Mass Protests Greets Bush And Republican Convention

THE REPUBLICAN National Convention has invaded New York City. George
Bush and company are meeting four miles from the site of the 9/11 terror
attacks, just two weeks before the third year anniversary of the attacks.

Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, New York City

Bush is attempting to exploit the tragedy that New Yorkers faced in
order to win votes. It’s clear that Bush has no chance of winning New York
State, but his cynical use of genuine grief to get votes is intended to
have an impact in ‘Middle America’. However, those against the Bush agenda
also made an impression.

The convention has been met with powerful protests. The massive
demonstration on Sunday 29 August attracted an extremely diverse crowd of
least 500,000 people protesting the Bush agenda. This was the biggest
political protest in New York in a generation. It took many hours for the
crowd to pass Madison Square Garden where the convention is being held.
There would actually have been more people on the march but the march
route was not announced until a few days prior due to a court battle with
the city over the use of Central Park.

Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg also tried to frighten protesters
away with a lot of talk about "terrorist threats" and the
arrival of dangerous "anarchists". He went as far as to declare
that protest is a "privilege". Ordinary people were not
dissuaded, however, and took to the streets in scorching heat to show
their opposition to the occupation of Iraq and the war on working people,
immigrants, people of color and women at home.

Despite comparisons to the Democratic Party convention in Chicago in
1968, when anti-war protestors were brutally attacked by police and the
National Guard, Sunday’s march passed off relatively peacefully. However,
police have attacked some of the smaller protests that have been organised,
particularly by "critical mass" environmentalists, resulting in
hundreds of arrests, often for trivial offences.

Kerry – no alternative

MOST OF the people at these events are planning to vote for US Senator
John Kerry as a way to defeat Bush. However, Kerry represents many of the
same policies as Bush. For instance, Kerry voted for the war in Iraq; he
also states that, if elected, he wants to send even more troops to Iraq.

Kerry also voted for the USA Patriot Act, a massive attack on civil
liberties, that has resulted in the detention of hundreds of

On economic issues, Kerry is not to be trusted by working people. He is
the richest member of the US Senate which is a notorious ‘millionaires’
club’, and he would be one of the richest presidents in US history. He has
a long record of voting for "free trade" agreements like NAFTA,
which resulted in the layoffs of millions of US workers over the past four
years. Kerry has also promised that, if elected, he will balance the
federal budget, which is now running a huge deficit, "no matter what
it takes." This inevitably will mean further huge cuts in social

Socialist Alternative, the US counterpart of the Socialist Party,
intervened on Sunday’s march calling for a vote for the anti-war,
anti-corporate candidate, Ralph Nader. Although we faced some abuse at the
rally, there was an important section of people receptive to our ideas.

Socialist Alternative had a very lively contingent at the
demonstration, and we sold over 250 copies of our newspaper, Justice. In
the lead-up to the demonstrations, we handed out thousands of leaflets for
two public meetings which we held in the city.

Our second meeting, held on the day before the mass demonstration, was
entitled, "A Socialist World is Possible". Out of the hundreds
of events surrounding the convention, ours was the only one which made any
mention of socialism. Through our work, we were able to recruit new
members to Socialist Alternative in New York.

Millions are searching for an alternative to the failures of capitalism
both domestically and internationally. The next period will create major
opportunities for the development of independent working-class politics,
and indeed, for socialist ideas, in the United States.