Get on the Bus

A guide to anti-war events nationally and in Texas on Sept. 24

Get on the Bus
Photo By Jana Birchum

Shadowed by the tapestry of heroism and misery Hurricane Katrina has woven, the war against Iraq has, again, been shuffled to the back of our collective unconsciousness. That's about to change. Many of Louisiana's displaced and other Americans are winding their way to Washington, D.C., to demand an end to the unjust and immoral occupation of Iraq, as well as the safe return of our soldiers to where they're needed most – at home, where their assistance in the waterlogged parishes of New Orleans could've been of great help in the midst of Katrina. In D.C., Sept. 24 will feature a massive rally and march, as well as the Operation Ceasefire concert, featuring aptly named headliners Thievery Corporation as well as Le Tigre, Steve Earle, the Coup, Wayne Kramer, and more. An interfaith prayer service is scheduled for the 25th, and training for a Grassroots Lobby Day is slated for the 26th. See below for more information about the D.C. happenings, as well for details on anti-war goings-on in Texas

Local organizer Donna Hoffman is urging locals to join her in heading to D.C. today (Thursday), as Austin's Greyhound center has buses leaving at 7:45pm. Call her at 299-5776 to find if there's space left, call the station at 458-4463, or visit www.greyhound.com.

Wish you could make it to D.C. but thwarted by time, work, or money? Organizers are planning an alternative to keep Austinites in the loop over the weekend, but you have to take action locally. Organizers of Austin protests this weekend can take part in conference calls with Camp Casey's new D.C. headquarters. Contact debstuff@hotmail.com to join the Austin Peace and Justice Coalition news e-mail, or visit www.progressiveaustin.org for info on local events; to get the word from Washington, participate in a conference with D.C. demonstrators by calling Hoffman at 299-5776.

Cindy Sheehan, the mother of KIA soldier Casey Sheehan, has marshaled her anger into action. Leaving Camp Casey outside the president's ready-made ranch at Crawford, Sheehan's Bring Them Home Now tour has seen three buses traversing the northern, central, and southern regions of the country as they head east to the nation's capital for this weekend's massive protest. In the wake of Katrina, the Veterans for Peace bus that shepherded Sheehan from Crawford to the tour kickoff in Austin has moved Camp Casey to Covington, La., where they are providing relief and support to the hurricane's evacuees. Sheehan herself has kept busy – reports of the tour stop in New York City painted a chaotic picture, with Sheehan's speech and the event cut short and the rally organizer arrested for unauthorized use of a loudspeaker. Despite the setbacks, the tour is set to conclude in a historic weekend of action. (More info is available at www.unitedforpeace.org and www.vfproadtrips.org.) The following is adapted from Sheehan's "See you in DC" post on the Daily Kos blog (www.dailykos.com).

"This week I arrive in Washington D.C. to begin my Vigil at the White House just like I did in Texas. But this time I'll be joined by Katrina victims as well. In your America we are all victims. The failed bookends of your Presidency are Iraq and Katrina.

"It is time for all of us to stand up and be counted: to show the media, Congress, and this inept, corrupt, and criminal administration that we mean business. It is time to get off of our collective behinds to show the people who are running our country into oblivion that we will stand for it no longer. We want our country back and we want our nation's young people back home, safe and sound, on our shores to help protect America."


Texas Anti-War Happenings

For many of us working stiffs, it isn't possible to just up and travel the 1,525 miles to shake our fists at The Man in D.C., so here are some regional alternatives to a daylong jaunt on the 'hound.

Give Peace a Dance/Feed the Needy, Not the Greedy, Dallas, Sept. 24: The Dallas End the War Committee hosts a benefit concert and peace rally at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters Inc. Though admission is free – a good thing since, let's face it, the peace crowd ain't really the money crowd – donations for Camp Casey 3 in Covington, La., will be accepted 2-5pm at the Dallas Convention Center Bruton Theatre, Canton & Akard. For more info, call the Dallas Peace Center, 214/823-7793. www.endthewar924.org.

Houston March & Rally Against the War in Iraq: A whole bunch of groups have gotten together to try and put the kibosh on the war, including CodePink, Harris County Green Party, Mexicanos en Accion, Progressive Peace Alliance, and many, many more. Assemble at noon at Market Square Park, 301 Milam, and march to City Hall/Hermann Square, 901 Bagby, where the rally – speakers, entertainment, and lots of chanting – awaits. See www.unitedforpeace.org/calendar for more info.

Stop the War on Iraq, Amarillo: The folks from the Question War Coalition are putting together a short rally, Stop the War on Iraq, with music, speakers, and a signing of an oversized petition which will be delivered to Congressman Mac Thornberry's local office, Publisher's Clearinghouse-style. Gather at 10am at Centennial Plaza and march to 801 S. Taylor St.. For more info, contact the Peace Farm at 806/341-4801, peacefarm@arn.net, or users.arn.net/~peacefarm.

Sept. 24 Mobilization Solidarity Action, El Paso: Sponsored by the Border Peace Presence, whose focus is on education over enlistment – "College, not combat, for our kids!" Bring signs to the corner of Mesa & University at 1pm. E-mail borderpeacepresence@hotmail.com for more info.

Looking for a carpool or caravan to mobilizations in Dallas or Houston? Get yourself to the northernmost parking lot of the UT LBJ School (26th & Red River) by 8:15am. If you have room in your car, swing by to see if there are any stragglers who can offer you a little extra dough for gas in exchange for a seat.


Meanwhile in Cuba

Also lost in the coverage of Katrina is the ongoing hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay. More than 200 detainees are in the midst of a five-week hunger strike, demanding their right to a fair trial. The Center for Constitutional Rights is joining with Amnesty International starting Sept. 26 for a week of intensive congressional lobbying, demanding the creation of a commission "to publicly investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment in U.S. detention centers around the world."

For more information on lobbying, hosting a teach-in, or to make a contribution, visit www.ccr-ny.org or denouncetorture.amnestyusa.org.

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