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Year 2005 No. 8, January 25, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Actions Held in US against Bush Inauguration:

Vigorous Opposition to US Imperialist Reaction and War

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

Actions Held in US against Bush Inauguration:
Vigorous Opposition to US Imperialist Reaction and War

Boldly Step Up the Fight for Rights
All Together Against the Tsunami of Bush Reaction!

As US President Raises His Right Hand, the World Gives Him a Thumbs Down

The Bush Administration Is in Denial about its Disastrous Failure in Iraq

UN General Assembly Marks 60th Anniversary of Liberation of Nazi Death Camps

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Actions Held in US against Bush Inauguration:

Vigorous Opposition to US Imperialist Reaction and War

On Inauguration Day, in conjunction with mass demonstrations in Washington, DC, thousands of Americans participated in counter-inauguration actions across the US with some of the strongest opposition to the Bush agenda of war and repression coming from the so-called red states. These demonstrations expressed the spirit of not conceding to the US electoral fraud and opposing the war and occupation of Iraq, as well as the other crimes being committed by the Bush administration.

Many thousands marched and rallied in the streets of Washington, DC while thousands more succeeded in lining the Bush parade route on Pennsylvania Ave. With youth making up the majority of protesters, together with a wide range of people with all variety of viewpoints and concerns, the various actions gave expression to the determination of all to carry forward their fight for rights and democracy. "We Do Not Concede", "Democrats in Revolt", "Occupation is a Crime from Iraq, Haiti, and Palestine", "Impeach Not Inaugurate", were among the signs and chants. Banners proclaimed: "No Mandate" and "US Democracy is a Fraud", "Not My President, NO!" as well as many opposing the occupation of Iraq, calling for "Troops Out Now!" and declaring "Bush is a War Criminal!"

Three main rallies were organised in Washington, one at Dupont Circle, another at Malcolm X Park and a third in the bleachers on the parade route at 4th and Pennsylvania. The Women's March from Dupont Circle saw hundreds of women organised by Code Pink, along with a jazz band from New Orleans and many other groups and activists. The main thrust of the action was to oppose the numerous government attacks on the rights of women, youth, national minorities, immigrants and workers, and to salute all those rising in resistance. As Code Pink put it, those gathered made an "unwavering collective pledge" to carry forward the struggle against the Bush agenda. A "funeral procession" led by the jazz band depicted the death of US democracy while celebrating the growing movement of the people.

Participants marched from Dupont Circle to join those marching from Malcolm X Park, with both actions merging at McPherson Square, near the White House. The rally at Malcolm X Park, organised by DC Anti-War Network (DAWN) represented perhaps the broadest convergence space, bringing together thousands of youth, anti-war activists, political activists, Iraq war veterans, teachers, religious and civil rights activists, African Americans, workers, seniors and others, all united as one against war and for democracy that favours the people. They represented the consciousness spreading across the US for Free and Fair Elections NOW! Various speakers and banners emphasised that, "the power to change the world is not in the hands of Bush, the Democrats, or anyone else, it is in our hands, the hands of people everywhere".

Many creative hand-made signs and puppets were seen throughout the march, as well as hundreds of coffins lined up symbolising all those dead at the hands of US imperialism. Musicians and artists made their presence known, including the many performers who wrote and performed their own work. Everyone had a strong sense of the scope and strength of the unity being developed by standing together with the peoples of the world in rejecting the Bush agenda of more war and repression. The fight to stand together despite efforts by police to separate and corral protesters was also reflected in the fact that speakers from Code Pink and others at the Dupont Circle march participated in the Malcolm X event and vice-versa. A lively march followed the rally, stretching for blocks and receiving support from passers-by.

The third rally, organised by the International ANSWER coalition took place at the bleachers on the parade route at 4th and Pennsylvania. Numerous speakers, including veterans and military families denounced the war while union representatives also addressed the attacks on workers' rights and healthcare. Lawyers spoke to the government efforts to block the protest altogether and the continuing fight on this front. ANSWER reports that many people were also blocked at the checkpoints surrounding the parade route.

In defence of the public's right to participate in the inauguration, about 2,000 youth who had participated in the march from Malcolm X Park tore down portions of the police fencing along Pennsylvania Ave. The youth said they organised to break through the police barricade so they could take their stand on the parade route and protect public places for the public. They rejected the actions of the government to close off a 100-block area surrounding the parade route and force everyone to go through metal detectors and searches at military-style checkpoints. The youth rejected the military face Bush displayed to the world for his inauguration and arose instead for the right of the public to freely participate in public events and express their dissent.

Many participants reported spending hours in line at the checkpoints, manned variously by Secret Service, other federal police agencies and national guardsmen. Other individuals who got through the checkpoints were then forcibly removed by police when they booed and heckled Bush as he passed. Capitol police reported at least five arrests, including one protester who briefly interrupted Bush's inaugural speech, yelling: "Where are the poor? Did you ship them out of town?"

Among the many other actions were those organised by Turn Your Back on Bush, which successfully organised hundreds of people to get through the police checkpoints and then stand and turn their backs as the Bush motorcade went past. Many of these protesters commented that people had succeeding in lining the parade route, heckling, booing, throwing snow balls and golf balls at Bush's limousine. They also pointed out that no one actually saw Bush along the route, as a phalanx of SUVs and limousines with blackened windows was all that was visible. The youth pointed out that it showed the character of US democracy when the president, at his public inauguration, has to make a show of military force, surround himself with an estimated 8,500 soldiers and police and then hide from the American people the entire length of the parade.

Also as part of the actions, Billionaires for Bush enacted the auctioning off of Social Security and the Arctic Wildlife Reserve to the highest bidders. "Pissed Off Voters from Ohio" depicted the "Torture Fraternity" and put on a show for marchers. A Critical Mass bike ride took place in the morning, with riders going past the DC convergence centre and Indymedia offices to show their support. At the swearing-in ceremony, members of Code-Pink succeeded in getting a banner past the checkpoints and unfurled it, demanding "Bring the Troops Home". Along the route were many homemade signs, including those from military families and those opposed to election fraud. "Military Families Are Grieving While You Celebrate," said one.

It is reported that this inauguration was the most militarised in the history of the US. Some $20 million were spent on security in addition to $40 million spent inaugural balls and other related events. About 6,000 uniformed and undercover police and 2,500 troops were deployed along the 1.7-mile parade route, as well as anti-aircraft missiles within range of the Capitol building.

Despite this effort to keep people from converging and building their unity, it was the spirit of united defiance and resistance that prevailed. The military face of Bush was countered by the broad stand of the people for rights. The demonstrators vigorously represented the stand of Americans and the peoples of the world: No Mandate for War and Repression! Free and Fair Elections Now!

Article Index



Boldly Step Up the Fight for Rights

All Together Against the Tsunami of Bush Reaction!

- Statement Issued by the US Marxist-Leninist Organisation,

Washington, DC, January 20, 2005 -

The warning signs are clear and abundant: a completely military face for the inauguration of a civilian president installed through fraudulent elections, continued war and occupation of Iraq, open threats of military attack against Iran, plans for permanent detentions of any branded a "suspected terrorist," promotion of Alberto Gonzales, architect of elimination of rule of law and use of torture, to Attorney General – so he can oversee imposing "rule by Dictator Bush" inside the US. 

There is no doubt the tsunami is coming and coming rapidly. The election of Bush represents a brutal tidal wave of reaction in the making as US imperialism seeks desperately to hold onto its failing system. The difference with this man-made disaster is that we are in a position to prepare and mount our defences. Indeed, the task facing all those standing for humanity is to make certain that as US reaction builds we do everything possible to throw obstacles in its path and unite with all those doing the same, here and abroad. And we together prepare for the reality that when the tsunami crashes full force, US imperialism does not bring humanity down with it – that it does not succeed in washing away all the progress and advances humanity has given rise to. This is what is at stake, this is the great significance of each and every battle waged against Bush reaction. This is the necessity to boldly step up the struggle to defend the rights of all. It is the work of everyone together, all our struggles, our united resistance to reaction that is our basis for security, our best defence. Let us Build a Bulwark Against Reaction!

We here in the US have been contributing to the fight for progress. We each have more bricks to contribute to the building of a mighty wall against the tsunami of US reaction. Let us together focus now on ensuring that all the bricks are brought together, that more and more people are brought into the fight and that no one is left to stand alone. Strengthening organisation at all levels and forging our united actions will serve to do this. 

The actions here today capture the spirit of Americans that We Do Not Concede to Bush Reaction and we will advance our fight. Our contributions can be seen in the broad array of people here today, from many fronts of struggle, all united to defend each other and our rights. It can be seen in the almost non-stop actions since the November elections and the many actions against war and for rights before that. Bush is blatantly presenting to the world a completely military face for his inauguration, complete with check-points, police and their machine-guns on the streets, snipers on the roofs, military troops in the parade and at the command centres. We here today, organised, active, standing together for rights, are showing the face of the American people. We represent the will of the American people and we together say the war in Iraq is unacceptable, torture is unacceptable, indefinite detentions are unacceptable, fascist dictate with its rule of men instead of laws, with its concentration camps, with its racism and crimes will not pass! 

