I took great encouragement from the early mass demonstrations against the war in Iraq. When George Bush came to Cincinnati to make the speech laying out his intention to invade, thousands poured onto the streets in front of Union Terminal. In 2004 an estimated half-million demonstrators were on hand for the Republican National Convention in New York City.
But in the years since the war started, the peace movement hasn't moved beyond purely symbolic protests — usually scheduled for weekends, so as to make the crowds larger — at federal buildings that are closed for the day.
The InterCommunity Justice and Peace Center is encouraging Cincinnatians to join a regional anti-war rally Oct. 27 in Chicago. This marks a kind of de-centralization of the national protests in Washington, D.C., organized by United for Peace and Justice.
But this demonstration, like others, will be held on a Saturday, with potentially thousands airing their grievance before a building empty of the very federal employees who role in the national government should be challenged.
Until the anti-war movement is ready to move to the next step — namely, occupying federal buildings and shutting them down, disrupting the work of military recruiters, interrupting business as usual — peace will have to rely on the plodding efforts of elected representatives. Unfortunately, the Democrats have been shockingly ineffective as the voice of opposition to Bush’s aggression.
That’s why we’re approaching the fifth anniversary of a war that most Americans oppose, while the so-called opposition party controls both houses of Congress. We are too comfortable to mount a meaningful resistance.
— Gregory Flannery