Cindy Sheehan’s recent announcements are the latest example of how the Democratic Party tries to crush those who dare to break with them. Millions sympathize with the torment Cindy is going through, her letters being powerful testimonies against the war, the needless loss of Iraqi and US lives and the Democrats.

The Democratic Party always tries to co-opt social movements and their genuine leaders. From John L.Lewis in the labor movement to Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement to now, Cindy Sheehan in the anti-war movement. Cynical politicians often want to use genuine activists to curb social struggle and keep independent working class politics from developing. But if someone challenges the Democrats from even a mildly anti-corporate and working peoples’ viewpoint then all hell is let loose. The Democrat leaders turned their dogs on Cindy because they saw her call for a new alternative as a threat, in a similar way they are still pursuing Ralph Nader through the courts for the “crime” of running in 2004.

When things are going smoothly, it’s sometimes hard to know who your real friends are. When there’s some disagreement, it can become clearer. The Democratic politicians, “right” or “left”, are no friends of activists who want to win victories. The Democrats are not “left”; they are fundamentally a corporate party that sometimes uses “left” rhetoric to try to trick working people into thinking that the Democrats are on “their side”. By breaking from the Democrats, Cindy Sheehan may have lost some cynical “friends”, but she has gained genuine political allies.

There are many out there that are starving for a political alternative. At the Boston anti-war rally this spring, the biggest cheers for any speaker came when Cindy attacked the Democrats. The anti-war movement is with you even if the so-called “leadership” isn’t! Many workers in the trade union movement are sick of seeing budget cuts and attacks on health care and pensions by the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

Cindy Sheehan is right to be bitter. The Democratic Party, a corporate party, used her. Cindy, rightfully so, feels betrayed and angry. However, her stand has inspired many. Socialist Alternative and many other anti-war, immigrant rights and labor activists applaud your break from the Democrats and are willing to stand with you in a common struggle to end the war and break the grip that corporate America has on politics.

Don’t give up! The fight has just begun. Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi will end up in the trash can of history. Cindy Sheehan, if she doesn’t get discouraged, will be remembered as a tireless fighter. We will not give up. History remembers Fredrick Douglass and John Brown, but not the compromisers who wanted to remain acceptable to the political establishment.

We will be the type of friends that criticize you when you’re wrong and stand with you when you’re right. Socialist Alternatives works with all those who want to seriously build the anti-war and anti-corporate movements. We want a genuine, non-personalized discussion on what is the best strategy for working people. We are principled working class socialists and we see you, Cindy Sheehan, as a passionate principled activist who wants to end the war. Winning victories now is our starting point, and we want to work with you on making a necessary step: the formation of a broad independent political alternative that takes no money from big business, is controlled democratically, and represents the interests of workers and youth. Let’s do it! The abolitionists started small, but they eventually built on their principled stance. We can too!

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