[Marxism] Socialists Urge Support for Kerry
theredmenace at excite.com
Mon Aug 16 08:42:39 MDT 2004
Socialists Urge Support for Kerry Jeremy Miller
Aug 16, 2004 05:49 PDT
For release July 23, 2004
Socialists Urge Support for Kerry
The Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee
(DSAPAC) released a statement today urging its members to work for
the election of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
"Kerry was hardly the first choice of our members. Most supported
Dennis Kucinich or Howard Dean in the Democratic primary elections
and would be very critical of Senator Kerry's voting record on trade
issues, as well as his support for the resolution authorizing the use
of force in Iraq; but the most important concern of our members now
is to defeat Bush," said Frank Llewellyn, the National Director of
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
The DSAPAC statement was very critical of the current direction of
the Democratic Party, lamenting the strength of the Democratic
Leadership Council as compared to the Congressional Progressive
Caucus in Party circles. But the statement condemned the much greater
threat to the interests of the average American posed by Republican
control of all three branches of government.
The statement urged DSA members to participate in get-out-the-vote
and voter education projects with other progressiveorganizations. "It
is very important that progressive movements keep organizing and
mobilizing so that we will be in a position to make demands on a new
administration," Llewellyn continued.
The Democratic Socialists of America is the largest socialist
organization in the United States, with 5500 members and local
organizations in most large cities. It is affiliated to the Socialist
International, a federation of the world's socialist, social
democratic and labor parties.
The complete text of the statement follows.
The 2004 Election
The Republican monopoly over all three branches of government has
enabled an unprecedented rightist attack and rollback of the
economic, legislative and policy gains won by the social movements of
the twentieth century.
The Bush administration has steadily gutted the democratic regulatory
state begun by the New Deal and Great Society. This dogmatic
commitment to rapacious corporate domination, combined with the
administration's hostility to civil rights, has led to outright
attacks on environmental protection, labor rights, public education,
and the living standards of low-wage workers. In addition, the
right's cultural war in favor of the misnamed "traditional family
values" threatens to turn back the crucial gains of the movements for
women's and gay and lesbian equality. The Bush administration's
continued hold on power for another four years would be a devastating
blow to the economic security and cultural freedoms of most
Americans, as well as to the prospects for peace and stability in
much of the world.
At home, Bush's tax giveaway to the rich has created a massive budget
deficit, one conservatives will use to justify siphoning public funds
away from desperately needed health care, housing, and education.
While both major parties have a sorry history of catering to the
needs of corporate America, the present Republican Party leadership
is directing and facilitating a brutal assault on a wide number of
Internationally, the administration's neo-conservative ideologues are
implementing a unilateral, militaristic, and imperial foreign policy
that has not only sparked the war in Iraq, but also endangers both
civil liberties and domestic security. While the Bush
administration's threat to the United States' domestic well-being is
enough to justify militant political and social resistance at home,
its foreign policy has also created a mass democratic opposition
internationally one that we proudly join.
In reaction to the administration's record of war at home and war
abroad, massive voter education and mobilization efforts by the
feminist, trade union, environmental, peace, and civil rights
movements are building for the 2004 elections. Their goal is our
goal: to kick the Bush regime out of office. Given that only the
Democratic presidential candidate can defeat the Bush administration,
these movements and the Democratic Socialists of America Political
Action Committee will work to elect John F. Kerry the next
president of the United States. DSA members are encouraged to join
with other progressive forces in get-out-the-vote and voter education
DSA activists strongly disagree with Kerry on many issues, including
his past support of pro-corporate "free trade" policies, as well as
with his failure to make universal health care a central issue of his
presidential candidacy. But DSA and other movement activists also
recognize that if a Kerry administration and a Democratic Congress
were to be elected, they would face pressure from below by the very
social movements whose activism put them into office. Thus, on a host
of issues of crucial import for ordinary Americans, the terrain of
struggle will be more favorable after the defeat of a hard-right
Republican administration. With such issues as raising the minimum
wage, appointing pro-choice and pro-civil rights Supreme Court
justices, restoring basic environmental protections, and appointing
National Labor Relations Board members who support the right to
organize at stake, almost all significant mass community, trade
union, and Black and Latino organizations are mobilizing to defeat
the Bush regime.
The 2004 election is not just about the presidency, although that is
clearly the most important race. The elections also will offer many
opportunities to strengthen progressive and independent forces. DSA
members are encouraged to participate in appropriate Democratic and
independent campaigns wherever they find them.
But DSAPAC has no illusions about the mainstream national leadership
of the Democratic Party nor about its presumptive presidential
candidate. Many Party leaders oppose the restoration of progressive
taxation and expansion of the democratic public sector necessary to
redress massive social inequality. The corporate-backed Democratic
Leadership Council has far too much influence, while the Progressive
Caucus and social movements have far too little within the Party. At
the highest levels of the national Party, rejecting the logic of
empire in favor of forging a democratic foreign policy is at best a
minority opinion, so a Democratic presidency is no guarantee that the
US government will even extricate itself from Iraq.
We also know the limits of electing politicians to office absent
social movements that bring unrelenting pressure to bear on them. FDR
alone did not give the United States the New Deal, nor did LBJ single-
handedly force the enactment of Medicare and civil rights
legislation. Rather, these centrist politicians and their
administrations came to support incremental democratic reforms
precisely because of the strength of the trade union and civil rights
movements and the ensuing agitation these movements visited upon
After November, the trade union and citizen movements will need to
continue to pressure whatever President and Congress result from the
2004 elections to enact fair trade policies that would level up the
global economy rather than perpetuate the global corporate "race to
the bottom." Privatization of the public sector is not the solution;
it is the problem.
Regardless of who is the victor in November, the peace movement will
still need to oppose militarization and support a democratic foreign
policy. Civil rights and antiracist activists will still need to
struggle for class-based economic remedies as well as significant
extensions of affirmative action. Structural reforms to increase and
strengthen electoral democracy such as public financing, free TV
time, same-day voter registration, election-day holidays, and
proportional representation will only come about if corporate
influence over the electoral system is challenged.
We firmly believe that the defeat of George W. Bush and the
Republicans is a necessary but by no means sufficient condition for
moving the world towards a democratic and socialist future. Removing
Bush from office is the next crucial and tactical step in the long
march to remake the world.
Our long-term strategy remains the revitalization of the mass
democratic Left. Only by rebuilding such a Left rooted in the trade
union, feminist, and anti-racist movements will Americans ever get
the choice of more attractive and constructive electoral alternatives.
Adopted July 17, 2004 by the Democratic Socialists of America PAC.
This statement was not approved by and candidate or any candidate's
For more info about Democratic Socialists of America visit our
website at: http://www.dsausa.org
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