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Resurgence of anti-war activism evident in Michigan on 4th of July

By Michigan Peaceworks

Peace organizations to march in Ann Arbor parade with "Fahrenheit 9/11" military mom Lila Lipscomb, place advertisements in 8 newspapers throughout the state.

Ann Arbor, MI, July 4th, 2005: Nationwide, the anti-war movement is experiencing a resurgence in the wake of the revelatory "Downing Street memos."* Michigan, a state from which 52 soldiers have been killed in the Iraq War, serves as a prime example of this renewed activity. Activists from around the state are ushering in Independence Day with a declaration of peace and new national priorities.

In Ann Arbor, site of historic anti-war demonstrations, post-9/11 peace advocacy organization Michigan Peaceworks will give Fourth of July celebrations an alternative spin. Activists from Ann Arbor and other parts the state will display a "peace float" and march by the dozens in the Independence Day parade. The peace float and marching unit features a rock band playing peace anthems, a drum corps, a giant dove puppet, peace signs on tall sticks, and distribution of chocolate "Earth" balls. Click here for photos of the 2004 Independence Day peace float. The parade begins downtown at William and Maynard streets. It travels east on William St., north on State St., west on Liberty St., south on Main St., and east on William St. to Maynard St.

Gracing the float will be Lila Lipscomb, the "military mom" from Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." No one understands the significance of war and funding priorities better than Lila Lipscomb - mother of a fallen U.S. serviceperson in Iraq and administrator at a Flint unemployment agency. At the conclusion of the parade, Lila will speak to the media on behalf of Michigan's "new national priorities" campaign.

Also joining the peace float will be activists from the eight Michigan cities where "signature" advertisements are being placed in local newspapers on the 4th calling for new national priorities. Those cities in addition to Ann Arbor, include Adrian, Battle Creek, Ironwood, Manchester, Mt. Pleasant, Oakland County, and Traverse City. Thousands of people throughout the state are lending their names and donating to support the placement of these ads, which highlight the money spent on the Iraq War and contrast that with unmet human needs on national, state, and local levels. The funding shortfall for human needs programs is felt acutely in Michigan, which has the nation's highest unemployment rate and poorest economic outlook.

Click here for the text of the advertisements.


* The London Times released the classified Downing Street Minutes on May 1, 2005. The minutes, from a July 23, 2002, British Prime Minister's meeting, state that the US government was planning to invade Iraq before going to the United Nations in the fall of 2002 - a revelation denied by the Bush administration. "Military action was now seen as inevitable," read the minutes. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

On June 16, 2005, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) held a hearing about the minutes and delivered a letter to the White House, signed by 123 Congressmen and over 560,000 Americans, asking President Bush to answer questions raised by the minutes.

On the same day as the Downing Street hearing, four U.S. Representatives - Neil Abercombie (D-HI), Walter Jones (R-NC), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and Ron Paul (R-TX) - introduced a bipartisan resolution into Congress calling for an exit plan from Iraq. The resolution calls on President Bush to announce his exit strategy by year's end 2005, with the withdrawal of troops starting no later than October 1, 2006. Currently the resolution has 14 co-sponsors. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced a similar resolution into the senate last week.

Recent polls show that President Bush's approval ratings have dropped to 43% and that 59% of Americans support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Polls also show that only 39% of Americans approve of the president's actions in Iraq, down from 45% in February.

Michigan Peaceworks
120 1/2 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. 734-761-5922.

For more information contact:
Phillis Engelbert, Michigan Peaceworks Executive Director
734-761-5922 or 734-662-0818



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