Monday, June 14, 2004

Are the Democrats really a "Better Choice?" Warning this is a little long... Can we be honest for a moment? The differences between the Democrats and Republicans on many important issues are marginal. Attaturk can speak for himself on these matters.  It is because the recent record of both Republicans and Democrats on each of these issues is so obscene that I believe it so urgent to expose both parties. Consider it equal opportunity bashing. What is the record of the Democrats and Kerry on the human rights, reproductive rights, the environment, and retirement issues? Civil, Political, and Human Rights:  Democrats have promoted and acquiesced in re-segregation of housing and schools, disenfranchisement of millions of black voters as convicted felons through the racist war on drugs, widespread torture in U.S. prisons, deportations, denial of voting rights, and economic exploitation of immigrants.   Many Democrats, including Kerry voted for the Patriot Act.  Their critique of Bush is that he deviated from the war on terror by invading Iraq.  The Democrats want a more aggressive war on terror, a more powerful department of homeland security.  The Democrats and Kerry steadfastly support and promise to continue the denial of human rights to groups from around the world: the military depredations in Colombia, the recent coup in Haiti, and a long list of human rights violators in power in scores of countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  Kerry hasn’t spoken out on any of these issues and won’t do anything about them. Reproductive rights:  Democrats have colluded in most of the attacks on reproductive rights.  Most Democrats voted for Supreme Court justices such as Thomas and Scalia, and Kerry has said that he’s open to appointing anti-abortion judges. Democrats have joined Republicans in multiple attacks on health care for women and children, including closing of hospitals and clinics, cutbacks in Medicaid, raising costs of health insurance, lowering wages of women workers through weakening of unions, tightening eligibility for unemployment insurance, and massive cutbacks in welfare, food stamps, and disability payments.  Clinton/Gore/Kerry supported welfare reform has increased homelessness, poverty, and domestic violence for women and children.  Clinton also sent Gore to South Africa to threaten sanctions if South Africa violated patents on AIDS drugs of big pharma, thereby continuing to consign millions of sub-Saharan Africans to death.  A majority of HIV positive Africans are women.  Environment:  Look at Counterpunch’s Cockburn and St. Clair, and you find that corporations that plunder and ruin the environment buy the support of mainstream environmental organizations and Democratic politicians on a regular basis.  Democrats have also cooperated with Republicans in undermining safeguards for occupational health and safety.  Democrats have practiced environmental racism in the U.S. and environmental imperialism worldwide. Retirement:  Democrats recently colluded with Republicans in passage of the prescription drug bill that screws the elderly and gives billions to pharmaceutical and insurance companies.  For decades Democrats have joined Republicans in looting five trillion dollars from social security to pay for wars, and Democrats join Republicans in claiming that it will be necessary to cut social security and raise the retirement age.  Since women live longer than men, earn lower wages, and get less social security already, these cuts especially harm women. I do not advocate or practice the idea of doing nothing, organizing only for the future, while waiting for changes that never happen.  I do know that many Anything But Bush groups are aligned with the Democratic Party and have decided not to organize any protests in Boston at the Democratic Convention next month.  They are practicing a strategy of doing nothing, for fear of jeopardizing a Democratic victory in November, while we must wait until a more favorable time to press the Democrats.  I do know that many unions and student organizations around the country that have been involved in strikes, in resisting cutbacks in education, health care, and jobs, have refused to speak out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq or to link the war to domestic cutbacks, again because they don’t want to expose divisions among Democratic voters and jeopardize a Democratic victory in November.  They too are practicing a strategy of doing nothing while Iraqis are tortured and murdered, while waiting for a better time to oppose bad U.S. policies. If we can't call the black pot, black... what can we do then?
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