NOW president criticizes Bush’s agenda at GW

National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland urged students to continue strengthening the women’s movement in a panel discussion about fighting President George W. Bush’s agenda Saturday in the Media and Public Affairs building auditorium.

The panel discussion was the final rally of one of six Mid-Atlantic Socialist Conferences to denounce Bush’s plans. The session featuring Ireland was entitled “Unite the Fight to Beat Back Bush.”

Ireland, who spoke to about 150 students, encouraged conference participants to join a D.C. abortion rights march April 22 called the Emergency Action for Women’s Lives.

“Instead of letting your friends keep their anger inside, do them a favor and invite them to come march,” Ireland said. “There is no greater breakthrough in women’s history than abortion and birth control.”

She said the fight needs continued support.

“Right now everything from birth to death is at risk,” she said.

Ireland compared activists’ efforts to those of Rosa Parks, who she lauded for great strength to stand up for what she believed, and told audience members that they have the ability to make a difference in the world.

Other panelists offered socialism as a solution to the country’s problems.

“I think socialism is absolutely necessary, the socialist perspective is what we need to build in our cities,” said Arturo Griffiths, a member of the D.C. Green Party. Griffiths blasted D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams for privatizing business in the city.

“We are losing our city to big corporations, we want to change the direction that D.C. is going,” he said. “We have to act locally so we can act collectively globally.”

Griffiths urged students to reach out and organize their efforts.

Panelist Sherry Wolf said governments often do not reflect popular ideals.

“We must understand that most people in the world are far to the left, even though the ones running the government are not,” Wolf said.

Wolf said 67 percent of Americans support abortion. Although Wolf said she does not support Bush, she said “it is not the end of the world,” citing times in history under Republican presidents when accomplishments were made, such as Brown vs. Board of Education.

Student activists at the conference booed at the mention of Bush’s name and cheered when speakers mentioned the fight against him.

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