I have found it difficult to write, as Anthony and I were good friends and spent many hours together, including all-nighters working on the video for the March 19th protest on the anniversary of the Iraq war, watching movies and documentaries on Netflix, struggling with the trauma and pain this system inflicted on so many of us, and kicking it deeply about resistance and revolution and the possibility of a future where people all across the world could live lives worthy of human beings.
I last saw Anthony on October 15th, the global day of protests for the Occupy Movement. It was the first time I had seen him in person in a while, since I had been involved in organizing things around the California prison hunger strike and working on my appeal, and the first time I had been out in the streets in a major demonstration since before my political prosecution, trial and imprisonment in the Cook County Jail last year. We both were amazed at how much had changed in the world since we last saw each other a few months earlier in the summer, and how inspiring it was to be able to be out in the streets in the mix of this profoundly exciting upsurge of resistance around major faultline contradictions that hold so much potential for liberation.
I’m proud to say that my last memory of being with Anthony was standing in the streets with him on that global day of occupation, and the night when the first tents when up at Occupy Chicago, standing with people all across the globe in determined struggle for a liberated future for all humanity.
I hope to be able to write more soon, it has been difficult… But as we here in Chicago have reflected and remembered about Anthony’s life, and as Sunsara Taylor beautifully voiced (in her statement here), what his life was about serves as a living example that millions of people should learn deeply from. In the hours before his passing, Anthony was marching on Wall Street with other veterans, refusing to be soldiers for this monstrous system and instead joining in the struggle against the crimes and injustices inflicted by this system, along with the massive outpouring of people who are stepping onto the stage of history in righteous rebellion, filled with hope and determination for a better world…
Barely a month after Barack Obama spoke at Notre Dame and called for finding “common ground” with Christian fascists and women-haters on the issue of abortion, Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country to openly and publicly perform late-term abortions, was gunned down while attending Sunday services in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Tiller was widely known as a courageous, caring man who stood uncompromisingly – even in the face of death threats, bombings, trumped up legal investigations and prosecutions, and attempts on his life – in support of the right of any woman, in any circumstances, to choose whether or not to have an abortion. The assassination of such a hero to the people as Dr. Tiller – and the attempt to deny women the medical care he provided – brought people into the streets across the country to honor his service to the people and to stand up defiantly after his murder to boldly call for “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!” We gathered in downtown Chicago the day after Dr. Tiller’s murder for a tribute rally and march. Read more about the rally and march here.
Today marks the fifth year anniversary of the start of the U.S. imperialist war of aggression in Iraq. Across the country thousands of people gathered to voice their opposition to the ongoing war, which has claimed the lives of over a million Iraqis and nearly 4,000 Americans. I attended the protest and march in Chicago.
The rally started at Federal Plaza, where a large group gathered before a stage to hear music and speakers. Throughout almost this entire time I was kneeling on the ground in an orange jumpsuit and black hood to visually remind people and bear silent witness to the torture being committed daily by the U.S. government, so I didn’t have the opportunity to take many pictures. I did a brief interview with a videographer concerning the nature of the orange jumpsuit and hood demonstrations and discussed the correlations between the policies, practices and techniques of torture being used by the U.S. government in the War of Terror and the methods and practices used in the U.S. prison system.
The above picture is from very early in the rally. After gathering together in Federal Plaza, we proceeded to march through the streets of downtown Chicago, most people carrying signs and banners, some drumming, others shouting for the end of the occupation of Iraq. Our voices echoed through the urban canyons of the Windy City as we made our circuitous march through the streets. We marched from Federal Plaza, around downtown and up Michigan Avenue – the city’s premier shopping strip – and through the Gold Coast.
As we ended the march we gathered in the street, many commiserating and dancing, showing solidarity with those around the country and the world who were protesting or feeling the brunt of the jackboot of U.S. imperialism. Before long the police attempted to force us out of the street, as they rushed in on ATVs and Segways.
Although they moved people a bit off the street initially, far too many people refused to move and at the time I left shorty thereafter a huge group of people were still gathered in the streets, dancing and cheering for the freedom of the people to oppose the monumentally disastrous agenda of the ruling class in America…