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Year 2005 No. 5, January 14, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

London and Worldwide

Protest at Bush’s Inauguration! January 20, 2005

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Protest at Bush’s Inauguration! January 20, 2005

A New Movement for 2005 – Make Bush's Inauguration on January 20 an Anti-War Day

US Elections 2004
Broad Exposure and Opposition to a Fraudulent Electoral System Continues
Free and Fair Elections NOW!

Real Change Is Best Medicine

The Bush-Blair Alliance and the 2005 British Election

Coming Events

Centre for Civil Society (Department of Social Policy) Public Lecture

Letter to WDIE
Shamelessness of the Rich

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London and Worldwide

Protest at Bush’s Inauguration! January 20, 2005

Throughout the world, people are organising themselves to be the bulwark against the deepest and darkest reaction, bestiality and medievalism represented by the war criminal George W Bush. In the US, Americans are taking a political stand against US imperialism, and the movement to reject the fraud of the US elections is also growing. The fraud of the "free and fair elections" of Anglo-American democracy is being exposed, and in Britain too the movement is growing for democratic renewal and to deal a blow at the next election against the warmongering elite in power.

In the US, people in all sections are standing together to challenge the undemocratic and arbitrary political set-up. People are working to strengthen their forces and take their stands for a system that empowers the people and guarantees their rights. In Britain, the affrontery of the Blair government is such that it has launched its election campaign with the demagogic slogan of "power to the people" as the working class and people organise to settle scores with parliamentary absolutism and demand a government that stands against war as a principle. Only such a government can be pro-people and pro-worker.

Such is the context of organising to protest at Bush’s Presidential inauguration on this Thursday, January 20. A spirit of resistance to the fraud of Anglo-American democracy is manifest in these mass protests and demonstrations, a spirit of organising to plant the alternative.

In London, there will be a vigil at the US Embassy from 5.00 – 7.00 pm, and other events are being planned from north to south and from east to west. Protest! Take a stand!

Article Index



A New Movement for 2005 – Make Bush's Inauguration on January 20 an Anti-War Day

Stop the War Coalition Bulletin, 5 January 2005

If only the US and British government would spend the kind of money on aid they spend on war!

Bush and Blair are in terrible trouble over Iraq. Resistance is growing and, if it takes place at all, the election in Iraq looks like being a farce. In the US splits are emerging in the establishment over the war. A series of right-wingers including Trent Lott and John McCain have been calling for US troops to get out.

Here, opinion polls against the war are at their highest ever – between 55-70% against – compared to an average of 45% around February 15th 2002. Millions who reluctantly supported the war are now feeling deceived and betrayed by Blair.

Our job is to get in touch with those people to build a massive demo on March 19 and an effective day of disobedience on February 15.

We must make sure no-one misses the demo because they didn't hear about March 19. (We received a number of calls after the ESF demo from people who didn’t know it was on and were angry they missed it)

We are calling on all groups to start mobilising right away.

January 20, the day of Bush's inauguration, will be an Outreach day for the movement.

We ask every group to organise visits to local workplaces, trade unions, mosques, church groups, community centres, or just go door to door down your street on that day. The aim is to show that we don’t accept Bush or his policies, and to begin to build for local events on February 15.

We are the majority; make sure we are not silent on March 19.

Article Index



US Elections 2004

We are reproducing herewith two articles by the US Marxist-Leninist Organisation on the opposition to the fraud of the US presidential elections on November 2, 2004.

Broad Exposure and Opposition to a Fraudulent Electoral System Continues

Since the November 2, 2004 presidential elections more and more evidence has been gathered revealing the broad disenfranchisement that is the essence of the political system in the US. In addition to reports that computerized voting machines were hacked to ensure a Bush victory in Florida, there are now testimonies from public hearings and independent reports from social scientists which all point to the same conclusion: the election was once-again rigged, and the voice of the people does not count in the US political system.

