[Marxism] Nation says it will not support candidate who does not seek to end war quickly

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Nov 11 23:55:36 MST 2005

Well, hell, this is a stronger position than the Green Party has really
been able to take so far. Will this stand outlast the primaries? 

The Nation does not -- to put it mildly -- have my position on the war
(for immediate withdrawal,  defense of the entire resistance including
the armed resistance, and recognizing the role that the armed resistance
in Iraq has played in restricting and setting back Washington's plans to
deepen and extend US imperialist oppression not only in Iraq, but around
the world. The key recognition is the "bipartisan" character of the war,
and the role of the Democratic Party in making the war and its
continuance possible.

To me, despite the Nation's unchanged basic commitment to the Democrats,
this  seems like a positive development in the framework of US politics.
Partly it is the Cindy Sheehan effect. Sheehan, as far as I can tell,
takes for granted the two-party structure of US politics like millions
of other people do, and assumes she has to make choices in that
framework. She has nonetheless been denouncing the current
half-coronated party hopeful Hilary Clinton for her support to the war,
and has been indicating that she will not support any openly prowar or
talk=about-other-issues-instead candidate.
I think this is a reflection of the disgust with the Democrats that is
growing along with the exposure and discreditment of the Republican

We shouldn't count on the Nation for a correct political position in the
future, but I think this stand opens a little more "space," as we used
to say, for pushing forward the politics of the working-class and the
oppressed, as well as fighting the attempts to subordinate the antiwar
fight to the two-party system.
Fred Feldman

Democrats and the War
[from the November 28, 2005 issue]

Everything that needs to be known is now known: The reasons the Bush
Administration gave for the American war in Iraq were all falsehoods or
deceptions, and every day the US occupation continues deepens the very
problems it was supposed to solve. Therefore there can no longer be any
doubt: The war--an unprovoked, unnecessary and unlawful invasion that
has turned into a colonial-style occupation--is a moral and political
catastrophe. As such it is a growing stain on the honor of every
American who acquiesces, actively or passively, in its conduct and

The war has also become the single greatest threat to our national
security. Its human and economic costs are spiraling out of control,
with no end in sight. It has driven America's reputation in the world to
a historic low point. In the meantime, real threats suffer terrible
neglect. These include more terrorist attacks, jeopardized oil supplies,
rising tension with China, the spread of nuclear and other weapons of
mass destruction and even natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. All
are pushed aside as this Administration pours the country's blood,
treasure and political energy into a futile war. In short, ending the
Iraq War is the most pressing issue facing America today. Until it is
ended, a constructive national security policy cannot be forged. 

Americans are well on their way to a full appreciation of the dimensions
of this debacle. In an October CBS news poll, 59 percent of citizens
surveyed and 73 percent of Democrats now want an end to US military
involvement in Iraq. But this growing majority has made its judgment
with virtually no help from our nation's leaders. Most shameful has been
the Democratic Party's failure to oppose the war. Indeed, support for it
has been bipartisan: A Republican President and Congress made the
policy, and almost all of the leading Democrats--most of the honorable
exceptions are members of the House of Representatives--supported it
from the outset and continue to do so. To their credit, would-be
presidential candidate Senator Russell Feingold and former Senator Gary
Hart have recently made strong antiwar statements. More recently two
other presidential contenders, Senator John Kerry and former Senator
John Edwards, have begun to call for a shift in policy, though still in
vague and reticent terms. More typical, however, are the other
presidential hopefuls, Senators Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden and Evan
Bayh, who continue to huddle for cover in "the center." They offer
little alternative to Bush's refrain "We must stay the course!" Nor do
the party's Congressional leaders and its head, Howard Dean, once a
leader of antiwar sentiment. Can such politicians, who cannot even
follow a majority--in the Democratic Party, a large majority--really be
considered leaders? 

The Nation therefore takes the following stand: We will not support any
candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war
in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign. We urge all voters to join
us in adopting this position. Many worry that the aftermath of
withdrawal will be ugly, but we can now see that the consequences of
staying will be uglier still. Fear of facing the consequences of Bush's
disaster should not be permitted to excuse the creation of a worse
disaster by continuing the occupation. 

We firmly believe that antiwar candidates, with the other requisite
credentials, can win the 2006 Congressional elections, the 2008
Democratic presidential primaries and the subsequent national election.
But this fight, and our stand, must begin now. 

In the coming weeks and months The Nation will help identify--and
encourage support for--those candidates prepared to bring a speedy end
to the war and to begin the hard work of forging a new national security
policy that an end to the Iraq War will make possible. 

There is no other way to save America's security and honor. And to those
Democratic "leaders" who continue to insist that the safer, more
electable course is to remain openly or silently complicit in the war,
we say, paraphrasing the moral philosopher Hillel: If not now, when? If
not you, who? 

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