Recap: Pro-Bradley Manning Demonstration

Sunday’s pro-Bradley Manning demonstration at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo went off without a hitch. My guess would be that we passed out literature and talked with well over 200 people in about four hours.

We were located on the street corners closest to the entrance of the midway pavilion, which was swamped with traffic after about noon. Two friends from North Texas Anarchism were able to join us to round out our four-person demonstration.

One pre-event concern was that we might encounter some verbal scorn from those attending the stock show, since Fort Worth leans heavily conservative. But as I recall, at least a handful of people who had never heard of Bradley Manning or seen the “Collateral Murder” video he allegedly leaked were visibly moved by his act of heroism.

I remember hearing only one person make a negative or crude comment during the entire event. After being told of the case and Manning’s treatment, all one gentleman had to say was “Good.” And when asked how he felt about the 11 civilians killed and children injured in the “Collateral Murder” video, he walked away, saying under his breathe to “Kill ’em all.” We never got to ask if he had ever served in the military.

Much of the information assembled for our fliers came from the Bradley Manning Support Network’s Activist Resources and Courage to Resist.

On a side note, we also met and talked with a liberty activist participating in an Info Wars video contest to post “V” fliers.

Lessons Learned

One important lesson I took away was the importance of having a face to go along with the name. When we passed out literature, people were as much interested to see who Manning was. Even if they did not take a flier, which also had Manning’s image, they wanted to know who it was we were there supporting. It allowed them to put a face to the government’s abuses. I think the demonstration was much more impactful and memorable for that reason.

Moving Forward

Similar demonstrations are in the works, perhaps even some counter recruitment. I think they may take place north of Fort Worth in Denton.

On Thursday, Feb. 3, there is call-in day to the White House switchboard to show opposition to the Manning’s unjust prosecution.