Defending The Movement I Want, Not The Movement That Exists

From Liberal Victory to Disempowerment in Six Easy Steps | Common Dreams.

The following is an excerpt from the above linked-to article by Glenn Greenwald:

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The greatest and most enduring significance of Tuesday night’s election results will likely not be the re-election of Barack Obama, but rather what the outcome reflects about the American electorate. It was not merely Democrats, but liberalism, which was triumphant.

To begin with, it is hard to overstate just how crippled America’s right-wing is. Although it was masked by their aberrational win in 2010, the GOP has now been not merely defeated, but crushed, in three out of the last four elections: in 2006 (when they lost control of the House and Senate), 2008 (when Obama won easily and Democrats expanded their margins of control), and now 2012. The horrendous political legacy of George Bush and Dick Cheney continues to sink the GOP, and demographic realities – how toxic the American Right is to the very groups that are now becoming America’s majority – makes it difficult to envision how this will change any time soon.
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The following is my online response to the above linked-to article. More accurately, It’s my response to Democracy Now’s November 7 episode. But I tossed it in here because Glenn’s article (and Jeffrey St. Clair’s article below) completed my thoughts this night. I also added another short comment to Glenn’s CD article, just noting that I wouldn’t say that the Right has faded. The far Right took a few hits, but that was mainly because the Left, here and there, got some wind in it’s sails:

*Let’s try this again. Disqus completely obliterated my post. I went to drag a piece of text from one location in the post to another and a dialog box popped up telling me to drag a picture into the box and the it wouldn’t go away and my post was lost.

It seems that some ‘progressives’ really want other progressives to just shut up. Democracy is fine, but not always, apparently.

I was struck by the way Laura Flanders, talking with Amy Goodman and NCAAP president Benjamin Jealous about the election results, kept bringing movements into the conversation. Quite struck. I feel like my tongue has been cut out.

I’m not the only progressive who feels that the current electoral system in the U.S. (and here in Canada) is corrupt and undemocratic. It is elite-serving and [marinated] in dark money just as writer after writer has explained. But there’s Laura and her NCAAP partner blathering on about the wonderful election results, oblivious to the big outcome of the evening. The corporatocracy’s greatest asset was reelected. And he knows what to do with the people.

Haven’t we seen this show before? Many times? A whole book was written about the many betrayals of Barack Obama. Sure, You have some people (who I don’t know) who have progressive credentials breaking through (with movements behind them) to win election. But are they going to arm-twist the corporatocracy into becoming nice? Are they going to stop the neoliberal agenda in it’s tracks? Do they think they have an ally in the murderous Obama? Why are you (Laura et al) so excited folks? Is it because this is the only world you know? It’s one which, in fact, you are comfortable in, no matter how much wringing of your pundits’ hands you do over this or that social injustice on your shows and podiums[?]

I tell people all the time that to vote, at this point, is to legitimize a corrupt, undemocratic electoral system. Voting is certainly what elites want us to do – as long as they can manipulate the vote. By getting us involved in this charade, they hope that we will do them a favor and fool ourselves in thinking we have democracy. And if we have it, then we need not look for it. We need not educate ourselves (fully) or engage in movement-building, OWS-style (leaving nothing, including captured governments and electoral systems, off the agenda and out of the reach of true reform).

But we ‘are’ doing that, say progressives like Laura, who are all giddy about this election the way kids are giddy about the presents they find under the gift wrapping on Christmas Day. We ‘are’ movement-building.

Notice her tone in discussing Elizabeth Warren’s victory. (I don’t know Elizabeth and I probably should.) Elizabeth seems to have been boosted by big donors. From Laura’s glib comment about hoping that Warren doesn’t back off examining big banks because of those donations, I assume that that means that big banks were donors. Really? Laura said “I hope she won’t” back off taking on the big banks. At least it was Laura who mentioned it. But we’ve seen this show before.

I’m afraid that all this feel good – which requires saying nothing bad about murderer Obama – talk about a great election is setting people up, again, for a fall. A few do-gooders in government are not going to make more than a few small dents in the agenda of the corporatocracy. Do those do-gooders think that they have Obama as a (real) ally? A whole book was written about the hypocritical, lying Obama who out-Bushed Bush. (“Hopeless – Barack Obama And The Politics Of Illusion,” by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

Now that the site is back up, I’ll toss in this pointed comment by Jeffrey St. Clair, who would not have been welcome at the DN ‘feel good about the election’ party:

“So what to expect from Obama? An aggressive new plan to combat climate change? A real federal jobs program aimed at full-employment? Liberalization of immigration policies? Decriminalization of marijuana? Deep cuts in the defense budget? Rollback of the Patriot Act? A ban on assassinations by drones? Movement toward single-payer health care? Sure.

“No. Clinton will be his template: the Clinton who pushed for the elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act, the gutting of welfare and the war on Serbia. Obama will pursue bi-partisanship with a vengeance. Obama has always been a committed neoliberal, a closeted agent of austerity. Now he no longer needs to even play-act for his political base. He can openly betray their interests.” – “TKO By The Technocrats,” by Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch

The task, as always, is for elites (and their tools, especially their willing ‘progressive’ tools) to persuade people that they have democracy and therefore don’t need to look for it. That just isn’t the case. But if people want circuses, in the form of coke/pepsi elections that are as useful (to the 99%) as wrestling matches, then that’s that. If the people want to fool themselves into thinking that these elections, with candidates (once elected) who are not from their class, who are bought off or who are just plain corrupt, will make a difference in their wretched lives, then elites and their political tools will be pleased to produce them. Hey, People think they will be better off not knowing whether the food they’re eating is experimental. Why wouldn’t they think that those who have abused them thoroughly in the past are the best leaders for their country going forward?

I also found [it] interesting that DN artificially separated Jeremy Scahill’s (video) salute to outgoing senator Dennis Kucinich from the rest of the segment in which Amy talks with Laura and Benjamin. When I examined the transcript, I found it ended abruptly where Jeremy’s video started, even though Amy continued to speak with her two in-studio guests. Then again, Jeremy’s blunt, honest words about Barack Obama’s unconscionable drone killing of American citizens didn’t fit with the happy, happy atmosphere that the giddy Laura and Benjamin, with Amy’s assistance, were creating with their praise for movements that made gains and silence about the big movement (OWS, if it means moving toward ‘real’ change) that got nowhere, as Glenn Greenwald points out here:

I already killed the link to Laura Flanders’s Grit TV on my blog, so I don’t have to do that tonight. I did that because the site’s a mess. Truth be told, I’ll never be able to extract myself from involvement with every fake progressive or progressive site. There’s too many of them. But I’ll be damned if I just sigh and ignore the betrayals.

When I talk about movements, in the future, folks, I’m not talking about a politician or two who gets elected in the ongoing fraud that is today’s election. There’s work – maybe even paid work! – to be done, but supporting the fantasy, but killer, world of scared journos isn’t it.

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