NEW YORK – Thousands of activists, stretching from 52nd to 48th streets in mid-Manhattan, protested outside of George Bush’s $2,000-a-plate campaign fundraiser at the Sheraton Hotel here, June 23.

The protesters drew attention to the Bush administration’s attack on women’s rights, health care, childcare, and workers rights, and denounced Bush’s policy of unending war.

The protest was exactly what Carla Goldstein had in mind. She told the World, “We want to build a broad coalition of organizations who are connecting the dots between the issues.”

Goldstein, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of New York, added, “Bush’s policies are dangerous to women’s health. From the first day of his presidency, Bush put into motion a plan designed to strip women of reproductive rights and critical health services.” She asked, “Should a few men decide on a women’s right to childbearing?”

Helen Parson, an 18-year-old college student from Vermont, carried a banner with a clothes hanger on it, making reference to the back door abortion clinics that were common when abortion was illegal. She said, “Bush has made the fetus more important than the woman.”

Melinda Dutton of the Children’s Defense Fund told the World, “Bush’s $350 billion tax cut went to the wealthiest Americans, while 12 million children and working families were left behind.” The tax cut will provide each of America’s 190,000 millionaires with a gift of $93,500 on average, while families who make between $10,500 and $26,625 will receive nothing.

Dutton added, “The Bush administration is even refusing to give children and working families crumbs.”

As part of a large contingent of Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE!) members, David Epstein, a union researcher, said Bush “has done nothing to help American workers or workers overseas. He has taken away our civil liberties and started a war for no reason.”

Judith Le Blanc of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) said, “The Bush administration has attacked women, attacked families … and took us to war on a lie.” Many protesters, sharing Le Blanc’s concern, carried banners reading “Drop Bush, not bombs,” and “Where are the weapons?” Le Blanc added, “While Bush is lying, U.S. corporations are making profits.”

As part of the Bush administration’s aggressive campaign strategy to win the 2004 elections, it is hoping to raise at least $170 million for its campaign war chest. Monday’s fundraiser brought in around $4 million.

Outside the fundraiser a speaker from the Black Radical Congress said, “Bush has promised endless war and he’s delivering. Bush has unleashed one big package of war on the people of the world. He’s waging war against us.”

The author can be reached at tonypec@pww.org

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