A hundred and fifty peace activists stood on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Building in Westwood today with the message that many Americans hold strong with the idea that the Bush "War Against Terrorism" is wrong and misdirected.
Although the numbers were small, participation in this movement is growing with the consistent appearance of new faces at every demonstration.
Some of the new faces included a 75 year-old woman in a pearl pantsuit with a pink scarf around her neck who said that she came out to protest what she sees as a major mistake by the American government.
"I am against any kind of terrorism," she said, "but this mindless bombing is not going to solve anything. I know there are better alternatives, and I want to see them enacted."
Healing Bear, a thirty something Native American from the the Pueblos of New Mexico, says that he was inspired during the demonstrations at last year's Democratic Convention to give up his full-time job and become a "healer for the movement."
"This is what is important now and I am here to help." he says.
Charles Crittenden is a proffesor of philosophy at U.C. Northridge and a member of the Valley Green Party. He is encouraged by how quickly the peace movement is mobilizing and growing, and is working to encourage his students to get involved in further actions.
"There are so many intelligent people out here with so many wonderful ideas," he said
In the spirit of student organizing, 23-year-old Jillian Russom gave a report-back on the state of the anti-war movement on the Los Angeles college campuses. Three hundred students reportedly showed up for the first major Southern California campus teach-in against the war at U.C.L.A on October 10th, where they were treated to series of speakers with the message that in order to stop terrorist acts, Americans must first begin to understand the causes of these actions and learn the history of United States intervention in governments and economies throughout the world. The students, according to Ms. Russom, were enthusiastic in their response against what they see as the pure hypocrisy of this war. More teach-ins and protests are being organized with what looks like the beginnings of a strong student anti-war movement. This was in evidence today with the appearance of students from the Claremont Colleges.
Other speakers included long time peace activist Blase Bompane and Paul Sawyer, Pastor of the Unitarian Throup Church in Pasadena. Mr. Sawyer gave a passionate speech against the war. He believes that the entire Anti-Terrorism message being fed the to the American Population by the Bush Administration is an excuse to hide the true hidden agenda, a desire for control of the rich oil-region of Afghanistan.
Speakers from the International Action Committee gave an update of the war, including the American Military's admission of the "accidental" bombing of a civilian village today, and the deaths of an unknown amount of Afghanistani people. Added to that, they said, the destruction of an already meager infrastructure has already insured a devastating winter for a people already at the bottom of survival capabilities. They went on to encourage more organizing and demonstrating in the days and weeks to come.
A large demonstration is planned on October 27th at Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles. All are encouraged to participate.