Veterans for Peace / Union of Maine Visual Artists / Raging Grannies
“It was a great day in Augusta. We had long planned our day to hold a rally calling on all elected officials in Maine to demand that we Bring Our War $$ Home. Due to bad weather last Friday we were asked by the Union of Maine Visual Artists to share our rally permit with them. Without hesitation we agreed and by the end of the day 400 people had turned out to take part in a protest double-header.
The Bring Our War $$ Home campaign led off the event with an hour of speakers and music. One stirring moment occurred when the fiery Mayor of Biddeford, Joanne Twomey, joined us and took the microphone to say that she is tired of cutting jobs and social programs in her city. She said that at the last city council meeting she brought up cutting war spending as an alternative to these cutbacks and then told the roaring crowd “I offer a challenge to every mayor in Maine to say we need to Bring Our War $$ Home.” Maine public radio aired some of her strong words in their evening news report from the capital.
The rally began with singing by the Raging Grannies and then Dud Hendrick, president of Maine Veterans for Peace, underscored the importance of the day as it was the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. who many believe was killed because he spoke out against the Vietnam War – calling it a war on “programs of social uplift” as well as morally bankrupt.
Following a quick change of signs the chanting crowd switched gears and gave their full attention to speakers lined by the Union of Maine Visual Artists who came to protest the controversial decision by our new governor to pull down a labor oriented mural from the walls inside the state Department of Labor. You can see some news coverage of the rally here
Today was a good example of group solidarity and connecting the dots between the issues. I was proud that the Bring Our War $$ Home rally showed how addiction to war is tied to our addiction to oil. Our speakers linked climate change, militarism, social spending cuts, attacks on labor and civil liberties, and the need to protect one another.
In my opening words I said the following: “We’re at a crucial time – No more going it alone – no more of the ‘business model of organizing’ where everyone/every group just looks out for themselves. Those days are over. They will pick us off one at a time if we continue to do that. We are all in this together now – it’s gotta be all for one and one for all…..or nothing. It’s time we showed the links between all the issues and put out an alternative sustainable vision for the future.”