Mini-demonstrations of about a hundred persons each were organized at eight points along Wilshire Blvd. starting at noon today. These demonstrations are building to a mass rally and march today at 5pm at Westwood and Wilshire Blvds. These pictures were taken at Wilshire and Fairfax around 1pm today. Aside from that site, noon demonstrations were held along Wilshire at Figueroa, Alvarado, Vermont, Normandie, Crenshaw, Westwood and the 3rd Street Promenade. The critical mass bicyclists are riding the entire length of Wilshire to knit the demonstrations together and sweep them into Westwood for the major gathering at 5pm. A short clip of them as they passed Fairfax is included in this report.
The above is from Not Waiting's "World Can't Wait Pre-Demos All Along Wilshire Building to Mass Demo at 5pm Today" (LA Indymedia) and was sent in by Cindy. It's Thursday and we're doing the Indymedia roundup (we have one mainstream in this entry) and the focus here is The World Can't Wait events from Wednesday.
Cindy also notes Felix Prosser's "URGENT! World Can't Wait--High School student suspended for organizing" (LA Indymedia):
This is an urgent update Sara Escudero, a high school student who's been part of organizing the most vibrant student movement since the 1994 Prop-187 walkouts was suspended for two days by the principal of Reside High, for passing out leaflets without his permission. This bully then told her they're going to try to expel her, and threatened to arrest her because some stickers made their way onto a police car and she had stickers.
Students like Sara have been putting themselves on the line for the future -- of humanity! We've got to have their backs. Call Reseda High to protest. Join the massive protest in the streets, along Wilshire, beginning at noon.
Marlene e-mails to note "Report From Los Angeles" (The World Can't Wait):
Determined to Drive out the Bush Regime, thousands of high school students walked out of schools all over L.A. county today and made their way to World Can't Wait convergence points all along Wilshire Blvd. Many of them risked suspensions, expulsions, and even arrest, while some had to break out of locked down campuses and past school administrators, locked school gates, and police threats.
At a rally at the Westwood Federal Building, thousands of people crowded the lawn in front of the stage, stirred by the words and performances of Bianca Jagger, Rickie Lee Jones, Culture Clash and others. The rally was followed by a spirited march of 2000-2500 people through Westwood Village, where they were warmly greeted by onlookers.
The rally and march were covered by CNN, Indymedia, Telemundo, and local television channels 4, 7, 9, and 13, among others.
High School Walkouts:
--L.A. High: almost entire school walked out; someone driving down the street saw a crowd of 500 Black and Latino students in front of the school with signs, chanting against Bush, fists in air.
--Belmont HS: a student was passing out leaflets yesterday before school; jumped by cops, pepper-sprayed and arrested; today, at least 75 students and some teachers walked out
--Downtown Business Magnet HS: over 100 students walked out
--Marshall HS: over 100 students walked out
--Montebello HS: all week long, students have been wearing WCW armbands. Today, 40 students didn't go to school but gathered close by the school and had a march down Whittier Blvd. in ELA, carrying signs and chanting "Ya Basta" "F**k Bush" "Bush Lies, 1000s Die" "Queremos Paz, Quermos Justicia." Then they got on buses to go to Alvarado; when they told the bus driver what they were doing, she let them all ride for free.
--Van Nuys HS: on lockdown. Situation developing as we write. According to students inside, 20 students arrested when they tried to walk out. Students say dean physically assaulted 2 students--including a young woman--to try to prevent them from leaving. Students say they have a right to protest Bush and its unfair for school to try to stop them.
Reseda HS: one student suspended yesterday for "leafletting without proper authorization." Today, students tried to walk out but school principal issues lock down order and locked all the doors to the school. Some students jumped the fence. Reports still coming in from students inside.
Lincoln HS (East LA): 150 students tried to walk out; police blocked the front door and administrators blocked all other exits. Students still trying to figure out how to get out.
Hamilton HS: one group of 20 students walked out led by their assistant vice-principal and went to Westwood; another group of students walked out and went to Crenshaw.
Vista del Lago (Mar Vista): "a lot" of students walked out
Grant HS: 20 students walked out
Beverly Hills HS: some students tried to walk out but were threatened with suspension by admin. Haven't heard back from them.
