March 23, 2010

Elaine, Matthis and Robin demonstrate their feelings about US foreign policy at March 20th rally in Washington, DC

from Victor Agosto's photos

Iraq Veterans Against the War members, Robin and Matthis and Military Families Speak Out member, Elaine, burn the symbol of something they once respected. The symbol turned out to be not only an illusion, but for them something representing war and occupation, death and destruction.

GI Lawyer, James M. Branum:
"wow that's a powerful image. I normally would be hesitant to praise this (I think flag burning tends to polarize folks so much that it shuts down the chance for further dialogue) but seeing vets do it, I don't know it feels different to me. An act of revolution of the mind, a tangible way of making one's different loyalties be made manifest."

Victor Agosto (GI Resister and VFP member):

"The flag represents the U.S. but it does not represent us. The flag represents the state, a tool the ruling class uses to further its interests. This state has killed its indigenous inhabitants and has enslaved its people. It is a state which serves the interests of insurance companies rather than the interests of the people who are ill. It bails out banks but not hard working people who face foreclosure. It facilitates corporate exploitation of workers all over the world. It engages in wars for control and profit. I am for the people who live within the territorial bounds of the "republic". I am proud of their struggles for an eight-hour work day, gender equality, racial desegregation, ending child labor, and ending wars. However, we are not better than the rest of the world's people. We are all one human family.

Our biggest enemies are not people in foreign lands who speak unintelligible languages. Our primary enemies are domestic - a ruling class that exploits our labor for profit and channels our love for the homeland to have us kill our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world.

May many more burning flags light the path to a world without war."

Update: by Victor Agosto | 03/28/2010
The flag represents a primary instrument of class oppression, but I'm prepared to concede that burning it may not be in the best interests of building a broad-based movement. I condemn all threats against the flag burners, and I support their right to express their anger at a government that has failed them. I will not publicly burn a flag.

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