Regarding the March 15, 2008
Fifth Anniversary Mass March on Washington DC
In December, the ANSWER Coalition sent out an email that contained an announcement from the Year5 Coalition (that included 17 anti-war organizations) about plans for a mass demonstration in Washington DC on March 15, 2008.
This announcement was the culmination of several national meetings hosted by Cindy Sheehan. The purpose of the Year5 Coalition was to create the maximum unity between many anti-war coalitions and organizations so as to mobilize a huge outpouring of the people in Washington DC on the fifth anniversary of the start of this criminal war and occupation.
The ANSWER Coalition was committed to doing everything in its power to support the effort to unify the movement for a massive mobilization. The fifth anniversary is a critical time and will be marked by protests around the world. Saturday March 15 was chosen for a huge march on Washington because the following weekend is Easter weekend and it was considered much more difficult to bring people from all over the country to DC.
Not all anti-war groups concurred that it was a good idea to carry out a mass march in DC on the 5th anniversary. That was the stated position of UFPJ for instance. But 17 organizations did issue a call for the March 15 national march in Washington DC. The day following the announcement by the Year5 Coalition a public letter was sent and circulated by the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) asking that there be no national mass march in DC or any protests at all in DC against the war from Thursday March 13 through the weekend ending Sunday March 16. The IVAW explained that it was planning its own event called Winter Soldier (that will take place in a DC suburb in Maryland.) Winter Soldier is an indoor event that will feature the live testimony from Iraq veterans and others about war crimes committed in Iraq. IVAW asked that there be no mass march during their four days of testimony.
Following the IVAW’s public letter, the majority of the groups in the Year5 Coalition agreed not to proceed with the March 15 mass action in DC. The ANSWER Coalition was strongly committed to organizing, along with the other groups, a truly massive action in DC that would repudiate the Bush administration’s lies about the “success” of the occupation. The Democratic Party and the mass media have given Bush a free ride and the best refutation of these lies is by bringing hundreds of thousands of people into the streets. ANSWER also strongly supported the efforts of the IVAW to organize the testimony about war crimes. We felt that it was possible to organize a massive march of the people that would both powerfully support Winter Soldier and contribute to a resurgence of the anti-war movement. We were in the minority. As a result there will be no March 15 national march in DC. The ANSWER Coalition is, however, organizing mass demonstrations in Los Angeles on March 15, in San Francisco on March 19 and is actively building for scores of important local and regional actions that will be taking place throughout the United States between March 12-19. To see a listing of the fifth anniversary actions go to http://www.answercoalition.org/