Anti-war conference mobilizes for March 19
Published Feb 23, 2005 10:21 AM
The crucial importance of
linking the anti-war and anti-racist movements was the theme of an all-day
conference held here on Feb. 19 that drew a standing-room-only crowd despite a
day of severe thunderstorms and floods, part of the unusual weather plaguing
The anti-war and social justice conference, held at
the offices of Service Employees union Local 660, was sponsored by the
International Action Center and the L.A. Million Worker March
The rallying cry of the day-long conference was unity and the
merging of numerous struggles represented by a wide range of speakers. John
Parker, West Coast coordinator of the IAC, commenced the program by calling for
solidarity because, "We need unity in order to win the fight against war, U.S.
imperialism and racism."
Parker prompted audience members to join the
Troops Out Now Caravan. Community and labor activists who are trying to save the
King/Drew Medical Center are planning a caravan, with a sound system, that will
travel from the hospital in South Los Angeles to an anti-war rally on March 19
in Hollywood, called by ANSWER.
April Lawrence, a representative of U.S.
Congressmember Maxine Waters, addres sed the campaign of deception being waged
against the King/Drew Medical Center by the media and administrators who are
intent on reversing the gains won by the Black community in the
"Los Angeles can't afford to close the trauma center," remarked
Lawrence. "We need a big movement to save King/Drew."
Pierre Labossiere of
the Haiti Action Committee noted, "The campaign of lies leveled against
King/Drew is the same as that perpetrated against Jean-Bertrand Aristide of
Labossiere recounted Haiti's heroic history of resistance and
explained its current struggle to rid itself of U.S. imperialism, sparking a
thunderous "U.S. out of Haiti now!" from the audience.
Carlos Montes of
Latinos Against the War and a member of SEIU Local 660 declared that the Black
liberation struggle of the 1960s was a source of inspiration for his activism.
Montes explained why it is pertinent for the success of the movement to
recognize struggles for self-determination.
Zahi Dumani, national
co-founder of Al-Awda, represented the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people
against the U.S.-sponsored Israeli war of occupation. Dumani spoke about the
current situation in Palestine and called for solidarity.
Moorehead, a former U.S. presidential candidate of Workers World Party and
coordinator of Millions for Mumia, warned against repeating the mistakes made
during the 1960s. "There must be linkage between the anti-war and anti-racist
movements" in order to have a viable and strong movement to stop U.S.
imperialism, she stressed. "We must unite to halt the genocide in Iraq and the
attacks against poor and working people in the U.S."
Founder of the
Million Worker March movement and member of the militant International Longshore
and Warehouse Union, Clarence Thomas, asked unions to pass resolutions in
support of the upcoming March 19 mobilization against the war.
announced that no cargo would be loaded at the port of Oakland on March
Thomas also addressed criticisms by people in the movement and from
other unions about his decision not to back Democratic presidential candidate
John Kerry. "When people accused us of creating fissures with our Million Worker
March, I would say, 'Those fissures were already present,'" commented
He explained how Kerry's positions created the
fissures--especially in regard to his support for the continuation of the war in
Iraq and his lack of commitment to the labor movement.
Hwa Young Lee from
the Korea Truth Commission gave an important update on the worldwide campaign to
repeal South Korea's decades-long repressive National Security Law.
Beacham of ANSWER gave an update on the March 19 anti-war demonstration in
In commemoration of Black History Month, Carl Mohammad, leader
of San Diego's Committee Against Police Brutality, spoke about the contributions
made by Dr. Martin Luther King's Poor Peoples Campaign.
member of San Diego's IAC and the Mumia Coalition, explained Malcolm X's
unrelenting commitment to Black self-determination and his anti-imperialist
The day's conference came to a close with a showing of Aleida
Guevara's documentary, "Chávez, Venezuela and the New Latin
Participants in the conference went away with a treasure trove
of information and a means for involvement in the growing movement to stop the
war and attain social justice.
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