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 Post subject: Kerry/Edwards To Continue War And Social Reaction
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:12 pm 
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The meaning of the Democratic convention
Kerry, Edwards vow to continue war and social reaction
By Bill Van Auken
31 July 2004
Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author
The following is a statement by the Socialist Equality Party's presidential candidate Bill Van Auken.
The Democratic National Convention in Boston this week provided the most powerful refutation of claims that the party's victory in November will yield a change in course from Washington's present policy of military aggression abroad and attacks on fundamental social and democratic rights at home.
The speeches delivered by the party's presidential candidate John Kerry and his running mate John Edwards, in particular, spelled out in no uncertain terms the sharp lurch to the right by the Democratic Party over the past year as the US ruling oligarchy has conditioned it for the potential assumption of power.
Both speeches were directed not so much to the cheering delegates or television viewers as to the financial-corporate elite and its media representatives. Their rhetoric was aimed at reassuring this select audience that a Kerry-Edwards administration will deny any influence to the antiwar sentiments to which elements of the party appealed during this year's primaries, and that it will make no attempt to resurrect the "liberal" reformist policies with which the Democrats were identified during an earlier period.
The convention's glorification of militarism and the party's subservience to big business were summed up in the presidential candidate's opening line: "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty."
Kerry presented his campaign not so much as a run for the presidency as a bid to be tapped as the new US "commander-in-chief." An observer unfamiliar with the US political scene could be forgiven for mistaking the Democrats' convention as an assembly called to select the new civilian figurehead for a military regime.
More than a dozen retired generals and admirals crowded the stage. General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was brought in to address the delegates. General Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander and erstwhile Democratic candidate, delivered a bellicose speech telling the convention: "I am an American soldier. Our country has been attacked. We are at war. Our nation is at risk. And we are engaged in a life-and-death struggle against terrorists.... As we are gathered here tonight, our armed forces are in combat."
Indeed, during the four days the Democrats spent celebrating in Boston, another five US soldiers were killed and scores more wounded in Iraq. As Kerry spoke from the podium Thursday night, the US military was launching air strikes against the city of Fallujah, destroying homes and killing dozens of Iraqi men, women and children.
The overriding argument put forward for Kerry's nomination was that as a combat veteran of the Vietnam War he is better qualified to direct the armed forces in Iraq and new military interventions abroad.
Both Edwards and Kerry returned again and again to the candidate's service in Vietnam. Citing an incident in which Kerry shot and killed a fleeing Vietnamese fighter, Edwards declared: "Decisive, strong. Is this not what we need in a commander in chief?" The vice-presidential candidate even managed to work the populist demagogy he employed in his primary stump speech about "two Americas" into a militarist appeal for national unity. "We must be one America, strong and united for another very important reason," he said. "Because we are at war."
"We will strengthen and modernize our military, we will double our Special Forces, we will invest in the new equipment and technologies so that our military remains the best equipped and best prepared in the world," said Edwards. "This will make our military stronger, it will make sure that we can defeat any enemy in this new world."
Kerry echoed the same themes, declaring that the election was the most important in living memory because "We are a nation at war—a global war on terrorism against an enemy unlike any we've ever known before."
He went on to invoke once again his Vietnam service and promise: "As president, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war."
But what were the lessons that Kerry learned from Vietnam?
In his convention speech the candidate declared: "I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president. Let there be no mistake, I will never hesitate to use force when it is required." He pledged to build "a stronger military" by adding 40,000 active-duty troops.
Yet, when he returned from Vietnam more than three decades ago he described the war not as a defense of the US, but a crime against humanity. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971, he said the war was the result of a people "seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever." He further declared: "There is nothing in Vietnam ... that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such a loss to the preservation of freedom ... is to us the height of hypocrisy."
It was just such hypocrisy that oozed from every pore of the Democratic Party during its Boston convention. There was no suggestion from any of the speakers that the war in Iraq is a criminal venture, that the deaths of nearly 1,000 US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis had no justification or that the revelations of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq constituted a national disgrace.
Rather, the Democratic candidates made it clear that they view the war and occupation as legitimate and necessary. That they will not tolerate any opposition to this war was spelled out in their embrace of the extraordinary security measures taken in Boston to suppress antiwar protests as well as in the functioning of the convention itself. When one person on the convention floor tried to unfurl a banner calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq, she was dragged away by police officers and thrown out of the convention center. The incident provides an insight into the attitude a Kerry administration would take toward antiwar dissent.
A passage in Edwards' speech could have been lifted directly from those made by George W. Bush, cloaking the predatory Iraqi intervention in democratic pretensions, while threatening new unprovoked wars:
"We can ensure that Iraq's neighbors, like Syria and Iran, don't stand in the way of a democratic Iraq. We can help Iraq's economy.... We can do this for the Iraqi people, we can do it for our own soldiers. And we will get this done right. A new president will bring the world to our side, and with it a stable Iraq, a real chance for freedom and peace in the Middle East, including a safe and secure Israel."
Kerry likewise vowed to "get the job done," declaring: "I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden."
In short, a Democratic administration will continue the occupation of Iraq for years to come. This is not "Bush's war," but a war waged on the basis of a fundamental strategy embraced by the most powerful sections of the American ruling elite. In the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse, a consensus emerged among both Democrats and Republicans that Washington should use its unrivaled military supremacy to press for US dominance over the world economy and its strategic markets and resources, most importantly oil.
Iraq represents the implementation of that strategy. To the extent that Kerry and Edwards criticized the Bush administration, it was for botching this operation. These arguments are directed to the ruling elite: that the Bush administration is too discredited to continue the war; it has unnecessarily alienated valuable allies with an ideologically driven and reckless unilateralism; it has lost credibility with the American people. Therefore, a new "commander-in-chief" is required to get the job done right. Who better than a Vietnam veteran who can invoke his own military service in demanding "sacrifice" from others, including, if necessary, a reinstitution of the draft?
Vague appeals to anti-Bush sentiments over the war only rebound on the Democrats themselves. "Saying there are weapons of mass destruction does not make it so," declared Kerry, adding, "As president, I will ask the hard questions and demand the hard evidence." Yet, as senators, neither he nor Edwards did any such thing before voting to grant Bush blank-check authorization to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq. Nor did either of them show any inclination to pose "hard questions" before casting their votes for the USA Patriot Act and its sweeping attacks on democratic rights.
At one point, Kerry obliquely denounced the Bush administration by declaring that he would not "mislead us into war," that his vice president would not "conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite environmental laws" and that his attorney general "will uphold the Constitution of the United States." The unmistakable implication is that the president, vice president and top aides are criminals who violated the laws, their oaths of office, and the US Constitution. Yet there is no proposal to fundamentally change course or to bring the criminals to justice. Rather, the promise is to prosecute their criminal policies more effectively.
The Democratic convention's adoption of the Bush administration's rhetoric about a "global war on terrorism" and the strengthening of "homeland security" are the clearest indication that a Kerry-Edwards administration will represent an essential continuity of the policies of Bush.
Not even the most "left" sections of the Democratic Party dared to question the validity of this "war" or suggest that it has been foisted upon the American people as a means of justifying military aggression abroad and repression at home. The specter of omnipotent terrorism has come to serve as a new ideological glue for a country riven by social and political contradictions, supplanting the supposed threat of "communist aggression" invoked during the Cold War. It is used to foment fear and political disorientation as a means of pushing through policies that were previously politically unthinkable. This will continue under the Democrats, whose platform declares that "Bush's actions against terrorism have fallen far short."
On domestic policy, Kerry went out of his way to portray himself as a fiscal conservative. He touted his vote in 1985 for the Gramm-Rudman act that, in the name of balancing the budget, mandated automatic cuts in social programs already ravaged by the attacks of the Reagan administration. While promoting vague remedies for the crisis in health care and education, Kerry insisted that his administration would cut the federal deficit in half in four years and would "make the government live by the rule that every family lives by: Pay as you go." Given that his platform includes proposals for a further increase in the massive US military budget, this is a prescription for the destruction of what little remains of a social safety net in America.
On the question of jobs, the Democrats offered the rhetoric of economic nationalism. Kerry called for further tax cuts for the corporations on the grounds that this will "revitalize manufacturing" and "reward companies that create jobs where they belong in the good old USA."
