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National Mobilization Draws 150,000

National Mobilization Draws 150,000 image
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On April 25, over 150,000 people marched through Washington D.C. in a National Mobilization for Peace and Justice in Central America and South África. Government employees, hospital workers and hundreds of religious organizations filled the 2,300 buses that arrived at the ellipse that morning. The marchers were neither tumed back by right-wing attacks and red-baiting from the U. S. government, nor by AFLCIO head, Lane Kirkland, or the Washington Times, all of whom labeled the National Mobilization a Marxist event. Neither was the march disrupted by numerous revolutionary groups. It took nearly three hours for the entire crowd to march down Permsylvania Avenue to the Capitel building. From the Capitel steps Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered a key note address to the protesters calling "hunger and poverty" the real enemies of the United States. Thousands of people wore buttons, handed out along the way, asking "Do We Hate Our Enemies More Than We Love Our Children?" Speakers ranged from Daniel Ellsberg to Ann Arbor's Barbara Ransby. All of them addressed the problems of U. S. foreign policy in Central America, South África and the Middle East. The speakers echoed one another in condemning the Reagan administration for relying on military strength rather than peaceful negotiation and for discounting the strength of grass roots social movements both at home and abroad. Also evident was widespread mainstream support for the nalional mobilizalion. Numerous unión leaders, both at the pre -march rally and on the steps of the capítol, spoke of the "oldest coalition in history: the union and the church." Lou Grant quoted Mark Twain saying, "Being a patriot means being loyal to the country all of the time and loyal to the govemment when it deserves it." Over and again, Grant chanted "My country!" to the vocal, responsive crowd. Toward the end of the rally, Jackson Browne presented a donation of $25,000 to the African National Congress on behalf of Sun CityUnited Musicians Against Apartheid . Overall, the event brought out many people who had never feit ready to protest before which demonstrated how truly unrepresentative present U. S. foreign policy is.


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