Today’s rally was similar in size to January’s rally, which was a bit of a disappointment. I blame the “inevitable” nature of the coming war for keeping people away. Hell, I was almost tempted to sit this one out as it seemed so futile. In contrast, MontrÃ©al’s rally managed to attract some 200,000, many times more people than Toronto’s February rally. Toronto, why can’t you be more like MontrÃ©al?
In addition to being similar in size to January’s rally, today’s rally was also similar in spirit. Indeed, the lead banner was shared with Homes Not Bombs, a local chapter of Food Not Bombs which supports homes for the homeless. Mind you, it was somewhat relevant as one of their current goals is to convert Toronto’s Moss Park Armoury into a homeless shelter. A noble goal to be sure, but one whose presence I felt detracted from the advertised anti-war rally. Don’t trick me into rallying for your cause and don’t automatically assume I support it just because I’m present at an anti-war rally.
Similarly, just because I am at an anti-war rally does not mean that I may support your communist (Marxist-Leninist, Trotskyist or otherwise) or International Socialist party, organisation, group, commune or what have you. I also continue to find it insulting at how speakers at Toronto’s anti-war rallies (this one and January’s in particular) blame the impending war on some multinational, conservative, pro-globalisation agenda, as if the left can do no wrong. Certainly, big business probably comes into play, but this line likely alienates those who, like myself, are opposed to this war on principles not related to the anti-globalisation movement. If you wish to widen support, stick to select arguments which can attract and persuade the most people. Keep your anti-globalisation cries for protests more relevant to that cause and audience. Focus, people!
If you are not completely turned off by anti-war rallies by now, there is another one scheduled for mid-April. Should war arise, there will be a culmination of people outside the US consulate in Toronto as soon the bombs start to drop. It’s never too late to stop a non-sanctioned war.