Downey HS: 10 students walked out
Santa Monica HS & John Adams Middle School: 100s of students walked out
Orthopedic Hospital Medical Magnet HS: 60 students walked out
Harvest Charter School: a number walked out
Fairfax HS: lots of students walked out
South Gate HS: 10 students
Lynwood HS: 40-50 tried to walk out but prevented so they staged a sit-in in front of administration office. Admin. now trying to suspend 4-5 students for trying to walk out.
A WCW activist reported that groups of youth and students were on corners throughout the Pico-Union barrio with WCW signs and banners, chanting WCW slogans (these were beyond the students at Wilshire Alvarado).
300 people came out at Figueroa: a very diverse crowd: 25 critical mass bicyclists; city hall workers in suits; teachers w/ their students; an older gay couple who'd made t-shirts especially for the day with WCW and the web address that they gave away to everyone at the corner; then several waves of high school students that rushed through the corner on their way to Alvarado.
Fairfax: @ 150 people on all 4 corners with banners and signs. Among those present were Out Against the War, Fairfax HS students, Axis of Justice. Lots of homemade signs and banners among a sea of WCW signs and banners; making banners and signs on-the-spot. Lots of honking cars, people on corners leafletting cars, signing up recruits, selling t-shirts. Young and old at their first demo ever agitating on the bullhorn @ why the Bush Regime must go and why the world can't wait.
At Crenshaw: @ 300 people, including students from LA High (escorted by administrators), Hamilton HS, and Harvest Charter School (escorted by their teachers). Very lively chanting, WCW banners and signs.
Vermont: UTLA board member said he and board members were going to join people from Immanuneul Presbyterian Church and Hollywood Congregational Church at noon (but we haven't heard back yet).
Colleen wanted Martha Groves and J. Michael Kennedy's "Angelenos Join in Anti-Bush Protest" (LA Times):
The Westwood rally attracted an estimated 1,200 protesters, including some who walked out of work and school to join in. The nighttime protest clogged traffic in parts of the Westside for hours.
Additionally, an estimated 1,000 Los Angeles students walked out of local high schools Wednesday for various daytime protests around the city. Among the schools hit by walkouts were Los Angeles High, Hamilton High and Lincoln High.
The protests were put together by World Can't Wait, a coalition formed recently to stage the rallies. The protesters used the anniversary of Bush's reelection to call for his resignation in major population centers that included Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.
At the Wednesday evening rally in Westwood, two dozen cardboard boxes were draped with American flags to resemble caskets.
[. . .]
Monica Carazo, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said World Can't Wait sent out fliers to schools urging students to leave school on the day of the protest.
"A lot of us were wondering where they were going," she said.
The protests began about noon along Wilshire Boulevard. Various speakers and musicians participated, including jazz vocalist Rickie Lee Jones; Edwin Ellis, the president of Veterans for Peace, Los Angeles; activist Bianca Jagger, and organizer Lucy Lee.
Colleen's argument for including the LA Times article was strong. The Los Angeles Times is not indymedia but it did actually report on the World Can't Wait activities. The New York Times sure didn't. So we'll make an exception and note them here.
Last night, I made a crack about Van Nuys (which I stand by -- not the people who live there, the ones in charge of the area) and Doyle found an article with more on the lockdown, Dana Bartholomew's "High school lockdown linked to Bush protest" (LA Daily News):
Van Nuys High School was temporarily locked down Wednesday after students protested against the Bush administration as part of a national demonstration.
Van Nuys High School Principal Herman Clay directed students to remain on campus and at their desks for 1 1/2 hours after he said two dozen students disrupted classes during the protest.
Some students said administrators threatened them with expulsion if they left campus and that one student was thrown to the ground as campus police attempted to take their pictures.
The lockout occurred as 1,000 Los Angeles students - including about 15 or 20 from Van Nuys High School who were accompanied by an administrator - left class to join a midday rally hosted by The World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime. The New York-based group had staged protests in 70 U.S. cities.
"We had a few other kids, I suppose in sympathy, they went around campus uttering anti-Bush statements," said Clay, who locked down the campus between 10:45 a.m. and the end of lunch. "They had refused a directive to go to class."
"This really wasn't a big deal. We only went through (the lockdown) because we didn't want to take the risk of more kids out of class."
The Los Angeles protest included a midday march down Wilshire Boulevard and a rally held outside the Federal Building.
