Congress and the war [an Axis “Must Read!”]
By Sara Flounders
Mar 1, 2007, 10:13
The Democratic Party now has a majority in both houses of Congress. This new majority had promised, if elected, to act against the war. Every politician is trying to posture as if they are listening to their constituency. They are consumed with how to “spin” the war.
In questions of war, the executive, the president, has the decision-making power. But according to the Constitution only Congress may appropriate the funds for the war.
During the week of March 12 to 19, Congress is scheduled to cast the most critical vote since it voted in October 2002 to give President George Bush. full authorization to invade and occupy Iraq. That vote took place when the Democrats were also in the majority in the Senate. From the very beginning this has been a bipartisan war.
For revolutionary forces and determined opponents of the war, the question now is how to intervene in the congressional debate in a way that exposes the criminal complicity of both the Democratic and Republican parties in the war.
Is it inevitable that any struggle involving Congress will be co-opted by the Democratic Party and derailed?
Can the demand that Congress cut the funds for the war become a popular cry? Congress has the constitutional authority to do so.
As the Pentagon aims its guns at Iran, a determined struggle by the anti-war movement could open up additional demands. Millions of people in the U.S. who oppose war would learn that Congress also has full legal authority to act against the immediate threat of a new wider war on Iran. It would become clear that Congress has the authority to open a struggle against the whole gargantuan Pentagon budget, but only if masses of people in the U.S. are mobilized to demand it.
The Pentagon budget is an ever-growing monstrosity sucking in more than $1 million a minute. Every needed social program in the country—from education to health care, transportation to the environment—is being cut in order to fund a military budget that further enriches the largest corporations, especially the oil monopolies and the military-industrial complex.
If Democrats were really determined to end the war—even without a majority—a determined congressional minority could block the funding for the war. They could disrupt and filibuster. They could call on people from around the country to surround Congress. Any real resistance in Congress would inspire a response from the population and from GIs who are now opposing the war in greater numbers.
If there is no strong political intervention from below, then a weak, non-binding resolution like the one the House passed Feb. 16 will look like the best that can be done. To abstain from this struggle is to leave the arena totally to the reformists who want to pull the movement behind the Democratic Party and leave it without independent power.
The Democrats are quite willing to grandstand against the war. It is easy for them to target George W. Bush, a Republican. He is justifiably hated around the world. He is a war criminal by every standard. His popular support is now the lowest of any presidency, with the exception of Richard Nixon just before his resignation on the eve of impeachment.
These powerful Democratic politicians and their major financial backers are interested in pulling the attention of the mass anti-war movement away from the Democratic Party’s own support for the war, typified by Hillary Clinton’s refusal to state that she should not have voted for the war in the 2002 vote. She is currently refusing to take a nuclear strike at Iran “off the table.”
The Democrats are trying to focus the anger against the war exclusively on Bush. That is their entire 2008 election strategy.
It may not be popular or easy to open a struggle against all the forces—both Republican and Democratic—which support the war, as well as the interests of U.S. imperialism that they serve. Nevertheless, it is an essential struggle.
The capitalist ruling class always wants to divert the mass movement into safe channels—into lobbying and voting and trusting in the bought and paid for politicians. The challenge is to develop clear demands that move the struggle into the streets.
Read all of it here.