October 7 was the 9th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. What many believed to be a legitimate war of self-defense, a “good war,” has turned out to be what many others, right from the beginning, knew was not good and feared would be disastrous. The beliefs have been crushed and abandoned, the fears have been realized. The war in Afghanistan is doing nothing to make the lives of Afghans any better, it is doing nothing to make Americans safer, and is costing billions of dollars desperately needed for jobs at home and reconstruction abroad. It needs to end. Completely, and immediately.
But October 7 was another anniversary too. On that same day nine years ago, the first New York protest against the looming war was held in Union Square. Thousands came out, despite threats and condemnations, to say no to using war as an answer to the crime of September 11.
And last weekend, on 10-2-10, the One Nation Working Together coalition brought more than 100,000 people out into the streets again, to rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, demanding the kind of real political change that will lead to “justice at home and peace abroad.” With the great Harry Belafonte leading the way, it was an amazing moment — the first national protest mobilized by a crucial coalition of civil rights and labor in almost two decades — galvanizing a whole new level of energy and momentum.
You can watch me being interviewed by GritTV’s Laura Flanders on Free Speech TV along with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! during the rally (Laura and I talk near the beginning of the clip, Amy joins us after Ben Jealous and Marion Wright Edelman), and read below my new article on the rally, just published in YES! magazine. On the same day, I had the opportunity to discuss the significance of the anniversary on RT-TV with Adam Kokesh of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
The rally on Saturday brought new energy, new potential alliances, maybe even a little bit of optimism in these dreadful times. It was hugely important – but it was only one step. There was a major focus on getting out the vote for next month’s mid-term elections – and voting is certainly important. But voting is never enough, and we’ve got an awful lot of work to do before and after, regardless of the results, if those votes are going to matter.
I look forward to working together.