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"Occupation Project" at Congressman Sam Farr's Office in Santa Cruz
On February 16th, 2007, a protest targeting Sam Farr, Representative for the 17th Congressional District, was held at the Santa Cruz County Building. In a comment posted on Santa Cruz Indymedia, Steven Argue explained the primary reason behind the protest, "While Sam Farr has voted against supplemental war appropriations, He has voted for well over a trillion dollars in “defense” (actually war funds) since the beginning of the Iraq war. Besides being used to put the world in terror of U.S. corporate interests through the massive military machine of the United States government, that money has also been used to directly occupy Iraq."
About twenty people attended the rally on the steps of County Building, however four people from the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom held signs in support of Sam Farr and his voting policies. After the rally on the steps, people then went up to Sam Farr's Office, except it was closed in anticipation of the demonstration. Farr was working in Washington DC since Congress was in session. Instead of occupying Farr's office, Alec Arago, District Director for Sam Farr, was waiting for us in the conference room next door. Plates of assorted cookies and bottles of water were in the conference room as kind gesture to Sam Farr's "Friends of Peace." There was large banner that read, "Welcome Friends of Peace" hung above the entrance of the conference room.
Steven Argue, an organizer of the demonstration, published a "Proposed Resolution To Be Adopted At Today’s Protest" as a comment on SC-IMC which states, "The fact that Sam Farr is one of the most leftwing members of the U.S. Congress does not deter us from this mission. It instead shows the extreme dangers of our current system of corporate run politics in the United States and points to the need for the people’s movement not to rely on the Democrats and Republicans for solutions. We must mobilize our own people’s power as the antidote."
Although it is upsetting to some people struggling for social justice, it should not come as a big surprise that a lot of activists in District 17 and around the nation support Sam Farr. A January 11th, 2007, press release on Sam Farr's website quotes Farr as saying, "The longer this war drags on, the clearer it becomes that it is the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. Trying to make up for the fact that the Administration insisted on going into Iraq with too few troops more than three years ago by escalating our involvement now is not a ‘new strategy.’ There is a way forward, but that way is through withdrawing, not sending more troops," added Farr.
However, this statement from Sam Farr makes me wonder how many troops he wanted to into Iraq three years ago. When is it the correct time for a war and what are the correct reasons for war?
The protest was part of the growing national movement called The Occupation Project, a campaign of sustained nonviolent civil disobedience aimed at ending the U.S. war in and occupation of Iraq. The campaign began the first week of February 2007 with occupations at the offices of Representatives and Senators who refuse to pledge to vote against additional war funding.
Demonstrators made plans to return to Farr's office in one month.
H.R. 413: To repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002
District Director for Sam Farr
A reference to Steven Argue, an organizer of the demonstration.
Sit In At Farr's Office to Demand Cut Off The War Funds! Feb. 16
Not everyone was content to eat the cookies and drink the water offered by Farr's office.
Sam Farr did not vote against a condemnation of France for naming a street after Mumia Abu-Jamal.
25 Years Later, Mumia Abu-Jamal's Best and Last Chance, as French Supporters Face Charges
A member of WILPF spoke in favor of Sam Farr and suggested that people could be more effective by focusing their passion and energy on other activities to stop war.
"See you in a month Sam!" was left on the whiteboard giving Sam Farr and his office notice that people plan to return in one month.