grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

Search site - New! Calendar - Calendar Archive
Contents - Archives - War Crimes - GI Special - Student Activism - Links

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Books of the Month

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

Thousands Protest War on April 5th during National Student Mobilization
Day of Action called by Campus Anti-War Network (CAN)

The Campus Anti-War Network galvanized student-led protests in Chicago; Austin, Texas; Washington, DC; and Oakland, CA. See stories below from the Chicago Tribune amd the San Francisco Chronicle.

Also see the PHOTO-JOURNAL from Washington, DC.


(Photos courtesy of Kirstin Roberts, CAN)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0304060252apr06,1,5715327.story

Students jam Loop streets in protest

By Rick Jervis, Tribune staff reporter.
Tribune staff reporter Sean D. Hamill and contributing writer Jane M. Adams contributed to this report
Published April 6, 2003

Trying to shake a spreading image that they're not active enough, students across the nation gathered, marched and chanted their contempt for the Iraq war Saturday.

The national student anti-war group Campus Anti-war Network galvanized student-led protests in Chicago, Austin, Texas, Washington and Oakland. ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾In Chicago, an estimated 3,000 mostly student protesters from high schools and universities in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin crowded into the Kluczynski Federal Plaza for a noon rally.

Braving temperatures in the low 30s, the crowd stomped through tunes by the Beastie Boys and hip-hop artist Common that played through the public-address system and gave speeches before marching through downtown Chicago. They were escorted by an almost equal number of Chicago police officers with riot gear.

Protesters filled the plaza nearly shoulder-to-shoulder, giving a picture of strong student dissent to the war. But some students admitted political apathy still plagues their campuses, particularly as the war in Iraq grinds on.

"Used to be we'd come in huge groups to these protests," said Alex Mufsan, 15, a freshman at Oak Park-River Forest High School. "Now there's a sense of, `Well, it's started, what can we do?'"

University campuses across the country, once the epicenters of Vietnam protests, have been relatively quiet since the start of the war last month.

John Ackerman, a University of Chicago graduate student, said he was impressed by the throngs of students he saw filling plazas and protesting the war in Milan and Bologna during a recent trip to Italy. That level of student activism isn't seen in the U.S., he said.

"It's a bit discouraging," Ackerman said. "You saw what looked like millions of people in the streets of Italy. There should be more people here today."

But student organizers counter that current protests began even before the war in Iraq started, and Vietnam protests didn't truly galvanize until four years into the conflict. They also point to the massive walkouts that took place in high schools and colleges across Chicago shortly after the Iraqi war began as a sign of student involvement.

Dennis Kosuth, 26, a biology student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and one of aturday's organizers, said he had only five other organizers in his "UIC No War" group at the start of the U.S.-led war on terrorism in Afghanistan in 2001. By the time American troops stormed into southern Iraq last month, that number had swelled to 35 organizers who were planning walkouts and mobilizing hundreds of students to Chicago-area protests, he said.

"We're only 10 days into this war," Kosuth said. "I'd say we're leaps and bounds ahead of Vietnam protests."

Saturday's protest also drew some unexpected activists. Aaron Patterson, a former Death Row inmate exonerated in January by former Gov. George Ryan, took the mic and tried to stir the crowd.

"The only way to get our troops home is to be out here at every protest. They did this for Vietnam and we're going to do it again now," he said.

The crowds marched from the federal plaza to North Stetson Avenue, west on Lake Street and back to the plaza down Clark Street, sometimes filling three full blocks.

Along the way, protesters held signs reading "Books Not Bombs" and "How Many Lives Per Gallon?" They swayed and clapped to marching bands playing "When the Saints Come Marching In."

On the West Coast, Lisa Hesselgesser, a library assistant from Oakland, carried a sign in an anti-war rally in Oakland that read: "How about $750,000 a minute on health care, education and peace?" Thousands joined the march, which was led by singer and activist Harry Belafonte and actor Danny Glover.

"This is a momentum that's not going to stop," Hesselgesser said.

The protesters streamed into downtown Oakland, beating drums and chanting "Rise up!" Organizers estimated the crowd at more than 20,000, though police put the number closer to 7,000. No arrests were reported.

There have been about 3,000 arrests in nationwide protests since the war began last month, mostly for obstructing traffic or blocking buildings. Chicago police arrested more than 600 marchers the first week of the war after they blocked off Lake Shore Drive and other streets.

Chicago police reported no incidents in Saturday's march. In response to complaints during earlier rallies, about one-third of the riot police wore Velcro straps on their chest with their names and badge numbers stitched on, better identifying them for accountability. More of the strips are being made, police Cmdr. John Risley said.

Police presence didn't keep students from around the Midwest from attending the Chicago rally. More than 30 students from Wayne State University in Detroit joined the protest.

"If they have to pay billions of dollars for this war, they're going to come after us for the money," said Till Kuhr, 24, a Wayne State student. "Students everywhere should be concerned."