"If you give the American worker a fair playing field, there's no one in the world that the American worker can't compete against," the candidate said.
The underlying conception here is that American workers should be pitted in a self-defeating contest with workers of every other country to see who can provide the cheapest labor and most profitable conditions for transnational corporations, which are able to move their operations from country to country. It is a policy embraced by the trade union bureaucracy of the AFL-CIO, which serves as an agent of these corporations, pressuring workers for more and more concessions to attract employer investment. The logic of this economic nationalism is to unite workers with their "own" capitalist rulers against foreign competition, a perspective that fuels chauvinism and militarism.
There are those on the so-called left—like the Nation magazine—who try to delude themselves, and others, into believing that the right-wing orgy in Boston is merely a case of political calculation, a pose adopted by the Democrats in order to appear "centrist" and win the election. In reality, the carefully staged convention has revealed the political essence of the Democratic Party.
It is a party that is controlled by and defends the interests of the American oligarchy. This is what unites it, tactical differences notwithstanding, with the Republicans. Its real social base can be seen in those it puts forward as its candidates: Kerry, who sits on top of one of the largest family fortunes in the country, and Edwards, whose worth is measured in the tens of millions. Former president Clinton set the tone for the convention by noting that he is one of the "top one percent" and recommending that tactical changes be made to defend the essential interests of his social class.
The convention and the evolution of the Democratic Party itself express the profound socioeconomic polarization that has intensified uninterruptedly over the past 30 years in the United States. The vast gulf separating the financial elite from the masses of working people has led to the disintegration of American bourgeois democracy. There are indeed "two Americas," and the division between them is so great that not a single significant social or political issue can be resolved on a democratic basis.
As reactionary as the convention was, there is no doubt that the ruling elite will push Kerry and the Democrats even further to the right in the three months leading up to the election. This was spelled out by the Washington Post, the voice of the Washington political establishment, which published a highly critical editorial on Kerry's speech Friday entitled "Missed Opportunity." It upbraided him for failing to celebrate the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and for suggesting that Bush's policy of "preemptive war" was wrong.
"Mr. Kerry should have spoken the difficult truth that US troops will be needed in Iraq for a long time," declared the Post. "In economics as in national security Mr. Kerry missed an opportunity for straight talk," the editorial continued. He "failed to acknowledge the fiscal challenge posed by the imminent retirement of the baby boom generation.... To the contrary, he raised the issue of Social Security only to reaffirm that he would not cut benefits—a promise that a President Kerry might come to regret."
Kerry has already demonstrated his extreme sensitivity to such criticism. In the wake of the Democratic primaries, the Post demanded that the Democratic candidate proclaim his support for the continued occupation of Iraq. He quickly obliged.
The policies advanced by the Democrats in Boston vindicate in the most powerful fashion the political perspective elaborated by the Socialist Equality Party and our decision to run in the 2004 election. The Democratic convention has made it abundantly clear that working people cannot take a single step forward on any of the vital issues that confront them—war, jobs, democratic rights, living standards and social conditions—within the straitjacket of the two-party system.
The most burning issue in the coming election is not "anybody but Bush," but rather the preparation for the inevitable social and political struggles that will erupt in the United States, whether the Democrats or the Republicans control the White House come 2005.
Our party's campaign is directed towards this necessary preparation. It is initiating a broad discussion within the working class, among students, youth and professionals aimed at laying the foundations for the emergence of the independent mass political movement that will be required for this struggle.
The struggle against war and the defense of basic rights will be possible only through a break with the two-party system and the development of a new perspective based upon socialism, internationalism and the political independence of the working class. I urge all those who want to carry forward this struggle to participate in our campaign, help place myself and my running mate Jim Lawrence on the ballot along with our congressional candidates and make the decision to join the Socialist Equality Party.
See Also:
The great unmentionable at the Democratic convention: Kerry's antiwar past
[30 July 2004]
Populism and patriotism: behind the posturing at the Democratic National Convention
[29 July 2004]
The Democratic convention and Kerry's left apologists
[28 July 2004]
Corporate America throws Democrats a $50 million party
[28 July 2004]
Democratic National Convention: Boston gripped by "anti-terror" security operation
[27 July 2004]
The Democratic convention and the crisis of the two-party system
[26 July 2004]
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Readers: The WSWS invites your comments. Please send e-mail.
Copyright 1998-2004

