No significant political movement takes place without breaking down old alliances and establishing new ones. And so it is with the press conference sponsored today by Ron Paul at the National Press Club. There he was joined by Ralph Nader (Independent), Chuck Baldwin (Constitutionalist) and Cynthia McKinney (Green), to take on the War Party Duopoly.
To this observer the importance of the event cannot be exaggerated. As Ralph Nader put it, “This is the beginning of the realignment of American politics.” It is in fact the realignment that the end of the Cold War demanded but has been so long in coming.
There are two significant aspects to this gathering. First, Ron Paul, erstwhile Republican contender for the presidential nomination, has refused a recent request from John McCain for an endorsement and instead called on voters to vote for the non-establishment party candidates. Second, and even more important, are the four points of agreement, which Paul, Nader and the rest have signed. They deserve careful reading. They are:
- Foreign Policy: The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the return of our soldiers from around the world, including Korea, Japan, Europe and the entire Middle East. We must cease the war propaganda, threats of a blockade and plans for attacks on Iran, nor should we re-ignite the cold war with Russia over Georgia. We must be willing to talk to all countries and offer friendship and trade and travel to all who are willing. We must take off the table the threat of a nuclear first strike against all nations.
- Privacy: We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We must repeal or radically change the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the FISA legislation. We must reject the notion and practice of torture, eliminations of habeas corpus, secret tribunals, and secret prisons. We must deny immunity for corporations that spy willingly on the people for the benefit of the government. We must reject the unitary presidency, the illegal use of signing statements and excessive use of executive orders.
- The National Debt: We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt. The burden of debt placed on the next generation is unjust and already threatening our economy and the value of our dollar. We must pay our bills as we go along and not unfairly place this burden on a future generation.
- The Federal Reserve: We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationships with the banking, corporate, and other financial institutions. The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial interests must be ended. There should be no taxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.
On these life and death issues, McCain and Obama have given their base and the broader American public little more than the back of their hand.
For some time the call for this kind of realignment has found a home on the electronic pages of CounterPunch.com, Antiwar.com, LewRockwell.com, DissidentVoice.org and a few other places. Now it is ready to burst into the mainstream. Nader will discuss it on Lou Dobbs on Thursday evening, September 11. This is the alignment we have been waiting for. Its opponents are the dogmatists of the old order, the inflexible dogmatists of the "official" peace movement exemplified by United for Peace and Justice, MoveOn, "Progressive" Democrats of America and the culture warriors who cannot think beyond the stereotypes of the "other side." They are too often joined by politicians like Bob Barr, who cannot think beyond the old ways, and Dennis Kucinich, who in the end always puts party above principle. Most disappointingly right now the "alternative" media seems to be giving the Paul/Nader joint effort very little play.
The War Parties and their allies must not be allowed to function as spoilers for this realignment. The realignment presents a great opportunity to move on to a more sensible and sane politics.
September 12, 2008