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:
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
Patrick Cockburn
Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?
Joseph Grosso
The Invisible Class: Workers in America
Kim Ives
Haiti’s Popular Uprising Calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s Removal
John Carroll Md
Dispatch From Haiti: Trump and Breastfeeding
Alycee Lane
On Heat Waves and Climate Resistance
Ed Meek
Dershowitz the Sophist
Howard Lisnoff
Liberal Massachusetts and Recreational Marijuana
Ike Nahem
Trump, Trade Wars, and the Class Struggle
Olivia Alperstein
Kavanaugh and the Supremes: It’s About Much More Than Abortion
Manuel E. Yepe
Korea After the Handshake
Robert Kosuth
Militarized Nationalism: Pernicious and Pervasive
Binoy Kampmark
Soft Brexits and Hard Realities: The Tory Revolt
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Localization: a Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
Kevin Zeese - Nils McCune
Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?
Chris Wright
The American Oligarchy: A Review
Kweli Nzito
Imperial Gangster Nations: Peddling “Democracy” and Other Goodies to the Untutored
Christopher Brauchli
The Defenestration of Scott Pruitt
Ralph Nader
Universal Voting Dissolves the Obstacles Facing Voters
Ron Jacobs
Vermont: Can It Happen Here?
Thomas Knapp
Helsinki: How About a Fresh START?
Seth Sandronsky
A Fraught Century
Graham Peebles
Education and the Mental Health Epidemic
Bob Lord
How to Level the Playing Field for Workers in a Time of Waning Union Power
Saurav Sarkar
I Got Arrested This Summer (and So Should You)
Winslow Myers
President Trump’s Useful Idiocy
Kim C. Domenico
Outing the Dark Beast Hiding Behind Liberal Hope
CounterPunch News Service
First Big Strike Since Janus Ruling Hits Vermont Streets
Louis Proyect
Survival of the Fittest in the London Underground
David Yearsley
Ducks and Études
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail