Sunday, January 31, 2010

01-29-10 March 20 DC Protest


1. Hudson Valley buses. 2. Details about DC protest. 3. Who's behind the demonstration? 4. Other information. 5. How can we end the wars? 6. Remembering Howard Zinn.


The Activist Newsletter and Peace and Social Progress Now have chartered several buses to the nation's capital Saturday, March 20, leaving from Kingston, New Paltz, and Poughkeepsie in the early hours and returning at night. We will consider establishing other pickup locations farther down the Valley if groups of a dozen or more people commit to boarding at a particular location convenient to our buses.

The roundtrip cost is $60 per person. Discounts for students and low-income people will be offered when we receive contributions from readers for that purpose.

To reserve a seat, send us an email at with your name, town, email address, phone number, and boarding location of the three listed. When and if other stops are added you can switch to a more suitable boarding location. After emailing, make out your check to Activist Newsletter and promptly mail to Activist Newsletter, PO Box 662, New Paltz, NY 12561. Your check will secure your reservations. Seats are unassigned, so you have your pick.

Since $60 is the price we must pay the bus company for each seat, we cannot afford to offer discounts for those unable to pay full price without generous donations from our readers. Please help them with any amount you can afford, however small (or large!). Send your check to the same PO Box, but note that it is a donation.

We have received messages from some friends in Beacon, Newburgh and Spring Valley, requesting that we consider stops at those locations. This depends on the peace groups in those areas. Get a dozen people (or more) for a stop and we can probably do it. Let us know very soon if you are working on this. For readers in the Capital District and more northern locations, our antiwar friends in Albany are also sending buses.


People from all over the country, though mostly from the eastern half, are organizing to converge on Washington March 20 to demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq. There will also be large demonstrations in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The principal organizer is the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) backed by dozens of peace groups (a partial listing is below).

The event will begin with a rally in the park directly across from the White House. This will be followed by a two-mile march through downtown Washington. The procession will stop in front of selected corporate and government buildings connected to the wars. Flag draped mock coffins will be deposited at the front entrances of each building, as speakers explain over loudspeakers why the action is taking place. The march will end with a brief rally at the same park where it began. Our buses should be parked nearby for the trip home.


The March 20 protest has been endorsed by over 1,000 organizations and individuals. Scores of veterans' group chapters have backed the march, including from Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, March Forward!, and Veterans For America. Here is a small sampling of individual sponsors, followed by a similar sampling of organizational sponsors.

Individual sponsors include:

Cynthia McKinney, former House member, and political activist
Cindy Sheehan, the well-known peace activist
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK
Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. Attorney General
Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait
Malik Rahim, co-founder of Common Ground Collective
Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace
Blase & Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas
Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild
Ron Kovic, disabled vet and author of “Born on the 4th of July”
Juan Jose Gutierrez, Director, Latino Movement USA
Col. Ann Wright (ret.), indefatigable peace activist
Michael Letwin, Co-founder, Harlem Anti-War Coalition

Some of the organizations sponsoring the March 20 protests include:

ANSWER Coalition
Muslim American Society Freedom
National Council of Arab Americans
National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations
U.S. Labor Against the War
New York City Labor Against the War
Arab American Union Members Council
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
March Forward!
Partnership for Civil Justice
Palestinian American Women Association
MANA Muslim Alliance in North America
Alliance for Global Justice
Coalition for Peace and Democracy in Honduras
Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico
Frente Unido de los Pueblos Americanos
Free Palestine Alliance
Students Fight Back
Latin America Solidarity Coalition
Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination
Freedom Socialist Party
Party for Socialism and Liberation
Peace and Freedom Party of California
Hawai'i Solidarity Committee
New Black Panther Party
Queer Today
Humanists for Peace
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan Committee)
Bay Area United Against War
Center For A Livable World, Darien, NY
Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter
Neoyorquinos Socialistas, NYC
University of Pittsburgh Students for Justice in Palestine
Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) Canada
Casa las Américas, Puerto Rico


• Website for the event:
• Full list of sponsors:
• High school students and teachers speak out on “Why I’m marching on March 20”
• Veterans and military families speak out on “Why I’m marching on March 20”
• March Forward, the vet's group affiliated with ANSWER, is at


Who or what is going to stop America's spreading trillion-dollar wars in the Middle East and Central Asia?

