Thursday, 11 October 2007

Commentary: Black-brown coalitions are tough to sustain

Hispanics have overtaken African-Americans as the nation's largest minority. Join Roland Martin and columnist Ruben Navarrette on Live Video at 12:30 p.m. ET Wednesday when they will discuss this issue and some of your "Sound Off" comments.

(CNN) -- With Hispanics being the nation's largest minority group, the general assumption among many political and social pundits is that they will align themselves with African-Americans to represent a potent political force on the local, state and national level.

Roland Martin says Hispanics and blacks can't afford to be egomaniacal and regard each other as irrelevant.

But as someone who has seen this so-called phenomenon up close, I can tell you that forging a multiethnic coalition will be very difficult.

As a native Houstonian, a longtime resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and now a resident of Chicago, it has been interesting to watch as a number of local leaders have tried to establish such a connection.

Back in 1989, when I interned at the Houston Defender, the city's top black newspaper, we ran a front page story about a black-brown coalition. The city's black and Hispanic leaders announced their effort to seek a variety of appointments in the city's fire and police departments, as well as in the city's school district.

Yet it was always a fragile coalition as each party tried to establish supremacy over the other. And one move could bring it all crashing down.

That was the case in 1994 when Rod Paige, an African-American member of the Houston Independent School District board of trustees, was tapped as superintendent. Hispanics were angry, saying they were shut out of the decision-making, and vowed never to let it happen again.

I saw the same black-brown breakdown in 1997 when Yvonne Gonzalez, a Mexican-American woman, was chosen as head of the Dallas school district. African-Americans in the city squared off against Hispanics over whether someone from their ethnic group should be chosen as superintendent, and it continued repeatedly with protests, charges of racism flying back and forth, and complete mistrust between both.

Pure and simple: power.

In America, the nation's largest minority group carries significant weight. It's sort of like being the daddy at the dinner table -- you get the biggest piece of chicken or the largest slice of cake.

Political power means jobs and resources. And the one group with the most power wants to benefit their own, and sacrifice everyone else.

For years, African-Americans have argued that their sheer size in terms of numbers requires that they get a seat at the table. Coupled with African- Americans leading the civil rights movement, they say Hispanics shouldn't easily benefit from their hard work and that blacks should primarily reap the benefits.

But that all changed when Hispanics became the largest minority, often exceeding African-Americans in terms of the number of students in the school system, the primary battleground in many cities.

Today, we see that spilling over into every area, even business. African-American ad agencies, and media outlets, complain that the dollars set aside for blacks has been savagely reduced and shifted to Hispanic media.

So what you find is African-Americans and Hispanics fighting it out over a piece of the pie, while the larger ethnic group -- whites -- remains the same.

Is it possible to see a true black-brown coalition that greatly benefits both minority groups? Maybe. But it's going to take a helluva lot of work between the leading organizations such as the NAACP, National Urban League, La Raza and the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Instead of seeing one as taking from the other, what leaders in both camps should be exercising is a broader view. Blacks are not the enemy of Hispanics, and vice versa. The enemy is a lack of quality of education, being shut out of the economic levers, as well as poor health care. The resources of this nation should go where the need is. And if that means a larger portion going to one group over the other, fine. But we can't sacrifice one for the other.

In cities across the nation, African-Americans and Hispanics can find common ground on common interests. And where they differ, they should simply disagree.

But that requires trust, and neither group can afford to be egomaniacal and regard the other as irrelevant. Hispanics and blacks aren't going anywhere, and they better resolve their disputes, or watch both groups remain at a standstill. And that's not good for anyone.

Roland S. Martin is a nationally award-winning, multifaceted journalist and CNN contributor. Martin is studying to receive his master's degree in Christian Communications at Louisiana Baptist University, and is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith." You can read more of his columns at


Indigenous Uprising
MEXICAH TIAHUI!!! A blog about the struggle for Self Determination of the Xican@/Indigenous and Afrikan People, Equality, Culture, Intercommunalism and Socialism. Viva La Causa!!! Hasta La Victoria Siempre!!! Black and Brown Power!!!

20 August 2007
Yesterday, at approximately 4:15 p.m., Elvira Arellano was arrested by some 15 ICE agents and taken into custody. At the time of her arrest she was calm and steady and concerned for the safety and state of mind of her son Saulito. She showed great dignity and courage during her arrest. We have been unable to contact I.C.E. to find out her status and we are concerned. We are calling on I.C.E. to give her son, her Pastor and her organization the opportunity to speak with her and verify her safety.

Elvira Arellano left her sanctuary church in Chicago, where she has been for the last year, and was moving from one sanctuary church to another across the country, beginning in L.A. She had announced on Wednesday, August 15th, that she could no longer sit by in safety and watch thousands of families being destroyed by our current broken immigration laws.

Elvira had announced that she would make her way to Washington D.C. on September 12th for a day of prayer in front of the Congress. “If they are going to arrest me and separate me from my U.S. citizen son, then let them do it in front of the men and women who have failed in their responsibility to fix this broken law.”

Elvira’s faith, her love for her son and her love for her people led her to act where others had failed to act. Her courage and her witness to the hypocrisy and inhumanity of the immigration laws of this country and the political cowardice of those in Congress charged with fixing these laws.

We will not and we cannot ignore her call to action. We cannot ignore the bond of love between a mother and a child that cries out for justice. We will continue the journey that Elvira Arellano started. We will hold the national Day of Prayer on September 12th and we will gather before the Congress in Washington D.C. We call for peaceful, determined mobilization, beginning tomorrow, in every city and state in this country as we build toward September 12.

Let everyone, let every mother or father who loves their children, say with courage and faith and conviction that say “I am Elvira Arellano.” Let them say it with the same courage and faith, love and conviction, that Elvira Arellano has shown the world.

Elvira Arellano told the world that she would do what she had to do to make this government see what they did not want to see, the terrible destruction of families that is sweeping this country. Let them see it now, in Saulito’s broken heart.

We call again for immediate contact with Elvira Arellano and an immediate report from I.C.E on her condition and on what action I.C.E. plans to take in respect to her situation.

We call on the U.S. Congress to move immediately on either of the two prioviate bills which have been lanquishing in committee for over a year, private bills that, if advanced in the Congress, would have stayed her deportation pending their outcome. We call on Senator Durbin to immediately introduce a private bill in her behalf, as he once did, byut failed to reintroduce in the Democratically controlled Senate.

Elvira Arellano is not a criminal or a terrorist. She is a mother – and she is a symbol of the failure of this government and this nation to take responsibility for the system of undocumented labor it has run for decades, to take responsibility for the families that were formed here and the children that were born here.

Let us mobilize our people. Let us not be afraid. Let us say with faith and dignity, “I am Elvira Arellano!”

posted by The Red Bolivarian @ 8/20/2007 11:03:00 AM 0 comments

05 August 2007
I'm Back

Coming up a update on what the SLC Berets have been up to. Mexica Tiahui!!!

Labels: Culture

posted by The Red Bolivarian @ 8/05/2007 04:03:00 PM 1 comments

17 April 2007
The Real Political Purpose of the ICE Raids
By David Bacon

For the last several months, agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have carried out well-publicized immigration raids in factories, meatpacking plants, janitorial services, and other workplaces employing immigrants. ICE calls the workers criminals, because immigration law forbids employers to hire them.

But while workers get deported, and often must leave their children with relatives, or even strangers, don't expect to see their employers go to jail. Further, ICE can't, and won't, deport all 12 million undocumented workers in the country. This would quickly halt many industries. Instead, these raids have a political purpose.

Last fall, after agents raided Swift & Co. meatpacking plants, Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff told the media the deportations would show Congress the need for "stronger border security, effective interior enforcement and a temporary worker program.'' President Bush wants, he said, "a program that would allow businesses that need foreign workers, because they can't otherwise satisfy their labor needs, to be able to get those workers in a regulated program."

In his recent visit to Mexico, Bush again proposed new guest worker programs. He proposed to allow corporations and contractors to recruit hundreds of thousands of workers a year outside the U.S., and put them to work here on temporary, employment-based visas.
Two weeks ago, Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced a bill in Congress that would set up the kind of guest worker program the president called for. Corporations could bring in 400,000 guest workers annually, while the kind of sanctions that have led to the wave of workplace raids would be put on steroids.

Then last week, the administration and Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas proposed to eliminate all family-based immigration visas, and allow people to come to the U.S. only as a result of recruitment by corporate employers. All immigrants would become guest workers.
Labor schemes like this have a long history. From 1942 to 1964, the bracero program recruited temporary immigrants, who were exploited, cheated, and deported if they tried to go on strike. Growers pitted them against workers already in the country to drive down wages. Cesar Chavez and other Latino leaders campaigned to get the program repealed.

Advocates of today's programs avoid the bitter "bracero" label and call them "guest worker," "essential worker" or just "new worker" schemes. You can't clean up an unpleasant reality, however, by renaming it.

Guest worker programs are low-wage schemes, intended to supply plentiful labor to corporate employers, at a price they want to pay. Companies don't recruit guest workers so they can pay them more, but to pay them less. According to Rob Rosado, director of legislative affairs for the American Meat Institute, meatpackers want a guest worker program, but not a basic wage guarantee for those workers. "We don't want the government setting wages," he says. "The market determines wages."

The Southern Poverty Law Center's recent report, Close to Slavery, shows that current guest worker programs allow labor contractors to maintain blacklists of workers who work slowly or demand their rights. Public interest lawyers spend years in court, trying just to get back wages for cheated immigrants. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor almost never decertifies contractors who abuse workers.

The AFL-CIO opposes guest worker programs and says immigrants should be given permanent residence visas, so they have labor rights and can become normal members of the communities they live in. Since 1999, the AFL-CIO has called for legalization of the 12 million people living in the U.S. without documents. Most unions oppose employer sanctions and the recent immigration raids, because they're often used to threaten and punish workers when they speak out for better wages and conditions.

Today, more than 180 million people in the world already live outside the countries where they were born. In the countries that are the main sources of migration to the U.S., trade agreements like NAFTA, and market-based economic reforms, have uprooted hundreds of thousands of farmers and workers, leaving them little option other than coming north.

A rational immigration policy should end trade and investment policies abroad that produce poverty and displace people. In the U.S., immigration policy should emphasize rights and equality, and protect all families and communities, of immigrants and native-born alike.

Using immigration raids instead as a pressure tactic to get Congress to approve guest worker programs is not a legitimate use of enforcement. It undermines the family and community values for which this country stands.

Photojournalist and trade unionist David Bacon is author of Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration.

posted by The Red Bolivarian @ 4/17/2007 12:51:00 PM 2 comments

07 April 2007
Mohawk Leader praises Chavez
The Onkwehonwe Democratic Agenda

by Kahentinetha Horn; Socialist Voice; April 05, 2007

Kahentinetha Horn is a longtime indigenous rights activist from the Mohawk Nation. She was involved in the 1962 Conference on Indian Poverty in Washington D.C., the blocking of the International Bridge at Akwesasne in 1968, and other indigenous rights campaigns.

In the summer of 1990, she was behind the Canadian Army razor wires that surrounded the Mohawk compound in Kanehsatake. This was the historic Mohawk land rights struggle that became known as the "Oka Crisis." After almost 20 years of service, Kahentinetha was fired by the Department of Indian Affairs for her involvement there.

More recently Kahentinetha has been involved with the Kahnawake Elders Council, and was active at the Six Nations Land reclamation near Caledonia, Ontario, publishing and distributing almost daily accounts of the developments there.

Kahentinetha Horn is an editor for Mohawk Nation News, a daily news service that she founded during the Oka crisis. Recently, Mohawk Nation News came online. It features articles on Mohawk struggles and other issues affecting indigenous people across turtle island and beyond. Check out the site at

We’ve been complaining about the top-down bureaucratic agenda of the colonizers. Do we have something to replace it? Yes we do. It’s called the "Kaianerehkowa/Great Law of Peace" [the constitution of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy].

