An estimated 50,000 people took part in the first national demonstration in the US against the occupation of Iraq, in Washington DC, last Saturday, 25 October.
The Washington Post estimated that 40-50,000 people protested. The mood was very angry and combative. Buses brought protesters from all over the country to DC, including all the way from Florida, and probably from even further. This shows that many people are determined to defeat Bush’s agenda and to end the occupation of Iraq.
The most visible political force on the demonstration were supporters of Dennis Kucinich, a Democratic Party candidate for next year’s Presidential elections. Many people wore Kucinich campaign T-shirts and button badges, carried his placards, and bought his literature. A Kucinich spokesperson addressed the crowds and said, "US out, UN in". But this got little response from the crowd. Reverend Al Sharpton, another Democratic Presidential hopeful, addressed the rally, and he got a better response due to his more radical rhetoric.
The vast majority of these protesters were not entrenched Democratic Party activists. Many were willing to engage in a discussion about how to take the movement forward.
Socialist Alternative (SA – the CWI in the US) was present on the march, with fifteen members from four different branches. We sold over 325 copies of our paper, Justice, and other literature. Twenty-four people put their names down for more information about SA.
This rally shows that there is a good deal of opposition in the US to the occupation of Iraq and that amongst them there are also people open to socialist ideas.