On Saturday, November 13, and Monday November 15, the Ohio Election Protection Coalition’s public hearings in Columbus solicited extensive sworn first-person testimony from 32 Ohio voters, precinct judges, poll workers, legal observers and party challengers. An additional 66 people provided written affidavits of election irregularities. The testimony, according to Harvey Wasserman, a senior editor at the Columbus Free Press, revealed an effort on the part of Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who oversees the election in Ohio, to deny primarily African-American and young voters the right to cast their ballots within a reasonable time.

At the Columbus hearings, witnesses testified under oath that the election was riddled with discrimination and disarray. In precincts 1-A and 5-G, which are located in a predominantly African-American community, there were woefully insufficient numbers of voting machines, Werner Lange, a pastor from Youngstown, Ohio, said in his testimony.

"I was told that the standard was to have one voting machine per 100 registered voters," he testified. "Precinct A had 750 registered voters. Precinct G had 690. There should have been 14 voting machines at this site. There were only 6, three per precinct, less than 50 percent of the standard. This caused an enormous bottleneck among voters who had to wait a very, very long time to vote, many of them –giving up in frustration and leaving. I estimate, by the way, that an estimated loss of over 8,000 votes from the African American community in the City of Youngstown alone, with its 84 precincts, were lost due to insufficient voting machines, and that would translate to some 7,000 votes lost for John Kerry for president in Youngstown alone...."

On Saturday, November 20, The Ohio Election Protection Coalition held public hearings in Cleveland. The hearings also documented insufficient voting machines in black Democratic precincts resulting in five-to-seven hour waits, voter intimidation, machine malfunctions and other irregularities. Heavily Democratic wards had abnormally low reported rates of voter turnout, three under 20%. In Precinct 6-C where Kerry beat Bush 45 votes to one, allegedly only 7.1% of the registered voters cast ballots. In precinct 13-D where Kerry received 83.8% of the vote, only 13.05% reportedly voted. In precinct 13-F where Kerry received 97.5%, the turnout was reported to be only 19.6%.  Independent analyses posted to the Internet by Richard Hayes Phillips, PhD, corroborate these findings. "There are wholesale shifts of scores of votes from the Kerry column to other candidates, and astonishingly low turnouts in certain precincts and entire wards," he wrote. "I note that there are 17,741 uncounted ballots in Cuyahoga County. Kerry’s margin in Cleveland was reportedly 108,659 votes with a 49.89% turnout. The rest of Cuyahoga County had a 71.95% turnout. Such a turnout in Cleveland would have given Kerry a margin of 156,705 votes, left Bush with a state-wide margin of 85,007 votes, and with 248,100 votes still uncounted, nobody would be conceding Ohio." "This is a situation that demands rigorous investigation," he said, arguing the Ohio recount will prove official numbers to be fraudulent.

According to the Columbus Free Press, one explanation for these low percentages comes from Irma Olmedo. She described what she saw in the heavily Hispanic ward 13, which contained the three low voter turnout precincts. "Ohio does not have bilingual ballots and this disenfranchises many Latino voters who are not totally fluent in English ... there were 13 poll workers at the school and none knew Spanish. Some could not even find the names of the people on the list because they couldn’t understand well when people said their names.... Some people put their punch card ballots in backwards when they voted and discovered that they couldn’t punch out the holes. They had not read the instructions which were in English, that they had to turn the card around in order to vote," Olmedo stated.

Olmedo translated at precinct 13-O, where 90% of the votes were for Kerry and only 53 votes were counted. The turnout of 21% was due to the lack of Spanish instructions and the misspelling of names: "I noticed that one named Nieves was misspelled as Nieues and the pollworkers were not able to find his name, these people were told to complete a provisional ballot because their names were not on the list."

There also seems to be an abnormally high vote count for third party candidates. For example, in precinct 4-F, the right-wing Constitutional Law candidate Peroutka received 215 votes to Bush’s 21 and Kerry’s 290. In this precinct, Kerry received 55% of the vote where Gore received 91% of the vote in the year 2000. These numbers suggest that Kerry’s votes were inadvertently or intentionally shifted to Peroutka.

According to a report in PC World, voting irregularities in three Florida counties that used electronic voting machines in last month’s election may have awarded as many as 260,000 votes more to President George W Bush than were expected, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. The study shows an unexplained discrepancy between votes for President Bush in counties where electronic voting machines were used versus counties using traditional voting methods.

The researchers claim that their findings raise particular questions about the accuracy of voting results in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties, all of which have more voters registered as Democrats than Republicans. "According to statistical models, voters in those three counties delivered between 130,000 and 260,000 more votes to Bush than were expected by a post-election analysis," the researchers maintain. The counties in question used electronic voting machines with no paper trail, manufactured by Election Systems & Software and Sequoia Voting Systems. "Something went awry with electronic voting in Florida," says Michael Hout, a sociology professor, who led the research effort.

In a similar vein, a November 5 article by the Associated Press, reports election officials in Ohio admitted that an error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in a Gahanna precinct. Franklin County reported Bush with 4,258 votes and John Kerry with 260, even though only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.

According to North County News, Kathryn Levy, a volunteer coordinator in the Kerry headquarters in Broward County, Florida said she received "innumerable complaints". She was the supervisor of a hotline in Broward that handled the complaints.

"Many newly registered voters were told that they needed to present multiple IDs at polling places, when in fact only one is required," Levy wrote for an intended op-ed piece that was truncated into a letter to the editor published in Newsday. "Others were informed that they had already voted and were turned away although they had not yet cast their vote. Many of those requesting provisional ballots were denied even that recourse." She continued: "Perhaps the most chilling complaints concerned the electronic voting machines. We received several reports of voters who repeatedly pressed the name Kerry on their voting screen only to have Bush appear. In other cases, voters pressed Kerry and were later asked to confirm their Bush vote."

Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting, along with people from Florida Fair Elections, showed up at Florida’s Volusia County Elections Office on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 16 and asked to see, under a public records request, each of the poll tapes for the 100-plus optical scanners in the precincts in that county. The election workers, having been notified in advance of her request, handed her a set of printouts dated November 15 and lacking signatures, according to North County News.

Harris pointed out that the printouts given to her were not the original poll tapes and had no signatures, and thus were not what she had requested.

Reportedly, they told her that the originals were held in another location, the election office’s warehouse, and that, since it was the end of the day, they should meet her the following morning to show them to her. The next day she started searching the garbage bags outside, finding public record tapes in the trash. Disparities between the November 15 tape and November 2 tape emerged—all reportedly favouring President Bush.

In addition to other noted voting irregularities, some have called into question the reversal of the exit polls, which early on predicted a Kerry victory. Based on the full set of the 4 p.m. Election Day exit poll data Dr. Stephen F. Freeman from the University of Pennsylvania calculated that "the odds of just three of the major swing states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania all swinging as far as they did against their respective exit polls were 250 million to one." John Zogby, president of the polling firm Zogby International, also registered concern about the difference between some of the exit polls and the official vote counts. "Something is definitely wrong," Zogby said.

Demand Reforms that Empower and Unite the People

As the anger and frustration of Americans with the fraud of the elections deepens and spreads, the ruling circles are manoeuvring to quell and divert this anger with calls for reform. The New York Times and Business Week called for eliminating the Electoral College. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), another voice of the ruling class, called for reforming "election procedures" and the "system of determining legislative districts at the federal and state levels". Election procedures and redistricting are currently determined by state legislatures and the state-parties of Democrats and Republicans. Both, along with the Electoral College, are also lightning rods for the broad anger with elections.

The blatant fraud and attacks on voting rights, the divisions fostered among the people, the emphasis given to battleground states, all take place at the state level. Among the people there is a very legitimate demand for uniform national standards for elections and for the principle of one person one vote. There is equally concern that the people, and all their collectives, including workers, women and youth, national minorities, farmers, have their voices heard and represented. The drive among the people, as evidenced in their many actions, banners, surveys and polls, is for an electoral set-up that serves to unite the people and provides governance that favours them. Across the country, people are rejecting their exclusions from decision-making and saying that they can and must be the ones to govern.

