Rage Against the Regime

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By Jeremie M. Jordan

We caught a few middle fingers but mostly honks of support.

In over 230 cities nation-wide, October 5th was a day to let the people’s voice be heard. Around 15 Antioch first year students took to the streets of Columbus in support of the cause. The World Can’t Wait organization called for people across the United States to walk out of school, call off work, and pour into downtowns and city squares with a single simple statement, “No! This Regime does not represent us! We will drive it out!?

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At 10:00 AM there was a media conference at the Franklin Board of Elections, arranged by Military Families Speak Out, Fair Trade, local activists, Mark S. and Victoria P., and Bob Fitakis (Free Press Editor and Green Party Candidate for Governor) and of course World Can’t Wait. Only one radio program reporter was there; one indie reporter.Though little press coverage was offered, the demonstration was a call to peace that did not fall on deaf ears. When we first arrived around 11:00 AM there were only a handful of demonstrators present, but by mid-day the number grew significantly. We were joined by women in business suits on their hour lunch break. Though the weather may have deterred some, it failed to damper the spirit of resistance.

Many communists, anarchists, fed-up working class unionists, pissed off city-dwellers, students, and radicals were in attendance, but our number was nearly matched by Mennonites, who were comparing the Bush Administration to the Anti-Christ, and were more concerned about saving souls.
The timing of the protest was in direct correlation with the Bush regime’s most recent installment of curtailment on human rights. I heard more than one person say the passing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was the catalyst for their outrage, which coincidently was approved by Congress the same day of the protest. I talked to one person who felt that the country was being led into theocratic authoritarianism, and who was also deeply disturbed by the growing unrest in the Middle East.

Following the Patriot Act, the preemptive war in Iraq and the ensuing regional chaos, pulling out of the Kyoto Agreement, turning economic surplus into the largest accumulating deficit, and now attempting to justify torture and suspend Habeas Corpus, as a society, allowing these trends to go unchallenged is utter compliance.

Signs of condemnation, and cries for peace and justice, were in orchestration as we marched from Courthouse Square to the State House. We screamed at the top of our lungs and laughed with each other as we turned the afternoon into our own avenue of opposition in which we could express our displeasure in unison and bond in our common purpose.

There were a few stunned suits and ties, but there were multitude of supportive gestures and sympathetic cohorts showing their frustration with the war and the vulgar attitude of the administration.

Luckily for the first years, a few of whom were marching in the street for the first time, the police presence was actually rather miniscule. Perceived threat of legal repercussion was minimal, though we were warned that if we were to step off the sidewalk we could be arrested (and hauled away to a secret detention center).
There were several marches from Courthouse Square to the State House Republican Headquarters, and Columbus Dispatch demanding that we be heard.
Jen-e Johnson, first year protester, remarked on the authentic spirit that brought us all together, “The variety of people experiencing camaraderie on the street was exciting and inspiring,? and “I realized the inter-generational aspect of the people involved in the movement and found it intriguing.? One of our favorites Marni ‘Moo’ claimed “I love marching in demonstrations but often times when everyone marches, they’re really just walking, the knees say it all. Marching is the shit.?
A Diebold Ballet Box and ballets to impeach the Bush regime were passed around, and at the final tally there were naturally 0 votes not to.
My personal favorite sign belonged to an older, extremely enthusiastic, man that read “Jail that Skeeza Condoleeza.?
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Others included “Draft Bush Supporters, Support our Oops, Solidarity, Bush Step Down but “The World Can’t Wait? posters were most numerous with a picture of a burning world. There were also various Orwell references like “Freedom is Slavery, War is Peace, and Ignorance is Strength.?
In this era of magnified propaganda, lies, deceit, and manipulation it can be a daunting task to wake the sleeping minds of the masses to the urgency of our plea, but I feel that the power of information is our greatest weapon. We found that a frighteningly large percentage of “passers-by? knew very little about the Military Commissions Act and what its contents will mean for the future. The most beneficial thing we could do was encourage even the slightest amount of curiosity to bringing awareness to the disturbing reality that is typically ignored.
Creativity was utilized in bringing attention to the message in the various chants “Hey hey! Ho ho! Bush and Cheney have got to go!? “Silence is support,? “One, two, three, four, we don’t want your fucking war! Five, six, seven, eight, we don’t want your fascist state,? and the frequently used “Bush step down.?
The size of the Columbus demonstration was not as ample as some of the ones taking place Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, but was well organized with hundreds of signs, flyers, and posters.
From around four to seven o’clock people played guitars and drums to keep every one’s spirits up, which was much appreciated by those who were beginning to feel exhausted. Though it was a long day the energy was kept high and people stayed dedicated to the end.
By and large the manifestation of commitment to change that occurred, and is occurring, is quite positive, and with any luck an indicator of what is possible as we lurch toward Election Day. In case you were someone who needed to be reminded, the struggle may be slightly under the radar but it is still very much alive. See you next time. Peace.