I spoke with Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans Wednesday night in Los Angeles. I snapped the first photo above just as I walked up to the Code Pink contingent on the West side of Wilshire, across the street from the Federal Building. She was busy speaking with activists, and a television crew was setting up for an interview; but as she finished I asked her about Wednesday's report in the Christian Science Monitor, " 'Code Pink' Rethinks Its Call for Afghanistan Pullout." Ms. Evans emphatically rejected the thesis of the article. Medea Benjamin was "misquoted," she told me. Code Pink wants to bring the troops home, now! -- there's been no "rethinking" of the group's demand for withdrawal of U.S. forces. I asked her, then, what should be the U.S. goals for Afghanistan? She said the U.S. should focus on a humantiarian mission - education, healthcare and human rights, especially the rights of women. (Notice the propaganda posters focusing on women and children below.) She said Kabul was the model: "It's the only safe place in the country ... people can get healthcare and education ... we need to expand the success of Kabul to the rest of the country." I told her I was surprised to see the Monitor's report indicating that Code Pink was no longer calling for a troop pull out. She said she'd "been on the phone all day" clarifying Code Pink's position on the war. A troop withdrawal remains the objective, but the U.S. should stay to focus on improving quality of life. (See also, Code Pink's "Afghanistan Talking Points.")
The incompatibility between a total troop withdrawal and the security necessary to promote "unconditional humanitarian aid" didn't seem to occur to Ms. Evans. But I thanked her for her time, and returned across the street to the main protest. (For more on Jodie Evans, see Sweetness and Light, "Code Pink’s “Sugar Mommy” – Jodie Evans.")
Okay, this was earlier ... I arrived in Westwood a little before 5:00pm. International ANSWER's protest announcement is here: "U.S./NATO Out of Afghanistan! Bring All the Troops Home Now! Health care, Housing, Jobs, Education for All–Not War! End Colonial Occupation—Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine ..."
This woman, from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, was setting up her table:
She had a full rack of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary tracts as well:
The ANSWER cadres were setting up their signs and banners too. The ANSWER group was leading the crowd with chants, "OCCUPATION IS A CRIME ... IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, PALESTINE ... Also, "MONEY FOR JOBS AND EDUCATION ... NOT FOR WAR AND OCCUPATION..."
There was a big turnout for the 9/11 'Truthers':
These people seriously make me sick. I had some technical problems and didn't take additional photos. The "Truthers" hoisted a twenty-foot banner that read something like, "What we know about 9/11 is killing people ..." and "9/11 = Controlled Demolition." Photographs of similar signs are at the 9/11 Truth Now Action Network. See also, "ACTION ALERT: Anti-War Protest in Los Angeles - Get Out of Afghanistan! "
Check as well the 11:00pm video report from KABC-TV Los Angeles, here.
There were some "libertarian" representatives from Antiwar.com (one of their guys was sporting a '60s-style "mod" haircut ... weird).
Also in attendance were folks running the gamut of the hardline communist-left ... the Anti-Racist Action Network; the Freedom Socialist Party (socialist feminism); the International Committee of the Fourth International; the International Socialist Organization; Iraq Veterans Against the War; the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation; the Party for Socialism and Liberation (with pictures above); and World Can't Wait (see, "Demonstrations Mark 8th Anniversary of Afghan War - Demand Immediate U.S./NATO Withdrawal"),
A special note: I said hello to Ron Kovic before I left (I thanked him for his service to country, and he thanked me back, sincerely). And, as I headed back to the car, an activist asked me if I'd like to sign a petition for Representative Barbara Lee -- I said "no thanks," and the dude just about had a heart attack!