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300+ Santa Cruzians March Against War

Santa Cruz residents pile out by the busload to say no to Bush’s oil war.
San Francisco—Hundreds of Santa Cruzians joined an estimated 100,000 to protest Bush’s ‘pre-emptive’ war against Iraq on Saturday, though a national media blackout left the story off the front pages on Sunday, casting a quiet shadow over the epic turnout. Regardless, organizers and participants alike characterized the event as being the largest anti-war march since the Gulf War. Others compared it to demonstrations against the war in Vietnam.
By 12 noon on Saturday, the march was well under way. Mayor Christopher Krohn marched on the front line of the Santa Cruz contingent, holding one end of a large banner that read, “Santa Cruz—First City Against the War,” referring to a city council resolution passed last month opposing US military intervention in Iraq. He was joined by a group of locals that spanned the entire width of Market and extended down the street at least 50 feet. The march began in the Embarcadero at 11am and proceeded down Market, ending at a massive rally at City Hall.
An estimated three hours passed before Market was again open to traffic.
The march, which was organized by International A.N.S.W.E.R., was considered in and of itself a pre-emptive action—the first of its kind—against a war that has yet to begin. According to a recent ABC poll, 56 percent of US residents are against war with Iraq. Santa Cruzians had many of their own reasons why:
“I would say there’s a lot of reasons,” said Grant Wilson of Santa Cruz Art and Revolution, “Humanistic reasons. Environmental reasons. Economic reasons. There are a lot of better things than going to war. I don’t think it is the answer. I think it is the problem.”
UCSC prof. Barbara Gordon (who lives in the upper west side) said, “I am here because I am against any kind of U.S. intervention in Iraq. I don’t think there is a reason—I think there are many better things we could do with our money.”
Mayor Krohn also told Santa Cruz Indymedia his reasons for opposition:
“Why are we talking about war right next to an election?” Krohn asked rhetorically. “That is not a good thing. You do not get a fair debate, you do not get a just debate. It has a lot to do with who is going to control the Senate and who is going to control the House of Representatives.”
He continued, “We know that Iraq was a lot stronger ten years ago then it is today. So, then, what’s this whole thing about ‘weapons of mass destruction’— and then enter Korea onto the stage. Who has been monitoring them? Are the same people monitoring Korea the same people monitoring Iraq? It is a very weird situation.”
UCSC prof. Chris Connery was on the scene as well, and had a far more blunt view of the situation:
“I’m hoping this is the start of something bigger; that we can end the Bush/Cheney regime,” said Connery. When asked his reasons for opposing the war, he replied: “All of them. This is imperialism. This is a new world order of which I want no part.”
As a whole, most Santa Cruzians seemed rather impressed with the turnout from their hometown.
“I think the city is very well represented here today,” said Gordon, “There were four buses, and lots of cars that drove up.”
“It’s great,” said Wilson, “It think it is the largest contingent of people from Santa Cruz that have come up to a demonstration here in many, many years.”
As oil supplies dwindle across the globe, economies crash, and the US military gears up for war, Santa Cruzians can rest assured that they live in a community of dissenters, many of whom, as evidenced Saturday, continue to value protesting as an effective means toward peace.
Said Gordon: “I think that protests can be a very successful strategy. I think they are important. They show that people can come together from many different backgrounds and many different agendas. It’s amazing... and [this protest] feels great to be a part of—with my community.”
 
 


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