FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Guilt Trippers for Kerry

 

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:
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savoir
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail