the rally, Obama repeated that the war was not authorized in the first place, which brought enthusiastic applause from the crowd, and he critiqued the position of candidates like Sen. Hillary Clinton. While the crowd cheered Obama for talking about the need for healthcare reform within the country we took the opportunity to unfurl an antiwar banner that read “Obama: Stand up! Cut the funding!” and began chanting “Cut the war funding–bring the troops home.” Some in the crowd initially reacted positively; but Obama tried to hush our chant stating, “We’ll get to that later.”

We believe that the lack of funding for healthcare in this country (as witnessed in the recent proposed cuts for Cook County Hospitals) has a direct relation to the war in Iraq that is chewing up $2 billion per week. If we are going to talk about the lack of / cuts to public services we have to talk about the war in Iraq; the two issues are bound together.

Many have felt that we interrupted the rally one to many times. Our plan was to drop the banner and chant once during a pause to make our presence noticed — which we did. But because we were being roughed up and “escorted” out of the pavilion by security we felt it necessary to again make our point. It was then that we started a second chant; “No justice, no peace–U.S. out of the Middle East.”

Later in his speech, Obama acknowledged our concerns. “I’m glad they were there,” he told the crowd. “They feel a sense of urgency about a war that should have never been authorized and a war that should have never been fought.” But Obama added that he doesn’t want to cut funding for the war. “We need to bring this war to an end,” he said, “but we need to do it in a way that makes our troops safe.” In reality, the longer the troops stay in Iraq – the more unsafe they are.

Our action during Obama’s rally was is not an isolated incident. Over the past few weeks there has been a wave on sit-ins at the offices of Representatives and Senators. At the beginning of the month Obama and Dick Durbin’s Washington offices became the subject of a sit-in organized by the Occupation Project. At the sit-in four people were arrested in each office as protestors read off names of dead Iraqis and U.S. Soldiers. In Los Angeles at the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club, Rep. Henry Waxman [D] was confronted by a banner reading “Liberals do not fund occupation.” It is in this spirit of antiwar protest that we preceded. We feel that it is our responsibility as an antiwar movement to hold each elected representative who continues to vote for funding this war responsible for the loss of both Iraqi and U.S. lives under this occupation.

Bring the troops home, not in March 2009, not in March 2008, but NOW!

Lauren Fleer

Drew Heiserman

Bob Quellos

Graham Shaw

Orlando Sepulveda

Raquel Vega

Nadia Sol

Ireri Unzuerta Carrasco

 

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail