A friend told me yesterday that he hadn’t seen an antiwar protest in America in ten years. It was a sincere comment; he genuinely hadn’t seen any coverage on any peace activism in his country during that time. And of course he hadn’t; it is mainstream media’s job to distort public narratives in favor of the war-hungry plutocratic class which owns the media outlets. But I’ve actually been noticing a lot of antiwar activism lately which, while often far from the spotlight of mass media attention, has given me much hope for the future.
It is true there was a noticeable lull in vocal demonstrations against military violence since George W Bush left office, largely due to mainstream US partisan dynamics. Mainstream liberals supported Obama, so they avoided bringing attention to his continuation of Bush’s policies of mass murder, while mainstream conservatives ignored the Obama administration’s violence since they focused on attacking him as a weakling and a terrorist sympathizer, and of course had no ground to stand on for any criticisms of warmongering after supporting eight years of Bush. Some antiwar activism did happen in the US during that time, but not much.
And, bizarrely, we’ve seen a mutation of this trend continue well into the Trump administration, with mainstream liberals herded into holding demonstrations in support of the empty Russiagate conspiracy theory. The mass media-endorsed collusion narrative has fed into an anti-Russia hysteria among Democratic Party loyalists that has been used to manufacture support for dangerous cold war escalations and an obscenely bloated military budget, while any objection to Trump’s warmongering and advancement of longstanding neoconservative agendas has been intentionally lost in the shuffle.
So it’s understandable if folks are unaware that there has been a shift in things sometime in the latter half of this year, and we are now seeing more antiwar activism in America than we’ve seen in years. Here are six recent examples:
1. Protests against George W Bush receiving the Philadelphia Liberty Medal
Happening now: Iraq & Afghanistan #veterans have blocked entrances to the National Constitution Center in #Philadelphia where @JoeBiden is awarding the "Liberty Medal" to @GeorgeWBush. Dozens of veterans of his wars are outside refusing to leave. #veteransday #vereransday2018 pic.twitter.com/Vodh6r8xbC
— Ryan Harvey (@ryanharveysongs) November 12, 2018
Who: About Face – Veterans Against the War, Stacy Bannerman and other activists.
Where: The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
When: Veterans Day, November 11th.
Why: Hague fugitive George W Bush and his wife Laura were presented with the Philadelphia Liberty Medal by former Vice President Joe Biden for, of all things, their work with veterans.
How: Protests of the awards ceremony both inside and outside of the National Constitution Center which can be heard throughout the entirety of recordings of the event. Chants of “No awards for endless wars”, megaphones and blown whistles made sure everyone was aware that this event was being strongly objected to, and activist Stacy Bannerman returned her Freedom Medal to Bush inside the building.
2. Women’s March on the Pentagon
Who: 1,500 angry women and male allies, along with a who’s who of the most badass women on America’s antiwar scene, including Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Mnar Muhawesh, Sameera Khan, and Jill Stein.
Where: The Pentagon, with sister marches in Los Angeles, Fresno CA, Madison WI, Cleveland OH, Patchogue NY, Las Vegas NV, Vancouver Canada, Milwaukee WI, Minneapolis MN, Asheville NC, Seattle WA, Buffalo NY, Montclair NJ, Austin TX, and West Hartford CT.
When: October 21st
Why: “Our demands are simple: The complete end to the wars abroad; closure of foreign bases; dramatically slash the Pentagon budget to fund healthy social programs here at home: the only good empire is a gone empire.”
How: A coordinated effort among high-profile activists helped draw an unusual amount of turnout and interest in this first-time event, receiving coverage from a surprising number of outlets. A very successful event, hopefully the first of many.
3. Protest at Hudson Institute event
Who: Medea Benjamin.
Where: The Hudson Institute, a right-wing think tank.
When: September 19.
Why: Pompeo lackey Brian Hook and his neocon buddies were explaining why it is good and right that the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in order to slam that nation with starvation sanctions.
