Requiem for the Antiwar Movement by Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
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Dandelion Salad
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Blog
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July 9, 2010

“When you vote for war, don’t be surprised when you get it.” — Cindy Sheehan

“I will send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan.”  — Presidential Candidate Barack Obama

“This war (Iraq) prevents us from tackling every serious threat that we face, from a resurgent al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to a hostile Iranian regime intent on possessing nuclear weapons.”  — Candidate Barack Obama

“And if we have actionable intelligence about high-level al-Qaeda targets (in Pakistan), we must act if Pakistan will or cannot.” — Candidate Barack Obama

This article and these observations are going to piss some people off—but oh well. You will be angry with me, even though I am not the one who is ordering more war, paying for more war, torturing people and imprisoning them without due process, destroying the economy and the environment, blah, blah, blah. I have developed an incredibly thick skin and if I rankle, it’s because I think time is running out to halt the disastrous trajectory this planet (via the US Military Corporate Complex) is on. I promise that I am not writing this because I am holding protests and no one is coming—these thoughts have been percolating in me for months now. (Note: Remember that old saying: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” Well, here in DC I am living the opposite: “What if they gave an antiwar protest and nobody came?”)

My grandbabies and other people’s grandbabies WILL NOT live in a world where war for profit is so normal that state-sanctioned violence is rarely even questioned—and if it is, then the person questioning is the “looney tunes,” the “mama moonbat,” the “radical.” That is one seriously messed-up world. You know it is and we are the only ones who have the key to unmessing it.

Last week, the Democratically controlled House of Representatives voted to give Barack Obama 33 billion more dollars to prosecute two idiotic and ill-advised wars. Of course they did—it wasn’t the first time since 2007 that a Democratic Congress voted to fund wars, and it won’t be the last—do you all know why? BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS DON’T WANT PEACE—THEY ARE JUST ONE-HALF OF THE “WAR PARTY.”

Why else did the Democrats vote for more war, more death and more destruction? If you are a Democrat and voted for one of these scum—did you vote for them hoping that you would get more war? Did you vote for Obama hoping that he would dig this country into a deeper hole, and do you still believe that fucking things up even more is the way to solve problems?

Do you all know what else? The wars that were begun in the Bush presidency and fully funded and increased during the Obama regime belong to everyone who voted for Obama, too. If you listened to what Obama said, and not just how he said it, then you would have heard him promise you that he was going to SEND MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN. You would have heard him say that nothing was “off the table” for dealing with Iran.

During the campaign, many colleagues and friends of mine, assured me that Obama was just saying this hostile crap to “get elected” and once he was elected that he would “do the right thing.” Well, first of all, why support such a pandering Jackwagon, and secondly, how has that ever worked? Three days after Obama swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, he drone-bombed a “target” in Pakistan killing 3 dozen civilians—and since that day he has elevated the art of drone bombings to new heights, while the so-called antiwar movement looks on in silent complacency and while Democratic operatives disguised as antiwar groups are hoping against hope that Obama comes out strong with a new antiwar marketing campaign to assure his “re-election.” Even though not one progressive issue has been propagated during his term, these war supporters are looking forward to another four years of the dance of death. Right foot kill—left foot torture—spin around for environmental devastation—allemande left for health care fascism—and shimmy right for bankster bailouts. Wasn’t eight years of this crap during the Bush stain enough for y’all?

Many antiwar groups and people who claim they are for peace lose their minds during election season thinking that the razor-thin difference between the Democrat and Republican is enough to go ape-shit crazy in working for the Democrat. Just take the last two Democratic candidates, for example. Kerry and Obama both supported more war. An “antiwar” movement de-legitimizes itself when it works hard for a candidate who does not promise total and rapid withdrawal of troops from wherever they happen to be at the time AND does not promise to end war as an imperial tool of corporate conquest.

The majority of the so-called antiwar movement, in fact, voted for a candidate that PROMISED to contract one war only to be able to profoundly EXPAND another. Obama all along said that he is not against all war, just “dumb wars.” If there existed an antiwar movement that had integrity—it would have said that “all wars are dumb,” and we withhold our support for just another dyed-in-the-wool warmonger.

What do we do now that we have another two and a half years of a hawk who thinks it is just hunky-dory that his supporters are under the delusion that he is a dove—he was awarded the war-establishment’s highest prize wasn’t he? He is, after all, a Nobel Laureate.

First of all, voting just doesn’t cut it. Realistically, our choices are between War Party Candidate A and War Party Candidate B. A true peace candidate is marginalized, metaphorically spat upon, and reviled. This is not a nation that honors peace and non-violence. From the top down, we are a violent nation—so from the bottom up, we have to restructure society. Liberate yourself and remove your Obama bumper sticker that has a peace sign instead of the “O.” If you are antiwar, you know in your heart that he is not a peace monger.

Secondly, our resources and energy are stretched thin. We live in a credit based economy where good jobs are scarce. Many people, who have the same values, in this almost value-free society, constantly tell me that they would be with me if they could afford it.

Since my son was killed, which was as violent of a paradigm shift as anyone should have to endure, I have whittled my life down to a bare minimum. I have no car. I have no pets. I have no plants. I have no credit cards. My income is based on my donations from my itinerant peace travels and book sales. I have moved eight times since Casey died and now I can move with one small u-haul. I have a cell phone and computer, a bed, clothes, a few dishes, a few valued books and peace paraphernalia and pictures of my children and grandbabies.

As HD Thoreau said: “You don’t own your possessions, they own you.” This consumer orgiastic society makes us literal slaves to a system that is detrimental to our health. Freeing oneself from those chains frees one to be a full-time, or near full-time activist. “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

Massive antiwar protest in this country is dead. We may as well acknowledge that and just bury the corpse, mourn, and then figure out a better way of doing things.

