Local, national groups rally to protest war

At noon on Saturday, Jan. 18, Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee will picket along East State Street and Alpine. People are invited to rally one hour before at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St., four blocks north and east of Alpine and State.

The 11 a.m. rally and noon picket line will be in support of a national demonstration against the war in Iraq in Washington, D.C. Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee is sponsoring the event as well as sending five delegates to the D.C. action.

The picket will last one hour, and the rally will include speeches, prayers and songs from local peace activists.

For more information, call Stanley Campbell at (815) 964-7111.

Women For Peace rally Friday, Jan. 17

War, poverty and racism, the three evils named by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are intimately linked to the oppression of women.

Together, they form strands of a rope binding people worldwide. Untangle that rope by joining in a women’s day of action, in conjunction with a week of resistance to the U.S. war against Iraq.

Why a women’s action? Because women have a unique perspective on issues of war and peace.

Poverty is a women’s issue. The vast majority of people worldwide living in poverty are women and children. The war against Iraq will divert desperately needed funds from social programs, health care and education. Racism is a women’s issue. Women of color and women of discriminated groups bear the double burden of race and sex oppression.

War is a women’s issue. Women die under the bombs, see their homes, families and ability to provide for the next generation destroyed. War exalts the values of toughness, hardness and aggression that a patriarchal culture assigns to men, and denigrates compassion, nurturing, tenderness and love.

A candlelight peace vigil will be held at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 17 at the Keeling-Puri Peace Plaza off Perryville Road in Rockford. The Plaza is accessible from McFarland Road, just south of McDonald’s on Riverside and Perryville.

If you wish to participate in the rally, please bring signs with large, easy-to-read messages against the war in Iraq, candles, warm clothes, songs, drums, and your outraged spirit. Or just bring yourself. Men’s support and presence are welcome.

National March on Washington Jan. 18

The following information was supplied by A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

When Congress rejects the will of the people, the people must act themselves. Congress has rubber-stamped Bush’s criminal war that seeks to conquer the oil, land and resources of the Middle East. Bush and Congress have shown that they represent the interests of Corporate America rather than the people of the United States.

A people’s movement is growing to stop them. Tens of thousands of people will participate in mass protest activities on the Martin Luther King Jr. anniversary weekend.

Dr. King publicly condemned the U.S. war in Vietnam, providing a powerful connection between the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement. In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech at Riverside Church in 1967, he stated, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today [is] my own government. … For the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.”

Dr. King believed it was impossible to successfully wage a war on poverty at home while waging a war of aggression in Vietnam. The same can be said today about George W. Bush’s global war drive. Social programs and services are being looted as Bush and Congress provide record-breaking sums for weapons of mass destruction and war.

This week Bush signed into law Congress’ new defense budget that transfers a billion dollars a day from the people into the hands of the military-industrial complex.

The thousands of people who are coming to Washington, D.C., honor Dr. King and his legacy by opposing another criminal war—this time in the Middle East—and by demanding instead that these hundreds of billions of dollars be spent on jobs, education, housing, healthcare and to meet human needs.

Join with others around the country by bringing a diverse delegation from your community to participate in the Jan. 18 mass march in D.C. or San Francisco. Please contact (202) 544-3389 or dca@internationalANSWER.org.

Scenario and politics of Jan. 18

While all eyes are focused on the purported threat coming from Iraq, the Bush administration has sharply reorganized U.S. military doctrine and strategy as it prepares to actually use weapons of mass destruction in coming conflicts as a matter of declared policy.

Jan. 18, people across the United States will converge at the west side of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., and march in a mass demonstration to the Washington Navy Yard—a massive military installation in a working-class neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C., that parks warships on the Anacostia River. [Protesters] will demand the immediate elimination of U.S. weapons of mass destruction, and a people’s inspection team will call for unfettered access and a full declaration of U.S. non-conventional weapons systems.

Bush seeks to have world attention focused on the disarmament of Iraq as the pre-eminent threat to world peace, while the real threat of nuclear war and the use of weapons of mass destruction arises within the U.S. administration. This is the politics of diversion and should give pause to those who are thinking of joining in Bush’s sleight-of-hand anti-Iraq chorus, believing it to be a path to peace. The nuclear threat posed by the United States is neither rhetoric nor speculation, it is the now-announced doctrine and strategy of the Bush White House. It represents the ushering in of a new era of unrestrained and unprovoked catastrophic violence.

“Preemptive Strikes are Part of U.S. Strategic Doctrine,” reads the headline of the front page of the Washington Post of Dec. 11, 2002. A classified version of the new Bush Doctrine “breaks with the fifty years of counter-proliferation efforts” by planning for the use of nuclear weapons against countries that not only have not attacked the U.S. but that do not themselves possess nuclear capability.”

A.N.S.W.E.R. believes all weapons of mass destruction should be banished from the planet. But this is impossible until the biggest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction—the one at the disposal of trigger-happy George W. Bush and Co.—is eliminated. Any other call for disarmament will not be viewed as legitimate by the rest of the world.

These war hawks are determined to breach the “taboo” against the use of nuclear weapons that grew after the world experienced the horror of the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

We must stop the Bush administration from threatening and killing the people of the world who are not our enemy. For information, go to http://www.InternationalANSWER.org

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