Saturday, April 15, 2017


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For the second week in a row, NJ was able to mobilize emergency protests against escalation of US aggressive war moves and threats – on April 7 in Newark against the US missile attack on Syria and this latest one on April 15 against the US use of the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on Afghanistan as well as sending a war fleet to threaten Korea.

Like last week’s, today’s protest was organized with under 24 hour lead time.  It was initially called by the Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War.  Our organization NJ Against US War on Syria and in the Middle East multiplied the effectiveness of the call by endorsing, creating a parallel Facebook announcement and expeditiously publishing a press release on this blog site.

In promotion of the event I shared the press release to dozens of Facebook NJ group sites – including some of the “resistance” and anti-Trump kinds of groups.  It was also tweeted – mostly to news reporters and outlets – receiving a smattering of ReTweets.  There was much support and further sharing and so far the press release has been read 1300 times.  This is an example of the importance of the outreach of an event and how it is not only about how many people end up showing up but the support that is galvanized by the pre-event promotions – and post event reporting (this write up).

Participating in the event were folks from as far away as Morris County, Bloomfield, Newark, Toms River and Jersey City.  In all there were about 30 who participated – a decent turn out with under 24 hours lead time.  Groups represented include of course the two groups that organized the event Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War and NJ Against US War on Syria and in the Middle East, the Green Party of NJ, and a mainstay of anti-war demonstration and support in NJ, the Peoples Organization for Progress.

As occurred at the prior week’s event, Lawrence Hamm, Chair of Peoples Organization for Progress provided sound (my Megavox system is sadly in a state of disrepair).

Green Party’s Laura Genna was able to livestream the event on the Green Party Facebook page achieving 1000 views.  That video has been transferred, with Laura’s permission, to Youtube and is embedded in this article.

As far as signs go – between the bent up poster boards I had in my car – some already scrawled with anti-war slogans and some blank slates (or with blank sides) and the plethora of anti-war signs and blank boards that Central Jersey Coalition had – we had the whole rally covered.  (Though we are going to need some banners!)

The event attracted several non-traditional protesters in addition to the “usual suspects” – those of us that have been protesting war for years.  This is a very significant matter because it demonstrates that a more organized approach to mass organizing can result in a massive anti-war uprising which is the only way forward toward the world’s survival.  There was a student from a Jersey City college that has only been in the US for 3 months.  A college roommate of mine joined us – after I invited his participation just this morning.  Several other first time participants were on board and there was a decent number of  youth in the ranks.  Plus my younger son was out to his first ever protest!

As usual, there was a range of diverse and on point presentations from participants, we had an open mic format for that.  We were also pleasantly entertained by one of New Brunswick’s finest veteran activists Albert Valeri who accompanied his mostly a capella performance of a song in support of the NO DAPL movement with occasional pulls on his harmonica.

Included among the speakers was Sam Friedman of the Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War.  He stressed the intentions of the coalition to re-establish the anti-war vigil at the same site of this rally (Adelaide and Raritan in Highland Park) that it has maintained for much of the last almost two decades.

Other speakers included Manijeh Saba, Geoff Herzog on behalf of the Seth Kaper-Dale Green Party guvernatorial campaign, Adam Grele who gave a youth perspective on the prospects of inheriting a world slipping away to war, Bob Miller also of the Central Jersey Coalition, John Hickson one of my college roommates, Karlos Basak, a third party candidate for NJ governonr, Lawrence Hamm, Chair of Peoples Organization for Progress, who as we all know – always hits the high notes in his presentations and myself – I focused on the need to create a more organized response network so that we can mobilize the kinds of numbers needed to stave off the many pending disasters from US war escalations and continuations. 
I am not going to attempt to summarize their presentations – instead I encourage all to watch the rally portion of the event on the you tube video embedded here.

Afterwards about a dozen of us went up the block and broke bread (well bagels) at a local fine coffee and bagel establishment - reaffirming our solidarity.

So in two weeks we were able to mobilize twice in response to the current worldwide emergency due to the reckless,  murderous and disastrous US war-making policies.  However we need to strive for greater numbers and a more efficient means of circulating the call and a more committed constituency to move beyond social network support to actual physical participation.  We need to have 100s of people – minimally – at these events so we can start taking some streets and marching through our cities.
A separate article will be written shortly with a proposed plan for developing this response network to a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness – our survival depends upon it.

And if the United States does continue on this destructive path and does initiate or provoke a nuclear confrontation – all bets are off – school and work becomes irrelevant – the only reasonable approach at that point Is for all of us to get into the streets and not to go home and to shut this nation down.   Hopefully it does not come to that!

ALERT: As I finish this write up – North Korea has just attempted a missile launch – non-nuclear – that failed.  Be ready to respond to any potential US military response – which would be unreasonable . . . AND DISASTROUS!

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More pictures from the April 15 Highland Park Anti-War Protest:

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