Despite determined statements to the contrary by peace advocates,
war with Iraq seemed imminent on March 15th, 2003.
Outraged and saddened, millions of Peace and Justice proponents
around the world rallied on March 15th to signal their disgust at
this most recent evidence of U.S. President George Bush's failure
as a world leader. Here in Sacramento, war protesters had the option
of traveling to San Francisco and joining tens of thousands of peace
marchers there, or staying in Sacto. and marching to the Convention
Hall where the State Democratic Convention was in session.
For reasons of weather and a belief in supporting your local peace
groups, we opted for the Sacramento event. Several Democratic Presidential
candidates were here for the Democratic Convention, and we hoped
they might come out and join us.
"YOU are the leaders! YOU decide where this state and this
country are going to go!" Bill Camp (Sacto Central Labor Council)
exhorted the crowd gathered at the State Capitol before the march.
He pointed to U.S. Pres. George Bush as the true terrorist in this
country-- "Bush's economic terrorism has stolen 2.4 million
jobs-- he's destroyed the economy and let the criminals on Wall
Street run loose!"
Bill Camp was the opening speaker at this rally at the State Capitol.
Labor was well-represented by Bill, Federico Chavez (UFW), members
of SEIU Locals 250 and 1000, the ILWU, and the California Federation
of Teachers, to name just a few of the many Unions that have issued
declarations against the war.
"Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article
or section is it contained, that you may take children from their
parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight
the battles of any war in which the folly or the wickedness of Government
may engage it?" --Daniel Webster, (War of 1812)
Roberto Alvarado, veteran of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, began with
a quote from Daniel Webster's speech against conscription during
the War of 1812. Alvarado is a "hawk who became a dove"
after his service in the first gulf war."Despite modern technology,
we have still failed to create a painless and bloodless war,"
he said, and went on to describe scenes of soldiers burned alive
in their tanks, of Iraqi soldiers blown up on minefields as they
walked forward to surrender, of the dead lying with pictures of
their loved ones clutched in their hands.
"If the voices of the millions of war dead could speak, they
would speak out against war!" Why do so many people have to
be dead before we figure this out?
Penny Redman and dog, LingQiao opposing war and supporting Ms.President,
Democratic hopeful Carol Moseley-Braun.
Stating "Duct tape is no substitute for diplomacy!" Moseley-Braun
delivered an anti-war message and praised U.S. Representive Barbara
Lee for being the lone "no" vote when Congress authorized
the President to wage a preemptive, unilateral war against Iraq.
She spoke of the cost of this war to the citizens of this country--
"The real cost is not just the billions of dollars that could've
been used for education and healthcare, it is the loss of freedom,
of privacy..." She ended by reminding us that "We who
oppose this war are the real patriots!"
We greatly appreciated Carol Mosely-Braun for taking time out from
the Democratic Convention to address the United for Peace and Justice
"What are we teaching our children today?" Senator Richard
Alarcon questioned. "Bush is using 9/11 to teach our children
that the death of 3,000+ people at the World Trade Center can only
be rectified by killing people in Iraq--- I fail to see how this
kind of teaching can create a future!"
Alarcon called for a different kind of war: "What about a
war on poverty, on hunger, on lack of health care?--- what about
wars on that?!!!"
And speaking politically, Senator Alarcon (Senate Majority Whip,
Chair of the Labor Committee, and Chair of the Latino Caucus) looked
across the street to the State Democratic Convention, where Presidential
candidates were addressing delegates. "Any Democratic Presidential
candidate must be against this war!"
Note: The California Democratic Party overwhelmingly passed a resolution
against an invasion of Iraq. Presidential hopefuls Rep. Dennis Kucinich,
Carol Moseley-Braun, Howard Dean, and Sen. John Kerry all spoke
strongly against the war.