Washington, DC – March 19, 2008. We had a great action on Wednesday! The War Resisters League march from McPherson Square to the IRS got off to a late start. But the Rude Mechanical Orchestra was worth the wait. The Bread and Puppet banners were held high above the street and (when they were not getting tangled in Washington’s trees) were beautiful. WRLers handed out probably one thousand pie charts along the route.
The media was out in force, literally waiting for activists to get to the IRS. A forest of TV antennas.
The police were waiting at the main entrance. They had done our work for us, blocking the entrance there. But they had left the side entrance completely open. So people blocked both sides. For about an hour, the group (maybe 100 people) chanted and sang along with Rude Mechanical as the IRS headquarters was surrounded by “war crime scene tape.”
Media coverage included: a quote from Ed Hedemann in the Washington Post; a quote from me in the Washington Times; and a good Reuters article. There were lots of radio interviews, excellent television coverage and streaming video on the internet. We also got snarky, sarcastic, annoying media. Dana Milbank needs a cynicism removal procedure. a little hope intervention. His article is not as bad as his little “video”.
The demo, in addition to all of its other successes, provided a chance to talk about war tax resistance and the other “tools” that are in our tool box to resist the war.
Thirty two people were arrested at the IRS. Many among them were from the NYC WRL local. WRL National Committee members Rick Bickhart were also arrested, along with Code Pink and Brooklyn for Peace friends, a Methodist minister who had flown up from Austin Texas, a high school teacher from Brooklyn and two of his friends, college students from Umass in Amherst, MA, and others.
Arrestees had a long day of waiting and being handcuffed in various places. About half the group was released before 6pm, and the rest were out by 10pm. No one was held over night. Two people– Amy Melnick and Torie Field (a woman from Providence, RI) refused to “post and forfeit” and they have a court date in Washington on April 8th.
We made war tax resistance part of the fifth “anniversary” story. We were serious and committed and our message was easy to understand.
It was a good day.