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Anti-War Demonstration Held in Santa Cruz on September 24

On September 24, about 100 people who are "sickened by the killing, torture, and spiraling human and financial costs of the illegal and immoral war in Iraq" held an anti-war demonstration in Santa Cruz. People rallied at the County Court House and marched to the Town Clock.

I got to the rally in time to hear some folk music, take some photos of the Raging Grannies, listen to a guy describe how voting machines don't work, listen to another guy descibe how 911 was an inside job, see Robert passing out flyers about a taser related death inside the Santa Cruz Jail, etc....
Click on image for a larger version

Click on image for a larger version

Click on image for a larger version

It is ackward being back in Santa Cruz.

The protest today seemed very far removed from where we need to be to create real change in our community and in the world.

Stop the War Demonstration September 24th

Meanwhile, some Santa Cruz activists chose to protest in San Francisco.

A march and related events are taking place in Washington D.C.

Demonstrations need to be a manifestion of our diverse and creative movement.... they can not be the movement itself.

My friend Naomi sums it up really well in a blog update she just published.

Real Reports of Katrina Relief Special: One Hundred Thousand

2:00am September 25th. Algiers, Louisiana

One hundred thousand people. I read the news from Washington DC that one hundred thousand protestors are marching on the capital, sharing a flood of outrage on our faltering King George, who frankly, doesn't care if one hundred million demonstrated. I look at the pictures from the day and I see marches with multitudes of people, smiles and laughter, and creative props, costumes and actions. I'm sure the people who are participating feel empowered and alive.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. All affected by decades of socio-economic neglect and new super-fueled hurricanes. They are outraged at King George and his jesters who have made a joke out of the word "relief." They care deeply about their lost loved ones, lost homes, and displaced lives. I look through the images of my mind today and I see flooded homes, grim faces, and a children's doll floating face down in the tea colored water.

Tonight, there is alot of water. The bayou parishes of South Louisiana have become a lake. Water covers thousands of square miles of low lying land, bottled up against the high ground by a combination of Hurricane Rita's south wind and storm surge. High tide peaks in about thiry minutes. The water was still rising into people's homes when myself and another relief worker left the Point Au Chien community.

The disonance between what is happening in Washington DC tonight and what is happening in Louisiana is too much for me to rationalize. Progressives talk about ending racism, poverty, and showing how much they "care" about other people. But it seems that for too many people, those ideals are values of convenience. And when it becomes inconvenient, uncomfortable, or frightening - then the values become almost valueless.

What could I say to the hundreds of families who are watching the water rise towards their doors and windows, or people who have already lost everything from these storms? "I'm sorry, but I can't help you because we don't have enough volunteers. I know your house is flooding, you're hungry and everything you own will be lost. But look on the bright side. One hundred thousand people are protesting about the lack of relief response you've gotten. I'm sure it will change right away. President Bush always moves quickly on these kinds of things."

But things could be so much different. Imagine one hundred thousand people marching on the Gulf coast to act in soldiarty with others who have been marginalized and demonized by King George and his jesters. I think of the pictures of that day. I see hundreds of tons of food distributed, thousands of tarps and house repairs, and creative ways of acting together to build a community of change. I'm sure the people who are participating feel empowered and the ones they are helping are still alive. There might even be a smile.

Come to Louisiana. Come hand out food. Come provide medical care. Come cover the roof of a house. Come give hope to those who've lost everything. I guarantee it will change your life forever. For more information about Common Ground and community-based hurricane relief, visit

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Aim your anger in the RIGHT direction

Attacking peace activists who turned the march into both a peace action and a call for aid for hurricane victims is really short sighted. Don't you think you should be helping millions of Iraqis too, who have been living without sanitary drinking water, power and adequate shelter? I could ask you why YOU aren't THERE helping, too, but I think that wouldn't really help solve the incredibly complex problems we face.

We really need each other now more than ever. I saw a lot of African-Americans participate in the peace march. They are just as outraged as I am --- "RELIEF FOR VICTIMS, NOT FOR WAR!" we all cry. When we do nothing, then nothing gets done. Maybe you don't believe in direct action or rallies or marches..... Fine. But don't attack other people when you have no idea about HOW MUCH they have done. All of the "peace people" from my local group have been VERY active in getting literally tons of aid to people in Lousiana and Texas.

You are misdirecting your anger at the wrong people. Have you READ about who is helping? Cindy Sheehan and other progressives redirected their tour and started a huge Lousiana outreach in Covington, Louisiana. Other folks have organized relief efforts and have paid a lot of money to haul relief and supplies to other parts of the country. organized a housing resource for people and last I heard, had 60,000 offers of housing available for people across the country. Personally, I've worked for several days straight on an aid drive and took time off my job without pay.

I've yet found a call for help that specifically requires the skills that I have. For me to come down there without skills that they need doesn't make any sense. Why would I take up precious housing resources to do that? I also know that evacuees have many skills to contribute to grassroots aid efforts.

We need to stop blaming ,and continue to fight the Bush Agenda and work for real help for the people left homeless by his policies. That means the Katrina evacuees, the already homeless and disabled, the soliders/guardsmen trapped fighting in an immoral war and, yes, the Iraqis and Afghanis. We need to do all we can to shut down this evil empire so money starts going to rebuilding people's houses and stops funding bombers used to destroy houses.

By all means, we should all be doing as much as we can to help evacuees, but we also shouldn't call off a "Stop the War" rally because we need it now more than ever. We need people to scream -- "FUCK THIS WAR! PEOPLE come first!" We need people to scream to congress -- "AID FOR PEOPLE'S needs, NOW!" Obviously, they are not getting the message, so we need to tell them and keep on telling them until they understand that they are accountable to the people of the United States. WE NEED TO PUT SOME FEAR IN THE HEARTS OF WASHINGTON FAT CATS!


You say that the Bush Administration doesn't care what people think, but if you read your history, you'll find that every politician has a breaking point. Of course he isn't motiviated by compassion! But now he is fighting the popular will of the American people. This is the best time to continue the campaign to end the war AND get REAL aid for the victims of Katrina, like quality housing and longterm benefits.

Yes, mutual aid is very important, but at this point, there is no way in hell that it can provide for all the housing needs for the people displaced by these storms. We have to face that, at this point, it is government that has the $ for housing and we have to squeeze the hell of out them until they give it up for PEOPLE'S NEEDS.


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