Surge Protectors

Austin City Hall
3 pm, Saturday
[email protected]

Federal Building, 727 E. Durango Boulevard
Press Conference, 10:30 am. March, 11 am. Saturday

PeaceCENTER 1443 S. St. Mary’s
5:30 pm, Sunday
In 1934, at the Nazi’s faux-utopic concentration camp for the intellectsia, Thierenstadt, composer Vicktor Ullman and librettist Peter Kien began work on the opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder die Tod-Verweigerung (The Emperor of Atlantis, or The Refusal of Death). The thinly veiled satire of Adolf Hitler revolves around a tyrant controlling the nation from a tiny room in his fortress. He’s cut off from firsthand information and making increasingly insane decisions.

Shortly after the opening movements, the good ol’ Kaiser decides it would be best for the nation if he declares war: everyone versus everyone. On a park bench somewhere in the netherworld, the Grim Reaper, the opposing character in the story, hears this and shouts “Fuck this shit,” (pardon my translation) and goes on strike.

Our president has declared an absurd 21,000-soldier surge in Iraq, with the first 3,200 arriving in Baghdad last week. So, yeah, history repeats, life imitates art, and all that operetta. As of September, Texan soldiers accounted for 237 of those killed in Iraq (22-year-old Specialist Dustin Donica of Spring, Texas, was the 3,000th casualty), and 1,936 of the wounded. Meanwhile, Bush doesn’t seem to care that, according to a Newsweek poll, 68 percent of the American public opposes the escalation. It looks like nothing short of Mr. Death setting down his scythe will stop him.

Still, Texas anti-war advocates plan to make a stand. On Saturday, the Austin branch of the Stop The War Coalition has organized a march from Austin’s City Hall to the state Capitol. They’ve arranged for music and guest speakers, ranging from Hart Viges of Veterans for Peace to Dr. Douglas Reber, co-chair of the Texas Green Party. Columnist Jim Hightower is also expected to be wandering about. The event is set to coincide with national demonstrations in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, and a United for Peace and Justice demonstration in Washington, D.C. (

In San Antonio, the Southwest Worker’s Union ( is circulating a “call for action” to encourage other community organizations to join in a march from the Federal Building to the Vietnam Memorial outside the Municipal Auditorium.

On Sunday, the peaceCENTER will host their Third Annual Blessing of the Peacemakers and potluck, the opening event for their “Season of Nonviolence.”

Meanwhile, the Progressive States Network ( has launched a 50-state campaign to pressure state legislatures to pass anti-escalation resolutions, which would be transmitted to the White House; bi-partisan congressional lawmakers will be debating the exact wording (but not so much the overall sentiment) of their own no-surge resolution in the Senate Foreign Relations committee this week.

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