international day of anti-American protests
As I pointed out yesterday, the real problem is not that there are anti-war protesters, its that all the protesters have melded together into one angry force. While they may call their activist stunts and mass gatherings "anti-war," the fact remains that the war in Iraq has become just one small mark in the myriad of anti-American causes that they are protesting.
Today, for instance, thousands will gather in Washington, D.C., in what is being billed as an anti-war protest.
Unlike the loose, almost spontaneous gatherings of the 60's, this event is well thought out and meticulously planned. There are times scheduled for certain actions, meeting places plotted out, media kits for journalists, buses and lodging arranged for out-of-town protesters and plenty of monetary backing from organizations like ANSWER and MoveOn.
They don't just protest in one place; they converge on a city and spread out in pre-defined patterns called feeder marches. These feeder marches often are supporting causes that have nothing to do with the war: Palestine, globalization, captilasim, perceived facism.
If, for instance, you were going to the march in D.C. today and you want to show your anti-Israel colors, you would look at your schedule and note: "Peace for Palestine" Feeder March - Farragut Square (K & Connecticut, NW). From there, you can switch from you "Free Palestine!" garb into your "Smash the Capitalist" wear and head here: 11:30am: Anti-Capitalist Call to Action! - 7th & P st, NW. Note that with anti-capitalist actions, you should wear a helmet of some kind, as there is usually smashing of windows involved.
While the tone of this march is much different than the rally in D.C. held earlier this year, that is only because the organizers have learned from their mistakes. They are promoting this one strictly as a "Bring Our Troops Home" rally, without all the other baggage that came with the previous march. But don't let that fool you. I'm sure if you look upon the crowd, you will see all the familiar signs: Bush is Hitler, Impeach Bush, etc. Mark my words, at some point this will resemble a horror movie where the seemingly kind and gentle folk of a pleasant, small town all turn out to be devils in disguise. As the day wears on in D.C., you will hear less of the "Out of Iraq" chants and more of the anti-American sentiments we've come to expect. The speakers will start off pleading for the safe return of our soldiers and about half an hour into the progressive march of guest stars across the platform, the speeches will degenerate quickly and they will all be punctuated with cries about Israel, captalism, facism, nazis Mumia.
The main theme of today's march is one of the desire of protesters to bring the troops home from Iraq now.
So I ask this of anyone out there who may be attending these protests or showing solidarity with them in some way: Wouldn't leaving Iraq now be a crime against humanity? Somehow, pulling the troops out and leaving a country that is in the starting stages of rebuilding seems somehow inhumane. I imagine that if our troops did leave now, in no time at all Iraq would revert back to its previous form, with the torturers and rapists and radical Muslims taking over the land.
How does this help Iraq? Or are these activists so caught up in having a movement, having a unifying cause, that they aren't looking beyond their own faces? If they truly cared about the people of Iraq, they would never ask for our troops to be pulled out now.
My thoughts? The anti-war cries are just a front for the real thing. These people have other agendas, other things on their mind. Today is just a test for organizations like ANSWER and MoveOn and RNC Not Welcome to see how their masses respond to a call for action. They are gearing up for 2004 and this is just a test of their emergency protesting system. The plans are already underway.
Today is just a fire drill and the cause is just an available means to an end. I can almost guarantee that tomorrow there will be meetings upon meetings of organizers of the biggest anti-Bush, anti-capitalsim movements around and they will chart and compare and crunch numbers as they work out their mission for August. Watch as the speakers, signs and stickers give away some of their underlying causes.
I stand by what I said yesterday. This is an angry crowd with a mission and the necessary money to make their anger heard. This is the most dangerous kind of anger, too; a jumble of too many causes, too many slogans, too many chances for it all to go awry.
If today's march ends up a failure (by the protester's terms, meaning low turnout, no feeder marches, lackluster crowd), then my predictions for New York City in August of 2004 will probably be wrong. And I will be happy for that.
For more information on today's protests: