Guest Blog About the Memorial Day Parade Scene in Keene

New mover Chris Cantwell blogs on his facebook about his experience at the Memorial Day parade in Keene yesterday. It’s called, “When and Where Exactly are the Time & Place for Peace?”:

Happy Nationalist War Propaganda Day!

Today, people across the country are holding parades, having barbeques, and taking the day off of work in celebration of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, who were conned into dying for the false religion of statism. They call this ritual, Memorial Day.

Personally, I find it all rather disturbing. I don’t think it is good that we send men and women off to die in foreign deserts, jungles, and cities. I don’t think it is good parenting to tell your children that they should grow up to be like the dead people. I don’t think I have rights granted to me by violent institutions or men who act as their agents.

It was with these concerns that I grabbed a sign and joined some fellow peace activists at Central Square for the Memorial Day Parade in Keene, New Hampshire this morning. It was a lot of fun, even if it was a bit early for many of our activists… Ian Freeman, Emberlea McCulligh, Darryl Perry and myself stood with our signs as the parade went by, and at the end of the parade we followed behind the last vehicle as if we were part of it. We walked past both supporters and detractors, through the cheers and through the jeers, I enjoy both equally.

Where the parade came to a hault there is a veterans memorial, where hundreds of people came to say “Thanks for being dead” to the men and women of the war machine. Now stopped, it was easier for people to come up to us and make it known just how they felt about our message, and they sure did.

One person called me a communist. Interesting theory, as my sign read on one side “Statism is not worth dying for” and on the other side “War is the health of The State”. I pointed out to him that I’m no fan of governance, and that communist governments aren’t exactly known for being peaceful.

Another referred to the peace symbol on another sign as “The American Chicken Footprint”, took me a minute to get that one… It was pointed out to him that it requires a lot of courage to stand for peace while others beat the drums of war. He proved our point by trying (unsuccessfully) to physically intimidate me and, knocked my sign out of my hand, before some other onlookers came to stop what they clearly thought might become a fist fight.

One said to me “Who do you think gives you the right to hold that sign?” I told her I was pretty sure any rights I have I was born with, and I think my parents were responsible for that one, but I’ve got a pretty good idea as to who would be taking my sign if it were outlawed…

But of course, the most common theme was “This is not the time or the place, we’re here to honor the fallen heroes, you’re being disrespectful”. Funny thing is, we seem to hear that “time and place” argument wherever we go and whatever we do. So if anyone would care to inform me just where exactly is this place and what time should I be there, and how long after I get there does the war stop? Provide me with this information, and I’ll be there, on time.

Till then, I’m pretty sure when I see military hardware rolling down Main Street, that’s exactly the time for me to get out the posterboard and markers. I’m just about certain that anywhere I see hundreds of people gathering to thank dead people for dying violent deaths at the hands of strangers a thousand miles away, is exactly the place for me to make an effort to inject reason into the conversation.

I’m also pretty sure that I’ve got a lot more respect for people when I tell them to stay home and live, than someone who tells them to go off and die. The incapacity for reason in some people is absolutely astounding. I’ve got friends who have to go out and fight these wars, I don’t take any pleasure in paying them any disrespect and disrespect is not my purpose. If my friend dies in a war, then I will mourn him by being sad, not with celebration, I will remember him by visiting his grave, not some government issued nationalist propaganda statue that represents him as part of some faceless collective, and I will honor him by fighting harder to prevent more of my friends from being senselessly murdered by the agents of a foreign government.

