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(en) US, Los Angeles: Report back from Anti War Strategizing Discussion

Date Mon, 20 Mar 2006 07:53:15 +0200

Los Angeles- This past Saturday the 18th, thousands habitually marched
through Hollywood to once again condemn the War on Iraq, after 3 and a
half years of failed attempts at ending it. The following is a report
back from a member of the Southern California Anarchist Federation (SCAF),
seeking to further open the debate on building a long-term movement for
radical social change, beyond simply ending the war on Iraq.
After 3 years of business as usual for the war machine, we, as the
anti war movement, are not gaining ground. If the war were to end
sometime soon, it would not be due, in any part, to mass opposition
or action against the war, but rather a war that can no longer be seen
as profitable to the United States government. We believe the time is
now to collectively strategize not just against this war but all wars,
from the US imperialist war on Iraq to the LAPD’s fascistic war
on our communities.

The end result of our stance was a call for an open discussion after
the march on building the Anti War movement, to a point where we
can take significant action, beyond disempowering marches and

We flyered throughout the march with the call for the discussion,
and when I personally flyered, people whom at first were turned off
to see another dry flyer, seemed to be more interested in hearing
about the discussion. We billed it as an “Open Anti War
Strategizing Discussion, In The Streets,” and about ten different
participants passed out close to 1000 flyers among demonstrators.

At the end of the march, we gathered among the red and black flags
at the rear of the rally, since we had no chance at hosting a
discussion anywhere near the main stage which was the original
gathering point, and most likely led many people to be confused and
not attend the discussion.

Anywhere from 50 to 75 people attended or engaged in the
discussion, which lasted around an hour and hosted many ideas. It
would not be possible for me to include all topics discussed, but
many reoccurring themes were heard.

Most all those who voiced an opinion on the march, said that it was
disempowering, and they saw no real change coming out of these
repetitious demos. Others suggested that we erroneously continue to
‘preach to the choir’ and that these protests are always
organized in the white, middle class area of West Hollywood. Many
whom attended the discussion were already radicals, but there were
also many families, students, and non-affiliated participants who
were very excited to see this discussion going on. Blacks, whites,
Latinos, and others were actively involved in the discussion, and this
was not your typical white dominated leftist event.

It is important to note, that the majority of people who spoke were
not affiliated with SCAF, but attended the discussion on their own.
One man, in his late 40’s raised his hand and had this to say,
“I have been attending these protests for 30 years, and never
have I seen a discussion like this going on.” Another young
woman pointed out that she is sick of hearing ANSWER ask for our
money, when it is people that will stop the war, not money. Many
frustrations were discussed, but along with alternative forms of
organizing that we can take in the future. An older man said that
“We need to stop this bullshit, we need a general strike!”

In fair criticism, I would not say our discussion came to any real
concise conclusion, though many agreed that building
consciousness, not just based in class, but a consciousness against
all oppressive institutions, is a very important step for us to take as a
movement. We discussed leaving marches behind for community
work that activates people to struggle for their own issues. The
original flyer was to “Discuss … Resisting the war abroad, and
the war at home.” I believe we did just that and this is just a start
in building a whole new movement that is serious about fighting the

As a member of the radical left I’m very energized after
conversing with many diverse people on the street, and hearing that
I’m not alone in my attitude about our so called
“opposition” to this war. I am calling on all those who want
to start organizing in a much more serious way, to call for
discussions like the one, on the streets, to build alternatives to the
mass organizations which are dominating the Anti-War Movement.
Events like this, not only empower people, but also can inspire ideas
that will spark a whole new movement made up of real people, on
the streets, fighting for real change.

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