Scroll down for a new update on the St. Patrick's Day Four Trial.
As antiwar sentiment keeps broadening and calls for withdrawal become more and more mainstream, this weekend's antiwar activities in Washington could be the US's largest Iraq war protest yet. With Congressional initiatives for withdrawal beginning to take shape, we could be coming to one of those tipping point moments everyone is so fond of citing these days.
Here's the official schedule for Saturday's antiwar march and rally, organized by United for Peace and Justice. It's a full day that starts with a late morning rally, a march through downtown Washington and an antiwar fair on the grounds of the Washington Monument, capped off by a concert featuring Le Tigre, Ted Leo, Jello Biafra and Steve Earle, among many others.
10:00am, Peace & Justice Festival Begins, Washington Monument Grounds
11:30am, Rally at Ellipse
12:30pm, March begins
3:00pm, Operation Ceasefire concert
Saturday's events will be followed by a UFPJ-organized day of training for two concurrent, complementary actions on Monday: personal lobbying of Congressional reps and civil disobedience outside the White House. (The CD training is particularly useful for those who've never taken part in similar protests before.)
UFPJ's goal for the lobbying is to have more than 600 people from around the country meet with more than 100 members of Congress and their aides. The delegations will include Cindy Sheehan and fellow members of Gold Star Families for Peace on the Bring them Home Now Tour. (Click here to join them.)
There are still lots of ways you can help. First, if you can, come to Washington! If you're coming from NYC, taking one of the UFPJ buses is the cheapest (only $35/roundtrip!) and probably easiest way to go. There are also UFPJ buses leaving from many other places. Click here for departure locations and to buy tickets. If you're driving, leave early (or the night before) or the traffic will kill you, and click here and read the good advice, which includes parking info for when you arrive in the District. You can also consult this housing board for rides nationwide.
Other ways to help:
If you have a website, add a UFPJ banner.
The Green Festival
This weekend is going to be a busy one in the Washington, DC area. In addition to the antiwar protests, there's also the annual Green Festival which The Nation is proud to be co-sponsoring. If you'll be in the area next Saturday or Sunday, please stop by the Washington Convention Center (Mt. Vernon metro stop) to check out the Festival.
Co-produced by Global Exchange and Co-Op America, the GF brings together socially responsible businesses, environmental groups, leading thinkers, and thousands of attendees for a two-day party with a very serious objective: expanding popular support for policies aimed at ecological sustainability and social justice. Check out the more than 125 speakers and 350 exhibitors. Speakers this year include Dennis Kucinich, Jim Hightower, Greg Palast, Dolores Huerta, Medea Benjamin, Van Jones and many others. You can also meet Nation staffers, pick up free copies of the mag, buy discounted shirts and caps and participate in a special Nation raffle--at booth #1021 all weekend.
You're also invited to a special Friday night benefit party hosted by Jim Hightower on Sept. 23 starting at 7:00pm at the Convention Center. Guests receive free organic food and wine plus two free tickets to the entire Green Festival weekend. Click here for info and tickets.
St. Patrick's Day Four Trial Update--Sept. 22
In the first federal prosecution of civilian war protesters on conspiracy charges since Vietnam, the prosecutor rested his case yesterday, Sept. 21, against four antiwar activists after calling just four witnesses over three days.
The four protesters, longtime members of the militantly pacifist group Catholic Worker who spilled drops of their blood at a recruiting center before the invasion of Iraq two years ago, were portrayed by a federal prosecutor as religious zealots who routinely destroy government property yet have mostly evaded consequences.
Now the four on trial, who are defending themselves, take their turn to make their case, arguing that the illegality of the US invasion of Iraq renders their actions in nonviolent protest justifiable, maybe even necessary. As they wrote in a recent article published on Common Dreams, "We were compelled to act by the Nuremburg Principles of international law, which state that citizens have individual rights and duties to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity which supersede our obligations to obey domestic law. And we were inspired by our nation's rich history of nonviolent action for justice."