Attempting to play on this desire for change and unity, the ruling circles are pushing reforms that give the appearance of eliminating divisions, by targeting the states and their role. The rulers are also presenting what the DLC terms the "hyper-partisan" institutions in Washington, that is Congress and the Executive branch, as the problems. They are coming forward as the champions of "an equal opportunity to vote", and the "disenfranchised majority".

The reforms called for however, have every potential to divert the people’s striving for their own empowerment into attacks on elected governance itself, with the need for a "strong president" as one solution. The New York Times, for example, in their November 3 editorial, emphasized that "the next president will have to help the nation reach some new place" and "only a president can create a new mood..."

The reforms serve to put in place arrangements of governance that concentrate even more power in the Office of the President, while still blocking the people from power. What is needed are reforms that open the space for the people to govern and decide and any reform proposed should be looked at from that starting point.

Already, in the course of building their resistance and fight for rights, people are gaining empowerment and building mechanisms, like spokescouncils, and collective work, that serve their interests and open a path forward.

Article Index



Free and Fair Elections NOW!

Statement of the US Marxist-Leninist Organisation, January 6, 2005, Day of Actions Against Election Fraud

The demand across the country is clear and growing – free and fair elections now. We want them here, we want them now and we will not concede. Whether first-time voters and workers for voter registration, whether independents and activists, whether Democrat or Republican, everyone, everywhere, are together demanding that the government render account to the people for their complete failure to deliver free and fair elections. The Bush government is not legitimate, the elections are not legitimate, and we the people demand elections where our votes actually decide the outcome.

Since November 3, actions across the country, south and west, north and east, have seen a broad range of people uniting to reject the fraud of US elections. The evidence of 2004 election fraud of all kinds is increasing daily. It is being documented not only by the voters themselves, but also by precinct and county election officials. It is not only in Ohio, but California, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, every state. It is not only that computer programs were rigged to miscount the vote and machines tampered with after the vote, but also the many voters blocked from registering, those forced to receive provisional ballots that were then not counted, the many voters denied access, whose ballots were spoiled, and who were intimidated and given false information about polling places and voting rights. All of these crimes by government exclude national minorities at far higher rates – something everyone is also rejecting as completely unacceptable.

The reality the many actions, the dozens of webpages, the networks, coalitions and numerous other collectives taking up struggle in towns and cities nationwide all show is that US elections are not fair, are not free in any way and most definitely do not represent the will of the people. And this is the heart of what people are demanding – elections where their will, their solutions, their stand against war and in support of the world’s people is represented.

The US Marxist-Leninist Organisation salutes all those engaged in these battles and here today, January 6th to hold Congress accountable – not to their careers, not to the Democrats or Republicans, not to the system of party governance that insures these frauds, but to the demand of the people to REJECT the VOTE and deliver free and fair elections now.

The US government is going around the world proclaiming free and fair elections as the linchpin of democracy. It says they will have them in Iraq. It claims Haiti’s elections were not free and fair and used this as their excuse to forcibly remove elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide from office and occupy that country. It supports free and fair elections in the Ukraine but cannot deliver them here.

It is clear that the existing electoral system is unacceptable and must be changed. It is equally clear that the only force able to bring this change about is the people themselves. Through boldly stepping up the struggle to defend the rights of all, people are building up their unity and finding the means to empower themselves – to take matters into their own hands, together discuss problems and take up solutions. These actions on the elections are a vibrant example of the significance of advancing the fight for rights and taking the stand that we do not accept what is not acceptable. We do not accept war President Bush, we do not accept the war in Iraq, we do not accept torture, we do not accept indefinite detentions, we do not accept government impunity and racism of all kinds, we do not accept election fraud, we do not accept any attacks on rights.

There is no doubt that Bush does represent the US ruling circles and their desperation to win world empire at any cost, using force and committing any crime to keep the ship of US-style democracy from sinking. The actions demanding accountability on the elections are serving to rock the boat of US democracy and make it difficult for the US rulers to further impose their reaction here and worldwide. Their significance lies precisely in the fact that the consciousness that US elections are not free and fair is exposing this system for the Titanic that it is and sharpening the necessity to escape disaster through building our own life-rafts and ships that we together build and steer toward progress.

