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Report from Los Angeles
We had an overflow crowd in Inglewood, at least a thousand -- Covenant Church had to close the doors due to fire regulations that limit the sanctuary to 800. John Seeley will file a report tomorrow -- In short, it was a phenomenal success organized by a rainbow coalition of diverse organizations, from the NAACP to Rock the Vote to Iraq Vets Against the War and various Democratic Clubs (first time I've ever seen such a Democratic Club presence ... yippee). Waters moderated the whole four-hour affair -- talk about hands on! We called journalists all across the country on our cell phones, requesting coverage of the Downing Street memo. Willie B. led a hip hop rap "Stop the war -- no, we don't want to go to war, we've seen this before, it's going to wind up in a third world war." (Let's hope not.) When Waters mentioned impeachment, the crowd echoed -- "Impeach, impeach, impeach" -- Plenty of standing ovations for Waters, and for Barbara Lee, whom Waters honored as the only congress member courageous and intelligent enough to oppose the Afghanistan war resolution. She told us CA Assemblyman Jerome Horton, on hand, would soon introduce a resolution in the state legislature, calling on Pres Bush to bring the troops home. Same for Mae Thomas, a trustee with the Compton School Board. Waters -- "You are going to have to help the scared members of Congress. You are going to take them by the hand and lead them out of Iraq." At one point she called all the veterans against the war who were seated in the audience to come up to the podium. Waters thanked the veterans of Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, WWII for their service, and for speaking out against the occupation of Iraq. The crowd roared. At another juncture she asked all the children to come up to remind the crowd that the military wants to recruit them for an illegal war. A boy came up to me at the press table, asking, "When will I be drafted?" Often on their feet, waving, cheering, members of the audience held up photographs of Martin Luther King and signs that shouted, "Liberty without Lies" -- "No more Lies" -- The front of the church wore huge "Out of Iraq Now" banners. For the first hour of the teach-in, the cost of war figures -- $182,628, 817 and changing were projected onto a screen. At one point I heard a man say to his friend, "We've already spent $7,000,000 since we got here." C-SPAN covered it all, as did Truth Out, KPFK, and the Washington Report.