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Anti-War Rally Planned Before Obama Addresses the Nation

November 29, 2009

This Tuesday, December 1, there is an Anti-War Rally planned outside the Grand Rapids Federal building to protest President Barack Obama’s decision to send more US troops to Afghanistan.

The White House has announced that the President will address the nation this Tuesday at 8pm from the West Point Military Academy. News reports are saying that Obama plans to send between 32 – 35,000 additional US soldiers to fight the war in Afghanistan.

People are encouraged to bring signs and noise-makers to the rally.

Anti-War Rally

Tuesday, December 1

4:30 – 5:30pm

Grand Rapids Federal building

Corner of Michigan & Ottawa

11 Comments leave one →
  1. activism is dead permalink
    November 29, 2009 6:54 pm

    Oh goody, another boring rally where you all can feed the delusion that people in power actually care what you say. Millions of people are dying because of US foreign policy. It’s time people start acting like it. Holding signs and begging the government to do something is never going to work.

  2. Waste of time permalink
    November 29, 2009 9:07 pm

    What a waste of peoples time.

    We need to be there vs having them here.

    Deal with it.

    You people are pathetic.

  3. Girbe Eefsting permalink
    November 29, 2009 9:55 pm

    I’ll be there exercising the right to speak-out against the madness.
    Use it or lose it.

    Girbe Eefsting

  4. November 29, 2009 10:47 pm

    Anti-war rallies are never boring. The energy of a community of people sharing a vision for a better world is exhilarating… and empowering. We each must do any little bit that we can do… on the slim chance that we can make a difference.

    “We need to be there vs having them here.” Who, the Afghanis? Their’s is a civil war–not a war against the US. Our very deadly presence there only fuels the anti-American sentiment that inspires terrorism.

  5. tadbaxter permalink
    November 30, 2009 6:45 pm

    “activism is dead” is right: Antiwar rallies are boring. They are held more out of obligation rather than a belief that they will force some type of policy change. The usual crowd of 20 (100 if you have a “great turnout”) will gather, some leaflets will be passed out to the four people that walk by (leaving an excess amount to head to recycle bins), an argument with the Federal Building security officer will be had over where to stand, some comments will be made to the media (who will misrepresent them), a YouTube video will go on GRIID and MediaMouse), and everyone will go home and wait for the next anniversary or policy announcement from the Obama administration before engaging in “organizing” or “activism” again.

    These events can serve a strategic purpose from time to time, but that time is long since past with the “War on Terror.” Antiwar activism is a dead end.

  6. stelle permalink
    November 30, 2009 10:41 pm

    Boring? Is that the qualifier for whether an action has merit or not? Maybe these bored persons should spend some time in Afghanistan, with drones overhead dropping bombs… now there’s excitement… being a kid and seeing your friend’s limbs blown off. (Talk about dead ends.)

    Historically, change has only come when people have demanded it. Tomorrow’s rally may be small; it may not even make the local news. However, if it gathers a group of folks and inspires them to do what they can to end the madness; if it enlightens a few passersby about the brutality and costs of war; if it helps one war-wounded veteran understand the sanity of peace after suffering the insanity of war, well, then it is well worth the effort.

  7. activism is dead permalink
    December 1, 2009 3:15 am

    First, I never said boring was a way to measure a rally, I said the way they are done in Grand Rapids is pointless an ineffective. But, I think you just disproved your point. How exactly are people going get inspired and want to do something if the rally is unempowering and boring? Also, other than a few token results (which have almost always been inspired by more militant tactics) when has this ever worked in Grand Rapids?

    Here’s what will happen-

    The event will be poorly advertised.
    The usual groups will be contacted (nutty liberals yelling about peace and other feel good bullshit)
    Around 20-30 people (on a good day) will come out.
    You’ll walk around down town yelling the usual chants with the usual signs.
    Someone will want to do something out of the norm (or maybe in the norm) like walk in the street, destroy something, etc. Everyone will hesitate, debate if it’s tactical, or “peaceful” (what ever the fuck that means) and nothing will happen.
    You all will go home and pat yourself on your backs for what a good job you did making change in the world.
    Meanwhile the war continues uninterrupted and people keep dying.

    I’m not saying don’t do anything, I’m saying the white activist feel good model is fucking dead but liberals and anarcho-liberals are trying with all their might to bring it back to life.

    DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

  8. The Whatever Singularity permalink
    December 1, 2009 3:25 am

    “Our very deadly presence there only fuels the anti-American sentiment that inspires terrorism.”

