The hippie generation may have grown old but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten how to protest. A crowd of octogenarians gathered today at 280 Broadway in front of New York’s IRS building to object to tax funds going to war.
Participants held signs that said “What if they gave a war and nobody paid? I won’t pay!” and “No taxes for war!”
Barbara Harris, 80, said she came out to protest because she believes her taxes are being misappropriated. “I just read about Trump’s new tax budget. He’s increasing military spending by 55 billion dollars and cutting education.” As a retired school teacher she said, “I am outraged at that choice for our country and our kids.”
In a spirit of song and peace protesting reminiscent of the ’60s, about 30 demonstrators holding signs and acoustic guitars sang songs with anti-war lyrics set to familiar tunes, like “How Much is that Doggie in the Window,” with the title changed to “How Much is That War?”
“If you want peace, don’t pay for war!” said one protester.
Another, set to the tune of “This Old Man” and simply titled “Drones,” is shared with the Raging Grannies WOWW group. Some lyrics are:
Guns and bombs, nukes and tanks
Mean lots of money in the bank
For KBR and Boeing too
Who foots the bill?
It’s me and you
The NYC Raging Grannies is just one “gaggle,” as they refer to themselves, with chapters across North America and groups across the US and Canada. “Still aging, still raging,” is their motto.It is tempting to think such efforts are adorable. But it is important to not underestimate the protest potential of those at any age. The Saturday Mothers in Turkey have been gathering for decades to fight the authoritarian government, and their movement is powerful precisely because as awful as the Turkish government is, it is unlikely that they want to be seen as violent oppressors of grandmothers. The Women in Black, too, are a group of women, many elderly, anti-war protesters that began in Israel but have founded chapters in Italy, Spain, India and Serbia.
You may not be able to trust anyone over 30, but you might just be able to trust some over 75.