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Reflections On the Rage Against the War Machine Rally
It was said that when rock band The Velvet Underground came out with their now immortalized debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico, the record only sold 10,000 copies, but each of those 10,000 people that bought it went out and started their own band.
Yesterday, at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, an estimated 3,000 stood together as part of the Rage Against the War Machine Rally. This turnout may seem negligible in the shadow of past anti-war rallies—but each of those 3,000 attendees left with a renewed and reinvigorated passion for the anti-war movement.
What was it? Well, let’s start with what it was not:
The people who were actually there will tell you the real story: out of 3,000 people, there were two with Russian flags. They walked around the event without issue, among the many other signs that called for peace, putting the brakes on the war machine, or freeing Julian Assange. Several speakers went out of their way to condemn the Russian operation in Ukraine. The sentiment of the event towards the Russian flag wavers was best summed up by speaker Tara Reade:
I see the Russian flags out there. Hello Russia! You are not our enemy. Russia is not our enemy. China is not our enemy.
This is what the critics will not take an honest look at. This event is not about taking sides in a global conflict, being anti-American or pro-Russian. We do not subscribe to hating the people who our war machine wants us to hate. It is about recognizing the humanity in all of us, and quitting with the blanket demonization of certain nationalities, political parties and ideologies—foreign and domestic—which is used by the elite to divide us and scare us so they can maintain their status-quo.
While we bicker about domestic issues, demonize the regimes of other countries, and accuse people on the opposite political spectrum as morally defunct or evil, the military industrial complex can continue shaping the world order for its own interests. That’s why an event like this is such a danger to the war machine. The coalition of speakers, which ranged from libertarians, progressives and conservatives to independent journalists and veterans, uniting for the common cause of peace, is the greatest success and the lasting legacy of the rally.
Chris Hedges gave his characteristically scathing and articulate speech against the atrocities of the Pentagon’s forever wars. Dan McKnight shared details of his heroic attempts to bring our troops back home. Jimmy Dore was firing on all cylinders, pointing out the comedic absurdity of the times we live in. Tulsi Gabbard gave her chilling account of the 2018 Hawaii false missile alert to show just how scary the threat of nuclear war really is. The great libertarian hero Ron Paul, at 87 years old gave a beautiful speech and received the biggest cheers from the rally as he continued his legacy of being the most important anti-war voice of the last 50 years. And so many more wonderful speakers. Altogether, it was a spectacle to behold.
Looking out across the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at our nation’s capital were the thousands of faces that make up the anti-war movement of the United States, perhaps the world’s biggest empire history has ever seen. There they were, emboldened, well spoken, and united against the greatest threat in our lifetimes.
This event was a massive success despite all of the scrutiny and pushback it has garnered. It’s only the beginning. Let’s keep showing Washington that we do not support the endless wars and expansion of the military industrial complex for profit and exploitation. We’re not going to let them get away with pushing us to the brink of nuclear war and escalating tensions with nations they tell us is our enemy. We are the voice of sanity that needs to ring loud against the war racketeering that has polluted the very soul of this nation, and we will not be divided or usurped. The fate of the world just may depend on it.
PS: A live stream in case you missed it:
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