Don't Wait For a New President

August 8, 2007

Recently, some activists summed up their experience rallying people in local communities against the U.S. imperialist war program. They found that the vast majority of people were outraged by the war in Iraq and were looking seriously for answers about how to make the government withdraw the troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, and how to prevent our government from starting new wars.

In these lively discussions on how to advance the struggle against the wars, there were some people who expressed the view that the thing to do is to “wait for a new president.”

Although the congressional elections ended less than a year ago and the presidential elections are still over a year away, the monopoly controlled media is already in an uproar about the 2008 elections. This tumult in the media and from presidential hopefuls is designed precisely to cram the idea down our throats that these elections are of “historic importance.”

The purpose of this is to cover over the roots of the current crisis by pretending that the problem arises from Bush and his administration.

The fact is that the Iraq war and the so-called “war on terrorism” did not come from George Bush alone and it will not simply go away when he leaves office. As with any serious political program, the “war on terrorism” reflects the interest of a definite class. It is the program of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and it is carried out by both the Republican and the Democratic Party politicians.

We have seen very recently how empty are the few “oppositional” phrases of the Democratic Party. The 2006 congressional elections were touted as being of critical importance, yet after the Democratic Party won a majority of seats in congress they continued to preside over and finance the war and the brutal escalation that we are now witnessing. In fact, all along, while the Bush administration has waged the war, the Democrats have repeatedly financed all the wars while complaining that better tactics need to be used to occupy Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

The latest election circus is again designed to divert us from the path of struggle against both of the parties of war, the Democrats and Republicans. It is designed to persuade some in the anti-war movement to passively wait for a new president and to divert others into supporting Democratic Party candidates.

It is not the particular arrangement of various Democratic and Republican politicians in 2008 that is decisive for our struggle. What is decisive is the development of the consciousness and organization of our own independent political movement. Our desire for change must be translated into a program of struggle against both the parties of war and for a democratic foreign policy and peace. We must take up this challenge as urgently as ever.

These last few years have been a great political school which has taught people about the extent and ferocity of the capitalist war program. More importantly, the intensifying polarization between the aspirations of the people and the practice of the Democratic and Republican parties teaches that the people have no say-so in the current political system.

The resistance in our country to the war program has come from the masses of people. Over the last few years, the anti-war movement has spread to every city and town, embracing tens of millions of Americans. This anti-war movement is something the people have created because we need peace and yet our country continues on the war path. We have created it because, in the last analysis, we are the ones paying the price for this war in death, taxes, and a government and media spewing racism, chauvinism and hatred against the peoples. Everything that makes us human forces us to oppose this war. We have created this movement, which is growing day by day, because we have the aspiration to bring into being a world of peace and friendship between peoples and it is only the peoples who can win the peace.

We must remember and assimilate these lessons from our experience.

What is missing is more independent organization of the resistance of the people to the war program. The decisive issue in advancing the growing resistance is for the people to take the politics and organization of their movement into their own hands and not cede it to the Democratic Party chieftains that talk peace but wage war. We have begun these tasks and need to carry them through. This path is a far cry from “waiting for a new president.” We must continue to build up the organized, independent political force of the people themselves.