Sunday, February 25, 2007


This was written in response to article about the antiwar movement
in the Progressive Calendar by Fran Shor and R.M. Mendenhall.
Robert Halfhill
Worldwide, there were an estimated fifteen million people in the
streets protesting the Iraq war in 2003. Then suddenly there were no
more mass demonstrations.
Why? Because everybody took time off to campaign for Kerry. The
illusion held by most people was that if we could just get Kerry and
the other Democrats elected, they would end the war. Part of this
illusion also was the belief that the election of Democrats, who were
thought to be against the war, was a more direct and effective way of
stopping the war than "just protesting in the streets."
Yet Kerry was on record as saying that he would have been for
invading Iraq EVEN IF he had known there were no weapons of mass
destruction hidden there and that he would send more troops "if the
generals asked for them." Polls taken at the time revealed that most
of Kerry's supporters believed that he was against the Iraq war. The
illusion that the Democrats were the lesser evil, that the only
viable option was the Democrats and the Republicans, and that
reasonable, pragmatic people would not "elect Bush" "by wasting their
vote" on some ideal third party resulting in people JUST ASSUMING
that Kerry and the Democrats were against the Iraq war without
checking the facts which were otherwise.
It should be a no brainer that you cannot fight against the Iraq
war by supporting a candidate who said he would have been for
invading even if he had known there were no weapons of mass
destruction hidden there and that he would send even more troops "if
the generals asked for them."
The ruling class in this country has very cleverly arranged for
winner take all elections so that political activity tends to be
bipolar, gravitating towards two large parties, and even more
cleverly arranged for one party to be slightly to the left and
marginally less evil than the other party on most issues. The
electorate being confronted by these two political colossi and the
difficulty of any third party holding together long enough to reap
any electoral reward by winning a significant number of
gubernatorial, Congressional and Presidential elections overwhelms
most of the electorate with the illusion that they can only choose
between the lesser of two evils.
Historian Mark Lause, in his history of third parties in this
country, has documented that every third party since 1869 has died
out once it started supporting Democrats as the lesser evil. But to
only go back to the 1940's, the Wagner Labor Relations Act had been
passed by Congress after the depression, the rise of the CIO, etc had
convinced the ruling class that they had better permit some
concessions or reforms or they would loose everything in a
revolution. But in the later 1940's, after the mass movements of the
thirties had died down, Congress passed the Taft
Hartley Act which has been primarily responsible for the steady
decline of the labor movement up to the present. The majority of
Democrats voted for Taft Hartley, so it would have passed even if all
the Republicans had been magically removed from Congress. And in
1992 and
1996, I suppose we can all consider ourselves fortunate that Bush,
Sr. or Dole didn't defeat Clinton. Why if Bush or Dole had won, they
would have ended welfare as we know it! Prior to Clinton, ending
welfare had been considered one of the most reactionary proposals of
the right wing. And the first Gulf War, although started by Bush,
Sr., was continued by Clinton as was the trade embargo on Iraq which
led, according to U.N. estimates, to the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi
Further shut downs of antiwar activity will happen as long as the
majority of
anti war activists cling to the illusion that the solution to the
problem is supporting Democrats as the lesser evil. And as the
experience of 2003-7 demon states, once you have shut down a mass
movement, you cannot just bring it back, immediately, on command, as
if you were turning on a faucet or flipping a switch.
Robert Halfhill (SITE NOW BANNED ON AOL)
*Write AOL to complain, here:, or call 1-

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