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economic justice | government | political theory selection 2004

Ralph Nader's flawed strategy

Ralph Nader rails at the corporate elite without bothering to explain that its deeds are not the product of accidental evil-doers or flawed personalities but rather the workings of the system, a system that is as reformable as a cancer that threatens to devour the entire living organism. No corporate master in history has voluntarily acceded to the interests of its wage slaves. If he did, he would be compelled to give ground to others in the business-for-profit rat race who see scruples as an unaffordable luxury.
two capitalists with different ideas on how to save capitalism
two capitalists with different ideas on how to save capitalism
The Democratic Party primary circus has drawn to a close with Kerry the winner. The race started, if we are allowed some unsubstantiated conjecture, in the living room of a mighty corporate magnate who posed the question to 10 specially-invited guests, "How can we get some of those 100 million abstaining fools back into the fold so that our portion of the wealth created by our wage slaves is enhanced a bit more and our brothers in the Republican Party correspondingly reduced?

"How can we organize this contest so that we appear to be debating issues of substance while we prepare to take the reins of power from our friends across the isle and employ them for our common advantage, plus or minus a few billion dollars here or there?"

A deal was sealed. The multi-colored Democratic Party robe was once again drawn from the political closet. Each of the 10 was assigned the work of organizing their specialized constituencies.

A Southern Democratic Party populist was enlisted to register his "family values" constituency. His Northern counterparts agreed to the same in their neck of the woods, with a twist here and there. A few Blacks were thrown into the mix to fill in for Jesse Jackson, who had always proclaimed that "we Democrats are like a bird. We need two wings to fly, a left and a right."

Last election's old guard was included, along with a more youthful "pro-labor" day-to-day party hack who also had deep links to the corporate base. A few were picked to hold up a banner opposing overt U.S. control of Iraq. They were assigned to wave the UN flag to cover the U.S. occupation.

For some, like John Kerry, radical surgery was required, as in the times when the racist Jimmy Carter was transformed into a populist "human rights" advocate.

The deal was set. The kept media were informed as to the general rules of the game. The production was underway. The 10 players agreed to support the victor, for a price to be negotiated later, depending on the size of the prize delivered by each to the common effort. The game had begun! Behind the primary whoopla and the denunciations of Nader as evil spoiler stands the argument that George Bush is an historic aberration, a product of a calculating family elite surrounded by a handful of evil warlords that had usurped power for personal ends. They based themselves on the fanatical religious right, who liberals claim represent 40 percent of the nation's voting constituency.

Bush's list of crimes, the PATRIOT Act, war and more war, massive deficit spending and social cutbacks, "unfair trade," horrific globalization policies that ruin the lives of billions, homophobia, unprecedented military spending, and all the rest are employed to make the case that this man is the exception to the usual run-of-the-mill pro-corporate presidents. He must be replaced by whatever Democrat makes it to the finish line.

The liberal wish list began with Dennis Kucinich, progressed through Dr. Howard Dean, and perhaps a few even engaged with Michael Moore's choice, Wesley Clark. With the "demise of the candidates of the "left wing" of the Democratic Party, liberal eyes are today glued on the recast billionaire Boston Brahmin John Kerry, a man who would be the third richest president in U.S. history.

Liberals credit the ousted Dean with forcing Kerry and Edwards to the left. Nader claims to be accomplishing the same end but unlike the rest, he will continue to set the stage, that is, force Kerry to the "left" past the primaries and to the election itself, thereby creating a "mandate," says Nader, that will bind Kerry, the president, to the liberal agenda.

These ridiculous maneuvers, interpretations, rationalizations, and self-delusions have the effect of numbing the senses. Kerry's newfound liberal words fool no serious observer and he will not be held to them. His defense adviser, William Perry, is organically connected to the military-industrial complex as much as Bush's Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. "All Kerry can offer is superior management of the imperial bandwagon at home and abroad," says Alexander Cockburn, who seriously researched Kerry's record of subservience to big capital. (The Nation, March 8, 2004). In truth, George Bush is not an aberration at all. He is the reflection of the current needs of the crisis-ridden U.S. capitalist class as a whole.

Stupid and vicious as he may appear, his deeds, accomplished only with collaboration of Democrats and Republicans, are designed to mitigate problems inherent in the functioning of the barbaric system itself. Unprecedented and massive military expenditures are approved with bipartisan support to bolster flagging profit rates arising a crisis of overproduction triggered by intensified worldwide competition. The U.S. weapons of mass destruction are also employed to the disadvantage of America's imperialist competitors, as well as for the slaughter of innocent people to steal their lands and resources.

Jobs and industrial plants are increasingly exported, again to secure the same end—increased profit rates in the face of the opposite downward spiraling trend. Simply put, whatever temporary advantage a capitalist achieves by lowering labor costs is eventually offset as the competition is forced to make the same, if not superior move.

Wages, working conditions, taxes, health care, social security, the air we breathe and the water we drink are all subject to the same competitive forces and adjusted to the detriment of workers in the U.S. and worldwide to keep the failing profit-driven ship afloat.

The crimes of George Bush are committed against working people and the poor by "Labor Party" Tony Blair in England and by social democrats in Europe and their equivalent ruling elites in every nation. Indeed, there are no capitalist regimes on earth today where working people are not increasingly subordinated to capitalist necessity. Bush is merely the tool and fool employed to do the dirty deeds for the U.S. capitalist class as a whole.

Ralph Nader rails at the corporate elite without bothering to explain that its deeds are not the product of accidental evil-doers or flawed personalities but rather the workings of the system, a system that is as reformable as a cancer that threatens to devour the entire living organism.

No corporate master in history has voluntarily acceded to the interests of its wage slaves. If he did, he would be compelled to give ground to others in the business-for-profit rat race who see scruples as an unaffordable luxury. All players understand that there is but one principle involved—survival, by any means necessary.

Bush is a crude and ignorant man who daily reads a prepared script. He is encouraged to appeal to the base prejudices manufactured by a social order that requires hate and division among the exploited to achieve its ends as well as ever deeper economic and social exploitation and oppression.

Over the past several decades unprecedented competition has moved the remaining players to proceed increasingly from covert to overt war. When profits were more easily obtainable in a less competitive environment, gains could be achieved by stealth. Iran's president was removed via a secret CIA coup in 1958; Guatemala's president was similarly removed via CIA action; the same for the Congo's Lumumba in 1960, who was assassinated quietly by U.S. agents disguised as UN peacekeepers.

Today the game is played out in the open. Stealth has give way to brute force and open war, the requirements when the competing imperial powers struggle for a piece of the booty and are eager to take it. Iraq was "won" by brute force, the protests of France, Germany and others with interests in the region be damned.

Like Bush, President Clinton was the man of the capitalist hour. He cut more social services than the combined presidencies of Republicans Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon. He did it with a smile while inviting a few liberal friends to toasts or dinner in the White House.

Bush doesn't smile as much at the liberals. He lacks Clinton's tact but he knows know to read the same prepared script. Kerry will do it even better, or Edwards, or whoever else gets the nod to inhabit the White House and keep order for American capital, by any means necessary.

There is no solution in Ralph Nader's version of lesser evilism—that is, posturing as the people's candidate while shilling for the Democrats. There are no progressive Democrats or progressive candidates of any capitalist party.

Only when labor's minions enter the political and economic arenas in their own name and fight, collectively and in solidarity with all the exploited, for their own interests and for all humanity's, will the corporate capitalist beast be effectively challenged and driven from power.

