For more than six hours following the Troops Out Now Coalition’s march on Sept. 29 to cut off the funds for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, more than 100 youth and students from across the country blockaded Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues, the major roads leading to the Capitol building. They demanded an end to war funding and vowed that if the people’s resources continue to be used to wage imperialist war, the government will be prevented from operating.
WW photo: Liz Green
Youth from as far away as Oregon, Florida and Vermont, and representing chapters of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST), Campus Anti-War Network (CAN), Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and others, together with TONC leaders, united in the streets around a common demand of “Troops Out Now!”
As the march approached its destination at the Capitol building, hundreds of youth ran forward to block Constitution Avenue, and as the main body of the march passed the action many more joined in. Despite the willingness of many of the youth to risk arrest in order to close access to the Capitol, D.C. police were apparently overwhelmed by the size and militancy of the action.
After holding Constitution for an hour, the youth moved one block to take over the busier intersection where Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues meet. All six lanes of Constitution were blockaded so successfully that youth felt free to dance, string up banners and signs from the traffic lights, and even order pizza.
After several hours it became clear that the police did not have the political will to take back the streets, so youth erected tents and organized themselves into security and logistical teams, preparing for a long stay. Around 10 p.m., after more than six hours, all the activists triumphantly marched back to the Encampment, chanting “Whose streets? Our streets” with a whole new meaning.
On Friday afternoon, in another display of student power, the same youth had taken over the busy D.C. streets in an unpermitted march to unmask the hypocrisy of the government and point out the effects the war has had even on youth at home in the U.S.
Marching first on the Department of Education, they blocked the entrances which ironically proclaim “No child left behind,” and demanded money for adequate education and college loans, rather than the current policy of increasing education costs to force youth into the military.
At the Department of Injustice, Tyneisha Bowens of Raleigh FIST proclaimed the closing of the building, demanding “Free the Cuban Five! Free the Jena Six! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! Free all political prisoners! No longer will we allow this government to criminalize the resistance. We must have a People’s Department of Justice to bring justice to the war criminals in government.”
Friday’s youth march went next to the local military recruiting station, blocking traffic the whole way, where students blocked the streets, poured into the recruiting station, and used the military’s printed lies as confetti. After successfully closing the recruiting station, and announcing the need to instead recruit more youth to the movement, the young revolutionaries turned their attention to the Capitol itself. Arriving at the Capitol with a tail of at least 15 police cars of various departments, the youth made their final stand on the Capitol lawn and tied all their grievances together at the seat of this government.
Both actions reflected a progression from earlier tactics in the youth movement, a move from protest to resistance. In addition to marching and vocalizing their demands, youth showed their ability to actually occupy the oppressive institutions. Due to their high level of discipline, organization and unity, all of the activists were uninjured and avoided arrest, even though they were willing to face these consequences if necessary.
As Bowens summarized, “This was more than a symbolic action of civil disobedience. We actually showed our ability to occupy territory and make it serve our needs, not to oppress us.”
Gilbert is an organizer with Raleigh FIST.
Thanks for supporting the September 28th Youth and Student Day of Action in Washington DC. It has gained lots of momentum in the past few weeks, and we’ve now heard from youth from Florida, Richmond, Chicago, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and elsewhere who’ve said that they’re coming on Friday for the Youth Day of Action!
Here is the most up-to-date information about logistical aspects of the Youth and Student Day of Action:
Tactics, plans, and targets/locations for youth and student actions will all be planned Thursday night and Friday morning, with the actions planned to begin around noon on Friday. We will be meeting to have these discussions on Thursday night at 6pm and Friday morning at 9am at the Encampment site and setting out from there on Friday. In Washington DC, the Encampment site will be set up directly in front of the Capitol building, off 3rd Street. But please head over to http://troopsoutnow.org/september29logistics.html to check out for yourself exactly where the Encampment site is.
Housing will be available for everyone who comes to participate in the Youth Day of Action. We are working with St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church (1525 Newton Street NW, Washington, DC 20010) to provide housing. Please contact Peter at 919-264-0201 if you know you’re coming and need housing. We will be sleeping on the church floor each night, so folks should bring sleeping bags with them or something comfy to sleep on. Housing will become available on Thursday night and will continue to be available on Friday night as well. For folks that are coming from far away and are planning on stay through Saturday for the mass march on DC, housing will also be available on Saturday night too. However, if you think you will need a place to stay on Saturday night, please again contact Peter at 919-264-0201 and let us know by emailing email@example.com.
As far as food goes, folks should come prepared to provide food for themselves for the entire time that you’ll be staying in DC. Whether that means bringing food from home or bringing enough money to buy food in DC, it’s up to you. There may be some cases when food may be provided, but folks shouldn’t count on this to sustain them for the entire time they’ll be in DC.
CULTURAL EVENTS EVERY NIGHT!
We just wanted to write to keep you all updated on the current developments. We now have an amazing artist line up 8PM TO MIDNIGHT every night September 22-29 with hip-hop, rock, soul, jazz, funk, visual arts, theater & spoken word by artists from all over the country! The show “NEVER AGAIN!” of Filipino artists speaking out against the US occupation of the Philippines lined up to perform Friday night, the 28th, at the Encampment should be especially strong. The complete line up can be found at http://troopsoutnow.org
Please continue to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Ben at 919.604.8167 with any questions or concerns you may have. Please also continue to check out this website for updates as we move ever closer to the youth convergence in DC against the war!
