“We don’t want the word peace connected with the word veteran”-paraphrase of a remark by an official parade organizer- “Oh ya, well watch this”- All Out For The Smedley Butler Brigade Veterans For Peace-Initiated Saint Patrick’s PEACE Parade on Sunday March 18th in South Boston
Click on the headline to link to the Smedley Butler Brigade Facebook page.
Veterans For Peace
Call for Help
Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade
Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice
When: Sunday, March 18-2:00 PM
Where: South Boston- form up outside the Broadway Redline Station
Please join us for our Second Annual Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, the Alternative Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice.
Once again Veterans for Peace have been denied to walk in the Saint Patrick’s Parade in South Boston. Last year they gave us a reason for the denial, “They did not want the word Peace associated with the word Veteran”. Well last year, in three weeks time, we pulled our own permit and had our own parade with 500 participants. We had to walk one mile behind the traditional parade. We had lead cars with our older vets asGrand Marshals, Vets For Peace, MFSO, Code Pink and numerous other local peace groups.
Also: Seventeen years ago the gay and bisexual groups in Boston were also denied. They were the first groups we reached out to and invited them to walk in our parade. Last year we had Join the Impact with us. We also had church / religious groups, and labor. Last year we stole the press, it was a controversy and we received front page coverage and editorial articles in all of the major newspapers, radio and television reports.
This year we anticipate 2,000 people in our parade, multiple bands, we have a Duck Boat, the Ragging Grannies will be singing from the top of the boat. We have a trolley for older folks not able to walk. We may have floats. We will have multiple street bands, a large religious division, a large labor division and “Occupy Everywhere” division, including Occupy Boston and numerous other Occupy groups.
All we need is you, your VFP chapter, peace groups, GLBT groups, religious and labor groups and Occupy groups. Please come to Boston and join us in this fabulous parade.
Please see the attached flyer and a description of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade, it’s history and where we are.
On behalf of the Saint Patrick’s Peace Parade Organizing Committee.
Pat Scanlon (VN 69’)
Coordinator, VFP Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade
As if I needed any extra push to join in this VFP action I have reposted a blog that pretty clearly explains why I am always ready to march with my fellow VFPers, any time any place.
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 that governs us 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 playground “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.
From Veterans For Peace:
Saint Patrick's Peace Parade
Peoples Parade for Peace, Equality, Jobs, Social and Economic Justice
Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland was a man of peace. Saint Patrick's Day should be a day to celebrate Saint Patrick and the Irish Heritage of Boston and the contributions of the Irish throughout American history. In Boston the parade should be a day to celebrate the changes in our culture, the ethnic, religious diversity, points of views and politics of our great City of Boston. For on Saint Patrick's Day we are all Irish.
Saint Patrick Day parades have been held in Boston since 1737 (Unofficial parades). In 1901 Evacuation Day was declared a holiday in the City of Boston. Because of the coincidence of the proximity of the two holidays the celebrations were combined and for the past forty years the Allied War Veterans Council have been organizing the Saint Patrick's Day Parade, turning what should be the celebration of Saint Patrick, the Irish Heritage and History into a military parade.
In 2011, the local chapter of Veterans For Peace, the Smedley Butler Brigade submitted an application to march in the traditional Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Veterans For Peace is a national veterans organization with 130 chapters across the country. The Smedley Butler Brigade has over 200 members locally. It's members range from veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq and the Afghanistan War. All Veterans For Peace wanted to do was to march in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade and carry their flags and banners. Their application was denied by the "Allied War Council". When the organizer of the parade, Phil Wuschke, was asked why their application was denied, he stated, "Because they did not want to have the word peace associated with the word Veteran". They were also told that they were too political, as if the Saint Patrick's Day Parade and other activities surrounding the parade are not political.
Veterans For Peace subsequently filed for their own permit for the Saint Patrick's Peace Parade. Seventeen years ago, the gay and bisexual community (GLBT) had also applied to march in the parade and like the veterans were denied. GBLT sued the Allied War Council and the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court, resulting in the Hurley Decision, named after Wacko Hurley, the ruler supreme of the parade. This decision states that who ever is organizing the parade has the right to say who is in and who can be excluded from the parade, no questions asked. Even though the City of Boston will spend in excess of $300,000.00 in support of this parade, they have no say in who can be in the parade. The Saint Patrick's Day Parade should be sponsored by the City of Boston and not a private group, who have secretive, private meetings, not open to the public and who practice discrimination and exclusion.
In the case of Veterans For Peace, if you are carrying a gun or drive a tank you can be in the parade, if you are a veteran of the US Military and carrying a peace symbol, you are excluded. Once Veterans For Peace had their parade permit in hand the first group they reached out to was the gay and bisexual community in Boston. "You were not allowed to walk in their parade seventeen years ago, how would you like to walk in our parade" The response was immediate and Join the Impact, one of many GLBT organizations in the Boston area enthusiastically joined the Saint Patrick's Peace Parade, the alternative peoples parade. Because of another Massachusetts's Court decision the "Saint Patrick's Peace Parade" had to walk one mile behind the traditional parade. With only three weeks to organize the parade when it steped off this little parade had over 500 participants, grand marshals, a Duck Boat, a band, veterans, peace groups, church groups, GBLT groups, labor groups and more. It was a wonderful parade and was very warmly welcomed by the residents of South Boston.
This year, once again, Veterans For Peace submitted an application to the "Allied War Council" for the inclusion of the small "Saint Patrick's Peace Parade" into the larger parade. Once again the Veterans were denied;
"Your application has been reviewed, we refer you to the Supreme Court ruling on June 19,1995your application to participate in the March 18,2012 Saint Patrick's Day Parade had been denied"
No reason given as to why, just denied. This should be unacceptable to every citizen of Boston, especially the politicians who will be flocking to the Breakfast and Roast on March 18th. This kind of exclusion should not be condoned nor supported by anyone in the City of Boston, especially our elected political leaders.
Just in case the Allied War Council has not noticed, South Boston is no longer a strictly Irish Catholic community. In fact the Irish are no longer a majority in South Boston. The community is much more diverse in 2012 in ethnicity, life styles, religion, points of view and politics then it was forty years ago. Times have changed, the City has changed, the population has changed, social norms have changed. People are much more accepting of those that may be different, have a different religion, customs or ideas. We are a much more inclusive society, everyone that is except the antiquated Allied War Veterans.
It is time for the Saint Patrick's Day Parade to be inclusive of these differing groups. It is time for the Saint Patrick's Day Parade to be reflective of the changes in our culture. It is time for this parade to include groups of differing life styles, points of views and politics or the City of Boston should take back this parade. There is no place in Boston or anywhere in this country for bigotry, hatred, censorship, discrimination and exclusion. This should be a day of celebration, for all the peoples of the great City of Boston to come together, to celebrate Saint Patrick and our Irish History and Heritage. In 2012 this parade should be inclusive and also celebrate what makes us Americans, what makes this country great, our multi-ethnic diversity, differing life-styles, religious affiliations, differing politics and points of views. All of us should wear the green, no one should be excluded, since on Saint Patrick's Day we are all Irish.
Labels: Veterans For Peace