How: Medea Benjamin stormed onto the stage like fucking Godzilla and condemned the US imperialist agendas against Iran as security staff struggled in vain to remove her. “That is the most ridiculous thing I have seen,” Benjamin cried. “The world community wants to keep the Iran nuclear deal. Our allies — the Germans, the French, the British — they want to keep in this deal. The world community wants to keep the deal. Let’s talk about normal countries. Let’s talk about Saudi Arabia. Is that who our allies are? They are the biggest threat to the world community. And let’s talk — you’re hurting me. You’re actually hurting me. I want to ask: Do you think these sanctions are hurting the regime, or are they hurting the Iranian people? They’re hurting the Iranian people. You are making a case for war with Iran. How did the war with Iraq turn out? You’re doing exactly the same thing we did in the case of Iraq. We don’t want another war in the Middle East. Let’s see, how did Iraq turn out? How did Libya turn out? We have the people of Syria suffering. And how dare you bring up the issue of Yemen? It’s the Saudi bombing that is killing most people in Yemen. So let’s get real. No more war! Peace with Iran!”
4. Demonstrations against Henry Kissinger
Who: Some hundred protesters, many of them university students.
Where: New York University.
When: October 16.
Why: War criminal Henry Kissinger was invited to speak at an NYU business school event, and people weren’t having it.
How: Loud protests both inside and outside of the event attracted a tremendous amount of attention and media coverage, including a segment on Fox News in which huffy, sputtering pundits wagged their fingers at the young demonstrators for interrupting the nice vampire. Old Henry was called a war criminal to his face, which was of course awesome.
5. Pompeo’s Iran bloviations disrupted by multiple demonstrators
We just disrupted war hawks Mike Pompeo & John Bolton at the United Against a Nuclear Iran Summit to say that we need #peacewithIran! Take action to echo this message at https://t.co/ou7EXAceXp pic.twitter.com/4QHBgsKdBy
— CODEPINK (@codepink) September 25, 2018
Who: Code Pink antiwar activist group.
Where: The “United Against a Nuclear Iran Summit” in New York.
When: September 25
Why: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was doing what US Secretary of States always do: justifying sociopathic acts of US interventionism in warm, friendly language. This time Pompeo was punching his favorite target, Iran.
How: Individuals sprung up from the audience crying “Sanctions are a weapon of war!” and “We want peace, we don’t want war!” The demonstration attracted attention from the mainstream media, including the Washington Post.
6. Hunger strike for Yemen.
Who: Longtime antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq war.
Why: The Saudi coalition’s destruction of Yemen has caused the worst humanitarian crisis on earth, with the continuing help of the United States.
How: As of this writing Sheehan is on Day 10 of a 27-day fast in protest of the starvation, disease and violence that is being inflicted upon the people of Yemen with the support of the US government. Sheehan is encouraging people to join her in her hunger strike on Thanksgiving weekend to draw attention to the cause. Cindy took up the baton from Pamela Bennett who was on a hunger strike before her, and that baton can also be taken up by anyone else any time in any way of their choosing.
Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal,buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.
Stephen Sadd / November 16, 2018
“Video: U.S. Offensive Aerospace Capabilities Directed against the Whole Planet”
Australia now has an OFFENSIVE Nuclear System in Geraldon, WA!
Stephen Sadd / November 16, 2018
“ANOTHER INDEPENDENT MEDIA VOICE SILENCED AND SLANDERED”
Rick / November 17, 2018
Thanks! I’ve bookmarked Lisa’s site and will check it out. I’ve also bookmarked All News Pipeline and will check it out. I’ve already found the info to be useful.
Stephen Sadd / November 15, 2018
Australians being lied to!
U.S. Offensive Aerospace Capability directed against the whole world!
Voice a LOUD protest at your local MP office, tell them, NO! Not in our country!!
elissa3 / November 15, 2018
What is appalling in the Kissinger video is the moderator saying “let’s go back to where we were” followed by a general chuckle from the audience. I find this chilling to the bone. One begins to lose hope in the sanity of the American people.
Kery Johnson / November 15, 2018
We in Bellingham, Washington, have a Vigil (originally a Quakerly “peace vigil”, but has since morphed into a vigil for “peace, justice, and Earthcare”) that happens every Friday afternoon. It was started in December of 1966. We think that it might be the oldest such Vigil in the country.
Janet Zampieri / November 14, 2018
You didn’t mention the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day – Take Back Armistice Day parades and events that happened around the country on 11/11/18, including in Tucson AZ where I live.
Bruce Marshall / November 14, 2018
Cindy Sheehan protesting Obama in Martha’s Vineyard in 2009
Our Press Conference for that event was initially postponed due to
Senator Ted Kennedy passing the night before which basically
destroyed news coverage of the protests….
