August 11, 2006
Editor's Note: As we in the U.S. approach the upcoming '06 and '08 elections, Axis of Logic will "stay the course" of boycotting both elections. We have published our reasons for doing so many times in the past, dating back to the 2004 Presidential Elections. It has become abundantly clear that the Democratic Party in the United States is cut from the very same capitalist, imperialist, war-making fabric that makes up the Republican Party. Beginning with the (s)election of George Washington, the ruling class in the United States has been careful to build layers of political concrete to ensure their grip on power. The first is the bi-party system that effectively excludes all challengers, allowing the people no real opportunity for self-governance.
This two-party system is reinforced by the enormous amounts of money required for anyone to present a viable 3rd party challenge. Even when a 3rd party candidate emerges through this morrass, they have additional controls. This could easily be seen in the exclusion of Ralph Nadar in the 2004 presidential debates. However, even if a 3rd party candidate were to launch a viable campaign, the Republicans and Democrats have the Corporate Media gatekeepers to manipulate and control the outcome of the elections. The media can easily reach into the dossiers they keep on the personal lives of politicians and make or break them overnight.
Joshua Frank's discerning analysis (below) shows that many anti-war activists like Cindy Sheehan fail to see the futility of supporting any Democratic Party candidate who tries to gain support on an anti-war ticket. Democrats have shown their true colors as never before in their nearly unanimous support of the war on Iraq and of the Israeli attack on Lebanon. We are often keen to remind people that Bill Clinton (Slick Willy) killed more people in Iraq than George W. Bush through his 8 years of sanctions. As president, he was also heavily invested in the industrial military complex and resulting death and destruction in former Yugoslavia and Sudan. The war on the people of Vietnam was driven than none other than Lyndon Johnson who repeatedly deceived the U.S. population. The Democratic Party has a long history of making war and interfering in the domestic affairs of many other sovereign nations. Any "anti-war" effort that embraces the Democratic Party is at best naŪve and at worst in complicity with a political party that puts profits for the ruling class ahead of the welfare of working class and poor in the United States. - Les Blough, Editor
Failures of the Antiwar Movement, Summer í06
By Joshua Frank
Summer is quickly winding down. President Bush is off to Crawford for his usual R&R. Cindy Sheehan, who just purchased a piece of land near the Bush ranch, is setting up camp in hopes of drawing Bush out from his dark quarters and into the light. The war in Iraq, even though itís bloodier than ever, has taken a back seat to the crisis in Lebanon, where Israel has opted to target and kill innocent civilians to brandish Hezbollah. Conflict in the Middle East is worse than it was just one year ago.
The only opposition visible in the U.S. corporate media to all this madness in the US is Cindy Sheehan and her followers. If it were not for her bravery and commitment itís certain the antiwar movement would still be sitting here without a voice or a conscious. But for all the wonderful things Sheehan has done for us, I still donít think she understands the importance of breaking with the Democratic Party -- the two-faced warmongers that they are.
Granted, Sheehan doesnít support the warmongers. She hates Hillary Clinton and her West Coast apparition Dianne Feinstein, both of whom want to "stay the course" in Iraq and support Israeli aggression at all costs. But frankly, Clinton and Feinstein, just two of the Democrats Sheehan denounces, are easy to dislike. They are feckless, trigger-happy and exceedingly corrupt. If they called themselves Republicans their constituents wouldnít even consider voting them into office. The "D" next to their names is their only saving grace.
In Clintonís Senate re-election campaign, Sheehan has opted to put her weight behind Jonathan Tasini, a progressive Democrat who is doing all he can to change the path of the Democratic Party. But Tasini is a dud. Not because he isnít right on the issues, but because heís waging his battle against the establishment from inside the party. And like so many do-gooders before him, Tasini will end up failing with little to show for his efforts but a few campaign buttons and news clippings.
Sheehan certainly should have known better, for Tasini is playing in a rigged match. Hereís an example: The Tasini campaign has been hoping all along that they could land a debate with Hillary before the primary vote in September. It seems to make sense. He got on the Democratic ballot with ample signatures and is even polling in the double digits. But, as one might expect, Tasini (much like Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan in years past) will never step into the ring to debate Hillary Clinton.
NY1, the New York City TV affiliate has offered to host a debate between Hillary Clinton and Jonathan Tasini at Pace University in late August, but has opted not to as Tasini has yet to raise $500,000. Tasiniís camp has cried foul. But what can you expect from a Party that continually turns its back on its grassroots? They never wanted a debate to begin with. Tasini, whether the majority of Democrats agree with him or not, will never pose any genuine threat to the party brass as long as he remains a Democrat himself. That threat will only blossom when his following, like Howard Deanís and Dennis Kucinichís before him, up and leave the Democratic Party which refuses to represent them, let alone hear their pleas.
Tasini should have seen it coming. NY1 is owned by Time Warner, who just happens to support Hillary Clinton and has even given her campaign over $100,000. Time Warner clearly has their own reasons for not broadcasting a debate between Hillary Clinton and her well-intentioned opponent.
And this gets to the heart of why Cindy Sheehan and other antiwar activists shouldnít support Tasini or other Democratic reformers.
Thinking a progressive Democrat can ruffle the feathers of a party bigwig in the primaries is like betting on Shoeless Joe Jackson to reappear in an Iowa cornfield this summer. It ainít going to happen (and no, Ned "I support Israel" Lamont doesnít count). And after the September primary vote, which Hillary will easily walk away with, Tasiniís bid for US Senate will be over. Most New Yorkers will not have had a chance to vote for his candidacy because the Democratic primary is a closed primary. Meanwhile all his money and support could have been going to a genuine antiwar candidate who will be on the ballot in November when it matters most, like Green candidate Howie Hawkins.
But Iím afraid Cindy Sheehan and the rest of the antiwar movement are missing an important opportunity to challenge Hillary Clinton as she makes her way toward the White House in 2008 because of their uncritical support for Jonathan Tasini. And I ask, how many times will we have to be let down before we realize that working with the Democrats only impairs our movement against the war?
Joshua Frank, author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, edits http://www.BrickBurner.org