Demonstrators Say Next Step for Progressive Movement is May 1 Union Square Rally for Immigrant Rights
The new war in Libya has given rise to a new movement, as the largest anti-war demonstration New York has seen in years took to the streets of Manhattan.
Organizers with the United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC), who called the march, said that the many thousands who marched also opposed the renewed Israeli attacks on Gaza, the bloody quagmire in Afghanistan, drone attacks in Pakistan and permanent military bases in Iraq.
With $38 billion in cuts just announced in Washington, the diverse roster of UNAC speakers said that the billions spent on all the U.S. and U.S.-backed wars should be used instead for jobs and peoples’ needs.
“Today’s demonstration represents a revitalization of the antiwar movement,” said UNAC co-coordinator Marilyn Levin, “this time coming back to life as younger and more diverse. The renewed movement connects the war economy to the cuts in basic necessities we face today and demands that we ‘Bring the War $$ Home’.”
“The march stretched for over 20 blocks at one point,” said UNAC co-coordinator Joe Lomardo, “and featured at least 18 spirited contingents from communities as diverse as immigrant workers, students, trade unions, socialist groups, Muslims, Palestinian, and teachers — each with their own colorful flags, original banners, drums and chants.”
UNAC made a point of countering the racism and Islamophobia used to justify the wars and occupation. The coalition especially targeted Peter King’s recent hearings for deflecting attention from the real problems that plague our world and scapegoating Muslims.
The Muslim Peace Coalition played a significant part in the rally in mobilizing community forces and helping to focus opposition to the rising climate of racism and fear.
Sara Flounders of UNAC member group International Action Center said the large crowd showed it was “possible to build a mass movement that took on powerful propaganda campaigns in the corporate media, such as the war on Libya, the racist scapegoating of Muslims and the attacks on Palestine. If anything, our focus on these issues expanded the scope of the new movement that we’re building,”
Many of the program speakers mentioned Sunday, May 1 and its focus on immigrant and workers rights, as the next big demonstration for the progressive movement, as did many signs and literature.
Protests were held around the world to coincide with this action, including 15 demonstrations in Canada. In Pakistan there were demonstrations in 6 cities. UNAC received word of a planned demonstration in Afghanistan and 10 demonstrations outside major U.S. bases in Iraq.
A demonstration similar to the one in New York is scheduled for April 10 in San Francisco, also called by UNAC.
Videos and photos of the diverse NYC Rally estimated at more than 10,000 can be seen in the following links.
A few of the talks at the April 9 NYC Rally: