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Prepared for action on Day X

By Elizabeth Schulte | March 21, 2003 | Page 2

AS GEORGE W. Bush dragged the U.S. into a war, activists around the country made their opposition clear. Antiwar groups were preparing for emergency activities--protests, student walkouts and other actions--on the day of or day after bombing begins, as Socialist Worker went to press.

Most cities are planning big rallies and marches for Day X, and on campuses, student activists are ready for action--like the die-in called at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro when the Pentagon's "shock and awe" bombardment begins.

Last week, great turnouts at local actions against the war showed the scale of the opposition. Tens of thousands of people came to protests in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco called by the group ANSWER. In other cities, activists organized their own demonstrations.

Some 50,000 turned out in Washington, D.C. In San Francisco, where more than 30,000 people turned out, marchers carried signs that said, "Lay Off the War on Iraq, NOT California Teachers"--referring to the more than 2,000 pink slips handed out to Oakland and San Francisco teachers last week.

"We don't want this bloody war," said Azalia Merrell, a San Francisco union carpenter and mother of three. "You'd never know it from the corporate news media, but it's destroying our social services here."

In Los Angeles, as many as 30,000 took the streets March 15 in a torrential downpour. The newly formed LA-U.S. Labor Against War--which includes teachers, janitors, nurses, dock workers and city workers--took part.

In Portland, some 30,000 protested, and about 10,000 demonstrated in Chicago. Candlelight vigils were held in many towns, such as Madison, Wis., where 3,000 came out.

Several campuses held their own antiwar events last week. At Harvard on March 12, about 400 students and faculty spoke out, collecting the 1,000th signature for a Day X walkout pledge. At University of California-Davis, some 400 students turned out for a rally last week.

David Brophy, Chris Brown, Paul Dean, Nathan Hudson-Crim, Eric Robson and Karl Swinehart contributed to this report.

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