FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Guilt Trippers for Kerry

by SHARON SMITH

 

ON OCTOBER 28, Left Business Observer editor Doug Henwood will air an interview with left-wing author and activist Tariq Ali on New York’s WBAI radio.

In a previous interview with Henwood back in August, Ali excoriated those on the U.S. left who have not joined the “Anybody But Bush” camp. “This is an argument you can have from the luxury of your sitting room or kitchen in the United States, but this particular regime has taken the lives of at least 37,000 civilians in Iraq,” Ali said. “For them, it’s not an abstract question.”

Henwood promises that in the upcoming interview, Ali will release yet more invective against those who disagree that “the importance of defeating Bush…means electing Kerry.” According to Henwood, Ali will tell “American leftists” to “stop emulating the Bush administration and think not so much of their preferences, but those of the outside world instead.”

Yet Ali himself argued, as recently as February 14 in Britain’s Guardian newspaper that, “regardless of which party is in power,” the U.S. cannot “afford a setback in Iraq” because it “would be a major blow against the ’empire’ and weaken its ability to control other parts of the world.”

Those on the U.S. left who continue to refuse to support Kerry do so not because we cling to “abstract” political purity, but precisely because–like Ali back in February–we understand that both the Democratic and Republican Parties share a common goal in promoting the interests of American “empire” and its “ability to control other parts of the world.”

Both candidates stand for more war. Why pretend otherwise? Kerry doesn’t. He has repeatedly stated about Iraq, “I want victory. I want to win. And I have a better plan to win than George Bush does.” These cannot be interpreted as the words of a peace candidate, despite the tremendous efforts of Kerry’s left apologists to imply otherwise.

Kerry is perhaps more virulent than Bush in supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine, calling Israel “the only true democracy in the Middle East”–despite its ongoing occupation of Palestinian land, and apartheid oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people. As Kerry wrote in February, “In this difficult time, we must again reaffirm we are enlisted for the duration–and reaffirm our belief that the cause of Israel must be the cause of America.”

Kerry also stated during the recent presidential debates, “I support the PATRIOT Act,” noting that his running mate, John Edwards, had helped draft it in the Senate. Casting aside Bush’s efforts to label him a “liberal,” Kerry went on to denounce the Bush administration for allowing “Middle Eastern people” to enter the U.S. without scrutiny.

Zogby opinion polls conducted this summer showed that 20 percent of Arab Americans in the closely contested states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio supported Ralph Nader in a three-way presidential race with Bush and Kerry. This significant support for Nader among Arab Americans contradicts the caricature of the self-absorbed and elitist U.S. left that Tariq Ali lectures for refusing to support Kerry.

As Palestinian activist and scholar Naseer Aruri wrote recently in the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly, “[V]oting for the ‘lesser evil’ is placing the [Arab-American] community at the mercy of both parties, who can only welcome the free and generous support for their candidates with no strings attached.”

Nader’s platform, Aruri continued, “is the only one that responds to Arab-American interests and positions on Palestine, Iraq, civil liberties and worldwide respect for international law.” Far from a “wasted vote,” Aruri argued, a strong showing for Nader “would constitute the initial necessary investment in a long and continuing process designed to keep all future candidates apprised of the actual worth of the Arab-American vote.”

Ali would do well to revisit his own comments last February, when he observed, “Iraqis have one thing of which they can be proud, and of which British and U.S. citizens should be envious: an opposition.” A left third party can only be built as a political expression of a movement against U.S. imperialism and a rejection of both its war parties.

SHARON SMITH writes for the Socialist Worker.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
Leslie Scott
Trump in the Middle East: New Ideas, Old Politics
George Wuerthner
Environmental Groups as Climate Deniers
Pauline Murphy
The Irish Dead: Fighting Fascism in Spain, 1937
Brian Trautman
Veterans on the March
Eric Sommer
Trumps Attack on Social Spending Escalates Long-term Massive Robbery of American Work
Binoy Kampmark
Twenty-Seven Hours: Donald Trump in Israel
Christian Hillegas
Trump’s Islamophobia: the Persistence of Orientalism in Western Rhetoric and Media
Michael J. Sainato
Russiagate: Clintonites Spread the Weiner Conspiracy
Walter Clemens
What the President Could Learn from Our Shih-Tzu Eddie
May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
Michael J. Sainato
Devos Takes Out Her Hatchet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail