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Democrats Stifle Antiwar Voices, Again

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Ned Lamont's win over Senator Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary two weeks ago has been hailed by many as a victory for the movement against the war in Iraq. Lamont has been an ardent critic of the Bush administration's handling of the war and has stated that "our best hope for success ... is to take the very American military face off of this occupation and ... start bringing our troops home."

Lamont, however, is still facing an uphill battle for the US Senate. Sen. Lieberman has declared an independent candidacy and is leading in the polls by 5%. But even if Lamont is attempting to rock the boat on Iraq, he is still in full defense of Israel and the country's bloody three-week bombardment of Lebanon.

The Democratic Party doesn't allow dissent, and like the Republican Party, they are even willing to stifle democracy in order to ensure their ascendancy on Election Day. Here in New York the Democratic Party has willfully ignored Jonathan Tasini's popular antiwar campaign against Hillary Clinton. Tasini, unlike Lamont, is critical of the close relationship between the US and the state of Israel.

"In a sense, I understand why my opponent has to try to silence the truth. She, and a broad segment of our political leadership, bear responsibility for the deaths of these (Qana) children," Tasini recently wrote. "They gave cover for what many rank-and-file Israeli citizens (and some Israeli politicians) are now calling a moral and military debacle."

On August 21, the New York Times called on Hillary Clinton to debate Tasini, writing, "Since Mr. Tasini is running an antiwar campaign, it would be very useful for New Yorkers to have a chance to hear the two Democratic candidates debate that one issue." Hillary, of course, isn't likely to take heed, and truthfully, that's undemocratic. But that seems to be the Democratic strategy of late.

Perhaps the debacle in New York is not quite as egregious as the Democrats' move to stifle opposition in Pennsylvania, where antiwar Green Party candidates have been forced to withdraw their names from the state ballot because they cannot afford the costly legal fees needed to challenge the Democrats' snooty lawyers. The Democrats claim the Green Party used "fake names, names of unregistered voters and illegible signatures" to get on this year's ballot. But really, the Democrats just didn't want any challenges to their support for the war in Iraq or the US's unconditional support for Israel.

You may remember that the Democrats used similar tactics to keep Ralph Nader's antiwar campaign off the ballot in swing-states just two years ago. They hired legal teams (several of them Republican firms) to challenge his petitions across the country. They didn't want Nader's antiwar voice to be heard by voters. And this is the party that was supposed to stand up against alleged voting fraud in Ohio and Florida? Give me a break. The Democrats, like the Republicans, detest the democratic process. They have done a superb job of discounting genuine antiwar candidates across the political spectrum, especially those who oppose Israeli incursions in Palestine and Lebanon.

While the mainstream antiwar movement was celebrating Lamont's conquest over Lieberman, Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney's (who has been openly critical of Israel) campaign took a bullet in Georgia. Where were the and the DailyKos mobs then? Certainly not demanding that their members donate money to her antiwar campaign. Was it because she doesn't think that US taxpayers should be supporting American and Israeli military aggression in the Middle East? Is that why they are all ignoring Jonathan Tasini and others?

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Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the brand new book Red State (more...)
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