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Milwaukee Anti-War Committee leads Earth Day rally and march

By staff

Sara Ayumi of the Milwaukee Anti-War Committee leads chants at Red Arrow Park du

Milwaukee, WI – The Milwaukee Anti-War Committee (MAC) hosted an anti-war rally and march on April 22 to commemorate Earth Day. The rally highlighted the need to fight back against the sources of environmental destruction: namely, the capitalist war machine and the corporations that put profit over people and planet.

The determined group braved a late April hailstorm and marched to a local Chase Bank, where they filled the space with fiery chants of “Chase Bank you can't hide, stop funding Line 5!” Chase was chosen as the destination because of their partnership with war profiteer Raytheon and the funding of Line 5 and other oil pipelines that desecrate indigenous sacred sites and contaminate the environment through oil leaks.

At Chase, local organizations spoke in support of the rally. The speakers included Farzad Ghodsi from Milwaukee Anti-War Committee, Ryan Hamann from Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), Dr. Alexandra Skeeter from the Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba, Rory Donovan from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at UW-Milwaukee, and Blake Dee from the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (MAARPR).

The speakers shared important perspectives on the links between climate change, war and capitalism. On the U.S. military, the largest polluter in the world, MAC speaker Farzad Ghodsi said, “The United States military exists not to defend the people from threats, but to defend the profits of the oil and gas companies whose products they use in great quantities every single day. They have a mutually beneficial relationship that is harmful to every living thing on the planet.”

Rory Donovan from SDS echoed Ghodsi’s words on the U.S. military and highlighted a pressing student concern around the recent University of Wisconsin Board of Regents decision to increase tuition, supposedly due to a lack of their own funding. They connected this to militarism, explaining, “Our government doesn’t step in because the money is all tied up in the military, so they have to squeeze it out of us instead. For shame! We know there is more than enough money to subsidize education.”

Others spoke on socialist countries such as Cuba and their incredible efforts around environmentalism and sustainability.

The topics were wide-ranging, but the speakers were resounding in their rejection of the narrative that climate change can be solved through reducing personal consumption or individual acts of goodwill such as picking up trash. Working-class people are not to blame for climate change, and as Ryan Hamann from FRSO stated, “Capitalism does not exist in the abstract, nor does it act in the world as some sort of independent force. Its perpetrators and proponents, its facilitators, have names and addresses.”

The Milwaukee Anti-War Committee took the fight right to Chase Bank, declaring that anti-war and environmental causes cannot be separated. The Milwaukee Anti-War Committee says, “People and planet over profit! Save the planet, end all wars!”

#MilwaukeeWI #AntiwarMovement #EnvironmentalJustice #EarthDay