Bush’s war on poor
George W. Bush lectured the world on poverty in his speech to a U.N. conference in Mexico but he ignored the rising poverty in his own backyard. It’s not a coincidence. The same policies that cause poverty around the world cause poverty in the United States, with Bush as their chief implementer.

Increasing numbers of families with children depend on soup kitchens and homeless shelters for food and housing. Millions of mothers stuck in low-wage jobs can’t cover basic living expenses. Nearly 50 million lack health insurance. Sixty percent of the eight million unemployed receive no jobless benefits.

The annual “State of the States” report of the Food Research and Action Center released last month documents 31 million Americans, including 12 million children, are “ hungry or living on the edge of hunger.”

The economic gains of the last decade went to the richest few who own and control the economy. Even as the wealth gap widens, the Bush administration is pushing for more tax cuts for the wealthy, cutbacks in safety net programs and for dangerous increases in the military budget.

There is hope, not from Bush’s “let them eat missiles” budget priorities, but from the rising grassroots movement around the world demanding policies that put people and the planet before profits.

Here in the United States, grassroots movements are urgently demanding an increase in the minimum wage, union jobs, restoration of the social safety net and budget priorities that benefit the people rather than oil corporations and Pentagon weapons contractors. The April 20 March on Washington to End the War at Home and Abroad is part of this movement.

It will take the multiracial unity of labor, economic rights, environment and peace forces to win true security and well-being in our country. All efforts must be geared toward delivering a resounding defeat to the Bush Doctrine in November’s Congressional elections.

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Support the International Court of Criminal Justice
If four more nations join the 56 nations that have already ratified the treaty establishing an International Court of Criminal Justice, it could become a reality within a few weeks. This court would be empowered to try individuals charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including terrorism.

The 1988 treaty was signed by President Clinton in the closing days of his administration. The number of ratifications has grown rapidly – up from 41 last October. World public opinion is swinging away from military force to fight terrorism in favor of bringing the perpetrators before an internationally recognized court of law.

The Bush administration has vowed never to send the treaty to the Senate for ratification. Instead, Bush has set up military tribunals to try foreign nationals accused of terrorism unilaterally without the legal authority of the United Nations.

Bush recoils at the idea that the U.S. should be held to the same standard of justice as they apply to everyone else. By contrast, France and Germany amended their constitutions to make their citizens accountable under this treaty. Why not the U.S?

The treaty establishing this international court is not retroactive. So there is no prospect that U.S. officials might be indicted for past war crimes in Korea, Vietnam, Cuba or even Afghanistan, where an estimated 4,000 civilians were killed by U.S. bombing raids. No, the Bush administration is thinking ahead. They fear this treaty could cramp their style in waging atrocious wars in the future.

A U.N. spokesperson said the speed of the treaty’s ratification demonstrates how fast the mobilization for democracy, justice and the rule of law is also proceeding in international affairs.

The fight to force the Bush administration and the Senate to ratify this treaty is part and parcel of the fight against the war abroad and at home. As such it should be on the agenda of the April 20 events in Washington.

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