Tampa Bay protest against U.S. military intervention in Iraq
Tampa, FL – Activists from the Tampa Bay area organized a protest on June 27 in response to a U.S. intervention in Iraq. It was an emergency action in response to President Obama’s sending military advisors to Iraq, and the flying of U.S. drones over Baghdad.
Speakers addressed an array of issues, from President Obama’s continuation of U.S. wars,to the oppression of nations by imperialism, as well as anti-war activists facing political repression by the FBI—for speaking out against US wars.
“The US has no interest in the wellbeing of the Iraqi people, and the millions of dead Iraqis from the past 94 years of US and British domination are a testament to that,” said Gage Lacharite from Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society.
Jesse Nevel of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement facilitated the rally and stated, “Up with Iraqi liberation. Down with war and occupation” and described the US government’s foreign policy as “parasitic”, connecting current US imperialism to the history of enslaving and murdering African people.
Jessica Schwartz from Stop FBI – Tampa Bay talked about the U.S. government persecution of Arab Americans and Muslims for their political activity, as well as the Antiwar 23 who were raided by the FBI in 2010. “People fighting against the system and opposing U.S. wars, occupations, and military interventions like the one in Iraq are attacked by the US government, which prides itself on so-called ‘freedom of speech’”.
Marisol Marquez from Raices en Tampa linked the US meddling in the Middle East with the history of oppression in the US. “With its history of seizing Mexican land, committing genocide against Native Americans and enslaving Africans, how can this country possibly know what another country needs? Invading another country was not okay back then, and it sure as hell is not okay now.”
Jared Hamil from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization explained about the current situation in Iraq: “Sometimes there are many forces and groups at play. It can be confusing. And we ask ourselves where do we stand. We must always stand on the side of the people, not with those who attempt to build the US Empire. History shows that those two are never on the same side. We must stand with those who oppose imperialism, with those who fight imperialism”.
Organizations included in the protest were St. Pete for Peace, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, Stop FBI Repression – Tampa Bay, Raices en Tampa, Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, and Tampa Dream Defenders.