Copyright © 2003, Chicago Tribune


San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/06/MN298915.DTL

Thousands rally at anti-war gathering in Oakland
Demonstrators say war costs are draining funds for social services

Pamela J. Podger ( ppodger@sfchronicle.com ), Jim Herron Zamora, Kelly St. John - Chronicle Staff Writers
Sunday, April 6, 2003

People of all ages and ethnicities gathered in the East Bay on Saturday to rally against the war in Iraq -- and to put their objections to its cost, which they feel is diverting money from social programs, in the spotlight.

The marchers started at two points -- Oakland's Mosswood Park and Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley -- and merged before winding up at Oakland's civic center for an afternoon of speeches and camaraderie.

The speakers at Civic Center Plaza shared a theme: that the war in Iraq is diverting government money and resources from critical problems in Oakland and other American cities.

"Stop building bombs and start building schools," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D- Oakland. "Stop giving tax cuts to the wealthy."

Lee has gained popularity among peace protesters since casting the lone vote against Bush's global campaign against terror.

But the rally's loudest applause was saved for singer and activist Harry Belafonte.

"I've just come from five weeks touring all over Europe. At each and every place I have been, I have been asked what Americans are doing about cleaning our own house," the 77-year-old Belafonte told the crowd. "We stand here today as the beginning of a movement to take back America to the place where it belongs, to the people."

Representatives of the Peace and Justice Coalition, which organized the event, estimated the crowd at between 15,000 and 20,000. Oakland police put the number at 7,000, but said that was a conservative estimate.

"This is a very mellow crowd," said Oakland police Lt. Dave Kozicki, who was stationed nearby outside Oakland City Hall. "We have had absolutely no problems. I wish they were all this easy."

Omar Yassin, 34, of Oakland, said he hoped the diverse ethnicities represented by the marchers would convey an important message.

"We're people of color. We're not the progressives or white people, and we need to show that we're all against the war," he said. "There are so many things we could be spending money on that are better, are positive, and would enrich people's lives. It's crazy."

Similarly, Martha Benitez, 28, of Oakland, said the government should be spending money to improve the quality of life, not to wage war.

"I think the U.S. can take the role of global police once everyone in our country is guaranteed health care, quality education, access to living-wage jobs, child care and other social support that doesn't exist right now or are being cut dramatically," she said.

Organizers said they specifically held the event in Oakland to attract low- income people and minorities who, according to polls, are the most likely to oppose the war in Iraq even though they have been less likely to attend anti- war events in San Francisco.

They also are among the people most affected by cuts in social service programs.

The crowd marched down Telegraph Avenue, drawing curious stares, occasional jeers and many waves of support from local residents and merchants.

One shop owner smiled and said she couldn't remember ever seeing a protest in her neighborhood, then added, "I think it's great."

One contingent was full of high school students.

"All that money he's using for war, (Bush) could be using to save the schools or keeping kids away from drugs," said Reyna Matthews, 15, a freshman at Far West High School.

Tashia Holloman, an Oakland High senior, said, "One thing you'll never see is rich people on the front line."

She added, "If we were Bush's kids, would he send them to schools like ours? No."

Marcus Wilson, 29, was likewise angry at Bush.

"For just a tiny fraction of what it costs to send all those Marines over there, we could not only bail out Oakland schools, we could improve them," said Wilson, 29, holding the hand of his 7-year-old daughter. "In Oakland, the schools are bankrupt, the homicide rate is going up and kids are selling drugs because they can't find jobs.

"And Bush wants to rebuild Iraq. If we had oil, maybe we could get Bush to invade here, too."

A number of others also had brought their children with them.

Maria Morales, 34, of Oakland, was accompanied by her son Pablo, 10, and daughter Adriana, 4.

"It's good for the kids to do something," she said. "They get afraid watching TV or listening to other kids."

While the bulk of the marchers started at Mosswood Park, about 250 students gathered at UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza.

Before they embarked up Telegraph Avenue, they were confronted by about 20 students from the Berkeley College Republicans, carrying pro-troops signs with slogans such as "I hate war but I hate Saddam more."

Kate Sassoon, a freshman, faced off against senior Kelso Barnett, who was holding a "God Bless America" placard.

"I believe we're killing the Iraqi people," Sassoon said.

"We're actually liberating them," Barnett countered.

Seth Norman, who helped organize the Republican contingent, said he had recently enlisted in the Army in hopes of serving overseas.

"I respect their First Amendment right to be here, but at Berkeley, everything turns anti-American," the 21-year-old Norman said. "The reason we came out was to show support for the troops."

Vietnam War veteran Richard Sanderell, who wore a T-shirt showing a picture of himself in his U.S. Navy uniform after boot camp, confronted the pro-war demonstrators and asked them how many had ever talked to a veteran about war.

"When I went to Vietnam, I thought I was supporting freedom," Sanderell said. "History has shown it was a big lie. These students . . . need to ask serious questions about what they are really supporting. You may spend years trying to live this down."

Chronicle staff writer Suzanne Herel contributed to this report.

Page created April 7, 2003 by Charlie Jenks