I have consistently maintained that the Communist Party USA-operating through the US labor movement, organizations like ACORN, Jobs with Justice and of course United for Peace&Justice played a leading role in electing their “friend” Barack Obama.
The next step is to pressure the Obama administration into implementing the Communist Party’s agenda.
Not that the pressure need be that great. It is really only needed to give the impression that Obama is responding to public pressure, rather than marching towards socialism of his own volition.
Judith LeBlanc is Communist Party USA Vice President and national organising co-ordinator of United for Peace and Justice, the largest US national peace coalition.
LeBlanc is currently “downunda” at the invitation of the Communist Party of Australia and the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition to take part in the protests against the Talisman Sabre joint US-Australian military exercises which are taking place at Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton from July 6-26.
While in Sydney Judith LeBlanc spoke to Communist Party of Australia leader Anna Pha about the US peace movement and the significance of Obama’s election.
Some excerpts from the CPA’s latest Guardian
Guardian: Judith, could you please tell us about United for Peace and Justice?
Judith LeBlanc: United for Peace and Justice grew out of the struggle to prevent the war in Iraq and it was the coming together of the traditional peace and disarmament groups nationally and a range of local peace and justice centres and coalitions and new grass roots groups that emerged in this struggle to prevent the war. It began with 300 organisations and has grown to 1,400 member groups.
Now we are in the midst of retooling the peace movement, so to speak, and finding new ways to involve people in ending the war in Afghanistan and to build a bridge to that longer-term movement that is needed to end US militarisation and the militarisation of our domestic budget.
G: What is the attitude to those wars in the US?
JB: I think the peace movement scored an incredible victory with the election of Barack Obama and him keeping his pledge that he would set a deadline, a timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq. Of course the timetable that has been set by the new administration is not all that we would like. But you never win a total victory, you always win part and you continue to struggle.
We feel that in many ways our work to end the war and the occupation in Afghanistan is starting from a sound basis. Majority opinion opposed the [Iraq] war and that was mobilised and galvanised into support for the defeat of McCain.
Now we are trying to take that movement that rose in support of the Obama election and the majority opposition to the war in Iraq into a new national dialogue of the history and the impact of the war and the occupation of Afghanistan…
So now we are operating in a new environment, in a new political space in which perhaps we will have great success in helping people understand that you cannot solve issues around national security with war. That the mere presence of the US military in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan gives rise to insurgency. So we want to help the American people to begin pressing Congress and the Obama administration to step back and to tell us what is the exit plan…
So, the movement for peace, the social movements in our country, are they ready to fill the political space that the election of Obama has created? Not quite, but I think the peace movement has enough experience in the six years of the struggle to end the Iraq war to know that it is going to take a strong, well organised, vocal peace movement to make the changes that are needed.
G: So far, how do you assess Obama’s foreign policy?
JB: I think the Obama administration has made headway changing foreign policy. It has spoken about the differences it wants to make in its relationship to Cuba, in its role in pressing for a just Middle East peace between Palestine and Israel, in its relationship to the Muslim world. But the truth is that in order for those words to become a reality we need a stronger peace movement and we need one that can advocate forcefully and in a meaningful way the direct interconnectedness between peace and justice, between domestic policy and foreign policy.
I think the Obama administration has done a good job in thinking through the fact that the Bush administration fomented a considerable amount of not only anxiety but death, dying and anger by launching what was called the “global war on terror” and they dropped that terminology. Unfortunately they did not end the military practice of waging war in the name of national security in Afghanistan.
Obama’s voting record in the Senate was, and he has maintained this position after becoming president, that there is a need to reduce nuclear arms, that there was a need for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He is making good on that promise by initiating talks with Russia to cut nuclear armaments. We are hoping, as he said in a speech in Prague recently, that it is not only the moral responsibility of the US to cut nuclear arms but it is a necessity to move towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The struggle for nuclear disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons is a critical issue for the peace movement to regroup and to retool and for building a mass movement around. We had a very strong and vibrant movement around nuclear disarmament in the ’80s.
We hope to take Obama’s words [on nuclear disarmament] and build a movement that calls for abolition in our lifetimes. We are busy at work planning with our international partners a year-long national petition drive to call on Obama to abolish nuclear weapons.
We are launching it on the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and concluding this petition drive at the time of the May 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference at the United Nations. We hope to apply such mass pressure on the Obama administration that they will take rapid steps to not only sign the joint agreement with Russia to reduce nuclear warheads but also to end the testing of new nuclear weapons and to begin to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in Congress and take giant steps forward before that 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty conference.
We are very hopeful that we can build that mass movement because people understand the nature of war in a different way because of Iraq and because of what’s going on in Afghanistan. They also know that the Obama administration is not the agent of change but can be the vehicle for change. We think that nuclear weapons is a good starting point.
I predict that unless the US public wakes up, eventually ALL of the Communist Party’s peace and foreign policy agenda will become official Obama administration policy.
The Communist Party USA is intent on reducing US nuclear and military power to the point that America will have no chance of opposing the united forces of Russia, China, Cuba and the radical Islamic world.
This is how it works.
The Communist Party and their allies, domestic and foreign (Cuba, Russia, China etc), develop an agenda or wish list.
This agenda is disseminated through the Communist’s front organizations and sympathetic bodies such as the AFL-CIO and the peace movement into the Democratic Party.
The Communists and their allies then work to elect as many sympathetic leftist Democrats as possible to the Congress and Senate. These people are beholden to the Communist Party and are willing to use their positions to advance the Party’s policies and agenda.
Meanwhile, the Communists ramp up street protests and rallies in support of their pre-set policy positions.
With almost identical policy coming at them from the unions, the peace movement, from Congress and even the Oval Office, American public opinion begins to shift in the desired direction.
Judith LeBlanc has every right to be confident.
Her Party, which most Americans don’t even realise still exists, is in near complete agreement with the foreign policy agenda of the US government.