Certainly the thought passed are mind that perhaps Ted was
given an injection to hasten his death, conveniently protecting Obama,
and thus perhaps going in a fashion as his brothers were?!
Ozzie Maland / November 14, 2018
During the Vietnam War it took a long time for enough Americans to grow into a number sufficient (a “critical mass”) to produce an end to the body counting. I F (“Izzy”) Stone, an anti-war journalist who had much to do with the war resistance then, and Hugh Thompson Jr—the one who stopped the massacre at My Lai—were primary factors. Caitlin’s column today resembles Izzy’s posts in gathering reportage of protests, an may be helping to prevent war with Iran or at least contributing to a build-up of another critical mass for an end to what may be unstoppable now. Without a military draft in place it looks to be harder now than it was then to get such a mass of pro-peace opinion.
Ishkabibble / November 14, 2018
The antiwar movements of the past and present will change nothing because they fail(ed) to identify what’s really wrong with whatever you want to call the US’s economic system – first, that it is a system in which the vast majority of wealth and large-scale capital equipment is owned / controlled by a minuscule percentage of the population for their own astronomical profit; and, second, that it is a war-based system that is politically AND economically addicted to perpetual war.
To understand just exactly WHAT I mean by “politically addicted”, go to h…ttp://www.governmentcontractswon.com/ and see that in 2017, “private” businesses in the state of Virgina (population 8.4 million) were awarded 61,576 contracts worth $43.1 billion and that there are 17,165 “private” DoD contractors in Virginia, and that from 2000 to 2017 “private” DoD contractors in Virginia were awarded over $683.5 billion for 619,034 contracts. Therefore, no majority of voters in Virginia is EVER, and I do mean EVER, going to vote for a candidate who promises to destroy Virginia’s war-based economy and destroy many good-paying jobs.
Virginia is not alone in the war business. Check out what “private” DoD contractors in other states such as California receive annually. It’s mind boggling.
Therefore, the US will NEVER, and I do mean NEVER, be politically capable of changing it’s “foreign policy” unless and until, once again with feeling, Virginians (Americans) are given an alternative to their present “war way” of making a living and no D or R candidate is spelling out such an alternative.
Americans’ choice is simple. Either somehow organize / design a peace-based economy, and that right soon, or suffer nuclear devastation.
How can the US war-based economy EVER be “transitioned” to one based upon peaceful relations with the rest of the world when the present choice voters have is either “war and a job” or “peace and no job”? We, the People need a very detailed, practical plan, not politically-impossible hypotheticals.
The Fed/government are NOT going to change their policy of funding the US’s wars of aggression using fiat dollars and going ever-deeper into debt because what the Fed is doing is the one and only way to keep the US’s perpetual wars going. Perpetual wars and fiat dollars go hand in hand. It is those wars that are the sole political justification for all of those DoD contracts that are flowing out of Washington into those “private” contractors’ and their voter/employees’ bank accounts all over the country. Just exactly HOW do we break that vicious cycle?
Again, candidates for public office have to present a precise, detailed plan to use the present DoD contract system and contractors, which is already in existence as detailed on the above link, to award contracts for the implements of peace instead of war – bullet-trains instead of bullets, etc. . “Nobody’s going to lose their job because of peace!!” will be those antiwar candidates’ campaign slogan.
Yes, the US government debt will increase just as is it now, but the expenditures will directly, immediately improve the lives of Americans on Main Street, not just those of investors on Wall Street.
This is the one and only politcally-acceptable way to save America. And you got to read it only on Caitlin and Tim’s web site.
Rick / November 17, 2018
Nice trick re paragraphs! I’ll remember it.
Arby / November 17, 2018
This is interesting. The name attached to my Avatar has changed. I didn’t change it.
Paul Citro / November 14, 2018
Anyone of us at any time can stand up in public and say “I want no more war!”
Charles Robinson / November 14, 2018
Very important subject. I did not know of some of these protests. The two I heard of was thanks to your posts . Thank you!
Robert Lorimer / November 14, 2018
Thanks. Re the Hudson Institute described as a ” think tank”. I feel that we should pick up on a movement to call these rightwing organisations Lobby Groups instead of think tanks. It’s more accurate and may help to reduce their usefulness to their puppet politicians..