Article Index



Real Change Is Best Medicine

Newt Gingrich*, USA Today, November 3, 2004

Having lived through a fair number of negative campaigns, I feel comfortable in characterising this past year as one of the most bitter campaigns in my lifetime. There will be, I believe, a sincere desire by many Americans to get beyond the election results and to have our country reunified. However, a significant number of voters who cast their ballots for the losing candidate will have difficulty coming to terms with the America that voted against their values.

America is in the middle of a deep struggle over the nature of being American and the key elements of how we create and shape the future. To get beyond the division, Americans will have to decide which direction they will unite behind. If the next president truly wants to unify the country, he will have to play a leading role in settling that argument.

This task cannot be accomplished from inside Washington. The lobbyist-bureaucrat-career politician conglomerate that dominates the city resists substantive change, instead choosing to fight over the margins of the current system that benefits them, even at the expense of a better future for the majority of Americans. The prospect for major change is further weakened by a news media capable of spending hundreds of hours on the Scott Peterson trial but virtually no time on transforming the health system (the largest single sector of our economy).

Go Beyond Washington

These realities compel a president who wants to make real change to reach beyond Washington. He must engage in a continuous, focused effort to educate, inspire and organise the American people so that they will apply pressure on Congress.

When the president reaches out to the American people on a big reform, he will inevitably create deep, bitter, determined and entrenched opposition. That opposition will understand why its future is being undermined and how much the president's proposal will damage its pocketbook, its ideology or its power base.

Seeking to reform the litigation system driving doctors out of practice and forcing businesses to move jobs overseas will require a fight with the trial-lawyer lobby.

Trying to create personal Social Security accounts so that every young person can have the power of compound interest will require taking on the liberals and the union leaders who oppose change.

Wanting to appoint conservative judges who favour keeping "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance (a position 91% of Americans agree with) will require a fight with every liberal who will support an all-out filibuster to prevent the courts from moving to the right.

An Aggressive War on Terror

Continuing the fight against terrorism and emphasising the dangers of weapons of mass destruction, even if it means tension with Iran, North Korea and Syria, will provoke the left wing of the Democratic Party, which is bitterly opposed to an aggressive American role in the world.

Moving toward a balanced budget will cause ferocious fights with members of the House and Senate who have grown comfortable doling out pork and finding excuses for more and more spending.

Strengthening our control of our borders (as serious Homeland Security requires) while at the same time creating a guest-worker programme to make legal the economic realities of our time will spark a two-front battle. The Hispanic community and much of the left will oppose serious border controls while many on the right will oppose any guest-worker programme.

Insisting that public schools actually teach American history and American values will provoke a bitter fight with the left, no matter how popular those values are with the American people.

Creating a public education system that produces students who can compete successfully with India and China in the 21st century will require taking on bureaucrats and the powerful teachers union. Efforts to shift to effectiveness and away from bureaucracy will be bitterly fought by those who fear change and reject accountability.

A president who wants real change is going to face real fights. These conflicts are inevitable and reflective of the crossroads we have reached in our history and the decisions we must make. If the next president desires unity, he must commit himself to doing the hard work to win these fights. Unity will come only after the country decides which future it wants.

* Newt Gingrich was Republican Speaker of the US House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998 and is the author of the soon-to-be-released book, Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America.

Article Index



The Bush-Blair Alliance and the 2005 British Election

Report Drafted By: Janelle Osmann (PINR)*

The September 11 attacks and the consequential growth of security measures on the international political scene worked to re-emphasise the longstanding alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. The continuation of such an alliance has caused unrest among the constituents of the United Kingdom, who have openly expressed their strong resentment toward extended British participation in the US intervention in Iraq. Much of this anger has been directed at British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has worked closely with US President George W Bush on a number of policy initiatives that are considered highly controversial to the UK population. Nevertheless, with Blair expecting to call parliamentary elections in the spring of 2005, strategic timing and international diplomacy efforts may play an integral role in his re-election.

