"Democratic antiwar Presidential contenders" ; looking ahead to 2004

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at comcast.net
Thu Aug 21 01:14:56 MDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eli Stephens" <elishastephens at hotmail.com>

> Is it possible that UfPJ refuses to endorse Oct. 25 because they have
> insisted on the inclusion of Democratic antiwar Presidential contenders on
> the program and ANSWER has refused?

This is indeed very "wild speculation" mainly because there AREN'T any
Democratic antiwar presidential contenders, so far as I know, except
Sharpton (who has spoken at ANSWER events before) and then some people count
Kucinich who is in favor of a short internationalized occupation rather than
a long unilateral occupation.   Dean of course supports the occupation,
saying that it was a bad idea but we have to go ahead now that we're there,
which is not much different from Hubert Humphrey's position on Viet Nam.
And Dean is a "fringe candidate"!!  I would be surprised if Dean, or any
other candidate except Sharpton and MAYBE Kucinich, would under any
circumstances agree to speak at an antiwar rally organized by ANSWER or even
by UFPJ.

All the other Democratic presidential candidates either say, with Lieberman,
that the war was a fine thing and the occupation is a fine thing, or else
they complain that Bush wasn't open and "stretched the truth" and say that
the occupation is too important to be left in Bush's clumsy hands.
(Actually I don't know what Carol Mosley-Braun's position is.)

The Democratic candidates like Gebhardt and Kerry are the most morally
disgusting political vermin in existence.  In my view they are even more
morally disgusting than Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz et al., who by
comparison are honest about their plans to conquer the world.  The war
Democrats went along with the war and the lies and the propaganda campaign
with their eyes wide open, and then, Iraq having been conquered, they
maneuvered to try to score points off the Bush administration by complaining
that "oh, he lied to us, he wasn't honest with us!"  What human offal.

Nevertheless it is certain that over the next year many people who were of
"the movement" in spring of 2003 will demand that we rally behind some
loathsome Democratic Party War Pig in the interest of saving the world from
war, the working class from ruin, immigrants from roundups, dissenters from
fascism, and so on.  Whoever does not "get with the program" and write a
political blank check to the Democrats will be called an "objective Bushite"
and so on.

Anyone who is tempted to point out some obvious facts, such as that the
Democratic Party leaders are co-war criminals with Bush and Rumsfeld, or
that the working class cannot be saved from ruin while they are being bled
to finance wars and occupations, will be slapped in the face and told that
there is a time for the truth, but there is a time to defeat Bush and elect
the Democrat, and this is the time to defeat Bush and elect the Democrat,
and if you can't say anything nice about the Democrat then don't say
anything at all.*

We know what THEY are going to do (I am not going to be specific about who
"they" are, I'm sure there are pleasant and unpleasant surprises ahead, but
it is certain that there will be a section of "the left" doing this), but
unfortunately we don't yet know what WE are going to do.

(For that matter we don't know what the isolationist right wing is going to
do.  It would be disastrous if the only candidate standing for an end to the
occupation of Iraq were someone like Pat Buchanan or Justin Raimondo!!!!!
Can you imagine anything worse?!)

In the spring of 2003 there were millions of us who were in the streets
opposing the war and calling the Bush administration liars.  We were against
the war.  The elected national representatives of the Democratic Party, with
a few exceptions who are really in the war Democratic Party by mistake,
supported the war and exposed themselves as partners in murder.  Not in a
long time has the proposition that we need a different party been supported
by proof which has been so targeted at such a large number of activists.
Whether this lesson is taught, however, depends on whether we teach it.  It
won't teach itself.

If we sit and watch and wait for what 2004 will bring, it will bring an
election with a mainstream war-and-occupation Democrat running against Bush
and posing as the savior of labor and civil liberties, along with a vigorous
red-baiting and green-baiting campaign against  any dissenters and
malcontents.  If we don't like this prospect, my personal opinion is that we
should begin some kind of planning and brainstorming and networking NOW.
Unless we are actually on the barricades making the revolution before next
fall, which I doubt, it seems to me that there HAS to be a genuinely
anti-war, anti-occupation, bring-the-troops-home slate in the election.

The exact way this is to be done has to be discussed; perhaps there
can/should be a progressive coalition or united front; perhaps if the Greens
run a serious and uncompromising antiwar candidate we should all support
them on this particular occasion despite their other deficiencies in
program.  Perhaps the Sharpton campaign will become a vehicle of the radical
opposition.  Or perhaps the other strategies aren't reliable and we should
run our own socialist candidates whom we can count on to stand firm.  I am
even willing to -listen- to someone who argues that we should all give
critical support to Kucinich, although at this point I believe that we need
a campaign that says "End the occupation, troops out now, immediately, no
delays, equivocations, or conditions about it" and nothing less, and that
Kucinich won't qualify.  But the process has to be got going.  I would be
happy if I heard that someone was organizing a conference entitled "Instead
of the Democrats, What?" or something.  It would mean that someone on the
left was taking the offensive.  Right now the yellow-dog Democrats of the
semi-left are taking the offensive (for those outside the US who have not
heard this expression, "yellow dog Democrat" is an old term for someone who
would vote for any Democratic candidate whatever "even if they nominated a
yellow dog"), such as liberal Congresswoman Jan Schakowski, who has
circulated a letter calling on the left to pledge to unconditionally support
the Democratic nominee against Bush.

Lou Paulsen

* The epitome of this kind of attitude is the issue of the People's Weekly
World (CP-USA) which was distributed at the labor rally in Washington on
Labor Day of 1984.  It was all full of "defeat Reagan" articles and
propaganda.  The word "Reagan" must have appeared 200 times in the paper.
The word "Mondale" appeared TWICE by my count.  A week before, Mondale had
promised to raise taxes.  Gus Hall had a hard time maneuvering around this
inconvenient fact in his "beat Reagan" article.  How do you manage to avoid
saying anything about that?  We can't ignore it completely, but it wouldn't
do to say anything that might cost Mondale a vote...  What he did was to use
the most convoluted language imaginable.  It was something like this: "In
order to get the greatest possible unity for defeating Reagan, it would be
important not to threaten the standard of living of the workers.  For
example, any candidate who suggested that he would raise taxes would incur
the mistrust of the workers" or some such.  "Any candidate!!"
Hypothetically speaking!!  Should you hear of such a candidate, should you
ever run into such a guy, you warn him that he's making a mistake!!  It was
just that bad.

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