Liberal, Socialist Protestors to Target Bush Inauguration

By Cheryl K. Chumley | July 7, 2008 | 8:27pm EDT

( - More than 250 activist organizations have endorsed a movement to protest the presidential inauguration Jan. 20, according to documents posted on the International Action Center's Internet site.

Police in Washington, D.C. are prepared for the event, promising to deputize nearly 1,000 officers from surrounding counties so that extra law personnel might be on hand to quash any violent eruptions.

Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey did not return a telephone call to comment on the specifics of the planned operation, but a department spokesperson indicated that federal agencies such as the FBI would be on alert as the demonstrations unfold.

"The recent election highlighted that racist disenfranchisement of voters is a routine factor in U.S. politics. We will protest against all manifestations of racism, racial profiling, and disenfranchisement," said a statement from the International Action Center, a New York-based activist organization whose members have spent the past days soliciting the aid of interest groups for the planned inaugural protest.

Groups that have endorsed the event include numerous socialist organizations, like the Workers World Party, whose members work to "defend Socialist Cuba," the Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America, the Socialist Party of Greater Philadelphia, and the Metro D.C. Committee of Correspondence, which claims it fights "for Democracy and Socialism."

Others sanctioning the International Activist Center demonstration include several organizations opposed to the death penalty, in favor of homosexual rights, and in support of black civil liberties.

"We want our just inheritance," claimed one group involved in planning the protest, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. "[We want] the trillions of dollars due us for the labor of our ancestors who worked for hundreds of years without pay. Reparations are needed to repair the wrongs, injury, and damage done to us by the U.S. federal and state governments."

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has also indicated he and his followers will protest the election outcome during the Martin Luther King holiday, which coincides with inaugural night events.

Never before in history, said Wendy Wright, director of communications for Concerned Women for America, have inaugural demonstrations included such divisive protests that are aimed more at "tainting the next four years of the presidency" than conveying a peaceful message.

"The purpose of this protest is not to get a message across, but rather to de-legitimize the president," Wright said. "Sometimes people can overplay their hand. The country ... just wants to go forward. So a message like this, that's hate-filled ... will turn most Americans away."

Wright also wondered how U.S. Park Police will react to the protestors. During Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration, according to Wright, pro-lifers were almost prevented from rallying near the parade route even though they had obtained a permit to gather.

The U.S. Supreme Court intervened at the request of the anti-abortion demonstrators, Wright said, allowing the rally to be held and ruling that the Park Police had acted illegally by rescinding the permit.

"Will they have the same roadblocks? It will be curious to see if [Park Police] will handle the liberal organizations the same way they handled the conservative organizations," she said.

John Samples, director of the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute said Vice President Al Gore could stop the divisive protests, but wondered whether Gore's frustration out of losing by such a narrow margin will allow him to intervene.

"We'll know a lot [Wednesday night] by the tone of his speech and what the general outlook is. He basically has to go on the air and read his obituary. I honestly don't know ... if he can get over his general disappointment about this" and adopt a conciliatory tone that serves to unite the country.

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