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An open letter to CINDY SHEEHAN concerning BREAKING with the DEMOCRATIC PARTY

A strong anti-war movement requires challenging activists' illusions in the Democratic Party
Dear Cindy Sheehan,

I feel it is important to comment on the post yesterday (Common Dreams) in which you supported MoveOn.org's "Petreus/Betray Us" ad in the face of attacks on it by none other than the Imperialist-in-Chief. That Bush would choose to mention, let alone castigate at length, MoveOn.org demonstrates the growing strength of the anti-war movement, which is continuing to mobilize dedicated activists like yourself. However, I'm writing to stress that the movement will stand little chance of effectively thwarting US imperialism's war plans if the prevailing views concerning the reliance on the Democratic Party are not discredited.

The role of the Democrats as the other imperialist party became clear to people in their millions when they gained control of Congress yet continued to do nothing to pull the US out of Iraq. This is an important development in consciousness that needs to be encouraged and deepened. Activists taking matter into their own hands, in the streets, disrupting all aspects of society, are the only force capable of challenging the ever-growing militarism of this dying empire. The Democrats are dead-set against such disruption. In fact, whether politicians understand it or not (Kucinich comes to mind), the key political function of the Democratic Party is to prevent activists from gravitating towards views that lead to such action. Look at FDR's New Deal or the function of George McGovern on the Vietnam anti-war movement in that light.

MoveOn.org is one of a broad array of organizations in the movement that works to shore up confidence in the Democrats, portraying them as a force that, if nudged just a bit to the left, could challenge the neo-cons. In this respect, the politics of such groups as MoveOn.org serves to WEAKEN the movement. I'm in favor of activists, such as those who work with MoveOn.org, of grasping this truth, defecting from such organizations, and building their own organizations that promote militant actions and anti-reformist political views.

Cindy, I'm glad that in previous posts you have stressed the need of activists to take to the streets. The action I fantasize about here in Seattle would be 20,000 activists sitting in the streets surrounding the Federal Building downtown on a weekday to shut it down. To achieve that would take a big leap in consciousness. I'm sorry to say, however, that your comments about MoveOn.org serve to build confidence on the fighting ability of what is essentially indistinguishable from the left wing of the Democratic Party. For example, you "... applaud MoveOn for moving a little closer to the true anti-war movement and encourage them to come with us farther".
Again, let me stress that I too am in favor of people active with MoveOn.org to "come with us farther", but they can only do that by breaking with that organization and its politics and, preferably, forming a new organization that helps clarify the role that such pro-Democratic Party politics plays in weakening the movement. Thanks very much for taking the time to listen to my views.

Sincerely,

Ira Jones
Seattle
 irajon@gmail.com

Moveon is NOT " indistinguishable from the left wing of the Democratic Party" 22.Sep.2007 21:18

Centrist

Moveon is attached at the hip to the right-wing, DLC elitists who prefer Hillary Clinton or John Kerry. The MSM continuously claims that Moveon is "far left", but this is of course ridiculous to anyone with any political sophistication.

Kucinich represents the internationally centrist members of the Democrat Party who you want to reach, and Kucinich is not the choice of Moveon.

I think Cindy is still looking to form a broad-based peace and justice movement that isn't heavily infiltrated by Democrats. Whether that can be done through Moveon seems questionable to me.

Sheehan was delusional when she let her son fight for 'freedom' 23.Sep.2007 01:47

Ajax Lady

She is delusional and needs to realize the Dems are not the answer. She needs to keep fighting with those in touch with the alternative media. The mainstream media lied to her and her dead son. Time to get a fucking clue and stop infuriating the right. Michael Moore needs to get schooled too.
This is all the Dems have to save you.
This is all the Dems have to save you.

waking life 23.Sep.2007 08:53

awakening

few realize the corruption of the "parties", that they are one-in-the-same. voting democratic, female, black or whatever, ain't gonna change the system. we've got to think outside the (black) box and fathom that we do NOT have any power when it comes to casting our votes.

move on stays put 23.Sep.2007 09:07

jail bush

move on is a entirely benign. look where we are. they have never taken up 9/11 truth which is the shortest way to getting rid of republicans forever. when "democrats/move-on" begins to focus on 9/11 truth, then we will see change very rapidly. the 9/11 truth movement has come very far on it's own without sponsorship from any highly visible venue like move-on. but think where it would go over night if it embraced what is obvious and should not be avoided by these organizations-- that 9/11 was an "inside job" and worrying about offending some people or losing funding is obstructionist. i have attended move-on meetings to take the temperature of 9/11 truth awareness and it is nowhere to be found within the meetings I have attended. As i see it, move-on and similar organizations are part of the problem as they coalesce people around mainstream issues and ignore issues they are afraid of that could bring about real change rather than just donations into their coffers.

Unless you embrace 9/11 truth, nothing will stop the war machine... 23.Sep.2007 12:53

intheyearzearo

.....and the the anti-war movement will be moot.

Support the Green Party 24.Sep.2007 11:19

Brian the Green

I'm glad to hear so many people who understand the Democratic party is just another corporate party where progressive ideas go to die. So who do you support? The Green Party is the only viable alternative that appears on most state ballots including Oregon, with actual elected officials nationwide. The party is less than 15 years old and is still in its infancy, taking no corporate money.

It ain't perfect, but what is?

The Green Party:

Pro-peace
Pro-democracy
Pro-ecology
Pro-social responsibility

Supports - Single Payer Health Care, Gay rights, an end to the military industrial complex, open and fair elections, electoral reform, women's rights, a bottom up agenda, taxing the rich.

There is a place for you in the party, join us and get involved.

Democratic Party politics in a Green wrapping 24.Sep.2007 15:14

Frank

The entire comment from Brian the Green does not say ONE lousy word about how to build the anti-war movement into a fighting force that can really stay the bloody hands of U.S. imperialism, and ultimately do away with imperialism and the wars it causes. Instead of this we're apparently supposed to work to get the Greens elected, and when they are---whenever that is---everything will be A-O.K.!

This is no good. To actually achieve the fine things that the Greens promise is going to require stern mass struggles from below... and outside the electoral arena! But Brian, just like the leftwing of the Democratic Party, would apparently have us dessert this work for getting Greens elected. This looks like the same sabotaging politics to me.

Meanwhile, the German Greens HAVE been elected, and they've supported German troops fighting in Afghanistan. Thus the German anti-war movement has to fight just as much against the Greens as the other capitalist parties.

Let's try to walk and chew gum at the same time 24.Sep.2007 19:12

Lolly

Being involved in electoral politics does not preclude working in other ways. There is no doubt that the suffering of minorities increases with the election of bigots, for one example. If you care about this, you will try to help candidates and parties who you think will do the least damage to the vulnerable.

I see no reason to assume that the U.S. Green Party will be just as bad as the corporate parties merely because German Greens support having troops in Afghanistan. If the Greens piss you off, find another party or candidate to support, but opting out of electoral politics is a recipe for greater disaster.

Remember, 50% or more opt out even in voting now. Do you want an even smaller group choosing the managers of the society? Who do you think that benefits?

Developing the politics of mass struggle is decisive 24.Sep.2007 19:57

Frank

But which is DECISIVE, work in the electoral arena, or work to develop the mass struggles of the oppressed?

Jim Crow was only originally smashed up because a powerful movement against it developed from below, not because some "good" politicians were elected who bequethed civil rights to African Americans. And today we everyday see that the struggle against racial discrimination and police repression has to go farther, with the incarceration of the Jena 6 being just one case in point.

The point is not that one should never work in the electoral arena, but that this work must be subordinated to developing the mass struggles and movements like the anti-war movement. And, from this framework, we must judge parties or individuals upon the basis of whether they actively encourage mass struggles in all their forms, or work to sidetrack them.

Germany's Green Party Split Over Afghanistan Mandate 25.Sep.2007 15:50

Frank, look at this, German Greens over rule their leaders

 http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2785998,00.html


Germany's Green Party Split Over Afghanistan Mandate


Members of Germany's opposition Green party instructed their leaders at
a party congress over the weekend to withdraw their support for the
German military engagement in Afghanistan.


At special party congress in the central German city of Göttingen, a
majority of 800 delegates rejected the party leadership's position by
voting against its motion to unconditionally approve the planned
extension of the German Army's mandate in Afghanistan.


Green party chairman Reinhard Bütikofer warned delegates that an
immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan "would not bring peace but a new
escalation of violence, war and civil war."


But, instead, the party base decided that its representatives in the
German parliament must vote against continued use of the army in
Afghanistan if fighting was involved.


While the decision cannot actually affect Germany's current foreign
policy -- since Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government does not
need opposition votes for a renewal of the troop's mandate next month --
it is indicative of the deep split which has developed within the Greens.


Traditionally pacifist


The traditionally pacifist Greens made a U-turn when it comes to German
military operations abroad during their time in a coalition with Social
Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schröder from 1998 to 2005.


The decision to support German peacekeeping operations abroad has
divided the party ever since.


"I still believe this was the right thing to do and we will stand by our
responsibility," Bütikofer said of the deployment at the congress, amid
heckling and booing by delegates.


A turning point for the Greens


Rejecting the expected renewal of the troops' mandate in Afghanistan,
the rank-and-file members of the Green party effectively reversed the
controversial changes in foreign policy that were ushered in by
Schröder's foreign minister and former Green party leader Joschka Fischer.


"The result of the party congress marks the temporary end of a
10-year-long struggle over the pragmatist foreign policy course a la
Joschka Fischer," said political scientist Hubert Kleinert in an op-ed
for the Web site of the German weekly Spiegel.


"On the other hand, this also means, for the time being, the end of all
speculations about a possible sharing of power in the federal government
beyond the Red-Green coalition," Kleinert said, alluding to the
speculations that the Green party might form a coalition with Merkel's
Christian Democrats (CDU) and free-market liberals (FDP) after the next
elections.


"To those in the [Christian Democratic] Union, who are still hoping for
a black-green coalition, I can only say: 'Have fun!" Westerwelle told
the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, referring to the traditional
color of the CDU.


Rejecting criticism by some political leaders and opinion polls showing
waning support for the German military presence in Afghanistan, Merkel
said on Saturday she wanted the troops' mandate to be extended.


"There is no alternative," Merkel said in her weekly video podcast.
"This military commitment is important for those who live in Afghanistan
but also for the security and freedom of German citizens."


Germany currently has some 3,000 troops deployed in northern Afghanistan
as part of the NATO-lead International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Germany has also sent six reconnaissance Tornado jets to Afghanistan to
assist ISAF operations throughout the country.


The German army's mandate prevents it from being used in the south,
where military casualties are higher.