NO to the Inauguration! No to Bush’s "Monsters’ Ball"!

by Sunsara Taylor

Revolutionary Worker #1264, January 16, 2005, posted at

Somehow we find ourselves, in 2005, in the United States, perched on the edge of utter darkness, re-fighting battles—for science, for truth, for the hopes and equality of women, for respect for other peoples, and for the value and the continued existence of the planet itself—that were supposed to have been settled and secured by now.

This is not what we were prepared for. And it’s still hard to come to terms with.

But in a week a man who used his re-election to flatten Fallujah and initially offered less money to the tsunami victims than he planned to spend on his own re-coronation, a man who nominated an architect of torture as his attorney general, is about to strut out before the world to be re-inaugurated. With fanfare and bombast, an image of a mighty, unquestioned Dubya without significant opposition will be used to chill and extinguish the spirit and the hopes of millions around the world.

Will people watch this inauguration alone in their homes, feeling swallowed up and suffocated? Will the millions who felt so sure-footed just two short months ago when leaving jobs and school, criss-crossing the country to prevent the re-election of George Bush, feel totally defeated and negated and helpless? It is not enough to talk about doing something down the road when there is more time, people all over the world will be looking at DC and our country NOW.

What message will be sent to the people all over the world who wonder if Americans have lost their minds and enlisted in a twenty-first-century holy war crusade? To the GIs in Iraq who are deeply questioning whether they can continue to carry out orders and plunder they don’t feel are right? To those wondering whether to expatriate? To the people in the labs, the schools, the workplaces? To those hounded by the immigration police, and yes, in the torture chambers of the empire? To those whose shredded "safety net" is driving them to desperation? What will it mean to them if this criminal is coronated, celebrated and validated in a disgusting, wealth-soaked ceremony—with little or no visible opposition?

Millions are soul-searching, deeply sick at heart, looking for leadership, looking to act, looking to organize themselves, aching to have some ground of their own to stand on and fight from and talk honestly with one another about the extremely heavy questions posed by the future. Think about the scientists who are writing statements, the abortion providers who are refusing to lie to their patients, the military families and soldiers and the beginning but significant numbers of Iraqi veterans who are questioning and protesting. Think about the lonely heroes standing up in classrooms or workplaces or communities; think about those who feel too intimidated to stand up. What do THEY need to see on this day, when Bush is getting inaugurated? What about those looking for a way to do something —and there are MILLIONS of them? And what will it mean going forward, in changing the way people feel, how they act and how well they are organized for what is both an urgent and protracted political battle with Bush & Co.? The difference between action and non-action on January 20 can be HUGE. The experience of wearing a tee-shirt, displaying a poster, standing up and turning one’s back with five co-workers, and doing it in concert with millions across the country—that changes the equation with Bush, it changes the world and not the least of it, it changes how people feel about and see themselves and what they’re willing to do—and can even dream of doing—next.

Yes, there are people fighting to bring some opposition. The turn-your-back-on-Bush people, the Not in Our Name group, those working on a new statement of conscience, those trying to organize student walkouts, and those doing other things as DC and across the country. But this is not yet anywhere close to where it needs to be. We are way behind, when measured against what is needed, and we need to take all this up several notches—in about the next five minutes!

But again—it is the very urgency of the situation, the fact that there are millions who want to act, that can enable us to turn this around—even in the next two weeks.

We need, all of us, to set out and fight for a powerful action in DC and echoing in cities, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods all over— people finding the ways to powerfully express No, No Mandate, Not In Our Name, Not Our President, and all the rest. People on the streets of Washington, turning their backs on Bush and filling the streets beyond. Now is the time to call back together the organizations that sprung up overnight around the elections, get out there, hold vigils, or protests, take big signs and banners to the sides of highways and major intersections. Spread the white ribbon. Walk out of school. Manifest the "NO!" on T-shirts and stickers, in windows and on bumpers.

I’m calling on everyone who read this to become an organizer. I am calling on everyone who read this and liked it to write to me today, let’s talk and make plans. I am calling on everyone who read this and has a love for humanity to act.