Do Demonstrations Matter?

On February 15, 2003, millions of people in over 800 cities on seven continents marched against the impending invasion of Iraq. It was the largest mobilization of people in human history and yet it remains a little-known story. As we approach Martin Luther King Day and think about his legacy of civic resistance, this episode looks at the recent history of the global antiwar movement, and its relevance to today.

A new documentary by this week’s guest, Amir Amirani, tells the story of the mass protests against the Iraq war. From Iraq to Egypt to Syria to today’s protests, the film looks at the legacy of that protest movement and asks, what do mass mobilizations accomplish? Amir Amirani a long time filmmaker for the BBC, tells about his process making the film.

We are also joined by one of the organizers of those historic protests, Phyllis Bennis, an activist, author, and fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in New York, to talk about the story behind the movement.

This episode also features a profile of the activists behind one of the biggest recent US environmental victories, the struggle that helped lead to New York state’s ban on fracking. And in a commentary, Laura discusses the need for movement unity.