January 2012 Archives

San Francisco: 600 March Demanding NO WAR ON IRAN!

On February 4 hundreds rallied downtown before a march of 600 took off down Market Street, demanding NO WAR ON IRAN under wonderful signs and banners.  Their chants were united and very loud - often making shoppers a block away stop and look up. 

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Before the march, a fast-paced hour flew by as speakers poured out their best arguments against a war on  Iran, the stakes of stopping it, and what people in the U.S. should do. The speakers' diversity of views, within the unity of the "Four No's" slogan, captured intense listening from the whole crowd. An emcee team from World Can't Wait and the ANSWER Coalition called on us many times to bring together the unity of this demand even as we bring to it different political outlooks. The crowd cheered this point every time- and the crowd itself was growing larger AND more diverse even during the rally and march. Hundreds crowded forward to hear Cindy Sheehan, Daniel Ellsberg, Larry Everest of Revolution newspaper, Veterans for Peace, Fr. Louis Vitale, Al-Awda Palestine Right of Return, Dr. Henry Clark (West County Toxics Coalition), Iranian professor Kaveh Afrasiabi (Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran), Code Pink, ANSWER Coalition, and Solidarity with Iran.  And at the second rally when the march reached United Nations Plaza,  we heard speeches from Occupy San Francisco, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Stanford Says No To War, BAYAN, Party for Socialism and Liberation, World Can't Wait, and Courage to Resist/Bradley Manning Support Committee.

VIDEO here, here and here
 

Spirits were high yet sober. One veteran of the anti-war movement told us she was "holding my breath on the way here, I was so afraid the rally would be small.  I've been feeling so sick about war on Iran but we haven't had a protest yet. When I saw this crowd it lifted me: the turnout and how many different groups are here together."  Speakers and marchers alike talked all day about feeling such urgency and outrage, whether they called it criminal, or imperialist, or ungodly, or immoral.  Some talked of pressuring Obama, others saw Obama as part of the problem; some brought the Occupy spirit, others spoke the world needing communist revolution. There were different views about the government of Iran, too. But everyone came because they see the war clouds looming and they feel responsibility to be part of stopping it. 

Many said during the day that they felt this was one of the more powerful  protests by the local anti-war movement in recent years. They pointed to different reasons for this power: its diversity, but also the passion in such people wanting and creating unity to make the "Four No's" demand reverberate.

Saturday, January 21 in San Francisco, the Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights and the California National Organization for Women presented a West Coast Rally for Reproductive Justice. VIDEO of speeches here and here

On the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women's fundamental right to abortion is hanging by a thread.

  • Nearly 90% of U.S. counties have no abortion provider.
  • 2011 saw the greatest number of restrictions passed at the state level parental notification laws, mandatory waiting periods, gestational bans, etc. - restricting this access even further.
  • Doctors who provide abortions are hunted, terrorized and killed.
  •  And the stigma and shame cast on women who get abortions is greater than ever.

But that is not all. Now, even birth control is under siege. Pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions. "Personhood" amendments seek to criminalize miscarriages and ban all contraception. And President Obama openly upheld Kathleen Sebelius's unprecedented decision to overrule the FDA and block over-the-counter distribution of Plan B (emergency contraception).

If 2011 marked an unprecedented escalation in the assault on women's lives, 2012 must mark the launch of unprecedented resistance!

"Whether through legislation or through extra-legal terror, whether from the Republicans' assault or the Democrats' capitulation, forcing women to have children against their will is immoral and enslaving.  We must rely on ourselves - not politicians - to defeat these attacks and win abortion on demand and without apology." - Sunsara Taylor, member of World Can't Wait's national advisory board

A woman who cannot decide for herself when and whether to have a child is not free. Forced motherhood is female enslavement. And when women - half of humanity - are not free, then no one is free.

party loyalty: to what end?

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"some of us are capable of objecting to grave injustices even when they don't directly affect us -- Glenn Greenwald

As we head into Election Year, there is an increasingly common, bizarre and self-evidently repellent tactic being employed by some Democratic partisans against those of us who insist that issues like indefinite detention (along with ongoing killing of civilians in the Muslim world) merit high priority. The argument is that to place emphasis on such issues is to harm President Obama... while helping competing candidates who vehemently oppose such policies. Thus, so goes this reasoning, to demand that issues like indefinite detention and civilian deaths be prioritized in assessing the presidential race is to subordinate the importance of other issues...

"President Obama... will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law," said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director."The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally."

Obama signs the NDAA

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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February 2012 is the next archive.

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