Arizona: Glendale, 10; Phoenix
California: San Francisco, 200 at a main march plus numerous small actions at various sites, 150 were arrested for civil disobedience; Sonoma, 160, 1 cd arrest; Benicia, 40; San Rafael, "several hundred"; Sacramento, nearly 100; San Luis Obsipo, 200; Pasadena, two separate vigils, attend by 20 and 80, respectively
Colorado: Greeley, 15-20
Connecticut: Hartford, 100, 5 cd arrests; Norwich, 45
Florida: Doral, 8 dressed in black; Miami, 6 dressed in black; Sarasota County, several groups along US 41, there were 20 at one site
Georgia: Augusta, two dozen
Idaho: Idaho falls, 145
Illinois: Chicago, 2200; Chicago (Loyola U. campus), 6 with guerrilla theater
Indiana: Bloomington, 70; South Bend (Notre Dame campus); Fort Wayne
Iowa: Des Moines, 11, 2 cd arrests
Kansas: Lawrence, 40
Kentucky: Louisville, about 12 people who laid out boots and shoes representing both US and Iraqi dead
Massachusetts: Cambridge (Harvard campus), 50; Boston, five separate vigils plus 100 at a rally plus 5 arrests for cd; Chickopee, 8 arrests for civil disobedience; Northampton
Michigan: East Lansing (Michigan State campus)
Nebraska: Lincoln, 250; Omaha
Nevada: Reno, over 200
New Jersey: Trenton, 70
New York: NYC, 10,000; Binghamton, 70, 10 arrested; Syracuse, 150 with 22 arrests; Syracuse (Syracuse U. campus), 20; Rochester, 150; Brooklyn, 200; Albany, 1000
North Carolina: Greensboro, 35; Asheville, 75-100
North Dakota: Grand Forks (U. of North Dakota campus), 40
Ohio: More than 20 actions across the state including Cincinnati, 4000 t-shirts laid out to represent US dead
Oregon: Corvallis; Portland, "at least" 400, 4 arrests
Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh; Philadelphia, guerrila theater and cd with members of the Granny Peace Brigage trying to enlist; Harrisburg, 200
South Carolina: Charleston, 12-24; Greenville; Columbia, 70 (a group "larger than expected")
Texas: San Antonio, 30; Seguin, 6; Austin, over 100; San Marcos; Bryan-College Station; Amarillo; San Angelo, 50; Waco
Tennessee: Memphis; Chattanooga, nearly 100; Nashville; Mufreesboro, 25 plus an evening vigil
Vermont: Rutland, 100; Burlington, 30
Washington: Ferndale, nearly 100
Washington, DC: more than 100 at the IRS, with 32 arrested for cd; American Petroleum Institute, dozens; various others totaling 1000
West Virginia: Lewisburg, 50; Shepherdstown, 60
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Rapids; Madison, 100; Appleton; Elm Grove; Evansville; Kenosha; Manitowoc; Mazomanie; Minocqua; Milwaukee
Belgium: Brussels, 700 at NATO headquarters, 150 cd arrests, 450 more "held briefly"
Greece: Athens, 1000
I know for certain these aren't all the actions, these are just the ones I found in a scan of Yahoo! News. United for Peace and Justice says there were 700 events around the country. The group's website has 131 reports from actions, including a fair number not in the above list - which is how I can be certain my list isn't complete.
The things struck me about that list and those reports - well, yes, I did notice the generally-smaller turnouts at the "main," i.e., big city, events, but everyone noticed that - were first the geographical diversity of the actions and how many of them occurred in smaller cities and towns; and second that by the reports, despite being in places like Amarillo, Texas, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Lincoln, Nebraska, there was surprisingly little hostility. Of course, it was not one big love fest and there were those who shouted the odd obscenity (and, in one eerie what-decade-are-you-stuck-in moment, "Get a job!") but it seemed at least to me to show that if it's getting harder to turn people out to vocally oppose the war, it's gotten even harder than that to find anyone who actually supports the war and even those who do, do it more in a "we're stuck there" way ("It'd be worse if we left") than actual approval.
(Sidebar for a passing thought: Have you come across anyone opposed to withdrawal whose arguments are not slight parapharases of George Bushisms? And sometimes they're not even paraphrased?)
