I'm all for pragmatism, but I think it needs to be principled and clear-sighted. Despite Dean's flaws (and because of his virtues), I was willing to support him. For the reasons stated forcefully in these threads by Asak, and also by Joel Rogers
, I think Edwards is now the one whom Dean supporters should back. If Edwards fails, then it's Kerry. I also hope the Dean movement will have an ongoing role to play in bringing ordinary citizens back into the Democratic party process, and breaking the grip of moneyed elites.
But the peace and justice movement has been and will be essential to any significant movement for social change in this country. We won't "Take Back America" without it. Tom Hayden explains the rationale.
The Progressive Populist Moment Has Arrived
By Tom Hayden, AlterNet
February 17, 2004
The Democratic presidential candidates have adopted the broad goals of the peace and justice movements, becoming anti-war and pro-fair trade in the course of the primaries. ...
Only the peace movement can continue pressuring the candidates for clarity and accountability. Only the peace and justice movement can campaign for an alternative to the military and corporate empire envisioned in trade agreements, Pentagon strategic plans, and the extremist dreams of The Weekly Standard. The current presidential candidates only want to reform the American empire, not end it. They, along with the Democratic policy elites, favor "muscular internationalism." Only a social movement can pressure to end the occupation outright and, more important, define a long-term post-Empire paradigm for America and argue the case for its benefits. Candidates cannot carry the burdens of movements, just as movements cannot expect magical cures from politicians. ...
Another thorny question is whether Kerry, Edwards or Dean genuinely favor ending the occupation of Iraq, or whether their policies are conditional on a favorable outcome for American prestige and interests. Despite opposing the war, all these candidates can be expected to keep tens of thousands of US troops in Iraq. All (except the outsider Kucinich) are vulnerable to the familiar accusation that they will "cut and run." While they attack Halliburton contracts, none of them so far have questioned Washington's promotion of its handpicked government for the WTO, or the legalized stripping of Iraqis' control of their economy or natural resources. What, one wonders, would enforceable workers' rights look like in Paul Bremer's Iraq?