â€œTen years of war is ten too many,â€ say protesters. Speakers to include key field organizer for late Mayor Harold Washington
Chicago, IL â€“ Peace protesters will kick-off the run-up to a noon protest on Saturday marking ten years of war in Afghanistan with a Thursday, October 6, press conference at 10:30 a.m., and a two-day pre-anniversary vigil at Obama national campaign headquarters, located at 130 E. Randolph in Chicago’s Prudential Building.
Speakers will include Black Agenda Report editor Bruce Dixon, who was a key field organizer in the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington’s first successful bid for the city’s top elected seat, as well as Mary Dean of Voices for Creative Non-Violence who has recently returned from Afghanistan, lawyer Len Goodman, a Guantanamo defense attorney, and Vicki Cervantes of La Voz de los de Abajo.
Protesters are demanding an end to the Afghanistan war, which marks its tenth anniversary this month â€“ the longest war in Americaâ€™s history, and a conflict that has taken the lives of thousands of Afghani civilians and cost hundreds of billions of US tax dollars. Actions are being planned to mark the grim anniversary across the country and around the world, from London and Sydney, Australia to Washington DC and San Francisco.Â
Polls show that most Afghanis want the U.S. to leave -â€“ and most Americans agree. Activists decry the resources spent on the military to bankroll conflicts like the Afghanistan war â€“ as much as the rest of the world combined, Â 67% of the federal budget, nearly double what was spent before 9/11, at the same time that politicians of both parties say government must cut Social Security, Medicare and public workersâ€™ wages to fix the economy.
Protesters chose the Obama 2012 National Campaign Headquarters to jumpstart a two-day peace vigil calling for an end to the Afghanistan conflict because the Obama administration has moved slowly to end US conflicts in the Middle East, dramatically escalated drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, parroted the Bush administration’s repressive assaults on civil liberties, privatized the war in Iraq at little reduction in cost while leaving tens of thousands of troops on the ground, and constantly delayed withdrawal from Afghanistan â€“ all broken promises activists say the country can neither afford financially nor tolerate morally.
More than sixty peace groups have endorsed the Saturday Chicago protest and march, including the Occupy Chicago protest in the heart of Chicago’s financial district, which was jump-started in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement that began two weeks ago in New York. Protesters from Saturday’s march plan to join Occupy Chicago picketers at the conclusion of their action.