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Quick and Dirty

Party Downing

By Erin Sullivan | Posted 7/20/2005

The third anniversary of the meeting at No. 10 Downing Street in London, England (which produced the now-infamous Downing Street Memo) is nigh upon us. Have you planned your house party yet?

On July 23, activists will gather in more than 150 events in cities around the United States to highlight the 2002 meeting at which British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told Prime Minister Tony Blair and others that “it seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action” despite the fact that “Saddam was not threatening his neighbors and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran.” The minutes of that meeting, which were leaked with other documents to the British press on May 1, provide evidence to support the argument that President George W. Bush was not forthcoming with the American public or Congress about the reasons for going to war with Iraq. A coalition of peace activists, political groups, and fed-up individuals called After Downing Street has declared July 23 “DSM Day” and is encouraging Americans to host house parties, do dramatic readings of the Downing Street minutes, sing protest songs (“because you can’t have a movement without singing,” the organizers note), and distribute information about the cost of the war to cities and states across the nation ($282.6 million for Baltimore, according to the National Priorities Project).

According to the events listings at, as of press time there were no events scheduled in Baltimore for July 23. However, interested Baltimoreans can make the trek to Takoma Park, where Kevin Zeese, director of Democracy Rising and a prospective third-party candidate for U.S. Senate (“United State,” Mobtown Beat, June 15), and Linda Schade, director of, will be hosting a Downing Street house party. There will also be a town-hall discussion on Downing Street at the Tavern on the American University campus. Or, for those inclined to take matters into their own hands, you can visit the After Downing Street web site and register an event or house party closer to home.

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