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News :: Gender : Human Rights : International : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
21 Jan 2005
On Thursday, January 20, the day President Bush was inaugurated for his second term and thousands marched in opposition in Washington DC, about thirty hardy souls braved the bitter cold to stand from 5:30 to 6:30 in Copley Square, protesting here in Boston. Although the protest was organized by United for Justice with Peace (UJP), the main local anti-war coalition, the signs people bore showed that they had a variety of concerns--not just ending the occupation of Iraq, but also domestic issues such as the attacks on civil liberties and reproductive rights and the destruction of the welfare system. Organizers with UJP that I spoke with expressed not only their opposition to the Bush administration’s policies, but their fears that the Bush administration is making a concerted, purposeful assault on what’s left of democracy in this country.
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Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
by Matthew Williams

On Thursday, January 20, the day President Bush was inaugurated for his second term and thousands marched in opposition in Washington DC, about thirty hardy souls braved the bitter cold to stand from 5:30 to 6:30 in Copley Square, protesting here in Boston. Although the protest was organized by United for Justice with Peace (UJP), the main local anti-war coalition, the signs people bore showed that they had a variety of concerns--not just ending the occupation of Iraq, but also domestic issues such as the attacks on civil liberties and reproductive rights and the destruction of the welfare system. Organizers with UJP that I spoke with expressed not only their opposition to the Bush administration’s policies, but their fears that the Bush administration is making a concerted, purposeful assault on what’s left of democracy in this country.

Reactions to the protest by passers-by were generally positive. Many cars honked in support. One man with cousins in the military stationed in Iraq stopped to tell a protester that he had been feeling extremely depressed about the whole situation, and seeing us had warmed his heart.

Amy Hendrickson expressed her doubts that Bush even properly won the election, a suspicion that still lingers in the minds of many progressives: “We’ll never know if he actually won the election, because there was no paper trail and the exit polls didn’t match the results.” The electronic voting machines used in many districts, including in swing states such as Ohio, not only malfunctioned frequently, but were also highly vulnerable to hacking and were produced by companies that are strong supporters of the Bush administration. Since no hard copies of people’s votes were printed out, there is no way to know whether the voting machines were hacked or not. Meanwhile, many experts on polling have argued that there is simply no way the exit polls could have been so flawed they could have produced results that were so far from the official results. This is in addition to widespread reports of attempts to disenfranchise African-American communities through intimidation and lack of funding for the proper equipment in polling stations. While there may be no solid proof of fraud, it all remains rather fishy.

John Anderson said of the inauguration, “Here’s this man who’s threatening world peace, lead us into a war based on lies, who should be on trial in the Hague [site of the World Court]--and he’s being honored in Washington DC. I find this obscene. In addition to his foreign policy, he’s trying to make abortion illegal and destroy social security, something the far right has wanted to do since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt [when the social security program was first created].”

Anderson’s companion, Duncan McFarland, added, “Bush taxes the poor and gives to the rich. He’s redistributing the wealth of the country upward.” Neoconservative strategists have at time publicly admitted that they have a deliberate strategy of destroying the welfare system by running up massive deficits, forcing the government to cut social programs. Although this ploy was pioneered under the Reagan administration, the current Bush administration has taken it to new levels, running up higher deficits through military spending than Reagan ever dreamed of.

According to Anderson and McFarland, there is something far more sinister afoot than a foreign policy of aggressive imperialism and the implementation of highly reactionary domestic agenda--many of the Bush administration’s policies may be leading us down the road to a dictatorship. They talked about the general erosion of civil liberties through the PATRIOT Act and the attacks on immigrants, with McFarland saying, “Thousands of immigrants are being detained indefinitely without charges. It’s a police state already in the immigrant community. We’re like Germany in the 1930s [the time of Hitler’s rise to power].” Anderson added, “People seem just as willing to go along this time.” McFranland also pointed to the power struggles inside the White House, with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld--one of Bush’s closest advisers and a hardcore neoconservative--trying to consolidate power in the Defense Department, to the point that it has produced protests against administration policy from the FBI and CIA as their powers are stripped away. While I think fears of an outright dictatorship may be a bit extreme, it is clear that the Bush administration had concentrated an unprecedented amount of power in the White House (with the connivance of Congress to be sure), and has shown complete contempt for the democratic process, civil liberties, human rights and anything else that stands in the way of implementing their neoconservative agenda.

Though these UJP activists paint a grim picture, they did not think all was lost. Anderson noted, “Bush has the lowest approval rating of any president in recent history. People disagree with almost all of his policies, even the people who voted for him. They voted for him out of fear. Bush has represented himself as the Godfather who will protect us from the terrorists, and people have bought it.” Exit polls show that by far the most common reason people voted for Bush was concerns about security, far ahead of issues like opposition to reproductive or gay rights.