Friends or not, I don’t see the people who die in these conflicts as heroes, I see them as victims of fraud. Advertisements purchased with stolen money lured them into these violent institutions with promises of glory and treasure, then recruiters promise them the world while making light of the fact that they can be ordered to die by madmen who think nothing of constitutions or limitations of power. They are ultimately told that because 19 individuals from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates crashed planes into buildings in the US, they should go kill and die in the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Anyone who is of the opinion that I should just ignore all this and keep it to myself, or protest quiety in some “Free Speech Zone”, or be a facebook slactivist hoping my next status update is going to bring down the Leviathan once and for all, has another thing coming. I have moved hundreds of miles and left my pets and friends and family and career behind to make this stand in Keene, NH. I have been jailed, I have run for office, I have had my very life threatened in my pursuit of liberty and peace. So if you think you can repeat your propaganda to me, or discourage me with nationalist fantasies, or phsysically intimidate me, or discard my message by knocking a sign out of my hand, well pal, bigger men than you have tried and failed, but don’t let that stop you. Your confrontations only remind me how badly the world needs people like me to stand up.

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17 Comments

  1. God damn that was one good piece of literature

  2. The reason your protesting those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms pisses people off is because our soldiers do not join up to die for our country. There will always be bad men and women in this world looking at doing harm to others for money and power. Our very brave men and women in uniform choose to serve in the military to stand up and fight for those people that can’t fight for themselves. We are trained to disobey unlawful orders and follow a strict code of conduct.
    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” I’m pretty sure if some evil aggressors were in your town you would rather have a strong military there to protect you, then a bunch of people holding peace signs. I’m pretty sure trained soldiers are better at stopping bullets than people with peace signs.
    You’re right we are born with freedoms and it’s those soldiers from the past that fought the tyrants that wanted to take those freedoms away. Without our brave soldiers who chose to support and defend the constitution of the United States we wouldn’t have a Constitution.
    I bet you have never been over to those countries you spoke of like Iraq and Afghanistan and seen the good we have done. Most of Iraq didn’t even have 24 hours of electricity before we got there. The countries infrastructure was horrible. So before you start to protest during a day to remember people that have died, soldier or not, is not a good day to protest something these people died for. It’s a common courtesy and respect.

  3. If all these men and women are marching around the world fighting for my freedom, then why is it that I have less freedom now than ever before? Shouldn’t I have more freedom, by your logic?

  4. The majority of soldiers join to pay for government higher education. I can, have and will deal with evil aggressors in my own town. I do not want or need your help. Tyrants have been taking our freedoms away and the soldiers stand on their side because the tyrants sign the soldiers paychecks. I have not gone to Iraq of Afghanistan and have no desire to. I have more than enough work here in my country to fix first before volunteering my labor in a land far far away. Your electricity comment is so ignorant. Who gave you the idea that local residents wanted to pay for 24 hours of electricity? And who gave you the idea that US taxpayers wanted to pay for 24 hours of electricity for some foreign people?

  5. duplicate

  6. Has it ever occurred to you that to many of the people in countries which get invaded, or in which US drones blow up families on a regular basis, it’s the US who are the “evil aggressors”? Hmm?

    Last I checked, they’re not the ones committing agression.

  7. There hasn’t been a war in the last 60 years that has had anything to do with defending my freedoms. In fact, the US federal government is by far the biggest abridger/abuser of my freedoms today.

    If the military wanted to defend my freedoms, they’d be standing between the federal government and me, not running around the world invading and occupying countries at the behest of politicians — in many cases, killing all who resist, along with innocent bystanders, and stirring up understandable hatred, which, if anything, puts me at greater risk.

    I believe in the second amendment. If foreign aggressors invaded the town, I’d be standing right next to you helping to defend it.

    But that’s not the situation. To many, the US military is the foreign
    aggressor, invading/bombing/occupying/sanctioning/blockading their town. You’re in their town. They’re not in my town.

    The tyrants taking away our freedoms live in Washington DC, and you’re working for them. And frankly, when they need someone to enforce their tyranny, who do you think they’ll call? You may claim you’ll say no, and maybe you personally would, but history shows most obey. The police and military confiscated firearms after Katrina, for example.

    A few people said “no” (the real heroes, by the way), but most obeyed orders.

    Finally, Iraq was far, far better off (and had a stable power grid)
    before US bombings and brutal sanctions destroyed vital infrastructure, and directly killed 500,000 children (as Sec. State Albright admitted on national TV).

