grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
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The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

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Jazz Funeral for Democracy website

 

VVAW, VFP, Represented in "Jazz Funeral For Democracy"

 

"Jazz Funeral For Democracy, A Wake For Peace"
Latest Action in a Strong Louisiana Anti-War Effort


by Ward Reilly January 22, 2005

With a bit of good luck from a beautiful Louisiana winter day of 65 degrees, the anti-war effort of south Louisiana shined brightly on counter-inauguration day in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 20th, 2005.

1500+ proud anti-war activists, from as far away as Washington State on the west coast, Wisconsin in the midwest, New Jersey and New York on the east coast, down to Florida in the deep south, joined hands to condemn the $40,000,000 inaugural orgy of King Curious George Bush and Little Dick Cheney, two men considered to be war-criminals by those in attendance. They partied hard, while our children/troops are dying hard in THEIR illegal "war".

What started out as a an off-the-cuff remark, turned into one of the best anti-war, anti-administration demonstrations in the country, one of several "counter-inaugural" protests staged around the nation, in what was unquestionably one of the most unique formats ever used in the history of U.S. activism, that being using a traditional New Orleans Jazz Funeral as the vehicle of protest. We were there to "bury" the war,our civil liberties, and to burn the USA PATRIOT Act.

The demonstration started in "Louie Armstrong Park" at 10am, where 1500 "Jazz Funeral For Democracy, A Wake For Peace" pins, designed and made by Andy Lehman, Megan Bronson and Ward Reilly, were generously handed out to the first to arrive. Pictures of these can be seen our our still operating website, an extremely good site produced by Michael Goff, and one that had more than 10,000 "hits" in the 2 weeks prior the the JF4D.

After a few speakers, many media interviews, and generally organizing everybody into position, the somber crowd marched very slowly, also a Jazz Funeral tradition, down N. Rampart Street, led by principle organizers Buddy Spell, his wife Annie, and their daughter Sarah, who was being towed in a classic red wagon. They were followed by members of Viet Nam Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, CAWI of Baton Rouge, C3 of New Orleans, and Code Pink, all anti-war groups.

Behind the lead group came the "Constitution All Star Band", with the famed "Treme Brass Band" taking up a position by the horse-drawn hearse, both bands dressed in traditional mourning finery, and the contingent of 1500+ protestors, made up of lovely ladies in black, with decorated umbrella's (another part of Jazz Funeral tradition) made by Jennifer Shaw, men in black suits or blue jeans, and of course, hundreds of anti-war, anti-Bush, and anti-USA PATRIOT Act posters, banners and signs were everywhere.

To top it all off, a horse-drawn carriage and hearse, complete with casket, was put in position, and off we went at 11:00am sharp, as King Curious George Bush, and Little Dick Cheney took the oath of office, swearing again to uphold the Constitution of our nation, something they have yet to do.

The crowd gathered strength along the march, joined by many New Orleans Jazz musicians along the route. We turned onto Canal St., the HEART of New Orleans, and it's main street downtown, where even the street cars DESIRED to slow down and look at this proud moment in Louisiana history unfolding before the riders' eyes. We marched passed Bourbon St, and turned left toward "Jackson Square", where we had a permit to set up and have more speakers.

Other bands that marched, and/or played at the street party following the Jazz Funeral, all of which were organized by Marine VN-era vet, and certified-madman, "Sheik" Richardson, included Kostini, Paula & The Pontiacs, Panorama Brass Band, Leigh "Little Queenie" Harris, God's Little Toy, Otra, Christina Friis And Sam Price Price, and finally, The Constitution Brass Band.

Much thanks to all of them, and to the more than 40 groups that officially endorsed the event, including Code Pink, Raging Granny's, Pax Christi, Artist's & Writers For Peace, Noomoon Tribe, and United For Peace & Justice, to name just a few.

The New Orleans police, as has been their way since we started marching against the "war" in Iraq in 2002, handled the traffic and crowd with perfect cooperation, which made the entire action flow with ease, and kept it problem free.

Our action was in stark contrast to the $40,000,000, police-state-looking orgy of decadence that the Bush gang produced. In Washington, there were snipers on every roof, a soldier forced to stand every 20 along the main route as sheilds for our "brave" President, and visitors were subject to several searches before having to get behind metal or plastic barriers for the "privilege" of watching a pitiful excuse for a President ride by, gazing from his little 12 inch window. The scene looked more like
an old Kremlin film clip than it did anything that used to happen in MY country.

Donna Bassin, psychologist and Viet Nam PTSD expert and documentary film maker, came all the way from New Jersey to film part of a documentary, in a continuing study as to the effects of the current political situation on vets, and the effects that this "war" is having on Viet Nam era vets, and we were so lucky that she would do so.

The AP, the UPI, and several radio stations, plus a few magazines, also covered the event, and the Baton Rouge "Advocate" gave the demonstration a half page article and a great photo of our action, and the New Orleans Times Picayune did a piece.

Good media is the key to changing the nation, and in that respect the "Jazz Funeral For Democracy" also shined. CBS and ABC TV also covered us locally, and we were shown in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans in a completely positive way.

Bob Smith, a retired Command Sergeant Major, and 3 combat tour Viet Nam Green Beret, a VVAW member, MC'ed the event. VVAW member Ward Reilly and VFP member Dennis Kyne, Desert Storm vet, and national Depleted Uranium expert, joined Kathy Kelly of Voices In The Wilderness, always an inspirational speaker, and Avery Friend, a 13 year old activist from south Louisiana, whom we are especially proud of, in speaking to a very appreciative crowd.

Arthur Morrell, also a Special Forces Green Beret veteran, and Louisiana Senatorial candidate, and the ONLY anti-war candidate, spoke also, as did Mabili Ajani Oguniyi, whose name translates to "the East Wind Warrior",a man who has spent the last decade as a radio revolutionary in Tampa Bay, Florida. Also speaking were Mike Howell and Marty Roland of the New Orleans anti-war group C3.

At one point, for one long minute, all 1500+ stood in silence in the amphitheatre at Jackson Square, with fingers raised high in the "Peace Sign", in honor of all that have been killed or injured by the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was without question the most moving part of the event to me.

Native-American Grey Hawk, of the Louisiana Houma Tribe, gave a beautiful prayer in his native tongue, and we were particularly proud that many Native Americans would join us this day in solidarity against those that would destroy our nation. Their presence did us great honor.

The end of this portion of our action at Jackson Square came as Marty Roland of C3 ripped up the USA PATRIOT Act, symbolically burned it, and we then threw the ashes of it into the mighty Mississippi River.

We ended this fine day in true New Orleans fashion, with a street party that lasted until late in the evening, at the Blue Nile club, which was one of several that had offered their clubs to us, and they opened at noon to the delight of all that attended.

I only wish that ALL anti-war citizens could have been in attendance, because peace and love, in the name of sanity, and with a sense of urgency in trying to save our nation, ruled this day. It was only a success because enough citizens of this country still care enough to stand up for what is right, something that made all that were there feel very good inside.

My apologies to the MANY that helped us organize, that are not mentioned here, as our media coverage, our website, and our overall organizing in getting the word out, was exemplary, and is what made this event one of the best ever in our continuing efforts to end this madness in the Middle East. We have our work cut out for us.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights might not be dead, but they need CPR now, or the next "Jazz Funeral For Democracy" might be sooner than we believe, and for real!

PEACE NOW! TROOPS HOME NOW!

 


Speech (with Notes) by Ward Reilly

delivered to the rally at the Jazz Funeral for Democracy

New Orleans, Louisiana

January 20, 2005

 

Greetings to all of you counter-inaugural demonstrators...thank you all for

taking time to come out and let the world know that a lot of us, about

55,000,000 of us in fact, said NO on November 2nd, to this so-called WAR,

and the neocon's agenda.

 

That there are now scores of documented voting irregularities doesn't even

surprise me any more, and it simply adds to the disgrace that this White

House will  carry into history. It is shameful that the Constitution has

become a hollow shell of false hope and promise.  It's pitiful that even our

election system has no legitimacy any more.

 

I want to share with you some of the messages left on our Jazz Funeral

website:

 

From "Rick" we have:

 

"Ya"ll are a bunch of Un-American liberal idiots, and do not deserve to live

in this Great Country of Ours (True Americans). Please do us all (True

Americans) a big favor and get the hell out of this Great Country, or just

Die that would be sufficient also."

 

From  "Jacques":

 

"Assholes!" and "The only funeral i'd be interested in going to is YOURS."

 

From Anon:

 

"What a bunch of ignormasuses you communist sympathizing, socialist,

stateist morons are. Next time, get a job and participate in the greatest

economy in the world."

 

 

And finally From "K":

 

"Communist Socialist Liberal Democrats are on their way out because they

only have one agenda. To destroy freedom in this country by corrupting the

Constitution for abortion, homosexuals, (a.k.a. pediphiles) etc. God bless

President Bush and all he stands for."

 

And this is from people THAT WON the White House, that control Congress, and

that control the Federal Courts....I'm afraid to think of what it would take

to make these people happy, or what they would be like losing.

 

Many of the people here today, were standing in this same exact spot in

November of 2002, five  months before the Iraq "war" started, to warn our

nation about the neocons plans for war, and about the VERY

un-Constitutional, and VERY UN-Patriotic USA PATRIOT Act....we talked about

how the neocons were going to use the horror of 9-11 to promote a war

against people that had nothing to with September 11th.

 

We were here again on January 19th, 2003  to tell this part of the country

that an illegal war was imminent. And then, after months and months of

organizing and demonstrating, we were here on February 15th, 2003, joining

10 to 15 million people all around the world, to encourage our nation to SAY

NO to this racist, costly, and unnecessary war.

 

So here in south Louisiana, we did our duty as citizens to stand up in

opposition. At the same time that all of our anti-war activities were being

organized and executed,  King Curious George and his mighty round-table of

neocon fundamentalists were traveling around the country, spreading hateful

propaganda, and lying about an imminent threat from Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

 

Which brings us to where we are today...

 

Our founding fathers gave us a Constitution. In our Constitution, they wrote

the "Bill Of Rights", which is the backbone of our nation...and since the

birth of our nation, hundreds of thousands of  men and women have sacrificed

their lives in "war-time" and in "peace time", over the principles of that

Constitution and the Bill Of Rights. The principles of our Constitution is

WHY they were willing to sacrifice their lives for this nation, regardless

of the actions of the non-bleeding politicians.

 

This "war", and the USA PATRIOT Act, does nothing but dishonor those heroic

sacrifices.

 

We speak a different language than the right wing, and we see a different

reality, and 55,000,000 of us said so on November 2nd.

 

We DO NOT see "freedom" and "democracy" in the illegal invasion of Iraq and

the killing of tens of thousands of it's completely innocent citizens.

George Bush does. We see racism, murder, and waste.

 

We DO NOT see the politicians abiding by the oaths they took to obey the

Constitution. The neocons and republicans do.

 

WE DO NOT see "patriotism" in the USA PATRIOT Act, rather we see a complete
perversion of everything the Bill Of Rights stands for in, the USA PATRIOT Act.
The neocons don't care. The republican electorate stand in silence.

 

WE DO NOT think "supporting our troops" is achieved by sticking yellow

magnets on our cars, as we send those same troops to a land where THEY are

the enemy and where THEY are killing and dying for nothing but the greed of

the people in the White House, and their friends. The neocons and

republicans don't understand that the BEST WAY to "support our troops" is to

keep them from dying, or from going insane, due to being forced to be a part

of an unjust war.

 

WE DO NOT think that LOVE should be based on biblical interpretations,

rather we believe that ALL MEN AND WOMEN ARE CREATED EQUAL,
and deserve equal treatment under the law, and in LOVE.

 

WE DO NOT think that "free speech" can occur in "free speech zones", as the

republicans and neocons do.

 

We DO NOT think that the Geneva Convention is "obsolete"or "trivial" as the

republican right wing says, and shows by their appointment for Attorney

General,a man that stated as much.

 

WE DO NOT think torture is a value of the United States... the neocon's

think it's OK, for "terrorists" or "insurgents". without realizing that some

of our guys get captured too, and their capturers consider them as

terrorists as invaders.

 

WE DO NOT think that the separation of church and state is a trivial matter,

and we DO NOT think that it is all right for King Curious George to hold

bible study groups in the White House, or to make public statements saying

that "god" is directing him in his "war".... The republicans think this is a

"christian nation", when it most definetly is not! It is a nation of ALL

religions, or no religion at all if you like.

 

We mourn the senseless violence that a small group of corrupt politicians

and corporations have committed as our representatives to the world, simply

to steal the natural resources of another nation....and we mourn the death

of our beloved Constitution, as our children kill and die a senseless death

in the desert of some far away land.

 

Those reasons and more, are why we are here today. To mourn not for

ourselves, , rather to mourn the loss of the dreams of our

forefathers...their dreams of civil liberties for every man, woman, and

child in our nation, liberties that were supposed to be a birth rite.

 

I stand here today ashamed of what is being done BY my country, because of

the USA PATRIOT Act, as our civil liberties are taken away, and I am ashamed

of what this Administration is doing abroad in the Middle East, and even to

our allies, and because of our shameful "aggressive-preventive-war" against

a nation that had done NOTHING to us or our nation,militarily, before our

illegal invasion.

 

Our country is being ruled by men and women that are making a "mockery of

democracy" and a joke of the Bill Of Rights.

 

So today we mourn the death of democracy as WE see it.....and  tomorrow we

will continue to fight on to try and save our nation.

 

Thank you and...PEACE!  Ward Reilly

 


Where Were You?

 

A vetern's account of the Jazz Funeral

by Dennis Kyne

Mindfully.org (follow link for photos)

22jan2005

 

Red eyed flight was the cheap way to get out of San Jose, California to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I showed up the morning of MLK's birthday, red eyed, where my pal Ward picked me up. Ward was a volunteer infantryman who served with a Ranger infantry unit during the Vietnam war era. I was his house guest, and he was my guide as we set forth on a week of peaceful journey of expressing our dissent at the madness going on in the world. I had been to Baton Rouge before, Southern University more specifically, where I took home a trophy for placing first at the Mardi Gras debate tournament of 1994. We won it in the finals against a tough team from Moorehouse, it put San Jose State in the rankings for the first time in years, I always wanted to get back to Red Stick. This day I showed up in Red Stick red eyed, but I was ready for two of the biggest days of the year.

 

Monday, the 17th the United States celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. It is a national holiday, yes, but not everybody gets the day off. Baton Rouge's Advocate stated that the percentage of employers who would give a paid holiday in the year 2005 to be 26%, down from 30% in 2003.

 

Ward and I took off early to get to New Orleans and get our place in the parade with the local anti war coalition C3. We got their early enough to meet up with Buddy Spell and his wife Annie for the free coffee and found our place in the march at number 32. Buddy, a criminal defense lawyer, had been following my malicious prosecution and after I got done unloading about how racist New York was, he gave it right back to me about the neighborhood we were standing in and some of the other parishes. "Annie," he told me, "took me to a football game where the stands are separated at the 35 yard line with chain link. In the middle white people sit, on one side the students sit, and the other side the black people sit." I dropped my jaw, and he followed up with, "they are still burning crosses around here." I remember being told all this before, I had been here before.

 

Here I was again, we got rid of slavery but not racism. We set off on a march that went straight through the 8th Ward of New Orleans and ended at the Congo square in the Louis Armstrong Park. I was in tears before we even hit the pick up spot in 8th ward, which is where the high school bands were filing in to meet up with the parade. In spot 31 of the parade was Louis Farrakhan's Muslim Nation. It was an honor to march behind them, as MLK wrote in the Letter From a Birmingham Jail, "tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brother hood." What better place for a group of white anti war folks than behind a group of black anti colonialists to prove that the depths of prejudice must be broken for us to gain ground on the real enemy. Sadly, we were the only white group there. I did not see any white churches, white high schools, white politicians, f*&^% I only saw twenty white people on the side of the road in attendance of the parade.

 

OK, business only gave 26% of the people off paid, but there are many unaccounted for white people who got the day off from school and government jobs. There is 74% of the population who could have taken the day off unpaid. Unpaid is totally un-American so they could have done it the American way, called in sick and went to the Parade instead of the baseball game. Companies give employers money plus time to celebrate Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, people are steadily cheating more days out of the broken system, and I was one of forty white people parading in front of a crowd of thousands that had twenty white people in it. In 1963 MLK lead the largest march ever on Washington for which he later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. We were marching for a Nobel Peace Prize winner in a time of war, there weren't enough white people there, where were you?

 

If you had been with us, you would have heard the people on the streets yell. "George Bush Sucks," It was great, Ward reminded them often that we, "said yes to King's dream and no to Bush's nightmare." Thank you New Orleans and the residents of the 8th ward for having us in your neighborhood to celebrate a hero.

 

I had a minute to ponder the event, the funeral for democracy we would attend back in New Orleans was a couple of days away. I emailed out a brief note of my experience and the racism that I see permeating our society. In return I was contacted by a minister who said racism is a direct result of Darwin's selection theory, another who said the arctic was 99.9 % white and the most livable place going right now. Here I was again, we ended slavery and racism perpetuates the stigma of racism, so these good white folks advocate segregation. You can't argue with intellectual segregation, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the folks who are bombarding me with garbage like this. Borrowed opinions from bigots and fascists have lead these people to believe that the color of somebody's skin has something to do with the content of their character. I know the people who emailed me these remarks, since kid hood, and what has happened is the content of their character is in question with me. They are advocating segregation, and they have left me advocating it too. I am in support of taking people who espouse these thoughts and giving them a place to live, somewhere near the arctic, telling them they are not welcome in the melting pot of the world.

 

Back to the melting pot, New Orleans we went, Ward's wife Melissa came with us on the early morning drive back to Congo square where the first Jazz Funeral for democracy was happening. While we were getting warmed up, Washington D.C. was buried in snow welcoming Dubya Mass Destruction into office a second time. New Orleans Police Officers enforced democracy this day. Unlike the cities I have been to before, San Francisco to New York; These officers did not have gas masks on, or big Nazi looking helmets with protective face guards, huge batons or bottles of pepper spray, nor rifles loaded with wooden or plastic bullets to shoot at us. Congo Square was filled up and the local bands were warming up, the people had come from Olympia, Washington; Madison, Wisconsin; Boston, New York, California.

 

Kathy Kelly came in from Chicago and the master of ceremonies was a United States Army Command Sergeant Major, retired. I stepped off the square in the first line, walking with Buddy and his wife, who had been very instrumental in getting this funeral organized. Surrounded by family we bumped down the French Quarter to Andrew Jackson Square. It was an incredibly fun journey, and I would ask the city of New Orleans to host one monthly, and I would encourage everyone in the world to attend. I am a different person for having this experience. It was a traditional yet not miserable way to mourn the loss of something. We have lost much in the last four years, we have nothing to celebrate except the death of many people and the death of democracy. I am encouraging everyone to mourn; The days of the constitutional republic are over.

 

We got to Jackson Square, and before the beautiful St Louis Cathedral the police shut down the entire street for us. This had not been in the original plan, but because the turnout had been greater than expected, they gave us the room we needed. I can't say with omnipotence that this would never happen in any other city, please show me if you can. They said they were accommodating us, I say they hate Bushocchio in New Orleans.

 

Bob Smith has multiple combat tours under his belt, he retired as a Combat Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted rank one can attain. Bob Smith, a military hero, gave me a hero's introduction. I flashed the peace sign, that sometimes gets confused by media people covering the war as a victory symbol. Telling the crowd that this administrationŐs version of democracy had failed me at the Republican National Convention, failed me in the court system following my arrest at the convention I lead them in to four failures that affected us all.

 

1) Your vote has to count.

 

I got applause, and didn't have to spend much time explaining.

 

2) You are entitled to a fair and impartial jury of your peers.

 

I did not have to spend much time here either, Wilbert Rideau, a black Louisiana resident was in the head lines all week because he finally had gotten a righteous jury forty years after his arrest

 

3) You have to foster a middle class to foster democracy which hasn't happened in decades

 

4) You have to foster dialogue to foster democracy Another absent event in america

 

It was a quick speech, followed by the most remarkable activist I have met in a long time. Bob introduced a thirteen year old young, Avery Friend next. Avery was hassled by the police when she stood protest against this maddening war. Avery stood for her right to express, her right to speak freely and it turns out some bully officer wanted to march her off the street. Avery wasn't having any of it and I got to hear the story at the funeral. A wonderful example of what it is going to take for us to effect change. Avery's mother was there, the community has supported her and she has continued to send the message that our youth have a voice and sense of purpose in this crisis also. Myself, twenty two years older, admire Avery. Admiration, such an obsolete feeling, found me that day in Jackson Square. Kathy Kelly, whom I have been an admirer of since 1992, after I returned from Desert Storm, spoke as well. I admire her articulate and passionate objections to the first Gulf War. Sun set on Andrew Jackson's statue, we headed off to the street party, it was obvious our Jazz Funeral for Democracy doubled as a Peace March. A protest against everything about this horrible nightmare we are living.

 

You can't tell me this is the america my elders promised me when I was young. Heck it isn't even the america promised the people who are young, like Avery Friend. For goodness sakes, it isn't even the america that George Bush says it is. I take from King's letter one more time when he says, "Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal." I take from it once again in recognition that we are being lied to and it is necessary to do something about it. To rise from the bondage of these lies you have to be present and participate. I am asking again, "where were you?" If you were with us you would have met Avery Friend and Kathy Kelly, my heroines.

January 23, 2005 - page created by Charlie Jenks