Friday, December 07, 2007

Here's A Good Question: Why SHOULD Anti-War Voters Support Pro-War Democrats?

From Counter-Punch, by Sharon Smith:
(In a recent number of The Nation, 60s radical Tom) Hayden's "Field Guide" exhorts antiwar activists to get out the vote for 2008-for whichever candidate becomes the anointed Democratic nominee. "Only in this way," Hayden argues without evidence, "will the peace movement succeed in expanding and intensifying antiwar feeling to a degree that will compel the politicians to abandon their six-year timetable for a far shorter one....(But) why would politicians feel pressured to change their pro-war policies when legions of antiwar activists are already working for grassroots votes on their behalf? Far from empowering the antiwar majority, this strategy appears doomed to enabling the pro-war and bi-partisan status quo...
(Activist) Phyllis Bennis: "It is very hard, at an emotional level, for people to understand that none of the Presidential candidates likely to win in 2008 is committed to ending the war. Still, it matters very much who gets elected in 2008."
Both main parties do, however, share certain overriding aims that dwarf their differences. One of those aims is their shared desire to preserve the credibility of U.S. imperialism, and that requires salvaging a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq, in the form of permanent military bases. This is the reason why Clinton et al refuse to commit to removing all U.S. troops by the end of their first term in 2013. Indeed, according to White House adviser General Douglas Lute speaking to the Financial Times, the Bush administration is already negotiating a bilateral agreement with the Iraqi government authorizing a "continued presence for US and other coalition troops outside of the UN Security Council mandate."
All movements must aim to influence government policy. There is no evidence to support the claim that supporting pro-war politicians furthers the aims of the antiwar movement, while there is plenty to discredit it.
It's a pretty compelling argument, imho. Emphases added.


Dirk Gently said...

This is one of the many reasons that anti-war progressives should vocally support Kucinich through the primaries. Whether he garners enough support to win the nomination is almost secondary - the other candidates must see some kind of groundswell of support for the progressive policies that only Kucinich is promoting. Every delegate he manages to capture sends a clear, unmistakeable message to every Democratic candidate. Every one he loses sends the opposite: the message that no one really cares that much.

As to whether it makes sense to gather 'round the eventual nominee ... well, ask any candidate and if they are smart they will stick to the race at hand. I do the same.

BlakNo1 said...

I will not vote for anyone who isn't committed to ending the war. I will not have that on my conscience.