And one other thing struck me: How many of the actions tried for drama rather than numbers (like the folks dressed in black in Florida), involved guerrila theater (and I mean more than just funny costumes or giant paper-maché heads, I mean like the group that staged a mock waterboarding in DC), and/or included nonviolent civil disobedience, the latter of which lead to something like 250 (or more) arrests across the US. The Iraq war may not be the burning issue in people's minds that it once was, especially in light of the souring economy, and for that reason if no other the antiwar movement may have trouble producing the hundreds of thousands on the streets that it once did, but for that same reason the movement may be both penetrating to areas it hadn't reached before and gaining a harder, sharper, more aggressive edge in the areas it had reached.
Neither of those is a bad thing because, as Tom Engelhardt pointed out recently, barring some astounding, body-meets-floor-wth-a-thud-generating change among Congressional Dimcrats, there is going to be a sixth anniversary of the war no matter who wins the presidency.
Take Hillary Clinton, she's said that she'll task the Joint Chiefs, the new Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council with having a plan for (partial) withdrawal in place within 60 days of coming into office. Since inauguration day is January 20th, that means… March 21st or two days after the sixth anniversary; by which time, of course, nothing would have changed substantially.So yeah, there will be a sixth anniversary. And unless we make it politically unpalatable, there may well be a seventh. And an eighth.
Barack Obama has promised to remove U.S. "combat" troops at a one-to-two-brigades-a-month pace over a 16 month period. So it's possible that troop levels could drop marginally before March 19, 2009 in an Obama presidency, but again there is no reason to believe that anything essential would have happened to change that "anniversary."
[T]he stated plans of both Democratic candidates, vague and limited as they may be, might not turn out to be their actual plans. Note the recent comments of Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Powers ... [who before she resigned did] an interview with the BBC on her candidate's Iraq withdrawal policy. "He will, of course, not rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator," Powers said and then she referred to Obama's plan as nothing more than a - you guessed it - "best-case scenario."So I think it would be wise to start thinking about next year already. If it were up to me, I'd call for a two-part program: First, nationwide vigils during the holiday season. Low-key but widespread, looking not so much for large numbers of people as a large number of places. This March, there were about 700 locations. I'd push for a thousand. The message: If Clinton or Obama wins, "We will remember your promises to stop the war." If McCain wins, "We will not be silent or silenced. On this, we are the majority and we will plague your every step." Second, mass regional actions on the weekend closest to the anniversary (March 21-22, 2009) including nonviolent civil disobedience. By regional I mean maybe five or six sites spread across the country with people encouraged to go to the one closest. Maybe, for example, New York, DC, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Instead of one place getting 100,000, maybe five places getting an average of 20-25,000 each.
Similarly, a Clinton sometime-advisor on military matters, retired General Jack Keane, also one of the authors of President Bush's surge strategy, told the New York Sun that, in the Oval Office, "he is convinced [Hillary Clinton] would hold off on authorizing a large-scale immediate withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq." And Clinton herself, though less directly, has certainly hinted at a similar willingness to reconsider her policy promises in the light of an Oval Office morning.
I suppose that's something of a pipe dream, especially if Clinbama wins because I strongly suspect that in that event, in much of what passes for the left these days, the primary reaction will be relief and the primary urge will be to "give them a chance." Much as we were urged to "give Congress a chance" in 2007. Let's not forget that during the last presidential campaign, one prominent "progressive" blogger
asked, in all seriousness, "why are there going to be protests at the Democratic Convention?" That was followed up by suggesting only "the usual loonies" and "the crazies" would do such a thing.After Bush won, another such blogger attacked the proposal for a counter-inaugural on the grounds that it would make "us" look like "sore losers, and worse, hopeless partisans."
So I have no faith that an argument of "keeping their feet to the fire" will impress such voices, which I fully expect in the wake of a Democrat taking the White House to immediately transmogrify from attack dogs into lap dogs. So maybe that shift toward smaller but more dramatic and more aggressive (in the sense of defiant and challenging) demonstrations is just what we need. What we surely don't need are more Democrat sycophants.
Footnote: Just in case you missed this:
A conference to reconcile Iraq's rival political parties fell apart almost as soon as it began on Tuesday, with influential Sunni and Shi'ite blocs pulling out in protest.Only half of the 700 invitees even showed up.
On Tuesday, Accordance Front spokesman Salim al-Jubouri complained that the bloc had not been properly invited to conference. He also said the Front decided not to attend because resolutions from other past conferences had not been acted upon. ...So - what are your plans for March 21, 2009?
The Accordance Front pulled out of Maliki's Shi'ite-led government in August. Other blocs, including Sadr's political movement, followed suit, leaving Maliki with a government of national unity in name only.