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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump. It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
Vijay Prashad
After Aleppo: the State of Syria
John Wight
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier
Rob Urie
Meet the Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam’s WMDs
Eric Sommer
U.S.-China War: a Danger Hidden from the American People
Andrew Levine
Are Democrats Still the Lesser Evil?
Linda Pentz Gunter
What’s Really Behind the Indian Point Nuclear Deal?
Robert Fantina
Trucks, ‘Terror’ and Israel
Richard Moser
Universal Values are Revolutionary Values
Russell Mokhiber
Build the Bagdikian Wall: “Sponsored News” at the Washington Post
Yoav Litvin
Establishment Narcissism – The Democrats’ Game of Thrones
David Rosen
Return of the Repressed: Trump & the Revival of the Culture Wars
Robert Koehler
War Consciousness and the F-35
Rev. William Alberts
The New Smell of McCarthyism Demands Faith Leaders Speak Truth to Power
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail