THE AGENDAS OF BUSH AND KERRY; ANY MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE?
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
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.