Sunday, December 31, 2000

13 reasons to protest at Bush's inauguration on Jan. 20

On Saturday, Jan. 20, 2001, thousands of people will march and rally to protest at George W. Bush’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. We will be demonstrating against the incoming Bush administration and its racist, sexist, militaristic, anti-labor and pro-big business policies. Bush claims to be a "compassionate conservative," but his real "compassion" is reserved for the giant pharmaceutical, oil, banking and other corporations.

We call for a profound social transformation, to a society where people’s needs come before profits, where every person has the right to a good-paying job, decent housing, healthcare, education, childcare and a clean environment. We cannot rely on the Democratic Party—

Clinton led the charge in demolishing social welfare programs, bombing Yugoslavia and keeping the deadly sanctions against Iraq—or on the corrupt corporate elections.

Only a mass people’s movement can bring real change, as has always been true. Jan. 20 can be an important step in building this movement, one which links together workers, students, people of all nationalities, women, lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgendered people, immigrants, the disabled, seniors and youth.

There are many reasons to join the Jan. 20 Counter-Inaugural protests.

    Here are a few:

    1. Bush will become President only due to massive racist disenfranchisement and voting fraud. Not only in Florida, but across the country, African American votes were disproportionately thrown out. Hundreds of thousands of potential voters, especially in Black, Latino, Native American and poor white communities, have been permanently disenfranchised (forbidden to vote) for ever having been convicted of a felony. In predominantly African American neighborhoods from Atlanta to Chicago to Miami, outmoded technology and intimidation led to votes being disqualified 20-25 times as often as in adjoining white suburbs. Afraid to be accused of rocking the boat, the pro-system Democratic Party leadership refused to raise the issue of racism during the re-count process.

    2. Gov. Death is moving to Washington. As governor of Texas, Bush presided over more executions —152 —than took place in the other 49 states combined during that time. The death penalty is racist and anti-poor—it must be abolished. On Jan. 20, we will call for freedom for death row activist, author and prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, Native American leader Leonard Peltier, and all political prisoners. Bush and his chief law enforcement official, Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft, are rabidly pro-execution. Ashcroft has also been posed as a glorifier of the Confederate slaveowners during the Civil War in recent news articles. He has a warm relationship with the infamously reactionary Bob Jones University, which has banned interracial dating and which last year awarded Ashcroft an honorary degree. Ashcroft is also on record opposing all government-funded drug treatment program, calling people trapped in drug addiction "the lowest and the least." How "compassionate" can you get?

    3. We must mobilize now to defend women’s right to choose. The new Bush administration is anti-women and anti-choice. Women’s right to abortion and birth control, was won in the streets and it must be defended in the streets. Bush and his Attorney General John Ashcroft are both on record as favoring a constitutional amendment banning women’s right to choose. Bush and Ashcroft are "pro-life," but only until birth, after that they’re "pro-death." (See point #2). Ashcroft is opposed to abortion even in cases of rape, incest or where a woman’s life is in danger.

    4. We need funding for universal healthcare, free education, affordable housing, heat and light, childcare and union jobs, not for the Pentagon. In the richest economy that has ever existed, the basic needs of the entire population could easily be met. Instead of going to meet human needs, however, hundreds of billions of dollars annually are spent on destructive and wasteful militarism. The U.S. already has a bigger military budget than the rest of the UN Security Council combined. Now, Bush wants to vastly increase military spending including building the so-called "National Missile Defense System" (NMDS). The NMDS is really an offensive, rather than defensive, system, and is an essential element in a first-strike nuclear war strategy. The Pentagon, which has spent a mind-boggling $4 trillion on nuclear weapons to date, has always refused to renounce the first-strike use of nuclear weapons. A major obstacle to nuclear war has been the fear of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD): the idea that if one country launched its missiles, it too would be destroyed by a nuclear counter-attack. The appeal of a "missile defense system" to the nuclear war strategists in the Pentagon is that the NMDS could shoot down most of the incoming missiles, thus making it feasible to launch a first-strike nuclear war. This horrific plan would mean hundreds of billions in new profits for the military-industrial corporations, while threatening the whole world with destruction. Both Bush and his new Secretary of Defense (War) Donald Rumsfeld are ardent supporters of NMDS.

    5. The genocidal sanctions on Iraq must be ended. New Secretary of State Colin Powell, in his first speech, talked of "re-energizing the sanctions on Iraq." The sanctions/blockade has already taken more than 1.5 million Iraqi lives, half of them children under the age of five. Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney, James Baker and other George W. advisors launched the Gulf war 10 years ago during the regime of George Bush I. Clinton carried on the sanctions and bombing throughout his eight-year term, and now the new Bush team wants to further step up the war against Iraq.

    6. Stop U.S. intervention in Colombia & all of Latin America. The incoming Bush national security team wants to escalate U.S. intervention in Colombia beyond even Clinton’s Plan Colombia. And it’s not just Colombia—there is also the threat of wider intervention in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico and Argentina, where people are rising up against the domination of the IMF, World Bank and U.S. corporate domination. We must act now to stop a new Vietnam War in Latin America.

    7. The incoming Bush administration is filled with viciously homophobic bigots who want to turn back the clock on gains won by lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and transgendered people. Bush is allied with the bigoted religious and non-religious extreme right who want to deny equal rights to lesbians and gay men, and force them back into the closet.

    8. The Forty Years War against Cuba must end. Bush, like the nine presidents before him, wants to turn Cuba back into a colony of the U.S. as it was before the 1959 revolution. It is time to end the blockade and aggression against a small neighboring country and let Cuba live in peace.

    9. The Bush administration wants to speed up environmental destruction for the sake of corporate profits. Under Gov. Bush, Texas ranked 50th among states in air quality and 1st in toxic polluters, toxic releases, carcinogens in the air and 13 other polluting categories. Bush put polluting industry representatives in charge of the state’s Natural Resources Conservation Council (Texas’ version of the EPA). Bush and his new Interior Secretary Gale Norton want to open the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve to oil drilling, just a hint of what is to come unless we mobilize now. Norton advocates "self-auditing," meaning allowing corporations to monitor themselves on whether they are meeting environmental requirements.

    10. Support an independent homeland for the Palestinian people. The U.S. has given Israel hundreds of billions of dollars in aid over the past 50 years, aid used to repress the Palestinians. The U.S. government and Israel are acting as a team against the Palestinians. There will be no peace in the Middle East until there is justice for the Palestinian people.

    11. End U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico—U.S. Navy out of Vieques! The Bush administration’s plan for military expansion includes keeping the island of Vieques as a bombing range. Many Puerto Rican people have been killed or injured, and the environment and economy of Vieques have suffered much destruction. Now is the time to support the Puerto Rican people in their struggle to get the Pentagon out.

    12. Shut down the prison-industrial complex! The U.S. has 5 percent if the world's population and 25 percent of the world's prison population. This amounts to over 2 million people, a majority of them African American, Native and Latino. Prisons are all about brutal repression and super-exploitation against the poor and people of color, not rehabilitation. The economic basis for all of this repression is profits. Wall Street firms and banks invested an estimated $41 billion into the expansion of private prisons last year. Prisoners are forced to work for slave wages for high tech, manufacturing and service companies. Under the Clinton/ Gore administration, more prisons were built than universities. The Bush administration plans to continue this trend. A national movement must be built to shut down these concentration camps. Our youths need union jobs and good schools, not incarceration.

    13. We will march on Jan. 20 to say NO to the anti-worker Bush regime.

Volunteers and donations urgently needed!
Call, write or email us today. Checks can be written to "IAC/Jan. 20 Mobilization."

January 20th Counter-Inaugural Mobilization
International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011
phone: 212 633-6646
fax: 212 633-2889

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