76°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Give Peace a Chance, Give Halliburton the Boot

Give Peace a Chance, Give Halliburton the Boot

Though many Americans say they are tired of fighting the “War on Terror,” there are very few who have, as yet, taken any sort of action. The on-campus organization, Socialist Alternative, is a member of Boston’s Stop The War Coalition; an organization that uses rallies and protests locally, and is united for individual liberties and rights. Currently focusing on the immediate and complete termination of our connection in Iraq, the Coalition is promoting a Stop The War Profiteers demonstration for November 18th.

Beginning at 12:00 noon on Saturday, protesters will be gathering at the Boston Common and marching through the city past major corporations such as Verizon and Putnam Investments. These large companies are more than just checkpoints the protesters will pass; they each have significant meaning to the objective of the demonstration.

The issue of money has generated recurring concerns in connection with our policies in the Middle East. Stopthewars.org, the website for the Coalition, claims that over $300 billion has been spent on the war nationally, including $9 billion from Massachusetts alone. The website also talks about the large companies, such as Bechtel and Halliburton, that are continuing to show substantial profits from US involvement in Iraq. These companies are making private contracts including everything from the production of oil to security, and bringing in big bucks while the number of casualties pertaining to both US troops and Iraqi citizens are growing at a steady pace. The flier that protestors are distributing begins: “More than 650,000 Iraqis have died as a direct result of US invasion and occupation.”

Our current justification for occupying Iraq, which is to help them govern themselves, is a promise we seem to be failing to follow through on. Unemployment in the foreign country exceeds fifty percent, and our guarantees of a ‘politically reformed’ and ‘better-organized country’ are just words without much meaning behind them. The plans for physical reconstruction of the country would inherently produce numerous new jobs for the locals thereby (in theory) reducing unemployment for the Iraqi people. According to the Boston Organizer however, these positions are being handed out to Nepalese and Filipino foreign workers. High-end jobs also do not provide a way for the Iraqi people to improve their situations; it is the Americans and Europeans who hold most of the professional titles while the experienced Iraqis are left to struggle out on the streets to support their families.

Although the structure is not quite the same here in America, it is also not completely different. White, rich, upper middle class men still tend to hold the high-esteemed jobs. Conversely, equally qualified men of color and different races, as well as women, tend to occupy lesser positions making less money.

While millions of Americans are finding themselves out of work with their benefits dwindling, the CEOs and others at the top of their corporations are getting richer and richer by each dollar and minute spent overseas. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more apparent that some things do not change year after year.

Rob Mirabito, an active member of the Boston branch of Socialist Alternative, strongly advocates the efforts and goals of the Stop The War Profiteers demonstration and encourages others to attend. Although people are beginning to pay more attention to the unstable situation abroad, “Iraq is still very far away,” he notes. “And most just aren’t making the connection [between the war and big business income].”

With such upcoming events as the protest on Nov.18th, and the growing popularity of human rights groups, one can only hope that our world is finally shifting to one of more equality and peace.