April 15, 2010

Report on the Tax Day Anti-War Protest

by Adam Ritscher

"Bring our war dollars home!" was the message of more than 120 people who participated in the Northland Anti-War Coalition's April 15 Tax Day protest. The event was held to highlight the fact that hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax dollars are being wasted every year on the unjust wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. At the same time this is going on federal, state and local governments are being forced to cut social programs due to budget shortfalls. The NAWC protest called for our tax dollars to be spent on human needs, rather than war.

The protesters who attended represented a broad swath of people - young and old, Black and white, white collar and blue collar workers. And in addition to the Northland Anti-War Coalition, a number of other local groups endorsed the protest and participated in it, including the Duluth AFL-CIO Central Labor Body.

The event began at 4:30pm with a rally at the MN Power Plaza. There were three powerful speakers at the rally - former Wisconsin State Assemblyman Frank Boyle, community activist Brandon Clokey, and FBI whistle blower Coleen Rowley. Singer and song writer Rachael Kilgour shared several songs, and student activists Margaret Nelson and Steve Wick were the co-chairs.

After the rally, the protesters set off on a long march through downtown over to the Bayfront Park - where a Tea Party rally was being held at the same time. Protesters held a 50 foot banner that illustrated the portion of tax dollars that goes to the military, and handed out fliers to the folks attending the Tea Party event. From the Bayfront Park the march continued on through Canal Park, and then back to the MN Power Plaza.

Other coverage of the rally:

Also, following the protest, at 7:30pm, Coleen Rowley gave a presentation up at the University of MN-Duluth about her role as a whistle blower in the FBI who spoke out against torture and the invasion of Iraq. Thirty five people attended this event.

This Tax Day protest was the culmination of a Spring campaign by the Northland Anti-War Coalition to speak out against military spending. Each Wednesday at noon, for the past several weeks, vigils were held in front Congressman Oberstar and Senator Franken's offices, and activists delivered letters and petitions from local activists and organizations on the issue.

Thanks to everyone who participated in these events for helping to keep the issue of the war front and center. Special thanks to all of our speakers, co-chairs and to Rachael. Also, special thanks to Josie Johnson for leading the chants during the march, to Bob Kosuth for leading the collection, to Mike Solon for the sound system, and to Joel Kilgour and Adeline Wright for making the 50 foot banner (and for the 101 other things that Joel did for the protest!). We have a lot of wondering people in this area who have done a lot to keep the local anti-war movement alive and kicking! But the struggle continues, so I hope to see you all at the next NAWC planning meeting, which will be on Sunday, May 9 at 2pm at the Duluth Unitarian-Universalist Congregation. I hope to see you there!

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