Viewers of television broadcasts in Detroit and Lansing were subjected this week to open propaganda for the US war in Iraq and the role of the CIA in it, paid for by multimillionaire Elissa Slotkin, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 8th Congressional District of Michigan.
The 30-second ad features footage of US troops on combat missions in Iraq, followed by images of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers in flames after the 9/11 attacks, as well as posed photographs of Slotkin with President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
As these images flash by, accompanied by somber music and American flags, Slotkin outlines her career, declaring that she joined the CIA and did three tours in Iraq, “working for two presidents, one from each party.” She ends the ad with the statement, “We need members of Congress to remember it’s about service to country, not themselves.”
No one watching the ad would have any idea which of the two corporate-controlled parties Slotkin was affiliated with, or even that she was a candidate for political office. All that is communicated is that she worked for the CIA, that this constituted “service to country,” and that, by implication, it was more praiseworthy and valuable than the work of a representative in Congress.
Slotkin puts herself forward, not as a representative of a party, let alone an advocate for any specific program, but as a representative of the military-intelligence apparatus.
With its glorification of militarism and its implicit connection between the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq (the political lie peddled by the Bush administration), Slotkin’s ad might seem to be for a right-wing Republican candidate. Actually, however, it is for a Democrat who is trying to outflank the Republicans and the Trump administration from the right.
After her three tours with the CIA in Iraq, Slotkin worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first Director of National Intelligence under George W. Bush. Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, “homeland defense” and cyber warfare.
Slotkin is one of more than three dozen such candidates—former CIA agents, military intelligence operatives, combat commanders, and high-ranking Pentagon, State Department or National Security Council officials—who have won Democratic Party nominations for Congress in Republican-held districts that the Democratic Party leadership has targeted in the 2018 campaign.
This faction was identified by the World Socialist Web Site six months ago and given the label “The CIA Democrats.” It represents something entirely new in American capitalist politics: the effective (and entirely friendly) takeover of one of the two big-business parties by a group whose primary allegiance is to the military-intelligence apparatus.
If the Democrats win control of the House of Representatives in November, it will be Slotkin and her fellow military-intelligence operatives who will hold the seats that give the Democrats a majority, giving them the balance of power in the House.
The 8th Congressional District is slightly to the north of the 12th District, where I am running, but it has many similarities, including large populations of college students and autoworkers. It covers Ingham County, including the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Livingston County and the northern part of Oakland County. Two GM plants, in Lake Orion and Lansing, are in the district.
Slotkin makes no effort to appeal to the students drowning in debt, or the autoworkers who have had concessions contracts imposed on them by the UAW, because she has no intention of fighting for their interests. Rather she is running as a representative of the most reactionary and repressive force on the planet, the American military-intelligence complex.
Besides being a career national security official, Slotkin comes from a wealthy family, the heirs of the Hygrade Foods fortune, and has virtually unlimited funding for her campaign. She is one of the three dozen Democratic challengers who have bigger campaign war chests than the Republican incumbents they are seeking to oust.
Slotkin has already raised more than $3 million, $1 million more than her opponent, Republican Representative Mike Bishop. She has the full backing of the Serve America PAC, set up by Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton to promote military-intelligence candidates in the Democratic Party, which has given her campaign more than $140,000. She has also received donations from former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, and billionaires Tom Steyer and Barry Diller.
My opponent in the 12th district, Representative Debbie Dingell, has no significant political differences with Slotkin. Like Slotkin, she is a multimillionaire, an heiress to the Fisher Body auto fortune and a former lobbyist for the auto industry.
Like Slotkin, Dingell backs American militarism in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, and supports the intelligence agencies that are spearheading bogus claims that the greatest threat to democracy comes from “Russian interference.” In reality, it is the military-intelligence agencies of the federal government that are the greatest threat to the democratic rights of the American people.
It is not just Dingell who is running in the same party. The supposed left wing of the Democratic Party, including figures like Senator Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists of America, have said nothing about the influx of military-intelligence candidates.
All factions of the Democratic Party join in excluding the antiwar sentiments of the majority of the population and work to redirect popular hostility to the Republicans and Trump into support for the CIA, FBI and Pentagon.
Those who are interested in putting an end to war and social inequality should break with the Democrats and Republicans and take up the fight for socialism. Support my campaign for Michigan’s 12th district and help build a powerful socialist movement that will fight for the interests of the working class well beyond November 6.