The independent mobilization of working people against imperialist war, intervention, and occupation and in defense of all social and economic struggles for a better life is the starting point for today's emerging activists. The coattails of the ruling rich and their twin parties are no place for those who seek a new world that will champion the interests of the vast majority.

 http://www.geocities.com/mnsocialist/nader.html
Is Nader offering a left alternative? 10.Jun.2004 21:20

Socialist Worker

Many more people are considering a vote for Ralph Nader as a protest against war and corporate control of Washington than anyone would have guessed when Nader announced his independent presidential campaign in February. But Nader's recent moves--his acceptance of an endorsement by the right-wing Reform Party USA and his all-too-friendly meeting with Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry--have done a disservice to his supporters and severely undermined the case that he represents a left-wing alternative to the Washington status quo.

Earlier this month, leaders of the Reform Party--launched in 1992 as a vehicle for the presidential campaign of millionaire Ross Perot and represented in the 2000 election by far-right bigot Pat Buchanan--endorsed Nader and offered its spot on the ballot in seven states. Nader's left-wing platform is wholly opposed to the Reform Party's on numerous issues--most prominently on immigration, where the Reform Party calls for expelling all illegal immigrants, a position to the right of George Bush.

Campaign organizers privately assure supporters that Nader does disagree with the Reform Party. But shamefully, Nader hasn't uttered a word of criticism in public.

Instead, the campaign's official statement welcomed Reform Party support and bent over backwards to find points of agreement. The net effect is that the Nader campaign gave a dying right-wing organization a breath of life--when it should have been shunned.

Within a week of the Reform Party fiasco, Nader was meeting with John Kerry--and instead of challenging Kerry for trying to "out-Bush Bush," as he put it a few days earlier, Nader absurdly praised Kerry as a "green spruce" compared to the "petrified wood" of the Democrats' last candidate, Al Gore. Nader explained that the meeting was part of his strategy of "opening up a second front" that will help to defeat George Bush.

Maybe Nader thinks this rhetoric will deflect some of the abuse heaped on him by Democrats who despise him for the "crime" of daring to run at all. If so, he's wrong. Democrats continued to snipe at Nader anyway.

But the more important point is that Nader's kid-gloves treatment is letting Kerry off the hook. For example, Nader says that he brought up the topic of Iraq during his meeting with Kerry, but that Kerry refused to discuss it and simply said that he had a "plan."

Rather than push Kerry on the most important issue in U.S. politics today, Nader didn't pursue it, nor did he criticize Kerry's support for the war and occupation during comments to reporters afterward. This is absurd. Even Kerry supporters recognize that Nader's recent jump in support is because he is the only candidate who calls for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

Nader is giving up opportunities to do what he says is his main goal--offer an alternative to the two-party "duopoly" in Washington--on a decisive issue where the Republicans' and Democrats' similarities are plain to see.

Socialist Worker was a proud supporter of Nader in the 2000 election. We believe his campaign was a lightning rod for millions of people fed up with corporate domination of the U.S. political system. Nader himself was no socialist and had political weaknesses on a number of questions. But, by and large, he spoke out for an unapologetic left-wing alternative.

Because of his enthusiasm for the Reform Party endorsement and his overtures to Kerry, the same cannot be said today. This is why we can't recommend a vote for Nader at this time.

The urgency of building a left-wing alternative to the two parties is profound. John Kerry and George Bush represent two candidates of the Washington status quo whose differences--when they exist at all--are overwhelmed by what they share.

Nader could be that alternative in Election 2004--but not if he continues to celebrate his support from the right, and not if he pulls his punches when it comes to Kerry. We urge Nader to renounce the Reform Party's right-wing politics--and to argue a consistent case against John Kerry's Republican Lite agenda.

 http://www.socialistworker.org/2004-1/501/501_03_Nader.shtml

Nader remained silent during the post-election crisis of Nov-Dec 2000 10.Jun.2004 21:27

Patrick Martin

Nader's vocal condemnation of the war in Iraq and the continued US occupation also marks a political shift. While he was critical of the Bush administration's decision to go to war, Nader played no prominent role in the antiwar movement and did not speak at the major protest rallies in February and March 2003.

