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April protests show the potential for bigger fights ahead
Building the new resistance

April 13, 2001 | Page 3

DUBYA IS acting like he owns Washington. But his new home is going to look a lot different on the morning of April 22. Thousands are headed to Washington for the Emergency March for Women's Lives to defend a woman's right to choose abortion.

Called by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and others, the march aims to challenge Bush's efforts to restrict abortion rights and undermine the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. "We will not go back to days of back-alley abortions where women will die," vowed Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Grassroots networks of women and men are organizing to go to Washington from all over the eastern half of the U.S. NOW President Patricia Ireland has gotten enthusiastic turnouts on her tour of college campuses to build the protest.

"We must become active now," New York University student activist Jennifer Johnson said at Ireland's forum there. "We must combine our intelligence, our creativity, our energy and our bodies to fight these people and protect our rights."

And while that fire is starting in Bush's backyard, thousands of other U.S. activists will chase Dubya to the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, Canada, on April 20 and 21. Together with activists and unionists from Canada and throughout the Americas, they'll challenge the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)--Bush's bid to turn the Western Hemisphere into a giant NAFTA, dominated by Washington.

Other demonstrations against the FTAA will take place at several points along the U.S.-Canada border--and on the U.S.-Mexico border near Tijuana. In Chicago, the United Steelworkers of America will join with student, community and religious organizations for a rally to defend jobs against corporate globalization.

All this is a sign of wider opposition to Bush and his motley crew of millionaires, oil barons, union-busters and anti-abortion fanatics. Some 30,000 people turned out to protest his inauguration in Washington on January 20--the biggest such demonstration since 1973.

Since then, Dubya's gotten a free ride from the Democrats and the corporate media to make him seem "legitimate" and "presidential." But their PR can't hide the fact that Bush stole the White House and that a majority of people are opposed to--and angry about--his policies. By turning that anger into action, we can unite the fight to stop Bush and the corporate agenda he represents.

The protests on April 21 and 22 are just the beginning. Activists need to return from Washington and the FTAA demonstrations to organize in their communities, on their campuses and in their unions.

It's time to revive the old slogan of the great Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass: "Without struggle, there is no progress."

We have a world to win

THE PROTESTS against corporate globalization and Bush's assault on women's rights aren't the only fightbacks taking place today.

New civil rights activism has taken shape to challenge the racism of the criminal injustice system--from racial profiling by cops to the barbarism of the death penalty. Labor activists have been building solidarity with Charleston, S.C., dockworkers, who are threatened with jail and massive fines for defending their union.

One growing grassroots effort is building solidarity with Palestinians resisting Israel's barbaric repression. Another is seeking to overturn the murderous U.S./UN sanctions on Iraq.

These issues are all different aspects of a world system with an iron logic at its core--that the resources of society are used to maximize the wealth of a tiny few, no matter what the toll in human and environmental terms. We need a different kind of society--a socialist society based on human need rather than corporate greed, where exploitation and oppression are abolished and democracy flourishes.

We in the International Socialist Organization think that's a world worth fighting for. We hope you'll join us. Because there's a world to win.

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