People’s solidarity can stop U.S. aggression and human rights abuses

Down with Bush! Down with APEC!
People’s solidarity can stop U.S. aggression and human rights abuses
John Beacham

From November 16 to November 19 I participated in the anti-APEC and anti-Bush activities in Busan. I was in South Korea representing the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, a U.S. anti-war organization that has helped organize massive demonstrations against the U.S. war on Iraq and against all U.S. occupations.

We joined the People’s forum and demonstrations in Busan in order to stand in solidarity with people in Korea, Asia and everywhere who are fighting for true self-determination. We oppose the aggressions of the Bush Administration and all U.S. military and corporate interventions around the world. We do everything we can here in the U.S. to support people around the world in their struggles for peace with justice. In November we sent representatives to the anti-Bush demonstrations in Argentina. In December we sent members to the anti-WTO actions in Hong Kong.

The International People’s Forum at Busan University on November 16 – 17 and the demonstrations were very inspirational and I was deeply impressed by the level of unity and organization in the people’s movement in Korea. It is amazing to people in the U.S. how strong the culture of struggle is in Korea, how everybody marches, sings and fights together. It was clear to me from participating in the demonstration against APEC on Friday, November 18 that the struggle for democracy and peace in Korea is at a more advanced level than in the U.S. We have much to learn from the struggle in Korea.

I felt very welcomed in Korea and hopefully we were of some help. It is very important that U.S. anti-war activists denounce and fight against all forms of U.S. dominance. World peace can be achieved through the international cooperation of the people, especially when those who live in more powerful aggressor nations take on the responsibility of defeating all anti-people policies of the countries they live in. For example, in the U.S. movement The ANSWER Coalition and others denounce the U.S. enforced division of Korea and support the people’s determination for re-unification.

In the U.S. we are hoping to help raise the consciousness of the struggle and help build the kind of movement that intensifies the fight against the tiny minority that has all the wealth and power in U.S. society. In the U.S. there is a tremendous amount of poverty and oppression. Racism, sexism and discrimination against people based on their identity are deeply embedded in U.S. institutions. It is a deeply unequal society and there are millions of people who have a lot to gain through struggle.

The U.S. is the biggest violator of human rights in the world – both at home and abroad. Not only does it illegally occupy foreign countries, murdering 100,000s of people, the U.S. also engages in widespread torture and unjustly imprisons millions of people. The Bush Administration is full of war criminals and they have set up torture centers from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Eastern Europe. In the U.S. millions of poor people, mostly African-American and Latino, are sent to prison. Hundreds are executed.

The reprehensible treatment of the African-American community in the Southern Gulf States after Hurricane Katrina is only one example of the large and growing tension between the haves and the have notes. The wealthy class in the U.S. is attacking all social services and programs that people need. 25% percent of all children in the U.S. are born in to poverty.

The war, the growing poverty and attacks on people’s rights here in the U.S. are sparking struggle. We know that a fierce struggle against the White House, the Pentagon and Wall Street in the U.S. will be a great aid to people around the world. Working people in the U.S. have more in common with the people of Iraq, Korea and everywhere than we ever will have with the Bush administration and his friends in Washington D.C.

Over the past four years, the ANSWER Coalition has brought millions of people into the streets to oppose the U.S. occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. On September 24, 2005 300,000 people surrounded the White House in protest. Our anti-war slogans have also demanded an end to the occupations of Palestine, Haiti and everywhere. We have demanded that the U.S. government fund schools, health care and provide full relief to the people of New Orleans. We have also made the demand, “U.S. out of Korea!”

The ANSWER Coalition demands that (1) The U.S. government withdraw every single U.S. soldier from the Korean peninsula, (2) The U.S. stop the military threats against North Korea, (3) An end to economic sanctions against North Korea and (4) That the U.S. government sign a peace treaty with North Korea to end the U.S.-Korean war, once and for all.

Finally, like people all around the world we want to abolish all nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons by themselves constitute a crime against humanity. But to accomplish this goal, as a pre-condition for the realization of a nuclear free world, it is essential for us to demand the elimination of the entire U.S. arsenal first.

The nuclear danger in the world today comes from Washington D.C. not Pyongyang or Tehran. The U.S. has 10,000 nuclear weapons. It is the U.S government alone that has used nuclear weapons and when it did it was through the incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. It is the Bush administration alone that has declared the right to use nuclear weapons as first strike weapons in a so-called pre-emptive war – even against non-nuclear powers.

On March 18, 19 and 20 the ANSWER Coalition has initiated three days of global mass actions. We will have mass demonstrations in many cities in the U.S. on March 18. On that day, and in the days to come as we continue to fight against the US war on Iraq, we will stand with you and demand all U.S. troops out of Korea immediately.