Our philosophy can be used to build a society based on peace, power and righteousness. These words have meanings that are deeply rooted in our culture and completely different from the kinds of expectations they raise among the colonized. Our understanding of these concepts has nothing in common with the command and obedience model of predatory capitalism or the exploitation of ordinary people for the power and profit of a few. The new (colonial) world order is opposite to our way of life based on the principles of fully informed consent and consensus in all our relationships.

Stephen Lendman, in, describes how Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has "constructed socialism from below", built "from the base" in the communities." He has found a way to rebuild Venezuelan society. He wants a coalition of smaller parties whose power comes from the communities.

Chavez thinks this is the way democracy should work. A lot of ordinary people agree.

There are presently 16,000 regional federations of Communal Councils organized across the country that deal with local issues. Each represent 200 to 400 families. That number is expected to grow to 21,000 councils by the end of 2007. This new state is driven by the same basic philosophy of egalitarian human respect that underlies the Kaianerehkowa.

A decentralized government will distribute billions of dollars to these Councils. If the people so chose, billions can be put into a "National Development Fund." Yellow journalism has been attacking this thinking. They put fear into people’s minds, calling it "nationalization", which is a dirty word to capitalists and colonialists. Capitalism is a one way road for the privileged few. Development of democratic programs look threatening to those who are at the top of the old hierarchal heap.

As we assert our sovereignty, we have lots to think about. What can we Onkwehonwe do with all our land and resources and all the squatters who are here? The land belongs to us and our future generations. It always will. All our resource revenues can be used to compensate the colonists fairly. The rest can be put towards rebuilding a safe and healthy environment.

U.S., Canada and Mexico will, of course, become irrelevant. These cancerous organizations don’t belong. They are trying to kill the hosts. That’s us. Then they’ll kill everybody else! Where will that leave them?

The old hierarchies will cling to their delusional powers. They will keep their guns pointed at us and try to invent more lethal weapons. We’ll have to bring out the feathers and start tickling them so they can let down their defenses and so they can grab a shovel and take part. If they don’t, we might have to ask them to leave. Their hysterical megalomania is getting them involved in serious violations of international accords. If they’re not careful, they could be declared persona non grata worldwide.

With all the money from our land and resources, we could buy out the big corporations so that we have the major shares, say 40%, as Chavez is doing. The rest can be joint ventures with us. In other words, we want all these companies under the control of the people. The colonists can have shares after we take everything out of private control.

The people must control the energy sector, including oil production. Private investors can still play a role. But it will be based on joint ventures that include the people as decision makers, not just consumers.

The money should be put back into our hands, out of the hands of private for-profit bankers. We would invest it into worthwhile projects that restore and protect the land so that the coming generations can be healthy, happy and prosperous. The days of genocide and exploitation are over. We must benefit from our resource revenues and other businesses that provide essential services like public utilities. Clean drinking water and fresh air to breathe would be top priorities.

It goes without saying that Indian Affairs terrorism has to go. There is no excuse for that organization to exist. Its very existence is founded on a misinterpretation of the BNA Act, the constitution of Canada. Britain could only give Canada the authority to negotiate with us. There is no authority under the BNA Act, under international law, or under any treaty to make laws for us.

We have to dismantle the "Tower of Terror" in Hull. Communal power at the grass roots will be the order of the day. Kaianerehkowa can make this happen and can be the start of a real egalitarian and humanistic society.

All social structures will have to be reorganized. Selections of local officials, the economy, finance, banking, transportation, security, public safety and policies related to energy are part of this. There is no need for a top heavy governmental structure when everyone takes responsibility at all levels.

The current colonial bureaucracy will have to be dismantled. Corruption and greed are major problems. They are products of hierarchy. They will naturally disappear when egalitarian democratic structures are put in place.

The changes needed aren’t such a big deal. As long as existing representatives are carrying out the will of the people, they may remain in their positions.

All procedures and decision-making must be public and the work of all administrative officials will be subject to constant review. They have to look out for the people and their directions, instead of looking up to the artificial bosses. They can be removed from office if they do not follow the people’s directions or heed our warnings. All must be given the experience of being a representative so that we can all learn how to help the people. It is important for everyone to learn how difficult it is to serve.

Social justice and economic independence must be based on equitable distribution of national wealth. Education is most important. The habit of censorship has to end. Racism must be eliminated from all school curricula. All students need to learn our points of view on history. They have to know what really happened to us. They have to know that this land belongs to us and our future generations. Science and technology has to benefit all of the people. So must health, the environment, biodiversity, industry, quality of life and security. We have to take up our responsibility and take charge of our own lives.

Social issues can and must be resolved through consensus. We will have to rethink the need for a judiciary. We cannot give anyone power to harm civil or human rights of our people or even of our opponents. Resources must be taken care of, not exploited. The products of the land must be distributed fairly. No one will become desperate enough to want to sell their soul to the devil.

Our young people have a job to do. They can be part of the first wave of reeducation. Every person has a responsibility throughout their lives to educate the people they meet and the coming generations.

Our way is to manage our own relations with all other countries. The colonial states are squatting on our land. They do not represent us.

The people they brought here do not need to fear us. We will not expropriate private property. Right of occupancy can be given to people. The land will always belong as it always has to the future generations of the Onkwehonwe.

We are hoping that the last days of the colonial system are at hand. Democracy and colonialism cannot coexist. Colonialism is a military or civilian "dictatorship" derived from a combination of isolation, overarching greed and an attempt to pull local and global forces together to control all the people and the resources of the world.

Savage capitalism is in its death throes. It is fighting to stay alive. Because of this, it’s becoming more and more vicious. It is important for everyone to stay grounded at this time. We are all working for each other and for the future generations.

The colonial nations are on the tipping edge of fascism. They combine elements of corporatism, patriotism, nationalism and the delusion of an Almighty-directed mission. It requires an iron-fisted militarist agenda with thugs like "Homeland Security" illegally spying on everyone. In this system everything is for sale to the few who can pay.

Colonialism is out of date, illegal and so yesterday. No longer will the armies oppress and kill for the key resources, markets and cheap labor where "might makes right" and any difference of opinion will not be tolerated.

Our youth are precious to us. The Los Angeles Times did a story about "A wildly successful Venezuelan program that makes musical instruments and training available, free of charge, to all children." This gives children something constructive to do. Unlike the U.S. model that Canada copies, the kids are exercising their minds instead of exercising their thumbs playing video games.

Instead of a make-work program for police and social workers who try to slot kids into a system of jail and imprisonment, Chavez created a musical education program called "El Sistema." 500,000 children from all strata of society get training at more than 120 centers around the country. More than 200 youth orchestras have been created. Training in music is known to develop math skills in the young to prepare them later for professional training. There’s no problem keeping guns out of the kids’ hands. They’re too busy making music. That Chavez knows what he is doing.

Instead of punishing youth, we inspire them. As the author, Paul Cummins, put it, "We reap what we sow, and we don’t harvest what we don’t plant."

The Chavez approach is actually much less expensive than the multi-billion dollar state-sponsored iron-fisted prison system and militarist Homeland Security "thuggery."

Another savage effect of the capitalist hierarchy is homelessness. One-way wealth distribution siphons everything upwards except for a few crumbs that are handed to the middle class while nothing goes to the millions on the bottom who are the most in need. They all hope we will just go away. We won’t. Neither will our needs. We come from a participatory tradition which can eliminate the greedy fantasies of colonialism.

Many who come from repressive societies are unable to see a bottom-up model of relationships. We have shown that we always resisted enslavement.

Free expression is part of an open democratic society. No more secrecy or lies. No more corporate media support for capitalists and colonial states. No more thought-control police to mock our efforts at free expression which is vital to a healthy transition from tyranny to democracy. The "thought police" don’t want us to say what is on our minds. They don’t want us to think. We can and will do it because the Kaianerehkowa mandates it. People in the far south of the border are trying to get back on the natural path that has always been there, for us and for everyone. This can be done without a war and without global interference.

An earlier version of this article was published on Mohawk Nation News on February 26th 2007.--Socialist Voice

posted by The Red Bolivarian @ 4/07/2007 12:07:00 AM 2 comments

03 April 2007
We all know about the lies and evils of the Republicans, we must re-learn about the treachery of the Democrats. Pay attention to what Malcolm taught us. This isn't new. We learned about the Democrats a long time ago. Lets push them aside and build something for the people. Like Corky tried to do.


March 28, 2007

Quit Trying to Make the Democrats Something They'll Never Be
Another $100 Billion to Continue the War

On Friday, March 23, the Democrats in the House of Representatives pushed through the "U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act" by a vote of 218-212. The bill gives the Bush administration some $100 billion to continue the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, while calling for U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by September 1, 2008.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi hailed this as a vote "to bring an end to the war in Iraq." But it is no such thing. This bill (and a similar Democratic Party bill under consideration in the Senate) is not a step towards ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq or the larger "war on terror" it is part of. This bill doesn't represent a condemnation of-or accountability for-the U.S.'s unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq. Rather the bill's stated goal is to "help fight the war on terror." And the bill certainly doesn't call for U.S. forces to leave the Middle East/Central Asian region.

Instead of ending the war, this bill is an effort to pressure the Bush regime to adjust its strategy in Iraq and the region to better preserve U.S. imperialist hegemony and stamp out anti-U.S. resistance, Islamic fundamentalism in particular. It's also designed to rein in and paralyze the millions who are increasingly angry and disillusioned with the war and the Bush regime, and channel these feelings into support for a different (Democratic Party) strategy and tactics in waging that war. So while talking of ending the war , the Democrats offer a plan to continue the war in Iraq, expand the war in Afghanistan, and give Bush a green light to attack Iran!

Retooling U.S. Strategy-Not Ending the War

The Democrats' bill reflects the deep concern of many ruling class strategists that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and the Bush strategy must be changed to head off even greater disasters for the empire. The interests of the peoples of the Middle East don't enter into their cold-blooded, imperial calculations. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor under Jimmy Carter who has been advising the Democrats, testified before the Senate earlier this year:

"If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large[plunging] a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."
So the Democrats (following in the vein of the Baker-Hamilton Study Group-see "The Baker Report on Iraq: Desperate Straits, Deep Divisions, Dwindling Options") are proposing a number of measures to try to stabilize the situation in Iraq, limit further U.S. losses (including the enormous stresses on the U.S. military), and shore up U.S. efforts across the region-while refocusing the U.S.'s "war on terror." (This war, as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate, is in essence a war for greater empire.) The measures proposed by the Democrats include:

Fully funding the war: Congress has the power to end the war by cutting off funding. Instead, the Democrats chose to give Bush $100 billion, enabling him to continue the war as he sees fit for the immediate future. This is more money than Bush originally asked for!

Enforcing "benchmarks": These are the same benchmarks for the Iraqi government that Bush himself spelled out in his January 10 speech. The Democrats want to more aggressively impose them by threatening funding cutoffs and troops redeployments (from combat operations to training and/or out of the country). These benchmarks have nothing to do with liberating the Iraqi people-just the opposite. They're aimed at heading off a strategic defeat in the region by forcing the various factions in the Iraqi government to subordinate their agendas to the U.S.'s overall goal of creating a more stable regime capable of ending the anti-occupation insurgency and the ongoing civil war, holding Iraq together, and acting in concert with U.S. goals in the region. So the Bush-Democrat benchmarks include passing a bill that divides oil revenues among Iraq's different national and religious groups, reining in sectarian militias, and taking frontline responsibility to fight anti-U.S. forces. The U.S.-backed oil bill also opens Iraq's enormous oil reserves up to direct and open control by foreign capital for the first time in over 30 years, potentially giving global powers like the U.S. a stranglehold over this key Iraqi resource.

Agreeing with Bush and blaming Iraqis for their suffering: Many top Democrats spout the ugly chauvinist lies of the Bush regime, portraying the U.S. invasion as a noble effort to liberate Iraq, and claiming that the Iraqis have now screwed things up with a persistent civil war. "We have lost over 3,000 people. We have lost over 25,000 wounded. The Iraqis have had Saddam Hussein taken out. They have had two elections," Tennessee Democrat John Tanner declared on the Lehrer Newshour (March 22). "They have had a government now for over a year. And we see no progress on themit's time for them to step up." But this turns reality upside down. It is the U.S.'s unprovoked war of aggression that has lead to the death of an estimated 650,000 Iraqis, the forced displacement of another 3.2 million (over one in ten Iraqis!), and widespread destruction. Tanner's lie also covers up the fact that the U.S. helped trigger and continues to fuel a civil war by empowering some reactionary forces, barring others and encouraging sectarian divisions.

"Redeployment"-not withdrawal: The Democrats are not demanding that U.S. forces immediately leave Iraq-the only just solution-or that they ever leave Iraq. Both Bush and the Democrats envision that thousands of U.S. troops will be in Iraq for years to come-just not on the frontlines of combat in the same way or in the same numbers. Nancy Pelosi's website states: "Following redeployment, U.S. troops remaining in Iraq may only be used for diplomatic protection, counterterrorism operations, and training of Iraqi Security Forces." These open-ended commitments, and the Democrats' refusal to renounce permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, mean that thousands of American troops could be stationed in Iraq for decades to come.

Escalating in Afghanistan: Many of the "redeployed" troops could well be used in other countries in the region. According to Pelosi, "The bill significantly increases funding to defeat al Qaeda and terrorists in Afghanistan." She also called it an effort to concentrate on Afghanistan "where the war on terrorism is." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the House bill "maximizes our chances for success in Iraq and redeploys our troops so we can more effectively wage the war on terror." Afghanistan is not a "good war," with Iraq a "diversion" from the "real war on terror," as the Democrats often argue. Both are parts of the Bush regime's war for greater empire, and the strikingly similar outcomes in both countries-the deepening suffering and anger of the people, the empowering of brutal reactionaries, the strengthening of oppressive, feudal relations-illustrate this reality.

Preserving the U.S. imperialist military: Another goal of the redeployment is preserving and rebuilding the U.S. military-the U.S.'s main weapon for enforcing its global hegemony. "The war in Iraq has produced a national security crisis," Pelosi warned, "with military readiness at its lowest level since the Vietnam War." In supporting the House bill, Brzezinski stated, "The United States cannot afford an open-ended commitment to a war without end. A means must be devised to end the U.S. combat role in Iraq and reduce our troop levels, so that we can begin to rebuild our military and reclaim our position of leadership in the world."

Giving Bush a green light to attack Iran: The Democrats removed a stipulation that Bush had to get Congressional approval before attacking Iran. With the U.S. openly threatening Iran and with war preparations at an advanced stage, and given the Bush regime's track record of launching pre-emptive wars based on lies-this amounts to giving Bush a bright green light to attack Iran.

Pressuring Bush, without unraveling the war: The Democrats are trying to walk the fine line of pressuring Bush while continuing to give him freedom to wage the war as "commander-in-chief," and not provoking a political crisis which could also contribute to a U.S. defeat. That's why the Democrats have continued funding the war and why there are no means in their bill for enforcing their demands. In terms of the benchmarks, all Bush has to do is periodically "certify" in public that the Iraqi government is meeting them. And California Democrat Lynn Woolsey said on Democracy Now! (March 22), "There are virtually no enforcement measures in this legislation that will make the President do anything that we're telling him to do when we get to the end of August 2008 and the war is still going on, we're going to say to the President, 'Alright, now you have to bring them home.' The only way we can force him to do that in this bill is to sue him." (Of course, whether a political crisis will be averted is another matter. Bush has threatened to veto the Democrats' legislation and is demanding a bill with no stipulations-or "strings"-at all. Overall the possibility for geopolitical disaster in Iraq-or as a result of war with Iran-has made tensions within the ruling establishment very, very sharp.)

