Attacking Bush Does Not Mean Endorsing Kerry

Letters to the Editor

To the editors:

We agree with The Staff’s view that Progressives on campus should unite to combat the policies of the Bush administration (Editorial, “Progressives of the Campus, Unite,” May 14). Sadly, you conclude by endorsing the Democrats.

Although the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice (HIPJ) has no official position on Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., many of us are troubled by his platform. As students concerned with U.S. foreign policy we cannot help noticing that Kerry has promised to continue many of the policies of the Bush administration. In particular, he proudly supported the war in Afghanistan, plans to send more troops to Iraq, supports continued sanctions against Cuba, and has aggressively attacked the Chavez government in Venezuela while defending Israel’s atrocious actions in Palestine. He has been silent on America’s continuing support for dictators from Uzbekistan to Nepal and it is safe to assume that he will perpetuate these inhuman policies that take their toll on millions worldwide.

American foreign policy, which is a result of an economic system dominated by huge corporations and an ethnocentric domestic discourse, is fundamentally flawed. John Kerry, accused of war crimes in Vietnam, backed by corporate interests and working within the same systemic parameters, portends to be only mildly better than President George W. Bush.

Frankly, the writers of this letter feel that by supporting a strategy of “Anybody but Bush,” the Left only enables Kerry to pursue a platform as similar to Bush’s as possible. At the least, progressives need to push Kerry towards providing a true alternative to Bush whether by lobbying, public demonstration, or, god forbid, threatening to vote for Nader. We must build a vibrant, independent Left that remains disinterested from Kerry’s Bush-like flailings—not just because this is the only way to sway the Democrats, but so we can move beyond the two-party system.




May 17, 2004

The writers are members of the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice.