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Wanted: More Than a Million in NYC to Deliver a Big NO to Bush and All That He Stands For

NEW YORK CITY--I fish 50 cents out of my pocket and the Arab man behind the counter puts a newspaper in a bag for me. The front photo shows a rubber-banded pile of U.S. bills being counted out by brown hands--$500 blood money to the family of each Iraqi the U.S. admits to having killed. Most of the victims will never be named or counted- -but in the photo you can make out the faces of the dead presidents on the bills. I think of the slave-owning presidents and the war-making presidents, and all the toil and exploitation around the world that those bills represent,

Wanted: More Than a Million in NYC to Deliver a Big NO to Bush and All That He Stands For

Revolutionary Worker #1247, July 25, 2004, posted at http://rwor.org

NEW YORK CITY--I fish 50 cents out of my pocket and the Arab man behind the counter puts a newspaper in a bag for me. The front photo shows a rubber-banded pile of U.S. bills being counted out by brown hands--$500 blood money to the family of each Iraqi the U.S. admits to having killed. Most of the victims will never be named or counted- -but in the photo you can make out the faces of the dead presidents on the bills. I think of the slave-owning presidents and the war-making presidents, and all the toil and exploitation around the world that those bills represent, and I am horrified to say that all of this is being outdone today--by the born-again, genocidal president Bush and his team of world domination strategists Rumsfeld, Cheney and the rest.

For nearly three years now, they have cynically used New York City' loss on September 11 as their cloak and their mantle for carrying out crimes they had long before planned. And now, after having stolen the presidency in the first place, and then defying the will of the people repeatedly, they have the audacity to come to this city--as part of their "esteemed democratic process--to carry out their Republican National Convention. This must be exposed and opposed! There must be a gigantic, undeniable, unmistakable NO! to the whole Bush gang's worldwide juggernaut of war and repression. All across the country and all around the world, the people and the powerful must see that right here, in the home of the Twin Towers, more than a million take the streets to say "NO!"

The stakes for doing this are very high. The way this deadly gang of Republicans ignored the "rule-of- law" and grabbed the presidency was just the beginning as they disregard international law and grab for power all over the world. "You are with us or against us" they say--making clear to their allies, to the rest of the power structure of the U.S., and to the people they rule over that if you don't fall into their goose-step, they will target you too.

Even after millions took the streets from New York to Rome, from Mexico to Australia, Bush came out and said he wouldn't listen to "focus groups" and then he, and his team, proceeded to invade, destroy, and brutally occupy Iraq.

This has some people wondering if our resistance mattered and whether and how they will ever be stopped. It is painful to look at the work and struggle and sacrifice that went into the anti-war movement and confront the fact that the war went forward anyway. It hurts to think of the mothers who lost children or the prisoners who'll be haunted for life from the brutal sexual torture they were forced to endure and know that we weren't able to prevent it. It leaves you aching inside--longing for anything that might stop them.

It is this aching that the elections are meant to play off. "Your resistance didn't work, so instead go back to voting. If you don't like Bush, vote him out, this is how your voice will finally be heard."

And it's tempting.but what were people saying when millions took to the streets, hung banners and staged die-ins? When over 100 towns passed legislation refusing to enforce Ashcroft's Patriot Act? When internationally known poets turned down invitations to the White House and instead offered their words and their hearts to the people and our resistance? When Black and Latino youth, who live under the baton every day, defied billyclubs and pepper spray to stand with our sisters and brothers halfway around the world?

Wasn't that our voice? Wasn't our message clear and enormous? Who in power could miss it? And what about the Democrats--where were they then? Isn't it a fact that the Democrats refused to take a stand against the war or the repression--even though the people they claim to speak for obviously were against it, were begging them to oppose it--and isn't this a key reason why so many poured into the streets in the first place?! People realized that no one in power was listening and acted on the understanding that we had to take history into our own hands--and that was right! And it is even more urgent today!

So, why all the stir around the elections--what's the real offer being made? The Democrats want to harness the hatred Bush has engendered and argue that Kerry is the only "electable" contender. They know that many feel so angry and betrayed they'd vote for anybody but Bush. But what's really up here is that the U.S. rulers are trying to set certain terms with their elections. You can vote for whoever you want, but you can't cast a vote against the war and repression--because, the logic goes, in order to defeat Bush, you have to vote for Kerry. But to do this, you have to accept major parts of the whole Bush Agenda--because while the people were busy opposing this in a million ways, Kerry was busy voting right down the line to approve the war, to approve the Patriot Act, and now only brags that he could wage the war better.

This is because there is a consensus in the U.S. ruling class that it is time for the U.S. imperialists to grab for permanent planet-wide power -- to more fully penetrate world markets and to control critical resources of the global economy, thereby strengthening their position in relation to other imperialists. This is what they are trying to accomplish in Iraq and this is why they are willing to risk stirring up, and then trying to pound down, the people's resistance along the way--because they are united in their strategic goals to recast the whole world. There are serious concerns among the ruling class that the aggressive, unilateralist, program of the Bush team to recast the world through war will backfire -- that it will strengthen their rivals and touch off a wave of resistance that threatens the credibility of the ruling institutions in the country and internationally. But, in the wake of September 11, the Bush team has seized the initiative to carry out their wild ambitions, and they are fiercely determined to hang on to the reigns of power and press forward with their extreme agenda. So people need to look at the world as it is and what it will take to stop this juggernaut.

We too must think strategically and not be thrown by the fact that we haven't yet stopped them. We are in a fierce fight for the direction of the country and the planet, up against a calculating and cold-hearted agenda, and we are in the opening rounds. So we, too, must set terms, favorable to our side, that shape the way this fight unfolds. Not because we expect anyone in the power structure to listen to reason or the truth, but to bring the energy and determination of the masses onto the stage to defeat this terrible agenda. And denying this Bush program a mandate is a crucial part of that--so that when they claim to speak for us, or say that America is united, the whole country and planet are clear that we said, "NO!" So that everyone who hates what these monsters are doing, everywhere around the world, knows that there is an opposition that they need to strengthen and join.

*****

The truth is that Bush and his gang have been paying a big political price for the resistance that has hounded them all over the planet. And the more the U.S. has pushed forward with their brutal occupation, the more this has taken a toll on their credibility and legitimacy. They went to war without their allies and without even the fig-leaf of approval of the UN. Millions and millions of people around the world know the war was based on lies and against the will of the people and now the more it presses ahead, the more the anger boils.

This is what the rulers--and their two rival front-men, Bush and Kerry--seek to change through the election. They want and desperately need to be able to say--as they always do after an election--as they carry forward their horrors--"This is the will of the people! They voted for us and we are just carrying out their will."

On the one hand, they are trying to entice people with the Democrats--trying to lure back in all those who broke out of the normal confines of the acceptable political activity, only to be set up and demoralized once again.

And , on the other hand, they are trying to scare people out of the streets. As New York City braces itself for the Republican National Convention, every day the media carries new threats and distortions. They tell us the city is opening special holding areas so they can arrest record numbers, and the police display their force on the streets in "practice" drills in Manhattan. They tell people-- on the news-- to take their vacations during the RNC, to avoid the hassles...and the threats , they say, from terrorists and anarchists, implying they are the same thing.

So, first , they tell us not to protest, desperately trying to convince us that our voices will be better heard if we step solo into the ballot box. Then they viciously tell us we better not protest, or they'll be even more brutal in the streets than they've been in the past. And with that they try to whip up a mood where the millions who hate what is happening are too scared, and those who are determined enough are isolated, and meanwhile--they'll be freed up to keep rolling over the planet. These are the monsters who saw September 11 as an "opportunity" to launch brutal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq--whose pursuit of their global ambitions has unleashed forces all around the world who hate them, and now they whip up and play off the "fear factor" to try to prevent anyone from calling them out.

*****

But let's be real. I think again of the blood money that will never pay for the loss of Iraqi children, of the dead wrapped in plastic from Abu Ghraib prison, of the nameless held blindfolded in Guantánamo, of the immigrants rounded up and the Black youth pressed up against walls or shot down in the streets, of the wire-taps and police spies, and feds demanding lists of women who've had abortions, of the Christian foot-soldiers whipped up by Mel Gibson's ugly Passion , and I imagine how scary the world will be if this spreads--if they are allowed a free hand to continue. That is totally unacceptable; no short-term fear tactics or lies should be allowed to obscure this.

Besides, the future is not written yet and I believe our world's worth fighting for--and I know there are millions and millions who can be won to fight too. I close my eyes and see the young people pounding the pavement through urban streets, the librarians shredding records to protect people's privacy, the millions who have just gone to Michael Moore's movie. I think of the outpourings across oceans and continents and I hear Bob Avakian's voice, "We don't have to hide from the future because the future belongs to us if we dare to rise up." And I believe him!

And I know, because he taught me, that never does an empire more need the timid acquiescence of the people than they do at a time of war, when they are extending their reach, because even while they look their most vicious and powerful, in reality they are vulnerable. And I know, because he taught me, that "one of the things that leads to a revolutionary situation is that millions and millions of people feel the situation is intolerable. They want certain leaders at the top of society to lead them in doing something about it, but those leaders are not in position to and don't want to lead them in doing it so whom do they turn to? The people who are willing and determined to lead them to do it and to take it somewhere." And I know, and I've seen for myself, that Chairman Avakian is the leader who could do this and that if we spread his voice and influence, with his leadership we can take it somewhere that we'd all want to live!

So my mind races to the future--where our opposition has grown fiercer and more deeply rooted. Where we establish a dynamic that with every new lie and every new crime we call forward more outrage and more resistance. So that the more we oppose them, the more desperately they lash back, but the more they do this, the more outrage we bring forth. Where no longer is their use of force--around the world or at home against immigrants or the youth or the resistance in the streets--seen as justifiable, and this begins to undermine their ability to rule. And at the right time-- those who've been preparing can lead millions to rise up and claim the future.

And I think: NOW! Now is the time that the future gets shaped--the more powerfully we challenge them, the more trouble they'll have.

In particular, soon , just next month--when the cowboy in the White House comes to New York with his crew for a showdown, we must read our lines like the old black-and-white westerns and say to this whole vicious juggernaut, "There isn't room enough on this planet for the both of us." Just as they are trying to coax people back into their election trap, at the moment when the Bush gang seeks to reaffirm their course and strengthen its base of support--a raging river of humanity in the streets of New York City must rip off the coronation cloak and crown with a mighty NO! The would-be king of the twin-towers must be stripped of any right to claim that he speaks for or acts in our interests, or in our name.

We must issue a refusal--by more than a million--to live our lives as normal as long as "our" government continues to plunder the planet in illegitimate, immoral wars! A refusal--by more than a million--to sit by and let the machinery of elections and democracy "take its course"! A refusal-- by more than a million--to submit to the growing Christian fascist morals and enforcement at every level of society. A refusal--by more than a million--to stand by as Arabs, Muslims and South Asian are rounded up.

The NO! must be so massive, so determined that it cannot be hidden, denied or misrepresented.It must echo around the world helping break people out of the dead-end choices of McWorld and Jihad. It must resound within the halls of power, contributing to contradictions among the rulers which have not yet, but could potentially as things develop, deepen more fully into splits among them--making it harder for them to go forward, and hastening the conditions for them to be stopped. This NO! must reach people's ears and their hearts across the country--firming up their outrage and repudiation of the whole Bush program and calling forth more anger and opposition into the streets and throughout society as the rulers press forward with their crimes against the world.

I turn back to the newspaper I bought on the corner and at the end of the article I find a story which holds promise. A man named Hamed returns to the military office, walks up to the soldier behind the desk and he throws down his five $100 bills. He says, "It's no good and I won't accept any of it".and we must say that too. I picture again the legacy of those dead presidents. The millions dead in the middle passage, the whip and the auction block, the smallpox blankets handed out to the Native Americans, and the mass graves from Guatemala to El Salvador, from the Philippines to Vietnam, of the millions turned to shadows under the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I think--Let's have none of it, let's throw it all back!

What if we could be the ones to bring this bloody history to an end? What if Iraq was one of the last crimes they never get away with? What if now, in our resistance, we can begin their undoing? What if soon, in our lifetimes, people could taste a better world?

If we want that--we must fight for it. We must call forward all our strength, more than a million for whom every day seems like a nightmare. We must say--WAKE UP! The future is waiting!

Not "just a protest," not a "showing," or a token objection--but MORE THAN A MILLION in the most massive, most love-filled, most powerful outpouring this country has ever seen. Someday, they'll write songs about it--and remember it in legends. We must give them that chance--we must seize new ground on August 29, setting things in motion that can bring this agenda of horrors to a halt. A denial of the mandate that the rulers so desperately need. An obstacle in their path as they try to bludgeon the world. A promise--to our planet and to the future--that we will fight till we win. A gathering of strength so that one day soon we will.

 
 


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