By Staff Writer Caleb T. Maupin
Three Baldwin-Wallace students attended a big, new, exciting sporting event on Sept. 29th. The Sport was “street sitting.” This is a new sport in which groups of hundreds of people, who are outraged by the policies of the government of the United States, gather in a street, and then sit down and refuse to leave.
The object of the game is to keep traffic blocked as long as possible, and force the government/police to intervene. The goal of the game is basically to bring attention to the fact that the U.S. government is waging a murderous war in Iraq on behalf of the big corporations and bankers.
Most of the people who blocked the street on Sept. 29th were members of a radical student organization called “Fight Imperialism Stand Together” or F.I.S.T. This newly formed organization is a group of young people dedicated to the cause of gay rights, racial justice, women’s equality, an end to the imperialist government policies, and above all else, socialism.
The newly formed revival of the Students for a Democratic Society was also present. The chant went up among their contingent “Stop the War! Yes we can! SDS is back again!” Campus Anti-War Network was also there, as were members of the World Can’t Wait organization.
Prior to the sit in, several thousand people marched up and down the streets of D.C. under the slogan “Stop the War at Home and Abroad.” The march was organized by the Troops Out Now Coalition, and it made an effort to link the fact that wages are going down, jobs are disappearing, immigrants are being persecuted, and police brutality continues to what is going on in Iraq.
“The war in Iraq is going on at the same time as a war against the people of this country.” Larry Holmes, the spokesman for the group made clear in his remarks to the crowd.
The march went past the department of education and a group of radical women known as “Code Pink” covered the “No Child Left Behind” posters with one of their own reading “Every Child Left Behind.” The march also passed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, which has been brutalizing the immigrant community. Chants of “Stop the raids! Stop the raids!” were heard as this building was passed.
At the end of the march, when the youth took the streets, the police were paralyzed. The youth made it clear that they were going to block the street until they were arrested as civil disobedience against the war at home and abroad. The police probably knew that busting hundreds of people was bound to get the protest lots of news coverage.
So, the police did nothing. From 2 in the afternoon to 10 o’clock that evening, the street remained blocked. Youth chanted anti-war slogans, and pumped their fists. At ten o’clock they finally decided to stop blocking the street, and militantly march throughout the capital with their Anti-War Message.
It seemed the game had been won, because not only was the street blocked off for eight hours, shutting down a section of the capital city to protest an unjust war, but not a single person was arrested. As a witness to the event, who sat in the street for a good half hour with the street sitters, I can think of nothing more exciting. I felt alive.
Let’s hope this kind of defiant sportsmanship spreads throughout the country. Let’s make the defiance the new corn hole. Let’s make stopping the war as big of an activity as the new Halo game.
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF MAELSTROM STAFF