Minneapolis rally against war with Russia
Minneapolis, MN – On February 5, 100 protesters gathered at Mayday plaza on the West Bank in Minneapolis to oppose U.S. war with Russia and further intervention in the Ukraine. Protesters held signs that read “No war with Russia,” “Fight COVID not Russia” and “Money for housing, not for war.”
The protest’s program began with a speech from Susan Banaszewski, a member of the MN Anti-War Committee, who focused on the role of U.S. intervention and the role of the media in beating the drums for war, “So U.S. meddling has made everyday life worse for Ukrainians by making sure they have less money in their pockets and fewer social supports, armed the fascist elements in their country, created panic and destabilized the economy with this warmongering. The U.S. has escalated conflict with their neighbors and essentially caused a civil war, in which arms from the U.S. are used against fellow Ukrainians. All this fuels our war machine profits. and the U.S. wants the world's thanks for making the world safer?”
Sarah Martin, a longtime member of Women Against Military Madness, spoke and compared the situation to previous actions of U.S. intervention, “We have been down this all too familiar road of build up as the administration and compliant corporate media beat the drums of war with all the lies, demonization of the leader of the country in the crosshairs and false justifications like ‘honoring treaty obligations, our national interest, and security, human rights, women’s rights,’ and of course ‘democracy’. A prototype for these U.S. wars of the last 30 years is the U.S./NATO war on Yugoslavia which broke up that country. It also began the Western move of the U.S. and NATO toward Russia, and manufactured NATO’s continued existence.”
Martin, like Banaszewski, argued this conflict is being manufactured by the U.S., “But despite the incessant and relentless propaganda of the state and mainstream media, fewer than one in eight U.S. citizens want this war or want the U.S. anywhere near the Ukraine. People are war weary and life is hard for most especially in this time of COVID. People are struggling and need help.”
Other anti-war speakers included Dave Logsdon from Veterans for Peace and Mike Madden from the newly founded Twin Cities Julian Assange Defense Committee. Closing out the speakers was Tracy Molm, a founder of the Climate Justice Committee, who connected U.S. imperialism to the struggle against Line 3 in Minnesota, “As we stand here to oppose the current saber rattling around Russia – and China – all of this assumed need for military might obscures that the U.S. military is the number one institutional polluter in the world. The U.S. military has consistently been left out of pollution goals put into climate agreements. Real and lasting fixes to climate change need to start with ending U.S. military aggression and posturing – but also end fossil fuel infrastructure that helps enable and continue U.S. military endeavors. The Climate Justice Committee is focused on fighting Line 3 oil pipeline and will continue to stand with our friend in the anti-war movement making connections between the constant drumbeat of wars abroad that necessitate fossil fuel infrastructure.”
A repeated theme of the protest was to denounce in chants and speeches both U.S. intervention in Ukraine and the recent murder of Amir Locke by Minneapolis police. Originally the protest was scheduled to march to U.S. Senator Klobuchar’s office but after over an hour of protesting participants were encouraged to warm up and go to the Hennepin County Government Center to protest Amir Locke’s execution by police, and to demand the resignations of both Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey and the interim police chief.
The protest was initiated by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and endorsed by the Anti-War Committee, Veterans for Peace, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and others.
The protest was organized as a part of the United National Antiwar Coalition’s national day of action. Protests took place across the country including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Portland OR, Asheville NC, New Orleans, and many more cities.