Shared US-UK Interests

Despite the UK public's antipathy for President Bush, as well as growing pressure from the United Nations and European Union to conduct international affairs using a multilateral approach, Blair has repeatedly confirmed his belief in the legitimacy of the United States' intervention in Iraq. When asked about the reasoning behind his alliance with President Bush, Blair bluntly reported to the press that the UK and US "share the same interests".

Due to the energy resources found in the Middle East, both the UK and the US have aimed to keep the region stabilised, a condition that was potentially threatened by Saddam Hussein's expansionist tendencies in Iraq. Both the UK and the US – in addition to all of the European states – have much to lose from the threat of global Islamist militancy, a condition that fosters uncertainty in the global economy that much of the world is integrated in. The goal of the United Kingdom, and of Blair, has been to act as a bridge between the United States and Europe, fostering dialogue between the two power blocs in the hopes of preserving the Atlantic alliance that has survived for 60 years.

While the UK and the US share these interests, they are also shared with the other states that make up the European Union. The difference in the relationship between the US and UK is that many of the other European Union states – led by France and Germany – do not believe that these interests are best pursued by a unilateralist-leaning United States. Much of this belief is grounded on the fact that a unilateral United States means less influence for the Europeans to sway US foreign policy. This concern is also held by the British, but while France and Germany attempt to obstruct the United States in its attempts at pursuing these interests, the British have taken a more involved approach, working with the United States in the hopes of gently guiding its power.

One of the issues that Blair attempts to guide the US on is the matter of pushing for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Blair hopes that his support in Iraq will translate into America's agreement to expedite a lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, an issue the British and European people alike have pressed as important. Since Britain is set to begin tenure of the European Union presidency in July 2005, it is also in Blair's best interest to demonstrate his credentials as a world leader and establish himself as a peacemaker, beginning with a lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thus, by coordinating American efforts with EU interests, Blair is aiming to narrow the trans-Atlantic gap and thrust himself back into the good graces of international diplomats.

In addition to his own motivations, mounting numbers of war casualties from the intervention in Iraq has resulted in members of parliament and Labour Party executives pushing Blair to pressure President Bush to make some tangible changes in the administration's Iraq plan, since the present one has resulted in unexpected casualties and a mounting insurgency. Consequently, the first Iraqi election is scheduled to be held in January 2005, just prior to the expected parliamentary elections in the UK.

If Iraq's elections are successful it should shed a favourable light on UK involvement in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Furthermore, this single event stands to provide indication of significant advancements in the stabilisation of the Middle East, a condition that Europe desperately seeks. However, there stands an equal possibility that the British public will choose to focus on the instability of Iraq, becoming concerned over the continued rate of casualties or any political stumbles resulting from the January elections. Continued violence at a time that should testify to the legitimacy of Saddam Hussein's ousting would solidify British and European reservations regarding Blair's support of American attempts to build a democracy in the midst of armed uprising and foreign military occupation.

Blair Straddles Both Sides of the Atlantic

As the European Union grows in size and political clout, so does the strain on Blair to loosen his American binds, and strengthen those with whom he will assume the European Union presidency in 2005. This sort of positioning would enhance Britain's clout with EU power states Germany and France by allowing it to serve as a proponent of their agenda – topics relevant in other EU states, such as the Kyoto Protocol, EU expansion, and the Middle East peace process – and less of President Bush's initiatives. Potentially, a stronger alliance with the European Union could feasibly bolster the UK's influence in Washington by providing the backing of 25 other countries along with it. This reason partly explains why the Franco-German combine is trying to bring the UK further to its side.

However, Blair also could have much to lose by siding more heavily with the European Union states, led by Paris and Berlin. Presently, by aligning with the United States on many issues, Blair is able to prevent the UK from being dominated by the Franco-German combine. British ties to the United States allow London to pursue a more independent foreign policy, exempt from many of the EU-enforced restrictions that face other European states.