    THAT is aggression.

    Finally, those who protested were forced, on threat of jail, to fund
    these wars, which they consider immoral. It’s pretty ironic and absurd to say they shouldn’t protest this fact out of “courtesy”. Courtesy, my friend, starts by not extorting money from people to fund actions they believe to be immoral.

    I agree with your assertions in support of freedom, and I agree with
    your opposition to aggressors. I just think that becoming a hired gun
    for federal politicians is an action that is in direct contradiction
    with these goals.

    I understand that these ideas are not what we’re taught in popular
    culture or government school, and I hope you’ll forgive me for being
    blunt. I don’t dislike you for acting in accordance with what you’ve
    been taught — I used to think the same way. Many of my best friends are ex-military.

    But this is what I believe is right, and I hope you’ll consider it. The
    same standards we have for decent behavior by individuals needs to be applied to governments. Currently, the US federal government doesn’t come close to living up to these standards — or even the standards it uses to judge other countries.

  8. I don’t plan on changing anyone’s mind here on their beliefs. By calling me ignorant and saying what the military is doing is causing other countries to hate us is the farthest thing from the truth as possible. You may not believe this but Kuwait and its citizens absolutely love the United States and it’s soldiers from liberating them from the Iraq Army during the first gulf war. They asked for our help and we came to their aid.
    You probably didn’t hear about the Kuwait citizens that were hung from lamp posts in the street while their wives and children were being raped. Or the Kuwait navy troops that were chained to a boat alive while the Iraq Army sunk it to the bottom of the ocean. Or the innocent Iraqi citizens forced to wear a suicide bomb vest or their families would be killed.
    Not everyone in this world can do what is necessary to protect themselves and I it makes me feel good to know that I can do things to help stop people like the taliban from doing things like this…
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2007415,00.html
    It’s not just Americans that need Americas help.

    I know that the things we do in the Military will permanently stop a lot of the people who will continue to harm innocent civilians.
    I support free speech but wanted to make the point that memorial day is to honor those people that have died doing what they believe was helping others. Those people that died certainly did not choose to die. Some jumped on grenades to save their comrades while others died killing Nazi’s, saving thousands of Jews from concentration camps.
    If you want to protest the war than by all means do it. Not every citizen (or Soldier) for that matter believes in every war or conflict the United States is involved in. However, a day that is set aside to honor the memory of peoples loved ones is not a good day to protest.
    I can honestly say that I am proud to be an American, and proud to be part of a country that comes to the aid of others.

  9. Certainly, the post is well written. However, this is Keene, NH, not NYC.
    What is the goal of this activism? Who were you trying to reach? If the goal was to reach out to and encourage a lot of the people at the parade to think, the message was clearly not well thought out. I recommend trying a more understandable, subtle message. It is very important to consider your audience.

  10. I respect the young men and women of the military. I also respect the protesters in the parade.
    The nationalistic jingoistic message needs to be adulterated or tempered with the sobering message of the peacenicks here …..Right On! peacenicks… STOP THE WARS BY STOPPING THE FUEL FOR THE WAR ;the fuel for the war is young people ; Stop the fuel for the war by doing just what they did here….

  11. I would love to donate money and weapons to a foreign government so that their people can defend themselves. If I act on those desires today I will be put into a cage and raped.
    Nazis came to power because the USA intervened in the first world war. Without the USA all sides would have ended in a relative stalemate. It was the force of the USA that tipped the balance and forced Germany into accepting the Treaty of Versailles and thus set up the rise to power of Hitler, concentration camps and World War 2 just 20 years (one generation) later.
    I am not proud to be an American. America (and every country) is a fiction. I am proud to be a part of my neighborhood. The people that live around me are great. They are all peaceful people and they love to have a good time. They take care of their families and in a time of need I know and they have shown they help other families as well.

