The Real Divide in the U.S.

January 20 Counter-Inaugural
March 19/20 Global Day of Protest
on 2nd Anniversary of the war

It is time to take a close look at what actually happened with the election of Bush and the defeat of Kerry. We should cut through the myths, clichés and banalities that are pumped out by the politicians and TV punditry - the establishment propaganda machine - and then too frequently echoed even by progressive people. It is also an important moment to make another commitment to organize and mobilize for the January 20 and March 19/20 mass actions against the criminal war being waged in Iraq. That war is about to escalate sharply as the Pentagon prepares a murderous reign of terror against the people of Fallujah and other Iraqi cities, and all people of conscience must take action.

It is more than ironic that Bush can openly prepare to make the streets and alleyways of Fallujah run red with blood so Iraq can have "democratic elections" in January.

More than 100,000 Iraqis have died since March 20, 2003, as a consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of their country. At least 10,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed or wounded according to the official figures. The death toll will grow higher on both sides as the nationalist insurgency of the Iraqi people deepens.

A Shared Vision for War and Conquest - Why the Truth Was Never Spoken

This is not just Bush's war. The Democrats, including Kerry, complain only that the criminal war has been badly managed. Kerry’s program was to bring in other imperialist countries, give them a share of the contracts (also known as the loot) and share the burden of aggression and occupation with others. There are millions of people including many "conservative" working people in swing states who are either opposed to, or apprehensive about, the war. Just as in the Vietnam War, millions of people can turn actively against the war - and can even become its most militant opponents - once they come to understand that they have been lied to by the government. Their children and spouses and neighbors are being sent to kill and be killed.

For people to learn the truth and accept the fact that the government that they pledged allegiance to is really a bunch of lying criminals takes a process. It requires people who know the truth to tell it and to speak plainly so that there is no misunderstanding. Kerry has always known that Iraq was not a "grave and imminent threat" to the people of the United States. He also knows that the war was a brazen act of lawless aggression and that every life lost in Iraq constitutes an act of homicide by the officials who planned and ordered the war, who should all be tried for war crimes.

Instead of stating clearly that Bush was lying, instead of telling the people that this was a war of aggression for the power and enrichment of Corporate America, Kerry voted for the war, agreed that he would do it all over again, and then asked people to vote for him because he had a "better plan" to win the war.

How could anyone think that such a confused and disingenuous position could appeal to traditionally Republican voters who are, in fact, deeply worried about the escalating war in Iraq? Kerry decided instead to wrap himself in the flag, tout his war record in Vietnam, dress up in fatigues and go duck hunting for a day. Only a rich liberal aristocrat and his Democratic Party operatives could believe that working people are going to find this convincing.

The Real Divide

Millions of hard-working people did everything they could to help Kerry get elected and to fight against racist disenfranchisement. They registered new voters, passed out literature, went door-to-door, acted as election monitors. Many were labor activists, others were from the antiwar movement, for many it was their first political experience.

Now, that Kerry has been defeated by the concerted effort of the right wing political machine, many in the Democratic Party leadership are promoting an absolutely false reason for his defeat. They are blaming gay marriage, and the so-called liberalism of the Party on "social and cultural issues." The Democratic Party leadership has, in fact, proven itself incapable of defeating the right-wing once again.

At the same time, the pundits are announcing a "divided America," arguing that the people of the U.S. are split into two sectors - the progressive, open-minded, peace-loving people, and the hateful, ignorant, warmongering bigots. But the post-electoral pundits' certification of this national divide misses the real divide, in the same way that the Democratic Party and many progressive organizations ignored the real divide in the United States during the electoral fight.

The vast majority of people in the United States, who voted either for Kerry or Bush, are working people, far from rich. This is the unexposed divide. But this divide did not determine the election because it could not, as neither candidate represented the interests of this majority. The Bush campaign fostered a divide of fear and bigotry. The only way to overcome this strategy would have been to openly counter it, to tell the truth about what the real divide-and-conquer program was, to openly support progressive issues and undemonize the demonized by raising the curtain on the real workings and intentions of the political and corporate establishment. This could not happen. Kerry, and many of the progressive organizations that supported him, accepted the belief that Kerry had to "speak to the right" on social issues and pander to this falsely created "moral" divide, with the quiet assurance that he would not be as regressive on social issues as Bush is sure to be. But once one accepts and panders to the Bush program and its fostered social divide, how can anyone be educated or be won from it?

The Unspoken Unity

Inside of the political and economic establishment, the ones who financed Bush's and Kerry's campaigns are not "sharply divided," rather they are united. Both candidates and both parties are advocates of "winning" in Iraq, unconditional support for Israel's war against the Palestinians, the ouster of Aristide in Haiti, the maintenance of a half-trillion dollar annual military budget, implementation of so-called free trade agreements and the outsourcing of jobs that are destroying the lives of working people everywhere, opposition to equal marriage rights. Kerry said repeatedly that he would simply manage Bush's program better. Both are almost identical in class representation. Not only did all four candidates for president and vice president possess vast personal wealth, but both candidacies were funded by the largest big banks and financial corporations, and  Bush and Kerry shared four of the same ten largest donors. The Big Business imprint on the election was total and complete. Think about that unity. This is the unity of both Bush and Kerry and both of their parties, and the unity of all the corporations and banks and media corporations, including the newspapers, as well as the entire Military-Industrial Complex.

If they weren't completely beholden to the same big business interests as the Republicans, Kerry could have easily captured a section of the Republican working class base that voted against their own interests.

Many of those who voted for Bush were opposed to the Iraq war or had serious misgivings, and are also facing a concerted drive by Corporate America to slash health care benefits, pensions, cut wages and attack unions. Kerry could not make a strong, convincing appeal to these voters because both the Democrats and Republicans are imperialist parties and, as such, are united in wanting to conquer Iraq and are united in their view that working people in the U.S. should give back their hard won economic gains. Why would a voter leaning toward Bush on some other issue break away and vote for Kerry because of Iraq, when Kerry announced over and over again, "we are not talking about leaving [Iraq] we are talking about winning." Today Bush is set to unleash new attacks in Fallujah and other cities throughout Iraq that will kill thousands, mainly civilians. Kerry will support this offensive even though many more will die. Young soldiers are going to be used as faceless cogs in a racist war. The corporate powers and the politicians don’t care what happens to the Iraqi people or to the soldiers. Nor do they wish to see a united base of working people in the U.S. who join together for their real shared interests.

Why the Election Shows the Strength of Opposition to the War

Given their united political position on Iraq and the political, economic and media power that they wield it is a testament to the strength of the antiwar mood in the country that nearly half the population has broken from that position. Of the 54 million people who voted against Bush, opposition to the Iraq war was a central issue even though by voting for Kerry they were supporting a candidate who embraces the U.S. occupation and vows to "win not leave" Iraq.

The electoral outpouring against Bush does not indicate a continuing trend toward the political right. The opposite is true. One need only think back to the political climate on September 12, 2001, or even just eighteen months ago when Bush was sporting an approval rating of over 70% when he landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln Aircraft carrier dressed up as a soldier and proudly standing under the banner "Mission Accomplished." If the 2004 election had taken place 18 months ago, Bush would have won the largest landslide ever. With each passing day the war in Iraq becomes more inflamed, more violent and huge parts of the country are under the control of the Iraqi resistance. The Bush plan for Iraq and the Middle East is politically premised on imperial arrogance and driven by the desire for Empire. The growing hatred of the occupation force inside of Iraq will only increase and every day more people in this country, including many in uniform and their families, will join the ranks of the antiwar movement.

Voting for Kerry, for most progressive people, was a way of showing repudiation of the Bush administration and its warmongering, anti-people program, and that was an important message to send. But Kerry offers no hope for progressive change and his defeat does not mean that the true progressive movement in the United States is weak. It means simply that Kerry was not, and could never have been, its standard bearer nor able to win people to a movement for true historic social change he was not part of.

The Next Steps for People of Conscience

What is the perspective of the antiwar movement in the face of the growing escalation of war in Iraq and repression at home? Are we supposed to now just hang our heads, lament the victory of the right, wallow in despair, and proclaim "we are too weak," in the face of the triumph of Bush?

We do not have the luxury of taking a break for despondency and despair. The antiwar movement must merge the struggle for peace with a militant fightback movement at home to defend women's rights that are on the chopping block as Bush and company try to reverse Roe v. Wade. The antiwar movement must be part and parcel of the workers' movement to defend our unions and to launch a broader struggle against the merciless attacks on health care benefits and pensions. The antiwar movement must unite with the anti-racist movement in defense of affirmative action and civil rights and liberties. We know full well what the Bush administration has in mind regarding civil rights. The threatening opening salvo by the government’s IRS against the NAACP for the crime of criticizing Bush should be understood as a harbinger.

The unrelenting assault on the Muslim and Arab American community doesn't give that community the luxury to take a break from the struggle for justice. The rights of the entire elderly working class in the United States are also in the cross-hairs of Bush's Wall Street gunslingers. They want their hands on that social security money for the investment portfolio of the banks and corporations. The antiwar movement must speak plainly: instead of spending $270 million a day to make Iraq safe for Halliburton and Citibank, those tax dollars should be used to protect social security and to build schools and provide health care. We can bet that the Democrats will head for the hills on equal marriage rights as Bush and the ultra-right unleash a wave of bigotry. The antiwar movement must stand openly against all divide-and-conquer bigotry.

The past three years have been an awakening for many people in the United States, a realization of the role and aggression of the U.S. in world affairs and also a realization that people of the United States have the right and obligation to fight to change the direction of the country towards justice, equality, and in support of self-determination for others. Many people participated in mass action, for the first time in their lives taking to the streets, organizing educational events and petition drives, and doing outreach in their communities to their neighbors and co-workers. During this period of great drive and excitement, there was a growing hope that the global antiwar movement could bring about monumental change, and a growing political consciousness. This hope is real, and remains.

This global movement is strengthened not by looking up to the corporations that fund the two primary U.S. parties to raise up a leader to offer mild reforms, but from people standing side by side and engaging in collective action around positions of principle. This is the true democracy, and the only source for hope for our collective future.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition calls on all people who believe in justice to double our commitment to building the struggle against war and empire abroad, and for justice at home.

January 20, 2005
Counter-Inaugural Demonstration in Washington DC
initiated by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

On January 20, 2005, thousands will be lining the inaugural route in mass protest. There will be simultaneous protests in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities on January 20. We urge you sponsor, support and organize for January 20.

Pledge now to support the January 20 demonstration against the war. Click here to endorse and say Bring the Troops Home Now!

If you are planning to organize buses, vans or car caravans to be in Washington DC, San Francisco or Los Angeles on January 20, fill out the Transportation Form to help spread the word.

March 19/20, 2005
Global Day of Coordinated Actions
on the 2nd Anniversary of the "Shock and Awe" Invasion of Iraq

initiated by antiwar organizations worldwide
including the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in the United States

On March 19/20 there will be mass demonstrations in Washington DC and in other cities. This is the second anniversary of the opening of the criminal aggression against Iraq. The whole world will be marking this day with mass actions. We urge you to sponsor, support and organize for the March 19/20 protests. More information about the March 19/20 demonstrations in Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and elsewhere will be available soon.

We will demand:
1) US Out of Iraq Now, End the Occupation - Bring the Troops Home Now!
2) End Colonial Domination from Palestine to Haiti, and Everywhere!
3) Health Care, Education, Housing, and a Job at a Living Wage Must be a Right!

Please make a commitment today to fight for change. The anti-war and social justice movement does not have the billions of dollars of the corporate campaigns, yet its role and power in changing the political climate in the United States and around the world is unmatched. If you can help take the next steps by making a contribution please do so by clicking here.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
[email protected]
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-533-0417
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
For media inquiries, call 202-544-3389.

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