These two alternate strategies that the United Kingdom can pursue explain why its interests are best served by straddling both sides of the Atlantic. Some of its recent foreign policy decisions show how the Blair administration has been able to successfully perform this manoeuvre. In the case of Iraq, the Blair administration was unwilling to join France and Germany in full resistance to US plans, for that type of opposition could have easily damaged UK-US relations. However, as seen through the situation in Iran – where London, Paris and Berlin joined together to work on a compromise deal with Tehran, at the expense of the US approach – the UK has also been willing to ally with France and Germany and distance themselves from the policies of the United States.

Currently, as America's counterpart, a stronger, united Europe is a natural reaction to US unilateralism, as Washington pursued interests that were no longer synonymous with those of the European Union. The United States has vowed pre-emptive measures toward any state that may threaten US security, regardless of global support. This decision was possible due to the strength of the United States. Likewise, the disapproving European Union has embraced multilateralism as its primary political mantra because such an approach restrains some of the US' power and therefore increases the power of the EU.

However, after the intervention in Iraq exposed the limits of US military power, Washington may be faced with the possibility of a diminished capacity to engage unilaterally across the globe. Until the insurgency in Iraq is subdued, the conflict will continue to drain US political, economic and military resources, effectively placing restraint on Washington's further international ambitions. The European Union, led by France and Germany, has recognised this newly exposed weakness and has been pursuing a more independent foreign policy in light of it.

Conclusion

Because of this situation, Blair is constantly facing the difficult choice between pursuing US and EU interests. He appears to be just barely straddling the Atlantic, trying to appease both sides. If Blair is effectively able to bridge the trans-Atlantic divide, he will have the ability to assert influence over both the world's remaining superpower and the Union that is arising as a second possible power centre.

Contrastingly, if Blair subsides to British and European pressures to liberate himself from American ties, he will be able to operate an EU agenda, but will lose influence in the United States, while also weakening his ability to act independently of the Franco-German combine. If Blair adheres to US pressure at the expense of supporting EU interests, he will lose his ability to act independently of Washington and will become heavily dependent on its good graces.

Blair's re-election to parliament is widely believed to be a foregone conclusion, as the Tory Party's candidate, Michael Howard, lags in approval ratings. Regardless of whether Blair chooses to maintain his current strong ties to America, or begins to favour the European Union, he will need to exert influence over both entities in order to serve as a prime minister who continued to act as the historical arbitrator between the United States and Europe. This will depend not upon which side of the Atlantic he aligns himself with, but how much political clout he can establish by continuing to sway in the middle.

* The Power and Interest News Report is an analysis-based publication that seeks to, as objectively as possible, provide insight into various conflicts, regions and points of interest around the globe. PINR approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved, leaving the moral judgments to the reader.

Article Index



Coming Events

(taken from the Stop the War Coalition website)

School Students Against the War Conference

MAKE THEM BRING THE TROOPS HOME

Saturday 29th January 2005
At: Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, opposite Euston BR/tube.
Speakers include Maxine Gentle, George Galloway and Andrew Murray.
For more details contact 07834 218 711

Students Against the War Teach-In

END

THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ

Bring the troops home now

Wednesday February 2, 1-7pm
London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London. (Holborn tube).
Organised by Stop the War Coalition, Student CND and the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.
Speakers include Mrs Ahmad, Anas Al-Tikriti, Chris Bambery, Victoria Brittain, Alex Callinicos, Nusrat Chagtai, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mark Curtis, George Galloway MP, Rose Gentle, Lindsey German, Peter Gowan, Kate Hudson, Dr Saloum Ismael, Greg Philo, Sami Ramadani, Yvonne Ridley, Steven Rose, Alex Salmond MP, Mark Steel, Dr Azzam Tamimi, Jenny Tonge MP, Haifa Zangana.
Registration begins at 1pm in Room H216 of the LSE. Opening session in Room D502 at 2pm. Entry £3.
For advance registration, call the Stop the War Coalition on 020 7278 6694 or 07815 790 913.

STOP THE WAR COALITION CONFERENCE

The Stop the War Coalition will hold its fourth annual conference on February 12, 2005. The venue will be in Central London - to be notified later.