Asked by Tim Russert in an interview on the NBC News program "Meet the Press," if he advocated the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Nader hedged, saying, "We owe a responsibility to the people of Iraq." This type of "yes, but" remark is characteristic of the remaining candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, who criticize Bush for sending troops to Iraq, but either insist that the US troops remain, or, in the case of Dennis Kucinich, propose that the US occupying force be replaced by a UN military force. The latter was the line Nader adopted in his reply to Russert's question.

Russert subsequently asked Nader about remarks last year in which he suggested that Bush was not only "beatable, but impeachable" because of his lies on the war in Iraq. Nader replied: "If there's any better definition of high crimes and misdemeanors in our Constitution than misleading or fabricating the basis for going to war, as the press has documented ad infinitum, I don't know any cause of impeachment that's worse... Our Founding Fathers gave the Congress the right to fire the president. It shouldn't be a big deal. For far more trivial reasons, you know, Clinton was impeached."

This is another flip-flop, since Nader supported the impeachment of Clinton and said he would have voted for Clinton's removal from office for an offense that he now concedes was "trivial."

These reversals of position have an inner social and political logic. Nader has long rejected the perspective of socialism and the central role of the working class in the struggle to transform society, espousing instead a politics of protest based on sections of the middle class. He offers himself as an individual, not the representative of a party. (Even in 2000, he accepted the Green Party nomination, but never actually joined the Green Party). Such a political outlook is inevitably subject to shifts in the wind, especially in the moods of the radicalized petty bourgeoisie.

Nader's political outlook is by its very nature inconsistent and self-contradictory. He combines attacks on the corporate domination of American politics with support for the profit system as a whole. This amounts to supporting the domination of economic and social life by these same corporations, which is ultimately the basis of their control of the political system.

The Socialist Equality Party opposes the Democrats and Republicans, not because we deny the obvious differences and conflicts between these two bourgeois parties, but because our program is based on fundamental issues of political principle and articulates the interests of working people. The needs of the working class are irreconcilably in conflict with the existing capitalist order, which both big business parties defend. Working people can defend their interests only through the establishment of their own independent political party. No short-term considerations can override the necessity of the struggle for the political independence of the working class.

Nader, on the contrary, lacks any solid basis for opposing the politics of "lesser evilism" and, in his "Meet the Press" interview, he left the door open for eventual support for the Democrats. He suggested that a political collapse of the Bush reelection campaign was possible, which would make a Democratic victory inevitable, regardless of how many votes he received. But when Russert asked directly if Nader might withdraw his candidacy if it appeared that his votes could make the difference between a Democratic victory or Bush's reelection, Nader refused to give a straight reply, saying, "When and if that eventuality occurs, in the rare event that it occurs, you can invite me back on the program, and I'll give you my answer."

 http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/feb2004/nade-f23_prn.shtml

You Guys Must Think You Have a Lot of Time 10.Jun.2004 22:34

High Tide

"Because of his enthusiasm for the Reform Party endorsement and his overtures to Kerry, the same cannot be said today. This is why we can't recommend a vote for Nader at this time.

"The urgency of building a left-wing alternative to the two parties is profound."

Nader has not altered his platform in any way to suit Kerry or the Reformers. Criticizing people that have pledged support does not sound like a very smart political move. Just how long do you think you have to build a "left-wing alternative"? Who is your candidate? Has anyone ever heard of him/her? What have they done to affect change nationally?

Nader is not a young man. If you think you will have someone as sharp and as notable as him down the road, who is willing to be a national punching bag to stand up for his beliefs, I think you are out of touch. Your arguments for withholding support are weak and uncompelling, and you seem to have no coherent alternative.

Nader is a CAPITALIST 10.Jun.2004 23:58

GRINGO STARS

Nader is an apologist reformist in the name of an economic system which demands constant growth, which demands constant wars - to forcefully open new resources, markets, and workforces. If you are a capitalist, you are FOR constant war, whether you are aware of this or not, whether you like it or not.

