Scenes from the anti-war rally in Washington (Feb. 19, 2023)


“A motley, disparate collection of political-forces which, at a glance, share very little in common.”

That is the gist of one of the notes I jotted down while observing the scene during the recent anti-war rally in Washington, held Sunday, February 18th, 2023.

(caption: Ron Paul calls for ending the war in Ukraine at anti-war rally, Washington, Feb. 19, 2023.)

A realization about the rally came to me some time later: the attendees did share something in common, something big in common. I do not refer to opposition to the Ukraine war (alone). The big thing they shared in common was: non-Wokeness.

Few if any of the attendees were Woke or pro-Wokeness. Some were pre-Woke. Some were anti-Woke. Some were just non-Woke of miscellaneous sort. This is one of the big lessons of the day, and there are many others, such as seeing what I suspect to be a Ukrainian influence-ops operation in progress aiming to sabotage the rally.

But let me not get ahead of myself for now. I intend this to be a report from the scene of the anti-war rally in Washington.

There is enough of interest and worth saying about this anti-war rally, which I attended, that I prepared the observations into a report and found it grew to its present length. This report is driven by my own on-the-ground observations at the Sunday-afternoon rally, as I experienced the rally. It is based on notes taken at the time, discussions with others present, and reading some of the literature handed out by participants. It also considers a wide range of the political forces involved. It attempts to consider what this rally means for the Ukraine War controversy and more broadly.

This report is similar to the one published here following the historic “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington in late January 2022. Both are driven by observations and “scenes from” the rally, from direct observation, while also seeking to contextualize what it all means within the world of larger political movements. If done right, the idea is to be a synthesis of “scenes” and “meanings,” the former informing the latter through this disciplined medium of the written word. If done right, there is value as reportage and analysis.

In the days since attending the rally, I put together this report (“Scenes From the Anti-War Rally”) into coherent form, in two parts totaling 20,000 words. Given my other time-commitments, this report may not have “gotten going,” and fresh impressions might have been lost but for the good fortune that Monday, the day after the rally, was a U.S. holiday. The bulk of the initial writing was done on Monday and each subsequent day I have pushed to get it done and published before too much time passed. It was updated through evening, Ash Wednesday, February 22nd, and revised February 23rd (update: and February 24th).

I published this report here on Hail To You late-evening, February 23rd. The time of publication is, coincidentally, near the one-year “to-the-hour” anniversary of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, the partial invasion of Ukraine (which began early-morning Feb. 24th, 2022, Ukraine/Russia time — which was evening, Feb. 23rd, 2022, U.S. Eastern time).

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What does one mean by “anti-war” in 2023? In this case it specifically means anti-intervention with regard to Ukraine, against the grand project ongoing to transmogrify Ukraine into a client-state to fight Russia, and broadly against similar types of interventionism in principle (see introductory section below, “The foreign policy problem”).

As far as I am aware, this was the first large anti-war rally of its kind in the United States worthy of the name since the Ukraine war began one year ago. Many are saying it was the first rally of its kind in Washington since 2003, twenty years ago, when rallies against one of the USA’s wars in Iraq reached very substantial size.

The anti-war rally was decidedly smaller than the “Defeat the Mandates” rally one year earlier at the same site. It’s hard to guess at the relative impact. It’s hard to tell whether the exact crowd-size is meaningful.

It should be remembered that most people are entirely non-political. The majority of people in engaged in politics in any way are purely “political consumers.” Only a small portion form thoughts and opinions on their own. Only a small portion are willing or able to embrace dissident positions — at first. There were many thousands present at this anti-war rally, a core from which an anti-war principled opposition might grow. This was the consensus of the day.

Given how weak the tradition of issue-driven public demonstrations or political rallies has become in the USA, this kind of rally, at this juncture, involving politically active and morally committed individuals, really could signal a turning-point which will be looked back in the future, just as is the case with “Defeat the Mandates,” a re-visiting of which helps anchor the introduction to this report.

You may think that to read this full report, at 20,000 words, is too much of a burden on your time, but remember that the full event took the better part of a day, and I am giving you a guided, insider’s tour of this (potentially historic) event which you can consume in as little as one hour.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment.

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(20,000 words)

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SCENES FROM THE ANTI-WAR RALLY, WASHINGTON D.C., FEBRUARY 2023

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PART I. Appraisals, Background, Reflections, Outlook

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One year after “Defeat the Mandates”

A look back at the “Defeat the Mandates” rally of early 2022 offers a useful point of comparison for the anti-war rally. “Defeat the Mandates” took on the entrenched forces of the Corona-Panic of the time, not unlike the position of the anti-war people today on the Ukraine War.

The record shows that Defeat the Mandates was a success, or part of a successful movement. A critic of that view might say that the Corona-Panic itself, at the time, despite all its seeming strength, had really become a “giant with feet of clay.” The bloated Corona-Moloch, which had puppetized governments, infiltrated culture and institutions, and seized control of minds, had actually achieved success beyond not only its wildest expectations when it slithered onto the scene in early 2020, but beyond its natural limits.

The Corona-Moloch had enjoyed about two years at the hog-troth of our civilization, and had fattened up on power, cultural-prestige, social influence, laughing all the way at all the dupes feeding him even as he exploited and tormented them. That there would be rising numbers of men who would finally organize to rush the Moloch off the scene, forcing its flight back to its lair somewhere unseen by the mere human eye, is not a surprise. The critic might say the Corona-Moloch and the Panic-hypnosis and Panic-regimes it ran, was simply waiting around for a vigorous counter-offensive that would inevitably dislodge it from its position. That is a retrospective view.

The USA’s foreign-policy consensus, the same critic might go on, is more deeply rooted than the Panic of the early 2020s. The consensus that demands systematic global interventions, wars, empire by way of running of a network of client-states (as Ukraine now is), is based on firmer ground. I cannot deny that the foreign-policy consensus, for running wars and systematic interventionism, goes back longer in time than do antecedents of the Corona-Panic.

Zooming into the level of the oppositional movements, and specifically to these two rallies (Defeat the Mandates, Jan. 2022; the anti-war rally, Feb. 2023), consider certain similarities:

(1.) Both rallies were mostly at the same symbolic site: the Lincoln Memorial area, Washington D.C.

(2.) Neither rally sprang from mainstream political forces. Both rallies involved a few recognizable names, it’s true, but both were fundamentally showings-of-force by dissident, “extra-parliamentary” movements.

(3.) Following from the second point, a similar kind of person turned out to both rally.

(4.) The anti-war rally directly echoed some of the themes of the Defeat the Mandates rally. Many of the anti-war speakers had also been Corona-dissidents who attacked and mocked the Corona-Panic at the height of its power. Critics, or those temperamentally unwilling to consider ‘dissident’ ideas, might say “Oh, these are just malcontents who will protest anything just to be troublesome.”

Some differences:

(1.) Defeat the Mandates was considerably larger in size (turnout) and showed signs of better organization. (I relate in this report shortly below how I heard of the rally; it was subject to a coverage semi-blackout, both before and after.)

(2.) The anti-war rally had a firmer presence from organized political groupings, a wide net of them but of them minor, some radical or even anachronistic (as with the somewhat-shabbily-dressed men handing out socialist flyers that appeared to have been xeroxed).

An unlikely political coalition was behind the anti-war rally, one almost dared not speak its name and one so unwieldy it caused significant behind-the-scenes acrimony.

Libertarians and self-described “communists” were side-by-side to oppose the war. There was no sign of on-scene acrimony between such disparate groups. However, I later learned there was much behind-the-scenes acrimony and that many leftist groups boycotted the event and some even attacked it. These are usually those under relatively heavy influence of Wokeness. (I describe some of this later in this report, all of which I only learned later. I went into the rally unprejudiced one way or another on the behind-the-scenes chatter.)

Another big similarity is the feeling or understanding, in both “Defeat the Mandates” (Jan. 2022) and the recent anti-war rally (Feb. 2023), that the government position of the moment occupied the “commanding heights,” and that the government position was not about to be dislodged, not about to retreat. Even so, in both cases the ralliers believed they had moral right on their side.

In early 2022, at the anti-‘Covid’ Mandates rally, the feeling was that the Corona-Panic would remain in force, would continue shoving people around, ruining lives, distorting the culture, doing the social-economic damage it did, in the name of the dubious danger of one flu virus.

In early 2023, at the anti-war rally, the feeling was that those forces for the war in Ukraine, for war against Russia, would continue to run an aggressive liberal-internationalist foreign policy. As one counter-protestor put it, they are also for peace, but “peace only through Ukraine victory.” In effect the status-quo position is for the conversion of Ukraine as a client state, albeit a particularly dangerous one with tail-wagging-the-dog elements to the relationship, which were already popping up throughout the late 2010s and now moreso.

The question of the day is: will they run the USA as a global empire? One brazen enough to use international-terrorism and acts of geoeconomic war against purported allies? Yes, the Nordstream bombing. But one of the evil fruits of the war-policy.

Nordstream got many mentions at the rally. “BIDEN is the Nordstream bomber!” placards were conspicuous. Many references in the speeches, none exceeding that by left-wing former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who, in a well-prepared blast did a “J’Accuse!” against Joe Biden. He called for an international criminal court to open an investigation into the Obama-Biden people behind the Nordstream bombing, and potentially charge some of the ringleaders for the crime. How else to dissuade similar criminal adventurist international-terrorism? (See the 15-minute Kucinich speech here; it is one of the better ones.)

Thinking back to early 2022 and what came after it. “Defeat the Mandates” stands as a landmark event. To think of it today, it feels as from another era, something more distantly removed from early-2023 than the thirteen months actually elapsed.

There is good reason to believe that “Defeat the Mandates” triggered the “Canadian Freedom Convoy” movement that followed on its tail. It takes a lot to get people, these days, to get people “turn out,” but once they see others doing it, their courage and boldness are fortified and suddenly a small stampede splashes across the Rubicon. At the least, the “Defeat the Mandates” rally shored up the Freedom Convoy and swelled the ranks of those willing to turn out in Canada. After the initial growth it grew beyond all expectation. The moral-fervor of those who know they are in the right and sense the possibility of breakthrough inspires the hearts of men. Could this happen with the anti-war movement, even when they are running a sleek proxy war?

The relationship of “Defeat the Mandates” as event, to the Freedom Convoy movement of Canada as (much larger) event, fits within the well-studied “demonstration effect” paradigm. In seeking to identify how civil movements go from ‘zero’ one day, to growth, to breakthrough and success later on, the “demonstration effect” is always observed. Seeing others protest doesn’t necessarily change minds, but it can inspire previously quiescent minds, and trigger expansion of protests, potentially causing real problems for a government. The aphorism, “One man with courage makes a majority,” comes to mind.

As for the anti-war rally of February 2023, I would have to say there is no reason to believe it will have anything like the kind of effect I’ve posited there for the Defeat the Mandates rally during (what turned out to be the tail-end) of the “Corona-policy” controversy.

The U.S. foreign policy “Blob,” as it’s charmingly called, is more well-entrenched, more committed to its own vision than the Jim Jones-like Corona-Cult was — the similarities between the Corona-Panic and the Ukraine-War-Panic notwithstanding (see “In Search of a Ukraine-War-Panic–Corona-Panic Venn diagram,” March 2022). With pushing ongoing intervention in the Ukraine war (the conversion of Ukraine into a heavily armed armed client-state), the foreign-policy “Blob” has sown seeds onto more fertile ground than was true with the Corona-Panic’s orchestrators, enforcers, cheerleaders, and true-believers, and their grand-project of 2020.

There is some ex post facto rationalization going on with what I have said. It’s important to remember that at the time, in January 2022 when the “Defeat the Mandates” rally was held, there was also no reason to believe things would so decisively change so soon. Millions of people were prepared to live, to varying degrees, as persecuted dissidents and refused to participate in the vaccine-pass system and so on. Managing such a pool of Anti-Panicker dissidents was already a serious problem for the Panic-regimes as the year 2022 opened, but they appeared committed to keeping on as before. Then came the Freedom Convoy movement. Supporters numbering in the millions in Canada, hundreds of thousands putting themselves on the line, a core of thousands of hardcore-activists willing to face down their government, all in a snowballed demand an end to the Panic-regime. The Freedom Convoy movement was an uprising from the provinces against the imperial center. It was totally unexpected at the time. It was successful in certain ways. Any fair retelling of the Great Corona-Panic of the early 2020s cannot omit the Freedom Convoy. (May I say: Hail to you, Canadian Freedom Convoy activists. You provided Canada’s finest hour in this century so far. The only regret is that such ‘uprisings’ didn’t happen in 2020 itself.)

Yes, when 2022 opened, no one quite expected the Panic would ‘be ‘lose’ as decisively and as quickly as it then did. Recall the mood in December 2021. That was the month President Joe Biden issued one of his periodical angry recriminations against Bad People among the subjects out there. He darkly and recklessly ranted on the supposed dangers of “Covid,” but injected invectives about his outrage at the existence of unvaccinated-subhumans amongst out there. Recall that he, and fellow Panic-loyalists, had “lost patience” with the Unbelievers — Covid-deniers, skeptics, Lockdown-opponents, dissidents, vaccine-decliners, mask-refusers, whatever. In his gruff tone, President Biden predicted that the networks of Evildoers out there who refused to participate in the rituals for Corona-Moloch would incur holy terrible wrath in a coming “winter of death.” Of course, that didn’t happen. Looking back upon it now, the “winter of death” threat probably seems as unhinged to the average person as it did to the most fervent and committed Anti-Panickers back when he issued the threat (December 2021).

Why didn’t we live under the sort of brutal Corona-Panic regimes by mid- and late-2022 that we lived under in 2020 and 2021? My answer is: The beginning of mass-scale resistance in North America, by early 2022, panicked the Panic-enforcers.

Once the Pro-Panic coalition that had been running the USA began to show signs of wobbling and retreat, the whole thing snowballed. Vigorous Anti-Panic forces in the USA’s satellite regimes took the offensive. Europe began to break free, and those developments from the “periphery” reverberated back to the “center,” further undermining confidence in the Panic. The whole mega-project was in trouble; the Corona-humpty-dumpty finally looked to have broken, or broken enough to need to be mostly discarded. Signs are that many European states would have broken with the Panic much earlier, even near the start — the Swedish line — if a different geopolitical order prevailed. They were locked-in because of U.S. pressure, essentially.

I have sketched out a narrative there that uses no dates and smooths over a lot. The important thing about the dates for present purposes is that once-mighty social force, the Corona-Panic, began to fade sometime in early 2022, and that the key developments in the Panic’s retreat and the long denouement of the whole thing, those developments virtually all post-date the “Defeat the Mandates” rally.

Many Anti-Panickers and others compared the crushing effects of the Panic to war, which offers a useful font of comparison with the actual issue of pro-war vs. anti-war positions today.

Within weeks of the “Defeat the Mandates” rally, the core of those forces in power determined to continue the Panic had begun to withdraw from the field of battle, and although withdrawing in good order they assuredly left the commanding heights empty. We almost couldn’t believe it. All that remained in most areas of the war-zone were little bands of the most-fanatical Panickers under poor leadership and increasingly suffering morale problems. In a few cases, Pro-Panic honchos remained in power on the periphery and continued as before (see, e.g., “Germany’s Wrongest Man warns of imminent Covid catastrophe,” July 2022). These few looked increasingly silly about trying to keep up the war. The holdout-bands of Panickers offered some redoubts but with the newfound confidence by the Anti-Panickers they were more nuisance than threat. In the confusion of the unexpected withdrawal by the Pro-Panic main forces, no grimly determined forward-offensive by the Anti-Panickers materialized, no attempt capture the enemy leaders. They slipped away, escaping with most of their supplies, successfully breaking contact with their enemy; a cease-fire was organized, but a treaty that sought to resolve the war by legally blocking future Corona-Panic-like events never came. From about mid- or late-spring 2022 and up to this writing in February 2023, while remnants of Pro-Panic forces remain, they have made naught but few attempts at offensive action or holding territory.

In any case, compared to the comparatively awful years of 2020 and 2021, the year 2022 was much better, all ‘tolled’ (toll, noun, def. 2, “the extent of loss, damage, suffering, etc., resulting from some action or calamity“). The Corona-Panic was like an evil mist, thick and suffocating. Suddenly the mist was hit by cleansing beams of light. The warm sunlight of the dawning day became overpowering. The Panic dissipated. The people, so long cowed and disoriented, emerged from hiding-places to encounter warmth and daylight again. Life went on. That is one of the meta-stories of 2022.

Jumping forward to early 2023, the time of this writing, nothing as suffocatingly intolerable or as absurdly irrational as the Corona-Panic regimes of yesteryear affects us in a visceral way the Panic regime did. But there are a number of problems, generally somewhat more subtle than was the Corona-Panic. Many are slow-burn problems have become medium-burn problems in the past ten years or so, accelerated by the distortions that came with the Panic in 2020 and 2021. One of these problems is interventionist foreign-policy. That morally questionable, sometimes obviously counter-productive, often adventurist, reliably interventionist foreign-policy, managed by the “Blob.” It is a large-scale, ‘umbrella’ problem, a tree that will sicken those who eat its fruit. The Ukraine war is one of the fruits of that tree.

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The foreign policy problem

People are susceptible to manipulation on emotionalistic grounds. When applied to distant foreign conflicts or powers, it often has a special way of working. When “wars” are something that happen “over there,” and in which Good Guys can deliver righteous punishment against Bad Guys with no impact on the ‘homeland,’ the risk becomes acute of misstep. This is the foreign-policy problem. (Recall as one example that time Syria was bombed by the USA because Mrs. Kushner, nee Ivanka Trump, saw a photo of a dead child and guilted her father into bombing Bad Guys.)

“Foreign policy by virtue signal,” or on some other emotionalistic basis is not only a bad idea for the immediate term, it often spirals into directions in an unseen future that are net-negative headaches for decades or even generations to come.

This is also not a new problem. Back in the late 1890s, when the USA was considering whether to shove around Spain and grab a few of its choicest holdings, the anti-interventionists frankly had the stronger case on the merits, but shoving around Spain to grab Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines spiraled into a but of an emotionalistic frenzy. It was too tempting. The pro-imperialists got their way. ‘Winning’ the war was remarkably easy, but what do you do with such new overseas possessions? And was there now a precedent to go on foreign-policy adventures to show what good people we are? It seems so. (And, sometimes, there are convenient other benefits. See the old anti-war tract of a century ago, “War is a Racket.”)

Stated as general principle, “foreign policy has consequences.” The Ukraine war is a pretty big deal to everyone in the West, but not because Ukraine itself is a big deal, and not because the nature of that country’s government is a big deal, but because of the playing-out of a foreign-policy drama. But a lot of people don’t get this, and get sucked in by, basically, stories, slogans, and images. That is why no nation in history has ever put people like Mrs. Kushner in charge of foreign affairs.

There is a school of international-relations thought known as “liberal internationalism.” That school-of-thought-and-policy swears by the whole “Good Guys” mantra, by which the Good Guys (us, of course), must seek out Evildoer dragons to slay, and pursue them to their various dragon-nests abroad. These people, in the late 2000s, began to innovated a just-awful policy called “Responsibility to Protect” (“R2P”). That policy-directive called for mandatory-interventions against Bad Guys so as to protect civilians. Think of the Libya model, 2011, for those who remember that particular intervention.

Certain people of certain dispositions have a degree of natural immunity from the above. For the sake of world stability, one hopes such people run the inner-workings of foreign policy. Many of the Obama-Biden people lack this dispositional immunity, and that is the charitable explanation. Many of them are fully within a bubble by which hubris is a virtue. They are running a “splendid little war” of their own in Ukraine. This is the immediate foreign-policy problem of our time. This is the context in which the anti-war rally was organized and held in Washington, February 19th, 2023.

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“What happened to the anti-war Left?”

No left-wing anti-war movement worthy of the name has existed since the mid-2000s or so. People say that after the failure to stop one of the Iraq wars, the one in 2003, the anti-war element of the “Left” never recovered. Was it already recognized as such before Barack Hussein Obama somehow scooped up a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009?

Many more interventions followed. The Blob continued to tend to think in “unipolar” terms and seems in part to still think that way, trying to force that round-peg into the square-hole money-pit that is Ukraine. Along the way, the “Left” itself continued its evolution towards Wokeness, which distorted a lot of its thinking, leaving it a strange creature to behold, and a willing ally of Empire. (One of the most interesting parts of the anti-war rally was seeing “pre-Wokeness leftists” and “non-Woke leftists” out and about, a topic I have already mentioned and to which I shall return.)

By some point in the 2010s, the lack of any kind of left-wing anti-war movement became noticeable, and then it became something more still: the Left was now pro-war and the Right was more often anti-war. This feels like a bit of a cliche observation in 2023, but it would genuinely surprise someone lifted from the 1990s or 2000s and airdropped into these strange 2020s of ours. We saw it happen on many occasions, from highest level to lowest. The Right is more often heard commenting on this phenomenon today, but sometimes some dissident-Leftists do so. This latter group was one key constituency behind the historic anti-war rally of February 19th, 2023.

The Left, speaking in its own defense, would say that actually they are not “for war,” they are for justified wars. They are for noble humans-rights crusades. All their wars and interventions are morally-righteous crusades against Bad Guys. That makes it all okay. Don’t see you? You don’t? It sounds like you need to go study up on “R2P” doctrine, and stop listening to conspiracy-theorists who oppose the wars.

It’s hard to understand these people to be the same ones the older among us recall from personal-experience in, say, the 1970s and 1980s. What happened?

One conspicuous exception on the Left, from someone coming onto the scene on the mainstream-“Left” in the early 2010s, deserves special mention. That is the part-Pacific Islander ex-Congress member, Tulsi Gabbard, who of course was one of the marquee speakers at this anti-war event. (See Tulsi Gabbard’s 9-minute speech at the rally.) I will have more to say about just how Tulsi fits into this puzzle below, when I discuss her appearance.

The Obama-Biden people have run every aspect of the show (again) since January 2021, following that strange year, 2020, during which the Corona-Panic distorted everything under the Sun. Some, back in 2020, claimed the Panic was a form of “color revolution.” That is an explanation that fails to account for why the Panic lasted another year after the handover of power back to the Obama-Biden people was achieved. These people seem to rule by means a series of lesser-scale panics, usually revolving around the preaching of doctrine which holds to the moral-inferiority of the ethnocultural core of the nation.

Some of what they do is simply coasting along with the culture, but some is their own fault. The foreign-policy problem, specifically, is not entirely their fault. The lack of an anti-war Left to balance the liberal-internationalist interventionists allows the extremist or narrow interests to easily hijack foreign policy. The virtual anathematization of certain of the most activist- or morally-serious elements of the anti-war Right, including the remnants of the Alt-Right, removes another counter-weight.

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Finding out about the rally

The structural inducements away from engaging with a potential anti-war movement are real. I was lucky to even hear about the rally in time. A word on how I did.

I came to attend this rally through reading Scott Horton. Journalist, writer, foreign-policy specialist, recently appointed head of the Libertarian Institute (Austin, Texas), he also became an editor of Anti-War.com after the death of Justin Raimondo. I’ll have more to say about Scott Horton later when I get to discussing his speech, his ties to Ron Paul, and what I saw him doing off-stage.

I knew very little about the rally before arriving on the scene. My understanding was that it was in opposition to “the wars” in general, in opposition to ongoing U.S. intervention in the Ukraine war specifically. Stated with more nuance, the idea was to oppose the grab Ukraine as a client-state to wage war on Russia or otherwise recklessly geopolitically posture against Russia. The whole thing is crazy and screams out for opposition, but there seems so little coherent opposition.

I made no great effort to look into the dramatis personae behind the event. I refer not to the big-name speakers such as (former Congress members) Kucinich, Gabbard, or Ron Paul. I refer rather to the organizers. A more-fitting term would be “dramatis ‘groupae‘,” for there were many old-style political-action groups were thick on the scene — along with a hopeful, newly formed, anti-Wokeness, anti-war, centrist political party (the “People’s Party”).

A lot of these groups and grouplets are of interest to those interested in dissident, extra-parliamentary politics and movements. The usual characters energized by these kinds of events were there, people who implicitly wish they lived in the 19th- or 20th-century, when such events as this would be more meaningful. It could be that I am such a person. (And as the Corona-Panic of 2020, itself a mass-movement: it would not have happened if it had to be an in-person mass-movement.)

I don’t, in fact, recall hearing about the rally from anywhere besides Scott Horton. I did see mention made, the night before the rally, on Peak Stupidity, whose blogger-in-chief was among the tens of thousands who staged the surprisingly successful protest at Richmond, Virginia, a few years ago.

I am a relatively reliable news-follower, but if I hadn’t been following the work of Scott Horton, I’d unlikely never have been aware of the event in time to attend. I compare this silence with what I know of the early-1970s anti-war rallies. The newspapers of the 1970s all reported on these rallies and protest-marches as they approached. Not necessarily for or against, just a neutral reporting of facts (such-and-such groups say they will protest at ‘x’ place, on ‘y’ day; organizers say they expect ‘z’ people). Today’s digitized info-dissemination apparatus, which somehow suppresses any mention of this kind of event, actually proves itself less open than that of fifty years earlier (early 1970s).

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Turnout estimates

This anti-war rally of February 2023 in Washington had turnout in the mid-to-high ‘single’ thousands range. It was probably closer to 5,000 than 10,000, when all is said and done.

The consensus is that this level of turnout was disappointing, decidedly lower than expected (hoped for).

When I compare to the “Defeat the Mandates” rally of early 2022, which turned out numbers I believe in the mid-high tens of thousands. Near 100,000 was a ‘reach’ estimate, the most-optimistic-possible estimate, for Defeat the Mandates. There is no doubt that turnout for this anti-war rally was much lower.

Aa many as 10x as many, therefore, were willing to show up to say ‘No’ to the Corona-Panic in early 2022 as were willing to show up to say ‘No’ the Ukraine War in early 2023. Both positions were taboos in their times.

I later learned one reason anti-war turnout was lower than expected (hoped for): there were certain behind-the-scenes disputes, in which some leftist groups pulled out of the anti-war rally, some even began to attack it, and kept their people away and dissuades others who saw the attacks. This kind of thing is baffling to me, and was mocked by several speakers (“Yeah, I do want to stop a nuclear wear, but not with (gasp) those people!”). No such significant bickering affected the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in 2022, at which time a wide Anti-Panic and anti-Vaccine-Mandate united front existed, a union of dissidents, an unlikely political coalition the likes of which was difficult to have predicted emerging on say, New Year’s Eve when 2019 turned into 2020.

Some social-media detractors were saying turnout was in the low single-thousands, and some heard to say it was lower than one thousand, which is definitely false. What they don’t appreciate is how the digital views they relied on don’t necessarily give the full view. I am reminded here of the disputes about the Trump inauguration turnout. In an event spanning much of a day, you don’t expect everyone to be nose-pressed to the stage (or as close as they can get to it) at all times. Many listeners, be they “attendees” or curious onlookers or passers-by dropping in, were dispersed to rear- and side-areas. Some were chatting with people at the political-group booths off to one side. Hundreds at any given time were mingling up in the immediate “Lincoln Memorial steps” area, and people were otherwise wandering in and out all throughout, it being all open-access. I feel sure that many wandered off in search of food and water at various times (on which, see ‘Criticisms’ section upcoming).

Now, it is true that besides just the lack of publicity (I practically heard about it through word-of-mouth equivalent), there is also a real incentive to stay away from crowds of people who openly identify as opponents of a grand project to which the State seems so committed. That holds unless the matter-at-hand is, or evolved into being, a socially accepted thing on whose behalf it maybe even helps to show yourself. The pro-Wokeness protests and the pro-Wokeness ‘pogroms’ of mid-2020 are an example of such socially approved protests.

There’s also something curious about war, which is how popular it often is. People say they are against it, but it always ends up happening that they get worked up and support wars. That’s true unless you start losing. (And “losing”;” means something different for Americans, whose wars are always “over there.”)

It is, therefore, unlikely that any “anti-war movement” ever starts with big crowds. I heard such comments frequently throughout the rally. Remember that there been little or no attempt in the USA at a mass rally of this kind, against the wars, for twenty years. The U.S. military and the pro-Empire wing of the elite foreign-policy establishment know how to manage opinion, and the wars and interventions and influence-ops and management of satellite-states — the whole package — is all done in a sleeker fashion than before.

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Criticisms

From a variety of technical standpoints, the organizers could have done better. Not providing any kind of schedule of speakers was a weakness. Promotion for the event may have been lacking, but I’ve already mentioned the serious obstacles and the media-blackout problems.

That many of the organizers are so Internet-oriented in part explains some of the problems. The event was produced for dissemination on video-sharing networks, and social-media-consumable clips. While the info-consumer bobs along doing whatever else, he can catch short clips. The is what the 2020s-era Internet seems to be about, Outreach is quickie-outreach to the lazy, the distracted, the morally unserious. Don’t forget to hit the ‘Like’ button! It’s an observation, not a criticism. Well, it is a criticism, but it’s a criticism of an entire system.

I will not enumerate here any list of logistical failures or weaknesses, and I wasn’t thinking to particularly look for them. One, though, is worth mentioning:

The organizers sought to assemble thousands of people, they hoped the people they attracted would mill around for half the day and not wander off for any reason, including thirst or hunger. Maybe they also hoped that holiday-weekend Sunday tourists might wander in to hear what was going on, that the event would be attractive enough to attract the curious. In my life I have run such events from time to time. A perhaps-overlookable secret is just how effective the providing of simple food and drink is. Neither water nor food were provided. Just something like cheap snacks would help keep people around, but this day everyone who arrived was on his or her own.

At the least water could have also been provided, and that at minimal cost. Considering the huge sums I am sure were paid out to host the event, the lack of anything in this direction is curious. The rally-site is essentially a giant open-space. There are no stores nearby. The drinking-fountains in the area were all off for the winter.

As I am in excellent condition, it’s not necessarily a big deal for me, but many will wander off unless such things are relatively ready at hand, and if you have them you’ll also project confidence and strength. There is a little cargo-cult in all of us, appreciative and (ever so slightly) awed when something is provided, even just a cold cup of water, the mini-awe beyond the value of the item received. There us just a little magic in the act. “Bring your own” is unhelpful as a suggestion here, and in fact projects weakness. The event organizers having free water and perhaps a limited degree of free snacks builds up esprit-de-corps (morale) and helps bodies go the distance (physical). To host an “all-day”-event is to host a party; the good host provides such things for his guests, as the guests have honored the host by their presence. In practical terms, offering such things is a form of both attracting people and preventing attrition as thirsty and hungry people wander off.

A more general observation, off the “water” problem, is that the usual problems with “decision-making by committee” were evident at times. It shows that there has been no large-scale anti-war movement in so long. This kind of problem plagues organizations without explicit and respected command structures. The hippies, libertarians, orthodox-Marxists, and similar dissidents may not be the types to overcome this difficult organizational problem.

Another manifestation of the weakness I mention is that the speakers were of such disparate type that the MC’s were often clearly unfamiliar with many of them. The MC’s often stuck strictly to the cue-cards, not introducing people properly, not properly “working the crowd,” not thanking speakers by name when they finished, not much banter between ‘acts.’ This I would attribute to it being run by committee. In other words, a portion of the main event was a little confusing. Into a void of confusion and uncertainty in which ninety-nine in a hundred are of good-will but not necessarily “on the same page” (in fact on many different pages), malicious actors can enter and hijack things. A team of about four men did so here, with carefully placed Russian flags…

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The Russian-flag provocateurs

The biggest problem with this anti-war rally was the Russian flags.

In video clips that have been viewed millions of times all over the world, the casual viewer sees Russian flags waving behind some of the speakers at this rally.

I can report that there was a grand total of two Russian flags present at the entire event, in a crowd numbering well into the thousands, with many other flags, banners, and placards. A suspicious group of about four men controlled these two Russian flags. I never once saw any of them talking to anyone else.

I believe these men were running an ‘op,’ by which I mean that they were deliberately attempting to discredit the rally by making it look like the whole thing was a pro-Russian demonstration. In other words, they were “provocateurs.”

The main reason I believe these men with their Russian flags were running an ‘op’ is how diligently they ensured that Russian flags were fluttering right behind the stage much of the time during the livestream, placed just right to get in view of the camera.

Most people are pretty easily deceived by images like that and will tend to form faulty judgements based on such images. (I call-back again to Mrs. Jared Kushner demanding Syria be bombed because of a photograph of a dead child.) Most people are not deep thinkers; they’ll see the Russian flag, and turn their brains off.

The rally, for the primed low-info viewer ready to believe as much, consisted primarily of Russia-supporters and an auxiliary of their dupes or other delusionals. Anyway, people not worth associating with. The flag stunt reaps huge rewards while being both low-cost and low-risk, a really tempting target for, say, the Ukraine embassy’s influence-operations personnel.

The winnowing effect of Internet-filtered reality makes it seem as if the flags were a normal part of the scene, when in fact there were only two such flags, handled by suspicious characters who talked to no one.

The suspicious Russian flag-men (“flaggots,” if you will) moved into position during the first speech, right as the live-streaming began rolling. I realized what was going on at once, as soon as I saw the flag up there, where it was, and what the camera was recording. No one else seemed to be commenting on the Russian flag, in part because in an open space with much going on, there are thousands of things to see. Most people are unaware of most things most of the time. Unless someone makes a point of calling specific attention to something, most people may not notice it, or appreciate it for what it is. Also, in such a motley crowd, there was a lack of will to “start anything.” The perfect environment for the saboteur, the provocateur.

After a while, a few U.S. flag carriers did seem to realize what was going on, and other flags and banners materialized behind the stage area and slid into view of the camera, and thus into Internet-video-filtered reality.

On reflection, I do lean towards believing the Russian flag happenings, as I’ve described, were an ‘operation’ by deliberate provocateurs (if that is the right word here), anti-Russians or pro-Ukrainians deliberately intending to harm the rally’s image and undermine the “anti-war, pro-peace” message to be “pro-Russia,” and on reflection I do think Ukraine’s influence-network itself could be behind it.

Other than the team of about four men with Russian flags, virtually no one else in the area signaled overt support for Russia. Of the many speakers I heard (I did not hear them all), only one could be called pro-Russia (Wyatt Reed, on whom more below). I can now recall seeing two other attendees who signaled a pro-Russia position, both women with “Z” symbols taped onto their backpacks. (“Z” was the symbol the Russians chalked onto their tanks and trucks during the invasion of early 2022 to coordinate.)

There was one guy with an ostentatiously large hammer-and-sickle red flag. I believe he was an ideological communist, old-line, doctrinaire, and “pro-hammer-and-sickle” (as it were) rather than pro-USSR-as-a-state. There is ambiguity there, but I don’t think this flag intends to signal support for Russia.

I lean towards “Yes” on the question of whether this team of Russian flagmen was really dispatched to sabotage the event (a “false-flag operation”). But even considering the other possibility — that these were a handful of misguided U.S.-resident Russian super-patriots, overenthusiastic, who stupidly placed their flag behind the stage to be viewed by millions in online videos — either way points to weakness in “op-sec.” (operational security) by the organizers.

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The rally’s name

This anti-war rally was officially titled “Rage Against the War Machine,” a name too ironic and too baggage-laden for my tastes. The name itself is a reference to a left-wing-anarchistic 1990s heavy-metal band (“Rage Against the Machine”), and could be symbolic of cultural-political self-ghettoization.

Another probably conscious political callback of the word “rage” in this context is the name of the violent protests in Chicago in 1969, the “Days of Rage.” The left-wing-radical Weathermen group was a key organizing force, including Barack H. Obama’s mentors, Ayers and Dohrn. (Needless to say, anything even one-hundredth as that would be a P.R. disaster today for a anti-Regime dissidents or even just a non-Regime-approved movement. The Regime could, at its fat-‘n’-happy leisure, attempt to “Charlottesville” people by the score.)

With a name like “Rage Against the War Machine,” you’d expect a certain kind of leftist, even the much-ballyhooed “antifa”-anarchists, to be on hand in force. That is, if they were anti-war — which, it seems, they are not. (See above, “What happened to the anti-war Left?”)

The name “Rage Against the War Machine” didn’t didn’t really reflect the motley grouping of people that was there, either speakers of attendees, the whole tone of the event. I would call the most common mood that of moral-defiance against an immoral and stupid foreign policy, not “rage.”

“Rage,” as I read the word, implies “impotent rage.” A toddler smashing up a set of disagreeable toys, perhaps because he really wants them but is told he can’t have them. Rage does not solve problems; rage may create new problems.

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I now shift to Part II, away from Part I’s primarily thematic-driven discussions and to narrated word-portraits, scenes from the rally, messages, participants, speeches. Near the very end I also include notes on what the many detractors of this rally had to say about it, which I only read into after it was all over.

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PART II. ROLLING SCENES FROM AN ANTI-WAR GATHERING

The Reflection Pool is a slimy-green and at low-water as I arrive. What is that about? I never learn. It seems people have begun slowly gathering starting late in the 11am hour, coming from all directions and ending up in the general Lincoln Memorial vicinity. The weather is fair, unseasonably warm, and sunny.

A small stage and people darting about getting things set up and checked and re-checked. Recorded music comes from somewhere. “How many roads must a man walk down” (the Bob Dylan version, I think); and “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” (U2); and “There must be some way outta here,” (“All Along the Watchtower,” Jimi Hendrix, 1968). The mood is good.

Of some interest is a long row of booths off to one side. Each booth is run by a political group or campaign. While all are against the Ukraine war, many otherwise share little in common. The funniest such case is a three-booth row in which two libertarian booths stand on each side and sandwiched between them is a booth with a deep-red banner. It seems to say “Party of Communists” or the like. (“Communist Party” must be jealously trademarked and locked-away from use.) This three-booth row is quite the metaphor for this whole event, if an exaggerated one. I can’t imagine I will often ever again see “communists” shoulder-to-shoulder with libertarians.

A few booths down, a group of White men stand around a banner labeled “Punk Rock Libertarians.” They are advertising their podcast. They are enjoying being out in the comfortably warm weather and look happy to be there. They look the part to be affiliated with “punk rock libertarianism.”

Another booth has a giant slogan that says only “Free Ross.” I have seen this slogan before but cannot place what it is about. (It seems “Ross” is the man the FBI tracked down and arrested for running the Silk Road dark-web website a few year ago, now in prison for life. The Libertarian Party has taken up his cause.)

People are streaming in, many bearing signs. There’s “Stop Weather Warfare.” I take the message is that a government program is out there engineering bad weather to weaken enemies. If that applies to this day’s weather, they engineered-up quite a good one, spring-like warmth and sunny. While there are many reasons why people might keep away from this rally, weather is not among them.

As one might expect, those on the scene early are largely core-age males, always and everywhere the element one will find moving the wheels of dissident or ‘radical’ politics of any kind, almost by definition. It is rooted in something about the male mind.

It strikes me that the men running the booths, or hanging around chatting at this relatively early hour, and and many of those handing out literature, would not be out of place at a 2010s-era Alt-Right events. None of them actually are such types. There is no “Alt-Right booth” here. (Not that the distinction matters much to Wokeness.) (The leader of the racialist-nationalist National Justice Party, Mike Enoch, although very assuredly anti-war, was assuredly not invited to speak. He was a co-leader of several small anti-war protests in the late 2010s.)

The crowd continues to fill in. A larger portion of women now. A wide variety of political slogans continues to bombard the eye. Some of the most conspicuous are the “Free Julian Assange” t-shirts; and “BIDEN is the Nordstream bomber!” placards. Honorable mention for bluntness goes to: “Stop blowing people up with our tax money.”

On the Lincoln Memorial steps, a White man has staked out a spot with a placard. It says “Stop the Cold War,” but the word “Cold” is crossed out.

Here and there are yellow-vests. No, not the gillet-jaunes of recent French fame. On these yellow-vests are the words: “VOLUNTEER — Rage Against the War Machine.”

A screen on stage flashes names of organizations backing the rally. “Anti-War.com” is on screen. I remember hearing not long ago of how Anti-War.com has for years been brutally suppressed by Big Tech (just as I have been).

A black sweatshirt darts past. It says: “Ron Paul Was Right!” A grey-haired White woman has a homemade placard: ‘”Global Nuclear De-Escalation.” Several people have put up a banner near the stage: “U.S. Senators: Please Ratify U.N. Treaty for a Global Ban on Nuclear Weapons.” That banner is too ne-looking to be literally left over from the 1980s anti-nuclear protests, but maybe the slogan is.

More little grouplets of people have arrived, some empty-handed, some with homemade signs, others with well-crafted placards displaying the slogan “Peace Through Development.” I don’t get a good look and cannot determine what the anodyne-seeming slogan “Peace Through Development” is intended to mean except in most general terms.

Later on, after seeing the same “Peace Through Development” slogan a few more times, I learn it is a new LaRouche Movement slogan. The death of the perennial minor-political-figure Lyndon LaRouche a few years ago has not stopped his people. They carry on. I remember in youth encountering this movement. The old man had a grandfatherly gravitas. The LaRouche people are impressive in their way, but their ideas do not seem practical. On the issue of the day today, they are right, and my attitude is the same as towards the communists and such people. There is no purpose to an event like this is one goes around judging everyone.

The LaRouche Movement is against the wars, and against the Ukraine war specifically. They are handing out flyers on behalf of the International Schiller Institute, which is their new think tank.

The LaRouche / Schiller Institute flyer’s title: “The Age of Reason, of the Annihilation of Humanity?” I quote from it:

“The reckless sending of ever more…heavy weapons into Ukraine must stop instantly. The ‘narrative’…that ‘Russia must be ruined’ is insane.” […] “This war is not about Ukraine. The Ukrainian people are being ground down in a proxy war for geopolitical purposes, and we are not ‘helping’ them by prolonging [it]…”

I find nothing to disagree with there. Some of the other messaging is happy-talk I remember from the 2000s-era LaRouche movement when I first encountered it.

I later learn what “Peace Through Development” means. It is their main slogan this day. It is part of their vision of a world-order in which a three-way quasi-alliance is agreed to between Russia, China, and the USA (a post-modern Drei-Kaiser-Bund for all you Otto von Bismarck fans out there). These three powers would pool resources and concentrate on jointly developing poor countries, a peace-crusade, a global-scale Marshall Plan directed by the three so-named powers. This idea fits like a glove to LaRouche the man, being exactly the kind of things he’d say, in his self-assured matter-of-fact way, as if it’s the obvious right idea. For LaRouche, the (supposed) great-deeds of statecraft of the 1930s and 1940s were panaceas for all times.

The LaRouche people are also now backers of Brazilian leftist known as Lula, recently elected president down there in suspicious circumstances.

As usual, the LaRouche people are an enigma, a political puzzle, hard to classify, hard to know where to mark on a political-compass bingo-card. On that count they have a lot of company at this rally. There is a certain appeal, partly drawn from the mystery of the message, to idealists in their late-teens and early-twenties. The LaRouche movement members are do-gooders. They are not malicious. I haven’t much thought about them in years, but they have earned a little more respect for turning out dozens of activists at this historic anti-war rally in Washington.

Here comes a White man with long, greying hair and a 1970s-style defiant attitude. It’s hard to guess his age, but he is younger in spirit. He is openly drinking a can of beer, barely concealed. This is bold, given that in the USA open-drinking is illegal. He has made the calculation that the chance any armed police with will swoop down on him for this, into the middle of this event, and arrest him for drinking beer in public, is near nil. Speaking of police, there are none anywhere nearby. A few private security have positions in the stage area.

More people are filling in, mingling, gawking, wandering. Someone expresses disappointment at low turnout.

Now here comes “Ukraine out of Donbass; NATO out of business.” This placard might arguably be called “pro-Russian.” I haven’t seen any slogans more pro-Russian than this one. Nor have I seen any pro-Ukraine, pro-war counter-protestors so far.

The official start-time is now near at hand. Still people stream in. A newly arrived man turns heads with a huge signboard he carries, a long wooden stick and a giant signboard on which is pasted a photo of Holy Ukraine’s President Zelensky engaged in the ugly deed of snorting cocaine. Is this a photo, or a ‘photoshop’? The huge print-out of whatever it is, it must have cost the man many coffees’ worth of funds to print up special. An hour or two later, I run across the Cocaine-Zelensky sign again. Its owner is now being interviewed on camera by a foreign news-team (there are no U.S. news-teams here). They ask the meaning of this sign. He seems to say that he is personally opposed to money-pits for cocaine-addicts.

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The speeches

The music cuts off. A live human voice speaks. It is 12:30pm, the appointed hour.

Will the skies open and the voice of Jesus address us? Will he hear from above that He (Jesus) and the Father and the Holy Spirit have been talking, and that they all three concur that enough’s enough and that it’s time to intervene to bail the USA out of its war-quagmire in Ukraine? (Remember, “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America“; attributed to Otto von Bismarck.)

The clock ticks over to 12:31pm. The voice, the mere-human voice, continues speaking. There is to be no deus-ex-machina today. We’re on our own. The long lineup of speakers may be a poor substitute for Christ Risen, but it’ll have to do.

The speeches begin. The variety is interesting, but disorienting. In an earlier section of this report, I alluded to the well-known problems of decision-by-committee. They wanted to cram as many speakers in as possible and the speeches are kept short. Many speeches are no longer than a few minutes. The topline VIPs and top-draws get up to fifteen minutes each. Most get much less than that. I find it a little disorienting.

The variety of speakers is so wide that no one but the most-committed of” wide-band, ‘alt.-media'”‘ junkie” is likely to recognize all the names in this cavalcade of speakers. I only really recognize a portion of these them, some only vaguely by name, others not at all. That’s okay, and maybe a good thing.

I chatted with a man who said straight out that he came because he was a Jimmy Dore listener and Jimmy Dore had promoted the rally. I had heard the name Jimmy Dore, but cannot really say I was familiar with the man. To the Jimmy Dore fan, I gave the impression I knew more than I did, which backfired a little when he made a follow-up statement and revealed my ignorance of his show. The man then asks me how I learned of the rally. I say: “Scott Horton.” He says: “Never heard of him.”

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The first main speaker is woman identifying herself as Angela. She says she is chair of the national Libertarian Party.

My views on the Libertarian Party are a little like my views on the LaRouche movement, outlined above, namely that they are well-meaning people but that it’s unclear if they can ever achieve power, and that if they hypothetically did achieve power, whether they would help or hurt.

How big is the libertarian movement, and what portion of it is actively Woke, what portion anti-Woke? I am not sure. Those here today seem to be non-Woke, but often more Woke-neutral than anti-Woke.

I suppose the libertarians are still today coasting on the fumes of that surprise political-sensation that was the Ron Paul movement in the period about 2007 to 2012. It’s a longtime ago, and no one as of 2023 who is below, what, age twenty-five or thirty likely remembers the peak of it. We might presume it is a little mini-“generational marker.”

Angela, the libertarian leader, expresses how very glad she is see libertarians alongside socialists and others of the “anti-war Left.” Angela says the anti-war Left “seems to have died twenty years ago,” which she laments. Here he is a leading libertarian praising “socialists,” a moment capturing the mood of the day. A politically ecumenical anti-war coalition.

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Max Blumenthal, a left-wing journalist, comes on to speak.

I have heard that Max Blumenthal is one of the key figures in organizing this rally. He is gifted with intellectual energy of the verbal-IQ sort, in the tradition of his people, and an instinct to agitate. There is something about him I don’t trust, but he also says many things I agree with, so I’m a little mixed up on how to feel.

As Max Blumenthal is speaking, I make the first sighting of the words “Make America Great Again” among the people milling-around the area and continuing to arrive. The leftist Max Blumenthal is no Trump fan, and the juxtaposition is funny. The MAGA-man is a tough-looking White man. He is holding a placard, and I see it says “America First.” No one is throwing a histrionic screeching fit that this man is here. As I say, there is hardly any Wokeness here. I think most people here take the same tack I do on this, in the spirit of looking at this event: if a man is against the war, today at least he is a friend. I remind the principle also applies to Max Blumenthal.

Max Blumenthal lets something interesting slip. Towards the end of his speech he says words to the effect that he is angry at the Ukrainians because in the past they killed, quote, “my people.” He means Eastern European Jews, but he said only the words “my people.” I get the reference immediately, but in the USA where a strong grand-taboo generally holds against discussing that group, I never know if others get such things or not. To remove any ambiguity or doubt, he then says the Ukrainians committed countless “pogroms.” Did he plan this particular section of his remarks?

Max Blumenthal putting Jewish-ethnonationalism forward is a perhaps-unintentional lifting of the curtain. Most people are not equipped to see what’s on stage behind that curtain, and people don’t know how to react. The “my people” line gets tepid applause, despite the emotion with which it was delivered. (See Max Blumenthal’s eight-minute speech.)

Much later on, after the rally ended, I learned that some detractors had circulated the dubious claim that this rally was “anti-semitic.” On learning that information, tiringly predictable in the USA (a headline in local news at the time of the rally said anti-semitic graffiti had been found in a bathroom in a local high school), I found myself thinking back to the “my people were pogrom’ed by Ukrainians” line that had so jolted me. The idea occurred to me: did Max Blumenthal consciously choose the line as a dog-whistle to fellow Jews? The message they hear (and which comparatively few of us mere Christians are able to hear) is: “Hey, fellow Jews, an anti-war attitude on the Ukraine Question is NOT ipso facto anti-semitic. I’m pro-Jewish and anti-war, and I’ll gently remind you the Ukrainians didn’t like us Jews. So drop it with the anti-semitism talk, alright?” I don’t know which is more likely, just an exuberant slip of the tongue or a conscious dog-whistle with the Jewish detractors in mind.

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Next up is the left-wing anti-war journalist Chris Hedges. He once wrote a book titled American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (2007), but I think he has matured since then. His latest book, recently published, is The Greatest Evil is War. This man is an intellectual and speaks like one. He has an odd look to him that I don’t know how to interpret, but his words are those of an intellectual, contrasting with Max Blumenthal who played rabble-rouser.

One of the suspicious Russian-flag squads has maneuvered into place. There are they are, directly behind the podium now. In the wind the Russian flag has been fluttering, placed perfectly to get in the camera-shots, and has been so during much of the Max Blumenthal speech and now also the Chris Hedges speech. The online copies of these speeches will make it seem this was a major component of the rally, because that’s what the winnowing effect of digital-reality is all about. — What would Marshall McLuhan think of this?

I hear no one commenting on the Russian flag ‘op’ ongoing before us (and on which I said more on above: see “The Russian-flag provocateurs”). There are people who realize it, seemingly independent of rally organizational staff. A ways into the Chris Hedges’ speech, someone with U.S. flag with a peace-sign launches a peace-offensive of his own and establishes himself and his flag next to the Russian two-man flag-team. Judging by the big screen near the stage, the main-camera is sometimes refocusing the shot to get the Russian flag out. When that happens, within moments, the flag has re-positioned and is back in view. I am not imagining this. They are coordinating to get that thing on the video versions of these speeches, which, no matter the attendance, they know will be seen by many, many times more people.

These antics involving that Russian flag back there distract me enough to miss the contents of Chris Hedges’ speech. In tone, it seems like a sermon on the virtue of opposing immoral wars. I do believe it was a good speech. See here for Chris Hedges’ ten-minute speech.

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The non-Woke Left

Here comes a young White man, sign in hand, with a quote from Eugene Debs, the socialist organizer and orator of a century ago. The placard says in large letters:

“No war, by any nation, in any age, has ever been declared by the people.”

The placard attributes the statement to “Eugene V. Debs.”

Debs remains relatively well known a century after he is off the scene in part because of his spirited and principled stand against militarism and ‘imperialism’ in his time — and, most dramatically, when the hour called for it, against U.S. involvement in Europe’s crazy war in the 1910s. (The contemporary non-Leninist left-wing criticism of the 1910s war was valid and correct, as we ignore it or dismiss it at our peril; as I see it, they evaluated what was going on largely correctly, and most other social-political forces largely erred and failed to understand what was going on. I refer to the causes and meaning of the war. Note that the Debs Left was also for immigration-restriction at the time, to protect labor.)

Debs’ many years of socialist activities and rhetorical skill won him renown in his own time and built up a respectable Socialist Party, of a kind many of the pre-Woke leftists here at the rally dream of. But, as I say, his late-life anti-war radicalism leaves maybe his most lasting image. That is in great part because the USA famously put Debs in prison, for treason, over his repeated denunciations of the war and his refusal to stop opposing the war. Debs and his network in the Socialist Party then ran a successful presidential campaign from prison (successful as “third-parties” go).

I don’t know which group, if any, the man with the Debs placard comes from.

A kindly White man, with long gray hair spends his time diligently handing out one-page info-pamphlets. He is choosy about which sort of passerby or loiterer to whom to offer one of his pamphlets. The large title on the stack he is carrying says: “The Bolshevik.” The main pamphlet is free; a second, longer one with political analysis costs one dollar. I see no good reason to criticize this man. On the specific question of the Ukraine war — which is the purpose of this rally — purity-tests are not relevant and seem petty.

It is about this time that I begin my realization on the fundamental non-Woke unifying character of what is going on here. These particular old-line Marxists show no signs of being “Woke,” and in the main are also not “anti-anti-Woke.” The realization is confirmed throughout the afternoon.

There are left-wing ‘radicals’ here at the rally, drawn from the historical-political tradition we call “the Left,” but few or no Woke people here. Wokeness is the hegemonic ideology of the day. One branch of Wokeness is all for a Woke-jihad against Russia, and use of client-states to fight wars against supposedly (non-Woke) Bad Buys. Wokeness-supporters therefore won’t be speaking up. I realize that this is the unseen fissure-line.

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The speeches have continued. Still no word on the biggest names, Ron Paul and Tulsi, the latter still getting a major boost in attention for being a relatively young woman, said to be attractive.

I am reminded of the lack of word about Tulsi by the words “Service Above Self — Tulsi.” These words I see emblazoned on t-shirts worn by young White male and his White female companion. Small words below “Tulsi” I don’t see clearly but would guess to be “For President.” These t-shirts may be of 2019 vintage when she was running as the only “anti-war Democrat” of twelve candidates at the time.

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Demographic types at the rally

From the large sample size, it’s interesting to observe what sort of demographic can be associated with what sort of the political currents or groups.

Still basically absent are any who, by some aspect of their personal appearance, signal doctrinaire-Wokeness-loyalty.

There are not many Blacks or Hispanics at all.

There is a sprinkling of Palestine flags here, it seems several more Palestine flags than the two Russian flags, both seemingly under the control of the team of saboteurs aforementioned. I find the Palestine flags usually associated with distinctly Arab-looking persons. I am not against the Palestine cause, but I find myself resenting it a little that their activism is basically ethnocentric, whereas ours is ideas-based or principles-based.

Another demographic observation is on the LaRouche movement people, whose dozens here are regularly circulating and engaging people. In one instance I see tow interracial couples (White-with-Asian or White-with-Hispanic; I notice no Blacks with the LaRouche movement). Most of the LaRouche activists are White males, of the normal type. By “of the normal type” I think I mean that none, at least that I have seen, have that recognizable ‘antifa’ body type.

The members of a group called the “Center for Political Innovation” are also primarily White males, the usual demographic for dissident politics. They lean more towards than skinny, left-wing body type. What is the Center for Political Innovation? They bill themselves as “anti-imperialist” and apparently are also “socialist.” What either of those labels mean is hard to guess without further info. At the rally they evangelize and engage with others, but not as effectively as the LaRouche people, who are much more well-practiced.

The Center for Political Innovation, as its name suggests, seems to be a think tank, and they even have it together enough to have rented space in downtown Washington, so a credit to them (unless they are being funded by some malicious actor like PRC-China, which is always a possibility these days). The are promoting a gala-event in March 2023.

I have already described the appearance of the old-line Marxists, as pre-Woke or non-Woke Whites. Many of them and of old peace-movement activists look like greyed versions of characters lifted from the 1970s or 1980s, and it’s interesting to see them. Sometimes one wishes people like this still populated the realm at least a little bit more, and less Woke-drabness (see “Whatever happened to hairdos?“)

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East Asians

It dawns on me that I have seen few if any East Asians here so far, other than by ones and twos. The only other one I specifically saw, young female, seemed to be with the LaRouche group.

But wait! What’s that. The body-types are and the distant clues like hair-color suggest it, two East Asians on the fringe of a part of the crowd, a male and a female. Even at some distance it’s clear this particular pair could fit within that loaded three-letter acronym, “F.O.B.” (“fresh off the boat”). Up to now I have seen no such people at this rally. Who are they?

On closer look, I see that these two East Asians I’ve spotted are not “attendees” at all. Rather, they are with the news-org called “CCTV,” which I learn because it is written on some of their possessions. CCTV is one of the Chinese-Communist-Party state-media outlets. I now see that the man is carrying a heavy video-camera at his side. The woman has a microphone at the ready.

This revelation suddenly re-confirms the conspicuous absence of East Asians at this anti-war rally. The great bulk of East Asians are either: “F.O.B.” types (some of whom have years or even decades in the USA but still retain the outlook), disconnected totally from the likes of this rally; or, another type is dutifully pro-Wokeness. Neither type is likely to go out of its way to attend this rally, each for different reasons. East Asians have numbers, intelligence, ambition, craftiness and machiavellianism, and smoothly operating ethnic-networking on the Jewish model. Despite all their successes — much of it allowed or facilitated by or non-opposed owing to the fawning adoration which the USA shows, in some ways shows, to domestic East Asians — they overwhelmingly remain outside the civic core, and they know it, and they are resentful of knowing it. This leads to more doubling-down towards Wokeness.

My mind goes back to the scenes of another set of mass-gatherings with ostensible political goals, the protests that reached enormous scale in early June 2020, right after the cruelest period of the Corona-Panic’s lockdowns. In those 2020 protests, a few of which I observed directly, I saw many pro-Wokeness East Asians — generally lot more often females — out in force, at least during daytime protests. One group had a Woke slogan that said “Yellow Peril Supports Black Power.” The next year, these same pro-Wokeness East Asians and allies in the media promoted a “Stop Asian Hate” campaign, to give them a piece of the pie, payback for services rendered to Wokeness.

Back in the present, at the anti-war rally in early 2023, the only East Asians I have noticed are dour PRC-Chinese with their state-media. Holding the microphone is a short and squat-bodied woman, seemingly engaged in scoping out sympathetic targets to ask for short, on-the-spot interviews. She wouldn’t be a reporter for CCTV in the USA if she couldn’t speak English, but I would be stunned if this particular woman had fluent, idiomatic English.

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Blacks

Off to one side, later in the day, a group of what seem to be Black-separatists sets up a small booth. They are dressed in semi-uniforms. A banner indicates they are the “African People’s Socialist Party.” There are four or five people running the table with literature about their political goals.

A teen Black girl, who I take to be the daughter of the head-man running the table for the African People’s Socialist Party, is grinning. It’s that wide, all-teeth grin — the way only Blacks can grin. She and another of the party-cadre are chatting with people. Someone has said something funny.

There is not much of a presence of Blacks, and in any shorter version of this report the minor presence by these people would be safely omitted, but the little scene reminds me of a major story of 2019, involving the notorious anti-white Black Israelite group, a so-called Indian elder, a handful of White Kentucky student-tourists, and a dishonest “media” or info-dissemination apparatus. That event, as trivial as it was before getting demagogued on so hard by Woke myth-weavers, occurred within a “long stone’s throw” (or two) of where this minor black-radical group is chatting amiably with people.

The name and the uniforms of the African People’s Socialist Party may sound menacing, but they are not comparable to the Black Israelite group, which views the Black-Subsahran diaspora as God’s Chosen People, and Whites as satanic. The Black Israelites have an active section in this city and are often seen in certain neighborhoods doing street-preaching, perhaps a little bit of an embarrassment to mainstreamer-Wokeness advocates. The Black Israelites are given wide leeway by local police, and their questionably legal street-demonstrations are seldom, if ever, broken up — at least within the wide areas of leeway they are implicitly given. This is similar in spirit to the policy to not enforce laws against homelessness, a policy turbocharged during the Corona-Panic.

The pro-Wokeness and pro-War consensus in places like this runs implicitly under the guiding-principle of “Anarcho-Tyranny,” and the attitudes towards the Black Israelites are one little example among so many, as was the policy to allow public parks to become homeless drug encampments with semi-weekly overdose deaths and harassment of passersby. (The Corona-Panic was a stress-test to the system during the Corona-Panic and other times, and Anarcho-Tyranny gained ground during the Panic and because of the Panic.) Even though the Black Israelites are a minor group, the revealed principle is important.

I haven’t seen any Black Israelites in quite a while, and don’t wish to, but I am reminded of how Black Israelites were the (unseen) protagonists in a worldwide-sensational news-story in January 2019. A group of Black Israelites spent about a half hour savagely racially berating a group of White student-tourists from Kentucky near the Lincoln Memorial, within a quiet-day’s easy earshot of the podium-site at this rally. The students had been left alone to wait at a spot near the Lincoln Memorial, as their larger group rendezvoused from their tourist-doings. They were waiting for their tour-buses. The Black Israelites’ anti-white tirades directed at the White teenagers attracted attention, and after a while a so-called “tribal elder,” a man of dubious origin and character by name of Nathan Philips, wandered in, saw an opening, and jumped into the fun, and confronted the teenagers up close, banging on a drum. Why did he do it? Perhaps he had imagined himself part of a united Colored Man’s Front against the great menace that is loitering white teenagers. The large group of White teenagers did not run off. In fact, most didn’t pay attention and horseplayed amongst themselves or the like.

The media, or social-media, or whatever we call this process, used an out-of-context video-clip and concocted a story of cruel, malicious White-MAGA-thugs, bullies, surrounding a helpless, saintly, lone American Indian “elder” (as they called him; the tribal “elder” title was a claim which, to use a favorite-phrase of theirs oft-heard in other contexts, was “without evidence”). A few boys had bought the MAGA caps from street-vendors that day. The MAGA hat item always a steady-seller in those years. That was all there is too it. It became a mini-panic. No one mentioned the Black Israelites except a few non-Woke or anti-Woke alt-media types. It seems it also briefly percolated into the Fox News sphere, whose political-commissars greenlighted a counter-attack on the Lincoln Memorial event.

It all sounds strange, now, the retelling that such a trivial incident like that. Will anyone one century from now believe it was really a big deal, that it become such a huge story at the time? Those of us alive and cognizant in 2019 remember that it was so. But it was a wholly fake story, and in time fell apart with hardly a mea-culpa. Two weeks after the events I’ve just described came the infamous Jussie Smollett Hoax, a very similar kind of story to the Lincoln Memorial media-created hoax I’ve just summarized. The Jussie Smollett Hoax, an adrenaline rush for Wokeness, was maintained to be real for several weeks until also falling apart.

My reflections and memories of the recent past tell me that by the late-2010s, the Internet-age’s infosphere had become (more than a bit of a) poisoned chalice. That early-2019 story from the Lincoln Memorial ended up with media version divorced from reality, bereft of standards of objectivity, “cut loose” from oversight by responsible reporters. I have to say it presaged the formation of the Corona-Panic one short year later; the Panic relied on similar reality-detachment, and it was able to “dig in deep,” using processes not unlike what I’ve just described.

In part this is a reason for the turnout problem at this promising anti-war rally. No doubt some are worried about being crucified by “the media,” having observed how it operates. In early 2003, when many hundreds of thousands marches against one of the Iraq wars, the “media” environment was very different.

The use of Russian flags by this suspicious little group of men who don’t talk to anyone else, here at this rally, is in part more old-style sabotage tactic intended to discredit, the very same tactic no doubt used many times by intelligence-agencies going back generations, and if it turns out the suspicious handful of men were assets of Ukraine influence-operations active here, who would be surprised? That kind of ‘op’ differs from the kind of process that creates the histrionic, screaming environment of social media, but old-style sabotage tactics can still work well.

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“Defend the Guard”

I snap out of the memory of 2019 to hear a speaker at the podium call for the blocking of the now-longstanding policy of easy, no-questions-asked so-called “federalization” of state military forces. These state forces ae (counter-intuitively) nowadays called “National Guard.” They are nominally under command of governors; how many Americans even know that?).

In practice, in matters of security or foreign power-projection, the “National Guard” is a cheap-and-easy manpower-auxiliary, to be tapped into by the Pentagon to give boost-ups when needed to funnel into the USA’s wars and foreign-commitments. (The other role of the National Guard, as friendly helpers when hurricanes or earthquakes hit, is irrelevant here.)

The man on a mission to restore the long-lost dignity of the “National Guard” units of the USA is Dan McKnight. He says he and his group are trying to push through state-based “Defend the Guard” laws, or amendments to state-constitutions. If passed, it would become illegal for this Pentagon-mandated so-called “federalization” to occur, except in the specific event of a war duly declared (legally, constitutionally) by the U.S. Congress.

In practice, this would weaken the ability of the USA to ‘do’ more of the wars. In other ways it could be quite a shift, re-empowering governors as commanders-in-chief again, closer to the vision of the late-1700s period and even into the early 20th century in faded form. (The evolution of the name “National Guard” itself shows the change, as these units were called “state militia” for much of U.S. history.)

This kind of legislation, “Defend the Guard,” is not a brand-new idea, but it has been stonewalled for a very long time. Dan McKnight says that earlier this year, 2023, the legislature in Arizona showed signs of interest in considering a “Defend the Guard” law, the first time any state-legislature has done so, and it could come to a vote. It could be that this little success in Arizona is a holdover from the 2020 election dispute in Arizona, in which a large portion of the state-legislature was prepared to overturn the supposed Biden victory i n the state because of irregularities, but were seemingly overruled by “federal” power.

(See Dan McKnight’s seven-minute speech.)

_______________

Now an athletic-looking White male, a little-too-enthusiastic, seemingly in his thirties is cruising around handing out miniature American flags to all comers. His young daughter is hanging onto him. The free flags are small. He has dozens or hundreds of them, but is selective about whom he chooses, for why sow seed on rocky ground? He has the air of the Biblical evangelist on this, the Lord’s Day. He confirms my impression when he says to one recipient of a flag: “God bless!”

On the Lincoln Memorial steps, six or seven people have set themselves up with “Left and Right, Unite!” placards, yin-yang symbols illustrating the idea. Regular tourists stream by them in all directions, well behind the stage.

A White woman who looks to be in her seventies, a likely veteran of such protests back to the 1970s, has a bold slogan: “North Atlantic Terrorist Organization.” Another: “Stop the U.S.-NATO war against Russia.”

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The Schiller Institute

Back towards one of the parts of the anti-war crowd, the “Schiller Institute” that I have been seeing reference to all day, has a team of guys with clipboards pitching their work. They are asking for emails for their mailing list. It can be greatly illuminating to talk to such people.

I learn that the International Schiller Institute is a new think-tank run by the LaRouche people. I hear of how Schiller was the greatest of German philosophers of his day, that his ideas even speak to the present day. It’s well-known that the LaRouche movement is relatively strong in Germany, and that connection might be a more-salient reason they went with the name “Schiller Institute.”

This whole Schiller–Germany connection also makes me realize the LaRouche-movement people might have a particularly valuable view on the Nordstream Pipeline bombing controversy, being that the pipeline was owned by Germany. Sure enough, they do. The leaflet they hand out, which I mentioned earlier (“The Age of Reason, or the Annihilation of Humanity?”), is all about the Pipeline bombing and the treachery against Germany specifically by the USA under these Obama–Biden people. Mainstream German parties, knowing full well their country’s continuing “semi-sovereign” status, dare not mention it, but small and nimble forces like the LaRouche movement can and do. I am not sure how much of a big deal the right-wing dissident AfD has made of the Nordstream bombing, but if they did produce and distribute literature on it, it would likely have much overlap with the LaRouche material this day.

I have to hand it to the LaRouche people, too, for having such a wide variety of clever slogans, I realize all of which are ‘signed’ with the words “Schiller Institute.” Many of their activists wear their slogans on sandwich boards and wander hither and thither, as human-advertising. “Norwegian American Treachery Organization” is one, a reference to Seymour Hersh’s findings that the USA’s secret bombing of Nordstream had the complicity by elements of the Norwegian military.

Another slogan that seems to pop up with them include “Mag-Lev, not War.” One of the smartest slogans of the day is: “No rules, not based, no order.” This latter one especially is practically written in cipher, intended for a high-info and tuned-in audience. It will go way over the heads of most. It is a take-off on the words “rules-based international order,” a slogan that the Biden people have been using, which they lifted from international-relations theory and applied like a lotion to smooth-over their adventures as needed. There is a rules-based international order; people’s objection is to its use as self-serving slogan. Also of note is the use of the word “based” there.

Another smart slogan: “Nuland, 2015:F*ck the EU; / Nordstream, 2022: the EU is f*cked.”

______________

By now, the left-wing Green activist and sometime-presidential-candidate by name of Jill Stein is at the podium. (See nine-minute speech by Jill Stein.)

The Russian ‘flaggots’ are still doing their ugly deed back there, behind the rally-stage area. By “their ugly deed” I mean keeping the Russian flag carefully waving in view of the camera.

Back in the crowd itself, I spot two “real” Russians, a two-man camera team. They are immediately more honest-looking than the grim flagmen of dubious provenance to whom I keep making reference.

The Russians, just as the PRC-China’s state-media camera-team before them, weave in and out looking for good interview prospects. On their camera is the word “Russia” in Cyrillic (Россия). This must be their TV-news affiliation (Rossiya-TV).

The pair with Rossiya-TV spot someone they like and approach. It is a long-haired White male hippie, maybe in his sixties. The man is stretched out on some steps, holding a pro-peace sign of some kind. He gladly consents to their request–on one condition: that he be allowed to do the interview from his comfortable, prostrate position stretched out on the steps. The position has been giving him good vibes down there for a while, it seems, and he doesn’t want to break the vibes by standing up. This condition agreed to by the Russians, the camera-man bends down to put the camera down at the hippie’s face level.

I only now notice the hippie has with him not just the placard he is holding, but also a small balloon. The balloon has a “smiley face” on it. The Russian news-man seems to ask the hippie what message he intends with this balloon. The peacenik says it’s all there on his placard, which reads: “You don’t need a balloon to tell which way the wind is blowing.” I have to say, that’s clever. Mockery of the whole “spy balloon” business is one of the secondary themes of the day. The man’s message is a multi-layered pun with multiple historical and present-day references to anti-war themes. Well done. But will it work in Russian translation on Rossiya-TV?

I have still yet to see any U.S. news team here.

______________

The fiery “soapbox” oratory of Gerald Celente is now thundering along. He denounces criminality in the U.S. government.

Gerald Celente is a short, peppery little man, almost a caricature of the emotional-Latin type. He shares some traits to be sure, of the “classic demagogue.” But people love his fervor and his anger, and with this kind of speaking he is highly effective. Maybe if highly sleep-deprived or ill, Celente might moderate, but otherwise the embers are always ready to burst into fire. He does a little dance on stage.

This is one of the most crowd-working speeches yet, and Gerald Celente is the kind of man that 19th-century or early-20th-century governments were genuinely afraid of, for he could whip up a crowd back in that “analog” age when people’s entertainment and actions were by-necessity “in-person” (and not mediated through screens in semi-isolation). Especially if given more time to really captivate his audience, Gerald Celente has the talent to raise a certain kind of righteous ‘army’. The enthusiasm for him is wide but perhaps not deep. By comparison, the support for Ron Paul — still not seen or heard from so far this day — is deep.

(See Gerald Celente’s entertaining eight-minute speech.)

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An animal growls out a nasty sound down near the Reflection Pool. People look towards the animal. It is on a leash and under the control of what by appearances is flamboyant magician, complete with magician’s hat. What’s this all about?

On closer inspection, the leashed creature is not an animal. It is a human on hands-and-knees, in some kind of Chinese-dragon-style costume. The costume has a grotesquely snarled face. The man inside does a convincing growl.

It seems this pair is doing performance art, that the ‘animal’ is symbol of the chaos-beast of war, and that the magician represents the Obama–Biden foreign-policy wiz-kids and their ideas and their actions.

_______________

Next is speaker Dan Cohen. He expresses regret at having to follow Gerald Celente, who has put on quite a performance. Celente has just bounced off stage, perhaps to seek out a drink of water after that performance. Dan Cohen feeds off the fiery little man’s left-over energy.

Dan Cohen slams Big Pharma, the Defense industry, and their powerful lobbies. They’re all part of the same thing, he says. I don’t think I’ve heard someone posit a Big-Pharma-and-Defense-Industry Axis quite like this before. In what previous generation of the genre known as “anti-war protest” would someone denounce pharmaceutical companies?

(See the six-minute speech by Dan Cohen.)

About this time, a man rolls on by with a “Defeat the Mandates” sweatshirt, bearing the January 2022 date of that historic moment. The theme of the similarities between this anti-war rally of 2023 and the “Defeat the Mandates” rally of 2022 against the forces of the Corona-Panic has gotten several corroborations, but here is a very direct one, coming just as speaker Dan Cohen is denouncing Big Pharma.

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Jimmy Dore

Among the most enthusiastic of all attendees are the fans of one Jimmy Dore. He is a comedian of whom I was only vaguely aware. (The ‘e’ in his name is silent, as in “Gore.”)

Several super-fans have “Dore ’24” signs, urging him to run for president. You know what, it’s not such an outlandish suggestion these days, that a comedian could run for president and win. Is it not the case that even Holy Ukraine has a (literal) comedian as its president? If it’s good enough for that (apparently) morally first-tier nation, Holy Ukraine, it’s good enough for the rest of us, such as (apparently) morally second-tier countries like the USA! The only big problem with the plan is that Jimmy Dore is anti-Wokeness. He also is against the Ukraine war.

Jimmy Dore is an excellent performer, His anti-war address is laced with jokes, including absurdist jokes which, when dour detractors in the Internet noise-machine grab hold of them and reproduce them in isolation, come across as bizarre, and can even be framed as delusional. You have to see them as part of the “act” in the comedian’s sense.

(See Jimmy Dore’s fourteen-minute speech.)

What does it say about the USA that a comedian somehow ends up an influential political-commentator of sorts? Is this another sign of the rise of ‘irony’ culture?

As he leaves the stage, I ponder Jimmy’s Dore’s syncretic blend of populist politics, claiming to be left-wing but sounding like he is basically animated by anti-Wokeness. Is he really a political figure, or is he an entertainer? It’s important to remember that the two are not the same.

Placing Jimmy Dore into the slot of political figure, which of the major categories of political-forces here today — the pre-Woke, the anti-Woke, and the miscellaneous non-Woke — I don’t know where he fits, but a case could be made for each.

I again wonder as to the reason so few Wokeness-adherents are here. Is Wokeness itself pro-war by principle? That would be strange if true. It’s a question worth study. Second idea: Is it that Wokeness accumulated, sometime by the late 2010s, a pro-Ukraine plank (or anti-Russia plank), grafted really firmly onto the wider, curiously alluring, mesmerizing, messianic-like package that is Wokeness, and that this Ukraine-add-on to Wokeness became so firm that they are willing to run a years-long war for Ukraine? Third idea, and maybe most plausible: Wokeness-adherents are conformists. To be openly anti-war, in the context of this present moment, requires a degree of moral courage. Washington D.C. is known as a place conformists accumulate, a place where high-achieving conformists seek to place themselves so as to be sucked themselves towards the center-of-gravity, like soap-suds around a drain.

However they may be classifiable, Jimmy Dore’s supporters and fans don’t seem to be conformists — certainly not of the Wokeness kind, anyway.

______________

Far away from the main area stands a lone political-grouplet booth, manned by two older White people, both seeming to have white hair. They look bored. A sign at their table says “Red Star Publishers — Ediciones Estrella Roja.”

Judging by the age of the two persons affiliated with this Red Star Publishers outfit, these are old-line doctrinaire Marxists, whose beliefs and moral-commitments to whatever blend of Marxism they believe in comes perhaps from before this dreary era of Wokeness we live in today. If I’ve got that about right, these are of the pre-Woke camp.

Of all the three types I’ve outlined (pre-Woke, anti-Woke, and non-Woke), the pre-Woke are the most susceptible to hijacking by determined forces of Wokeness, but they are also survivors, like the old metaphor given to us by Aesop of the oak and the reed, the one sturdy but susceptible to being destroyed in a storm, the other bending with the wind and surviving. The anti-Woke “oak,” the pre-Woke “reed.” But Wokeness has forces deployed in the field to eliminate the non-Woke and pre-Woke as well, when necessary or when opportunity comes up. Wokeness is a jealous god.

_____________

Back on stage, an MC takes the stage and coasts on the high-energy left over from Jimmy Dore’s speech. The MC asks the crowd: How many Ron Paul fans are here? The legend is on his way. The question gets a vigorous positive response. Then he asks how many are Jimmy Dore fans. A comparable number respond in the affirmative as did for Ron Paul. Then the MC asks how many are both Jimmy Dore and Ron Paul fans. He gets lesser reaction but still a lot of applause.

One presumable non-supporter of Ron Paul is a guy poking around with a “Let’s Smash Capitalism” sweatshirt. Still none of these political enemies are showing any ill-will towards one other. None that I have seen. I recall the “Party of Communists” booth-minders and the libertarians on both their flanks. What kinds of conversations passed between them throughout this day?

Some year ago, during the height of the pro-Trump vs. anti-Trump period of the late 2010s, at events not so unlike this one I witnessed arguing, shoving-matches, and even fistfights between political opponents, the likes of which was much harder to find in the mid-2010s and earlier.

On one occasion, about 2017, I witnessed the man who writes under the name Paul Kersey respond to a challenge by Black confrontationalists. They were hurling abuse at Trump-supporters and at him, though none of them knew who he was. Paul Kersey was a leading figure of the pro-Trump group gathered at a certain place. He was then in his early thirties or so and presented a sturdy image. This was the one and only time I have ever seen him this man in the flesh. He was wearing that iconic red MAGA cap. The It’s hard to know what the Black “BLM” hecklers expected, but probably by default they expected the White “MAGA” people to back down, for that is how America apparently works in their minds. Instead, Paul Kersey broke off from his small section of the mass, went over towards the sound of the hecklers, and with thundering voice and a bit of profanity, induced them to back down. Stunned for a moment, my memory tells me that the hecklers — under leadership of a shrill female who identified herself as a Howard University student, were silent for a long moment. The lead heckler recovered her bearings and soon redoubled her efforts at shouting, but no movement came from either her or anyone on her side. Her fellows were scattered. The confrontation was over. Paul Kersey, being no fool, realizing the danger he could be in if the BLM mob counter-attack formed up. Adding to the danger was that the hour was late, nighttime. He withdrew to rejoin the pro-Trump ranks, seemingly satisfied that he had score a moral-victory. The pro-Trump people were on the move, I with them, and the hecklers did not follow. It was a quintessential scene of the political drama of the 2010s, one of countless thousands like it.

I saw nothing even close to the above throughout this day at this anti-war rally, even though in theory the various components involved should be sharp political enemies. This is a point I have been making repeatedly in this report because it keeps hitting me.

_____________

The MC’s introduction to Ron Paul, I soon realize, is not because the legend himself is imminently to speak, but rather because for his ideological warm-up acts, the first of which is the foreign-policy expert Scott Horton. I previously mentioned Scott Horton in this report as the way I myself learned about this rally and came to make time to attend it, and thus to write this report.

Scott Horton is an intellectual. Although he long (2000s, 2010s) presented as a “skater punk” who happened to be interested in foreign-policy (and stopping and preventing the wars), now that he is well into his forties maybe he is in the process of fully retiring that “skater-boy” image.

Considering my own Horton connection, I am a little embarrassed when he gets comparatively little reaction from the crowd. Nothing like the fiery Latin bombast of Gerald Celente (see above).

Scott Horton’s content gets high-marks, but his delivery gets middling-marks. His sentences too long for this medium. His pace is a bit fast. The art of public speaking to a large crowd, as opposed to the written word and as opposed to indoor-voice-into-microphone for upload to Youtube, etc., is a skill now majorly atrophied. Scott Horton is quite good on the content side, and in 2021 and 2022 on two separate occasions decisively defeated the neocon bill Kristol in formal debates on U.S. foreign policy.

(See here for Scott Horton’s nine-minute speech.)

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Peace, Through Ukrainian Victory

Sometime after the Scott Horton speech, I finally see pro-Ukraine counter-protestors operating openly (not counting the Russian-flag provocateurs). They have set themselves up on the fringe. It is a group of three or so mid-age White people.

The leader seems to be a woman, of that plump suburban type recognizable across the land. The woman holds sign that says “Peace, Through Ukrainian Victory!

The pro-Ukraine mini-counter-protest is attracting attention, with ten or so people circled around. A man explicates on why the counter-protestors are wrong to support the war. They grin and try not to engage him.

The counter-protestors are wearing matching Ukraine-colored outfits, a cutesy touch. There is no indication to me there are Ukrainians. The woman especially looks like a normal White-American type. I suppose it’s possible she has partial distant Ukrainian ancestry, but odds are she is just a true-believer and has dressed up in the colors of another nation which the USA now controls as a client-state. It’s all so confusing an mixed-up.

______________

Now on comes Daniel McAdams, right-wing libertarian, principled anti-interventionist in the proud American tradition of non-intervention and neutral foreign policy.

Daniel McAdams denounces the tactic of moral-blackmail by which the war-pushers try to get anti-war people to ‘admit’ that the country, people, or government which the war-pushers want to target at the moment are bad people. McAdams says that one must not fall for this. It’s a swindle. They use this tactic to morally blackmail you, to morally checkmate you.

What the pro-war forces and war-orchestrators will do, McAdams says, once they get you to say “Yes, they’re bad people, but–” is that they’ll say, “Oh, it’s nice and quaint that there are these people call themselves ‘anti-war’ and all, but given that even they agree that those people over there we want to bomb and/or invade are Bad Guys. We are just being proactive, doing something about the Bad Guys, you understand.”

(See here for Daniel McAdams’ three-minute speech.)

______________

Now it’s left-wing environmentalist David Swanson. He says war is wrong in part because it contributes to climate change and racism. Finally I hear some sign that Wokeness is not entirely absent from this event.

Really this man is not a convincing portrait of a 2020s-style anti-white Wokeness-believer. He seems to be more like a 1980s anti-nuclear protestor.

Like many others, David Swanson calls for the dissolution of NATO.

(See David Swanson’s six-minute speech.)

_______________

Craig ‘Pasta’ Jardula, who I have never heard of, says the political-party duopoly is the reason the wars happen.

Mr. Jardula names Lindsey Graham as a lynchpin of the war-orchestrators and the broad war-lobby now that John McCain is dead.

(See Craig Jardula’s eight-minute speech.)

_______________

One speaker, a male but whose name I didn’t write down, shocked me by saying the U.S. Civil War was unjustified if we take the pop-historical view that the was “to end slavery,” because it immorally used violence to end slavery. No one else in the world, he said, found it necessary to run some huge war to end slavery. They just ended it.

I wish I could track down which speaker this was. He was a leftist. His Civil War statement was a unique kind of taboo-breaking, and practically the ne plus ultra of the non-Woke spirit of the day and the grim-determination of some to a hardline morally committed anti-war stance. In front of the Lincoln Memorial no less. No Wokeness-loyal person would blaspheme that war in the way he did; no Woke person would appear in any way to cast aspersions on the freeing of the slaves even indirectly.

It’s possible this is why Wokeness appears to be pro-war.

______________

The only speaker I hear who is probably outright pro-Russian on the Ukraine War question is someone called Wyatt Reed. He is said to be an independent journalist.

Wyatt Reed seems to have gone to Russia some time ago and while there “went native.” It happens. He is very angry about supposed crimes against the people of “Donbass.”

Wyatt Reed says he is from southwestern Virginia, but he is making it his business to press the war-claims of one party thousands of miles away. If he is equally upset about millions of illegal migrants per year waves into the USA and scattered across the land, including backwash into his own native southwestern Virginia, he says nothing of that, although in many cases there is also a direct foreign-policy connection there. I am not so impressed with Wyatt Reed.

(See Wyatt Reed’s six-minute speech.)

_____________

I have omitted a few of the speeches. In fact, I did not hear all of them.

I make sure to get back in time for the trio of Dennis Kucinich, Tulsi Gabbard, and the living legend Ron Paul. All were getting ready to speak as the hour approached 4pm. They emerge from the white VIP tent together, to cheers. Kucinich is known to be a short man. Tulsi seems to tower over him.

______________

Kucinich says “Biden did Nordstream”

Kucinich comes to the podium. And here again come the Russian ‘flaggots,’ making themselves conspicuous again. As Kucinich begins to speak, the Russian flag-team has their flag positioned in just the right position. There are still zero other Russian flags anywhere else at this rally, except the one that is deftly maneuvered into camera view at these key moments.

The Kucinich speech is excellent. I mentioned earlier that he called for an international criminal court to look into charges against Biden-government figures for their role in the Nordstream bombing.

(See the fifteen-minute Kucinich speech.)

______________

Tulsi drops in

The Tulsi Gabbard speech was about the false-alarm nuclear-attack warning in 2018, at one of the heights of the Russia-panic, which partly carried over into molding this Ukraine War of ours. (See the nine-minute Tulsi Gabbard speech.)

An interesting thing about the Tulsi Gabbard appearance is what happens in the minute or so after it is over. Tulsi goes off to the left; a crowd of people suddenly seems to be following her. They seem to be arguing with her. Maybe they were asking her for press statements. No, since there are no U.S. news reporters here (at least I have still yet to see one), that’s unlikely. Maybe these are just super-fans, for she is now a celebrity. She seems to ignore them totally. She seems to walk off with a determination to not make eye contact, like a British royal ignoring paparazzi.

The group trying to talk to her continues to surround her until she disappears into a waiting black vehicle. The vehicle speeds off. Tulsi is gone. She must lead a busy life. She left the very moment her speech was over. By contrast, Kucinich has stuck around and is doing some side-interviews. Like virtually all politicians, he likes to hear himself talk and likes attention. Tulsi, alas, is either not a politician at heart, or leads a remarkably busy life and cannot spare a few minutes.

I consider something of the political life of this woman, who can fairly be called by the one-name moniker “Tulsi,” for there are no other Tulsis. It’s been about ten years that she has been on the scene. Has it not? She was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2012, from Hawaii. In the early 2020s she emerged as one of the anti-Wokeness dissidents in high-profile political life.

Tulsi probably felt morally empowered to openly oppose the wars, the “military-industrial complex,” the foreign-policy Blob, and the strange beast that is “liberal-internationalist, interventionist militarism,” for one specific personal reason: Tulsi’s own pedigree ties her very directly to earlier iterations of the U.S. “Empire.” (A 23andMe test she took showed 31% non-European, 69% European. More specifically, she is apparently up to 9/32nd Samoan, 1/32nd other Pacific-area element(s), 20/32nd NW-European, 2/32nd Other European-Christian.)

The exotic branches filling up that large area of Tulsi’s ancestral-tree trace to unions of U.S. Navy men with local women, somewhere out in the wild-blue-yonder in the Pacific, some generations past. Her true “ethnicity” is really not any of her ancestors’ component contributions. Her true ethnicity is “U.S. Empire ethnicity.” The following exchange occurred when her 23andMe genetic test results were released:

Henry Louis Gates: “The navy was the only reason he [ancestor Benjamin Gabbard] was in Samoa. Without it [the U.S. Navy], you’d have never been born!” [Pause.] [Tulsi smiles, looks down.] // Gates: “So — thank God for the Navy!” // Tulsi: “Yes!”

That interview was recorded some time in late 2018, and aired on TV in January 2019. Tulsi was still in good graces at that time.

It is my experience that the Empire sees such people as Tulsi as a natural constituency, trusts them, and seeks to empower them to help bolster its own interests. How could such people as this not be a natural constituency? If such a person values his or her life, he values that which allowed his or her life to exist: the Empire. Barack Obama fits pretty well into that framework, too. Another really excellent example of the type is the U.S. Senator from Illinois, Tammy Duckworth, half-Thai-Chinese, daughter of a U.S. military and local-woman union. Tammy Duckworth is known for her aggressively pro-military views, her pro-empire moral and political commitments, and as pro-Immigration and pro-Wokeness.

All people participate in “civic nationalism” to at least some extent, and in some ways Wokeness is a new civic nationalism that crosses a deep Rubicon into dark and unexplored territory, the place of nightmares, but compelling in its power and prestige and allure. But sticking to traditional civic-nationalism, it is a mistake to assume there is only one sort per country. There were always multiple civic-nationalisms that didn’t speak their own names. Core-Americans honor a different civic-nationalism other than what people like Tulsi Gabbard honor. That Tulsi has no personal connection to any Christian church is also telling, and through her (full-White) mother she became a Hindu, something that would be wildly eccentric if she were on the farm in Indiana, but seems not-so-wild at all for Empire people.

Some of these people figure out their special status, and maneuver it to their advantage. I think Tulsi’s life-choices do reflect this process, probably even in her teens in the 1990s, when identity-formation was solidifying; definitely in her twenties in the 2000s (joining the U.S. military is a career-choice that doesn’t align at all with her personality and outlook, and is understandable only through her family and personal origins); and likewise into her thirties in the 2010s. She got in. She seems to have at-least-partly gone rogue by her late thirties or so, but that’s the “price of doing business.”

________________

Ron Paul, the “Sage on Stage”

Here he is. The man, the legend. Ron Paul. He walks out, slowly, in these closing minutes of the rally.

As soon as Ron Paul steps out, one of those moments of palpable excitement rushes through the crowd. This kind of reaction can be felt often in sports, during some decisive moment in the game, and at such moments even the most disengaged spectators gets at least momentarily swept up in it. A century ago and earlier, the same effect may have been observed when a certain star theater-actor or actress came on stage, to a full-house of his or her adoring fans.

Ron Paul begins to give a speech that shows no signs of being written or practiced. It’s not bad, but it’s rather a series of his usual talking-points. It doesn’t seem he is aware of the politically ecumenical nature of this rally. He seems to believe it’s basically a pure-libertarian rally. (See Ron Paul’s fourteen-minute speech.)

During Ron Paul’s speech, off to one side I see that Scott Horton has popped up and taken for himself a front-row viewing position. He looks on in silent awe, as one looks on a respected pastor delivering a sermon. Or maybe it’s the enthusiasm of a schoolboy spotting Santa Claus Scott Horton. He applauds and nods his head enthusiastically multiple times. He bellows the “End the Fed” chant when Ron Paul supporters in the crowd began it.

it is said that Scott Horton is a lifelong Texan. But that is not the principal reason he loves Ron Paul (who represented a district in Texas for so long). The real reason is that Scott Horton’s own political evolution was decisively influenced by the Ron Paul movement of the mid-2000s.

Dr. Paul is clearly an older version of the man he was back ca.2007-08 or ca.2011-12, much less back in middle age when he first began turning heads in U.S. politics. Being that he is in the latter part of his ninth decade of life, he is an unlikely “rockstar,” but it is for Ron Paul that the largest applause and cheers in the crowd come. Jimmy Dore was a close rival on that count. Given how much better a performer Jimmy Dore is, this is all the more credit to Ron Paul’s mysterious star-power.

The mystery and magic of Ron Paul shows itself again after his speech is over. As Ron Paul is the final speaker, the MC is announcing that this part of the rally is over, that it’s time to march to the White House. A lot of people continue milling around the main-event area. Ron Paul has made no effort to dash off, and has quickly been surrounded by dozens of people. Key allies like Daniel McAdams (head of the Ron Paul Institute) keep close by. Mainly it seems the crowd is just enthusiasts seeking to engage with the legend.

It has been arranged that Ron Paul should exit towards a waiting vehicle of imposing type, large, tinted-black windows. It’s not a vehicle to match the personality of the mild-mannered political icon, but it’s not something he is in charge of arranging. The vehicle is waiting to whisk Ron Paul away, as it had whisked away Tulsi a short time earlier. But it has a long wait. Ron Paul is in no hurry on this warm afternoon. He banters with his fans, and seems genuinely interested in answering their questions. Now he doesn’t seem to be moving at all. Now he is moving again. Now he’s stopped again. Always chatting, always open.

The main reason for the slow pace of movement towards the waiting vehicle is how often he stops moving to engage someone in conversation, as if he needs to stop movement to give full respect to an interlocutor, full consideration to some point being made by the other party or by him. He doesn’t want to let these people down.

“The sage on stage.” Would the super-fans around him now care if he were reading off a grocery-list? Some of them would be puzzled, but some would hardly even notice, as they just want to take their chance to be near the Great Man.

A man with a cap that says ‘Ron Paul’ on it has wandered up, oblivious to who is at the center of a large circle of people just off to his right. He turns and sees the man at close quarters. To his female companion, the man with the ‘Ron Paul’ cap says with a mix of surprise and amusement he seems to say: “Whoa, it’s Ron Paul!”

The Ron Paul fans continue to slowly move away. I reflect back on how something magical happened in the USA with the Ron Paul movement, back in its height, something that had effects on what came later that still underappreciated and hard to grapple with. There is no other explaining this kind of scene, people treating this slow-moving elderly man as a rockstar.

The initial circle has whittled down now, as the Sage continues slowly moving towards his “getaway car.” Loyal lieutenant Daniel McAdams is at his side, and likely plans to be the one close the door just before the vehicle takes Ron Paul away.

Whoever is in charge of Ron Paul’s safety and scheduling has finally convinced him to get into the vehicle and leave behind his fans. Off he goes. Daniel McAdams, the loyal lieutenant seeing off his captain, now begins a solo-trek to the White House. He sees a few thousand streaming in that direction, funneled through a narrow track.

_____________

To the White House

About 4:15pm, a portion of the rally attendees began a slow march to the White House. Along a portion of the route the marchers are to varying degrees funneled through security fences, a portion near the White House area under heavy overwatch by security forces. Many naturally find this unappealing and break off, deciding the White House march not worth it.

Veterans of earlier-generations of protests of this kind have been known to argue that such things as this fencing and funneling people into controlled areas is against the spirit of “the right of the people to peaceably assemble” (U.S. Constitution, Amendment 1). The oldsters say this is not the way it used to be.

In fact, a wide variety of cultural changes align against mass-gatherings. These tactics, recognizable throughout the 2000s, 2010s, and now in the 2020s, must dissuade many from attending. But so do many other factors.

As I have found myself thinking about the Turnout question again, and the reasons the numbers did not reach the numbers achieved by “Defeat the Mandates” (Jan. 2022), I will break the narrative here, to consider what the detractors and critics said of this rally. I will then return to the White House area and some final “scenes” from the anti-war rally to end this report.

__________________

The Detractors

When the rally’s happenings were all over, and having declined an invitation to attend a free-food event at a left-wing group’s rented space downtown, I began to read a little of the coverage and commentary of this rally. I had assiduously avoided doing so up to now.

I had no specific target, and ‘consumed’ that which Google ‘fed’ me. it was now that I began to see just how much of a media-blackout there was — in the U.S. media.

Another form of post-rally research was more distasteful to me, but necessary: keyword searches on Twitter, to see what the noisemakers and narcissists are squawking about the rally. Prior to this, all my engagement with the rally had been ‘analog,’ using the excellent technologies that come ready-to-use: primarily eyesight and hearing, engagement, walking, along with some note-taking (the basis of the vast quantity of observations recorded in this report).

Our reality today seems not primarily shaped by direct experience or even direct-life concerns, but by narratives weaved and disseminating online. In many ways this means noisemakers and narcissists now have major influence in “running” discourse. I found their criticisms of this rally to be intense and unfair, and also blared all over social-media. There were also other critics, including old-line political hardliners who laid out this-or-that problem with the event’s messaging, or with people associated with it, or something else (I recall Jimmy Dore’s comment about wanting to save the world from nuclear war “but not with those people.”)

A scathing attack came from the trotskyist World Socialist Website (WSWS). The way WSWS characterized the event that I had just been at for much of the day left me in a state that may be cognitive-dissonance, a kind of limited bewilderment, or a mild queasiness.

I believe I can offer an analogy to WSWS’ main claim about the rally. In this report I laid out my theory that the two Russian flags, so often conspicuously placed in perfect location behind the podium to be in view of the cameras, were part of an ‘op’ by which hostile forces (anti-anti-war, in this case) tried to puppetize the event to tell a different story than organizers and attendees had intended. WSWS claims something similar but much bigger: that the entire rally was really an ‘op’ by right-wingers to puppetize leftists and get leftist dupes to serve right-wing goals. That is not connected with what I saw at the rally.

It seems the sticking point is that WSWS refuses to work with libertarians. Although other dissident-Left groups, including many calling themselves “socialist,” had no such problem, and although some speakers made a point of criticizing the WSWS attitude, this kind of attack and the boycotts by several leftist groups must inevitably have lowered turnout.

A final word on WSWS. Their headline on the “Defeat the Mandates” rally (Jan. 2022) — the really discussed in the early part of this report and at Hail To You soon after it happened — was this: “Anti-vaccine zealots join with fascist militia forces at D.C. rally.” So much for WSWS.

The experience of being at the rally and then reading news and commentary on the same event that evening and the next day, was akin to being teleported to another world, a parallel universe. There was others like WSWS’ article, and there was silence from the mainstream media, curious silence since this is real news(worthy), unlike some of the fluff-stories there were publishing. The experience reminds me again perceptions of reality may be systematically distorted through mass-digitization of life and info-consumption. This occurs in ways we do not understand, do not see; and we are not quite equipped to deal with it. I feel this is a basic lesson of the Corona-Panic of 2020-2022, and it also applies to the foreign-policy problem.

The left-wing activist anti-war group “Code Pink” also boycotted the event, I learn, or semi-boycotted anyway. I could never determine the reason. Much commentary online has it that Code Pink founder-leader Medea Benjamin (who is one of these old-line Jewish activist leftists, but seems morally principled about it, and quite active), had something of a palace-coup staged by her lieutenants, which I suspect was a power-play pro-Wokeness forces in that group, and maybe some pro-Ukraine forces — who are for some reason so pro-Ukraine or anti-Russia that they have become pro-war. The others forced the Code Pink leader, Medea Benjamin, to withdraw outright from speaking at the anti-war rally. It seems Wokeness may have been behind this boycott by Code Pink, which deprived the rally of many attendees.

(A word on what kind of group “Code Pink” is: In 2019, they were behind the month-long occupation of the Venezuela Embassy in Washington in by leftist supporters of the socialist Venezuela government. You may recall that the U.S. tried to help along a coup in that country, hoping to come out the other end with a Marco Rubio-like, pro-U.S. talking-head named Juan Guaido as new, post-coup president. The coup failed. During the long dispute over the status of the Venezuela government and recognition of the coup-regime, the status of the embassy was in question. The pro-coup U.S. government told the loyalist diplomats to leave, as there would be a new boss in town. When it seemed like a government-in-exile might take control of the embassy, leftists led by Code Pink spread an S.O.S. among their people, and a large number came forward to occupy the abandoned multi-story building. Some (with jobs) eventually left the building, but others stayed, spending a month taunting those down below. U.S. security forces were unable to storm the embassy to remove the occupiers because of the sensitive nature of international-law, the embassy being Venezuelan ‘territory ‘soil’ under international-law, and the confusion about the coup’s results. The leftist activists occupying the embassy dared any Guaido supporters to try to take the embassy from them. Fearing violence, U.S. police were ironically made to block-off the building, to protect the leftist-occupiers! Except that latter twist, it was all like a mini-scale Spanish Civil War. Code Pink had been an early-mover in all parts of this little drama of the year 2019. They had teams of people on the scene at all times. In early days they supplied the anti-Guaido occupiers with material support; later, this was cut off but they still provided moral support. I bring up this example because protest-rallies like this need people like Code Pink.)

Some of the social-media critics were also saying the rally was anti-semitic, which was a bizarre and tiring claim, and makes me think back too Dan Blumenthal’s direct ethno-national appeal to the Jews in his speech, which had stunned me a little at the time (see above, ctrl-f for “Max Blumenthal lets something interesting slip” and subsequent paragraphs).

I also learn that Tucker Carlson had mentioned this anti-war rally — once, briefly — in the week before it was held. I reviewed his Monday show, the one that aired day after the rally, to see if he mentioned the anti-war rally again now that it had been held successfully. You’d think it would get a mention, maybe even a full segment, especially given that Tucker’s editorial staff are known to be anti-war and he often complains about the war in sarcastic terms. But, no. There was conspicuously no mention of the anti-war rally on Tucker Carlson Tonight. The surprise is that one of the rally’s marquee speakers, Tulsi, was a guest on the show Monday, the day after the really, but still it wasn’t even mentioned. This reminds me of how these outlets are choreographed and subject to censorship, even “scripted.” I would not be surprised if there were a Fox gag-order against mention of the rally.

MSNBC mentioned the really, a segment apparently airing on the Rachel Maddow show, which showed nothing but scenes with those Russian flags and characterized the rally as pro-Putin.

I was not able to find any serious or neutral report on the rally anywhere in the U.S. media, and gave up trying. As I say, these kinds of movements do not arrive on silver platters. They are difficult to get going, especially these days — but great things come from mora-commitment, even if starting with but a few.

And now ack to the White House and the conclusion of this narrative.

________________

At the White House

Many rally attendees hadn’t marched to the White House at all. Most who did march didn’t stay long, for there was not much else coherent going on. The entire idea of the march component of the event seems tacked-on.

Some people did stay at the White House for a while. The assembly area near the White House is now under a new, ominously high (two-story high) fence, which surrounds the White House grounds and makes those under it feel meaninglessly small . This, the final section of this report on the anti-war rally, will consider these late-stayers and the closing public scenes of the historic rally’s remnants as dusk began to fall.

A few of the main-event speakers are hanging around this White House crowd, but most are by now off at private receptions. For many of them, this is just as much about networking. Among those who remain “with the people” — with the distilled elements of the rally, anyway, those committed to seeing it out to the end — are Daniel McAdams (the Ron Paul lieutenant, who has put on considerable weight since his professional profile pic was snapped) and the left-wing intellectual Chris Hedges.

It is getting towards dusk. The large majority of the few-hundred holdouts who remain at the White House area are “no-name” individuals. I take it many of these people have been with the rally all day.

These people knew they were under tight overwatch and surveillance by heavily armed state security forces and so on, which might lead some to nervousness, but in this environment something organic or authentic has kindled to life. The kindling being the human-spirit and opposition to the war and interventionist foreign policy.

Chris Hedges (or someone similar) in one area has captivated a circle numbering in the dozens. Now he is done speaking. Individuals begin taking turns giving brief extemporaneous speeches, coming forward without any leader tapping people to speak, rather happening organically, when spirit moves them, as in a Quaker meeting.

Some of these individual speeches, delivered in the 5pm and 6pm hours, have very interesting political messaging. They are a purer kind of message than much of what transpired on the stage in the 12pm to 4pm hours at the main rally itself, which had many good speeches to be sure, but the change of venue, the smallness of numbers, the lateness of the day, something has changed. The emotion with which some of the people speak reveals they are genuine opponents of the wars.

There are no livestreams or videos expecting millions of aggregate views now, and the little Russian flag cadre is no longer anywhere to be seen. What a surprise! The Russian flag-boys, so active all day in the narrow-range of territory behind the podium area, have gone home, mission accomplished.

There is one bozo bicycling around the area, blaring what sounds to be a Ukrainian war-anthem, and flying a Ukraine flag attached to his bike. He says nothing, but the loops he is riding indicate he is trying to swing past groups of the anti-war ralliers as often as possible while not simply stopping near them. Everyone ignores the pro-war, pro-Ukraine bicycle man.

Just as the early-arrivers were of a certain mettle, so with the late-stayers. little tougher, a little more enthusiastic, full of both surprises and good-will. The seed of religion is here. One of the impromptu speakers — some kind of foreign woman, maybe East African — speaks animatedly for one minute or so. By way of conclusion she starts saying “Let’s Go Brandon,” and repeats it several times to punctuate the thought. She gets hearty agreement.

More come forward, speak briefly, and return to the circle. This has been going on in several groups, but as numbers have thinned out more, only one large circle remains. Someone says she or he was in military intelligence back in the 2000s and into the 2010s, and back then hated Ron Paul because he was practically a traitor for opposing the wars; how could anyone oppose the wars? It is so un-patriotic and disloyal and un-American. Then, the person says, one day in 2014 something snapped: “I realized Ron Paul was right.” It was the time of ISIS, the person explains, and Ron Paul’s prophecy about the unintended consequences of a stupid foreign policy was proven right by ISIS.