Congress? Genuine antiwar progressives in the House and Senate are far too small in number to do the job. The White House? There are no antiwar progressives in the White House. The Supreme Court? We should be glad the reactionary majority in the Supreme Court has no say in the matter.

Clearly, at this point, the government will not stop the wars. Who will?

How about the American people? Majorities have told pollsters in recent years that they oppose the wars. They have helped end wars before. After several years of war they united against the Vietnam conflict and played a major role in forcing the withdrawal of American troops.

As journalist Robert Dreyfuss wrote in The Nation last week:

"How will the war in Afghanistan end? This isn't a trick question. The answer is simple: the war will end when President Obama signs an order ending it; that is, when the president tells his commanders: 'It's over.' Opponents of the war — including left-wing antiwar activists, liberal progressives, centrists, 'realists,' and conservative libertarians — will have to unite to pressure, cajole, persuade, and convince Obama to issue that order."

If all Americans who want these wars to end united in action — from the centrists tired of war to the center-left liberals, to the progressives and the entire broad left, and the libertarians as well — we could bring these ill-conceived and counterproductive wars to a halt.

Peace is long overdue. Counted separately as two different wars, the Afghan and Iraq fighting (over nine years and nearly seven years respectively) have lasted 16 years . That's longer than the combined years of the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American war, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Persian Gulf War.

There’s no end in sight for the conflict in Afghanistan/Pakistan. And there’s no guarantee that the Yemen engagement won't blow up in Washington's face as did President Bush's Iraq and Afghan adventures, or any certainty that all U.S. troops will finally vacate Iraq as scheduled two years from now.

These bloody, expensive and unnecessary wars can and must be stopped! The political system has miserably failed the people of our country and the world, and shows no interest in changing course. But American civil society, despite serious erosions in our democracy, still has the ability to relentlessly pressure Washington to do the right thing and bring the troops home.

We have done it before and we can do it again if we unite and insist upon peace through our actions and whatever deeds are required.


The ANSWER Coalition joins with the antiwar and progressive movement worldwide in mourning the loss of historian and activist Howard Zinn, who died Wednesday at the age of 87. While we extend our deepest condolences to his friends and family, we also note that his 87 years constituted one proud, unceasing effort in the fight for justice.

We know further, that while Prof. Zinn may be gone, his books, which have opened so many eyes and minds to the hidden history of the United States, will continue to inspire generations of activists to come. It is no accident that each year the sales of his People's History of the United States continued to outpace the prior year's sales (a nearly unprecedented feat in book publishing).

But his intellectual and historical contributions are only one part of Professor Zinn's life and legacy. Indeed, he learned about history by taking part in it. Professor Zinn became involved in the struggle for justice in the 1950s, as the modern Civil Rights Movement was beginning to grow in the Deep South. As a professor at Spelman, he lent his advice and support to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the youth movement that was taking bold action against the Jim Crow. While his activism ultimately cost him his job, Prof. Zinn recalled that he "learned more from [his] students than [his] students learned from [him.]"

Prof. Zinn dedicated the next half-century to opposing militarism and war abroad, and injustice at home. He practiced what he preached, frequently joining the picket lines of striking workers and lending his voice to the anti-war movement.

In 2007, in a statement for the ANSWER website, Prof. Zinn wrote: "I'll be marching March 17th, with my wife, with friends, to express our solidarity with all those people, all over the country, who demand that the United States bring our troops back from Iraq. We need to make clear to the Democrats in Congress that we expect bold action from them to stop the war, to save the lives of Americans and Iraqis, and use the enormous sums wasted on war to serve the needs of the people."

Howard Zinn endorsed and worked with the antiwar movement to build the strongest opposition to the Iraq invasion and other colonial-type wars. On March 20, when tens of thousands march together we will honor the work, the legacy and the example of Howard Zinn.
Indeed, this is how we will be honoring the life and legacy of Howard Zinn: by building the movement and protests that he always approached with so much energy and enthusiasm.

Long live Howard Zinn, activist and people's historian!