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News ::
Reclaiming the Tradition: The Rebirth of Defiant Anti-War Protest in Boston
24 Sep 2001
Modified: 15 Oct 2001
As the Bush administration prepares the country for a new war effort against Afghanistan, Iraq, and other supposedly "terrorist" nations, a new generation of Boston activists have reclaimed the city's tradition of defiant anti-war protest and taken to the streets...
Reclaiming the Tradition: The Rebirth of Defiant Anti-War Protest in Boston

From the heavy rioting in Harvard Square on April 15, 1970 in response to the U.S. invasion of Cambodia (and trial of Bobby Seale) to the more recent non-violent blockade of Storrow Drive in protest of the war against Iraq in 1991, activists from the Boston area claim a proud (despite being largely forgotten) tradition of defiant anti-war protest.

As the Bush administration prepares the country for a new war effort against Afghanistan, Iraq, and other supposedly "terrorist" nations, a new generation of Boston activists have reclaimed the city's tradition of defiant anti-war protest and taken to the streets...

On Thursday, September 20, upwards of 1,000 people gathered in Copley Square for an unpermitted march against war, nationalism and the rising tide of racist attacks against Arab, Moslem and Sikh communities.

Initally organized by the Boston Anarchists Against Miliarism (BAAM) coalition, the demonstration managed to attract the participation of numerous anti-war activists, peace advocates and progressive student groups (mostly affiliated with the Student-Labor Action Project) from the greater Boston area. Although this participation represented a healthy diversity in politics and positions, the overall message was a unified stand against war and the nationalist and racist backlash that has manifested itself throughout the country.

From Copley Square the noisy procession made it's way down Newbury Street, leaving patrons of the street's yuppie resturants and chic shopping boutiques looking on in dismay. Followed closely by police, the march continued up Massachusetts Ave. and effectively brought traffic to a standstill.

As protesters crossed over the Harvard bridge and made their way towards Cambridge, there was a brief period of confusion when the march came to a halt. Arguments erupted when some student peace activists and members of the International Action Center (front group of the Workers' World Party) charged in front of an anarchist contingent in order to block their banners. Unfortunately, even though the new anti-war movement is still in its infancy, we can already begin to see the same old sectarian power squabbles in the streets.

Taking advantage of this confusion, Cambridge police attempted to set up a blockade and tried to force the march out of the streets and onto the side walks. While a few people followed the police orders, the anarchist contingent non-confrontationally avoided the attempted blockade and continued to march in the streets. Due to the large numbers and potential volatility of the protest, it appeared that police did not want to attempt anymore provocations and simply escourted the demonstration to Harvard Square.

Arriving in Harvard Square, the demonstration turned into an open meeting, with a variety of speakers having a chance to express their opinions publically.

Hopefully the success of this protest will act as a first step in forging a new radical anti-war movement in Boston, and we can begin to build a resistance movement that is able to end the global cycle of violence once and for all.

We have a long road ahead of us...
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Some people just don't get it
25 Sep 2001
To claim that the anti-war protests of the 1970s relate in anyway to what is happening today is completely erroneous, and even borders on being called ludicrous. The Vietnam war was a war we were not drawn into. Instead we chose to fight communism in another country and defend democracy for people in another country. The events of September 11 have created a different and much more complex situation than what was happening in 1970.
Let me reiterate what happened on September 11 to those of you who claim to be "anti-war protestors" (or what I would like to call White Suburban Hippies Looking for a Cause): The United States of America, the same country that has provided you a comfortable, safe place to live for your entire life, was attacked. Over 6000 innocent people who were just going about their daily lives were MURDERED. Our freedom, our sovereignty, our way of life was threatened and attacked on September 11.
If the United States decides to stand by and let these maniacs continue to commit acts of terrorism, our way of life, our freedom will never be the same. We will constantly live in fear. If we do not take military action, we will then foolishly sit by and watch as our subways are bombed, our air poisoned and citizens killed. If you think the events at the WTC were bad, future attacks against Americans can only be described as unfathomable. These terrorists HATE our way of life and get pleasure from watching us DIE. There is no negotiating with terrorists, they must be destroyed.
To protest military actions by the United States against terrorists is to say you too support the actions of terrorists.
Instead of protesting the men and women who are putting their lives on the line so you may live comfortably, why not hold protests against terrorism. Not only would you gain the respect of citizens against terrorism, you would also ensure that the people who died innocently on Sept. 11 did not die in vain.
Do not let the victims of terrorism die in vain. Protest terrorism, not the defenders of freedom.
don't get it?
25 Sep 2001
"To protest military actions by the United States against terrorists is to say you too support the actions of terrorists."

Talk about erroneous or ludicrous. I take an anti-war position precisly BECAUSE I am anti-terrorism because (a)I cannot support ANY form of terrorism, especially when sponsored by a national government such as ours and (b) military strikes against the country of afghanistan would be completely innefective in stopping terrorism; they would do just the opposite-perpetuate the kind of conditions that allow violent, fundamentalist movements to build popular support.

I take great offense to your calling all protesters "white suburban hippies", as an activist who is none of the above.

Yes, as Americans we enjoy a great deal of economic privelige and freedom (withing severe limits). While you are sitting back and enjoying the comforts stolen from the rest of the world, I will use my relative freedom to protest the system of exploitation.
"Bomb them with butter, bribe them with hope!
26 Sep 2001
"Bomb them with butter, bribe them with hope!

A military response, particularly an attack on Afghanistan, is exactly what the terrorists want. It will strengthen and swell their small but fanatical ranks.

Instead, bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and medicine. It will cost less than conventional arms, poses no threat of US casualties and just might get the populace thinking that maybe the Taiban don't have the answers. After three years of drought and with starvation looming, let's offer the Afghani people the vision of a new future. One that includes full stomachs.

Bomb them with information; - video players and cassettes of world leaders, particularly Islamic leaders, condemning terrorism. Carpet the country with magazines and newspapers showing the horror of terrorism committed by their "guest". Blitz them with laptop computers and DVD players filled with a perspective that is denied by their government. Saturation bombing with hope mean that some of it gets through. Send so much that the Taiban can't collect and hide it all. The Taiban are telling their people to prepare for Jihad. Instead, let's give the Afghani people their first good meal in years. Seeing your family fully fed and the prospect of stability in terms of food and a future is a powerful deterrent to martyrdom. All we ask in return is that they, as a people, agree to enter the civilised world. That includes handing over the terrorists in their midst.

In responding to terrorism, we need to do something different. Something unexpected; - something that addresses the root of the problem. We need to take away the well of despair, ignorance and brutality from which the 'Osama Bin Laden's' of the world water their gardens of terror.

It is important that we learn to think in NEW ways. If we continue attacking in the old ways we will get the same old results. Look at what has happened to the Middle East for thousands of years to see what we can expect if we attack with bombs and military force. Do we want to live a life of fear as people in the Middle East do?"



I live in Australia, I'm not an environmentalist or a non-violence supporter, but I do oppose America's attack on Afghanistan. America - in the past fortnight - has seen the best and worst of its country, but as changed as the people of America are from these events, America is still recoiling from the horror of them.

America has clouded its judgement, blinded by rage and plans of revenge. Perhaps this attack on Afghanistan is simply out of pure vengeance? But vengeance is not justice, vengeance will just produce more and more vengeance turning it into a cycle, each country will hate each other more, not less.

For us (America and Australia) to respond melodramatically mean that the terrorists have completed their objective or terrorising us, for us to not be affected at all is impossible, both would also lead to more terrorism.

