Tuesday, December 1, 2009

12-1-9 West Point Today

Join the Peace Action TODAY (Dec. 1) Outside West Point
As President Obama Announces His Decision
To Widen the War in Afghanistan

Peace forces throughout the United States are planning to protest President Obama's Dec. 1 announcement that he is substantially escalating the eight-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The first major demonstration will take place in the Hudson Valley just before and during Obama's 8 p.m. announcement at the West Point Military Academy tonight. Other actions are scheduled for the day after the president's message and on Saturday, Dec. 5. (See below for New Paltz peace event Saturday, Dec. 5.)

Some 14 local and national peace groups are sponsoring Tuesday's protest with a rally and march in Highland Falls, which is adjacent to the Military Academy. Demonstrators will start to gather around 5:30 p.m. for a 6:30 p.m. rally at Veterans' Park on Main St. (Rt. 218). Several speakers will briefly address the crowd before a silent, candlelight (or flashlight) march begins to West Point's Thayer Gate. After a brief, spirited rally at the gate, the antiwar marchers will then return to the park for some final words. The demand will be to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Sponsoring the rally, which is led by the local peace groups, are the ANSWER Coalition, Consumers for Peace.org, Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, International Action Center, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Orange County Democratic Alliance, Peace Action of New York State, Orange County Peace and Justice, Peace and Social Progress Now, Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice, Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Rock Tavern), Troops Out Now, WESPAC, World Can’t Wait.

Civil liberties attorney Michael Sussman of the Democratic Alliance, an organizer of the event, commented: “Our national interest demands the focus of our treasure and priorities on pressing domestic issues like the extension of health care to all Americans and the active promotion of a full employment economy. The commitment of more troops to Afghanistan retards fulfillment of these critical priorities, serves no compelling military interest and will only further polarize our relations with the Moslem world."

The weather forecast predicts it will be "mostly clear" with temperatures in the mid-to-upper 30s in Highland Falls during the protest, but it's "rain or shine." Bring candles or a flashlight. Local streets should accommodate parking.

Highland Falls is about 32 miles south of New Paltz and 16 miles south of Newburgh. Driving from the north, Rt. 9W is your best bet. There are two entrances to the town from 9W. From the north the first one is where Rt. 218 cuts into Highland Falls and it will take you after 1.1 miles to Main St. and Veterans Way, where the park is located. (If you are coming from Albany, it's quicker to take the Thruway to exit 17 Newburgh, and switch to 9W south.) If you approach from the south, there's another entrance about a mile and a half below the first which connects directly with Main St. (Rt. 218) which you take for a mile or so to the park.

Contact the Activist Newsletter, jacdon@earthlink.net, for information about possible car pools from Ulster and Dutchess counties. For information about the rally contact Bennett Weiss at (845) 569-8662, benweiss@aol.com, and Nick Mottern (914) 806-6179, nickmottern@earthlink.net. For carpooling from Westchester County coordinated by WESPAC, (914) 449-6514.


There will be demonstration against Washington's expansion of the Afghan War that will take place Saturday, Dec. 5, in New Paltz between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Main St. (Rt. 299) on the sidewalk in front of New Paltz Plaza shopping center (with Stop 'n' Shop). It is sponsored by Peace and Social Progress Now, the H.V. Activist Newsletter and New Paltz Women in Black. For information or for a group to enlist as a co-sponsor, contact jacdon@earthlink.net, (845) 255-5779.