The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition formed on September 14, 2001. It is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and prominent individuals and scores of organizing centers in cities and towns across the country. Its national steering committee represents major national organizations that have campaigned against U.S. intervention in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia, and organizations that have campaigned for civil rights and for social and economic justice for working and poor people inside the United States.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2001
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition organized the first national demonstration against war and racism following September 11 on September 29, 2001, which brought 25,000 people into the streets of Washington DC and 15,000 in San Francisco.
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition gained prominence because the Coalition from its earliest days after September 11, 2001 provided a principled and activist orientation to organize political resistance through mass action, and created a forum for people of conscience to speak out when so many others were silent. Many of the national organizations that constitute the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Steering Committee were those groups in the anti-globalization movement who - after September 11 and in the most difficult circumstances when people in the United States were subject to a carefully orchestrated round the clock campaign to create a war fever - initiated a strategy and mass mobilizations to counter the Bush Administration’s endless war drive, its so called war on "terrorism."
The Coalition has since then worked to build an anti-racist, peace and social justice movement. The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, thus, had initiated the mass anti-war movement in the United States. A central characteristic of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition’s organizing strategy has been to work in partnership with the Arab American and Muslim community and other sectors in U.S. society who have been traditionally ignored. This has helped to create a truly multi-national anti-war movement.
APRIL 20, 2002
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition organized mass mobilizations on April 20, 2002 for a free Palestine and against a threatened war in Iraq. 100,000 people rallied at the White House and marched in Washington DC in the largest march in U.S. history in support of justice for Palestine
This demonstration was historic for two reasons: 1) it broke the existing taboo in the United States among the traditional peace movement against open solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle; and 2) because it revealed that the U.S. anti-war movement, or at least a section of it, could successfully organize with tens of thousands of Arab-American, Muslim and South Asian people to form a united front. As the Arab-American, Muslim and South Asian communities in the Untied States have been under siege, thousands have been arrested, thrown in jail, held and interrogated without attorneys, it has been extremely important for advocates for justice in the U.S. to speak out in defense of these targeted communities.
In response to a renewed massive aggression from Israeli Occupation Forces against the Palestinian people, at a time when the world media, the U.N., and traditional human rights organizations fell silent, the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition dispatched an emergency fact-finding delegation to the West Bank and Gaza. The delegation included legal and public health experts and human rights activists and found undisputable evidence of a massacre in Jenin, a densely populated civilian refugee camp. The delegation interviewed and took testimony from witnesses and survivors of the devastation and slaughter.
JUNE 2, 2002
The ANSWER Coalition held its first national conference in New York City with over 600 political activists and organizers from around the country in attendance. The conference adopted an action plan for activities that took place through the summer of 2002 culminating in the October 26, 2002 march on Washington against the threatened war in Iraq.
JUNE 29, 2002
In June 2002, A.N.S.W.E.R. organized a demonstration at the FBI and Justice Department buildings opposing the USA Patriot Act and attacks on civil rights and civil liberties. This was part of the Campaign to Defend Civil Rights.
OCTOBER 26, 2002
As the Congress illegally voted to give the Bush administration a blank check to wage a war of aggression against the people of Iraq, on October 26, 2002, A.N.S.W.E.R. organized the first major national demonstration in opposition to the war drive against Iraq.
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition’s call for demonstrations on October 26 drew more than 200,000 people in Washington DC and 100,000 in San Francisco. In DC, we gathered at the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial and encircled the White House. The march filled the broad boulevards and streets surrounding the White House for 20 blocks and was so large that the front of the march ran into the back as it was leaving the rally site. This demonstration also initiated the VoteNoWar campaign and the world-wide People’s Anti-War Referendum.
JANUARY 18, 2003
On January 18, 2003, A.N.S.W.E.R. initiated the first internationally coordinated day of action against the war in Iraq. On that day, 500,000 people demonstrated in Washington DC, 200,000 in San Francisco. Millions more around the world took to the street in a unprecedented showing of solidarity that heralded the emergence of the global anti-war movement.
JANUARY 19, 2003
On January 19, Youth and Student A.N.S.W.E.R. held a militant march from the Justice Department to the White House.
FEBRUARY 15, 2003
For the second global day of action, this time called by and anchored in the European movement, A.N.S.W.E.R. mobilized nationally for the demonstration that drew 500,000 to NYC, as well as for the simultaneous actions in Los Angeles, which drew 100,000, the largest protest in the history of the city, as well as in San Francisco, Chicago and in other cities across the country. Large anti-war demonstrations took place in most of the major cities of the world. All told more than 1000 cities and towns were the scene of simultaneous protest. In the U.S., most of the major anti-war coalitions fully mobilized for the February 15 actions.
