[Marxism] Phyllis Bennis Znet post-election musings

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 19 18:16:28 MST 2004

Hello, Phyllis

Your Znet article really takes the cake, I must say. I have heard all 
sorts of bad faith and 'blame the American people' spin-doctoring from 
the ABB set, but your comments really deserve some kind of booby-prize. 
You say:

 >>If the world could have voted, there is no question that the response 
to four years of the Bush administration's policies would have been 
modeled on that of Spain after the terrorist bombing of the Madrid 
trains: reject the politics of fear, hold the government accountable for 
making its people less safe, and vote those responsible out of office. 
The world would have helped us reclaim our democracy. Instead, the world 
is already seeing a reempowered American administration claiming a 
popular mandate, with a strengthened commitment to its illegal war in 
Iraq, intensified support for Israel's occupation of Palestine, renewed 
military threats against other perceived "enemies," the sidelining of 
the United Nations, and the consolidation of a law of empire to match 
the rejection of international law. The outcome of the election was 
based on the fear factor that the Bush administration had manipulated to 
such great effect. The result will be that around the world people will 
see Americans as complicit in our government's wars and other 
violations. We citizens of empire in this country failed to defend the 
interests of the subjects of empire in the rest of the world, who are 
denied even the illusion of a vote. We are all less safe as a result.<<



1. Electing Kerry would have been nothing like the Spanish vote. Don't 
you remember what Kerry said about that vote? The Boston Globe reported 
on March 19th, 2004:

Confronted with that blow to US efforts in Iraq, Kerry said that 
Zapatero was sending the wrong message and urged him to rethink his course.

"In my judgment, the new prime minister should not have decided that he 
was going to pull out of Iraq," Kerry said on Tuesday. "He should have 
said this increases our determination to get the job done."

A day later, Kerry was even more direct. "I call on Prime Minister 
Zapatero to reconsider his decision and to send a message that 
terrorists cannot win by their acts of terror," Kerry said during a 
speech at George Washington University.

2. You claim that Bush represents "intensified support for Israel's 
occupation of Palestine." Well, unless Kerry was lying to the American 
people, he did everything he could to represent himself as even more 
Likudist than Bush. In the October 19, 2004 Guardian, Simon Teasdale 
described Kerry's Mideast policies as follows:

 >>Dismayingly for the Palestinians and others opposed to Mr Sharon's 
policies, it also seems unlikely that a John Kerry presidential victory 
would make any significant difference. Like Mr Bush, Mr Kerry in theory 
supports a viable Palestinian state. "The conflict will not be an 
afterthought but a priority," he has said.

But he also wants a new Palestinian leadership as a precondition for 
progress. He backs Mr Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan, rejects the right 
of return, and says it is "unrealistic" to try to reinstate the 1949 
armistice lines. These positions coupled with his strongly pro-Israel 
Senate record hardly suggest an even-handed approach - or the forceful 
US engagement so lacking under Mr Bush.

"When I am president of the United States, my promise to the people of 
Israel will be this," Mr Kerry told the Anti-Defamation League in May. 
"We will never pressure you to compromise your security. We will never 
expect you to negotiate for peace without a credible partner. And we 
will always work to provide political, military and economic help for 
your fight against terror.

"Building a stronger Israel and a stronger America means working 
together to combat the terror that threatens us all." Not much 
wiggle-room there; and no corresponding list of promises for the 

Mr Bush could not have said it better. As for the guileful Mr Sharon, he 
must be laughing all the way to the West Bank.<<

3. Finally, your comment that "The result will be that around the world 
people will see Americans as complicit in our government's wars and 
other violations" is just nothing but warmed-over SDS boneheadedness. 
The people who voted for Bush are not pigs, nor are they denizens of 
AmeriKKKa as Bill Ayers might have put it. The choice between Bush and 
Kerry was not between war and peace, but between war and war. Between 
Humphrey and Nixon. If anything, Nixon at least postured as a peace 
candidate with his "secret plan." By contrast, Kerry said that he was 
better qualified to lead us to victory over the Iraqi resistance. Didn't 
you understand what all that "reporting for duty" rhetoric was about at 
the Democratic Party convention? I understand that there is all sorts of 
pressure on you to twist things around in order to keep us tied to the 
Democratic Party, since its major donors--especially Soros--are the same 
people who keep the troughs of IPS, Global Exchange stocked with grants 
and donations. But surely there must be a higher calling to fight for 
peace and justice, right?

Yours truly,

Louis Proyect

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