The Latest From The “Veterans For Peace” Facebook Page-Gear Up For The 2012 Anti-War Season-Troops Out Now!
Click on the headline to link to the Veterans For Peace website for the latest news.
Re-posted From American Left History- Thursday, November 11, 2010
*A Stroll In The Park On Veterans Day- Immediate, Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S. Troops From Iraq and Afghanistan!
Listen, I have been to many marches and demonstrations for democratic, progressive, socialist and communist causes in my long political life. However, of all those events none, by far, has been more satisfying that to march alongside my fellow ex-soldiers who have “switched” over to the other side and are now part of the struggle against war, the hard, hard struggle against the permanent war machine that this imperial system has embarked upon. From as far back as in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) days I have always felt that ex-soldiers (hell, active soldiers too, if you can get them) have had just a little bit more “street cred” on the war issue than the professors, pacifists and little old ladies in tennis sneakers who have traditionally led the anti-war movements. Maybe those brothers (and in my generation it was mainly only brothers) and now sisters may not quite pose the questions of war and peace the way I do, or the way that I would like them to do, but they are kindred spirits.
Now normally in Boston, and in most places, a Veterans Day parade means a bunch of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or American Legion-types taking time off from drinking at their post bars (“the battle of the barstool”) and donning the old overstuffed uniform and heading out on to Main Street to be waved at, and cheered on, by like-minded, thankful citizens. And of course that happened this time as well. What also happened in Boston this year (and other years but I have not been involved in previous marches) was that the Veterans For Peace (VFP) organized an anti-war march as part of their “Veterans Day” program. Said march to be held at the same place and time as the official one.
Previously there had been a certain amount of trouble, although I am not sure that it came to blows, between the two groups. (I have only heard third-hand reports on previous events.) You know the "super-patriots" vs. “commie symps” thing that has been going on as long as there have been ex-soldiers (and others) who have differed from the bourgeois party pro-war line. In any case the way this impasse had been resolved previously, and the way the parameters were set this year as well, was that the VFP took up the rear of the official parade, and took up the rear in an obvious way. Separated from the main body of the official parade by a medical emergency truck. Nice, right? Something of the old I’ll take my ball and bat and go home by the "officials" was in the air on that one.
But here is where there is a certain amount of rough plebeian justice, a small dose for those on the side of the angels, in the world. In order to form up, and this was done knowingly by VFP organizers, the official marchers, the bands and battalions that make up such a march, had to “run the gauntlet” of dove emblem-emblazoned VFP banners waving frantically directly in front of their faces as they passed by. Moreover, although we formed the caboose of this thing the crowds along the parade route actually waited as the official paraders marched by and waved and clapped at our procession. Be still my heart. But that response just provides another example of the ‘street cred” that ex-soldiers have on the anti-war question. Now, if there is to be any really serious justice in the world, if only these vets would go beyond the “bring the troops home” and embrace- immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all U.S./Allied Troops from Iraq and Afghanistan then we could maybe start to get somewhere out on those streets. But today I was very glad to be fighting for our communist future among those who know first-hand about the dark side of the American experience. No question.