One of the key battles unfolding at this time is the struggle against the fraud of the 2004 elections. A very broad number of people from various fronts of struggles and viewpoints are joining in this fight. Consciousness has reached the point where the stand is not only that the elections are a fraud, but US democracy is a fraud. The conclusion is being drawn that US rulers cannot deliver free and fair elections, not here, not in Iraq, not anywhere. The demand being raised is for Free and Fair Elections Now! This battle is exposing the US system as a fraud and making it more difficult for the US to present itself to the world as a model of democracy. Stepping up this battle and insuring it persists is a vital way to throw a significant obstacle in the path of US imperialism.

The US Marxist-Leninist Organisation salutes everyone here and all those contributing to these many battles for rights. It is up to each and everyone together, across the US and around the world, to defend humanity and open the door to progress. Let us all together step up the resistance! By boldly stepping up the struggle for the rights of all here and abroad we can provide for our security while ensuring there is no peace on the homefront for US imperialism.

All Together Now! Build the Bulwark Against Reaction!

 

Article Index



As US President Raises His Right Hand, the World Gives Him a Thumbs Down

Washington, January 21, Radio Havana Cuba

As US President George W. Bush raised his right hand to take the oath of office on Thursday, the world gave him a resounding 'thumbs down.' According to a major international poll, the vast majority of the world's people are concerned that Bush's Second Coming is likely to produce more setbacks to the cause of world peace and security.

The survey of nearly 22,000 people in 21 countries, conducted by GlobeScan with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), found that pessimists about Bush's impact on global security outnumbered optimists by more than a two-to-one margin.

Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan, said that "the research makes very clear that the re-election of President Bush has further isolated America from the world". He added that unless the administration changes its approach in its second round, the White House "will continue to erode America's ability to effectively influence world affairs".

Fifty-eight percent of the respondents predicted that Bush's re-election would be bad for international peace and security, compared to only 26 percent who thought it would be good. The mammoth poll, which was conducted in each country during December, also found that 42 percent of respondents worldwide said Bush's Second Coming had made them feel worse about the US people, compared to 25 percent who said it made them feel better, and 23 percent who said it made no difference.

Global sentiment also appeared to be overwhelmingly negative about the US-led military operations in Iraq. Seventy percent of the respondents said they were opposed to their countries contributing troops to the operation. In no country – including those that are presently sending troops to Iraq – did either a majority or plurality of respondents say they thought their country should contribute troops.

The poll, which covered Washington's closest allies in Western Europe and East Asia, as well as several South American countries, Mexico, South Africa, Lebanon, Russia, Turkey, Australia, South Africa, China and India, comes amid indications of growing concerns about Iraq, in particular, at home.

The Los Angeles Times earlier this week released its own poll that found that the percentage of US citizens who believe Iraq was "worth going to war over" has sunk to a new low of 39 percent, down from 44 percent last October, one month before the presidential elections. Fifty-six percent of the US people now believe that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

Article Index



Fireworks in Washington, despair around the world:

The Bush Administration Is in Denial about its Disastrous Failure in Iraq

Robin Cook, January 21, 2005, The Guardian

Inauguration does not do justice to the exuberant celebrations of this week. Coronation would come closer. Washington ended yesterday with nine official balls. The night before George Bush gave a new spin to the phrase moveable feast by fitting in three separate banquets. He then expended as much ordnance in peppering the sky over the Capitol with fireworks as would get his occupation forces in Iraq through a whole 24 hours. The contrasts between this uninhibited triumphalism and the real world are as wide as the American continent. One visible contrast was provided by the demonstrators camping out on the streets to protest at such extravagant waste by an administration waging its own jihad on programmes against poverty on the grounds that the federal budget cannot afford welfare. Yesterday, Bush gave a new spin on welfare cuts by presenting them as progress to an ownership society. The thousands of wealthy donors to the campaign to re-elect the president who turned up at those dinners adore this concept of an ownership society in which they get hefty tax cuts paid for by the poor who get their budgets cuts.

Then there is the sharp contrast between the self-indulgent hubris of the festivity and the fragile political victory which it celebrated. Bush was re-elected by the smallest margin in 100 years of those presidents who won a second term. His approval ratings this week are the lowest ever plumbed by any president at the date of his inauguration. But among the balls, banquets and bangs there was not a hint of the humility that would be the essential starting point for a process of healing the deep political division of his nation. The message of the jubilations could not be clearer. He won another four years and was going to enjoy them, while the other side lost and was going to have to put up with it.

