They Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!! Come to Kennebunkport

It’s the afternoon of July 21, 2007. George Bush is back in official control of the country after his colonoscopy. When I first read that he would be undergoing this procedure I had visions of an unforeseen accident in the operating room culminating in his colon being hastily taken to a secret part of Bethesda Naval Hospital where top notch scientists would reconstruct Mr. Bush from the DNA in his colon, much like the scene in Woody Allen’s movie Sleeper where the only body part remaining of the Great Leader is his nose. It is this nose, of course, that must be used to reconstruct the Great Leader. Another fantasy that flashed through my brain was that Dick Cheney would use his temporary powers to attack Iran, putting into action a contingency some in the government would love to see take place. Then it was all over. Mr. Bush came out of anesthesia minus a few polyps and Mr. Cheney went back to his official role as Vice President.

And the war drags on. Several protests are scheduled for DC and other cities this autumn and a new effort to bring the protest movement into every community in the United States that calls itself the Iraq Moratorium Project is launching September 21st. Mr. Bush is getting ready to take his vacation up in Maine at the Bush Family Compound in Kennebunkport, recreating (as his daddy said back in 1990) while Baghdad burns. However, Mr. Bush won’t be alone. In fact, in what organizers hope will be an even larger manifestation of the last two previous protests in that bucolic playground of the rich, a broad coalition of antiwar groups are holding a protest and convergence over the August 24 – 26 weekend. Like the encampment spearheaded by Cindy Sheehan outside of Crawford, Texas last summer, this protest aims to bring the antiwar message to the apparently heartless man who claims the war as his own.

It is important for those of us opposed to the war to see all of these actions against the war as part of the same movement no matter who is calling them. While differences still exist between the various national organizations (UFPJ, ANSWER and Troops Out Now Coalition), the fact that US involvement in the war is escalating with generals and politicians hinting at even greater escalation means that every effort to end the war must be made with the idea that it is part of the greater whole. Political and personal differences must be set aside. Who knows? Maybe the national organizations that have the money and ability will finally get it together and do what the grassroots have wanted since Day One — a single antiwar movement united around the call to remove all foreign forces from Iraq immediately, permanently and without conditions. As the saying goes, there’s no time like the present to begin working toward this goal. In fact, bubbling under the current organizing for the autumn protests is a growing desire to see a single unified march on DC in the spring of 2008. This march could potentially mobilize a million people in the streets of Washington calling for an immediate end to the war in Iraq.

The main Kennebunkport protest will take place on August 25, 2007. This march and rally will feature speakers including Dennis Kucinich and war resister Augustin Aguayo and music from the Indigo Girls and David Rovics (among others). The weekend of protest represents the opening salvo in what needs to be a re-energized campaign to end the war. Endorsers include several Veterans for Peace Chapters from New England, some local Green Party chapters, Cindy Sheehan and her Camp Casey Peace Institute and even some local Democratic Committees. Jamilla El-Shafei, the person who initiated the call, is a member of NH Peace Action and Maine Peace Action . She was instrumental in last year’s protest in Kennebunkport as well. When I asked her in an email what inspired her to organize this year’s protest, she responded with this succinct and pointed statement. “Initially, I decided to plan this year’s rally and march in response to the most frequently asked question to me by the media. Last year reporters from many different media outlets asked me again and again. “Is this event an attempt to inconvenience President Bush and his family as well as tourists?” I was incensed at the callousness of their questions! What does the question say about our culture?”

She continued, “Military families are suffering while their loved ones are in Iraq. Innocent Iraqis are being displaced from their homes, while their country is disintegrating before their very eyes! At the very least, they are inconvenienced. Every single Iraqi family has lost a relative…. So, I decided that “If they think that a few hundred protesters inconvenienced the Bush family and business as usual in BUSH WORLD, well they ain’t seen nothin’ yet!!!”

According to John McDonald of the Campus Antiwar Network, students throughout the US Northeast are also organizing for this protest. According to John the network created during the spring 2007 youth antiwar conference in Vermont has been activated “to pull more folks in to help out with building the protest.” In addition, CAN members have formed a student outreach working group within the the New England UFPJ assembly that is working on an October 27th Boston protest. The purpose of the outreach committee is twofold: to link up with the CAN contingent at the K-port demo, and bring out other activists to that event so as to build for the demo on Oct. 27th in Boston.

Besides the scheduled march and rally, two farms near the Bush compound will become campsites at least for the weekend. In a second email, Jamilla added, “to me, a up-close and personal action such as this is more effective than marching in DC on a Saturday by empty buildings of monumental proportions. The psychology of such monumental architecture invokes the feeling that people are small and powerless and that the government is big and all powerful!” While different opinions certainly exist regarding that statement, one has to acknowledge the element of drama present with Bush stuck in his compound for that weekend while citizens opposed to this war he refuses to end march and rally in the streets outside. Much more than a Greek chorus that merely narrates the tale, we must hope that this protest and the ones to follow will ultimately force the hand of those in the Administration, Congress and the Pentagon who worship Mars and his grisly cohort Thanatos. If they don’t, then the bar must be raised even higher.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground and Tripping Through the American Night, and the novels Short Order Frame Up and The Co-Conspirator's Tale. His third novel All the Sinners, Saints is a companion to the previous two and was published early in 2013. Read other articles by Ron.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Jon Bon said on July 31st, 2007 at 7:26am #

    No Hope for America!
    Americans will greet martial law with open arms and will embrace it!
    Americans will not even realize martial law has been instated!
    Americans deserve what is happening to them. They have caused enough harm already in the course of their existence. Time for chubby American Joe to have a taste of his own poison!

    USA Special of the day: Desperation, Ignorance, hate, xenophobia, vulgarity, hipocrisy, lack of decency and the most important propaganda and disinformation! Enjoy United Suckers of America!

    Ha ha ha ha ha! I can’t believe how the world held the US in such high regard not to long ago. I guess the myth has been BUSTED. People now know the reality of cheap-ass, poor, ignorant, uneducated America!

    American Culture=TV=Lindsay Lohan! What a joke. Good ridance.

  2. Gregory Hillis said on July 31st, 2007 at 3:32pm #

    I would love to share Mr. Jacobs’ optimism, but so far the “peace” movement has been pretty ineffectual.

  3. ron said on July 31st, 2007 at 5:39pm #

    Cynicism may help the bearer feel justified in their inaction, but it will never create a positive change. The antiwar movement has not succeeded in ending the war, but it has helped prevent it from expanding. If ten percent of the people who oppose the war were to take to the streets on one day it would make a difference–you better believe it. Not even crypto-nazis like Cheney and Bush could ignore that.

  4. joed said on July 31st, 2007 at 7:08pm #

    Re; No Hope for America!
    Unfortunately, Jon Bon is very probably correct about american reaction to Martial Law! Although I am not sure this is reason to rejoice. It may be that Jon Bon lives in country other than the us.
    What is truly sad is that NO eu country shows any hesitantion in supporting the us govt in execution of the current war on terror/iraq/iran whatever it might be warring on. There is eu govt lip service but that is all. Perhaps the people of eu have give up on the people of the us.
    The bush/cheney gang has created so much death and chaos and misery and destruction and the people of the us don’t even seem to know or care. bush/cheney thrive on death/destruction/chaos; they will kill EVERY iraqi if that is what it takes to control the oil and get revenge on iran.
    Can’t really blame the rest of the people of the world for giving up on the people of the us. But, I really feel sorry for the people of france. they are going to feel the wrath too before all this is settled. They are the people i personally looked to for guidance in how to deal with a govt like bush/cheney. there’s really not much one person can do, is there. except, maybe, stop buying stuff.
    But, no matter what, i will not stop protesting because i won’t let the humanity die within me. fuck bush and fuck his war, and long live the Iraqi people

  5. Charlie Jackson said on July 31st, 2007 at 8:59pm #

    Get up to Kennebunkport. After that, on Labor Day Weekend (September 1), vacation in Texas at the “American People’s Poll on Iraq” in Fort Worth.

    Thousand of people from across the region, along with international media, will descend on Texas as the Republican presidential candidates hold their “Straw Poll” in the state where Bush has the most political clout (and gets lots of money).

    You are all invited! Check out

  6. NH said on August 26th, 2007 at 4:08am #

    Something is missing from your report.

    If you do a little investigation and check out the organization’s website, you can trace it back to this group. International Action Center of Boston

    This website is the product of the Workers World Party and Socialist Party USA…and in league with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, hardly people who could be associated with ‘peace’.

    Yet I have not read a single news article that exposes this fact.

    Caution: When joining a protest march, do a little homework to find out the agenda of those who are hiding behind the word ‘peace’.

    It is always amazing to me how the press covers up for the communists. If this were the KKK people would be indignant!

  7. ron said on August 26th, 2007 at 4:24pm #

    If you look a litle closer–you’ll even see that another sponsor is the Democratic Party! Better watch out for them too. By the way, ever since the late 1960s (if not before), the KKK tends to support the programs of the Republicans.

    Redbaiting is so twentieth century…