Hendrickson believes this support for Bush will change: “I think the progressive movement will grow. Bush will have to reinstate the draft and that will bring people out and get them involved.” Still, she did not think things would be easy: “The long-range prognosis is serious. We’ve got to struggle to regain our democracy. The fact is oil is running out and there will be a major global economic crash when it does. Climate change is already happening. We face difficult times ahead.”

****

For coverage of the anti-augural protests in Washington DC, see DC Indy Media http://dc.indymedia.org . For more about all these issues, see ZNet, http://www.zmag.org/weluser.htm .

To get involved with United for Justice with Peace, visit their website at http://www.justicewithpeace.org/ , call them at 617-491-4857, or e-mail them at ujpcoalition (at) yahoo.com.

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Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
22 Jan 2005
I wish I could have been there to protest the inauguration. It is definetly a scary period of time to be an American, or any nation this administration of tyrants has effected
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
22 Jan 2005
If I wasnt under the weather I would have been there with them ! This country needs to wake up and be responsible to the greater good of mankind and get this terrible man out of office!! Decent Americans need to stop closing their eyes and turning their backs on the destructive policies and actions of the Bush Regime!!
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
22 Jan 2005
how come UJP made zero effort to publicize this? I bet alot of people would have gone (myself included)
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
23 Jan 2005
maybe they didn't want anarchists coopting what they see as THEIR movement.
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
23 Jan 2005
yeah because holding signs is a movement.
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
23 Jan 2005
because tiny protests where you hold signs rule! the fewer people the better!
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
23 Jan 2005
I didn't ask why it wasn't better publicized (I found out about it through an e-mail on the Act-Ma list the evening before), but my sense is that it was thrown together at the last minute. I don't think they have anything in particular against anarchists.
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
23 Jan 2005
Nice to hear what you were up to in Boston. We got some exercise holding banners on a bridge over the highway. The little road is called Wisdom Way, and we held a bright peace flag on Sunday, then a banner that said, "Bring our Troops Home -- Every Life is Precious." It was great practice at communicating with strangers, through a fence, making our own headlines, and defying the cold. You can see a photo album, linked from the home page at http://www.traprockpeace.org
The Mathematics of Protest
24 Jan 2005
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the United States, projected to 1/23/2005 at 10:43:14 AM EST is 295,311,623.

If 30 protesters turned out at every major city (one per state) the total number of inaugural protesters would number 1500.

If we allow 3 major cities per state the number is 4500 protesters.

If we allow 5000 protesters for DC, that leaves the large end nationwide estimate at 8500 protesters. Lets round up to 9000 protesters in the US.

9000 protesters is .0030 percent of the national population. 30 protesters is .00001 percent of the national population, which means protests against president Bush were mathematical zero.
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
24 Jan 2005
If you check out US Indy Media (http://indymedia.us/en/ ), you'll see that in some cities thousands of people turned out--on top of the 10,000 people in DC (and that's the police estimates). Besides, many protest movements start small and build up from there.
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
24 Jan 2005
Perhaps true, but this is balanced out by the many cities in which no protesters turned out. All that is proven is that the protesters glom together in highly dispersed localities. They can perhaps do more physical damage in such amalgamations, but this does not erase their relative small numbers nationally or their political insignificance compared to the size of US infrastructure and general populace.
Protest Beheadings and Bombing of Serbia
24 Jan 2005
Why not protest the brutal beheadings of innocent civilians by muslims in Iraq? Oh...did you protest the 100,000 serbs killed when Clinton bombed Kosovo and Serbia?
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
25 Jan 2005
thanks for including a paragraph about the massive electoral irregularities and disenfranchisement. because of a black out by the mainstream media, and kerry's refusal to protest the election in a timely manner, most don't know that the 2004 election was as bad or worse than 2000. we have an easily riggable system; partisan republicans in charge of voting in key states; and exit polls that vary widely from the tallies in the swing states.

sigh, to be ukrainian......
Yeah But...
28 Jan 2005
Ok, thousands showed up in DC and LA (Big surprise), but in most major cities there were no protests. Face it, Bush won fair and square ( By 3.5 MILLION votes in popular vote....wanna get rid of the electoral college now?) and your movement is dead.
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
28 Jan 2005
i was never suggesting that they were against anarchists.
also, fair and square? more than half the elligible voters didnt vote! ha, some system.
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
29 Jan 2005
Spectator said that they probably had something against anarchists, Eric. I was responding to both your posts. Actually, one of the people I interviewed is also active with the Boston IMC Video Team, which means he is in fact working with anarchists (a good many of us here at Boston Indy Media being anarchists).
Re: Bostonians Protest the Inauguration of President Bush
12 Feb 2005
Now it's off to War with Iran. By Royal Order of His Assholiness George Warmonger Bush.