Sunday, July 8, 2018

Trump in London... No, sorry, Bush in London!

Trump will be in London in mid-July, which recalls the nationalist "Dump Bush" protests of November, 2003.


....The success of the U.S. president’s trip was only reinforced by the anti-American, pro-British tone of the demonstrations in the United Kingdom, organized by the Stop the War Coalition and other forces around the theme “Stop Bush.” Focusing their fire on the U.S. government and portraying Blair as a mere “puppet” of Washington, they buttressed the nationalist framework of the British rulers’ efforts to assert their own imperialist interests in the world....

‘Stop Bush’ protests 

A series of protests were organized by the Stop The War coalition and other groups around the theme “Stop Bush.” The British nationalist, anti-American theme of these protests was underlined at the November 20 demonstration of more than 100,000 people that rallied in Trafalgar Square. A 20-foot effigy of Bush was toppled to the ground in imitation of the bringing down of a large statue of Saddam Hussein when invading U.S.-British forces took over Baghdad in April. TV coverage of the rally also showed demonstrators burning a U.S. flag.

Demonstrators carried signs referring to Blair as Bush’s “poodle” and reading, “Troops out now—Stop the organ grinder and his monkey,” with the prime minister of the British imperialist state portrayed as Bush’s monkey.

Referring to the Istanbul bombings, Lindsay German, convener of the Stop The War Coalition, said, “I don’t think it can be any coincidence that these attacks have come against British targets on the day that George Bush is visiting London.” Her argument repeated a commonly heard nationalist theme that “Bush’s war” is hurting “our interests” by making Britain vulnerable to “terrorism.”

A half-page ad in the November 20 issue of The Times entitled “An Open Letter to President George W. Bush,” sponsored by a campaign called Our World Our Say, stated, “These protestors are not extremists. They are managers, builders, artists and stockbrokers.” It said that as a result of Bush’s policies the United Kingdom had become “one of the world’s foremost targets of fundamentalist hatred.”

The right-wing Daily Telegraph editorialized sympathetically about the demonstrators, stating, “Most of the marchers were decent people—even if we happen to think they are misguided.” John Hayes, a millionaire with more than 100 employees, told the paper, “I’m here because I think we are playing into the hands of terrorists with this occupation of Iraq.”

Current and former figures within the Labour Party were prominent in the debate. The mayor of London, Kenneth Livingstone, who was expelled from the Labour Party three years ago but is expected to rejoin in time for the mayoral elections next year, said in an interview with The Ecologist magazine that Bush was “the greatest threat to human life on this planet that we’ve probably ever seen.”

Quoted in the press a few days before Bush’s arrival in London, former foreign secretary Robin Cook said, “If the state visit takes on the character of the U.S. boss visiting his wholly owned British subsidiary, it will do further damage to relations with the Bush administration.” Another former cabinet minister, Clare Short, who resigned from the government after the war, urged people to protest because Bush had “made the world more dangerous.”


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