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Cindy Sheehan Goes to Washington

Wednesday, 17 February 2010 11:55
Cindy Sheehan. (photo: Cindy Sheehan)

Cindy Sheehan. (photo: Cindy Sheehan)

Reader Supported News | Interview

n August of 2005, Cindy Sheehan breathed new life into the anti-war movement when she set up camp outside of George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

In March of 2010, she hopes to once again breathe new life into a beleaguered movement against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sheehan and others from a new organization called "Peace of the Action" will start setting up camp on the National Mall in Washington, DC on March 13.

In a recent interview with Reader Supported News, Cindy Sheehan was very critical of the way the movement put its energy into the election of Barack Obama:

"Unfortunately, I feel that the movement that grew up around the Camp Casey protests was misused to elect Democrats, and we have seen since 2006, the Democrats have done nothing to end the wars, or even put a dent in them. The Dems fully funded Bush's wars and refused to hold him accountable for starting them in the first place.

An even greater tragedy occurred in the anti-war movement when it supported and helped get Barack Obama elected, even though he was strongly in favor of sending more troops to Afghanistan and was very pro-military strength."

When asked about the recent silence of many who opposed the war in the past, Cindy responded by saying:

"First of all, it's very tiring to do this day in and day out. It takes a lot of energy and commitment to one's vision - and secondly, it's like I said, the energy is being misused to work in electoral politics instead of movement politics.

It's easier to elect someone and 'hope' that he/she will do the heavy lifting, but we can never abdicate that responsibility."

When asked if Progressives have a better chance of reaching Obama than Bush, she replied:

"I think if we are organized and courageous, Obama will have to respond to the pressure from Progressives. I fear, though, that Progressives will do what they always do - let the politicians call the shots because the Progressives are so afraid a Republican may be elected - however, unless the electorate stands firm, the politicians will never change."

When asked "Why Washington and why now?" Sheehan answered:

"Washington is the heart of this Empire, and we must strike at the heart to disable it.

There is a complete Democratic tyranny in the Federal government right now - so let's go to DC and see if they will actually accede to the demands of the party's anti-war base. And the wars have gone on too long. One day was too long, but soon, we will be heading into the 10th year. Too many lives, money and resources have already been wasted."

Peace of the Action's web site has the following call to action:

We've marched, written, called and faxed but the wars continue.

It is time for new creative strategies and bolder action.

Peace of the Action will bring forward a historic escalation of Peace Activism like we have not seen in the United States in a very long time.

We cannot allow business as usual go on in the Capital of the American Empire.

On a daily basis, Peace of the Action will perform courageous deeds of civil resistance until our demands are met.

Sheehan is optimistic that many will join her in Washington:

"I am always optimistic, but even if we have a handful, we will do what we can with the people we have, and if our fellow citizens really want the wars to end and can tie in the horrible state of the economy with the obscene amount of money that has been spent on these wars, I know the movement will grow. I have seen more and more young people becoming involved - I also have a very active presence on social networking sites, and all of the young people are very politically savvy and dedicated to true and positive change."

Camp Out Now, the signature event of the group, will begin with the building of the camp on March 13 on the lawn of the Washington Monument, and actions will begin on Monday, March 22.

When asked if the encampment would be permitted by the National Park Service Sheehan replied:

"We are seeking permits for the first week when we are setting up the Camp - after that we will claim our 1st Amendment rights to peaceably gather and express ourselves."

The group hopes to draw thousands of people to Washington to participate in daily acts of civil disobedience.

When asked if the actions would be non-violent Sheehan was clear that that Peace of the Action is:

"Requiring that the people who come to Camp to participate sign our non-violence agreement." She went on to say, "We will have trainings on a daily basis and the core group will be very committed to not only modeling non-violence but monitoring the actions of our colleagues."

Cindy also made it clear that there will be plenty for people to do who are not willing to risk arrest:

"Arrest is not mandatory for Peace of the Action - each participant can be involved as far as they are comfortable. Each day we will be doing civil resistance, but we envision flash actions where people can block or disrupt, and then leave - or they can stay and risk arrest."

