Protests Matter
by Josh Frank

February 10, 2004

Send this page to a friend! (click here)



As the heavy layers of Free Trade continue to pile up, much of the world is strongly denouncing the Multinational Imperialism that’s been endorsed by both major political bodies in the United States.  Much of the world has protested President Bush with contempt and anger over his unilateral shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy posture. And as talks over the future of the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) convened in Florida in the fall of 2003, thousands of middle class families, college students, and elderly citizens made their way to Miami in hopes they could reenact Cancun—where activists interrupted the closed-door WTO negotiations.

Despite the early protests that were unable to halt the US government’s illegal invasion of Iraq, the international activist community has seen some remarkable victories over the past 12 months.  Neoliberal trade discussions will never be the same.  The cabals that dictate global economic policy cannot hide from the disenfranchised and their allies.  The disruption of the WTO talks in Cancun was a victory, not only because the event was forced to end early—but also because it was a testament to the fact activists are making a difference.  It proved our protests do matter.

Although we were unable to muzzle the Washington dogs before the Iraq debauchery, our efforts were not in vain.  Activists empowered several centrist Democrats and a few conservative Republicans to oppose the war—many of whom would not have taken an anti-war stance were it not for the millions that bravely marched across this country in opposition.  Progressives have also shown the global community that they will not sit idly by as our cowboy president goes about his daily dealings with utter disregard for the regular people at home and abroad.

And this summer in New York City, progressives and activists will be able to descend upon an event that may very well go down as one the most important protests in US history.  The Republicans will burrow themselves in the Big Apple during their National Convention from August 30th through September 4th.  The organizing has already begun (www.counterconvention.com). 

Activists and political nuisances alike, will gather to disrupt the shameless event, where George W. Bush and company will gather to lay out their plans for control of the White House, Congress and the Senate until 2008.

But by then, the Iraq catastrophe will have surely taken the lives of hundreds more soldiers and innocent Iraqis.  Our economy will have abolished even more social service programs as the deficit continues to increase, and the unemployment rate will be higher than it was when Bush took office in 2001. As the Bush team continues to defend its actions in Iraq, with their exploited rhetoric of Saddam’s WMDs and the imminent threat they purportedly had, vital questions will continue to go unanswered.  Our presumptions have been proven correct, Bush lied, and our nation was duped into a war based on disinformation and fear.  It’s time to tell Bush to pack his bags because he’s better off in Texas.  In fact most of Washington is.

Americans of every political stripe don’t like being deceived.  And it is far too late for the Democrats and Republicans to backtrack on the propaganda they have sold the American public.  They all must atone. The few politicians that heard our pleas, like Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, do not represent their parties as a whole.  And our disgust shall be vented with tears and sweat on the humid streets of New York in late summer 2004. 

It won’t only be the Republicans activists we will be opposing; but the policies endorsed by all the ruling elites, Democrats included.

It is imperative that we continue our struggle beyond November's election. 

It is also important that we are all clear on one thing—although we contest the same administration as the Democrats, this does not make them our ally. 

Their weak opposition gave Bush the power he needed to muster through much of his destructive agenda. Democrats controlled the Senate for half of Bush’s tenure, and they failed miserably to oppose him on many of the issues activists are fighting against.

And most Democrats continue to defend their endorsement of Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq.  Many support the way Bush has conducted the “War on Terror.” The Democrats have also been overwhelmingly supportive of the Patriot Act and its recent expansion, as well as Bush’s $87 billion dollar Iraq (Halliburton et al) package.  Let’s not be confused that subtle differences actually separate these two parties.  The Empire won't rattle much if Bush is replaced by a centrist donkey.

Democrats like frontrunner John Kerry may now speak with a vengeance when criticizing the current administration, but it is unlikely you’ll hear any of them damn their own Party’s involvement in the Bush calamity.  There is no reason the Democrats should be immune from our criticism; there are blood soaked hands on both sides of the aisle.  And if the Democrats ever hope to represent us, they must accept blame—for they too are guilty.

Yes, we all want Bush out.  But our protests must go on regardless of who is in office. Because in the end what really matters is not who the winner of a horse race every four years is, but the relentless pressure “We” as active participants in the political process continue put on our politicians, day in and day out, to make them work in the interest of the Common Good. 

Activists must continue to voice their dissent in the streets and at the polls—the history of positive political change in America makes this clear. 

Plus it’s working.

Josh Frank is a writer living in New York.  He is the author of the forthcoming book entitled, Nothing Left: What the 2004 Elections Mean for American Democracy, due out in the fall of 2004 by Common Courage Press. He can be reached at frank_joshua@hotmail.com.

Other Recent Articles by Josh Frank

* Howard’s End: No Big Loss for the Left
* In Defense of Polluters: Howard Dean's Vermont
* Coffee and State Authority in Colombia
* Indy Nader and the Greens
* Iraq: Not About Oil?
* Senator Max Baucus, Thanks!
* The Democrats and Saddam: Spiteful, Dazed and Confused
* Halliburton and Timber: Dean Tidbits
* Al Gore, Dean and the Greens Politicians as Usual
* The WTO and US: Goliath Endures his First Stone
* Drown the Dems
The Silencing of “The Reagans”: Too Bad, It Might Have Been Good For a Laugh
* Dean’s White Following
* Howard Dean: Anti-Black and Law Breaking?
* Israel is Our Demise
* Dean's Corruption in the Green Mountain State
* Howard Dean's Constitutional Hang-Up
* Candidate Dean: A True Regressive
* Dennis Kucinich: Democrat in the Fray
* Greens Looking for a Winning Strategy
Disrobing Dubya

Articles by Josh Frank and Sunil Sharma
* Two Measures of American Desperation







FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com