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Activists Speak: Why We are Protesting Against the War on Iran

MASS ACTION report, quotes compiled by editor, John Beacham
Jan. 4, 2019

1,000s of people filled the streets of over 80 cities in the United States to say no to the U.S. war of aggression against Iran. Activists from across the country are organizing and speaking out. They are opposing another war based on lies in the interests of U.S. supremacy. The U.S. anti-war movement – like we knew it would – is making its presence felt once again. There remains much work to do, but we must and will bring a halt to the U.S. war machine. Together, we can institute a better world based on peace, justice and self-determination. Great thanks goes to the ANSWER Coalition and CODEPINK Women for Peace for being the main organizers of the nationally coordinated actions on January 4.

Below are some of the important voices from the front lines of the movement against the war on Iran.

** More quotes will be posted as they come in. So, check back. If you would like to add a quote, message MASS ACTION on facebook.

** The views here are not necessarily those of MASS ACTION. MASS ACTION rejects all attacks on Iran as it faces off against U.S. aggression.

Cindy Sheehan, Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox Radio Show

“I am protesting the US assassination of Iranian General Soleimani because it was a treacherous and illegal act that will certainly escalate violence in the Middle East. It's important to protest to show public opposition to the crimes of the US government, but also to show the international community, especially Iraqi and Iranians, that there are people in solidarity with them.”

Carley Towne, CODEPINK Campaign Organizer, Divest from the War Machine

“CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and, importantly,  redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs

The over 70 rallies being held around the country in the US today shows the resurgence of an anti-war movement in this country and clearly demonstrates that the American people don’t want another disastrous war in the Middle East.

We believe the blame for this confrontation lies squarely at Trump’s doorstep. Not only was the assassination of Soleimani an immoral and reckless decision, Trump’s decision to withdraw from the successful 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and his subsequent launch of a systematic campaign of “maximum pressure” placed the US and Iran on a collision course. 

The American people are in the streets today because they’re showing that they don’t want another war in the Middle East which will only serve to kill millions of innocent civilians. 

The US must immediately end the military attacks, lift the harmful sanctions, return to the Iran nuclear deal and reopen diplomatic channels.  The U.S. military and its contractors, who should not have been there in the first place, should get out of Iraq and the entire region.”

Ali Hasan, People United Against Oppression

"An act of war was committed on a sovereign nation and it’s my responsibility to raise my voice against it!"

Aislinn Pulley of BLMChicago

"It is necessary for us to massively condemn the assasination and all other ramped up efforts towards military sanctions against Iran to prevent a war from occuring. In addition to the deaths and casualties of innocent people, who are always the ones paying the true cost of war, this war could destroy our entire planet. We have to oppose the capitalist lust for war at all costs and refuse to allow billionaires to set off a deadly series of events to fullfill their insatiable appetite for profit at the expense of the rest of our lives."

Rossana Rodríguez, Alderwoman of Chicago's 33rd Ward

“At a time when our planet is burning, and there is massive displacement of people worldwide, at a time when homelessness, lack of access to health care and education are defining our lives, the last thing we need is to go to war and spend resources killing innocent people. We need a massive anti war movement, I am proud of Chicago today for showing up to say no to the horrors of war. Divest from the military and fund our lives and the survival of our planet.”

Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

"I was in Baghdad throughout the 2002 Shock and Awe bombing. On a bench outside an Emergency Room, I sat next to a woman convulsed in sobs. How could she tell her badly maimed teenage nephew, in surgery for amputation of both his arms, that she was now his only surviving relative. The surgeon who told Ali he had lost both his arms said Ali's first response was: "But, will I always be this way?" Ali's agonized words beg our impassioned question: "Will we always be this way?" Yesterday's demonstration in Chicago helped all of us imagine breaking free of militarism and demanding an end to "forever wars." It's a crucial time to collaborate, catching courage from one another."

Kofi Ademola, an organizer in the Movement for Black Lives

“In 2016 we participated in mass protest against Trump & fascism all across the country. We shutdown airports against the Muslim ban, we occupied ICE dentition centers & more. Unfortunately, we didn’t sustain these efforts. Now in 2020 we have to become ungovernable, we have to disrupt capitalism and we have to really shut shit down. Our very lives are dependent on destroying capitalism & white heteronormative supremacy. Climate change, imperialist wars, racism, oppression & worker exploitation is home grown, we are literally in the belly of the beast & if we don’t starve it, it will consume us all!”

Anthony Clark, disabled military active duty veteran, public high school teacher and DSA endorsed candidate for IL 7th congressional district

"I served active duty & want people to understand, the military targets poverty. It's not wealthy kids out there fighting & dying, it's those desperate for opportunity as the military offers healthcare, housing, & education. The working class poor serving do not want war & see similarities in the struggle to those who are supposedly our enemies."

Dan Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and is the author of the book, "The Plot To Attack Iran”

"This is a critical moment in the history of the US and of the world. We must step back from the precipice of war with Iran — a war which would surely lead to the death of tens of thousands of Iranians, thousands of Americans and to the destruction of one of the oldest civilizations on earth. Such a conflict, which could very well draw in other countries like Russia and China, could also quickly became a world war. This is simply not something that humanity can afford now, or ever."