from,(www.wsws.org) 7/31/2004

If one were to read these statements numerous times,without
Kerry/Edwards name attached,
they would swear on their life,that
Bush&co. made these statements.

No intention of ending war,rather extending war.

No intention of bringing to justice,Bush&co.and all involved behind 9/11.

No justice for victims,and they're
loved ones,or the American people.

No charges of treason,war-crimes,
torture,mass-murder,and lying to the world and the American people,
for lying about the reasons for ilegally invading another country.

No answering to the parents and loved ones of those duped into this immoral and unjust war.

No charges brought for expoosing a undercover cia agent.

No repeal of the Anti-Patriot Act,
rather,a much more sophisticated and invasive spying agency,or agencies.

Draft for sure to follow.

What tiny shred of rights we have left,gone.

As we witnessed in Boston,no right to gather,and have peaceful protest.

No dissent.

More war.
Less freedom,if any.
No peace.

Israels interests first.
Not America,or Americans.

Equally "religiously" fanatical with regard to Israel.

More death.
More destruction.
Never-ending war.

If we condemn Bush&co.for these very same actions,we must equally
condemn Kerry/Edwards for their oft stated agenda of same.

A dictatorial/tyrannical/fascist
state is the same no matter if its
Bush&co.or Kerry/Edwards.

Can anyone knowing that this is
Kerry/Edwards stated agenda,refute
what these two have stated numerous times as their position,and agenda?

No,of course not,because this is what they told everyone was their agenda,in their own words.

So,is all this suddenly ok now,as long as its not Bush&co?

Is the very same actions ok as long as its Kerry/Edwards who is doing this?

Not to me.
There is no winning with either
Bush&co.or Kerry/Edwards.

We are all in serious danger,as is the rest of the world.

Just as we have been,and still are with Bush&co.

No change


carly101

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 Post subject: Bill Van Auken
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:16 am 
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carly, since you did not provide a source for your post, I looked one up...

Bill Van Auken is a member of the Socialist Equality Party and more can be read about him and his party at this website:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/jan20 ... -j27.shtml

Cheers,

Catherine

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That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

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 Post subject: Kerry/Edwards To Continue War And Social Reaction
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:25 am 
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Hello,Catherine,actually,in between the conclusion of the article,and my comments,I typed in the website,as I could'nt provide a clickable link at the same time I pasted the article.But I appreciate
your taking the time,to look it up.
Here is the clickable URL:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/jul2004/dnc-j31.shtml

One thing I feel I must make clear,
I am not endorsing this or any political "party."
As I scan and read many various articles,I often find insightful and informative pieces,through links,as I'm sure many do.
As I was scanning,and reading various articles,the title,and commentary written under the link,
sounded important.
When I clicked on the link,I did note that this was a socialist website,however,I had no idea this site had any candidates in the possible "elections."
As I was reading this critique,I recognized how very astute,and honest this analyses is in regards to our present very grave situation,and the very real danger we all are facing now.
This is a very stark and honest examination of the untenable situation we all are in right now.
As I read this,its as if these were my very own words.
Very powerful piece,and oh how very true.
Not till I had finished reading this,did I see that this site had any candidates.
I have never heard of them,but the fact is,this is one of the most starkly realistic analyses,I have
read yet about this most dreadful
condition we have let ourselves been led into,in our history.
So,to me,what really matters,is the truthfulness of what was written,as I already had come to this same
conclusion.
Again,I am not "endorsing" this or any other "political party."
My sole intent,was to share what I consider a very powerful,and
totally accurate description of our
present critical state.
In my view,the only thing that really matters,is the total,
unvarnished truth,regardless who wrote this.
So,my hope is,all who read this article,will come to the cold hard truth,about what we are confronting
and to be honest enough to recognize this as our grim reality
today.
At this point,I have pretty much decided I cannot "vote" for anyone.
Certainly,not for the ugly non-choice foisted upon us now.
I'll most likely research this site,and gain as much information,as I try to do,with any subject or issue.
But I am not planning on voting as I know it will be a futile charade.
My only concern as to the "elections,"are that they must be held,as I certainly do not want martial law,and that is the only importance they have as far as I'm concerned.
I am just praying it will give us all extra time,to harshly reevaluate,how we got here,and what if anything can be done,as time and events,have become so menacing,and have accelerated at such an alarming rate,time really is of the essance,and so is what we do,each and every one of us,with it.
So,no matter who wrote this article,it sums up our position
to the last word.
I hope people will read this,and with an un-biased mind-set.
We need to start confronting all these ugly truths,and we can no longer afford to pretend otherwise.