We also asked Cindy to take a look back on the last five years:

"The highlights were the days at Camp when it really seemed possible that our energy would end the wars. I was so naive - the low points would have to be when the Democrats took over control of both houses and the people who supported the movement started to attack me because I was still criticizing the wars - when I ran against Pelosi and almost every single one of my Progressive friends abandoned me.

Now, it's almost five years later and our nation is still at war, and our civil liberties are still being stolen at an alarming rate.

I have learned so much over the years - and the mistakes of Camp Casey will not be repeated, but we do have a very steep uphill road to travel, because the pro-war people under Bush are still pro-war - and the anti-war people under Bush are not so much anti-war any more now that Obama is President.

Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat."

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+3 # Guest 2010-02-17 13:51
Dear Cindy: "Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old waom is uncontrolled by any for on earth." Dorothy Sayers

You go, not so old woman, and keep on going. It's the only way we are going to

Hope to see you in D.C. in March. Rita
+2 # Guest 2010-02-17 14:19
Yes, the militarization of foreign policy has been intensified on all levels. Even Germany has been coerced into playing a major role in the aggressive expansion of NATO in all directions. Germany land area is the most important NATO-staging area. Promises made to Russia and Gorbachev have all been ignored. Secretary Baker and Helmut Kohl had promised that NATO would not be expanded to the east by one inch...("Enlarg ing NATO in New York Times OP-ED November 30, 2009 by Mary Elise Sarotte).
German Chancellor Merkel has pronounced the "primacy" of NATO as a kind of Ersatz-foreign policy. Germans have been told that "dangers lurk in Afghanistan" (von Klaeden) and that this "Vorsorgekrieg" (Josef Joffe), as in "providential war" must be fought there...without realizing that the last
"providential war" started by a German whose first name started with an A. So far not one Afghan has committed an ill act in Europe or North American. Thousands of Afghans are dead..
+5 # Guest 2010-02-17 14:45
My best to attend..

9/11 Truth
+2 # Guest 2010-02-17 14:52
cindy, I wish you had run against nancy pelosi and exposed her for what she truly is. it would be great having someone of courage and vision in the congress. rare but needed.
+3 # Guest 2010-02-17 16:08
I don't see any significant difference between Bush and Obama, other than that the latter is more articulate. As far as supporting these unnecessary wars, they are the same.

The Republicans who are so dead set against Obama are complete hypocrites: They oppose what he stands for, but he stands for virtually everything that Bush did. That being the case, they should have opposed these same policies under Bush.

The Democrats who support Obama but opposed Bush are just as bad: They now support policies under this president that they opposed under Bush.

We need to end these wars, bring our troops home before another mother has to suffer as you have, and quit giving away the country to the super rich.

I'm not sure I can be in DC, but I will try. Whether physically there or not, I am with you in spirit.
+5 # Guest 2010-02-17 16:29
Thank you so much Cindy for doing what needs to be done, for taking the risks, the often cruel jibes, for doing the work, for attracting the best people, for giving us hope, not in yourself so much though we praise you as a great leader, but hope in ourselves, that together we can push the envelope and demand what we want. There really are more of us than there are of them. Hope I can make it to DC at least for a few days!!!
-8 # Guest 2010-02-17 16:36
What a pity that Cindy uses the social networking sites but attacks people who object to her calling Obama an IDIOT. I will never forget my experience with her and wonder just how she reconciles her combative tone & tenor towards people who are just as left as she is (but don't agree with her name calling) and her push for PEACE!
-12 # Guest 2010-02-17 19:29
This is a sad excuse for a policy statement, blaming the millions of us who voted for Obama for everything in sight, and demonizing Barack Obama— not a perfect leader by any means, but probably the best President of my lifetime, and I have seen 13 of them come and go.

