Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wednesday November 9 - Wrap up.


The half week of events got rolling early. Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright, Karen Meredith from the Voices of Camp Casey shared the stage with speakers from several veterans' anti-war groups. There was also a short film depicting the events at Camp Casey, including the pro-Bush demonstrators who arrived (though in smaller numbers) shortly after the camp received national attention. At the end of Bush's vacation, the opposing camps found a sense of community in shared grief and loss, highlighting that War's brutal effect on families does not discriminate based on political ideology. Several of the speakers reminded the college aged members of the audience that a draft could be in their future. All stressed the importance of acting now, not waiting quietly to see what happens next. The combined groups ended with a song written in memory of Casey Sheehan, composed by a camp volunteer.

Afternoon -

The SFJ Speak-Out in front of the Campus Center was the first afternoon action, done to a soundtrack of Immortal Techinique (a politcal hip-hop artist known for his intelligent delivery, and scathing critique of U.S. policy). Students for Justice speakers were joined by M.E.Ch.A. (De Anza's Chicano/Latino club) as well as several of the speakers from the morning event. Particulary pointed and moving remarks came from Anthony of M.E.Ch.A and Dennis Kyne, a former airborne combat-medic and drill sergeant. Anthony described the misnomer of "peace-activism" reminding the lunchtime crowd that there is no peace without justice, only repression ("war by other means" in the lexicon of the trade). Dennis described his own experience as a drill sergeant, and how he came to realize that the technique's used in military training are the same ones used in Pavlov's famous psychological experiments on dogs. A powerful statement to anyone who has taken an introductory psychology class.

A bit of rain in the afternoon dampened the Encuetro a bit, which had to move from the garden to under an overhang at the California History Center. Despite the weather, the discussion was a good one. Participants from a range of political orientations talked about the characteristics of different social movements, the problematic phenomenon of "peace patriotism" in the broader struggle for social justice and equality, the current war in its historical context, the anarchist critique of capitalism and state socialism (Communism), and how/when each became aware of social justice issues growing up.

Evening -

By the time the rain cleared up, South Bay Mobilization had begun to arrive and assemble a large peace sign made of white candles. The Camp Casey tents followed shortly thereafter. By the time Powell's audience arrived, a crowd of demonstrators representing at least 12 different anti-war groups, as well as De Anza students, had gathered. A handful of incoming audience members verbally confronted protestors, while others showed support. As was expected because of the calls for civil disobedience, non-uniformed security personnel moved through and sized up the crowd, sometimes stopping to chat with participants. As of the time of this writing, all interactions between demonstrators and authorities were peaceful. A single pro-Powell counter-demonstrator hurried through the crowd interruppting a chant of "Colin Powell! - War Criminal!" with his cry of "Patriot!" Because he was responding to "War Criminal," and shouting over "Colin Powell," it sounded as if he were equating patriotism with complicity in war crimes. The irony of the juxtaposition was appreciated by nearby demonstrators.