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News ::
30 Aug 2003

By G. Dunkel
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Sept. 4, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper


By G. Dunkel
Brooklyn, N.Y.

A strong and informative rally filled the House of the Lord Church in
Brooklyn Aug. 19. The gathering kicked off the New York City campaign
to mobilize for the Oct. 25 march on Washington to end the occupation
of Iraq and bring the troops home.

With anger and humor, speakers showed their concern for both the U.S.
troops who are dying daily and the greatly suffering Iraqi people who
are dying in greater numbers.

Two speakers have children among the U.S. troops in Iraq. One's son is
a war resister.

The enthusiastic, majority Black audience filled the sanctuary and most of the balcony on this workday midsummer night. The crowd greeted
Cynthia McKinney, the former member of Congress from Georgia, with a
standing ovation and fists in the air.

As they left, many people took extra leaflets about a Sept. 28 march to support the Palestinian struggle as well as those for Oct. 25. Many
were community or union organizers.

"This war was unnecessary, unjust, it was about oil and hegemony," said the Rev. Herbert Daughtry in welcoming the rally to his church. "It was about oil, you know it and the American people know it. It was naked imperialism."

Daughtry, who is 73 years old, has been a national leader of the Black
United Front and has a 45-year-long history of involvement in major
national and citywide progressive struggles.

ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) leader Larry Holmes thanked Daughtry for risking having an anti-war rally in his church. Referring to the power outage that struck the Northeast Aug. 14, he said: "It probably only took 15 minutes or so for the people here to start thinking about Baghdad, Basra, Iraq, their lack of food, medicine, and power.

"There's power outages over there because of the war and the bombing.
Over here there was a power outage because no one could figure out how
to make a profit from fixing their hokey grid. Those in power failed,
their system failed because they couldn't figure out how to make a

Holmes had some fun with terminology. "A blackout," he said, "is when
Black people go on strike. A power outage is when all of us go on
strike. And that's people power.

"A power surge is when we go out into the street and stop a war or some other injustice. We need to get the people in power out of it."

Holmes called for people to go to Washington on Oct. 25 and to organize others to go. He pointed out that there are new forces entering the struggle--resisters in the military and the families of soldiers. They will lead the Washington march.

Holmes ended his talk with: "Stop all the dying, stop all the
colonizing, stop all the occupying. We must make this occupation fail.
Iraqi people know what they have to do. We have to do our part.

"If this occupation fails, it will be much more difficult for Bush and
company to occupy North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Libya, Zimbabwe, anywhere
they're scheming to control."


Gloria Jackson, a childcare worker in Local 205, AFSCME District
Council 1707, whose 29-year-old daughter is in Iraq, had this message:
"I want my daughter home. I don't see why she can't come home. She was
scheduled for Sept. 4 but they said they couldn't replace her."

Jackson said, "I need you to help me fight for her and for all of them
and bring them all home."

Moonanum James is co-chair of United American Indians of New England
and a Vietnam-era veteran. His son is a reservist now stationed in
Iraq. James said, "I honor my son by standing here and talking about
this struggle. Native Americans have been on the receiving end of 500
years of a relentless campaign of war and terror. Isn't it open racism
behind this drive to see our Arab sisters and brothers as somehow less
than human?"

James called for unity with the Palestinians struggling for their land, and for solidarity with Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal and all other political prisoners.

Ron Kuby, a lawyer who has handled the cases of many military
resisters, said, "Now that the war is not going so well, when troops
say 'get us the hell out of here,' the military's response is to say
'if you speak out, you will be court martialed.'"

McKinney, who was singled out by the Bush administration for defeat
when she opposed the pro-war campaign just after the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks, said, "In the most passionate spirit of patriotism, we say
bring the troops home now."

McKinney gave shocking details about how the Pentagon disregards
soldiers' reasonable health concerns by ordering them to take anthrax
and smallpox vaccines that it knows are dangerous. DynaCorp, a firm
with close political ties to the administration, produces the vaccines. But the Pentagon can't find enough money to guarantee enough water to soldiers serving in one of the hottest countries in the world.

She asked, "If the government could spend $40 million to impeach Bill
Clinton for having sex, if they denied me re-election for asking
questions about 9/11, if they try to recall Gray Davis for a bad
economy, doesn't a conspiracy to use false grounds for going to war,
looting the treasury, mishandling 9/11 provide grounds for the
impeachment of George Bush?"


Brenda Stokely is president of AFSCME District Council 1707, which
represents home-health-care and childcare workers in New York City. She said: "It's always very important when we come together like this. It's always very important when we go out in public and march. It's always very important when we rally. But what's equally important is what we do on a daily basis to bring this leadership down to its knees and out into the streets because this ain't about reform."

She went on: "This country can't recover based on the foundation it was built on. It was built on kidnapping and robbing people from another land, stealing the land from the people who were already here when that idiot who thought he was in India landed here. ... People who run the IMF, the World Bank are the ones we must get rid of to get rid of imperialism."

This aroused a cheer from Gloria Jackson, who is also a member of
Stokely's union, and who let everyone sitting near her know, "She's my

New York City Councilmember and former Black Panther Charles Barron
recalled his youthful appreciation of Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung, Fidel
Castro, Che Guevara, Kwami Nkumrah, Julius Neyrere and Amilcar Cobral.
He said, "What's happening in Iraq is not about Saddam, it's about
people who have had enough occupation."

Barron plans to run for mayor of New York in 2005 as a representative
of the Black community and of other people of color. He said, "The
bottom line is that America needs a revolution--radical, root change."

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice in
Washington, D.C., and an ANSWER steering committee member, pointed out: "Bush's preventive war is not just against Iraq, but it's also against human rights, against workers in the United States and elsewhere in the world. It is also against Social Security, education and health care."

She said the people gathered together can "force this war to come to an end."

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and
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allowed. For more information contact Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY,
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