MASS protests greeted US president George W Bush as he began his tour of Europe last week. Over 100,000 people demonstrated in the German capital, Berlin, on Tuesday. The following day 50,000 marched.
Anti-war groups, socialists, Greens, anti-capitalists and many more joined the protests against Bush. Trade union delegations also joined the anti-Bush protests, including some from the IG Metall engineering workers' union, which has recently held successful strikes over pay.
'A Breath Of Genoa?' was how some of the German press labelled the demonstrations, referring to the huge protests in the Italian city last summer. Police tried to ban sales of Linksruck on the demonstrations. It is Socialist Worker's sister paper in Germany and ran a front page saying, 'Unwanted: George Bush, The Greatest Terrorist In The World'.
Despite the police attempts to stop this message the paper sold over 1,700 copies on the first march. George Bush also faced protests when he travelled on from Germany to France this week, with around 10,000 marching in Paris.
Bush was not visiting Britain on his tour. Perhaps his friend Tony Blair had warned that he could face even bigger protests here. The scale of opposition internationally to the US war drive is making even those at the top of Bush's regime nervous.
Reports last week suggested US generals were advising that the US was too overstretched to launch a full-scale invasion of Iraq in the near future. Whatever the truth of such reports, the US does face problems enforcing its writ around the world.
It still has unfinished business in Afghanistan. The resistance of the Palestinians to the war being waged against them by Bush's ally Israel is focusing anger across the Arab world and beyond. That is making it more difficult for Bush to persuade other regimes to back his plans to wage war on Iraq.
And the recent US-backed attempt to overthrow the government of Venezuela in South America completely backfired. . It failed when an uprising of Venezuela's poor restored President Chavez. The difficulties faced by Bush do not mean he and his gang have dropped their plans to wage war on Iraq and elsewhere.
But they should encourage everyone who opposes that war drive to redouble their efforts to build the movement against war.
ANTI-WAR protesters will be among those working to build the European Social Forum, set for Florence in Italy in November. The gathering will see tens of thousands of activists from a wide variety of movements coming together to discuss their alternative to a world of war, racism and market madness.
To find out how to register for and travel to the European Social Forum from Britain contact Globalise Resistance. Phone 020 89870 3005 or go to www.resist.org.uk