The Providence Phoenix runs a big, long, pointless whine that may have been pertinent a year ago but only demonstrates how out of touch the writer is. As Lily notes, "It's so nice for these people who never bother to get informed just sit around with their thumbs up their asses pretending to have studied the situation as they give the most banal of 'analysis.'"
Micah e-mails to note "The feathers war hawk Hillary [Clinton]" -- Kristen Lombardi's "Cindy Sheehan for President: Or Senate. The Anti-war left seeks a challenger for Hillary Clinton" (The Village Voice):
Not surprisingly, activists take issue with her October 2002 vote to authorize President Bush to use military force in Iraq. And they find fault with votes the senator has cast ever since. She has backed every war appropriations bill, totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. She has filed legislation calling for expanding the U.S. Army by 80,000 soldiers over four years. And she has yet to push for a firm timetable for American troop withdrawal.
Leaders in the anti-war movement brought their complaints to the senator last month, as part of a Capitol Hill lobbying effort. On September 22, Clinton met with the movement's superstar, Sheehan, in a well-publicized meeting. New York activists, by contrast, got some face time with a legislative aide four days later. Thirty or so people, representing organizations from Syracuse to Albany and Manhattan, showed up at Clinton's office. They crammed a tiny room, surrounding the aide so, in the words of Colin Eager of Buffalo, "he'd feel a little bit of pressure."
They came with one request: They want Clinton to embrace a Senate resolution, sponsored by Wisconsin Democrat Russell Feingold, urging President Bush to submit to Congress a timeline for withdrawal. To activists, Eager says, the measure "is an immediate, concrete thing she could and should do. It's not a radical thing to ask the president for an exit plan."
Clinton, however, has yet to respond. (In fact, only one senator, California Democrat Barbara Boxer, has signed on to the bill.) Says Eisenberg, who also attended the September 26 meeting, "I can only conclude the senator is just not interested in our message."
[. . .]
Douglas Muzzio, who teaches political science at Baruch College, explains that activists "are asking Clinton to do the impossible." Activists tend to see the senator's positions as politically expedient, cold calculations designed to please everyone. But Muzzio sees it differently. "I think she believes in her votes. She is like a neo-liberal," he says, a true liberal on social issues, a true hawk on defense.
In other words, he says, "she is not their natural ally. She's not their 'it' anyway."
I've deleted a bunch of nonsense from the above. Not the journalist's nonsense but a lot of "defenders." Hillary needs to speak for herself and if she doesn't, she shouldn't be surprised if a planned run for president is derailed by others' truths about the health care plan of the 90s. This won't be the right screaming "socialized medicine!" This would be from people who worked on this issue for some time before 1992 and feel that universal health care was trashed in efforts by Hillary and company to appease the insurance companies.
Unlike the sadly named "Count Dookie" of Providence (kids, stay away from his "chocolate" cereal), Anya Kamenetz has a grasp on reality. Rachel e-mails to note Kamenetz's "Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young" (The Village Voice):
One Saturday this summer, Monique Dols, a Columbia University senior and a national leader of the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN), saw again why she has been working so hard to reach potential military recruits. "We were handing out flyers for an event with the brother of a military resister," Dols says of that day in Washington Heights. "Three 16-year-old [ROTC] cadets walked by in full military uniform. We started talking to them, and it turned out they were completely against the war. They had joined because it was an after-school program that provided structure and something for them to do. The priorities of a society that puts millions into military recruitment and continually cuts funding for after-school programs, that's backward, and that's the reality people are responding to."
When this column first covered counter-recruitment in January, the movement was a scattered, grassroots phenomenon, led by old-guard lefty organizations like the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors and Veterans for Peace. Since then, public opinion has turned decisively against the war in Iraq, and the active-duty army fell 8.5 percent short of its recruiting goals in the period that ended September 30, its worst year since 1979; the National Guard and army reserves did even worse. Counter-recruitment is growing into a truly broad, multigenerational, national movement that serves as a model for how diverse constituencies on the left can and should work together.
Jonah notes the news of NYC's World Can't Wait rally, Jed Brandt's "World Can't Wait, NYC: Hundreds Walk-Out, Thousands March" (NYC Indymedia):
I'm putting the size estimate at 2,000, with surges and ebbs along the way. It seemed that around 600 were gathered listening to the speakers, but as the march began crowds of students came in from the West and South sides of Union Square, swelling into the street and stretching for blocks.