Lastly there is the biggest contrast of all between the smug complacency of the administration over its electoral victory and the disastrous military failure of its adventure in Iraq. Since George Bush was re-elected over 200 more US soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Each new day brings another 70 attacks on the occupation forces as the territory dominated by the insurgents expands and the area which the occupiers can safely patrol shrinks. This week a senior Kurdish leader, although a supporter of the occupation, admitted that for a lot of its citizens, "the Iraqi government exists only on television".

The lawless background to the forthcoming elections has imposed whole new dimensions to the concept of a secret ballot. Most of the candidates will remain a secret lest they are assassinated. Polling stations are kept secret by the authorities lest they are blown up before election day in a week's time.

Iraq was the flagship project of the Bush administration and has turned into its greatest disaster. Yesterday's jollities cannot conceal the brutal truth that they neither know how to make the occupation succeed nor how to end it without leaving an even worse position behind. And, God help us, thanks to the unshakeable loyalty of our prime minister, we are left trapped in Basra shamed by the latest pictures of prisoner abuse and dependent for any shift of strategy on decisions taken in Washington by an administration that has repeatedly ignored British advice since its first monumental blunder of disbanding the Iraqi army.

A successful search for a new strategy can only start with a recognition that the present strategy has comprehensively failed. But the Bush administration II that took office yesterday is stuffed with people who are in denial about the dire situation of their forces occupying Iraq. In the couple of months since election day, George Bush has promoted the very people who thought conquering Iraq was a good idea and eased out anyone with a record of worrying about the consequences. Thus Condoleezza Rice, who was author of the alarmist claim that Saddam could produce a mushroom cloud, replaces Colin Powell, who warned the president that if he broke Iraq he would own the process of putting it back together again.

Perhaps wisely, those who crafted yesterday's inauguration speech hit the erase button any time the word Iraq crept into the text. Sinai and the Temple Mount got walk-on parts to provide biblical flavouring, but no location of contemporary controversy in the region got a mention. The only hint in the speech that there might be a war going on was a reverential reference to the sacrifice and service of US troops. Piquantly, at this point the television cameras cut away to a shot of Dick Cheney looking suitably solemn, neatly reminding the informed viewer of the humbug of a president and vice-president thanking US troops for facing dangers in Iraq which they took care to avoid for themselves in Vietnam.

Not that Iraq was unusual in being left out of the script. There were no specifics about anything else, either. Instead, we were invited to drift along with a stream of generalities, untroubled by hard problems or real-world solutions. Freedom and liberty are universal values. The founding fathers of the US constitution, admirable though they may have been, do not hold patent rights over those concepts. They are embedded in the roots of the separate tradition of European social democracy and we must not let George Bush appropriate them to provide an ideological cover for his new imperialism.

Nor should we accept the implicit assumption of Bush's muscular foreign policy that freedom can be delivered from 38,000ft through the bomb doors. One of the rare passages of the speech when Bush appeared animated by his own text, rather than engaged in formal recitation, was when he saluted the declaration of independence and the sounding of the liberty bell. But those were celebrations of freedom from foreign dominance - not to put too fine a point on it, independence from the British. He needs to grasp that other nations are just as attached to freedom from foreign intervention, including domination by America.

The president and his speechwriters have yet to confront the tension between their rhetoric about freedom, which is universally popular, and their practice of projecting US firepower, which is resented in equal measure. That explains why, on the very day when the president set forward his mission to bring liberty to the world, a poll revealed that a large majority of its inhabitants believe that he will actually make it more dangerous. The first indication of whether they are right to worry will be whether the Bush administration mediate their differences with Iran through the state department or through the US air force.

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UN General Assembly Marks 60th Anniversary of Liberation of Nazi Death Camps

UN News Service, 24 January 2005

With everlasting regret for the past and "never again" resolve for the future, the United Nations today commemorated the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, symbol of the Holocaust that slaughtered at least 6 million Jews and others in World War II.

"It is, above all, a day to remember not only the victims of past horrors, whom the world abandoned, but also the potential victims of present and future ones," Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the 191-member General Assembly during its first-ever special commemorative session, noting that the United Nations itself was born out of the ashes of the Holocaust.

