I was able to attend two of the many, many actions in solidarity with Palestine in my state this week.
On Friday evening I joined 150 at a demonstration held outside the state capitol building fence, sponsored by the newly minted Maine Coalition for Palestine (which I’ve now joined). Truly excellent speeches by well-informed activists were interspersed with chants like “Free, free Palestine” and a whole lot of honking from passing motorists. The crowd assembled was quite different from the group I stood with about a month ago at a same time, same place demo. Not nearly as many people of color or Arabic-speaking college students this time. Maybe they have peeled off to join demos nearer to them in our sprawling, sparsely populated state? The crowd last Friday had more oldsters but was predominately white 20 and 30 somethings from coalition organizations like the PSL* and Student for Justice in Palestine.
One of my old friends who has done social work with children in Palestine told another friend who was there of her desire to get arrested opposing Israel’s genocide, and to spend Christmas Day in jail. We’ll see where that goes.
On Saturday we had our regular monthly antiwar meetup with a statewide coalition that now includes the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Maine Natural Guard, PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick, Communist Party of Maine, Maine Green Independent Party, Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST), *Party for Socialism & Liberation Maine, Libertarian Party of Maine, People’s Party of Maine, Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Veterans for Peace – National, and United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC).
We began the monthly event over a year ago with a focus on objecting to funding a proxy war on Russia, but soon expanded to include a robust set of demands mostly borrowed from UNAC.
I’m glad we did that and especially that we held on to the demand about Israel (when I was on the Jimmy Dore Show in April he read out our demands and commented, “Strong words!” about that one).
I’m glad because our monthly gathering on Saturday had clearly morphed into a Palestine solidarity demonstration with flags, kufiyahs, and messaging around stopping the genocide in Gaza. There were 30 of us if you count Beans the dog, who is a regular, and ages ranged from 90+ years to 17 months. Our chanting wasn’t as loud as the Augusta group’s but it was just as passionate. With an anti-imperialist perspective, it’s possible to oppose all the empire’s wars without the contradictions that the two corporate parties run into when they brand each war as D or R depending on who’s in the White House.
One of the best signs I saw in Augusta called out all of Maine’s congressional delegation which includes two Democrats (Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree), a Republican (Susan Collins), and an Independent (Angus King). All are supporting Israel’s genocide in Gaza with our tax dollars and Mainers are pissed. All have failed both at representing their constituents and at being decent human beings.
Stay tuned for lots more actions in the days to come!