The corporate media has you in a bind. "someone as sharp and as notable as him" is thinking that is mired in the corporate media's thinking, as is you accusing someone of being "out of touch." Out of touch with WHAT? The corporate media's "common wisdom"? Then, yes I am.

As long as the corporate media reigns supreme in the minds of Americans, no real change can happen. Only miniscule reforms within the racist genocidal framework of capitalism.

Nader is FOR a UN occupation of Iraq. WHY? The Iraqis are children? Are they subhuman?

I hate to break it to you: NADER WILL NEVER BE THE PRESIDENT. You speak as if Nader will ever have a chance. Within the current framework you have hemmed yourself into already, your own saviour will never come into power.

1. the electoral system is corrupt and fraudulent
2. the corporate media buys candidates into power

Building a REAL leftist alternative will not consist of rah-rah electoral politics or this or that ultrarich white men (Yes, Nader is ultrarich too).

Nader, the poor sap, thinks he can actually influence the Democrats. Who's "out of touch?" Even when the Democrats WERE more leftist, they still brought the US into WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Cuban missile crisis, Hiroshima, Nagasaki - DEMOCRATS CRAVE WAR MORE THAN REPUBLICANS.

The president is merely one big COG in a heartless killing machine. Focusing on the Personality Politics of this or that prospective figurehead spokemodel schmuck is profoundly unconstructive.

Who is my candidate? I don't have (or want) one - so NO no one has ever heard pof him/her. And if you call "change" making capitalism cuddlier and nicer, then you should rethink your strategies and learn more about the relationships between economics and politics and war and race.

You sound like th eabolitionists from the north who weren't REALLY against slavery, just the BAD aspects of it. they thought they could REFORM slavery into a more respectable institution. they honestly had no idea that slavery was inherently amoral and harmnful. Just like many people now honestly don't see the causal relationship between constant war and capitalism.

For Gringo 11.Jun.2004 09:43

D

I read this article as a Nader supporter. I'd like to remind Gringo that his anarchist dreams of the end of capitalism won't come any sooner than Ralph's presidency. The only thing that will bring that on happens when we run out of oil, which I have no problem with. So, Gringo can sit on his ass bitching about Nader or Kerry or Bush and not do a single thing about capitalism. He can't control it any more that anyone else.
Support Ralph Nader if you believe in him. Support John Kerry or George Bush if you believe in them. Remember that you are doing something while Gringo is bitching at you from the sidelines. When the oil runs out, he'll claim victory, but it will be as hollow as his open mouth spewing vitriol.

It is Hard to Take GRINGO's Circular Arguments Seriously 11.Jun.2004 10:42

High Tide

But I would like to point out that he/she was pumping Nader as a real anti-war candidate in his/her tirades against Kucinich. Now GRINGO paints him as a blood thirsty war monger. Looks like GRINGO, the king/queen of the meth-headed strawman, is full of crap, and can't even keep his/her own BS straight.

so ONLY working in electoral politics = "doing things"?? 11.Jun.2004 10:53

GRINGO STARS

OF COURSE I have vitriol for those who uphold a murderous system that kills millions. Capitalists deserve nothing but education. Failing that, they richly deserve nothing but vitriol.

If you think that the ONLY thing you can do is work for this or that Shining Knight to save you, you are very wrong.

The BEST way to work for change is to work INDEPENDANTLY for change, OUTSIDE of teh corrupt and fraudulent political system. Enjoy losing? Then keep working for Nader. Don't be a chump, D. Do something EFFECTIVE for once.

Looks like I'm honest enough to change my opinions 11.Jun.2004 14:00

GRINGO STARS

true, I used to think Nader would be beneficial. Now I know better. Nader wants the UN to occupy Iraq, so fuck him. Nader actually believes that the warmongering democrat party can somehow be saved, which is boneheaded of him.

