Saturday, November 17. In the energy capital of the US and under a light drizzling rain, a couple of hundred Houstonians marched and rallied against the ongoing oil war against the people of Iraq. Neither the cloudy skies nor the small turnout dampened the spirit of the crowd or the tone of the message.
The animated chants of the demonstrators drew customers out of the trendy shops and restaurants along Richmond Avenue and Montrose Boulevard and some joined the march to Bell Park in the Montrose District.
The anti-war event was co-sponsored by the International Socialist Organization, the Irish Unity Committee, the Latin American Organization for Immigrant Rights, Mexicanos en Acción, and the Progressive Workers Organizing Committee.
In addition to the war in Iraq, speakers at Bell Park addressed the US machinations against Iran, the occupation of Palestine, and the war against immigrants, people of color, and workers in the US. Folk songs and spoken word art added a touch of living culture to the event. That one of the speakers addressed the rally in Spanish (with simultaneous translation) reflected the diversity of the audience.
Saturday’s local event clearly underrepresented the extent of anti-war sentiment among people in the Houston area and underscores the problem of organizing opposition to the war. Activists across the nation are facing problems very similar to those encountered by the early opposition to the war in Vietnam and are working hard to overcome them. Now, as then, practice will reveal the correct line of march.
Michael Espinosa, outreach coordinator for the local SEIU, recalled the winning motto of Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers and reminded the audience:
Si Se Puede!
Richard D. Vogel is a political reporter who monitors the effects of globalization on working people and their communities. Other works include: “The NAFTA Corridors: Offshoring U.S. Transportation Jobs to Mexico”; “Transient Servitude: The U.S. Guest Worker Program for Exploiting Mexican and Central American Workers”; and “The Fight of Our Lives: The War of Attrition against U.S. Labor.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.