By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH.
A provocative article by Joshua Frank, “Dump the Democrats and Unite!” a writer for The Nation and various on-line loci, appeared on the Online Journal (for which he is a Contributing Writer) on Mar 7, 2007. Mr. Frank briefly but comprehensively attacked the position and posture of the congressional Democratic Party in relation to the war on Iraq, a position shared by the three leading candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. He concluded by strongly implying that progressives, liberals and all other anti-war political activists should form a third party for the 2008 election. TPJ’s European Editor, Michael Carmichael, in introducing his circulation of Mr. Frank’s article to a broad list of recipients, wrote:
Joshua Frank is becoming the conscience of the Democratic Party. His papers in The Nation and online have outlined the degree to which the Republicans have succeeded in dominating the policy agenda of the Democrats. There is virtually no tangible distinction between the Blue Dog Democrats and their patrons in the DLC and the Republicans. All support the war in Iraq, the next war in Iran, while opposing peace negotiations to bring an end the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Recently, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama have all revealed themselves to be on warm and friendly terms with many of the worst of these policies. Cheers for Joshua Frank.
Strong and convincing arguments, one would think, if ending the War on Iraq should be the number one goal for all anti-Georgites in our nation. However, as bad as the War on Iraq is, first for the Iraqis, second for the foreign forces fighting there, third for the world at large, I cannot agree that ending it should be the number one goal of the progressive/liberal and similar forces in the U.S.
For me, the number one goal of all anti-Georgite forces has to be the restoration of Constitutional Democracy in the US. Many steps need to be taken to do this, but Task One is to win the Presidency in 2008. This could not be done if the Democratic Party were to be split apart. As long as the Georgites control the Executive Branch, not only can the war not be ended (“de-funding,” which has very serious political and practical limits and limitations on it to the contrary notwithstanding), but their march towards overthrowing our constitutional democracy and replacing it with a form of theocratic fascism continues unabated. In fact, I think that there is a reasonable chance that they will attempt to abort the 2008 elections, perhaps through a second “9/11 ruse,” and indefinitely postpone that election. Furthermore, if there are elections and if a Democrat wins, maintenance of control of both Houses of Congress by Democrats, regardless of their stripe, is absolutely essential.
If the Constitution is restored and if the War on Iraq is not somehow ended before the next election (the arch-Republican Jim Baker is working very hard to make this happen) then we will be able to end the War. If we don’t win the presidency and the Congress, Cheney’s dream of Permanent War, of which I have written on these pages, will continue ad infinitum.
Challenges in the primaries I wholeheartedly support. Perhaps Mr. Frank would turn his attention to backing the campaign of the very anti-war Dennis Kucinich? Or perhaps he could find another standard-bearer? But a repeat of 2000 with a Ralph Nader clone? PLEASE. If Ralph Nader hadn’t gotten 90,000 votes in Florida, Bush, Baker, Rove, et al could not have stolen the election, Supreme Court or not. Our nation cannot afford a repeat of that horror show. And Nader told us he was running not in the Democratic Primaries but in the general election, “in order to teach the Democratic Party a lesson.” Some lesson! But the primaries were beneath Ralph Nader. Let us hope, and for those who pray, let us pray, that there is not a repeat of that disaster.
To conclude, a brief lesson from history. In Germany of the early 1930s, the Communist (KPD) and Socialist (SPD) Parties combined had far more seats in the Reichstag than did the Nazis. The KPD and it allied unions could put militias on the streets to rival the Brownshirts (SA), et al. In the last free election before Hitler took power, the Nazi’s numbers shrank while the KPD’s increased significantly. However, Stalin, who controlled KPD policy, instructed them that their number one enemy was not Hitler but — guess who? The Socialist SPD, termed by Stalin “social fascists” because they did not agree with him on every point. The KPD and the SPD stood apart — and in walked the NSDAP (Nazis, for short). And the rest, as they say, is history. Not that any supporter of splitting the Democratic Party now could possibly be termed a “Stalinist,” but the strategy would quite likely have a very similar outcome.
Author’s note: I originally published this column on The Political Junkies.net on March 10, 2007. It is Column No. 140A in my TPJ series.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a TPJ Contributing Author. He is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author of over twenty-five books. Dr. Jonas is also: a Columnist for the webmagazine BuzzFlash (http://www.buzzflash.com/); a Contributing Editor for the Moving Planet Blog (http://www.planetarymovement.org/); a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC (http://www.oldamericancentury.org/); a regular contributor to the weblog Thomas Paine’s Corner (http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/); and a regular contributor to the weblog The Daily Scare (http://www.dailyscare.com/). He has his own website for short pieces entitled “Dr. J.’s Short Shots, II” (http://drjsshortshots.wordpress.com/).