On July 5 Bush arrived in Copenhagen and all of official Denmark was
filled with enthusiasm. However, not everyone shared this
As early as Tuesday evening there were protests in the form of concerts in both Århus and Copenhagen. The concert in Copenhagen was part of the Live8 “Make Poverty History” campaign and despite the rain the concert attracted around 1000 people. All over the world hundreds of thousands of people attended these concerts, showing that ordinary people are concerned about poverty in Africa. But what political alternative are these people given? They are only given the chance to appeal to the leaders of the world, Bush included, to show consideration for the poor. But if the leaders of the world’s richest countries really wanted to do something about these problems, they would have done so long ago – every little child in the western word knows about poverty in Africa – it can not be because of ignorance that nothing has been done. It is possible that public attention can make the leaders of the world react, but a real solution will never be found as long as it is the interests of big business that dominate the world economy.
Even though Bush’s birthday was to be celebrated in the company of the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh, they still had time to discuss some politics. Fogh had decided that they should discuss Africa – very conveniently avoiding unpopular subjects such as the war in Iraq, not to mention Bush’s attitude towards abortion, homosexuals and the environment. After the meeting Fogh announced that he and Bush were in agreement on many of the issues concerning Africa – as if this was something to be proud of. They agreed that the problems had to solved, but that part of the problem was the Africans themselves; that governments in many African countries had gone wrong. In Iraq an occupation force was needed to bring a better government, with innumerable civilian casualties as a result. If these are the means, the future does not look bright for the African population. But the essential problems facing the African population are poverty, wars and diseases. However, there was no talk of the abolition of patents on medicine and no talk of a real solution to the issue of poverty. The G8 may be able to agree to give more money in aid to Africa, but the fundamental problem is the lack of economic development. And this problem is very complex because capitalism does not give room to underdeveloped countries to build industries in competition with the advanced capitalist countries. The only thing that can bring a solution to the problem is a socialist revolution – something which neither Bush nor Fogh support.
Bush’s visit was met by massive protests. At 2 o’clock on Wednesday July 6, in the middle of the holiday, a large demonstration of about 20,000 people gathered in front of the American embassy. Busses had come from all over the country transporting people from the provinces to the capital. The comrades from the Marxist paper Socialistisk Standpunkt sold over one hundred copies of the paper and distributed hundreds of leaflets and received good feedback.
All over the country “Stop Bush” groups had been formed, where young people gathered to do their part to fight Bush. It was an impressive demonstration of the energy, enthusiasm, and desire of the youth to change society. This active layer of young people shows that the youth are absolutely not passive and apathetic, as some bourgeois debaters say. On the contrary, the political consciousness of the youth is awakening, which was also shown at the “Stop Now” protests against cuts in the education budget, in which tens of thousands of young people took part.
If the great resistance against the Bush government’s
imperialist policy is to be made concrete, it has to find its way to
the labour movement. The young people in the “Stop Bush” groups must
carry their enthusiasm into the workers’ parties, the labour movement
and the mass organisations of the youth and fight for these
organisations to take up the program against imperialism and counter
The banners at the demonstration carried slogans such as “Another world is needed”, “Bush is a terrorist”, “Drop Bush, Not Bombs”, “No to US state terrorism against Cuba” and “Stop Bush and Fogh”.
The mood on the demonstration was high and most people stayed until the end. Among the speakers were the leader of Socialist Peoples Party (SF), Willy Søvndal and an MP from the Unity List, Line Barfod.
Among other things Willy Søvndal said: “One has to pick one’s friends carefully, and Anders Fogh has shown a fatal lack of judgement in his choice of friends. That in itself should disqualify him as Prime Minister”. He added: “Go home Bush – return home from Denmark and from Iraq.”
It is absolutely correct to link the resistance against Bush’s policies and the resistance against the bourgeois government to the formation of a new government that will stop the imperialist wars, stop the cuts on welfare, abolish unemployment and rebuild the damaged welfare state. The SF must be firm and demand that a new government, consisting of the workers’ parties, must no longer submit to the dominance of the imperialists and conduct a foreign policy based on the interests of the working class all over the world.
Line Barfod spoke against the Anti-Terror Act, which attacks ordinary people’s rights. He also spoke on the American abuse of prisoners. In the end she stated that “action makes changes and in these times all forces are needed. This is not a fight we can win alone. Only by standing side by side, both locally and with people from all over the world, are we able to challenge the policy which Bush and Fogh are representatives of”.
Line Barfod is absolutely right. A global alliance is needed if we are to put an end to imperialism. But unfortunately she did not mention who should be in this alliance. It is the ABC for Marxists that the working class must take part in and be on the frontline in the struggle to defeat the bourgeoisie. No matter how many young students take to the streets, this in itself will not shake anything fundamentally, even though it can affect the consciousness of the workers. Only the working class has the power to stop the running of society and the power to change society, because of their role in production. This fact must be said loud and clear - imperialist wars are against the interests of the working class. There is a direct line between the occupation of Iraq and the attacks on unemployment benefits, education and early retirement benefits. These attacks are not accidental, but are due to the fact that capitalism can no longer play a progressive role. The capitalists must be disarmed, and only the international working class is able to do this.
What is needed is a clear political answer – not appeals to the leaders of the world. We must change the world ourselves; we cannot count on the leaders of the world to do it for us.
The report in the media was not very positive; the only protest that received massive coverage was that of a couple of hundred so-called autonomists who fought the police in a separate demonstration under the slogan “reclaim the streets”. How the slogan of reclaiming the streets can change the world is hard to say, but one thing is certain: it plays right in the hands of the media and the bourgeoisie; “those who protest against Bush and for another world are violent psychopaths” – the result is that normal people who did not participate, are frightened off from participating in future demonstrations – they do not wish to fight the police. The only result of such small demonstrations is that they split the demonstrations and the movement, and they frighten people away. This is most likely the opposite of their intentions, however it is what happens.
The only thing that can guarantee another world is the participation of the working class. The demonstrators on Wednesday were mainly young people, but there were also some unions present with banners. The youth are an important factor, but they must appeal to the workers to join them. Only in this way can Bush and Fogh be stopped and thrown away together with the system they represent.