"Such an evil must never be allowed to happen again. We must be on the watch for any revival of anti-Semitism and ready to act against the new forms of it that are appearing today," he added, paying homage, too, to other groups slaughtered by Nazi Germany, including the Roma people, Slavs, Soviet prisoners of war, the handicapped, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals.

"But the tragedy of the Jewish people was unique," he stressed. "An entire civilisation, which had contributed far beyond its numbers to the cultural and intellectual riches of Europe and the world, was uprooted, destroyed, laid waste."

Turning to more recent cases of genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, Mr. Annan declared: "On occasions such as this, rhetoric comes easily. We rightly say ‘never again.’ But action is much harder. Since the Holocaust the world has, to its shame, failed more than once to prevent or halt genocide."

He noted that even today "terrible things" are happening in Darfur, Sudan, where tens of thousands of people have died and nearly 2 million have been uprooted in fighting between the Government, pro-government militias and rebels. Tomorrow, he expected to receive an international report determining whether this constitutes genocide.

The commemoration comes three days before the actual anniversary of the liberation by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945 of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp which, with its gas ovens and crematoria, came to epitomise more than any other the horror.

Before the day-long session, which began with one minute of silence, Mr. Annan and his wife, Nane, hosted a coffee reception for death camp survivors and other distinguished guests, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

Among the host of speakers at the session from all regions of the world were the Foreign Ministers of Israel and Germany, heirs to the two sides of the Holocaust.

The General Assembly President, Foreign Minister Jean Ping of Gabon, said the session was symbolic because, through it, the international community could finally, together, "exorcise the tragedy of the Holocaust and, by so doing, express its firm will to condemn to eternal failure tyranny and barbaric behaviour wherever that was displayed."

Brian Urquhart, a former UN Under-Secretary-General who was among the first Allied troops to reach the Bergen-Belsen death camp, told the session the inhuman conditions of the starving, broken and traumatised prisoners had to be seen to be believed. "The dead and dying were everywhere," he said. "Who could imagine such horrors?" Like many other speakers, he raised the rallying cry of "never again."

Mr. Wiesel said Auschwitz was "an executioner's ideal of a kingdom of absolute evil and malediction." But he looked to the present and future, too, calling for the trial and punishment of those who today preach and practice the cult of death and use suicide terrorism. "The past is in the present, but the future is still in our hands," he declared.

For his part, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said it was not too late to work for an international community that is uncompromising in combating intolerance against people of all faiths and ethnicities. "Let all of us gathered here pledge never to forget the victims, never to abandon the survivors, and never to allow such an event ever to be repeated," he urged.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said the UN was ideally suited for genocide prevention since no other organisation had so much experience in conflict prevention and the promotion and protection of human rights. "Precisely because genocide never happens entirely without warning, we have to work on combating its harbingers," he declared.

Ambassador AG Ravan Farhadi of Afghanistan, speaking on behalf of the Asian Group, said while the General Assembly was commemorating the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, it was high time, based on the lessons learned from that tragedy, to emphasise the central role of the United Nations in ensuring a system of genuine global security and promoting human rights and general human progress, in the face of the new threats and challenges.

Speaking on behalf of the Eastern European Group, Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria said the Holocaust was a vivid example of the fact that when one minority was persecuted all minorities were threatened, and when all minorities were threatened everybody was threatened. Remembering that political and, above all, moral catastrophe of the past was the best way to fight the evils of the present, he added.

Ambassador Manuel Acosta Bonilla of Honduras, speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean States, said it was important to ensure that genocide and other crimes against humanity and international humanitarian law must be confronted with comprehensive and powerful global legal measures. To that end, the creation of an international legal system and the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) had been established had been important steps towards achieving that goal. "We cannot leave such tragic and dark legacies to our children," he said.

Portuguese Ambassador João Salgueiro, speaking on behalf of the Western European and Other States Group, called on the Assembly to once again renew the vows of its foundation, "in particular to reaffirm our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of all men and women and of all nations large and small."

Guinean Ambassador Alpha Ibrahima Sow also spoke on behalf of the African Group.

After the session, Mr. Annan and Mr. Shalom were to formally open an exhibition entitled "Auschwitz - the Depth of the Abyss" in the northeast gallery of the General Assembly Visitors' Lobby.

The exhibit is comprised of two parts: the Auschwitz Album, consisting of the only surviving visual evidence of mass murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau from photos taken in May or June 1944 by an SS man of the selection process in which the fit were sent to work and the rest to the gas chambers; and Private Tolkatchev at Gates of Hell, the paintings by Ukrainian artist Zinovii Tolkatchev of the horrors of Majdanek extermination camp.

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