Is ad hominem all you have? High Tide, I guess when you can't take the truth, just attack the messenger? Some people operate like that, apparently. I choose not to support those who support capitalism. Capitalism is responsible for the constant war this country wages.

Actually, revolution WILL come sooner than a Nader presidency. Because a Nader presidency will NEVER happen. Yet a revolutiuon is inevitable, sooner or later. For every thousand dupes who are hacking away at the branches of injustice, there is only one person attacking the root.

And while "D" claims that I am "bitching from the sidelines", he/she is actually too duped to see that he/she is the one on the sidelines. Electoral politics IS the sidelines. You are doing nothing. You are achieving nothing. If that's OK with you, if you do it as some kind of conscience-assuaging exercise, then so be it. Just don't hold any illusions that you are actually making any REAL changes. Presedential elections are the most dubious, fraudulent, corrupt affairs in the game.

High Tide: is BS or nor BS that Nader wants Iraq occupied by the UN?
Is it BS or not BS that Nader is a capitalist?
IS it BS or not BS that Nader is a multimilionnaire from buting stocks that he himself had criticized as being genocidal and militaristic?
Is it BS or not BS that a capitalist system requires constant war for its own health?

I can admit my mistakes: I thought that Nader was part of the solution. Now I know better.

Sorry GRINGO 11.Jun.2004 14:24

High Tide

But you did not 'admit' your 'mistake'. You were 'called' on your 'bullshit'. Owning up to that fact does count for something, but it does not exactly make your a pillar of integrity. You got those straw men running scared now, oh mighty revolutionary warrior. Lets see if you can knock them down.

You have answered NONE of my questions, High Tide 11.Jun.2004 18:59

GRINGO STARS

So I take it that you will simply make ad hominem attacks instead of dealing with the content of these posts? Typical.

And yes, I have admitted my mistake. I once earnestly thought Nader was a good idea. I was wrong. I know better now.

So I guess your tactic now is to make this all about personalities instead of issues? That is typical of one involved with teh Personality Politics of electoral politics, I suppose.

Still no answers to my questions?

Uh guys.... 11.Jun.2004 23:40

George Bender

If you think electoral politics is pointless and don't want to engage in it fine, but stop bitching at those of us who disagree with you and choose to do electoral politics. I don't find your arguments persuasive and I'm tired of hearing it.

As for the socialists, Nader is not a socialist, you don't want to support him, fine. I'm not a socialist. The U.S. has a mixed socialist-capitalist economy, always has had, and that's the only kind of economy that I think is workable. The problem now, and often in the U.S. past, is that our economy has been pulled too far in the capitalist direction. Capitalism becomes a runaway if not controlled, accelerates and wrecks the system. We've had decades of deregulation and now we need to reregulate the corporations. That is the core of Nader's policy, and I support it.

As for Iraq, Nader wants to set a six month deadline to get all U.S. troops, contractors and corporations out of Iraq. Meanwhile he would turn it over to the U.N., with peacekeepers from neutral countries, to supervise the creation of a new government. I disagree somewhat, and wish he would say just get out now, but his position is better than that of Kerry and Bush. Both of them are planning to control Iraq indefinitely. Nader is the closest thing we have right now to a nationally recognized peace candidate.

Our strategy does not depend on, or even contemplate, Nader getting elected. The object is to put pressure on the Democrats, and U.S. politics in general, to move left. We do that by being a threat. We can't win, but we can make Kerry lose. I also see the Nader campaign as a way of wrecking the two party system. If we make it sufficiently dysfunctional, the system will have to change.

Doing nothing, as many of you seem to prefer, seems to me to be a very poor strategy. Any time I can make a difference, have some impact, I want to do it.


Nader's Iraq policy 12.Jun.2004 00:14

His website

 http://www.votenader.org/media_press/index.php?cid=47

Dressing Up the Puppet Government
Nader Calls for "dual military and corporate exit strategy from Iraq"

The Bush Administration is feeling the pressure of the failure of its Iraq occupation so much so that they have flip-flopped and have sought an international costume for its continued occupation of Iraq.

