- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Perhaps they hadn't heard that the IMF/World Bank conference was cancelled. That would explain why a group of about 90 anti-something individuals showed up Monday at Farragut Square to protest globalization, er, free trade, er, the anticipated U.S. response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and why thousands of others plan to join them this weekend.

"I just came down from Boston to be a part of whatever protest I could find," said one participant, who presumably carried additional posterboard, or possibly even interchangeable placards. Since many students were a part of Monday's rally, what may have really been bothering him was that classes are still in session even though there is a war on. Talk about a bummer, dude. After all, fighting peace is a lot safer (unless you happened to be a student at Kent State) and presumably a whole lot more fun.

The dress code on the perpetual global protest circuit is more fun than it is in school shoes, shirts and even pants are sometimes optional, while ponytails and body piercings are practically mandatory. Optional combat boots and gas masks only add to the thrill of the adventure. Considering that many members of the movement are vegans, the circuit food is weird, but copious amounts of illegal substances probably make up for it. The hours are better too, since who ever heard of an anti-war rally that began at 8 a.m.?

But more than anything else, participation in the protest circuit provides the smug, self-righteous satisfaction that comes with knowing that parading around parks named after deceased admirals and shouting slogans at high volume is all that is necessary to solve all the world's problems, including racism, sexism and yes, terrorism. Surely, even Osama bin Laden would have come around if only he had seen the "Restraint is not retaliation" sign featured at Monday's rally.

The protesters certainly think so, and it doesn't really matter that the evidence is non-existent. Actually, such evidence would probably only get in the way, since most of the perpetually indignant are convinced that most of the world's evils can be explained by Western, and especially American, idealism.

One of the groups organizing this week's protests, the International Action Center (IAC), was founded by Ramsey Clark, Lyndon Johnson's attorney general and a blame-America-firster of top rank. The IAC web site is a place to procure "information, activism and resistance to U.S. militarism, war, and corporate greed" and also to make tax-deductible donations of American dollars.

The IAC is predicting that "thousands" of its clueless brethren will show up for a rally in Washington this Saturday, which, shockingly, is scheduled to start at noon. It should certainly be easy to pick them out: Each of them will be brimming with indignation … and carrying an interchangeable placard.

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