FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Finally, a Populist Antiwar Candidate

by KEVIN ZEESE

Senator Mike Gravel is running a populist anti-war campaign for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. Gravel, who is no novice to Washington, DC politics, is direct and clear in his views on the war. And, he has a long history of fighting unjust wars and seeking to return power to the people.

Gravel was in the U.S. Senate during the Vietnam War where he represented Alaska and aggressively opposed the war. He was well-known for his efforts to stop the draft when in 1971 he waged a successful, five-month, one-man filibuster that forced the Nixon administration to cut a deal that effectively ended the military draft.

He also weighed in heavily on the release of the Pentagon Papers. After The New York Times published portions of the leaked study, the Nixon administration moved to block any further publication of information and to punish any newspaper publisher who revealed the contents. Gravel insisted that his constituents had a right to know the truth behind the war and proceeded to read 4,100 pages of the 7,000 page document into the Congressional Record from the Floor of the U.S. Senate. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Senator Gravel did not have the right and responsibility to share official documents with his constituents. He then published The Senator Gravel Edition, The Pentagon Papers, Beacon Press (1971) with commentaries by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. This publication resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision, Gravel v. U.S, based on the Speech and Debate Clause (Article 1, Section 6) of the United States Constitution.

In an interview with Sen. Gravel (video link below) he repeated a point he made in his speech to the Democratic National Committee arguing that anyone who voted for the use of force resolution that allowed President Bush to invade Iraq has shown they do not have the judgment to serve as president of the United States. Gravel, during the build-up to the war, publicly opposed the invasion. In an interview on MSNBC he insisted that intelligence showed there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America’s national interests.

Not only has Gravel opposed the so-called “surge” but has been disheartened and disappointed with the Democratic Party response saying “The democratic majority must decide on a unified policy to get out of Iraq. Non-binding resolutions will not get the job done.” He urges the Democrats “to respond to the will of the American people and demand an end to the Iraq war.”

In our interview Gravel said that the way out of Iraq begins with the Congress passing a law that ends the war. Gravel noted that the Congress has the power to declare war and therefore has the power to end the war. He recognizes that such a law would create a “constitutional confrontation” with President Bush but he sees that as an essential step in ending the war with our government made up of equal branches of government.

He believes the House of Representatives would pass such a bill and that in the Senate the Republicans will attempt a filibuster, but “once the Republicans filibuster in the Senate, it will be clear to the American people and the media that the Republicans are continuing the war.” He urges Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the bill up for cloture every day to build pressure on the Republicans. Gravel expects the Republicans will wither in less than a month.

Of course, Gravel recognizes this is likely to lead to a veto by President Bush but that is the constitutional confrontation that is needed between the Congress and the President to end the war. But, Gravel says, this would be a clear “unambiguous vote to end the war. The eyes of the nation would be riveted on that vote. There would be no place to hide from the judgment of the people in 2008.” He predicts Congress would override the president.

Gravel describes the passing of non-binding resolutions as “meaningless.” Further, the Congress cannot micromanage the war, i.e. they cannot oppose the surge as that is a tactical decision for the president. Similarly the approach being planned by Rep. Jack Murtha is also unconstitutional, according to Gravel: “The President is the Commander-in-Chief whose responsibility under the Constitution is to prosecute military actions. For the Democrats in the Congress to unconstitutionally micromanage the war only plays into the hands of Republicans, who can now raise reasonable constitutional arguments and obfuscate direct action with procedural votes rather than let the Congress end the war now.”

In addition to the war, Gravel puts forward some populist democracy and economic ideas. For example, he advocates for a national voter initiative in order to empower the people to set the course of government. And, he urges an end to the income tax which he describes as corrupt. He would replace the income tax with a national sales tax. Gravel recognizes the uphill nature of his struggle, but believes it is one worth making in order to return power to the people.

For more on Mike Gravel see: http://www.gravel2008.us/.

KEVIN ZEESE is director of Democracy Rising and co-founder of VotersForPeace.US.

 

Kevin Zeese is an organizer at Popular Resistance.

More articles by:
May 31, 2016
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Imperial Blues: On Whitewashing Dictatorship in the 21st Century
Vijay Prashad
Stoking the Fires: Trump and His Legions
Uri Avnery
What Happened to Netanyahu?
Corey Payne
Reentry Through Resistance: Détente with Cuba was Accomplished Through Resistance and Solidarity, Not Imperial Benevolence
Patrick Howlett-Martin
Libya: How to Bring Down a Nation
Bill Quigley
From Tehran to Atlanta: Social Justice Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani’s Fight for Human Rights
Manuel E. Yepe
Trump, Sanders and the Exhaustion of a Political Model
Bruce Lerro
“Network” 40 Years Later: Capitalism in Retrospect and Prospect and Elite Politics Today
Robert Hunziker
Chile’s Robocops
Aidan O'Brien
What’ll It be Folks: Xenophobia or Genocide?
Binoy Kampmark
Emailgate: the Clinton Spin Doctors In Action
Colin Todhunter
The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns
Dave Welsh
Jessica Williams, 29: Another Black Woman Gunned Down By Police
Gary Leupp
Rules for TV News Anchors, on Memorial Day and Every Day
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail