US presidential elections 2004

Report on the National Situation in the US

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Editorial: Elections in the USA and the Ukraine

With slaughter continuing in Iraq and elsewhere across the planet, two elections took place in the spotlight of the world’s media, one in the United States and one in the Ukraine, the former remaining in the news for many weeks. As is the case with all elections, neither of these will provide any solution to the poverty and growing barbarism into which capitalism is plunging the proletariat and the exploited masses. But each, in its own way, demonstrates the impasse in which world capitalism finds itself.

Impact of Iraq Quagmire on Domestic Politics

Recently the American bourgeoisie finally gave up on one of the biggest lies it used to justify its war against Iraq. In January David A. Kay, the Bush administration's chief advisor on the search for weapons of mass destruction, publicly acknowledged that he did not believe that Iraq had possessed large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons in the period prior to last year's American military invasion. So, it seems that the butcher of Baghdad was, after all, the one who was telling the truth - he no longer had so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a "few months away," as the American government claimed, from producing a nuclear bomb - a key prop for the administration's case for the urgency of a pre-emptive war.

The anti-war movement is an appendage of the Democratic party

Despite the fact that the Democratic convention was an orgy of flag waving patriotism and war mongering, the so-called anti-war movement did not march in the streets. This movement demonstrated clearly that it is an appendage of the Democratic party with the specific function of controlling and manipulating the growing discontent with the imperialist war in Iraq for purposes of the factional disputes within the bourgeoisie. All the anti-war spokespersons within the Democratic party abandoned their opposition to the war for the sake of party unity in defeating Bush. Howard Dean, whose whole campaign in the primaries was based on a denunciation of the war and a call for withdrawal from Iraq, voiced his support for Kerry. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the self-styled ?progressive? candidate, who had previously called for the creation of a Department of Peace in the cabinet, likewise squelched his anti-war perspective, as did Ted Kennedy and Al Sharpton. Tom Hayden, the former SDS leader, a member of the Chicago Seven who faced federal charges for his role in leading protests at the 1968 Chicago convention, called upon the anti-war movement not to protest or disrupt the Democratic convention, but to support efforts to elect Kerry and defeat Bush. Farenheit 9/11 filmmaker Michael Moore not only voiced his support for the Democrats but promised to take his cameras to Florida on election day to make sure that the Republicans didn?t steal this election, like they did in 2000.Despite their leftist credentials, the leaders of United for Peace and Justice, which took the lead in organizing the massive protests on the eve of the Iraq war, also lined up behind the Democratic party, ignoring the Democratic war mongering. Instead they concentrated their efforts on organizing an anti-Bush demonstration at the Republican convention in New York at the end of August.

US election results: a difficult situation for the US ruling class

The results of the presidential election reflect the increasing difficulties that the American ruling class is experiencing in its ability to manipulate the electoral circus. These difficulties, which first appeared in the debacle of the 2000 election, were manifest this year in two important respects.

How media coverage tried to influence the electoral outcome

Once it became clear that dominant fractions of the ruling class had come to recognize that a division of labor between the two major political parties that coincided with the best interests of the national capital rested on the election of John Kerry, the mass media quickly fell into line to help facilitate this result. The first inklings of this came in the positive coverage of Kerry’s speech at New York University in September, where he changed position and clearly denounced the war in Iraq as the wrong war at the wrong time, a distraction from the war against terrorism and the crusade to find and kill Osama bin Laden. But the first clear expression of the media’s new orientation came in the coverage of the first presidential debate, focused on foreign policy – supposedly Bush’s strong card, according to the media pundits. The media made it clear that Kerry was the big winner in that debate, that Bush was the big loser, and that Kerry and the Democrats had emerged from the debate with a renewed confidence and self-assurance.

Democratic Convention: An orgy of patriotism

For four days in July the Democratic Convention occupied the center ring in this year?s electoral circus. Political conventions for the ruling class in America are media events par excellence, as was demonstrated by the fact that media personnel outnumbered delegates 15,000 to 3,000. It was all part and parcel of the bourgeoisie?s efforts to revive the electoral mystification that was so badly tarnished in the debacle of 2000.

No! to Capitalist Elections, Yes! to Class Struggle

We are daily being bombarded with propaganda about how absolutely important the election is this year from the media, politicians, labor leaders, clergy, academia, civil rights leaders, rock stars, movie stars, and anti-war movement leaders ? from all the institutions that prop up the capitalist state. We are told that this is the most crucial election in our lifetime, that the future of humanity literally hangs in the balance. But it?s all a load of nonsense.

US elections: no honeymoon with Europe

George W. Bush’s foreign policy in regard to imperialist alliances has come to symbolize American imperialism’s historical break with its former allies in the so-called “old Europe”. The Democratic candidate, John Kerry, campaigned on a promise at this level to restore the past status quo, to mend fences with the “dear friends” of Europe that Bush’s reckless cowboy policies had supposedly so much alienated. However, even if Kerry had won, and his statements on this issue had been more than campaign gimmicks, any improved relations with Europe on the bases of a new face in the White house would have been destined for a very short honeymoon.

Electoral Circus Off to an Early Start

As we go to press, the bourgeois media has already been ablaze for months with intense coverage of the Democratic primary race. The media campaign that always accompanies American presidential elections got off to an early start this time around, as pundits weighed in on the race months before the official start of primary season in January with the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. As early as November of last year, the quirky former governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, who positioned himself as a harsh critic of Bush's Iraq policy, was declared the democratic front-runner, with the media all but anointing him the Democratic candidate in 2004. Quite clearly, the American bourgeoisie deliberately used the media campaign surrounding the primary race to attempt to accomplish several distinct propaganda goals at once: distract the American public from the continuing chaos, death and destruction resulting from the war in Iraq, revitalize the Democratic party as a viable party of government, and once again drum-up illusions that the electoral process is the appropriate avenue through which to seek political and social change and have one's just grievances addressed.

US elections: Kerry is no alternative

The Republican Party has just held its Convention in New York to the accompaniment of daily demonstrations and 1700 arrests in a week of protest. Bush & Co have been hailed as a uniquely nasty faction of the American ruling class. In fact, as the following article from Internationalism, the ICC's publication in the US, shows, John Kerry and the Democrats offer no alternative to the current regime.

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