Like Jay Z and hip-hop, or moths and flames, Cindy Sheehan seems unable to stay away from the peace movement that she publicly cut ties with just over two months ago. “This is my resignation letter as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement,” she wrote at the end of May on the progressive blog DailyKos.com. “I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.”
Then, on August 9, she announced plans to run for Congress against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And this weekend, she will speak to thousands of anti-war protesters in Kennebunkport, where the Kennebunks Peace Department, along with scads of other social justice organizations, will hold a Weekend of Solidarity to End the War.
Anti-war superstars in addition to Sheehan dot the bill — including Ohio congressman (and presidential candidate) Dennis Kucinich, the Indigo Girls, and former Georgia representative Cynthia McKinney; unfortunately, Michael Moore backed out at the last minute. A group from New Orleans is expected to arrive in their FEMA trailer, “to remind people that New Orleans is still in recovery,” and of “the failure of the Bush administration to help its own citizens,” says organizer Jamilla El-Shafei. There’ll be “a huge amount of activists,” of course, but El-Shafei is “hoping that lots of people who have never been to a protest will show up.”
Between 4000 and 6000 attendees are expected; many have already made reservations to camp at a nearby Kennebunkport farm, donated for this weekend’s use by a local Green Party family. If the list of "groups represented" is any indication, attendees will be bombarded not just with peace messages, but with a healthy dose of all causes liberal, including environmentalism, universal health care, and organized labor.
The August 25 event in Kennebunkport kicks off an autumnal smorgasbord of anti-war demonstrations, both here in Maine, and nationwide:
AUGUST 28 Americans Against Escalation in Iraq will hold four events throughout Maine on "Take a Stand Day," which they hope will keep the pressure on Senator Susan Collins to vote for American troop withdrawal from Iraq. In Portland, organizers hope for more than 100 people in Monument Square. Protesters will also gather at the University of Maine at Orono, in Biddeford at City Hall, and in Augusta at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Capitol Park.
SEPTEMBER 15 Maine Veterans for Peace march and rally in Brunswick to protest the US Navy’s air show at the Naval Air Station. The day of the march is the same day that General David Petraeus and the Bush Administration are obligated to report to Congress on the situation in Iraq, as per Congressional war-funding legislation approved this May.
SEPTEMBER 29 National March on Washington, sponsored by TroopsOutNow.org
OCTOBER 21-23 "No War, No Warming" events nationwide to illustrate the connection between the environmental and peace movements.
OCTOBER 27 Ten mass demonstrations around the country; details TBA at unitedforpeace.org.
For more information about this weekend’s protest, visit www.kportprotest.org.