A couple of hundred thousand people marched from 21st street Manhattan to Broadway in New York City on 29th April 2006. Trade unions, church groups, energy groups, peace groups, Iraq veterans, revolutionary groups, musicians all were demanding that troops be pulled out of Iraq, and troops not be sent to Iran. This is the 4th year of the war and a time when popularity for President Bush and support for the war are on an all time low. Mobilization of a 200,000 thousand people is a Herculean task but it was done effectively and the streets were over flowing with people against the war.
However we marched on a Saturday morning when there was no office crowd that we could bother. We sat outside an empty City Hall with all our flyers and banners and spoke about the war with groups that already agreed on its illegality and horrors. It was a symbolic one day march with streets allocated to us so that we didnt disrupt any traffic. We returned to our homes in the evening and will get back to our daily routines by Monday. Was the mobilization of a 200,000 people at all efective or did it all go waste? Does the white house even know that there were so many people on the streets of New York that day? Guaging from the lousy media coverage that the march got, I doubt that they do. What would have happened if just 5,000 people out of the 200,000 decided to stay put outside the hall and not leave till they were heard? What would have happened if 10,000 people courted arrest? We are 3 years into the war now and more people are dying each day. Can we afford to waste all the efforts that go into mobilizing so many people? Shouldnt we be more insistent, more stubborn about being listened to?
Maybe the march was to get people together and form alliances and coalitions, so that there could be a cohesive effort against the war. However, the time has come when we cannot just make token demonstrations. The rally can very easily be dismissed by onlookers as a one day carnival. It can definitely be a carnival, but it has to be a long drawn out continuous carnival.
Some banners at the march
The People United will NEVER be Defeated - Che Guevara
No Blood for Oil
Asian Latin Black and White, Against the War we must UNITE
Bombing for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity
No War between Countries, No Peace between Classes
War, Poverty, Repression, Corruption - Its Time for a SYSTEM CHANGE
Break the Borders, Its Time for a COMMUNIST REVOLUTION
My DICK would make a better Vice President
STOP the Attacks on Workers Rights
STOP the Genocide in Darfur