But the Nader Campaign continues to urge the United States to set a definite date for withdrawal, not only of Mr. Bremer and his civilian authority - but also of the U.S. military, its corporate private mercenaries and its outsourcing corporations like Halliburton. "The spiral of violence will not reverse until a dual military and corporate exit strategy is announced," said Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader. Nader has urged a six months exit with internationally supervised elections, continued humanitarian aid, neutral, Islamic and Arab countries providing security.

The U.N. resolution put forward by the United States and its loyal ally, Great Britain, is seriously flawed. The Resolution while mentioning "sovereignty" 12 times, and referring to the "territorial integrity of Iraq," and even the "end of the occupation" is in truth designed to legitimize the continued occupation of Iraq, allow the U.S. to continue its plans to build over a dozen military bases throughout the country and for U.S. corporations to put deep roots into Iraqi resources and the Iraqi economy. Double talk.

One clause of the U.N. Resolution in particular demonstrates the obvious position of the Bush Administration - that the U.S. continues to be able to use its military force as it sees fit. The resolution says the U.S. controlled military - 160,000 troops - has the "authority to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq." The power of the US military is unabridged and the occupation of Iraq by the U.S.-commanded force has no end in sight. Indeed, the U.S. rejected proposals by France, Germany and others that Iraq have the final say in controlling the military presence in its country. This condition does not assure many mainstream Iraqis to distance themselves from the resistance.

The only limit placed on US military occupation is a review by the Security Council after one year or if requested by the "transitional Government" of Iraq. Of course, the United States can veto any Security Council resolution so this is not a meaningful limit.

The Resolution does not specify what powers the Interim Government will be allowed. Earlier the U.S. administration stated that the Interim Government would not have the authority to overrule existing laws promulgated and enforced by Paul Bremer. The U.S.-U.K. Resolution does not spell out such a limitation, but neither does it specify what actual powers would be held by the Interim Government.

Another controversial area where the Resolution is silent is on the issue of U.S. military prisons. Eight thousand Iraqis are currently jailed in those prisons. What did the U.S. say it would do with those prisoners? Secretary of State Colin Powell in a side letter attached to the Resolution said internment would continue but only "where this is necessary for imperative reasons of security." A majority of Iraqi's imprisoned were not accused of any wrongdoing, according to US military officials, which is why hundreds have been released in the last fortnight.

And how about the new government? The leader - who some might call the lead servant - is Prime Minister Iyad Allawi - a longtime ally of and connector for U.S. government agencies. He has already said Iraq will need U.S. troops to fight guerrillas even after a U.S.-led occupation formally ends on June 30. During the heady years of European imperialism, this Iraqi situation would be called a protectorate or a colony.


The problem is this... 12.Jun.2004 13:34

GRINGO STARS

There are effective ways of getting things done, and useless ways of getting things done. When I see people doing something useless, I'm going to tell them.

Electoral politics at the presidential level is an intentional scam. It is a cynically-established black hole of time, effort, energy and money specifically designed to deplete the resources of well-meaning activists. As long as activists are campaigning for this or that Knight In Shining Armor, any real resistance is that more difficult to do.

Boycotts, strikes and direct action are proven as tactics. Electoral politics hasn't done squat UNLESS there was a concurrent boycott, strike or direct action to go along with it. That is why during Nixon's administration you saw much more, and much more liberal, legislation than you did during Clinton's administration. Because the popular mnovements INDEPENDANT of the entrenched political system were so active. More active than during Clinton. And Clinton was more liberal than Nixon in his approach to administration.

Do something REAL: boycotts, strikes, direct actions. Working for multimillionnaire professional politicians has proven time and time again, no matter how "liberal" they claim to be, to be utterly useless.

It's your decision whether or not to bang your head on the wall until it's bloody. You don't have to do that.