Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Measures
By Bonnie Weinstein
The following is a talk given by the author at a neighborhood speak-out organized by Bay Area United Against War (BAUAW), May 22, 2004 in San Francisco, as part of a campaign to build participation in the June 5 and 6 weekend of protest against the war on Iraq and the occupation of Palestine.
The crimes our government is committingboth indirectly and directlyin our name must be openly and boldly opposed by a vocal majority of the American people.
Indirectly, our government, with the bipartisan approval of Congress, enables Israel to carry out a policy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people by supplying the Zionist state with $5 billion of taxpayers money every year.
The relentless war in Iraq and Afghanistan, (with its accompanying torture, maiming, destruction and death) and the threats to, or military interventions in, Korea, the Philippines, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela are somenot allof these crimes. And the only way to stop them is with our unity and solidarity in massive public opposition to what our government is doing.
This rampage of violence, torture and murderand what else can you call acts like dropping a hundred bombs on a wedding party in Iraq or bombing unarmed protesters in Gaza who are trying to keep the Israeli Defense Force from bulldozing their homes?not only costs the world the unnecessary loss of human life, but also wastes billions of dollars. This is money desperately needed to solve the worldwide problems of hunger, disease, homelessness, illiteracy, unemployment and poverty. Instead, all these resources have to be funneled into building more bombs and ammunition and training more troops to continue a never-ending and unwinnable war on terror.
These are extraordinary times, and we, the American people, must take extraordinary measures to show our opposition to our governments policies.
Bush warned the world, Youre either with us or against us!
Well, we have news for you, Mr. Bush: The peoples of the world stand against you.
Every aspect of our lives is impacted by this war and the increased costs that result from this most brutal American policy. Everythingfrom the astronomical rise in the price of oil and gas, to the resultant increase in the costs of all commodities that have to be transportedcan be blamed on the skyrocketing costs of the American military budget. And these costs, passed on to the general public through higher taxes and prices, and lower wages and benefits, hit the poorest segment of the population the hardest, and hurt even better-paid workers. This giant chain reaction of price increases drives up the cost of every product or service necessary for human existence.
So what can we do about this seemingly hopeless situation? Well, first, we have to take a stand against it. We have to make it clear to the whole world that we, the majority of the American people, stand opposed to the war policies of our government.
There are many ways we can do this. And we should do everything we can. But the best and most visible way is through mass protests in the streets. This attracts worldwide attention from the media. The larger the demonstration, the better chance we have to let the world know how we feel.
The way to make demonstrations as big as possible is to make our opposition to the war and support for the demonstrations visible in our communities. A good way to achieve that is to hang signs and posters in your windows and on your cars, at your place of work or worship, at your school and throughout your neighborhood, in every coffee shop and on every public bulletin board. If we are not visible, our representatives and those who aspire to represent us can attribute to us what they wish. Its up to us to make our voices and our opinions heard!
On Saturday, June 5, in San Francisco, there will be a major march and rally against the war. Demonstrations are also scheduled for Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and around the world on that day.
On Sunday, June 6, demonstrators will be gathering at PacBell (SBC) Park at noon to protest Israel National Celebration Day, which is honoring 56 years of Israeli occupation, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, bought and paid for by our tax dollars. Again, we must say No! Not in our name! Not with our resources! Not with our tax dollars!
By the way, did you know that two-thirds of all American companies pay no taxes at all, and a good portion of them actually get rebates from the taxes that we pay? So its we who are footing the bill for war, torture, murder and occupation. Our children are paying the price at school and at the dinner table. Our sick relatives and friends are paying the price in the soaring cost of their necessary medications. And all working people are paying the price in the increasing cost of living, decreasing benefits, and lowering of safety and health standards in the workplace and the constant mental stress of job insecurity.
Our demands are many but are all linked to the U.S. war machine. We are demonstrating June 5 and 6 for the following demands: Bring all the troops home now! Get all foreign troops and mercenaries out of Iraq! Get the U.S. out of Haiti, Korea, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela! End all U.S. support for the colonial occupation of Palestine! End all U.S. aid to Israelnot one more dime! Support the Palestinian peoples right to return to their land! Defend civil liberties and human rights for all! And demand that we use our money and resources for jobs, education, housing, healthcare and all human needsnot for war!
Everyone is encouraged to take posters and flyers and share them with others. Lets march through the streets together and show the world that we are opposed to the war and the policies being carried out by our government in our name and with our tax dollars. Lets show the world that we stand squarely on the side of all those fighting for the right to live free from torture, war, occupation, poverty, injustice and oppression.
Bring All U.S. Troops Home Now!