From the Nov.-Dec. 2010 issue of News & Letters: Midwest Regional March for Peace and Justice
Chicago–Over 1,000 people marched in the Midwest Regional March for Peace and Justice on Oct. 16. It was truly regional, with people from Michigan to Missouri, Ohio to Minnesota, joining Chicagoans to demand an end to wars and occupations from Afghanistan to Palestine.
Some of the speakers included anti-war veterans; activists from Chile and Honduras, lands torn by U.S.-supported coups; and on “the war at home,” activists from the Chicago Teachers Union, Southside Together Organizing for Power, Chicago ADAPT, and Mick Kelly, one of the Minnesota anti-war organizers targeted by the FBI’s Sept. 24 raids. Funds raised at the rally will go to the defense funds of the 14 anti-war activists raided by the FBI.
Signs and slogans revealed the breadth of issues in this rally and march. “How’s the war economy working for you?” and “Peace Jobs Equality” joined signs protesting the FBI raids, torture, war, genocide, and army recruitment at schools. I marched with the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign contingent, chanting against displacement from evictions here to dispossession in Palestine.
The spirit was lively, but the march was marred by an undercurrent of anti-Semitism. It was openly expressed from the platform when a speaker called for support for the strikers at the Congress Hotel across the street, but she referred to the hotel’s “corrupt Zionist owner.” Some other marchers I spoke to felt, like me, that this was outrageous, but this speaker was applauded.
Who doesn’t know that “Zionist” is a code word? Why do so many leftists accept as allies just about every other “anti-imperialist,” from Hamas to the Taliban?
The march told a contradictory tale of, on the one hand, a widespread anger at the continuation of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the pointless sacrifice of lives in the service of imperialism, the draining of resources that should have been used to improve people’s living conditions; and, on the other hand, the dangerous lack of a vision of full freedom.