Many people joined and fell away from the march as it progressed, with peaks that appeared significantly larger as the march moved through midtown. I have rarely seen this kind of spontaneous joining of protests. This says as much for the mood of the city as the spirit of the crowd.
Walkouts were organized at Midwood, Roslyn, Saunders, Beacon, and Notre Dame high schools. Campus walkouts came from Hunter College, CCNY, Baruch, Westchester Community College, with a lunchtime surge of NYU students at the Union Square rally.
Of the core crowd, 75% were high school and college students who had walked out from city-wide high schools and Manhattan campuses. The crowd was energetic, and noticably distinct from the "usual suspects" of the New York activist left who were conspicuously missing in action as coherent groupings.
The crowd was thoroughly diverse by race, with whites about 50% of the crowd; the rest evenly divided among Latinos, Blacks and Asians. There were no religious groups clustered by distinctive clothing. Unlike many protests in the thousands, there were no observable contingents based on identity or ideology. High-school crews and a horn/drum band created energy eddies in the crowd.
There was a red-and-black flag, a few American flags -- and the omnipresent flash green of the World Can't Wait stickers and placards.
Duncan e-mails to note Sofia Jarrin-Thomas' "The World Can't Wait: Students Against the War" (Boston IMC):
Cambridge Latin High School students came to protest in spite of what they called an "empty threat" from the principal to suspend them for three days if they joined the national day of action against the war.
The students were also greeted by Harvard staff who have been protesting the war every Wednesday at noon, ever since the Abu Ghraib torture scandal erupted, by walking in silent protest around campus. Similar walkouts occur every Wednesday at Boston College and Boston University.
"It's so good to see all these young people coming out against the war!" said an elderly activist who has regularly walked out on Wednesdays.
One of the organizers, Steven Bloomfield, spoke to the crowd about meeting hate with healing as a tool for defeating the architects of war. "We will not become victims of this war," he said. He recently was awarded the 2005 Peace and Justice Award by the Cambridge Peace Commission for his commitment to anti-war activism.
Racism, classism, and relocating funds to social causes instead of a war were many of the issues talked about at the protest. According to the National Priorities Project, the cost of war totaled about $205 billion by the end of the 2005 fiscal year.
The "World Can't Wait" campaign was set up as a civilian response to the Bush administration's mishandling and cover-up of intelligence to pursue an illegal war in Iraq.
Eddie e-mails to note Pete's "It Went Down Downtown" (Houston Indymedia):
A noontime rally today at Market Square, organized by the World Can’t Wait Coalition, demanded the removal of the current right wing administration. Touted as "the beginning of the end of the Bush regime" the rally coincided with last year’s contested election and sought to launch the mobilization of opposition groups of all stripes.
Members of local band Free Radicals started things off by playing drums. Although no horns were available, the duo succeeded in paying homage to the Crescent City by thumping a mildly rousing New Orleans beat. The following 10 or so speakers represented a wide array of people concerned about the state of the United States and its government. The organizers of the event, some of them aligned with the Revolutionary Communist Party, issued a call to action to counter the horrible atrocities and failures of the Bush administration. Their literature (some of which was recited by a speaker) declares "your Government, on the basis of outrageous lies, is waging a murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq, with other countries in their sights." This writer agrees with the above statement but wonders about the use of "your government?" It seems that, assuming we live in this country, “our government” or, simply, "the government" would be appropriate.
Preferring to paint the town with pastel touches, as opposed to plain red, Jerome and Dominguez slammed some soul-elevating political poetry. The poem by Jerome was an intensely angry yet creative piece. Its message of unity was felt by everyone. Dominguez gave us a soul-searching social critique. I laughed, I thought of things in new and unsuspected ways, and I found out that he has a great singing voice.
A woman from New Orleans spoke of her desperate fight for survival in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Her story was frightening and seemed to further confirm that governments need to prioritize human lives. George Rider spoke of the immense ecological challenges we face. The New Black Panther Party was there in force. They called for power to be in the hands of the common people. Nick, a local writer/ activist/musician, warned of the dangers of authoritarianism. He encouraged people to get involved in non-hierarchical groups such as indymedia.
The rally was inspiring but was weakly attended (there were 30 to 70 people). Maybe a Saturday or Sunday rally would draw a bigger crowd.
