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Whoever wins in November...
We have to fight the Bush agenda

August 20, 2004 | Page 1

GEORGE W. BUSH and his Republican Party are ready to invade New York City. While the big wigs of Corporate America rub elbows and trade political favors behind the scenes, the Republicans will wrap themselves in the flag--and exploit the tragedy of the September 11 attacks that took place a few miles from the convention site in midtown Manhattan.

No lie is too outrageous and no scapegoating too vile for the Bush gang to use in its drive to take back the White House for four more years. Expect more fake terror scares in the run-up to the Republican convention and after--like the early August warnings about a plot to attack Wall Street that turned out to be years out of date, according to the New York Times.

Inside Madison Square Garden, the Republicans will celebrate war, tragedy and greed. But outside, hundreds of thousands of people will have a different message: We say no to the Bush agenda of empire and corporate power.

These demonstrators will represent the millions of people--by now, a solid majority--who are against the occupation of Iraq and want to bring U.S. troops home. They will speak out against the administration's bigoted attack on the right of gays and lesbians to marry. They will stand up against attacks on our schools and desperately needed social programs for workers and the poor--while the politicians hand out tax breaks to Corporate America and the super-rich.

At the same time, many demonstrators will encourage a vote for the "realistic" alternative to Bush--John Kerry. This, despite the fact that Kerry, by his own admission, has few differences of substance with the basic elements of the Bush agenda.

Gay marriage? "We're both opposed to gay marriage," Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards, made perfectly clear after the recent passage of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Missouri. Corporate tax breaks? Kerry's for them. How about the war and occupation of Iraq? As a senator, Kerry voted to authorize Bush's invasion.

And earlier this month, he announced that nothing would stop him from voting the same way--not even knowing that every excuse the Bush administration gave for the war, from mass destruction to Saddam Hussein's supposed ties to al-Qaeda, was a lie. "Yes, I would have voted for the authority [to go to war]," Kerry said at a campaign stop. But, he added, "I would have used that authority effectively."

Tens of thousands of Iraqis killed in a war for oil and empire. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers sacrificed for corporate profits and U.S. power. A price tag of $150 billion and counting. And the best John Kerry can say is that he would have done it better?

All we hear about--from the politicians and media alike--are the supposedly enormous differences between Democrats and Republicans. But this hides the truth--that the two mainstream parties of U.S. politics have much more in common than they have differences.

Millions of people are understandably terrified of the thought of another four years of Bush in the White House--and believe this is reason enough to vote for Kerry. They should look again at what the Democrats are telling us that they will do if they win back the White House.

Kerry's campaign message isn't that he will pursue a different agenda, dedicated to different priorities--but that he will be more effective in carrying out the main elements of the Bush program, from the "war on terror" to "homeland security" to handouts for corporations.

It's not enough to get rid of Bush. We have to defeat the Bush agenda--and that means rejecting John Kerry's "me too" candidacy. There is an alternative in the 2004 presidential election--the independent campaign of Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo.

Nader and Camejo stand for an end to the occupation of Iraq, a challenge to the Washington status quo, a living wage for workers and rights for our unions, a national health care system, spending on schools and social programs, and an end to the racist war on drugs.

The Democrats say that a vote for Nader is a vote to return Bush to the White House. But really, a vote for Kerry is a vote for "Bushism"--the same essential policies of the Bush administration, dressed up in a slightly different form, with kinder, gentler rhetoric. Whether Bush or Kerry wins in November, we need to build struggles for change that can challenge both parties of the Washington status quo.

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