From Communist Voice #28, January 2002:
About the Bordentown Anti-War Group
. The Bordentown Anti-War Group is opposed to the war preparations, propaganda and underlying goals of the U. S. government in regards to the current terrorism crisis. We also condemn the role the media has played as a cheerleader for war-mongering and jingoism. We seek to educate the public in our area and beyond about the long history of US military and economic incursions into the Middle East and elsewhere, and how that history lies behind the causes of the current crisis. We also want to educate the public about the disastrous consequences of this war to the civil rights and security of the American people. To do this, we have established a website to help coordinate information, we hold regular discussion group meetings, and we seek to connect and work with other anti-war and anti-imperialist groups.
. (More about the BAWG of New Jersey can be found at < www.anti-imperialism.org >. )
Statement of the Bordentown Anti-War Group October 2001
. The terrorist atrocity of Sept. 11 caused thousands of deaths. These attacks were an act of mass slaughter which showed a savage disregard for life. They violated all standards of humanity and must be condemned by all progressive people.
. But where did these attacks come from? Are they simply the acts of "evil-doers" ? No, these terrorists are former allies of the U. S. government, funded and trained and encouraged since the Reagan government. Bush has given us a choice between supporting the terrorists, or supporting the U.S. war. We say no to the choice we have been given -- no to terrorism AND no to imperialism
. The Bush administration's war is not aimed at ending terrorism, but monopolizing it. Terrorism has been and continues to be an essential tool of U.S. imperialism around the world; for example in Colombia where the U.S. trained and directed death-squads kill thousands, in the Middle East where the U.S. supports Israel's terror campaigns against the Palestinians, and in Afghanistan before the current crisis. And there are many more. When U.S.-trained terrorists turn against U. S. interests for their own greedy aims, the U. S. seeks to maintain its monopoly.
. The current bombing of Afghanistan is not aimed at ending further bloodshed, and not aimed at ending retaliations against civilian populations. Instead they are aimed at channeling the bloodshed in accordance with White House objectives. Behind all the declarations from Bush about defending freedom lies the straightforward policy of the U.S. oil corporations: controlling the oil wealth and labor of the Middle East. Tens of thousands of innocents will die in the name of revenge and oil. And more terrorists will be produced to kill more Americans. The U.S. denounces the deaths in New York of innocent civilians, while the economic blockade against the people of Iraq, for example, has caused the death of hundreds of thousands, mostly children. This war will only lead to more such atrocities.
. The step-up of militarism and war will increase the atrocities, racist attacks, and repression against the peoples around the world and in the U.S. It will not relax world tension or bring freedom to the world's people or the people in the U.S. A permanent state of war is being created, where atrocities will become commonplace, racial divisions intensified so that imperialism can divide and conquer, and civil liberties will be restricted further. The rights of immigrants are being restricted, surveillance of everyone is being stepped up, and there have been attacks on minorities such as Arabs and Sikhs. Profiling, government harassment and monitoring is increasing. A police state will be institutionalized with civil liberties permanently replaced by repressions under the guise of "national security". The Constitution has already been suspended under the Patriot bill.
. The first casualty of war is the truth -- the media has become a fourth branch of government. Mass media is tightly controlled by a handful of corporations, some of them war industry companies like GE and Westinghouse. Now the corporate media has been reduced to being the cheerleader and public relations firm for the Pentagon. Dissension has been censored and punished. Only the White House version of history is allowed to be aired. Censored war coverage has already been announced, and opposition to the war already censored.
. The terrorist atrocity of Sept. 11 and the current war of revenge led by the U.S. are both attacks on the working people of the world. The casualties of the terrorist attacks are working people. And we have seen the type of government of the al Qaeda terrorist elite in Afghanistan -- they are oppressing the working people of that country. The U.S. has its own anti-people agenda as well: it seeks complete control of the oil and labor of the Middle East and it will drop bombs on the people of as many countries as it chooses. To do this they must subdue the workers in America preparing them as cannon-fodder for war, and at the same time maximize their profits and shift the financial burden onto the backs of the workers, using this crisis as an excuse. The only freedom the U.S. elite seeks to defend is their freedom to exploit.
. Choosing which of these oppressors to support is not the question to ask. . . .
. So what can be done? We need to counter the war hysteria, exposing the oil greed and the
permanent state of war and further loss of civil liberties behind it. We must fight against the
racism that has reared its ugly head. We must investigate and disseminate the truth about the
Middle East, and the U.S. role there. We must organize demonstrations to protest the war
buildup. We must get organized to unite with the workers of the Middle East against all the
wealthy exploiters. <>
by Bordentown Anti-War Group
. There were about 2,000 people at an anti-war rally and march in New York City on Saturday, October 27th. The rally was organized by International ANSWER (internationalanswer.org) -- a broad anti-war coalition primarily backed by the International Action Center (iacenter.org) -- Ramsey Clark's anti-globalization group.
. The rally was not well organized. About a third of the people were from IAC/ANSWER itself. Other groups present in small numbers (1 to 5) were Freedom Socialist Party, the League for the Revolutionary Party (which reads like PL), Workers World, and Socialist Alternative. Most of the banners were ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and Racism). Only two groups, the Bordentown Anti-War Group with 7 people, and the League with 2 or 3, had posters denouncing imperialism.
