The passage of legislation in the US Congress on May 24 for supplementary unconditional funding by which the Bush administration sought to continue the war in Iraq had a significant impact on the anti-war movement which has been consistently protesting the war. Earlier, a bill which required a mandatory time table for the withdrawal of US troops had been threatened with a Presidential veto and the Congress submitted to the Administration. In approving further funding without any plan for withdrawal, the US Congress continued to ignore the massive popular discontent with the war. Opinion poll after poll has been indicating that the majority of the public favour an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
While the anti-war movement has been increasingly joined by thousands of ordinary citizens opposing the unjust war on Iraq, the leadership of the movement was closely tied to the Democratic Party till recently. At the same time, there has been skepticism among various participants in the movement about the sincerity of that Party’s anti-war stance and this latest deed of supporting the criminal legislation has clearly led to increasing disillusionment. This, in turn, has thrown the movement into some disarray. However, one positive fall-out of all this is that the various streams in the movement are asking some crucial questions regarding the future of the movement.
One such question that has been posed is: Can a people's movement in the United States overcome the commitment of the White House, Congress and the Pentagon to authorize, extend and finance the war and occupation in Iraq? With the sentiment of opposition and disgust to the war growing across the country, and building up among the rank and file service members and some officers, does not the movement have the potential to become a force for effective opposition to the Administration’s continued aggression against the people of Iraq?
In this context, the movement cannot afford to ignore or gloss over the fact that both the Republican as well as Democratic Parties in the prevailing two-party system in the US represent the interests of the oligarchs and big corporate giants. It is evident that the Democratic Party never opposed the war from the manner in which the Bush administration was able to get backing for launching the war using fabricated evidence regarding the so-called weapons of mass destruction, acquisition of fissile materials from Niger etc., which was known to be bogus all along. Democratic Party candidates did not come out against the war in the 2004 Elections, and instead ended up with such reactionary lines as `we support our troops', knowing full well that the US had launched a war of aggression and occupation. They made some noises against the war in the recent elections to the Congress, and soon after supported the pro-war legislation.
The experience of six years of the anti-war movement in the US clearly shows that the Democratic Party has played a major role in sabotaging it from within. The Democratic Party tries to exploit the anti war movement to come to power, while pursuing the same imperialist war mongering policies of the Bush administration. The anti-war movement in the US cannot afford to have illusions about the Democratic Party, or about the political system in place in the US. As the American people continue to take an uncompromising stand against the war in Iraq, the continuous bombing and killing of people in Afghanistan, the Administration‘s threats against Iran, Korea, etc. and its war-mongering position, in general, they will also have to tackle the question of evolving a political alternative to the present war mongering governments.