Another speaker comes forward, a Black woman. She calls for “Black Liberation” and says something about “colonialism.” Has she wandered in from somewhere else? I think she has. There is no editorial control here, but even so this Black Liberation woman is the only person who delivers a non-sequitur topic. Everyone else riffs on foreign policy, the wars, the interventions. Not many of these holdouts specifically mention Ukraine or Russia at all, it is more a principle thing. There is little here related to the MSNBC characterization of the rally, or even the WSWS attacks (see above).

Now a man, maybe in his thirties, steps forward and begins to speak about the Houthis in Yemen. This appears to be a White-European-origin man, not an Arab. He speaks with a nondescript American accent. The man says the USA has helped kill these Houthis in large numbers in recent years. People nod along and agreements are heard. Then, from this baseline of Yemen/Houthi talk, he begins mocking the USA’s obsession with “January Sixth,” which he says is a trivial joke compared to the Yemen war and the USA’s killing of Houthis, not to mention other wars. He then turns hard into the secondary message and ends with a straight-on call to “free all the January Sixth protestors.” The line gets solid applause, and no pushback at all.

Another of the interesting speakers in the fading of the last of the daylight is a White man, with red hair and an honest face, maybe in his late thirties. He speaks hesitatingly, with emotion, and struggles to express what he wants to say, which is his regret at having served in the U.S. military. He has struggled with realizations related to U.S. foreign policy problem, and what he might do about it. The man then announces his commitment to walk from this very spot, in Washington D.C., to the “Four Corners,” the site where four states come together in the U.S. Southwest, which he says near his hometown in Arizona. That is a very long way to walk. Spirit has moved him to launch a public political campaign, on a platform of anti-interventionism. This long walk to the Four Corners will be a literal start to his “campaign trail,” he says. The red-haired man gives his name as what sounds to be “Clayton Wressler.”

The holdouts under the White House fence are not alone, although they pay no heed to the various others around them. There are tourists on this Sunday in all directions, mostly in small groups.

There is also at least one ‘news’ camera team on the scene. I am disappointed that it is still not a U.S. news team, and that I have still not seen one U.S. new-camera covering the rally today. It seems this camera belongs to a Japanese news-outlet. As with the PRC-China news-team, the team is a female interviewer and a gruff male camera-operator. The Japanese woman-interviewer is pleasant-looking and agreeable-seeming, and more stylish than the PRC-Chinese reporter. The Japanese don’t seem to regard these highly personal speeches by these no-name individuals as worthy of recording. The camera sits at rest. Still they stick around, waiting for something to happen.

I saw at least one other news-team active at the rally I haven’t managed to mention, and that is “RTVI,” back at the main-rally some hours earlier. The reporter identified himself as from “a Russian-speaking TV show in New York.” Later, I find a report in Press TV, the Iranian state news outlet. Maybe they, too, had someone on the scene. At the least they took some interest in the rally. There was still virtually nothing in the U.S. media itself, not even local media. Nothing.

By dusk all was ending, even the large majority of those who had come to the White House were now gone, having departed to either go home, or to go out in search of food and drink, or to one of the “after-parties” organized by political action groups, if they couldn’t get into the VIP event for speakers and sponsors, said to be at a downtown hotel.

It was some time early in the 6pm hour that the final large circle dispersed into the fading light. Thereafter the largest group on scene was a group of tourist middle-school students. Almost all are White. They are busy with the usual concerns of middle-school students, and a group photo is being arranged. The tourist-students are entirely oblivious of the nature of the large circle of people near them, now dispersed. They were oblivious that it was the final-organized remnant in public of a historic anti-war rally, the first of its kind in the USA in their lifetimes.

__________________

[End.]

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11 Responses to Scenes from the anti-war rally in Washington (Feb. 19, 2023)

  1. Eric says:

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay and commented:
    Great writeup on the event. Enjoyed this perspective you shared.

    The Schiller Institute has had a great publication, called Fidelio, issues date back to the early 90s, possibly sooner. They saw the destructive potential of Political Correctness back then, there is an issue available on their website with an article titled “The New Dark Age”…that issue goes deep on the Frankfurt School – yes, there are many many books that have been published about the deconstructionist critical theory emanating from the Weimar based school – but the article sums up the story quite succinctly. .

    Jimmy Dore is someone I like to take at a WYSIWYG angle, for I’ve been watching his YouTube channel for six years now and it’s a pleasure to see his takes on everything from the Russiagate stuff, the vaccines, calling out hypocrisy of both parties, his hosting Dr. Robert Malone, his views on the vaccine, his unabashed and unapologetic views on the Zionist state, his critique of MSM as a whole…at face value, he is an ordinary person, he is pro-worker, he calls for the “Healthcare for All”, he used a common sense analysis of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and outcome .. he’s great, his channel is great – a lot of hysterical “call ins” from another comedian doing impersonations of Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Vince Vaughn, Al Pacino and others…he has never swayed from his anti-war stance, for he just ties things to the M.I.C. as they are a matter of fact.

    Good to see i caught your latest post early – Hail to You, indeed sir

    • Hail says:

      What is funny about the LaRouche Movement is you will see it called both far-left and far-right by different audiences. Their strength is in being outside the system which allows radical critiques, but also the old “Emperor has no clothes” statements as with the Nordstream Pipeline bombing.

  2. Cee Cee Rider says:

    Found this:

    from three days before the protest

    —“Schiller Institute Denounces Ukrainian CCD Targeting of the Feb. 19 “Rage Against the War Machine” Rally in Washington” —

    “The Ukrainian government’s Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD) today posted on its Telegram channel an attack on the upcoming Feb. 19 “Rage Against the War Machine” rally in Washington, D.C., under the headline “Anti-war meeting organized in USA with a call to stop supporting Ukraine.” The CCD … is known for targeting individuals internationally who are opposed to the war, whom they accuse of being “information terrorists” and of spreading “Russian propaganda” … Over recent months, the CCD target list has included dozens of Schiller Institute leaders and speakers at Schiller Institute events…”

    https://schillerinstitute.com/blog/2023/02/17/schiller-institute-denounces-ukrainian-ccd-targeting-of-the-feb-19-rage-against-the-war-machine-rally-in-washington/

    • Hail says:

      That sounds about right.

      There is also a campaign of public-advertisements funded by the Polish government urging support for Ukraine victory. I can’t remember the exact slogans they use.

  3. Mr. Hail,

    As I wrote on my blog, this is really well-written and detailed report. You have been to the last 2 of the 4 winter rallies against the Potomac Regime excesses (to put it mildly) over the last 4 years. 3 were in the Federal S__thole, and that first one was in Richmond, Virginia.

    All of these protests – against gun control, against massive election fraud, against forced experimental gene therapy, and against the warfare State – are ones that I support. Any patriotic American, even a non-gun owner in some leafy urban neighborhood, a D-voter, a Covid-panicked individual with co-morbidities from hell, and a member of the National Guard, should still be against these things if he has any belief in Liberty.

    I’m sure I’ll have more to write tomorrow, Mr. Hail.

    Thank you for this report of the truth “on the ground” that I could never have gotten elsewhere. I wish I could have made it to this one also.

  4. Hail says:

    Max Blumenthal mentioned, in his speech and in a subsequent interview about the rally, the Bonus Army incident of the early 1930s. He recklessly claimed the U.S. government “massacred” the marchers with “hundreds” killed.

    This I immediately sensed was gross exaggeration, characteristic of a story-teller temperament. In the very same speech, minutes later, he made reference to “pogroms” in the same airy way he had claimed the U.S. Army had killed “hundreds” of peaceful protestors in 1932 in Washington.

    The Bonus Army was a weeks-long rally and permanent-encampment a little like the Maidan Square in 2013-14 of unemployed veterans demanding payouts or jobs for their war-service which they felt they were owed by moral and/or legal right. After failing in initial objectives but making their political point, 90% of the men went home. A violent element remained, no doubt also attracting various elements that today one would find in a homeless encampment. Large area were said to be in near-riot conditions for a time. The crackdown came with tear gas and batons. There were injuries in the melee and one reported death, apparently from tear gas inhalation.

    Max Blumenthal half-remembers the story, or at least the part of it of value to agit-prop, and seeks to use it as a rhetorical baton in 2023. He twists crackdown, which was on a hardcore element numbering in the hundreds with injuries and one death, to “hundreds killed.” This a near-blood-libel type claim and reminds me of the dangers of historical exaggerations. It is of the same species as black-propaganda used to whip-up support for wars. Reckless.

    I assume that Max Blumenthal is not as reckless with other reporting as he is with his loose and grossly exaggerated claim of the Bonus Army incident of 1932. My guess is he views the circa-1930 USA in cartoon terms. It was populated by Bad Guys, who would massacre “hundreds” who would then laugh it off with no further inquiry, who would then cover up the killing and suppress anyone talking about it for a century or so. I don’t think so; count be as a Bonus Army Massacre Denier.

  5. Well, that “day later” turned into about a week. My apologies, Mr. Hail, but the play-by-play of the protest was both thorough and interesting, so I didn’t have many questions earlier. I’m re-reading parts now.

    The deal with the 4 guys and their always-well-placed Russian flags is an interesting story. I think it’s an important one, not necessarily in terms of your rally but just in general, as to what kind of “spec-ops”, in your words, goes on. We have likely all read about and seen videos of Ray Epps and whatever other agent provocateurs were at the 1/6/21 anti-voting-fraud protest. One wonders how much rioting there would have been and if anyone would have trespassed into the Capitol at all without any goading and trickery.

    This Russian deal was different from 1/6, as it was about making the protest into something it wasn’t but without getting others involcved. Did you think about having a friendly chat with these flaggots (haha, I like that one) to see what they were really up to?

    It IS a shame none of the speakers had a clue or, if they did, felt it appropriate to mention that subterfuge. Getting anything like that recorded would have been helpful.

  6. One speaker you reported on who brings back memories is that Gerald Celente. Last I remember him, he was often featured (or discussed) on ZeroHedge a decade ago, with other financial doomers*. His big line, in pretty much all his videos was “when people have nothing to lose, they lose it.” I don’t really disagree – I think that’s the way things may go down in the medium-term future.

    However, this guy’s continual use of that line reminded me of the Simpsons episode with Bart Simpson as the “I didn’t do it.” kid. That’s pretty much what I remember Gerald Celente for. I’m glad he was a fiery speaker – some of the people ZeroHedge used to revere were just pure anti-all-things-American, rather than just against the financial stupidity and other stupidity out of the Potomac Regime.

    I got kind of sick of that – Ron Unz himself reminds me of one of those guys. I don’t know where Mr. Celente stands on other issues, but it does sound like he was an asset there that day.

    BTW, I also don’t know that awfully much about the LaRouches, but every time I see one of them and ask about, or get literature on, an issue, their answer is pure stupidity. Perhaps I need to learn more, but I don’t feel like every being around them. I really hope people don’t get them confused with the John Birchers, of which yours truly is a member in good standing.

    .

    * Disclaimer: I am one of those guys.

  7. Hail says:

    Re: LaRouche political history, 1970s to 2023

    Peak Stupidity wrote: “I don’t know that awfully much about the LaRouches, but every time I see one of them and ask about, or get literature on, an issue, their answer is pure stupidity.”

    This is my understanding, having looked into it a little more since the rally:

    The man behind the movement, Lyn(don) LaRouche, was a bit of a political whiz, and charismatic in the way that some religious leaders can be. He was not temperamentally suited to line up and salute some R-team or D-team bozo, collect a paycheck, get fat, wait x decades for the nursing home ,and call it a life. He broke off on his own in the early-1970s to create a political action group of his own. It was an innocent time when doing such thing without Big Money backing etc still seemed possible and honorable in some sense. Call it the long shadow of Mr Smith Goes To Washington.

    By the mid-1970s, he had a decent-sized following. Certainly so for a self-contained, miniature political machine.

    By the late-1970s, LaRouche and his supporters and his political party were turning a lot of heads, getting newspaper and tv coverage, even if it was usually negative. (Note, ‘mostly negative’ for that time is something something like ‘neutral-positive’ today.) The LaRouche party had people making serious runs for office here and there. Needless to say, neither of the big parties likes the potential of such things.

    In the 1979-80 presidential campaign season, which must be around his peak in terms of a possible-breakthrough, the LaRouche platform was:

    (1.) Fight inflation;

    (2.) Active measures to fight unemployment (this in line with his pro-New Deal thinking);

    (3.) Improve living conditions around the world;

    (4.) A nuclear-centered energy policy (and he called anti-nuclear activists are “hoodlums and terrorists”);

    (5.) Eliminate the following U.S. government departments: Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Health & Welfare, Dept. of Education, Dept. of Housing & Urban Development. 100% cuts and dissolution of the named departments;

    (6.) An active crack-down on drug use, including marijuana;

    (7.) Loosen or lessen ties with Britain (this following the LaRouche belief that in a British-centric oligarchic global conspiracy against U.S. interests).

    These interesting collection of policies created an unclassifiable political movement.

    LaRouche’s movement was derailed when the U.S. government attempted a decapitation move. In the 1980s they charged the head man, LaRouche himself, with fraud and campaign-finance violations. He served a term in prison. Civil-liberties groups said the case was not strong.

    After release from prison, the movement bounced back in the 1990s and 2000s, but was increasingly cast as a joke, like some political Hare Krishna group. By the 2000s, Lyndon LaRouche was an old man, but still had enough to keep rolling a little longer. As I relate here (somewhere within the “Scenes from the anti-war rally in Washington” report), I recall first encountering LaRouche material somehow in the 2000s. I vaguely remember a brief, low-res video and other audio. He reminded me of my grandfather. He did seem to have some intriguing and compelling ideas, or so I perceive at the time. Around the same time, and completely unrelated, a cousin befriended a LaRouche chapter on her college campus, but backed out of joining.

    Jumping ahead to the end of the 2010s, what remained of the LaRouche movement began an appeal to Trump to overturn the LaRouche conviction. They said it was the exact same tactic used against Trump himself.

    Relevant to the Ukraine War is that by the 2000s, the LaRouche movement had become quite firmly established in Germany. I assume that happened because at some point he married a German woman. I remember encountering the LaRouche movement in Germany in my time in that country in the end of the 2000s. They didn’t use the name LaRouche but rather “Citizen’s Rights Movement” or similar. They were a totally independent force, but did stand in elections and could get vote-totals in the tenths-of-a-percent, a fair showing for a party everyone knows would get zero seats under the 5%-cutoff rule. There are lots of these little mini -parties there, which amount to large political clubs. If the USA had the same system, there might be a Steve Sailer Citizenist Party that gets a few-tenths and gives Steve Sailer the chance to do stump speeches and print literature and banners (not that he’d likely want to do this).

    In 2023, the movement’s relevance seems more to its German connection than its birthplace of the USA; as a morally serious, organized, pure-independent political voice willing to lash out against the Ukraine War, something normal politicians there would do, if Germany were a normal country.

  8. Thank you, Mr. Hail. I like number (5)!

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