A military parade ordered by US president Donald Trump, which was scheduled for November 11 at Washington DC, has reportedly been postponed by the Pentagon by a year. The proposal for the parade was widely criticized by various people’s movements and organizations as an act of jingoism. Around 200 organizations had earlier issued a statement opposing the military parade.
The parade was to happen on November 11, which is celebrated as Veterans’ Day in the US and as Armistice Day in many parts of the world, marking the end of World War I.
In the aftermath of the decision, the protesters stated that the postponement of the parade was a victory for the peace movement and declared they would carry forward the ongoing #antiwarautumn campaign. As part of it, a Women’s March on the Pentagon will be organized on October 20 and 21. A veterans’ march has also been planned on November 11 to talk about the horrors of the war, including the death of innocent civilians and the trauma that leads to suicides by veterans in the country.
The groups demanded the revival of Armistice Day in order to spread the message of peace, and called for demilitarization instead of conducting such a parade which will be a sheer display of power and violence. The groups also urged the state to divest from war and invest in peace.
The call for protests was given in the backdrop of cuts in social spending and increased allocation for the military in the federal budget, leading to the continuing militarization of many parts of the world. Politicians and intellectuals such as Bernie Sanders and Joseph Stiglitz have criticised Trump’s “Blueprint for Make America Great Again”, which proposed cuts worth of $54 billion in allocations to federal agencies and an increase in defence spending. The parade was initially likley to cost $12 million but revised estimates put it at $92 million.
There has been a wave of mobilizations against military aggression and war-mongering in the US, especially after ascent of Donald Trump. In May 2018, The Poor People’s Campaign mobilized against the privatization of the military and increase in defence spending. They urged the state to reallocate resources from the defence sector to education, health care, jobs and green infrastructure.
According to reports, President Trump’s military parade plan was inspired by the Bastille Day Parade in France and was purportedly aimed at honoring US military veterans. The last time the country witnessed such a parade was in 1991, in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. That parade cost $12 million.