3.24.2006

On Agonizing and Organizing


At Brick Burner, Joshua Frank, in "Political Lemmings: The Democrats and the Precipice", writes:
Can you really oppose the occupation of Iraq and still call yourself a Democrat? I’m not so sure. The majority of Washington Dems continue to applaud Bush’s invasion of Iraq as well as his debauched crusade against terror. A few antiwar voices have echoed though Democratic corridors, but none have produced any genuine shifts in ideology, let alone direction. Nor will they.

It wasn’t long ago when a handful of activists hailed Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s bid for the White House as worth fighting for. He seemed to oppose the war in Iraq and even offered a plan to get troops out quicker than any of the Democratic frontrunners. People were hopeful their support for Dennis would make an impact on the presidential race -- and maybe even pull the Democratic Party in their direction. It never happened. Two years have now passed and those who handed out fliers and buttons for Kucinich have nothing to show for their efforts.

So, why are Dennis Kucinich and his most loyal supporters still Democrats?

That’s a question I wish someone would answer. As far as I can tell, the reason the Dems can’t stand up to Bush is that they actually believe in this foolish war. They aren’t afraid or spineless, as so many claim -- they just support the president and his imperialist ventures. If Kucinich opposes the occupation, as he and his supporters have said over and again, then why is he still a member of a party that overwhelming backs it? Where the hell has he been, anyway?

Sorry Big D, whatever you are doing out there it’s not working all that well. Your party doesn’t need you. A new one does . . .

And there’s your biggest problem. Feingold’s fight to restore integrity in Washington (if there ever was such a thing) is hindered by his party allegiance and reluctance to break rank. The same can be said for every other DC Democrat who is willing to criticize Bush, including Rep. John Conyers. At the end of the day Conyers, like Feingold, McKinney and Kucinich -- is still a member of a party that supports the occupation of Iraq and Bush’s war on civil liberties.

Whatever they say won’t change that. Worst of all, when push comes to shove, and the Democrats nominate another pro-war candidate, all their causes will be sidelined. Party loyalty will matter more than the mounting death toll in Iraq.

I hate to say it, but that kind of bullshit will never end a war.
Of course I agree with what Joshua says. But I also think that the post is an excellent example of what I ventured here. The Left is trapped by the issue of "The War in Iraq". It might be possible to generate a "third party" presidential candidacy based on that single issue, but then what? First of all, there's the issue of who the candidate is . . . Cindy Sheehan and Pat Buchanan both condemn the war. Cindy got stuffed by the DNC/DLC. Wanna vote for Buchanan just to get us out of Iraq?

Joshua is right in accusing the Dems of supporting Bush's imperialist agenda. But it goes much deeper than that. Scratch the surface rhetoric off, look at the voting records and campaign contributions, and what you find is across-the-board support by Democrats for 99% of the The Doubleduh-Cheney Gang's agenda, both foreign and domestic.

Yes, a new party must be formed. But it will only be viable if it is principle-based, rather than issue-based. It also must reject the notion of forming itself around a single personality (such as Sheehan or Nader).

As I have said so many times before, I don't see an effective truly leftist movement in the US anymore. The great majority of US citizens are right-centrists. It will take an enormous amount of organized work to move from being whining finger-pointers to being leaders on the path of peace, justice, and real freedom.

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