Archive article from The Socialist Issue 408
Fighting Bush's war machine
AS SUPPORT for Bush's imperialist adventure in Iraq continues to fall, Socialist Alternative (the Socialist Party's US counterpart) is raising the call to rebuild a mass, combative anti-war movement. TY MOORE reports.
Even before Cindy Sheehan set up camp outside Bush's Texas ranch in August - capturing world headlines for her stand against the war - our small forces had launched a campaign for national student walkouts against the war on 2 November, the anniversary of Bush's 're-election'.
We are linking the walkout to our drive to kick military recruiters out of high schools. To avoid losing federal funding, public schools are forced to allow military recruiters nearly unfettered access to our nation's youth. Of course, the recruiters target schools and working-class neighbourhoods where young people face a bleak future of dead-end jobs or unemployment.
To combat this, Socialist Alternative is launching "Youth Against War and Racism" clubs in high schools across the country. Aside from building for the 2 November walkout, YAWR organises anti-war stalls and protests next to recruiters whenever the military sets up shop in their lunchrooms. The aim is to kick the recruiters out of our high schools by creating an overwhelmingly inhospitable environment every time they dare to show up.
HURRICANE KATRINA hit the Gulf Coast just as high schools and colleges were re-opening for fall classes. Undoubtedly these events radicalised many students, who are drawing the connections between the war in Iraq and US capitalism's callous disregard for working people's welfare at home. This is particularly true among Black youth.
Across the country, Socialist Alternative held public meetings on the political lessons of Katrina. Our meeting on Katrina at the University of Massachusetts, Boston - a working-class commuter school - was the biggest event we've ever held there. Two-thirds of the 80 attendees were Black. The response was very positive to our demand for a working-class solution to the refugee crisis and for system change. Several people joined our organisation on the spot.
We are calling for an immediate end to the war in Iraq and for redirecting the hundreds of billions spent there to relief and reconstruction. Working people should not have to pay the costs through cuts in our social programmes.
We also call for an end to the racism and class discrimination in the relief and rebuilding efforts. Bush is funnelling billions of reconstruction money into the pockets of Halliburton, Bechtel, and other notorious corporate allies (see below).
Socialist Alternative is demanding that all relief money should be placed under the control of committees elected from the affected communities and the relief workers themselves.
The anti-war movement is on the rise. The 24 September demonstrations in Washington, DC and cities across the country will be a turning point. Socialist Alternative will mobilise for Washington DC on 24 September, while organising interventions at the local demos as well.
As we argued from the beginning, the crisis in Iraq combined with Bush's war on workers at home, would inevitably produce a mass movement of resistance and a burning desire for fundamental changes in US society. The huge events of recent weeks show our perspectives are already being confirmed, and at a pace faster than many of us dared to guess.