Camp Casey to Expand into Camp Democracy
Cindy Sheehan and activists in the growing peace movement plan to establish Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, again this August 16 to September 2. They then plan to move the camp to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., beginning September 8.
The camp on the Mall will carry the name Camp Democracy at Fort Fed Up, and details are available at www.campdemocracy.org . Organizers intend the camp to bring together peace activists and activists for social justice, united in demanding a shift of public resources from war to the needs of people. Participants will lobby Congress to end all funding of the occupation of Iraq, and will demand that Congress hold the Bush Administration accountable for the falsehoods that launched the war and the abuses of power here at home that have accompanied it.
President Bush has yet to answer Sheehan's question, "For what noble cause did my son die?" If it chose to do so, Congress could compel the President and members of his administration to answer that question. Participants in Camp Democracy will encourage Congress Members to do so.
Camp Democracy is launching an outreach effort today to include organizations in the planning of the camp's activities, which are all in the initial stages. Organizations already on board include Gold Star Families for Peace, AfterDowningStreet.org, National Immigrant Solidarity Network, Traprock Peace Center, CODE PINK, Global Exchange, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Democrats.com, Democracy Cell Project, The World Can't Wait, Velvet Revolution, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), New Orleans Voices for Peace, Cities for Peace, Backbone Campaign, Hip Hop Caucus, Democracy Rising, VotersforPeace, DC Labor for Peace and Justice, U.S. Labor Against the War, National Organization for Women (NOW), Reclaim the Commons, Veterans for Peace, Stop the War Coalition (UK), San Juan Peace Network, Consumers for Peace, Texans for Peace. Others are being encouraged to join here:
The Camp Democracy website describes the event as "a camp for peace, democracy, and the restoration of the rule of law...focused not only on ending the war but also on righting injustices here at home and on holding accountable the Bush Administration and Congress."
Tents will provide activist activities, trainings, workshops, and entertainment on at least these themes, if not others:
The Constitution/ Accountability/ Censure/ Impeachment
Poverty/ Katrina/ Immigration/ Labor
Environment/ Health Care/ Education
Participating organizations and guest experts and celebrities will provide workshops and training sessions on the above topics, as well as on communications, voter registration, nonviolent civil disobedience, lobbying, organizing, media production, and performance arts. Congress Members and congressional candidates will take part. Local elected officials will instruct attendees on participation in local government. Musicians will perform concerts. New films will be shown on a large screen. The intention is for participants to go home having acquired useful skills for civic participation, to enjoy themselves, and to demand fundamental change from a government whose actions so rarely follow majority opinion. Trainers, speakers, and performers who want to propose activities are being encouraged to contact Camp Democracy here:
While civil disobedience is not planned for Camp Democracy, education in civil disobedience will be provided in preparation for the activities of Sept. 21 to 28 being organized by the Declaration of Peace: http://www.declarationofpeace.org
Cindy Sheehan, Co-Founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and mother of Casey Sheehan, KIA in Iraq, said: "We are going to bring to the front door of Congress our demand that they fulfill their Constitutional obligation to check the abuses of the President. We will ask them to compel President Bush and members of his administration to answer the question 'Why was my son sent to die in Iraq?' And we are going to ask Congress Members themselves why they are allowing the killing to continue, together with the drain on resources that is putting at risk all of the needs of people in this country and abroad."
NOW President Kim Gandy said of Camp Democracy plans, "We must keep raising our voices for peace -- and the harder that becomes, the more necessary it is."
Nancy Wohlforth, Co-convenor of U.S. Labor Against the War, and President, Pride At Work, AFL-CIO, said, "The hard-earned tax dollars of every working person in the United States are being squandered on the war in Iraq. Working people must use the power of their labor, organized through unions, to demand a reordering of priorities, to peoples' needs rather than corporate greed. Through participating in Camp Democracy, U.S. Labor Against the War joins the surging, broadening movement to bring our troops home now and end the war on Iraq."
Sunny Miller, Director of Traprock Peace Center, and daughter of a Vietnam Vet said, "The first woman elected to Congress, Jeannette Rankin, had it right -- 'You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.' The bloody warring and profiteering must be stopped, or we're headed for calamity. Women know this. Ordinary people know this everywhere. I think it's time to support real reparations with a women's strike for peace, and a time to live the dream that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., held up for us."
Kevin Zeese, Director of Democracy Rising, said: "Anti-war and social justice voters need to bring their message to Washington, DC, to kick off the final months of the mid-term elections. Join us so we can present a unified presence and energize anti-war voters throughout the United States. Let's make the anti-war vote a powerful one in 2006 and 2008."
Added Karen Bradley of Democracy Cell Project: "Come and learn how we will take the country back."
Former U.S. diplomat and U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright said, "Camp Democracy is an critical event to continue to put pressure on the Congress and the Bush Administration to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home, as well as for discussing the criminal activities the Bush administration is involved in."
Tim Carpenter, Director of PDA, said: "Progressive Democrats of America is proud to be a part of this historic effort to organize and mobilize the progressive community from across this country to focus the upcoming election on ending the occupation of Iraq, cutting off funding for the war and holding the President, Vice President and the entire Bush Administration accountable for the lies that lead to this war."