Peace Activists to Set Up Encampment in Washington

Monday, 21 December 2009 15:31 By Scott Galindez, t r u t h o u t | Report | name.

Peace Activists to Set Up Encampment in Washington
(Photo: catbagan / flickr)

In August of 2005, Cindy Sheehan, who had lost her son in Iraq, set up camp outside George Bush's vacation home in Crawford, Texas. She had a simple question; she wanted to know what the "noble cause" was for which her son had died. Thousands of people joined Cindy in Crawford, and Camp Casey became a national story that breathed new life into the antiwar movement.

In March of 2010, Cindy Sheehan and other activists from a group calling itself "Peace of the Action" will be converging on Washington, DC, to set up a camp on the National Mall.

When asked how long the encampment will last, Sheehan responded, "as long as it takes, that will be up to the government; we are prepared to stay until our demands are met."

Sheehan went on to say that the demands are simple, "troops out of the Middle East, which includes drones, permanent bases, contractors and torture/detention facilities."

Sheehan said that she has known for years that the peace movement needs to take bolder action and that the group's goal will be to hold multiple civil resistance actions daily throughout the nation's capital.

Sheehan said that participants will be asked to adhere to agreed-upon nonviolence guidelines while standing up and resisting against what she called the "robber class."

She said they will also be reaching out to the homeless in DC by providing them food and clothing. "While there are a lot of long time homeless people with mental illnesses, increasingly there are people joining the ranks of the homeless for purely economic reasons stemming from the war economy" said Sheehan.

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 an 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.

We will show our righteous outrage at U.S. militarism by showing our elected officials that "Peace means Business," by clogging up government business. We want an end to Empire so we can build a new economy that is not drained by the costs of Empire and war. This Empire does not create jobs abroad while it has the effect of destroying jobs here on the domestic front. This Empire builds the profits of transnational businesses while Americans go further into debt and fights wars for oil and resources. It's time to stop using militarism as the PRIMARY tool of foreign policy. It's time to start adhering to the U.S. Constitution and International Law.

The group has a DC-based organizer, Robby Diesu, who, for the last two springs, organized "Our Spring Break," which brought students from across the country to Washington to protest war. According to The Wesleyan Argus: 

"They spent the break sleeping on church floors and participating in demonstrations such as Stop Loss Congress, in which participants tried to prevent legislators from leaving Capitol Hill in order to protest stop loss, and the March of the Dead."

Diesu told Truthout that many organizations are getting involved in Peace of the Action, but they are not seeking endorsements. "We want them to be a part of the action and help plan it, not just endorse it."

Much of the organizing so far has been done via Facebook; the group has a Facebook page with over 1,800 members.

A conference call was held on Sunday night with over 50 participants.

The group is forming committees that include, housing, camp, fundraising, media, outreach, web site, food, and Be Our Own Media.

The Be Our Own Media committee will use the web site  along with YouTube  and other social networking sites to report on the actions. They are not going to depend on the media to cover their events.

Camp OUT NOW, 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.

Scott Galindez

Scott Galindez is a Senior Editor at Truthout.
Last modified on Tuesday, 22 December 2009 08:15