First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 38, October 3, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
Washington, D.C.,–A militant picket line was set up in front of the White House Sept. 22 as Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Secretary of State Vance made a grandstand play to preserve the faltering facade of “detente.”
While the two imperialist negotiators dodged and feinted with each other over the SALT talks behind closed doors, demonstrators exposed the growing preparations for world war being undertaken by both the U.S. and the USSR.
The protest was initiated by the Communist Party (M-L) and sponsored by members of anti-imperialist, worker and student organizations from throughout the Washington area.
Many Ethiopian, Eritrean and Iranian activists participated, denouncing the crimes of the superpowers in their homelands. One of the main slogans was, “Detente is a Fraud, Down with Imperialism!”
This slogan struck right to the heart of the Gromyko-Vance show. Although State Department spokesmen tried to paint a rosy picture of the fruitless talks with references to “progress” on the issues, they later had to admit that there were no “breakthroughs of substance” in the control of nuclear arms.
In the end, both the U.S. and the USSR decided to let the 1972 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) expire Oct. 3. They found it too difficult to cloak the arms race under a new treaty at this time.
The Kremlin and the White House, however, issued statements that they would abide by the old treaty “in principle,” but neither would put their signatures to it.
The original SALT treaty, although supposedly designed to “limit” the arms race, actually provided a public relations cover for stepped-up war preparations by the two superpowers. The war budgets of both countries have increased each year, and new weapons have been invented, despite continuing platitudes about “detente.”
This frantic buildup towards war was denounced at the White House demonstration.
“We do not accept the myth that war is good for workers or that it provides jobs,” said a speaker from the National Fight Back Organization. “We demand jobs, not imperialist war!”
A speaker from the CPML made it clear that war is inevitable as long as imperialism exists, but pointed out, “We oppose the impending imperialist war and strive to postpone it as long as possible.”
The demonstrators took the opportunity of Gromyko’s visit to particularly expose the imperialist actions carried out by the USSR under the disguise of “socialism.”
From the invasion of Czechoslovakia to the bloody slaughter being carried out by the Soviet-backed Mengistu regime in Ethiopia, the demonstrators denounced the crimes of Soviet social-imperialism and vowed to intensify their struggle against both superpowers.