We should honor Cindy Sheehan for her past achievements, but they don't entitle her to issue condescending and ill-informed comments like these and expect everyone to agree with them, just because she is Cindy Sheehan. Like too many people these days, she is confusing fame and celebrity with knowledge and understanding, and real-world responsibility.
+3 # Guest 2010-02-17 22:11
Obama isn't even as a good a President as Bill Clinton. In Bill Clinton's first year, he stuck to his guns without any GOP support, and passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993. This reversed "trickle-down" Economics, and the era of "Reaganomics" (until Bush Jr. was installed as President).

Obama stands for absoultely nothing. He ignored his Election mandate and just REHIRED BUSH's WAR SECRETARY ROBERT GATES. He has surrounded himself completely with Pro-War, Pro-Secret-Dete ntion, Pro-Corporate-B ailout insiders and zero people that actually oppose the status-quo. He was the guy who made a side deal with Big PHARMA to disallow the reimportation of cheaper Generic Drugs .. before Congress had even debated or voted on anything.

To call Obama the "best" President of anyone's lifetime is laughably absurd. Sorry, but Robert Gates and Rahm Emanual do NOT represent any "change" whatsoever.
+3 # Guest 2010-02-17 19:40
Hey Peace Sister, We're now on your side. We believed the peace in 18 months BS from Obama during the campaign. That's what slowed down the peace movement. Now, we don't believe Democrats anymore than we do Republicans when it comes to actually working for peace.

Thanks for returning to help your hopefully more awake country.
We love you

I call in to an internationally televised TV talkshow that I've called in to for about 8 1/2 years about twice a month. If you want me to say something in favor of your movement, just let me know at the email address above.
+4 # Guest 2010-02-17 21:38
AIPAC/Israel have made a puppet out of the USA government. It's time to remove them. Nothing AIPAC/Israel does serves the American people and they are draining our country of resources and making a mockery of all of us to the rest of the world.
-6 # Guest 2010-02-17 21:46
How can you ask for Peace? When you name call and ridicule everyone,even those who want peace, but do not agree with your methods and misinformation. How can you have PEACE withoug LOVE???
+1 # Guest 2010-03-03 22:46
You just don't get it, do you?
-6 # Guest 2010-02-17 22:55
Cindy,you could have done so much good for our military. Instead you turned into a rebel without a cause. You abused your power and let the American's who first believed in you, down. When in DC, please do the Right thing for your son, honor his memory, Cindy do not embarass him more.
+7 # Guest 2010-02-17 23:00
Every 11 days we spend the inflation-adjus ted cost of the entire Manhattan project which gave us the atom bomb. What are we getting for our money now? What are we getting for the bloodshed? As long as there is profit for the makers of death machines, we will be at war with somebody. Peace does not provide profit ... war does. We no longer wage war because we have enemies. We wage war because it is profitable for those in power. This nation no longer gives a damn about right or wrong or morality. It cares only about profit. People die in our faux wars because that is a side effect of deploying all the death machines we make. The good news is that people will make more people we can send in to die for our greed in the future. That is why Viagra is good and abortion is bad. Abortion = dead people without profit. War = dead people with profit. Abortion is not the taking of a human life ... it is the taking of future profit! Wrap it up in dogma and the people lap it up.
+5 # Guest 2010-02-17 23:40
Right on, Cindy! An organizer like you is just what we need most. I wish you and those who can attend in Washington.
great energy and strength. What we need most is citizen opposition to the sorry performance of Obama. And to think I worked so hard to help him get in! Amen.
+2 # Guest 2010-02-18 02:24
dear cindy, the most revolutionary people in the world right now aside from the bolivians are the people of iran. their latest protest action is to write slogans on all the paper currency. what can the government do? they can't pull it all out of circulation and start printing new bills as that would cause massive inflation. why not people start writing here how they feel and put it on the currency.

love garda
+2 # Guest 2010-02-18 10:28
If we could start with a couple of hundred people and go around visiting all the offices of senators and congressman and grow it into thousands maybe these parasites would listen. That includes Pelosi and Kerry.
+1 # Guest 2010-02-19 23:34
I truly admire Ms. Sheehan, and I always have. To stand for a beautiful son and country as she has over the past years exhibits faith and love to which all humanity should aspire.

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