Liang e-mails to note "PROTESTS IN SAN FRANCISCO AND NATIONWIDE TO 'STOP' THE BUSH ADMINSTRATION" (SF Bay Area Indymedia):
People held rallies, feeder marches, and caravans from all over the Bay Area to gather in San Francisco. They converged at 12pm in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza, rallied from 12pm to 1pm, marched at 1:30pm, and an ended with another rally at 4:30pm in Civic Center Plaza. The march down Mission Street and back up Market was a sea of energized youth carrying aloft the distinctive WCW signs, doted with red “Not Our President! – Not in Our Name” posters and Earth flags.
Event speakers included Cindy Sheehan of Gold Star Families for Peace, California State Senator Carole Migden, SF Supervisor Chris Daly, CODEPINK’s Media Benjamin, Jeff Paterson on behalf of Not in Our Name, Paul George of the Pennisula Peace and Justice Center, a taped message from Mumia Abu Jamal, and a statement from WCW initiators the Revolutionary Communist Party.
After the main march left Civic Center, there was an unpermited breakaway march. As the march moved up Mission Street, a Molotov cocktail was tossed at the Chronicle Building. Near the end of the march, a small group sat down in the the street near Hyde and Market as a form of direct action. The police moved in and nine protesters were arrested. A tenth protester was arrested accused of having Molotov cocktails in their posession.
Tommy e-mails to note "Report from Atlanta" (The World Can't Wait):
500 to 600 people gathered in Woodruff Park downtown for the 1 PM rally. The crowd was mainly college and high school students. At least 7 high schools and 1 middle school had walkouts. The MC's of the rally were two students, one from Georgia State University and one from Spelman College, both of whom introduced themselves as having been activists for a whole 2 months! The first part of the rally was high school and middle schools students coming up to talk about why they came and what happened at the walkouts. At one high school, the administration had called an "intruder alert" at 10:45 AM, which means all the doors were shut and no one was allowed to leave their classrooms. The walkout had been scheduled for 11 AM. The "alert" was over at 11:15. One student walked out during the alert; others left when it was over. At another school, students were threatened with suspension and not being allowed to graduate.The rally was high energy and featured local hip-hop group The Expatriots. Speakers included the mother of the first soldier from Georgia to be killed in the Iraq War; the deputy director for the Southern Region of Amnesty International on the torture policy of the Bush administration, vice president of Concerned Black Clergy on the lessons of Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement, and a representative of A Justice for All coalition on the threat of the Alito nomination on abortion rights. A whole group of students from Spelman College spoke as well. Someone from the crowd came up to speak about the hunger strike going on at Guantanamo. The World Can't Wait announcement was made by a group of high school students.
Many older activists at the rally were amazed and inspired by the outpouring of so many passionate and outspoken youth. There was a sense that a new movement among high school and college students has emerged on the scene as of November 2nd.The day ended with a spirited march through downtown. Many youth on the march now see themselves as organizers of the movement to Drive Out the Bush Regime!
500 to 600 people gathered in Woodruff Park downtown for the 1 PM rally. The crowd was mainly college and high school students. At least 7 high schools and 1 middle school had walkouts. The MC's of the rally were two students, one from Georgia State University and one from Spelman College, both of whom introduced themselves as having been activists for a whole 2 months! The first part of the rally was high school and middle schools students coming up to talk about why they came and what happened at the walkouts. At one high school, the administration had called an "intruder alert" at 10:45 AM, which means all the doors were shut and no one was allowed to leave their classrooms. The walkout had been scheduled for 11 AM. The "alert" was over at 11:15. One student walked out during the alert; others left when it was over. At another school, students were threatened with suspension and not being allowed to graduate.The rally was high energy and featured local hip-hop group The Expatriots. Speakers included the mother of the first soldier from Georgia to be killed in the Iraq War; the deputy director for the Southern Region of Amnesty International on the torture policy of the Bush administration, vice president of Concerned Black Clergy on the lessons of Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement, and a representative of A Justice for All coalition on the threat of the Alito nomination on abortion rights. A whole group of students from Spelman College spoke as well. Someone from the crowd came up to speak about the hunger strike going on at Guantanamo. The World Can't Wait announcement was made by a group of high school students.Many older activists at the rally were amazed and inspired by the outpouring of so many passionate and outspoken youth. There was a sense that a new movement among high school and college students has emerged on the scene as of November 2nd.The day ended with a spirited march through downtown. Many youth on the march now see themselves as organizers of the movement to Drive Out the Bush Regime!
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world can/'t wait