I believe we as the US and its allies should change our ways of using violence itself as a weapon and set an example to the Middle East and to the world. There are many examples where intelligent propaganda has been much more effective that conventional war, especially in the information age. There are better ways for us to state our point.
The Pacifist's Hypocrisy
26 Sep 2001
I find it interesting that when the United States pledges military action to end terrorism, those who engage in violent activities themselves, hypocritically denounce the U.S.'s pledge to use force against terrorists.
During the riots in Italy this past summer, many images were posted here on IndyMedia or violent protests with so called "anarchists" hurling Molatov cocktails, rocks, and other injury inflicting objects at the authorities. I admit, the authorities in Italy used violent tactics as well, but if the Pacifists here denouncing U.S. foreign policy, they too should have been denouncing any violent actions committed by those protestors in Italy. It often appeared that IndyMedia actually glorified the violence created by the protestors as a way of getting back at the police who also used violence during the protests.
The hypocricy lies in the pacificist argument that it is okay for them to use violence against the "establishment," yet it is wrong for the establishment to protect its populations.

One other point I'd like to make and I'll be done. The US and its allies were diplomatic in their dealings with Hitler in the late 1930's. Had the Allied forces used military action to oust Hitler, 15-20 million people may not have been horrifically murdered. If we don't end terrorism now, how many lives are we going to lose to future terrorist attacks because we chose to be diplomatic instead of practical. Until the United States and its partners end terrorism using military might, there will continue to be radical fundamentalists who grin at the sight of American blood. Dropping butter, magazines and "DVD players" is not going to stop the violent Islamic fundamentalist movement. You must fight fire with fire. Remember, we are not dealing with a rational enemy. We are dealing with a fanatical, violent, and blood thursty beast.
26 Sep 2001
Where did you ever get the impression from the original article that it represented a pacifist position?

Who ever said that you needed to hold a pacifist or non-violent position to be against the institutionalized, imperialist violence of the State!?!

No war against nations,
No peace between classes!
Rebels Without a Clue!
27 Sep 2001
It is humorous to watch you pro-terrorists speaking out against a just and neccessary action. By denouncing the intent of this great nation, not only are you insulting the memory of over 6000 victims of this atrocity, you are aiding and abetting your terrorist comrades. That is what they want. If you want a cause to serve, how about helping the victims? You probably won't because in your world they were part of the emperical American machine and brought it on themselves.
Compare this to Vietnam: 20 years over 58,000 killed in action.
World Trade Center: Over 10% of that in one hour. That's on our soil. America. The country that lets you spew your pablum.
Here's an old chestnut from much missed 70's: "America. Love it or leave it!" Don't let the doorknob hit you in ass on the way out.
Duh Ugh Umph!
28 Sep 2001
Nice Rebuttal
29 Sep 2001
A sarcastic rant is not a reasoned rebuttal. It is, perhaps, the course taken by those who cannot muster one.

Oh, and you must not have got the news: Irony is dead.

God Bless America. And have a nice day.
to Rufus
05 Oct 2001
You say that in Vietnam 58,000 were killed over 20 years. Wrong. 58,000 American soldiers were killed. How many people, how many civilians? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

This is not to deny the terrible loss of all people - those in WTC, and the US soldiers in Vietnam. But let's count all human beings next time, eh?
Horsemen ride on! You're all right!
15 Oct 2001
Terrorists or not, Afghanistan is going down, and we the people can't do a thing about it.

Bomb them with butter, volkswagons, napalm and smallpox, who cares?

Protesting did not end the Vietnam conlfict.

Terrorist haters/defenders develop whatever reason for the WTC attack you need, be it crappy foreign policy or the act of madmen, who can prove it? The real discussion is being held in private, and is not for our ears.

And so, I have adopted a very Regan outlook on the whole thing. I'll just sit back and watch it happen, on CNN and IMC, as the Non-muslim world and the muslim world come to a head over Afghanistan.

What apathy you say?

Dudes, everytime I hear some individual say "our country" or "our government" or "our corrupt government/country/evil empire/warmachine" jingo bullsh8t, the notion of the sane, humanist freedom fighter for liberal democracy loses that much more credibility for me.

Whomever believes that this is "our" government and that anypart of this war on terrorism is going to proceed according to "our" plans, is sadly misinformed.