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human & civil rights | imperialism & war

Seattle Residents March for Human Rights, Against Imperialist Militarism

Approximately fifty Seattle residents marched in support of human rights and against imperialist militarism. Human rights and imperialism are directly related as the latter moves to suppress the former. Yet, despite appearances, imperialism and its running dogs are not all-powerful. These reactionaries have been defeated in the past and they'll continue to face defeat in the future. Let's work to transform the current-anti war movement into a mass movement to end imperialism!
Today, to coincide with International Human Rights Day, approximately fifty Seattle residents marched in support of human rights and against imperialist militarism[1]. The main focus was on human rights violations, particularly victims of the neocolonial comprador regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the Philippines.

The march started at the Federal Building, where Washington Jobs With Justice had planned to rally around the slogan "workers rights are human rights!"[2] From there we marched to Westlake Plaza.

The march took the form of a "funeral procession", with pallbearers carrying symbolic coffins commemorating the untold millions around the world who suffer from human rights abuses. Unlike this author[3], the majority of protestors dressed in black, as if at a real funeral. Some wore funeral-style veils.

On the coffins were inscribed messages bringing attention to the innocent victims of the U.S. imperialist-led "war on terror". This so-called "anti-terror" campaign has unleashed considerable terror on much of the world, including the in Philippines where people are gunned down for organizing unions, demanding democratic rights and even being suspected of involvement in the National Democratic Revolution[4].

Upon the arrival at Westlake, eulogy-style speeches were given to commemorate victims of political assassination. Also, A member of the Save Tookie Committee[5] encouraged march participants to get active in the struggle to save the life of Stan "Tookie" Williams who is scheduled for execution on December 13. Finally, A supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party and the "World Can't Wait" campaign urged people to get involved with their effort to "drive out the Bush regime"[6].

As in many parts of the world, Filipino human rights are violated with the support and encouragement of U.S. imperialism, which provides political, military and financial support to the brutal regime in that country. In exchange, the Government of the Philippines hosts U.S. imperialist troops, ostensibly in the region "advise" the Armed Forces of the Philippines on how to fight Islamic radicals in the south.

Even the most superficial study of U.S. imperialism's history in the Philippines should be enough to puncture this lie.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has established torture chambers all over the world. Much of this has recently been exposed: Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and the practice of "rendering" supposed terror suspects to American allies who are known to practice torture. Certainly, what makes these cases exceptional is the mere fact that we know about them. These are most likely just the tip of the iceberg and more atrocities are being exposed every day.

Imperialism's use of torture is nothing new--the Korean and Vietnamese victims of American aggression could tell you that. Yet it's great that many are coming into political motion against the outrages taking place today, for it will require nothing short of mass, independent political action to secure real human rights and sweep away the reactionary perpetrators of torture, unjust detentions, police brutality, strikebreaking, national oppression, sweatshops and all the other unacceptable outrages that have come to define modern imperialism.

While human rights violations and imperialist militarism are on the rise, so is resistance. People from all around the world are standing up and delivering real blows to the imperialist enemy. The Iraqi resistance has thrown a wrench into possible U.S. plans to attack Iran or Syria, let alone colonize Iraq. Mass anti-Arroyo protests in the Philippines are a direct challenge to one of U.S. imperialism's most trustworthy lapdogs in the world. The Maoist-led People's War in Nepal, after over nine years of struggle, is in a real position to oust the feudal monarch and attempt to develop Nepal in the direction of New Democracy and socialism. Even Venuzela's "Bolivarian Revolution" theatens to derail the U.S.-sponsored FTAA and other attempts at establishing U.S. hegemony in South America. And these are just a few examples; there are many more.

It is of vital importance that we in the U.S. imperialist belly of the beast continue to build and participate in protest actions such as the one that took place today. Despite appearances, imperialism and its running dogs are not all-powerful. These reactionaries have been defeated in the past and they'll continue to face defeat in the future. Let's work to transform the current-anti war movement into a mass movement to end imperialism!


Notes:

1. The sponsors of today's demonstration were: Philippine-U.S. Solidarity Organization, API Women & Family Safety Center, Gabriela Network, Seattle Chapter and AnakBayan Seattle.

2. Unfortunately the Jobs With Justice rally was cancelled at the last minute.

3. For the record, I am a member of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee. The views contained in this article are not necessarily those of SAIC nor the organizers of this event. Furthermore, I tend to dress in earth tones and don't own much in the way of black, formal clothing...

4. For more information on the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, visit:  http://home.wanadoo.nl/ndf/

5. For more information about Stan "Tookie" Williams and the campaign to save his life, visit:  http://savetookie.org/

6. For more information about the World Can't Wait campaign, visit:  http://www.worldcantwait.org. As the Democratic Party is fully complicit in the past and present crimes of U.S. imperialism, I believe it's important to build the mass movement against the political and economic system of imperialism, not just this or that bourgeois clique.

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