los angeles

E-mail: worldcantwait_la@yahoo.com
Phone: 866.973.4463


Aug. 2 - International forces in LA say Stop War on Iran!

Saturday, August 2nd: A crowd of 150 to 200 rallied in downtown LA's Pershing Square to oppose an attack on Iran, as part of a series of actions in the area over the summer to draw people from political complacency to a principled stand against another U.S. war of aggression.

Initiated by Stop War on Iran Coalition, World Can't Wait joined the International Action Center, Union of Progressive Iranians, BAYAN-USA, and others. Despite short notice, people did come forward—with a good measure of enthusiasm.  It was a very international crowd:  Iranian families, Filipinos, Aztec dancers, Palestinians, Spanish-speaking immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and the Basque region of Spain, and U.S.-born people of all nationalities from different progressive or revolutionary movements.  People walking through the area stopped to check things out and some stayed for the rally and march. A common view among many people was that an attack on Iran was likely at this point, "and I wouldn't be here if I didn't think so." Among the energetic youth and passers-by who joined us, there was the sense that it takes someone in the family or someone in a circle of friends who sees the importance of taking a stand, being vocal and encouraging others to be a part.

An Iranian film-maker studying in Los Angeles, stumbled on the rally on her walk through the park, and was fascinated by it.  She said she had no idea that people in the US were concerned about a possible attack on Iran.  She talked about how life in Iran is very repressive generally under fundamentalist rule, and that women in particular had to be very careful.  There are progressive forces in Iran as well, so all women do not have to conform to fundamentalist principles, but it is a difficult life.  She thinks that most people in Iran do not understand the dangers of the US. She says the US seems very far away and is viewed as a bully, but not a bully who would actually follow through.  She wants to learn more about WCW and has just completed a film that she thinks we might like for the eve of conscience in Denver.

A high school teacher was very enthusiastic about having us come to do a counter-recruiting assembly or class presentation in September.  He said that military recruiters are all over the campus, and that he does his best to let his students know that there are alternatives to military service, but he needs help.  He said that he has been delighted to discover how great the students are, and not  angry  and/or apathetic as characterized by school officials or in the press. He wondered philosophically why this society is so alienated and seemingly frightened by such "sweet" young people. 

A young guy on a skateboard, decked out in orange, stopped to talk.  He said he had never been to a demonstration before in his life, and he thinks he will be coming out again.  He was very interested in traveling to Denver for the DNC.  He said he would check out the national  website for details.

A dozen pro-Iranian monarchists tried to disrupt the rally. At one point, an effort to shout them down got a little heated, and the monarchists dispersed not long after that. This polarized the crowd, some of whom thought the counter-protestors were anti-war and were being attacked for being anti-IRI, saying some people in the crowd couldn't "tolerate dissent" (as best we can understand this was not true: they were very much pro-war and pro-Shah, and united around that).  Several military youth, supporting an attack on Iran, came out as well. One kid from the Navy looked like he was trying to pick a fight, and three others who just happened to be walking by (and couldn't wait to finish desert combat training so they could go to Iraq and "do their job") basically rolled their eyes and were unfazed by the massive death toll of US occupation in Iraq, and the prospect of war with Iran.

The rally was co-MC'd by very energetic reps from Bayan & WCW, and messages of solidarity with the Iranian people were made by a variety of organizations.  Then a march started up and headed down Broadway, a heavily trafficked shopping corridor frequented by Latino immigrants. The march was spirited, and chants in Farsi, Spanish & English focusing on driving out the war criminals of the Bush regime were taken up with verve by the crowd and other organizations. An effort to find good Spanish language chants brought this: "Aqui estamos, y no nos vamos, Iraq, Iran, Somos Hermanos" – "We're here and we aren't going away – Iraq, Iran—We're Sisters & Brothers." Many on the street related to this chant, and supported the march.

One of the major local TV stations reported briefly on the rally that night, and a number of independent media covered the event.

As part of the Emergency Call to Action in over 80 cities around the country, an Art-In for Peace was held, as well as several rallies in the Southern California area.