23:46 GMT +319 September 2018
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    Anti-war protesters shout slogans against US President Donald Trump during a demonstration in front of the Trump Tower in New York on April 7, 2017, to protest the US air strike in Syria

    Protests Planned Across US This Weekend to End ‘Wars at Home and Abroad’

    © AFP 2018 / Jewel SAMAD
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    Protesters are gearing up for a nationwide demonstration this weekend that bills itself as an action against “wars at home and abroad.” Joe Lombardo, Co-Coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition and an organizer of the protest, joins Radio Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary to discuss the campaign.

    "We're organizing around the theme of ending the wars at home and abroad, trying to connect the issues that people are struggling with in the United States and the wars that are happening in other countries," Lombardo told hosts Sean Blackmon and Bob Schlehuber ahead of the demonstrations.

    "We face the dangerous growth of white supremacist forces, escalating raids and roundups of migrant workers, increasing attacks on the rights of workers and communities of color and slashing of every social program," reads a promotional flyer for the events.

    Lombardo said that the protests will take place in San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Washington, DC and Atlanta, while there'll be "dozens of smaller actions in local areas not close to those regional centers."

    A number of prominent social groups have signed on as part of the protest coalition including: CodePink!, The International Action Center, Popular Resistance and the ANSWER Coalition, among others.

    "The actions have taken on new momentum, with the threats of war on Syria and also with the attacks on people in Palestine lately," Lombardo told By Any Means Necessary. He added that the newly-minted national security adviser to US President Donald Trump, John Bolton and former CIA director Mike Pompeo, who is in the midst of confirmation hearings for the post of secretary of state, have a "long history of being very active and aggressive and pushing for war especially with North Korea and Iran… their diplomatic strategy is war, and that makes it a very crucial time for the antiwar movement." 

    Pompeo tried to convince Congress today that he is not a warmonger. "I know some of you have read, the story is ‘I'm a hawk.' I'm a hardliner.' I read that," Pompeo said. "There's no one like someone who has served in uniform who understands the value of diplomacy and the terror and tragedy that is war."

    "I think somebody should ask Mike Pompeo if he does not consider himself a warmonger; who does he consider a warmonger and what would be the difference?" Lombardo said. "I think he'd be hard-pressed to choose somebody that's more of a warmonger than himself."

    Protests such as the National Day of Action Against Wars at Home and Abroad serve as a critical counter to fake news and disinformation, and convenient omissions, Lombardo argued. "We in this country have, in my opinion, the most sophisticated propaganda machine that has ever existed on the face of the Earth. They don't tell what's going on. You haven't seen much about the killings in Palestine, for instance… something like 1,400 have been shot and 30-something killed."

    Lombardo railed against Western governments' seemingly unanimous appraisal of the reported chemical attack in Syria and highlighted it as an indicator of the US government and media's push for war. "These questions of the chemical attacks that supposedly happened in the East Ghouta area in Syria; there's been absolutely no proof," Lombardo said. "You don't need any proof anymore in the United States, you just have to say it… So things are said and we act upon them and people don't hear an alternative view." 

    The collective stifling of dissenting voices has only been compounded with recent political developments in the United States and Lombardo says protests are one of the only remaining avenues to effective political speech for everyday Americans. "The only way we get out an alternative view is through the few alternative media sites that are still available. We try to do it through social media but they're closing down social media too, which is a real attack on our civil liberties," Lombardo said. "All of the progressive websites have been pushed down on the search engines so you can't find them… But we need to have a visible movement that's out in the streets, that's spending time building actions and talking to people where they live, in the workplace, in their schools and communities, and countering the narrative that comes out in the media."

    Even though the US' saber rattling is being spearheaded by a Republican administration, Lombardo says that the Democrats are also culpable. "The wars are bipartisan issues. The only place where the Democrats seem to be be giving Trump a pass is when he becomes more aggressive." Lombardo cautioned that the political climate in Washington could make a war convenient. "At this particular period in the history of the United States, where he's being viciously attacked — for good reason, one of the things he might see as a way out of that is to go to war and I think that creates an additional danger."

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    anti-war, protest, United States
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