MARCH 15, 2003
With the threat of war looming, ANSWER put out an emergency call and organized demonstrations of over 100,000 in Washington, DC, 100,000 in San Francisco, and 50,000 in Los Angeles, just 4 days before the beginning of the war. Internationally over 2,000 cities and towns mobilized and millions took to the streets around the world.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE ACTIONS
March 19, 20 and 22
Emergency local actions took place around the country and around the world when the bombing and invasion began. Students walked out of school, people walked off of their jobs, and many people demonstrated all day, including during the pouring rain, in front of the White House.
APRIL 12, 2003
A.N.S.W.E.R. began the campaign against U.S. occupation of Iraq in April 2003. Marching behind the banner: "Occupation is Not Liberation," ANSWER led a march of 30,000 in Washington, D.C. on April 12 -- just 3 days after the so-called "fall of Baghdad." The demonstration dramatically marched on several offices of corporate media and major contractors like Bechtel and Halliburton. Despite three unprovoked attacks on the protest by the police, this demonstration signaled a resolve to continue the anti-war movement during the U.S. occupation of Iraq. More than sixty countries held simultaneous demonstrations.
MAY 17-18 2003
The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition held its second national conference in New York City attended by over 850 organizers and activists from across the country. The conference developed the A.N.S.W.E.R. action plan for the coming year.OCTOBER 25, 2003
Nearly six months after President Bush proclaimed an "end to major combat operations," a demonstration of 100,000 calling to "Bring the troops home now" and "End the occupation of Iraq" took place in Washington DC on October 25. The mobilization included significant participation from the Arab and Muslim community and from military families who were increasingly becoming opposed to the occupation. This demonstration, called and initiated by A.N.S.W.E.R., was co-sponsored by United for Peace and Justice.
MARCH 20, 2004, GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION
On the first anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and others put out a call for March 20 to be a coordinated day of regional actions in the U.S. in conjunction with protests taking place around the world. The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition joined with major organizations from the Arab and Muslim community to organize demonstrations in the U.S. The New York City demonstration was co-sponsored by United for Peace and Justice.
On March 20, 100,000 marched in NYC, 50,000 in San Francisco, 20,000 in Los Angeles, 10,000 in Chicago, and in over 250 cities around the United States. Protests took place in 60 countries.
In addition to opposing the occupation of Iraq, the demonstrations were called in opposition to the occupation of Palestine. During the mobilizing for this demonstration, the U.S. carried out a coup in Haiti to oust the democratically elected leader of that country, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, in addition to organizing an immediate response, modified the main slogan of the demonstration to be "End colonial occupations from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti and everywhere."
APRIL 9-12 EMERGENCY IRAQ ACTIONS
Shortly after the March 20 demonstrations, in rapid response to the emergency situation in Iraq and especially the onslaught against the people of Fallujah, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition initiated days of nationally-coordinated emergency local demonstrations that demanded U.S. out of Iraq, Bring the Troops Home Now and Money for jobs, education and healthcare - Not for wars of aggression.
Protests took place throughout the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest and South, including in Augusta, ME; Binghamton, NY; Buffalo, NY; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Ferndale, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Kingston, NY; Long Island, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Massachusetts, MA; Middletown, NY; New York, NY; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, DC.
ORGANIZING AGAINST RACISM AND FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS
A.N.S.W.E.R. organized an anti-war contingent in the April 25 March for Women’s Lives of over 1 million people.
In May, A.N.S.W.E.R. initiated a campaign against racial profiling in DC following a series of incidents which took place at a Best Buy. African American students from a local high school were followed, had their bags searched and were kicked out of the store while white students were allowed to stay. ANSWER held picket lines at the store on May 1 and May 7.
A.N.S.W.E.R. also took part in a demonstration in support of affirmative action on May 15, the anniversary of the Brown v Board of Education decision.
JUNE 5 COAST TO COAST PEOPLE’S SPEAK OUTS
More than 20,000 people participated in June 5 Coast to Coast Speak Truth to Power rallies in Washington DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The central focus of the demonstrations were to end the occupation of Iraq. It also demanded an end to the colonial occupations in Haiti and Palestine. The demonstrations were sponsored by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.
In Washington DC, the mood of the demonstrators was undeterred by pouring rain and thunderstorms. The demonstrators marched through working class neighborhoods and were greeted with the support of people as they came out of their homes, workplaces, coffee shops and restaurants. Then the crowd marched to the wealthy neighborhood where Donald Rumsfeld lives in a $3.5 million house. As the crowd approached the neighborhood, the police put up a blockade to try to prevent the crowd - who came from cities across the East Coast, South and Midwest, including Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Saint Helena Island, South Carolina; West Chester, Pennsylvania; and more - from reaching the Secretary of Defense's residence. The people refused to accept the police's illegal effort to stop them and were eventually able to march right up to the doorstep of Rumsfeld's residence.
Protests against the "Twin Parties of the War Machine" at the DNC and RNC and the Battle for Central Park
A.N.S.W.E.R. put out a call and mobilized nationally to "Protest the Twin Parties of the War Machine" in July in Boston during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and in August in NYC during the Republican National Convention (RNC).
