[Marxism] Democrats call for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at rogers.com
Sat Apr 10 14:25:57 MDT 2004

Fred Feldman wrote: "If I have to cast a "lesser-evil" vote, it will be for
Sorry to keep harping on this little matter, but the ritual denunciations of
Kerry and the Democrats still evades the following two questions:

1) Are there constituencies inside the Democratic party -- the Dean and
Kucinich forces particularly -- which could be mobilized by a skilled and
experienced left to exploit the Byrd and Kennedy statements to fight the
leadership line on the war, and around other issues?

2) Why is it better, in light of the above, to practice "lesser evil"
politics in the peripheral Greens -- now that the principle of
lesser-evilism appears to be widely accepted on the list (Tony Abdo
excepted)? Or has the choice now become which of the lesser-evils sounds
more "progressive" rather than where the audience which needs to be reached
(trade union and social activists) is to be found?

The suggestion that these issues would play themselves out differently in
the PSOE and other labour parties seems to me to be exaggerated,
unconsciously or otherwise, to justify abstention from the DP. The
relatively greater resistance in the Democratic ranks to criticizing the US
war on Iraq -- I actually think the degree of dissent is impressive -- would
be the product of national chauvinism rather than anything inherent in the
structure or character of the DP, in the same way the PSOE ranks respond
more haltingly to the Basques, the British Labour party to Ireland, Greek
socialists to Cyprus, Israeli labour party to Palestine, etc. But, as I've
noted before, there is no significant difference in the composition of the
rank-and-file or the pro-capitalist orientation in any of these parties, DP
included -- and the reasons for participation are the same in each case,
particularly in a period where there is no credible alternative on the left
to attract their members.

Marv Gandall

----- Original Message -----
From: "Fred Feldman" <ffeldman at bellatlantic.net>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Friday, April 09, 2004 5:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Democrats call for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq

> I basically agree with Louis.  When I first saw the Cuban article, I
> thought it was going to include actual calls for withdrawal by what you
> might call present-day Democrats.  Byrd doesn't count. Any such shift by
> Democrats would be well worth reporting and greeting, whatever their
> reasons.  But there is no such development yet.
> Byrd has been a Senator from West Virginia for 46 years, elected in
> 1958.  He's been in the Senate my whole political life.  And a racist
> antilabor prowar crooked hack he was for almost all of those many years.
> Now he has decided to go out in a blaze of glory.  Well, good for him!
> Shows he has some imagination as well as cojones at least.  And its a
> lot better of just a few more years of what he had been giving us up
> till then.
> Even within the framework of divisions in the ruling class and adherence
> to imperialist policies, these pressures play themselves out in a
> different way in parties like the  PSOE -- or the Australian Labor
> Party. The fact is that while all this is going on, Kerry is
> systematically adapting his policies to the prowar critics of Bush --
> who are becoming legion.
> (Frankly, I sort of think that the DSP may be being too categorical and
> final  about the character of the Labor Party in Australia.  Of course
> it is a bourgeois imperialist party. That is true of all Labor and
> Social-Democratic and (today) large-scale Communist and former-Communist
> Parties in the imperialist countries.  But given that character, it is
> hard to judge from today's vantage point how they will be affected by a
> genuine prerevolutionary-type upsurge of the working class which we have
> not seen in the Labour Party countries for 50 years or more. The
> positions that Latham (or Zapatero in Spain) felt they needed to take on
> the war indicates a different kind of response to antiwar pressures than
> we see in the Democratic Party--even really in the 1960s, when they came
> under overwhelming pressure from popular opinion and divisions in the
> ruling class.  None of this settles the tactical question of how to vote
> or justifies mechanical Leninist "Labour Party" strategies of the
> Grant-Dowson variety, but I think an exaggerated assessment of the
> bourgeois character of the Labor Parties and their finished character
> can foster  a too-rigid approach to the tactical possibilities.)
> Kerry has been shifting his policies to appeal to the growing number of
> antiBush prowar forces.  He's going to be the candidate, I think, of the
> Albrights, Brzezinskis, etc.  He may even land the New Republic in the
> end, which is not happy with Bush.  Plus the Democrats are since
> Clinton, the tight-money, balance the budget party and Kerry is pitching
> for the Democratic bankers' backing, too.
> The Cubans will probably tilt for Kerry this year, although they had a
> plague on both your houses position in 2000, if I recall. (There have
> been signs that Blair and several other world leaders prefer Kerry,
> too.)  But the Cuban press is taking pretty careful account of what
> Kerry really stands for, it seems to me.  They don't have the high hopes
> of change from new presidents that they sometimes entertained in the
> past but were only partly fulfilled under Carter -- and he reversed
> course before the end of his term.
> I won't go into mourning when and if Bush is thrown out.  Insofar as the
> vote rejects Bush's course, that will be a positive (although you have
> to remember that the vote for Kerry will include millions of prowar
> voters who realize that Bush is not working.)  But the ELECTION of Kerry
> will be bad for working people and the peace of the world.  I am hoping
> for Camejo to get on the ballot somehow.  If I have to cast a
> "lesser-evil" vote, it will be for Nader.
> Fred Feldman
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