Rage Against War rally 2023: Arbeit Macht Frei
While the armies of Russia and China are goose-stepping towards World War, the West’s response has been equally entrenched in darkening the clouds.
Nevertheless, the Rage Against the War Machine national protest was successfully held before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Sunday of President’s Day weekend.
On this cloudless blue-sky day with light winds and temperatures in the 60s, throngs of tourists abounded and small families boarded the day tour buses. AGN listened spellbound as a tour guide from the double-decker bus tour gave her spiel on the Lincoln Monument replete with details outside the history books, including personal anecdotes, and just an awesomely inclusive and wholesome perspective for first-time visitors.
There can be no greater symbol of freedom and convergence for America than the Lincoln Memorial, and it is difficult to not be moved to tears listening and empathizing what it feels like to be a park ranger whose ancestors struggled for freedom, or a descendent of those who fought on the side of liberty to spend some time, or those who even today recall such a turbulent period in which the masses of commoners suffered, and often of particularly note, voluntarily.
There was no pay for mothers forced to give birth to children from that period, for instance. Soldiers who lost their limbs did not even have a V.A. hospital to go to.
So it was fitting that the Rage Against War managed to take place, even with a bit of a late start, around 12:30pm. Some of the promised for big name speakers did not show up. AGN waited for a view of Dennis Kucinich (former Congressman), Tulsi Gabbard (Congresswoman from Hawaii), Scott Ritter (military analyst), Wu-Chang (rapper), Daniel McAdams (The Liberty Report), but they did not appear. (*See note below)
Instead, we did get to listen to Chris Hedges (author, activist-minister), Scott Horton (antiwar.com, author), Jimmy Dore (Comedian, Commentator), Garland Nixon (Talk Show Host), Tara Reade (Legislative Aide), Dan Cohen (Redacted News Show), Max Blumenthal (The GrayZone investigative journalism), Diane Sare, Col. Ann Wright (often affiliated with Code Pink), Jill Stein (Green Party USA), Wyatt Reed (foreign war correspondent), Jackson Hinkle (Talk Show host), country music by Tana Rose, also Gerald Celente commentator (Trends Research Institute). Hosts for the national venue were millennial Third Party-leaders Nick Brana (People’s Party) and Angela McCardle (Libertarian Party) (who were really cool and did fantastic).
“Demand justice, our duty is to make them afraid!”[paraphr.] Chris Hedges, former New York Times war correspondent
“They must be made to seek diplomacy now! You can do your part in your own home congressional districts!”[paraphr.] Col. Ann Wright, keynote speaker for WILPF, echoed later by Nick Brana in call to action
“No NATO, No War!”Kim Iversen, Podcaster (Rumble)
The themes that the coalition appear to agree with, whether introduced with reverential tone, satire, persuasive, factual, perspectual, or merely as a grinding rock: war is bad, the economy cannot endure more debt, the media is not truthful, the accountability by our politicians is nil, the biggest industries are profiting at our expense, over the past two years our civil liberties and freedom of expression are under assault. Add to this, themes by the Green Party which emphasizes how wars contribute to fossil fuel and other pollutions.
Per Dr. Jill Stein, the U.S./NATO have made war in over 85 countries:
“Take it not from me but from the Cost of War, not even necessarily a liberal think-tank, that it has recorded our cost of war as 840 billion in the current military budget. This is endangering our climate and contributing to the destruction of the planet.”[paraphr.] Jill Stein, Green Party U.S.A.
Jimmy Dore, who manages to curry favor from both sides:
“You have to work with people sometimes, even people you hate, because we have to survive.”Jimmy Dore, comedian, political satirist
“Fight the information wars, no more money for Nazis”Jackson Hinkle, The Dive (on Rumble)
Perhaps to not alarm the crowd, there was a minimal amount of visible security present: an ambulance nearby, a couple park service vehicles, and at one point couple of armed personnel carrying submachine guns wearing police uniforms did rush up the monument steps and disappeared from sight. Nobody perched atop the roof (that one could see), however it was clear after a few hours that there were many plainclothes vigilantes present among the crowd. (One pair would not respond to a question by AGN about who was onstage—even after asking a couple of times—they could neither hear nor see AGN—luckily another spectator who looked like a journalist was willing to hear and answer the question).
Indeed, at least several guest speakers also tied the present crisis in leadership and revolving doors corporatocracy to the recent disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, a massive train derailment which led to the spilling of toxic chemicals from twenty rail cars, at least five of might already have been on fire at the time of the derailment, per World Socialist Website and Redacted News show. Since the journalists trying to cover the event were harassed and one even taken to jail, the facts have been hard to uncover accurately or in their entirety. It is only thanks to the persistence of alt-media that it finally merited more official notice and coverage by the mainstream media.
After AGN‘s previous article regarding it not being safe for AAPI, of course that was to convey some personal concern amid increasing frustration-directed-to-race-hostility, not meant literally as directed criticism. The Left has had to swallow the bitterness of the Right co-opting part of its agenda and doing so with charismatic eloquence, humor, and satire. Anyone should have the right to reject a message they disagree with, to expose opacity in organizational management, or to question brigades that demand loyalty oaths, particularly if as humble citizen watchdogs, we are not even paid nor noticed for our efforts beyond standing below the speaker platform for hours at a time.
In the end, we agree with David Swanson’s message from World Beyond War, who delivered from hand-written notes, a speech typically rich and cleverly argued. In fact, World Beyond War, and Code Pink are primo-genitors of the post-modern grassroots, having been around since before the Iraq War. We could not do without these venerable organizations who have appeared before the United Nations repeatedly to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament, and who, along with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, did successfully lobby for the present, relatively new and ridiculously ignored, Prohibition Against the Use of Nuclear Weapons Treaty, passed in 2017, by the United Nations.
“I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.”Declaration of Peace, pledge at WorldBeyondWar.org
“The problem is that there can be no right side in the name of war…”[paraphr.] David Swanson, Rage Against the War Machine speech, February 19, 2023
Swanson has rightly also written that it is the Leftist grassroots, while in dispute over the toxicity of the Covid-19 vaccines and mandatory booster shots, that has generally worked to defend the needs of the poorest in our society. They have championed the cause for supporting free public education, foodstamps, community outreach, Medicare, Social Security, Medicare-for-All, and Housing-First for the homeless. Under the New Deal Democrats, civilian works projects sprang up to provide anyone who wanted to work, a decent job. All of this is well and good but today corruption on both sides reigns unfettered. Even during the presentations, there were boos from the audience at the mention of FTX and at the mention of Obama as a military hawk. But the authentic right knows that Trump also contributed to militarism in Ukraine. The Rage Against War coalition agrees, whether or not China-Taiwan is next, that the war in Ukraine must stop before it becomes unstoppeable, that an immediate ceasefire is needed, and that real (not synthetic) diplomacy must take hold.
In the warm February sunshine, there was almost a California’s Berkeley-type feel to the crowd while the guitar was strumming, an older woman dancing barefeet, visitors waving on high their home-made signs, although as we noted before, the crowd today consisted mostly of aware and self-informed types, who are more somber, more camera-shy than in the past. Noticeably fewer people were using their smartphones. The moles, as far as we could make out, were cleverly camouflaged among the rightists, probably posing as sullen-reactionaries.
“Biden Talk to Putin” “Diplomacy Please” “War is not woke” “Say No to Nuclear” “Cut the military budget 70%” “Russia is not our enemy”Protesters feature home-made placards, while various groups offered leaflets
Upon leaving the gathering area and descending the steps to the Reflection Pool, AGN almost tripped on some cables running across the steps, and recalling that another elderly person had also almost tripped, this reporter attempted to alert the sound engineer in his tent nearby. After valiently trying to ignore, he finally answered, “Well, I will call security about it later.” Hopefully no one else tripped on those cables, strewn so untidily and running right across the steps. This reporter’s concern is from having personally witnessed an older woman fall on her head tripping on some stairs near Circa Restaurant across from George Washington Hospital a few years ago. Just as today, one can recollect the narcissism and indifference cultivated in segments of Washingtonian society. The bible parable of the Good Samaritan certainly applied that day, as the persons who finally helped the dazed, sprawled and head-injured woman were not the white-coats rushing for their Starbucks fix at Whole Foods; not the gourmet diners or staff of Circa where the lady had so lately and expensively dined; just some casual passersby and flaggers such as myself.
As an AAPI, but only speaking from a personal perspective, it is only fair to share the sense of ambivalence that one feels regarding grassroots political actions events today. Gaging from the size of the crowd, up to two thousand of people were present, and many could hear the speakers all the way to the end of the reflecting pool. Despite the crowd, there were not many from mainstream media present or visible. AGN did spot a journalist from CGTN, but no Epoch Times. Of course there were plenty of alt-journalists onstage so they will not lack coverage from their respective independent platforms, at least.
One family of onlookers, who indeed crowded in front of AGN at the steps of the staging area in order to capture some video, shouted “boo” after Craig ‘Pasta’ Jardula (who looks amazingly healthy due to his veganism) finished. Somehow we came upon the same path again as we were walking along the Reflection Pool. I asked what country they were from, spotting an accent. They told me they were from Uzbekistan, a small country north of Afghanistan and south of Kazakhstan, part of Central Asia. In their view, Putin is nothing more than a dictator. The mother said that they had endured persecution just like in any country during the days of the Soviet Union. Today, Putin is no different from any autocrat in how he is running his country. “Those people do not know even the half of it, the half of what is really going on there,” she said shaking her head disapprovingly. Indeed, seeing the two happy toddlers, AGN felt compelled to voice an agreement, that the Russian regime, irregardless of the persecutions, is doing too much in its “fair share” of killing young Ukrainian soldiers, and causing so much suffering among civilians.
After several hours in attendance, and walking towards the World War II Memorial, and during which hundreds of families and walkers and joggers could be seen good-naturedly putting up with all the harangues about the need to avoid World War III, it is a nightmare to contemplate which monuments in D.C. will be left standing after a nuclear war.
Will there be anyone left to erect a new “World War III Memorial”? That is the question nobody still wants to ask.
Report and photos by AGN from RageAgainstWar rally on February, 19, 2023
*Note: Actually special guests Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and Tulsi Gabbard appeared later in the afternoon according to a report at CovertActionMagazine.com. Watch a full replay by Maverick News @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WodhB5XXTY