San Francisco was the epicenter of the failed movement to prevent the Iraq War -- but the movement that emerged here may still change the country
"There's been a huge upsurge of hope for Obama and that he might bring about the kind of change we need," Bull said, adding that she doesn't share that hope, believing the only path to peace is to pressure Obama and other leaders to commit to more progressive positions.
Norr said, "On one level, people have illusions about the power of peaceful protests. People believe in democracy, as well they should. We feel like the rulers should be paying attention to public opinion.
"It's a remarkable story how broadly and quickly the American people have turned against the war. Public opinion was certainly ahead of the Democrats."
And people will only grow more disenchanted with Iraq and its multitude of costs. "The people here are paying for this war, and everyday we have new stories about health clinics being shut down," Becker said.
Becker was amazed last March as massive demonstrations for immigrant rights seemed to explode out of nowhere. "We think there will be more things like that," he said.
Because after five years of organizing communities to resist the military-industrial complex's plans, Becker thinks there's been some visible progress.
"There isn't a town or hamlet in the US that doesn't have activism going on, but you wouldn't know it from the corporate media," Becker said. "It's a mistake for people to feel discouraged."