Over 250 people marched through downtown Duluth, Minnesota on Sunday. Protesters called on Congress to stop funding the war in Iraq and bring the troops home now.
People attending the protest came from all age groups and all walks of life. Chants of “Support the troops, bring them home!” and “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!” rang out on Superior Street, as spirited marchers made their way from the Minnesota Power Plaza to the Civic Center. Protesters rallied there and were addressed by several fiery speakers. The rally was MC’d by Carl Sack of the Northland Anti-War Coalition.
The first speaker, Iraqi-American Dr. Sabah Alwan, graphically outlined the damage that has been done to Iraq, “a beautiful country,” he said. He drove home how much the U.S. occupation of Iraq has contributed to recruitment of anti-American fighters throughout the Islamic world.
City Councilor Russ Stewart next spoke about the anti-war resolution recently passed by a 6-2 vote in Duluth City Council. He attributed the victory for anti-war activists to grassroots efforts and their willingness to work with elected officials such as himself. He noted the commitment people have to ending the war, and surveyed the crowd to show that many participants had also protested against the invasion four years ago.
Local artist Dave Hopkins gave the rally flavor and kept participants upbeat by leading the crowd in some musical chanting.
The next speaker was Melissa Helman, a junior at Northland College who was arrested for trespassing onto Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia during a protest against the U.S. Army School of the Americas. She spoke about the connections between the war and U.S. foreign policy, which has affected Latin America as well. She told those gathered to work for social justice and against U.S. interference in other countries throughout the world.
Local peace and social justice activist Michelle Naar-Obed addressed the crowd with information about the current spending bill going through Congress. She told protesters that the current supplemental budget bill, sponsored by Rep. Dave Obey, should be voted down because stopping the war requires that no more money be allocated for it. The Lee Amendment, which would require the money to only be used to bring the troops home, had a very slim chance of passing if the bill passed, she said. She noted that Rep. Jim Oberstar, who represents Duluth, has not given a definite answer which way he will vote, but told her by phone that he is “against funding the war.”
The final speaker was Mike Rogge, a member of Socialist Action. He gave a rousing speech calling for an end to U.S. imperialism.
The rally ended with the traditional “We’ll Be Back!” clap chant. Indeed, participants seemed to leave the rally in the mood to act.
The event was widely covered by the local media. TV Channel 10, Channel 6 and Channel 3 all covered the rally prominently in their Sunday evening news programs. The Duluth News Tribune ran a prominent article in the March 19 edition of their paper. There were also reporters at the rally from the Labor World, Socialist Action and the Hillsider newspapers.
No counter-protesters were sighted.
The march and rally was sponsored by the Northland Anti-War Coalition and endorsed by Progressive Action, Duluth Area Green Party, Socialist Action, Veterans for Peace, Grandmothers for Peace, UMD Students for Peace, UWS Students Against War, Grandmothers for Peace, Peace North and Northland College NAWC. Information about upcoming anti-war and progressive events in the region can be found at www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com.
March 11, 2007
For those of you who have been following the Democrats proposals regarding the 93 BILLION dollar war supplementat, you might rightly be getting the feeling that we've been had.
Basically, this is my understanding of it all. A month ago, many of our Democrat representatives made some very grandiose, grandstanding comments about how they will work to end the war in Iraq. They called the Administration on their lies, they vowed to work to bring the troops home, they swore they would stop the bloodshed. They did, in fact, pass a nonbinding resolution to stop the increase in troops to. They promised that if that resolution did not get the attention of the President, they had other means to fall back on. They told us they would use the "power of the purse" and Mr. Oberstar told us that the "buck stops here with Congress".
Now comes the request for 93 BILLION. Rep. Jack Murtha proposes a bill which will approve the 93 BILLION but will come with strings which should strangle the presidents ability to keep the war going. That proposal is tossed to the circular file (the garbage, where it rightly belongs), andcreates a new amendment that will approve the supplemental but will have a timeline attached to it. That timeline for troop pullout begins in 2008. A whole year plus before troops begin to leave . It will also attach conditions for improved domestic spending.
In the wings, a small block of representatives calling themselves the progressive Democrats create an amendment which will approve the supplemental but will only allow the money to be spent on getting the troops out ofand will have an even more immediate timeline. This proposal has a bit more merit but is so far out of the mainstream Democrat ballpark that it will not get enough votes to get out of the restroom.
So essentially, the proposal that many Democrats are uniting behind is that we write our president who has led this country into a war built on lies, who has publicly stated that he is the one who makes the decisions in this country (sounds a bit like a dictator to me), who is guilty of war crimes, who is impeachable... A CHECK FOR 93 BILLION DOLLARS OF OUR MONEY AND DO NOTHING MORE THAN COME UP WITH A NONBINDING RESOLUTION WHICH WILL NOT STOP HIM FROM TAKING THE 30,OOO MORE LIVES THAT HE WANTS TO CONTINUE THIS BLOODBATH. There is something terribly wrong with this picture.
This Tuesday, March 13, the constituents of the 8th District ofwill be back in Mr. Oberstar's office to ask where he stands on this decision. We will remind him once again of the words he spoke in last months debate. We will remind him once again that his constituents do not want another DIME spent on this illegal and immoral war. I will be asking to speak to him directly by phone; not to his aid in nor his aid in DC, but to him personally to get a direct and clear answer as to where he stands. Does the buck stop here or not? The vote goes to the House next week. It's not too late to convince him to do the right thing.
Please join us at his Duluth office, rm 231, Federal Building, from 10 AM to 2 PM. Please send emails either directly to me which will be faxed to DC or directly to him through his website. Last week we brought in 37 emails. We have about 70 total from the previous weeks. I know others have sent theirs directly to him. Some folks have called his office in DC. Please keep them coming. Please join us on Tuesday.
District 8 coordinator
at 4:44 PM