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Dave Silver


August 29, 2004

The anti-war and broad Left movements must confront a fundamental question; Will the changing of the occupant of the White House change in any significant way the foreign policy or economic goals?

Absolutely not. There may be a change with a tweak here and there as to how those policies are marketed but not the basic policies themselves. In other words, Kerry will produce other wars perhaps Iran or Venezuela and the oppression and exploitation at home will accompany our imperialist actions abroad. A Democratic President will pursue whatever policies the Transnational ruling class deems necessary to guarantee greater capital accumulation as inter capitalist/imperialist rivalry with western Europe (symbolized by the Euro currency) and Japan sharpens.

Many justify a vote for Kerry saying yes we know his record is not very good but we the people will have a better chance to change things if he is commander-in-chief. Some even say I’m not supporting Kerry but just voting for him and as Stephen Gowans aptly notes it’s like saying I don’t deal drugs, I’m just manufacturing them and distributing them to dealers.

Let’s be crystal clear about the Kerry record over the past three decades;

Supporting pre-emptive wars from Grenada to Kosovo, Somalia and Afghanistan to Iraq. Let’s also recall that it was Bill Clinton’s 1996 “anti-terror legislation” that was the prototype for Bush administration’s Patriot Acts. It was his “welfare reform”policies that were responsible for the death or illness of tens of thousands of poor, working class and mainly people of color. It was under the Democrats that we witnessed the most devastating economic sanctions in history and the largest sustained bombing of so called no fly zones since Vietnam.

I hear the choir saying that we are in different times now (true enough since the demise of the Soviet Union) and Kerry would be more sensible and open to pressure. Well let’s take a look at the recently concluded DNC. Kucinich delegates had their signs confiscated because they wore pink scarves that read “Peace Delegate.” Medea Benjamin from Code Pink was literally dragged off the floor by police for holding up a pink banner that read End the Occupation of Iraq. Does this sound like there will be a kinder and more people friendly occupant of the White House that carries the emblem of a donkey’s ass rather than an elephant’s tail? Hardly.

Gowans puts it succinctly when he says that “no matter how much like Bush Kerry is, there will always be some difference between the two, which no matter how infinitesimal and insignificant, will be used to justify a vote for Kerry. If their foreign policies are alike, Kerry supporters will seize on some differences in social policy. If their social policies are the same, Supreme Court appointments will be cited as an important distinguishing feature. If Kerry says he’d make the same (or as bad) appointments as Bush something else will be found.” In answer to Chomsky’s small policy differences can lead to real-world differences Gowans observes that “Bush would continue the occupation of Iraq by a coalition of the willing under U.S. leadership, and Kerry would continue the occupation of Iraq under U.S. leadership with NATO along for the ride, if he can convince the alliance to go along.”

The impressive march and rally of some 400,000 people in New York

Would have been even more powerful if the people carrying signs read The World Says No to More War and Injustice which locates the enemy not just in a few bad apples in the White House but would indicate that the whole barrel is diseased which is nothing less than a system that will kill for profit when necessary. We must organize to build an independent alternative movement/Party; Any such movement must have as its driving force those who are most exploited and oppressed which means workers and people of color.

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