  12. You exhibit a virtuous motivation to help others that is too easily perverted by governments who urge “humanitarian wars.” Large nation-states go to war for money, land, or power. There are no exceptions to this rule. There may be–and usually is–some good that comes from a humanitarian war, but there will always be great evil. Some people will be saved, many will be killed, and the cycle of violence continues. You cite the first Gulf War as an example of a virtuous war but seem unaware that the sanctions we imposed on Iraq because of that war killed half a million Iraqis. This is not disputed. Our Secreatary of State at the time, Madeline Albright, confirmed this figure–most of these deaths were children who starved. I would urge you to learn more about the consequences of the First Gulf War and others to get a comprehensive understanding of the unintended consequences of wars sold to the public as humanitarian endeavors. You seem to be aware of the evils that war may have prevented, but unaware of the massive suffering and death it actually caused.

  13. I agree that every war has unavoidable consequences that are truly horrible. I disagree that it was the U.S. Military actions that caused iraqi civilians to be killed. Their Leader and Dictator or government is to be blamed for those deaths. This is why we removed him from power and help the Iraqi people build a stronger country for their people. I feel horrible for any person who’s life is cut short due to war torn countries. I would feel even worse to sit back and do nothing while their governments kill innocent people. I support copblockers and continue to educate my friends and family on their individual rights during police encounters. Hopefully one day soon we will have justice system in place that works for us and not against us.

  14. Actually, the response was really positive! It went better than I expected.

  15. It’s exactly the truth. How would you react if a drone from another country blew up your family? This is how terrorists are created. The US federal government has been financing dictators, overthrowing/assassinating elected leaders, bombing and starving civilians, invading and occupying other countries, etc, for decades. If another country treated us that way, how would you react?

    You tell horror stories about “the enemy”. This is a technique that’s been used for centuries to fill populations with hate and fear, and motivate soldiers — historically, most of these rumors turn out to be false (e.g. germans throwing babies onto bayonets, etc).

    Perhaps some are true. Many of those governments commit evil as well. But tell me, given how quick you are to condemn others, have you looked in the mirror lately? Have you taken any time to look at the photos of children murdered or disfigured by US government drones – or only the victims of the people they’ve told you to attack? Here: http://childvictimsofwar.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/childrenkilledrones2.jpg
    http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/399587_338878769467667_200362006652678_1131656_135684978_n.jpg
    http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/indianapolisrecorder.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/b6/1b6c5694-2cce-11e1-8ad4-0019bb2963f4/4ef37c722cb50.preview-300.jpg

    I’d be happy to post more if you like. The organization you’re defending “harms innocent civilians” on a routine basis. It tortures innocent civilians, in fact, on a routine basis. It has starved civilian populations, and destroyed vital infrastructure frequently.

    Again, stop the mindless flag waving for half a second and think: If another country blockaded US ports, so that half a million children died, in order to inspect US government secret facilities, and then their sec. state equivalent went on TV, saying that the deaths of these children were “worth it”, what would your reaction be?

    If they flew unarmed drones over our cities and towns, blowing up entire buildings and neighborhoods, including women and children (relatives and friends of yours), to get a couple people who were fighting against their regime, what would your reaction be?

    If they assassinated US elected leaders, and installed a dictator who would have a more friendly energy policy to them (Shah), what would your reaction be?

    If they invaded the US, set up checkpoints, held themselves as unaccountable to US law, and abducted people on mere hearsay for indefinite detention and torture, what would your reaction be?

    Your organization is the one practicing terrorism and aggression.

    I’ll praise those who deserve it. Rescuing people from a concentration camp is worthy of praise. Drone bombing dissident villages and starving civilian populations is not.

  16. Nice projection. The US military blockaded Iraq and bombed vital infrastructure, murdering 500K children in the 90s and destroying thousands of lives, in order to try to force their government to cowtow to washington. Albright said it was “worth it” on national tv.

    This is the worst kind of imperialism, aggression, and evil (also a war crime, by the way). If any other country did this to us, you’d be seeing red.

    You don’t see it, because it’s you — just as armies of other historical aggressors thought themselves the “good guys”.

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