Tuesday, October 02, 2007

From Protest to Resistance: Report on September 29 Mobilization; $150 Billion More Approved for Occupations

From Protest to Resistance...

Preliminary Report from the Encampment to Stop the War and the the September 29 March on Washington

Militant march and direct action follow week-long challenge in front of Congress

For one week, activists from across the U.S. maintained a 24-hour encampment directly in front of the Capitol to demand "Cut the War Funding - Stop the War at Home and Abroad!" ( for details, photos, video and more, see http://encampmenttostopthewar.blogspot.com )

The march on Saturday, September 29 was a departure in tone and make-up from many past anti-war demonstrations. It was a serious and highly successful effort to involve more community based organizations and issues and to link the struggle against the war with the struggles against racism, oppression, and economic injustice at home.

The multinational crowd that assembled Saturday morning included contingents from Common Ground, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Code Pink, the Peoples Organization for Progress, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party of the U.S., BAYAN USA, and many more. Speakers and participants all drew clear links between the war in Iraq and the war at home.

Estimates of turnout ranged from 10,000 to 15,000. The march took a route that wound through the DC streets targeting FEMA, ICE, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Education.

At the end of the march hundreds of youth organized an action that blocked traffic on major streets in front of the Capitol including sit-ins of Pennsylvania and Constitution Ave for 5 to 6 hours.

Hundreds of young activists signed up to join Troops Out Now. A simple flyer asked:

"If you believe that the antiwar movement, should also fight racism here in the U.S.

If you believe that endless war is not merely evil or wrong, but central to U.S. Imperialism’s drive to re-colonize the middle east and much of the rest of the world... and it must be stopped!

If you believe that supporting the struggle of immigrant workers in the fight against raids and deportations is something that the antiwar movement should be involved in.

If you believe that supporting the struggle of poor and working people is key to our movement…..than join us."


Senate Approves $150B in War Funding

2007-10-02 04:39:41

WASHINGTON (AP) - Thwarted in efforts to bring troops home from Iraq, Senate Democrats helped pass a defense policy bill authorizing another $150 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Monday's 92-3 vote comes as the House planned to approve separate legislation Tuesday that requires President Bush to give Congress a plan for eventual troop withdrawals.

The developments underscored the difficulty facing Democrats in the Iraq debate: They lack the votes to pass legislation ordering troops home and are divided on whether to cut money for combat, despite a mandate by supporters to end the war.

Hoping the political landscape changes in coming months, Democratic leaders say they will renew their fight when Congress considers the money Bush wants in war funding.

While the Senate policy bill authorizes the money to be spent, it does not guarantee it; Bush will have to wait until Congress passes a separate appropriations bill before war funds are transferred to military coffers.

"I think that's where you're going to see the next dogfight," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., of the upcoming war spending bill.

Democrats say their options include directing that the money be spent on bringing troops home instead of combat; setting a date when money for the war is cut off, and identifying a goal to end the war to try to pressure Bush to bring troops home.

Similar attempts have been made but fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate.

"Many of us have reached a breaking point on this," said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "I've done this for too many years. I've waited for the president to start bringing this war to an end. I'm not going to sign up for this any longer."

In the House, Democrats are pushing for a bill that would require the administration to report to Congress in 60 days and every 90 days thereafter on the status of its redeployment plans in Iraq.

The bill, sponsored by Democrats John Tanner of Tennessee and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, was initially cast aside as too mild by Democratic leaders focused on tougher proposals ordering troops home this fall.

But after Democrats were unable to peel off Republican support, the Iraq debate stalled and some four dozen rank-and-file Democrats demanded a vote on the Abercrombie-Tanner bill.

"This will be the first time since the war in Iraq began that we are working together as a Congress instead of one party or another to be a constructive voice in the civilian management of operations in Iraq," Tanner said in a statement e-mailed to the Associated Press.

In February, Bush requested more than $140 billion for the war, and is expected to ask for another $42 billion to cover costs in the 2008 budget year, which began Monday. The Senate's defense policy bill authorizes Bush's initial request, plus an additional $23 billion for the purchase of bomb-resistent vehicles.

In addition to war money, the Senate's defense policy bill authorizes more than a half trillion dollars in annual military programs, including such big-ticket items as $10.1 billion for missile defense.

Republicans predict the bill is on track to be vetoed by President Bush because it includes hate-crimes legislation by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. The White House has said Kennedy's proposal, which would let federal law enforcement help states prosecute attacks on gays, is unnecessary.

The House passed its version of the defense authorization bill in May by a 397-27 vote. That $646 billion measure would trim hundreds of millions of dollars from some weapons modernization programs and use the money instead to aid troops in combat.

The House bill has drawn a veto threat from the White House because of provisions insisting the military rely heavily on American-made products and proposed changes to the Pentagon's personnel policies.

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