Join us in Washington, DC and Los Angeles during the Encampment, September 22 -29th. Friday, September 28th will be the Youth and Student Day of Action.
Youth and students from the US to Iraq are under attack. Military recruiters prey on our communities and our campuses, trying to get us and our friends to kill and be killed in a criminal war. Money that should be being spent to make education affordable for everyone and provide scholarships is instead being spent to continue the four and half year old occupation of Iraq. Police harass us for simply being young, for being a person of color, or for being lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer. Bush’s top war adviser, Army Lt.Gen. Douglas Lute, says that “it makes sense to certainly consider [reinstating the draft].” It’s time to raise our voices and our fists and fight back.
Organizers and activists from around the country will be flooding D.C. with a sea of resistance during the Encampment and March to Stop the War, and youth and students must be there too! Youth organizers have been organizing a day during the Encampment solely for youth and students.
The Youth and Student Day of Action will be held on Friday, September 28, at the Encampment site. We’ll gather at the Encampment on Thursday night and Friday morning to discuss and plan direct actions that will happen in D.C. on September 28.
Leading up to the Youth and Student Day of Action, regional meetings will be held. Regional meetings in the Southeast and Northeast are already scheduled with others being organized. In the Southeast, the regional meeting will be in Raleigh, NC on Sunday, September 16, hosted by antiwar groups at North Carolina State University’s campus. In the Northeast, in New York City (more info TBA). We envision that these regional meetings will be places for youth and students to meet others who are planning to come to the Day of Action and the Mass March on Saturday, September 29, and begin getting ideas about what we can do on Friday, September 28, to impact the war.
We’ve set-up a website (http://youthantiwarweek.wordpress.com) where we’ll continue to post fliers, information about the regional meetings and about logistics for Thursday night and Friday. Also, if you are interested in adding your name or your organization to the list of endorsers below, please contact us at email@example.com.
Friday, Sept 28th on Encampment site there will be An Outdoor Concert for Human Rights in the Philippines called ‘NEVER AGAIN!’ f eaturing Blue Scholars, Kiwi (formerly of Native Guns), Koba, Deep Foundation, Kinding Sindaw, Anakbayan Youth, and Kadena Join Filipino-American Artists Call for a Withdrawal of US Military Aid to the Philippines and an End to the Undeclared Martial Law Under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Regime. Sept. 21 marks the 35th anniversary of Martial Law as declared by theMarcos dictatorship in the Philippines back in 1972.
We’re really excited for this unprecedented day of action where youth and students from around the country will be able to come together and decide collectively how we want to take a stand against the war machine. If there is not already a transportation center in your area, please consider organizing one so you can get yourself, your friends, or your campus/community organization to D.C. on Friday to join with hundreds of other youth to shut down the war. Stay with us through Saturday and join the youth and student contingent in the March to Stop the War.
Initial List of Endorsers of Youth and Student Day of Action at Encampment:
I Am Hiphop, Georgia State University*, Atlanta, GA
Yoel Britan, Princeton Campus Antiwar Network*
Shoshana Schwartz, Columbia Coalition Against the War*, NYC
Anusar Farooqui, Columbia Coalition Against the War*, NYC
Daniel Kolaric, student, Zephyrhills, FL
Eve Blazo, The Calhoun School*, NYC
Laura Bullard, Charlotte, NC
Ben Carroll, UNC Chapel Hill Students for a Democratic Society*
Student Worker Alliance, NC State University
Los Angeles Fight Imperialism Stand Together
Namibia Donadio, Rutgers University*
Fight Imperialism-Stand Together (F.I.S.T.)
Solidarity with Palestine Through Education and Action at Carolina (SPEAC), UNC-Chapel Hill
Caleb Maupin, Baldwin Wallace College, Cleveland
Lila Goldstein, Hampshire College*
Abraham Mwaura, Huntington, West Virginia
Miya Campbell, Boston Women’s Fightback Network
Catalina Garcia, San Diego, CA/Tijuana, Mexico
Larry Hales, Denver, CO
*for identification purposes only
As part of the national effort to build towards September being a truly ‘Anti-War Month’ we are building a united set of actions that involve youth and students.
From September 22 to 29, activists working on a number of different struggles from around the country will be coming together in Washington, D.C. and setting up an encampment in front of Congress to raise the stakes in the anti-war movement during a week of direct actions against the war.
We want to make Friday, September 28, a Youth and Student Day of Action in which autonomous, student- and youth-led direct actions originate from this space.
Then, we will all be marching together in a youth and student contingent in the September 29th anti-war demos in Washington and LA.
In order to be able to have conversations about what types of actions will happen on the 28th in a way that is both democratic and safe (ie-not on the internet), organizers will be convening consultas in the coming weeks in different regions of the country for folks to come together and plan. We will hopefully have all the dates of the consultas sorted out within the next week and will post that information here. If you as an individual or your campus organization would like to hold a consulta or endorse the youth day of action, please let us know.
Chapters of anti-war youth and student groups from all over the nation including various SDS, CAN, FIST and Campus Greens chapters have already begun to organize around these actions. Please add your name to the endorsement list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Please keep checking back here in the coming days and weeks as we will continue to update this page with more information.