February 16, 2008
-- by Thomas Leavitt
I wrote the letter below, in response to this fairly revealing article, The Chicken Doves, in Rolling Stone magazine - about "How the Democrats Screwed The Anti-War Movement". All about how the Democratic Party establishment sold out the anti-war movement (and the people of Iraq) for political gain. Note: Links not included in original letter.
Matt Taibbi's suitably condemnatory article on the political pusillanimity of the Congressional Democrats in their so-called "fight" to end the war in Iraq wimps out on a crucial component of the discussion: what alternative do we have to these corrupt bastards? He says, "... if we don't pay attention to this sorry tale now, while there's still time to change our minds about whom to nominate, we might be stuck with this same bunch of spineless creeps for four more years. With no one but ourselves to blame."
... and that's as far as he goes. No details on how we organize to "throw the bastards out" (clearly more than 2/3rds of the Democratic Congressional Caucus) in the few short weeks we have left (if that) before papers have to be filed for the party primaries. No suggestions on who these alternative candidates might be... or why we should expect them to not sell out the moment they're elected, like the vast majority of their predecessors. Perhaps because he knows that "reforming" the corporate dominated Democratic Party is a lost cause - and that the vast majority of "anti-war" Democrats, are nothing of the sort: they're just opposed to ineffective war-mongering. Clinton and Obama are quintessential examples of this philosophy, both of whom advocate what is in essence nothing but a "kinder, gentler" form of American imperialism.
However, there is a real alternative - a political party that has been against the war in Iraq, and Afghanistan (the $2 billion dollar a month war everyone seems to conveniently forget), and indeed, all wars and other forms of American imperialism abroad since it was founded: the Green Party of the United States. A party that, in all likelihood, is likely to nominate an African-American woman for President later this year: Cynthia McKinney, and offer Americans a chance to make history for *both* women *and* people of color. If you want real change, if you want to elect candidates who will really end the war in Iraq ASAP, who'll have the shredders in Washington running day and night from election night till January 21st, who'll precipitate a mass exodus to countries without extradition treaties by CIA and NSA bureaucrats and make corporate America shake in its boots, then vote Green this November.
Or you can go ahead and cast your vote for more of what you've seen for the last two years (and longer), and you'll have "no one but yourselves to blame" when we're still caught in the Iraqi quagmire four years from now, a trillion dollars more of your blood, sweat and tears have been poured down the drain, and our children's patrimony has been that much further diminished. I know I'll be able to look my kids in the face, ten, twenty years from now, and say I didn't buy into the hype; will you?
Santa Cruz, CA
Posted by Thomas Leavitt at February 16, 2008 3:00 PM
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Thomas, my British friends have the same problem, exacerbated by their first-past-the-post electoral system (though no iniquitous Electoral College), so that any alternative such as the Greens,LDP or the less pleasant alignments don't stand a chance. In Australia, with both PR & Transferable Preference, there was for about 20 years a good alternative, ethical, intelligent and accountable to only their constituents and the common weal. But like all who clamber up the greasy pole, they grew complacent and compromised then the in-fighting began.
At the last election in Nov 2007, the loathsome Howard governement was thrown out but so was the the late, great Austrlian Democrats.
Effectively they no onger exist. I could offer a moral but that would be a longer discussion.
In the US system, Perot, Nader, ACP or Greens only damage the chances of one of the Government Parties as they play musical chairs.
It is mostly due to the Green Party candidate Ralph Nader's spoiling of the Florida election in 2000 that we got stuck with George Bush instead of Al Gore. So don't come around saying you're an alternative to this corrupt government, you are THE CAUSE of this corrupt government.
Posted by: Charles at February 18, 2008 1:27 PM
Charles, your point is taken but surely the problem is not so much the Green/Nader standing but the vast electorate who failed to vote. As far as i can tell, from across the Pacific Pond, the largest bloc of potential US voters are those so dumb, disengaged or cynical that they don't vote at all. As the late, unlamented Earl Butz didn't put it, 'you don't play the game, you don't get to whine about the consequences'.
As in Britain, the US participation rate is barely above 50-60% whereas in Europe it rarely drops below 80-90% (except Italy which is self explanatory). Could be something to do with their experience of what happens when burghers can't be bothered. Well the US has just had 8 years of the consequences, surely that's enough?
Don't blame the Greens (or Perot who at least stopped Shrub Snr being re-elected, some small mercy though Bubba was probably the best Prez the Repugs never had), blame the lazy, complacent, howl-at-the-moon-stupid who get the government that they deserve - unfortunately with the muscle bound moron which the US has become, the rest of us get it as well.
The solution has a name: it's called "civil disobedience."
Here's an idea I've been floating around. People think I'm crazy, but civil disobedience works (MLK, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, etc.).
Tax Revolt! The Democrats were elected to end the war. They could do that by cutting off funding This is how the Vietnam War was finally ended.
If Congress won't cut off the funding, we should cut of their funding. Stop paying your taxes. Risk going to jail.
I'm too chicken. But for people who actually believe in stuff, this is the obvious next step.
I voted, so I get to complain about the consequences. The Green Party's 95,000 votes in Florida siphoned off votes that would have put Gore over the top. I don't care about the people that didn't vote, I care about the people who DID vote, and saw their narrow majority flushed down the toilet by a bunch of foolish Greens.
I still vividly remember what Nader said in 2000, this is an exact quotation, "The only difference between the Democrats and Republicans is how fast their knees hit the ground when corporate interests enter the room." Nader ran on the platform that there was no difference between the Republicans and Democrats. Now really, how can anyone take that seriously? We saw how it turned out. Does anyone think that Al Gore would have started a war in Iraq, and handed the Treasury over to corporate interests like Halliburton?
Posted by: Charles at February 18, 2008 9:41 PM
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