Joe Lombardo, Co-Coordinator at United National Antiwar Coalition

“The recent aggression by the Trump administration is the greatest threat to peace in recent years.  All antiwar groups immediately saw this and came together in a joint call to action.  We are aware of actions in 79 cities across the country, these have been organized in only a couple of days, without even acknowledgment by the corporate media.

These attacks by the US against Iran come at a time that Iran has just announced a find of a new vast oil field.  It threatens to bring the entire region into war including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria as well as NATO and possibly Russia and China.  

The people of the US must once again take the streets and stay the hand of our government.”

Victoria Cervantes, La Voz de los de Abajo

"The protests against the acts of war against Iran by the US government are important to show that there is internal dissent but we need to organize with a deeper and broader vision to challenge the assumption that the US has any right somehow to bomb, carry out coups, and assassinate leaders in other countries. The crimes being committed in the name of US security or interests have been accelerating and escalating in every President’s administration for the past 20 years. We have the responsibility to everyone on the planet to turn this militarism, racism and greed on its head."

Andre Vasquez, Alderman of Chicago's 40th Ward

"It is important for our movement that the public comes together and sees/participates in the protests so that around the world, people understand that we are one, and that this administration does not represent our values. We don’t want war, we don’t want lives lost just so some can profit and prolong for continued conflict. It is also important that we take that energy from protest to power by engaging in these elections. It is time to make sure that we remove Trump from office and create the political revolution that can reimagine our world."

Jackson Potter, Chicago Teachers Union Trustee

“Anyone who cares about public education, medicare for all, free college, racial equity, and any social justice issue in our country, knows that war with Iran won't just destroy lives but possibilities to change the priorities of our country. We cannot allow a xenophobic and unpopular president to distract the country from solving our bigger problems by thrusting us into an unjust war in a country that we destabilized in the first place.”

Jesus Rodriguez Espinoza, editor of Orinoco Tribune (from Caracas, Venezuela)

“For us in Venezuela, seeing our comrades in the US protesting against the barbaric assassination of General Soleimani is a sign showing that not everything is lost in that country and that not everyone is supporting imperialism. But protest should transcend and be used to push the MSM and politicians and show them that the people are fed up with all their garbage and lies.”

Carl Davidson, Aliquippa, with Beaver County Peace Links

"We needed this rally to quickly show opposition today. But we're just the tip of the iceberg. There's thousands more behind us."

Rich Whitney, Illinois Green Party

“People need to understand that the U.S. had no right to be in Iraq in the first place.  You can't invade someone's home, kill and replace the parents, kill some of the other occupants, torture and imprison some of the others, decide to occupy it for 16 years and then complain when some of the occupants shoot back. You had no right, legally or morally, to be there in the first place.”

Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network

“The US has been bombing the peoples of the region since the Afghanistan invasion 18 years ago. Yes, it is no secret that the Iranian government brutally represses lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. But is that any excuse to bomb the country and its people? How could bombing the queer and non-queer people of Iran possibly 'help' them? If that were the case, US ally Saudi Arabia should be in the crosshairs of such bombing, as well as the United States not too many years ago. Such arguments are nothing but an attempt to give a 'queer' gloss to US domination of huge areas of the world, a gloss that not horribly harms the peoples of the Middle East and fuels climate change, but means that the US has absurdly 5th-rate social services for queer and non-queer alike.”

Lashawn Yvonne Littrice, Black Lives Matter Women of Faith

“Protests are powerful and make a huge difference. As there are some that may question the purpose, history speaks for itself. No real change has ever been made without uniting people with a common goal. The current climate has proven that once people decide to stand together and be on one accord that anything is possible.  Protests will continue to be an important resource to create intentional dialogue about issues [like a war on Iran] that plague our nation.”

David Feldman, candidate for United Teacher of Los Angles, Secondary Vice President

“A social justice unionist is an anti-war unionist. Money that is used for war should be used here at home for education, healthcare, and housing. We see the devastation the constant war drive brings to our students and their families. Many of whom who are struggling day to day to survive. Most of my students are living in poverty, some of them are homeless. It is a crime that this country has hundreds of billions for war but not money to meet the basic needs of its people. The military recruits my students and others throughout this country to fight wars for the rich. These wars are not our wars, they are wars fought for the profits of multi-national corporations. A working-class movement is necessary to bring this money home to meet the needs of the people not for wars for the ultra-rich. All unionists must fight this endless war drive. Working class people demand an end to US imperialism.”

Bishop Gregg L Greer, President of Freedom First International

“At this stage in our country I would hope that those who have supported this President and his administration can start to see the absolute disregard for leadership, for peace and that their agenda stands solidly outside of greater public integrity. Of course, Iran [situation] is problematic on many levels, but one must look at the facts to see if this President is motivated by great good or self-service. Many would say the second!”