Sunday, August 01, 2004

ZNet |Third Party | Shattering Illusions

ZNet |Third Party | Shattering Illusions:Anti-war views were by no means rare at the Convention. Even within the narrow spectrum of the Democratic Party, ninety percent of delegates oppose the war in Iraq (according to a recent CBS/NY Times poll). Their views were barely reflected in the choreographed speeches of their elite “representatives.” Outspoken anti-war Democrat Dennis Kucinich justified ignoring the divide: “we’re going to unite our party to elect John Kerry and then we’re going to continue the debate within the Democratic Party.” (PBS Interview) So, ninety percent of the party’s rank-and-file have to compromise their position on the war to comply with the 10 percent who are represented by the powerful elite of the party. Instead of the party taking a stand based on the majority sentiment, the crucial debate over war has been relegated to internal party discussion, where it will probably fizzle out. Those on the left who advocate blind support for Kerry hand responsibility for the debate over war and occupation to the Democratic Party, whose elites have more in common with Republicans than with their own rank-and-file.

The irresponsible idealism with which the antiwar movement is throwing its support behind a pro-war Bush-like candidate is disturbing. Little attempt is being made by the Party itself to reach out to those who are unregistered or uninterested, but private groups like and individuals like filmmaker Michael Moore are doing it for them, under the slogan “Anybody But Bush.” The MoveOn Political Action Committee just sent a letter to its members that “hope is on the way” in the guise of John Kerry, parroting Kerry’s own refrain (“help is on the way”) during his DNC acceptance speech. After he wins, MoveOn tells us, “we'll wake up that morning able to dream big dreams for a country and a world that are once again headed in the right direction.” Unless voters are aware of the problems of backing Kerry for President most will go home after election day, either happy that their candidate won or cynical that their actions had no effect. Being realistic about Kerry’s background may prepare activists to begin organizing now, regardless of who wins, determined to involve themselves in struggle for the long haul, if that’s what it takes.

by Sonali Kolhatkar
and James Ingalls


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