The 21st of October featured Cindy Sheehan’s Women’s March on the Pentagon. Protesters assembled outside the Pentagon City shopping mall, and set off chanting “out of the shopping malls and into the streets.” The march wound under the highway and through the streets around the Pentagon before finally ending in one of the Pentagon parking lots.
One of the speakers recounted the role of antiwar organizations in scuttling Trump’s plans for a military parade honoring himself. On Nov 10, what was to be protests in opposition to that parade will be a peace conference, replacing Trump’s fascist parade.
The march took place on the 51st anniversary of the Oct 21, 1967 anti-Vietnam War march on the Pentagon where protesters inserted flowers into Military Police rifle barrels and the Yippies vowed to “levitate” the building. The objective of those MP’s was to block protesters from climbing the Pentagon steps and carrying out their vow to storm the building. Driven by the combination of the military draft and the blood-drenched war in Vietnam, those protesters meant business, and flowers or not the MP’s knew it. It took six more years, but in the end those protesters and the Vietnamese had won, an Johnson and later Nixon had lost.
Fifty one years later, the demands of the 2018 Women’s March on the Pentagon included the closure of ALL foreign US military bases and an end to every last one of the US’s foreign wars, deployments,and other military actions. No US President has dared reintroduce draft calls since the end of Vietnam. Reagan tried and failed to enforce draft registration (I the author of this story publicly refused to register in 1983), and there were rumors that GW Bush would bring back conscription in 2005 but in the end none of those attempts panned out. With no draft, more young people today are expected to be in the malls shopping and fewer are in the streets protesting, but Donald Trump may be changing this calculus. The insane risks Donald Trump has taken with other unstable regimes like North Korea, his reckless denials of climate change, and above all his racist hate reminescent of 1930’s Germany have turned people out on the streets. In essence, Trump has often proven to be a new activist’s draft notice.
Protests throughout the US have roughly doubled since Trump took office, and the Women’s March on the Pentagon was said to be the first major antiwar presence there in many years. Last time may have been the 2007 march on the Pentagon against the Iraq War. In that march, the Gathering of Eagles assaulted Code Pink with flagpoles, only to suddenly be on their best behavior when a hundreds-strong SDS block showed up with Roman army style shields. That same black bloc later pierced two lines of riot cops before halting at the 3ed as they were getting too far ahead of their base of support.
This time around there was no black bloc, but Cindy Sheehan (whose son was killed in Bush’s Iraq War) played a major role in turning the public against Bush’s reckless invasion of Iraq and turning the GOP out of Congress in Nov 2006. Speaking of black blocs, one reason Trump gave up on his military parade that was supposed to be on Nov 11 may have been fear that it would turn out to be another J20, with checkpoint blockades and militant direct action throughout the city for days on end. Summer 2018 featured the failure of the J20 prosecutions, followed by DC spending millions of dollars to defend perhaps 24 neo-Nazis from over ten thousand counterprotesters on August 12. It was soon after August 12 that Trumps’ parade was cancelled.
Video highlights of the march 2 min 16 sec
Out of the shopping malls, into the streets!
Approaching the Pentagon
Do Pentagon Arms deals for Saudis who stay in Trump Hotel include any bone saws?