    If this were true, I’d be down as fuck with the war.

    Your bullshit rational of a bunch of old white people pointlessly standing around in a circle with some signs only further perpetuates your sick desire to feel less guilty about your role in the atrocities that this country and the world has perpetuated on Indigenous people, people of color, the Earth, and all the creatures that do or did inhabit it.

    You ain’t do shit. Think about someone other than yourself for once.

  9. Micah permalink
    December 24, 2009 4:44 pm

    Just noticed this from almost three weeks ago. The obvious question this snarky comment begs is, what are you, “activism is dead,” doing to bring activism in GR back to life? And why do you think taking internet potshots at folks trying to make something happen in West Michigan is a more effective strategy at ending the war than actually engaging with these people and contributing to actions to end the war? For someone who looks to at least claim to be interested in building the kind of movements needed to challenge the war machine–and is hyper-critical of others’ efforts to do so–why is your time better spent writing these kinds of comments from behind your computer screen rather than interacting with real live people?

    Also, is it just me, or do tadbaxter and activism is dead appear to be the same person?

  10. activism is dead permalink
    January 6, 2010 11:10 pm

    Micah, your rebuttal reads much like that of a liberal or of a right winger (both serve the same purpose) and it also holds no merit. One can both critique the tactics and motivations of groups and actions AND be part of a struggle to end the war. It takes about 5 mins to respond to a thread online leaving one with plenty of time to do other things….

    I also have no obligation or interest in participating in the pissing contest over who does what or if I do enough to warrant approval. (production IS a capitalist construct be it of goods, or resistance, which is not to say don’t do anything but rather my value as an anarchist isn’t measured on what I produce for the “movement”)

    Anyway, my main point is that these tactics have been used over and over and over in grand rapids seeing a peak with some of the stuff activate did (which i would argue was limited due to “concerns” that are all too common among activists) around anti-war stuff. These same tactics are being repeated over and over and over while the group of people doing things is dwindling (do ya think these are connected… hmmm….)

    If you keep doing the same things and they turn out less and less result, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!!!! it’s insanity not to.

    It’s incredibly unempowering to go to a rally where 10 people come out no matter how much spin is put on the report back. I’m interested in toppling capitalism, ending the war, and destroying the state, none of which are going to happen with feel good rallys. You are working yourself into irrelevance. You aren’t much different than the liberal wack jobs asking people to honk for peace every monday.

    Further, Tad Baxter and I are NOT the same person, just it seems we share similar critiques of what is going on in Grand Rapids, and anarcho-liberals

  11. riotqueer permalink
    January 7, 2010 1:01 am

    So it has been a little more than a month since the rally in question, but i still feel like discussion of its purpose and effectiveness is valid. I agree with “tadbaxter” and “activism is dead,” and i can assure you they are two very different people. I use to live in Grand Rapids and did activist-type stuff there as well, and so it is from experience that i say this sort of “organizing” is ineffective. Grand Rapids groups like ACTIVATE and IGE have done some solid organizing in the past, but these tactics have long since expired.

    We are not a mass movement. “The movement” is a liberal co-optation of real resistance, and is dominated by middle-class white people. Their rallies fail to bring people out (not because other people don’t care about oppression, but because others’ oppression is often imminent and manifests itself even in your movement). “Micah” criticizes folks who critique the anarcho-liberals on internet threads as if we do nothing else, but perhaps it is because the things we do in our respective communities go unseen by folks who live outside of working poor communities and the communities of people of color. Perhaps we are engaged in clandestine action. Perhaps we are writing songs to let our friends know we care. Or trying to come up with the money for rent. Or struggling to raise our children. But I’ll tell you what we’re not doing- we’re not trying to tell the poor and people of color what is best for them- what issues they should prioritize-, or getting jobs just to “organize” workers (which subsequently lends itself to paternalism and white supremacy), we’re not fetishizing other movements, we’re not selling out, we’re not honking for peace, and we’re not buying into the racist and classist (not to mention queerphobic and patriarchal) activist brand of bullshit the liberals try to sell us everyday on the corner, clipboards in hand.

    Liberals and anarcho-liberals have rendered themselves irrelevant. People are dying down the street from you, starving and being swallowed up by gentrification- the least of their worries being that of a war conducted by a government that inadequately responds to the needs of its own people. The deaths and maltreatment of people- even torture- taking place in Afghanistan is a tragedy. But another rally or tabling event that panders to other white liberals only gives folks a false sense of empowerment.

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