Registration will take place between 09:00 and 10:00 hours. Conference proper will commence at 10:00 hours.

Basis of delegation:

* up to four from each local group

* up to two from affiliates with less than 1,000 members

* up to four from affiliates with 1,000-10,000 members

* up to six from affiliates with more than 10,000 members

All groups must re-affiliate to the Coalition prior to the conference in order to be represented. The affiliation fee is as follows:

£20 for local organisations and union branches

£50 for regional organisations with 50,000 members or fewer

£200 for regional organisations with over 50,000 members

All national individual members may also attend as observers (there is limited space for observers so we would ask people to submit their names as soon as possible).

All delegates and members wishing to attend must register with the office no later than Monday January 31.

Each local group and affiliate may submit one resolution for consideration, which must be received at the office no later than January 31.

The Steering Committee may also submit resolutions.

The cost per delegate/observer will be £10 to be submitted with the names of the delegates.

There will be an election for a new Steering Committee, for which nominations from local groups and affiliates should be sought to be received by January 31.

Andrew Murray – Chair of Coalition
Lindsey German – Convenor of Coalition

Anti-war Day of Action
Tuesday 15th February 2005

National action - lobby your MP

DEFEND HUMAN RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES

Friday 11th - Saturday 12th March
Called by CAMPACC, supported by the Stop the War Coalition and other organisations .
"The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these." - Law Lord Hoffman, 18 Dec 2004
Lobby your MP in their constituency to protest about the 'anti-terror' laws, which are up for renewal in March. We would ask all member organisations and individual members to participate by lobbying their MPs to stop the renewal of the so-called 'anti-terror' laws, including the internment laws which were recently condemned as unjust by the law lords. You can do so in the weekend of 12 March or any time before this.
For full details, including arguments you may wish to use and specific commitments your MP can give, please go to the CAMPACC website:
http://www.cacc.org.uk/lobby.htm

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Centre for Civil Society (Department of Social Policy) Public Lecture

The Human Rights Movement and Civil Society: the final frontier for human rights

Date: Wednesday 19 January 2005
Time: 6:30pm
Venue
: Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Irene Khan
Chair: Professor Jude Howell

Human rights embody common values of human decency and dignity, equality and justice.  As such they are the basis of our common security, but in the name of security, they are being attacked and eroded today.  Irene Khan discusses how civil society and the human rights movement can be effective in a time where there is a crisis of faith in the value of human rights and a crisis of governance in the systems that are supposed to uphold them.

Irene Khan is the secretary general of Amnesty International.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required.  Entry is on a first come, first serve basis. 

For further information email: events@lse.ac.uk

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Letter to WDIE

Shamelessness of the Rich

The scale of the loss of life and material damage caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami continues to inspire a generous response across the globe.

Charities, relief agencies and concerned people pulled out all the stops to provide immediate assistance.

Governments in the main responded slowly, with some of the richest, especially Britain and the US, effectively being shamed into raising the level of their aid.

Britain increased its initial pledge of £15million to £50million when it became clear that British individuals had already contributed £20million, but even that higher government figure is still dwarfed by the current level raised by individual donations.

The world's richest economy offered a measly $35million, which is even less of a contribution than it seems, considering the US president has set aside $40million to celebrate his inauguration on January 20.

The US Congress has authorised the expenditure of $148billion on the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, compared with the total of $2.4billion that it assigned to overseas humanitarian aid for 2004

I read on page 7 of The Business on Sunday, January 10, an article headed "Markets rise as funds flow into the tsunami belt". The article went on to state that between December 26 and January 4, the Jakarta stock exchange in Indonesia, the worst affected country, rose 3% and hit an all-time high in the middle of last week. The record high achieved by the stock exchange in Jakarta came as building materials stocks rallied on hopes of booming demand in the wake of the tsunami disaster! Further on in the article speculation went on that cement prices had already started to rise.

On the same page was an appeal for funds for the tsunami relief.

Have the rich no shame, we have not buried all the dead and already they are rubbing their hands and counting the money to be made from this disaster.

 

Thank you for reading my letter

 

Tony Kelly

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