I headed off to the “staging area,” which was Judkins Park, in a quiet area of town mostly populated by minorities. Participants organized with their respective groups, mostly “usual suspects” (ie. committed and brave and patriotic in the best sense of caring truly about humanity) BUT with a notable lack of community participation. If 60% or more oppose the war nationally, and 90% or so here in Seattle before it even started, where were the rest?
Why was it that I counted ONE BUS (belonging to “Pastors for Peace,” who travel to Cuba, Mexico, Central America – though not necessarily in the bus) but on the way home I counted MORE THAN NINETY busses of University of Washington football fans? I know that football is immensely popular in the fall and tailgate parties are a tradition, along with Jack’o’Lanterns but what about our country? Our future?
The rally was intended to go from Judkins Park down (or up) Jackson Street to Occidental Square, which may not mean anything to someone who doesn’t live in Seattle. To me though, it is a traditional labor march route, much as the one from Place de Nation to Place de Republique has been in Paris, via the site of the storming of the Bastille. In both cases, the routes are now off to the side of the zones of commerce, and the populist marches for justice no longer seem to strike fear in the hearts of the bourgeoise. In both instances, the media appears to be aligned with the increasingly more right-leaning government, contrary to what the far right says.
It seem, like Tom Hayden warns, that the antiwar movement was discouraged from developing after 9/11, through the use of fear. Once it developed, a huge PR campaign has been forged on the right, to try to marginalize protesters as “goofy.” Indeed, I did a “search” for antiwar at MySpace and found military spouses who wanted protesters to impale themselves on the sticks of their protest signs. Pressed further, some of them still appeared to believe the 9/11-Saddam link or that civil warring factions were intending to somehow head through the skies to attack rural America.
More pictures below- ek