The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Anti-war protests spread

Mar 21, 2005

On March 18, 19 and 20, demonstrations, marches, rallies and other protests marking the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, took place throughout the world. Thousands marched in protest of this war in London, Istanbul, Athens and Rome, to name just a few cities. The largest of these demonstrations appears to have been the one in London that attracted between 50,000 and 100,000 people.

In the U.S., there was no single big demonstration – rather at least 765 local protests that drew in people from cities and towns in all 50 states. This more than doubled the 319 protests of a year ago.

Many of these local protests also had a somewhat different character than earlier ones. In Detroit, for example, some workers who were active in or supported the Detroit newspaper strike several years ago attended and helped organize a protest. At this rally, an Iraq war veteran – just released from prison for his opposition to the war – was one of the featured speakers.

At other rallies and events around the country, veterans and families of active service men and women attended and, in some cases, helped to organize the protests. Several thousand protesters marched from Harlem to Central Park – one of a number of protests in New York City. Several thousand others marched in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, near Fort Bragg, the home of the 82nd Airborne Division and many of the Special Forces units fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2,000 people including veterans and families of service members rallied against the war.

Bush might hope that opposition to U.S. wars in the Middle East would stop. But the spread of protests to so many more places shows that, in fact, opposition is growing. And the involvement of union activists, veterans and the families of service people shows this opposition is stronger and becoming more organized within the working class.

This is where the question of these wars can be settled. Workers pay the price for these wars doubly – in the deaths of young men and women, as well as in reduced public services, social programs and education. But the working class is also the class that can bring this war to an end.