In the Christian tradition, death was only a prelude to new and better life and farmers well tell you that a seed has to die before a health-nourishing plant can be born and then there’s the ever ubiquitous example of the ugly, hairy, and yucky caterpillar being reborn as a magnificent and beautiful butterfly. Have I hammered you with enough clichés yet?

The key to turning this caterpillar of a country into a beautiful butterfly is in Peace and recognizing that no matter if one is Bush, Obama, McCain or Palin—these people don’t want Peace, but we do.

I think we lose the raw humanity of war when we allow ourselves to wallow in War Party politics. When the Democratic Wing of the War Party took over the mis-management of the Empire, the anti-war movement was effectively neutralized even though the wars weren’t.

So after we are done mourning, we get together as one human family to organize something that will bring positive change. We are not enemies with each other—we may be “enemies of the state,” but the state is our enemy.

No more marching in circles, it makes us dizzy.

No more signing petitions, it gives us writer’s cramp.

No more calling Congress-scum, the war machine is its master.

The establishment wants us to think that this busy-work has a chance to be effective—but when is the last time any of these tactics worked on a Federal level? Your president or your congress rep couldn’t care less want you think or want. Your vote doesn’t even count—in case you haven’t heard, they steal votes and falsely manipulate you, anyway.

I am going to close with my organization’s motivational quote. Peace of the ACTION takes our inspiration from a Mario Savio quote that he said on the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley, 46 years ago:

“There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part. You have to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who own it, to the people who run it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”


[DS added the video]

Mario Savio’s Speech: You’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears (1964)

December 19, 2007

Mario Savio’s speech before the FSM sit-in


“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”


General Atomics Afraid of Peace of the Action by Cindy Sheehan + Protest video: Jews Against Zionism (updated)

Sleeping Through The Fire by Philip A. Farruggio

Talk about hot by Bruce Gagnon

Andrew Gavin Marshall: The American empire is in decline, but the military spending is not following suit

9 thoughts on “Requiem for the Antiwar Movement by Cindy Sheehan

  1. Cindy,

    I figured things out early. I was living a normal, shmormal life, as a vanilla Democrat, up to 9/11. When things happened I thought things out on my own: The Patriot Act was not constitutional. I wrote a letter to the editor asking for impeachment in November 2001. it was printed by a left leaning student editor at the University where I worked. In January 2003, I started an impeachment petition with my name on the bottom: “Return to me”. I did lots. By the time Obama was a candidate, I saw that his campaign finance manager was a billionaire who made her money with her own subprime mortgage company. I knew then he was a sales rep for someone I wouldn’t like. It was never hard to find facts that would tell you enough of what was going on if you had the courage not to toss out fact for the sake of getting along with the social majority.

    So it makes sense that it is difficult to find a group large enough to make a difference. Most people avoid anything that makes them stick out…. but I have this feeling in me that things are not over yet.

    I go with the thought that fate has a hidden script and calendar, and it isn’t up to me to do more than what I can do. I just need to be equal to the occasion I am given. You did good. Keep yourself ready. You are one of the best prepared for change. You are not nearly so shockable. You have taken the shock treatment already. You have ‘pared down’ ahead of and better than lots of us. We will all have to do this due to the trajectories of climate change, the world financial system, and, who knows, maybe a nuclear pop. The homeless are going to survive as a group in better shape than those thrown into homelessness en masse….i.e. the rest of us.

    Keep all the good stories and wisdom alive. Good words of mouth will be valuable. You will be working like a dog again, but with a different vigor in a much more needy milieu if the universe cares to give us another go at survival. I wouldn’t be too anxious to get going. Accept that there is a time to rest up, and get the small things working well.

    “It’s an opera. What did you expect, a happy ending?” Bugs Bunny

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  3. take heart, Cindy. Veterans for Peace NYC and others are involved in a long term project to expand the peace movement toward social justice, immigration, living wage jobs, etc.,issues from a community base. It is spearheaded by Peace Action and UFPJ. We hope we can move beyond a narrow peace perspective to a majority, social activist perspective by linking the cost of war to daily lives.
    The two of us, as VfP members, take heart from this.

  4. Oh dear Cindy you made me cry….again. I watch the War Party in action and think about our passion at the lowest moments of the Bush administration. I watch with the horror the growth of the radical right tea party activists and their racist rage. I can’t imagine how to fix, change , hope, march or write a congressman. What if Dennis Kucinich in some magical world had been elected? What chance could he stand against the machine funded by war profiteers? The right wing of the war party calls Obama a Socialist…I would laugh but I can’t stop crying. Socialist…
    Cindy I have become so despondent that I truly believe I just don’t live in a country that thinks like I do, like we do….Americans like war, just winning at war…kill em all and let god sort em the name of Jesus! It hurts like hell to lose the belief that I can put on peace buttons and pink boa and think that I could stop all the war and all the hate….it hurts like hell everyday…

  5. Albert sweitzer said that the roman empire and the jewish authoritys got so bad that Jesus had to throw himslef on the wheel of history in an attempt to make it stop , or if not at least change.

  6. Hi Cindy,
    Glad to hear you are still at it. You are very inspiring. I tptally agree with you. Let me know what you feel we could do and I will try to have the courage to do it.

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  8. i’m totally with you cindy and the last 12yrs of this 60s hippy/yippi radical life has been spent talking to thousands of 20&30s generation about 911,the wars,wallstreet/gov. collasp of the worlds economy and all the other things they have done to f up this planet and what i found is that 80% percent of them thought i was crazy and didn”t give a rats ass what their gov. was up to!!!!!!!!!!!!cindy im afraid the end is near and that this insane/corrupt system will self implode and sadly before it does,millions upon millions innocent humans world wide will die&suffer!!!!!may the great spirit be with us.

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