Why antiwar fighters should not be fazed by election results

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Nov 7 00:33:08 MST 2002

Senator Tom Daschle, who along with former President Clinton and other
supporters of the war against Iraq and the preparations for massive
escalation,  has stated that the fiasco for HIS capitalist war party, "means
that the president has an opportunity here [from the
election] to enact and proceed with the plan [on Iraq] as
he has articulated it." Daschle said on NBC, "I think the
American people appear now to give him the benefit of the
doubt." Following is one line of argument against this claim from the ANSWER

Of course, the capitalist-democratic electoral process is intended to
produce this kind of result almost automatically, a "mandate" for the course
favored are advocated by the ruling class of billionaires. The outcome of
the elections registers only that the class of billionaires basically
approves of what they are doing, a fact also registered by Daschle's voting
record, and the support lent to Bush by
Daschle, Gephardt, the Clintons, and others).

As the article explains, big victories for working people in the United
States -- whether the establishment of unions, forcing withdrawal of troops
from Vietnam,  or abolishing the system of Jim Crow segregation South and
North have been won by massive struggles in the factories, communities, and
streets of this country. Anything we do or don't do at the ballot box should
be with that in mind.

Following is the statement by ANSWER.
Fred Feldman

Why the November 5 election is NOT a mandate for war

The promoters of war would like you to believe that the
November 5 election was a mandate for war. Bush rapidly
seized on Republican gains in the House and Senate to
claim increased authority for his military campaign.
Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle stated, "I think it
means that the president has an opportunity here [from the
election] to enact and proceed with the plan [on Iraq] as
he has articulated it." Daschle said on NBC, "I think the
American people appear now to give him the benefit of the

We challenge Bush and Daschle's assertion that the
administration now has a mandate to commit mass murder in
an illegal war.

The election could have been a de facto referendum on the
war issue but that possibility was eliminated when the
majority in Congress spinelessly rubber stamped Bush's war
plans in early October hoping to remove the issue of war
from the political discourse. Following on Congress'
abdication of its responsibility to the people, Senator
Daschle's comments are an announcement of not only a
wholesale capitulation, but an embrace of Bush's global
war drive.

It is no wonder that voters had an extremely difficult
time differentiating between the pro-war program of the
Republicans and that articulated by the Democratic Party
leadership. Two thirds of registered voters stayed home on
election day. To describe the turnout as mere voter apathy
misses the main point. In fact the people of this country
have been keenly attuned to politics especially in the
last year. Low voter turnout reflects many discouraged
voters' view that the U.S. Congress does not represent the
will of the people but instead serves the interests of
other constituents: Big Oil, multinational corporations,
the Military-Industrial complex, and a relatively few
wealthy elite.

The President and the Congress must feel the heat from the
people. "Formal" democracy has been hijacked by the
war-makers. But we are fighting back. People are
justifiably angry and disgusted. Thousands of organizers
around the country are energetically building a mass
movement from the grass roots up. Bush, Cheney, Daschle
and the generals and corporate executives don't actually
fight the wars and risk their lives, nor is it their labor
that makes the war machine function. The anti-war movement
is organizing the people without whose blood and labor the
war machine cannot function.

Congress didn't stop the Vietnam war, the people stopped
it. We know that the majority sentiment in the US opposes
a new war against Iraq. On a global scale the antiwar
sentiment is nearly a universal consensus. If the White
House and Congress rejected the will of the people, if the
member states of the UN bow to US pressure rather than
listening to their own people -- if governmental leaders
shred international law -- then the people must act
themselves. This has always been the path to genuine

By early January 2003 a massive number of people will have
voted in the People's Anti-War Referendum
(http://www.VoteNoWar.org). Local Vote No War committees
in cities, towns, campuses, and high schools will be going
door to door to collect anti-war votes. The results of the
referendum will be a pillar of the mass organizing
campaign timed to coincide with the return of the new U.S.
Congress. On January 18 and 19 there will be massive
street protests in Washington, D.C. at the same time as
the convening of a Grass roots Peace Congress.

By acting now we can make a difference.


1) Register your vote by signing the referendum at

2) Download the VoteNoWar referendum and collect votes in
your area (this is very easy, only Acrobat Reader is
required). You can also download a two-sided flyer
explaining both the People's Anti-War Referendum and the
January 18-19 mobilization. The referendum can be
downloaded at http://www.votenowar.org/referendum.pdf and
the flyer at http://www.votenowar.org/flyer.pdf. If you
have problems downloading the flyers, call us at
202-332-5757 and we'll send you a packet in the mail.

After you download and reproduce the referendum and
flyers, ask you friends, co-workers, neighbors and family
to Vote No to War. Hand out flyers or set up a table in
front of a supermarket, at a college or high school, at a
place of worship, or at a metro station.

3) Send people you know information about the People's
Anti-War Referendum. You can forward this message to
personal contacts or email listserves, or go to
+Referendum=Click+here+to+send+e-mail and enter the names
of up to five people and they will be sent general
information about the campaign.

4) Add a link to VoteNoWar.org to your website -- or
suggest that others do this. Go to
http://www.votenowar.org/add_link.html for a graphic
button and instructions (it's very simple, you just cut
and paste one single line of HTML code onto your web

5) Make a donation to advance the anti-war movement at

Email: dc at internationalanswer.org
New York 212-633-6646
Washington 202-332-5757
Chicago 773-878-0166
Los Angeles 213-487-2368
San Francisco 415-821-6545

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