. The speakers were too numerous and unfocused. They spent an inordinate amount of time on freeing Mumia Abu-Jamal, which diverted the politics. A couple of speakers were on point and excellent, especially an airline stewardess who hit the fundamental points -- workers are bearing the brunt of this reaction, Bush's war is putting the workers at more risk, etc. A few speakers denounced U.S. war crimes and the creation of terror. A Green Party rep was allowed to speak about their candidate for Mayor.
. Generally, the march was also unorganized. The leaflets and publicity all listed 43rd and Broadway, while the actual site was two blocks away. Adding to that, they allowed the police to pen in the demo with a fence that was far too small. The police would not allow anyone not in the pen to stand and talk or watch. This discouraged many. Eventually another branch of the demo formed across the street. ANSWER spent a lot of time and energy collecting money for themselves.
. The slogans were tame, mostly "Stop the bombing, stop the war". The Bordentown Anti-War Group handed out 100 copies of our statement to interested people.
. The BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/
newsid_1624000/1624081.stm) was very inaccurate. There were more than 1000 people, the opposition to the demo was very small and scattered, and they totally blew the fire truck incident. Actually a woman fainted and they called the firemen for assistance, who moved through the demo, took care of her and left. There was next to no interaction with them. A plainclothes policeman was the only abusive one. There was no drowning out the speakers from the fire truck at all, except a short siren when they pulled out.
. It seems that the IAC has a very weak grip on leadership of the anti-war movement right now,
demonstrated by the weak turnout, the disorganized nature of it, and their tame politics. There
were, however, demonstrations throughout the country which may have had better
turnout/success. (http://www.iacenter.org/o27_rept1.htm). <>
Report by Bordentown Anti-War Group
. Thousands of protesters marched in Washington, D. C. today in opposition to U. S. war plans. Marches were organized by the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (ACC), the International Action Center (IAC) and International ANSWER.
. At 9 am, the ACC gathered near Union Station. There were several hundred demonstrators, carrying signs and beating drums. Already, there was a heavy police presence, in full riot gear. Several hundred police carried guns, clubs and bags filled with unknown contents, and wore face shields, helmets, body armor, and leg and arm guards.
. Initially, the police were not going to permit the march from proceeding. However, it was clear that the demonstrators were going to do so anyway, so the police formed a line on either side of the street, enclosing the marchers as they moved. The police pushed several protesters out of the way, and were very hostile.
. Leading the march was a banner that said "No War But The Class War". Most of the demonstrators were students and youth, and there were many anarchists among them. The main focus of the march was opposition to the upcoming war. Some of the other slogans were "Hey hey, ho ho, Capitalism Has Got To Go!" and "The Enemy is Profit!". As the police stepped up their stand against the marchers, other slogans started up, like "2, 4, 6, 8, Fuck the police state!" and "Whose streets? Our streets!". As the march continued the numbers grew, and there may have been 1000 to 1500 people as the demonstration approached the IMF buildings.
. Once in front of the IMF buildings, the protesters where surrounded by a ring of police. Soon, police on horses and motorcycles showed up, blocking all exit from the area. Other chants went up: "Let us go!". The police gave no reason for detaining the marchers.
. There was some discussion of breaking through the police blockade, but they had too much artillery. Eventually, after about an hour, the police opened a small hole, and forcibly pushed all the demonstrators out using their clubs.
. The march proceeded back toward Union Station. A few construction workers hailed the protesters as they passed by . . . (although, one news source claims that there were workers opposed to the anti-war stance of the marchers). As I watched them, many of the construction workers clearly supported the marchers. I also saw one worker in an office building signaling the demonstrators with the peace sign.
. There were several incidents of pepper spray being used by the police, and there where a few arrests. The protesters where very non-confrontational, although they verbally attacked the police for their aggression. One protester shouted, "You are making the Taliban look good!" while two demonstrators were being arrested.
. Eventually, the march joined another rally already in progress. There were around 10,000 demonstrators here. They were very loud and spirited. The speakers at the platform were from different progressive parties or church organizations, and the message was, "War is not the answer!". The speakers encouraged everyone to "Unite for peace", and "End racism", and there where several calls for "Justice!". One speaker said, "Don't wage war abroad -- end the race war at home!". There were many more youth and students, but a large part of the crowd was composed of working class people. One banner (the JMU
. Students For Peace) said, "No War -- No Racism -- No Capitalism". However, the speakers and organizers of the rally stopped short of condemning capitalism, and instead focused on stopping the impending war, and calling for an end to racism both here and abroad.
. There was a small pro-war contingent that demonstrated on the sidewalk at one point. They carried signs that said "Support the Troops" and "Traitors" (referring to the protesters). The demonstrators shouted them down, and continued the march.
. Eventually, the rally turned into a march toward the Capitol building. By now, there were 15,000-20,000 protesters, all shouting and banging drums. One activist on a megaphone led the chants with "War is not the answer!" and "Money for schools, not for war! Money for housing, not for war!".
. There was another rally when the marched reached the Capitol building. The protesters where very spirited, even after some of them had been driving from as far away as Ohio and Illinois to join this Washington protest. The police presence for this larger group of demonstrators was smaller, and was without the body armor (either because they did not want to antagonize such a large crowd, or they were concerned about media coverage).
. Overall, the march in Washington, D. C. against the war was very positive. There seems to be broad opposition to the U. S. policy of permanent warfare in response to the attacks on Sept. 11. There where also other marches in other parts of the country today, as well as internationally. See indymedia for coverage of these events.
. There are more anti-war marches planned for October 27th in New York, and around the country. <>
Last changed on January 19, 2002.
e-mail: mail@communistvoice. org