All these steps flow from the Democrat Party's agreement with the Bush regime's basic goal of maintaining and strengthening U.S. imperialist global dominance-even as they have deep disagreements over how to realize it. An insightful column in the Washington Post noted the striking similarity between the strategic visions of Democratic "neo-liberals" and Republican "neocons":

"[T]he fact is that prevailing Democratic doctrine is not that different from the Bush-Cheney doctrine. Many Democrats, including senators who voted to authorize the war in Iraq, embraced the idea of muscular foreign policy based on American global supremacy and the presumed right to intervene to promote democracy or to defend key U.S. interests long before 9/11, and they have not changed course since. Even those who have shifted against the war have avoided doctrinal questions....without a coherent alternative to the Bush doctrine, with its confidence in America's military preeminence and the global appeal of 'free market democracy,' the Democrats' midterm victory may not be repeated in November 2008. Or, if the Democrats do win in 2008, they could remain staked to a vision of a Pax Americana strikingly reminiscent of Bush's." ("It's Uphill for the Democrats," Tony Smith, Washington Post, March 11, 2007)

What is Needed to End the War

In November, millions voted for the Democrats to protest Bush and the war, and in hopes they would end it. Today, many-including people who worked energetically to elect Democrats and who've been lobbying them to cut off war funding-feel bitter, betrayed, and outraged.

They should be outraged.

The lesson is not that the Democrats "sold out" or are "spineless." The lesson is that the Democrats are a ruling class party (and this is deeply institutionalized, regardless of the desires or intentions of its supporters or even some elected Democrats), acting to advance the interests of a capitalist-imperialist system they're part of and represent. These interests are directly antagonistic to the interests and sentiments of billions of people globally and the vast majority in the U.S.

The content of the "Iraq Accountability Act" and the way it was pushed through (including by threatening and strong-arming Democrats who said they wanted to vote against war funding and refusing to allow a vote on an amendment to only fund a withdrawal of U.S. forces) show this. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans make decisions on the basis of elections or public opinion. They make decisions based on the needs and interests of the imperialist system.

How can anything good for the people possibly come from decisions based not on ending an unjust war, but "winning" it? Not on ending a neo-colonial occupation, but stabilizing and continuing it? Not on supporting real liberation and self-determination, but on controlling countries and resources half way around the globe, and ensuring that the corporate-financial rulers of a country with some three percent of the world's population can dominate and determine the destinies of the other 97%?

And the problem isn't only that the Democrats are betraying people's hopes. They're also actively and aggressively trying to channel and confine people's hopes into pro-war, pro-imperialist politics. These are the only choices offered (in elections generally, especially important ones), and the only choices deemed "realistic" by the powers-that-be. Take a "poll" conducted by, an activist group closely tied to the Democratic Party, right before the war funding vote. Moveon gave its members the "choice" of voting for Pelosi's bill-or not. Voting to end funding for the war wasn't a choice, even though the head of Moveon admitted its membership would have supported it .

This is one way millions of anti-war people end up voting for one pro-war candidate vs another. And this is already being "programmed" into the 2008 elections-and into the minds of anyone who remains confined by these choices. This will happen unless and until the entire political calculus is upended by massive upheaval from below.

But such an outpouring cannot and will not happen as long as millions are putting their hopes in the Democrats-either passively by waiting for 2008, or even actively, by focusing their energy, efforts, hopes, and yes money into pressuring the Democrats to "do the right thing" instead of putting them where they can really count for something: into mobilizing the one force that can stop the war and drive out the Bush regime­ the millions, from all walks of life, who oppose them. Inspiring and organizing these millions to take independent mass political action based on the just demands of ending the war and turning back all the outrages of the Bush regime from torture to spying to theocracy, is the only realistic option and the only way these crimes will be stopped. It will never happen by hoping the Democrats become something they're not, and never have been.

Larry Everest is the author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda, (Common Courage), a correspondent for Revolution ( and a contributor to Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney (Seven Stories). He can be reached via