Saturday, September 22, 2007

And the Anti-War machine rolls on...

Just saw this on Wispolitics. I guess CAN is far more organized than I anticipated, if this is them. Which, I'm not clear on whether it is.

Iraq War veteran will return his medals

On September 26, 2007 a demonstration will begin at 2PM in Library Mall. We will march up State Street to the Capitol and return Josh Gaines' military service metals to the Governor. Josh Gaines is an Iraq War Veteran. He will return his Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal to Gov. Jim Doyle.

Protesters will be calling for the de-federalization of the WI National Guard. We believe it is in the best interest of the country that the National Guard remains in the U.S.A. for use in disaster relief and border control. Organizers are asking that other Veterans return Military Service Medals to the Governor along with Gaines.

The demonstration will end with the demand, Mr. Doyle have a public meeting with anti-war students and the public for the de-federalization of the WI National Guard.

Ryan Olander

First off - Defederalization of the National Guard? Wow. Not only is that just way out there, but it's treating this issue like the states are just part of a "coalition of the willing." Sorry guys, but this isn't a volunteering of forces.

Of course, they must realize how unlikely and impossible this is, but it's actually a smart move on their part. First Halliburton, now the Governor's Office. Looking for press to cover you, aren't you? As much as I figured the anti-war movement would pickup pretty quickly, I didn't imagine it would have demands this nuanced. Simply chanting "Get out of Iraq" is one thing, asking for a principled redistribution based on other needs is something I didn't expect. These activists are finally becoming organized.

I think what we could be witnessing is a return to the Vietnam era style protests. Maybe not this year, but perhaps next year if this thing drags on. Now you have Lori Berquam coming out in favor of these protesters (which I'm surprised she still has her job, actually. Perhaps they'll force her out with a scandal if it continues? I hope not, she actually is making a pretty bold move here.)

However, it all scares me a little bit. Not because it could result in a big mistake on the part of certain protesters and force others to use violence. No, it's because this could actually result in the whole campus joining. And other campus joining. It could result in basically every productive unit of academia shutting force and end to this war. And that could mean serious national tension, which at this point has only two ways out: appease or repress.

Ok, maybe I'm getting ahead of the whole thing. However. It is interesting. And I think I might cover it.

Yet, there is a bigger problem with these protests. On the day of the Halliburton protest, there was a rally (or at least there was supposed to be one) against tuition increases at the Capitol. Ok, now maybe that's not the most pertinent local concern considering the fact that our legislature is still acting like a bunch of babies, (Even after the Healthy Wisconsin drop has been offered, Nice stubbornness, Heubsch.)
but it was something that directly effected students. Instead, more students were drawn to the allure of the CAN protests. Bigger, better.

Lori Berquam was right. We need a return to activism on this campus. However, activism doesn't have to mean protesting for nought. It can mean being a guerrilla lobbyist at the capitol and demanding change where it might actually happen.

Oh well. Wishful thinking I guess.


dfedwing said...

Hi. I Just read this. I would like to note, that CAN has not participated on the organizing of this protest, but has indeed endorsed the action. The organizers are Jon Dedering, Todd Dennis, Josh Gaines, and, myself, Ryan Olander. The press release should speak for itself. I should note that Josh will being marching with us to the Capitol where he will return his medals via the US post office to former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld; the man who issued them. Also, I would like to note that we will simply wait at the Gov.'s office until he agrees to have a public meeting concerning the de-federalization of the NG. The reason we are calling for this is because the implicit meaning of the national guard is that they are to guard the nation on our shores. While one may argue that they are guarding the nation by defending us against terrorists of some such thing. But I consider this to be nonsense. The Cliched, but though-provoking question comes to mind: Are we safer now? In any event, this war is illegal, unjust and has been, directly or indirectly, cause of the death of over 100,000's of people. Our Country and government or on the verge of death and it is up to the people to resuscitate it, rescue it from the death-grip. So, tell your friends if they really love freedom and justice come fight for using ideas and thoughts instead of bullets and bombs.

Paul said...

We absolutely need more activism, but lobbying is already a failed strategy. The mainstream of the antiwar movement, groups like United for Peace and Justice, and Code Pink, have been lobbying since the war started. As a result, they fell for the Democrats' claim that they couldn't do anything unless they controlled Congress, "so sign up today at your local Democratic Party headquarters."
Now that the Democrats are in office and still won't end the war, most of the movement is totally without a strategy. There's a good article on the situation here:
When you organize masses of people, you can force them to give concessions. When you lobby, you're playing by their rules.

Paul said...

Damn Blogger. It cut off most of that address.
If you want to see the story, go to and search for "Anti-War Leaders Stymied, Frustrated"