ACTION ALERT: With Trump's Military Parade Cancelled, How Should the Peace Movement Respond?
August 21, 2018 Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers / Popular Resistance
This week, the Trump military parade, planned for November 10, was canceled for 2018. In February, a coalition of groups went public, announcing we would organize to stop the parade and, if it went forward, to mobilize more people at the parade calling for an end to war and militarism. The coalition called for "ending the wars at home and abroad." The question the coalition is asking now is how to build on the success of stopping Trump's military parade. Please join the conversation about where we go from here.
With Trump's Military Parade Cancelled,
How Does Peace Movement Respond? Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers / Popular Resistance
People protest war at the Democratic National Convention 2016. Brendan Smialowski for AFP-Getty Images.
(August 19, 2018) -- This week, the Trump military parade, planned for November 10, was canceled for 2018. In February, a coalition of groups went public, announcing we would organize to stop the military parade and, if it went forward, to mobilize more people at the parade calling for peace and an end to war than supporting militarism. The coalition called for "ending the wars at home and abroad."
The No Trump Military Parade coalition intended to show the world that the people of the United States do not support war. The coalition has been meeting regularly to build toward organized mass opposition to the proposed parade. People were working to make this protest a take-off for a renewed peace movement in a country exhausted by never-ending wars and massive military spending, but our first goal was to stop the parade from happening.
[See the planning statements below.]
1967 Armed Forces Day Parade in New York City
Momentum Builds For Mass Opposition
To Trump Military Parade, As Costs Mount
The protest turned into a weekend of activities linked with the October 21 Women's March on the Pentagon. The Women's March was planning to include a daily vigil at the Pentagon until the military parade protest weekend. The theme of the weekend was "Divest from War, Invest in Peace."
On Friday, November 9, we planned a nonviolent direct action training for those who could risk arrest to stop the parade. That evening, CODE PINK was organizing a peace concert, "Peace Rocks", on the mall. And, throughout that weekend, we were going to participate in Catharsis on the Mall: A Vigil for Healing, where we were going to create art for this Burning Man-like event to demonstrate the transformation of ending war and creating a peace economy.
On November 10, the day of the military parade, the ANSWER Coalition, part of the No Trump Military Parade coalition, had permits for both possible parade routes where peace advocates would hold a concentrated presence and rally alongside the parade.
A work group was planning nonviolent direct actions, called "Rain on Trump's Parade," to stop the parade. On Sunday, November 11, a group of veterans and military family members were planning to lead a silent march through the war memorials on the mall to reclaim Armistice Day on its 100th anniversary.
The No Trump Military Parade was building momentum. On Tuesday, we published a letter signed by 187 organizations that called for the parade to be stopped. It read, in part, "We urge you now to do all in your power to stop the military parade on November 10. The vast majority of people in the US and around the world crave peace.
If the parade goes forward, we will mobilize thousands of people on that day to protest it." We sent copies of the release to the corporate and independent media and made sure the National Park Service, DC City Council, and Pentagon were aware of our planning.
On Thursday, the Pentagon leaked a new $92 million cost for the parade, more than six times the original estimate. The cost included $13.5 million for DC police for crowd control and security. This alone was more than the initial $12 million cost estimate for the total parade. DC officials noted the parade would "breed protests and counter-protests, adding to city officials' logistical headaches." Kellyanne Conway also took jabs at protesters when she discussed the cancellation of the parade on FOX and Friends.
Coalition members were quickly alerted to the new cost estimate and people went on social media spreading the word, expressing outrage and sharing our sign-on letter. That afternoon, the coalition issued a statement on the cost and the momentum building to oppose the parade, as by then, more than 200 organizations had signed on. That evening it was announced that the parade was postponed for 2018 and would be considered in 2019.
There was super-majority opposition to the military parade and it was becoming the national consensus of the country that there should not be a military parade. Army Times conducted a poll of its readers; 51,000 responded and 89 percent opposed the parade responding, "No, It's a waste of money and troops are too busy." A Quinnipiac University poll found 61 percent of voters disapprove of the military parade, while only 26 percent support the idea.
In addition to the financial cost, the Pentagon knew there was a political cost The cancellation is a victory for the No Trump Military Parade Coalition, but also a victory for the country -- glorifying militarization was exactly the wrong direction for the country to be going.
How Do We Build On This Success?
The question members of the coalition are asking themselves now is how to build on the success of stopping the Trump military parade. We started a new Popular Resistance Facebook Group where you can join a conversation about where we go from here. Coalition members are in ongoing dialogue about possible next steps. We share some of those ideas below and would appreciate hearing your views on them. Some ideas:
(1) Continue with the plans for the weekend. The Reclaim Armistice Day silent march will still be held. This is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, also known as Remembrance Day. It marks the end of World War One, which ended at 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. A two-minute silence was held at 11 am to remember the people who died in wars and reflect on the horror of war and the need to work for peace. It was changed to Veterans Day in 1954. The Reclaim Armistice Day march will begin at 11 am at the Washington Monument.
(2) Help build the Women's March on the Pentagon. The march was called for by Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey died in the Iraq War, to put an antiwar agenda back on the table. The march is being held on the anniversary of the 1967 march on the Pentagon when 50,000 people marched in opposition to the Vietnam War.
(3) Make war, militarism, and military spending an issue in the 2018 election campaigns. People can ask all candidates about the never-ending wars and the record spending on the military budget, now approximately 60 percent of federal discretionary spending.
(5) End the longest war in US history, Afghanistan. The Trump administration has escalated US involvement in the war in Afghanistan. This 17-year war has been one of constant failure but now the US is losing badly to the Taliban which has taken over more than 50 percent of the country and can attack Afghan forces in the capital, Kabul. It's time to bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq.
(7) End escalation of nuclear weapons, extend the nuclear weapons treaty and work to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The US has embarked on a massive upgrade of nuclear weapons, begun under President Obama and extended by Trump. A year ago, the UN announced the beginning of a process to ban nuclear weapons. The Trump-Putin meetings should continue, despite the Russiagate allegations, and include ridding the world of nuclear weapons.
These are just some of the conflicts deserving attention. There are of course, more, e.g.cut the outrageous military budget, stop the militarization of space, end the war in Syria, remove troops and bases from Africa, negotiate peace with North Korea, create a detente with Russia, end support for Israeli apartheid, stop the economic wars and threats of militarism against Venezuela and Nicaragua, and de-escalate -- don't arm -- Ukraine. While many groups have their own focus, what can a coalition campaign work together on?
Antiwar Autumn Continues
We have been calling this fall the Antiwar Autumn because there is so much going on. Even with the cancellation of the military parade, it is going to be a busy fall.
On August 25, the Chicago Committee Against War and Racism is holding a protest against war and police violence on the anniversary of the 1968 protest at the Democratic National Convention against the Vietnam War.