carly101

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 Post subject: carly...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 11:38 am 
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It was pretty late last evening when I found your post and quickly looked up who the author was...

I, too, was very surprised to read that he was a presidential candidate and even had a black man as his VP running mate.

Since it was late, I did not read the entire article, but just scrolling down to see how long it was, I noticed some interesting points.

I hope to go back today and read it more carefully...maybe even printing it off for future reference.

Just another example of how the media keeps information from us...

What do you think of the latest "terror threat" coming down the pipe right now?

Seems to me, the RNC might have to move their Convention site, if there is such terror possibilities going on in that region, which I don't believe are real anyway.

If something DOES happen, it will be a contrived event created by the Bush cartel to try to make us think GWB is the only thing that stands between us and annihilation.

Well, in my opinion, he stands between us and freedom, between us and the Constitution, and between us and our hard-earned American rights.

Catherine

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"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime."
Honore de Balzac

"Democrats work to help people who need help.
That other party, they work for people who don't need help.
That's all there is to it."

~Harry S. Truman


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 Post subject: Reply to Catherine...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:03 pm 
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Hi,Catherine,I posted an aricle
about marines,in West Virginia,
"practicing" crowd control in the event of massive rioting.If you read it,what impression did you get?
Its all very sinister to me.As for all the "terror" alerts,the only terrorists to me,are the Elites,and there minions.If somethng God forbid happens,it won't be because of phantom Arabs.
And if something happens,it is not all about Bush trying to stay in Office.There is a whole lot of nasty business going on behind
the visible current events.
You once wanted to know who "they"
were.The "global elites" who really
are the ones who give the orders.
"They" are the heads of the
European royal aristocracy,including but not limited to the House of Windsor,
the Rothchilds,who over the last couple centuries have marrird into these families,as well as being in charge of the world finanacial institutions through their banking cartel.
The Rockefellers are also very prominent within this cartel,and these families also.
And so on,in decending levels of influence.There is much to be said about the financial,world governmental,corporate,etc.power these people have throghout the whole world.
I bring this into the my reply,because eveything that is happening,and has been happening,
is much bigger than Bush.
At best,within the above mentioned
"hierarchy,"the Bush cartel is to be considered mid-level,if even that,"foot soldiers,"or minions.
They are distantly related to the
Windsors,but Kerry,probably has more closer blood ties to these families.
Did you know that Kerry and the Bushes are blood relatives? I found a family tree from Ancestry.com on the internet,and posted it not long ago.The last names,particularly,
Kerry's side is a "who's who" of the centuries long aristocracy.
So,all this,is much bigger than
Bush.He,and his "circle" are but
the mere faces,put before us,and as
evil,and degenerate as they all are,they are not as powerful as
many give them credit for.
They are the "lead actors" in a much larger "play,"as is Kerry/Edwards.
I believe a large part of what is happening,(but not the only reason)
has to do with these top elites
financial,social,geo-political,
etc.long range objectives,known
to be planned for,and implemented
according to certain long established time-lines,and stated goals.
As these people are fallible humans,and not the "gods" they believe themselves to be,their plans have been frustrated many times,and in many ways throughout history.
With the now,high tech "age,"and the proliferation of all connected
with the evermore rapidly accelerating effects caused from this,combined with their stated purpose,the situation we,
(and the rest of the world)
now face,is ominous at best.
And taking all this,and many other factors into account,here and the
rest of the world,something's gotta give,the main concern being
in what way,and what we can/will
do,whatever events take place.
It is no longer "if" but when,and
how.
There is much to consider,and we must start recognizing these facts
now.
I certainly pray that whatever plans are behind these warnings,
by the above mentioned instigators,
will be prevented.

carly101

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