Democrats Reject Peace Movement


It is sad indeed, but it was inevitable: Dennis Kucinich, the feisty progressive from Ohio who has been running (dragging lately) for the Democratic nomination for president has decided to roll over and play dead for Senator John Kerry. “Unity is essential to bring change in November,” announced Kucinich on July 22. “Unity is essential to repair America. Unity is essential to set America on a new path.”

It is confusing to say the least as to what this “new path” mantra is all about. It was just last week that Kucinich delegates failed (they never had a chance in hell to begin with) to make “immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq” a central plank in Kerry’s narrow platform. As promised, Kerry will put more troops in Iraq, call on NATO to intervene, and essentially be a more kick-ass administrator of Bush’s egregious foreign policy then the necons are.

Kucinich is now the second Democratic nominee for president that has abandoned his antiwar base, and allowed his candidacy to be absorbed back into the dank establishment sponge. Howard Dean did it months ago, and now embarrassingly touts the new Democratic line of “unity at all costs.”

“In the end, it is Generation Dean voting for John Kerry for president of the United States that is going to send George Bush back to Texas where he belongs,” Dean growled back in late March.

And it is only a matter of weeks before Kucinich, like Howie, begs his former supporters not to succumb to Ralph Nader’s tempting antiwar lure. ”I intend [to] reach out on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards ticket to unite our Party with all those who may have felt left out,” Kucinich contends. “I will let them know that the time has come to unite in a common effort for change which is essential, not only for America but for the world.”

MoveOn, the liberal online advocacy group has also been asking their members, who overwhelming opposed the Iraq war, to give cash and time to the Kerry campaign. Following the release of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9-11 they sent an email plea to their constituents. “This is the moment for us to send Kerry a powerful message, one he’ll want to hear. The more we show Kerry that real people with strong, progressive values are key to his success, the more strongly he’ll fight for our values as President … it’s an especially good time to reinforce that we value this kind of leadership from John Kerry. Help send this message now by giving to his campaign through the link below.”

When I emailed MoveOn staffer Noah Whiner about what role his organization will play if Kerry is victorious, he responded, “It’s a big question and I don’t think anyone can answer it unless it becomes a reality. It will take time and member input to find that new role. MoveOn will certainly continue to work on the issues our members care about, no matter who is elected.”

So I emailed Noah back and asked him whether MoveOn would be as hard on the Kerry administration as they have Bush, for Kerry will certainly continue the illegal Iraq occupation. He failed to reply however, which is telling.

Like Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, MoveOn has alienated its antiwar base, and continued functioning under the illusion that their progressively garnered PAC funds can influence John Kerry or any of the other New Democratic elite. It is a futile effort. If we’ve learned anything this election season, it is that Washington Democrats will not tolerate any dissent within their party ranks.

Democratic Leadership Council stalwarts, Al From and Bruce Reed, who praised Bush’s war and continue to tout its success, wrote in the July issue of Blueprint magazine. “In the 1990s, Bill Clinton showed Americans once and for all that Democrats could make the economy grow again, make government work again, and make America safe again. As a tough-minded internationalist and decorated war hero, Kerry has a chance to make his own mark, and complete the transformation of the Democratic Party as the one Americans can trust to make the nation stronger both at home and abroad.”

From and Reed failed to recognize that Bin Laden was responsible for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, which was carried out by the same ring of thugs that hit the USS Cole in October 2000, as well as the horrific attacks in September of 2001. The hijackings in 2001 were being planned well before Al Gore’s loss in 2000. According to Clinton’s Iraq adviser in 1993, Laurie Mylrone, Clinton himself responded to the first attack on the WTC by bombing Babylon. “He said publicly that the U.S. strike on Iraqi intelligence headquarters was retaliation for Saddam’s attempt to kill [ex-president] George Bush,” NewsMax reported Mylroie as saying in October 2002. “[But] he also meant it for the Trade Center bombing.”

“Clinton believed that the attack on Iraqi intelligence headquarters would deter Saddam from all future strikes against the United States,” she insisted. “It was hopelessly naïve.”

America safe again? From and Reed must be hallucinating. Unfortunately these are the same cretins that control the Democratic platform. They dictate what is or is not acceptable discourse within the party. Being antiwar is certainly not acceptable. Hence why you won’t hear John Kerry spin even the faintest peace rhetoric during his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

It doesn’t matter how many Deans, or Kuicnichs run within the party to shake it from the inside out. It doens’t matter how many MoveOn members donate money to the Kerry campaign. Because in the end such reformers are left with no candidate, no money, no hope, and certainly — no unity.

Joshua Frank, a contributor to CounterPunch’s forthcoming book, A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, is putting the finishing touches on Left Out: How Liberals did Bush’s Work for Him, to be published by Common Courage Press. He welcomes comments at frank_joshua@hotmail.com.

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. He is author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, both published by AK Press. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @brickburner

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