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Ever the iconoclast, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson will protest George W. Bush when the president is in town to address the American Legion Convention. The rally takes place Aug. 30 at the City & County Building from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.


How effective are protests in fomenting social change?


One only has to look at Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, the mass demonstrations that forced Slobodan Milosevic from power, and the Civil Rights movement in our own country, among many other examples, to see the dramatic change public expressions of discontent can produce.


Did you protest when you were younger?


I protested the Vietnam War and, while in law school, I protested against the Shah of Iran. My most public protest was against the Reagan administration’s support for death squads and the Contra War in Central America. I have also protested against oppressive immigration policies and against Bush’s proposed cuts to urban Native American health services.


What do you want George W. Bush to know?


I would suggest to him that we could partially redeem his presidency and reputation by seeking peace and reconciliation rather than continued, self-destructive belligerency. He also must do far more for those in need.


Isn’t it the mayor’s job to greet, not protest, dignitaries?


Every person is obliged to dissent when our government is perpetrating disastrous, unjust policies. Politeness does not obviate moral responsibility. Standing up for what we believe is right is far more vital to good leadership than exhibiting slavish deference out of “respect” for the office of the president.


Would you go on a hunger strike to end the war in Iraq?


Yes, if I thought it would have a positive effect (other than [City Weekly’s] John Saltas’ pleasure at seeing me suffer).

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