2018 Women’s March on the Pentagon demands end to war

Anti-War protesters march around Pentagon

Washington, D.C—The Women’s March on the Pentagon 2018 seems like an unqualified success. Over a thousand people showed up for the March on Sunday October 21, 2018 at 11:00 am. According to the march organizers:

Our demands are simple: The complete end to the wars abroad; closure of foreign bases; dramatically slash the Pentagon budget to fund healthy social programs here at home: the only good empire is a gone empire.

The march team includes many well-known grass-roots leaders from Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, the Green Party, and Popular Resistance. It also includes a new-generation of thought leaders from Chelsea United Against War, People’s Organization for Progress, World Beyond War, Korea Policy Institute, The Peace Report, and Mint Press News.

Other standard-bearers for Peace, such as Act Now to Stop War and Racism, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) were present and provided signs and inspiration.

For many of the older participants this March on the Pentagon is extra special because they were here 51 years earlier. In October 21, 1967, 50,000 people had shown up for the March on the Pentagon, a time when around the country young men decided to burn their draft cards, and many had begun questioning the Vietnam War. Some recognized that the motivations of such war included the empire’s desire for assets such as opium-trade, gemstones, or human-trafficking. While the number at the march today is small, it is an inspiration for all those who interested in growing the anti-war movement once again.

The Women’s March on the Pentagon confronts the bi-partisan war machine with a principled call to action not only due to how the negative effects of war-making and war-profiteering subtract from social programs here at home but because:

It is the belief of many of us that NO woman is free while the U.S. spends trillions of dollars bombing millions and militarily occupying over 150 countries around the world.

The 2018 Women’s March draws attention to women as casualties of war, wars which promote or escalate patriarchal violence and injustice against women, people of color, children, and the downtrodden. The Womanifesto is a declaration of peace through security, a world without bombs, militarism, and endless growth of empire. Rather than a government of police powers, it demands that elected officials focus on the security of decent union-wage jobs, a healthy planet, equal pay for equal work, and less corporate welfare.

Demonstrations also took place in Japan, Los Angeles, Fresno, Seattle, Vancouver, Laramie, Austin, Minneapolis, New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Asheville, N.C.. People traveled from New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Colorado, Harrisburg, San Francisco, and even Seattle to participate in the 2018 March on the Pentagon.

One of the unqualified successes of today’s March is that thanks to the year-long preparation by the women organizers, the marchers experienced no obstructions or harassment by the police or heckling by bystanders. At Pentagon City Station, the rally commenced with music by the Flamboyant Flannels, among a short list of talented musicians who performed later that included Ariel Zevon, the Raging Grannies, Pam Parker, Sheri Bauer-Mayorga, the DC Labor Chorus, and Ben Grosscup. Anti-war activists handed out leaflets as well.

The procession headed from Hayes Street at Pentagon City Metro towards Army-Navy Drive and into the Pentagon South Parking lot. Many carried hand-made signs and banners, and some even dressed up, for instance as Abe Lincoln or as mourners with dead babies. There was chanting, music, songs, and a sense of drama everywhere especially due to the blustery winds and chilly weather.

A group of indigenous women led the ceremonious blessing in all directions at the start of the rally at 1:00pm. The master of ceremonies Cindy Sheehan, a long-time peace activist whose son, Casey, was killed in the Iraq War welcomed everyone stating that it had been many years since such a march had been held at the Pentagon.

Speakers today included Cheryl Mena-Rojas of Colombia, Bonnie Caracciolo one of the organizers, Emma Fiala, Walter Teague, Dr. Jill Stein, Cindy Sheehan, Kevin Zeese and Dr. Margaret Flowers, Chelsea United Against the War, Ann Wright, Black Alliance for Peace, Bruce Dixon, Code Pink, Alison Weir (If America Knew), People’s Organization for Progress, Nick Brana, and others.

Common themes for the talks included bringing our war dollars home, the war economy as a false economy, the misinformation provided by the mainstream media, the need for a new peace economy based on a global green new deal, the fact that President Trump is just a symptom of a Congress in which both parties are war-mongering against smaller nations as well as the two major superpowers, Russia and China. The chance for a nuclear first-strike is moving closer to midnight than ever.

To paraphrase Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party:

The average American supports the Pentagon (and military) to the tune of $3400 each year. In comparison, $80 is spent on social programs, and $40 is spent on education annually.

This sentiment is echoed by Jim Brash of the Green Party of New Jersey who tells NJAntiWarAgenda:

We need to promote and support anti-war candidates at all levels of government. All greens are anti-war due to our platform.

The efforts of grassroots peace organizations such as Code Pink, Vets for Peace, and the Green Party raised mass media attention on the North-South Korea conflict last year. Pressure from South Korean peace groups led to a purge of war-mongering cabinet leaders. The international peace efforts of Asian-American groups such as The Peace Report, Korea Policy Institute, StopTHAAD, and the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence also gained new ground.

AAPI nonprofits play an essential role in guiding and helping under served minority communities which are suffering a new era of prejudice and discrimination because of the reality of more and more people competing for fewer and fewer entry level middle-class job opportunities. Of course many still don’t get it: they sincerely believe in cut-throat competition because our system teaches that.

This is why in many ways the rallies today are not just in honor of all those who have gone before us in the peace movement, but with confidence that the movement can now only grow. That is why many leftist organizations from the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) to U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization have rallied around anti-war platforms as well.

According to the Voice of Revolution, the war economy is driving America morally and financially bankrupt:

All that is left is a government of police powers, where governments act with impunity and arbitrary violence against the people and their organized resistance. The rulers are no longer concerned with legitimacy, only with preserving their power.

By demanding an antiwar government, however, that can change to what it must become in the face of unsustainability:

The massive human productive powers that exist CAN solve the problems faced by humanity, like poverty, inequality, climate change and nuclear war. The human beings who collectively produced these powers are capable of controlling them and unleashing them in the interests of humanity. But it requires political power in the hands of the people.

 

According to War is a Crime, and Popular Resistance, today’s March is only one of a series of events happening in November. This includes a Peace Congress on November 10th, and also the No Trump Parade celebration happening November 9-11th.

All photos by AGN


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