Portland marches against war

By Rebecca Lewis

PORTLAND, Ore.--Four hundred activists marched through downtown here on April 4 to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The action, organized by PDX Peace Coalition, began with a teach-in at Portland State University (PSU). The topics included Obama and the antiwar movement, the costs of war and creating sanctuary for war resisters.

During the spirited march, demonstrators chanted "Where's the change? It's a lie, every day Afghans die" and "From Iraq to Palestine, occupation is a crime." The action ended with a reading of Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech on the anniversary of the historic speech.

Throughout the day, various activists, including members of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights and the International Socialist Organization, talked about the connections between the U.S.-funded occupation of Palestine and the direct U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

A panel on the cost of war led by a PSU professor and a Jobs With Justice activist outlined how government spending on war far outstrips resources devoted to social services and other critical infrastructure spending.

During the march, the crowd quickly took up the chant, "They say bailout, we say troops out!" This was the first demonstration for many participants, and although the crowd was small, organizers felt hopeful about the prospects for rebuilding the movement.