On July 25, thousands marched the day before the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
When Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York announced that they would not let protestors rally on the Great Lawn Central Park, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition joined with the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) and filed a major lawsuit in Federal District Court in New York City to support the First Amendment rights of all those expressing political opposition to the domestic program and war policies of the Bush administration in the days before and during the Republican National Convention. A.N.S.W.E.R. and the NCA have determined to carry on this fight to keep Bloomberg and his corporate backers from privatizing this important and historic public space and to reopen it to political mass assembly.
A.N.S.W.E.R. organizers from New York and across the country worked round-the-clock during a week of actions in New York. On Sunday August 29, a march of 500,000 wound its way past Madison Square Garden before the Republican National Convention opened, and on the final day of the convention, A.N.S.W.E.R. organized the one event outside Madison Square Garden while Bush was inside being coronated. Despite efforts by the police in riot gear, with shields and batons out, to cordon off the area and turn thousands away, 15,000 people filled the streets outside Madison Square Garden in a loud and militant protest on Thursday night, September 2, 2004.
JANUARY 20, 2005
On Thursday, January 20, 2005 the day of Bush’s second inauguration - over 10,000 antiwar protested at A.N.S.W.E.R. Mass Convergence site on Inaugural Parade route between 3rd & 4th St. on Pennsylvania Ave. Thousands of other protestors were blocked at Secret Service Checkpoints.
Report from the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition:
It is because of the support of so many people from around the country in the last few weeks that the A.N.S.W.E.R. antiwar mass rally on the inaugural parade route today was so successful. The rally was broadcast live on C-Span 2 for 4 hours and 25 minutes.
Over 10,000 protestors from around the country converged on John Marshall Park in Washington DC today bringing a powerful antiwar message to the presidential inauguration of George Bush. Demonstrators filled the sidewalks in front of the park between 3rd and 4th Streets. The first thing that Bush saw as the presidential motorcade began the parade route was antiwar protestors lined 10 deep along the side walks and in antiwar bleachers.
Atop the bleachers was a giant banner that said, "Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam, Bring the Troops Home Now." It was the first time in inaugural history that the antiwar movement was able to have bleachers, a stage, and a sound system for a mass antiwar demonstration right on the parade route.
Thousands more demonstrators stopped at the A.N.S.W.E.R. rally site and picked up signs and were able to line both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 7th Streets.
Although the parade route filled up with anti-Bush demonstrators, many thousands more protestors were stopped at security checkpoints and not allowed into the A.N.S.W.E.R. rally. North of the check point at 3rd and C Sts. (the closest check point to the A.N.S.W.E.R. rally) a full block-and-a-half of people were held back. A similar scene was repeated at other check points. People held spontaneous demonstrations at the check points, chanting and holding banners.
Our partial victory in attaining a space for a mass assembly protest along the inaugural parade route was the result of a year-long political and legal struggle. Attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice and the National Lawyers Guild filed litigation that played a vital role. There will be a future update on this work.
Speakers included: Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney from Georgia; former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; Michael Berg, father of Nicholas Berg; Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition; John Boyd of the National Black Farmers Association; Brenda Stokley, President of District Council 7017 AFSCME; Zack Wolfe, chair of the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Committee of the National Lawyers Guild; Macrina Cardenas, Mexico Solidarity Network; Vanessa Dixon, DC Health Care Coalition; Sue Neiderer, mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq; Celeste Zappala, mother of Sherwood Baker, National Guardsmen killed in Iraq; and Nathlie Hrizi of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and others. The program was chaired by A.N.S.W.E.R. youth and student organizers Peta Lindsay and Eugene Puryear.
January 20 antiwar protests were also held in other cities throughout the United States, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Phoenix, and other cities. There were also demonstrations in South Korea, Germany, Japan, Australia and Puerto Rico.
At the rally in Washington DC today, organizers from 30 cities took the platform to announce their plans to organize local demonstrations on March 19, 2005, the second anniversary of the start of the U.S. "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq.
MARCH 19/20, 2005:
THE SECOND ANNIVERARY OF THE “SHOCK AND AWE” INVASION OF IRAQ
The big business mass media suppressed or downplayed coverage of the March 19 antiwar protests that took place in more than 800 cities and towns throughout the United States. Many of these demonstrations were the largest in that local area in some time.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2005
MASS MARCH IN WASHINGTON DC
Thousands will march on Saturday, September 24, in Washingto,n D.C. The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition urges the antiwar movement to come together for a united demonstration to say
- Stop the War in Iraq
- End Colonial Occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti
- Support the Palestinian People’s Right of Return
- Stop the Threats Against Venezuela, Cuba, Iran & North Korea
- U.S. Out of the Philippines
- U.S. Out of Puerto Rico
- Bring all the troops home now
- Stop the Racist, anti-Immigrant and anti-Labor Offensive at Home, Defend Civil Rights
- Military Recruiters Out of Our Schools and Communities