Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LIKE BLINDERS ON A HORSE

More than 200 peace activists protested yesterday in Minneapolis while Obama spoke to the American Legion annual convention

Two hundred people isn't so bad for a protest these days. It's good to see that folks turned out in Minnesota when Obama came to their community yesterday to make the annual presidential pilgrimage to the American Legion convention.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote about the protest:


Some protesters said their numbers would have been larger if a Republican were in the White House conducting current military operations. "His decisions have been horrible," Terry Schwartz, a retired college teacher, said of Obama. "If this were Bush, if this were Reagan, there would be a much larger crowd."


Yes indeed, if this had been a Bush speech hundreds more would have been present. They would have been the "good Democrats" who usually feel it is their duty to protest wars and high military spending when a Republican is in office. But when a Democrat holds the highest office many of these folks become submissive and turn away from the fight.


This "confusion" on the part of many loyal Democrats, who still consider themselves peace activists, continues at epidemic proportions.


In my own community just yesterday I saw an email from one peacenik who trashed Cornell West who has recently become more vocal in his criticism of Obama's presidency. This person wrote, "West, while he should be an academic activist working in concert with others, spends too much time lambasting the president. For instance, West claims that the controversial decision to go into Libya was antithetical to Kings Dream. Its very true that any additional spending on war hurts us domestically and none of us like war, but the decision to do that was in the context of a massive uprising across the Arab world, which was rooted in the very issues King desired for all humanity....I am most grateful to people in the Arab world for shaking up the global powers that be."

I was really dumbfounded by this person's defense of Obama's war on Libya and wrote back asking if the US-NATO war alliance wasn't in fact the very "powers that be" that he was referring to? I've had no response.

It seems to me that people who try to publicly defend Obama have to twist themselves and the truth like a pretzel. How can anyone of good sense claim that the US-NATO attack was anything but more imperial power politics in action? How can anyone claim that the documented NATO bombing of civilian homes, schools, hospitals and the like in Libya was truly an attempt to liberate the people? It's nonsense.


When you bury your head in the sand, or wear blinders like a horse, because you don't want to face the reality that your president works for the "corporate man" you are playing mind games with yourself. That is fine if you wish to do this to your own head. One has that right. What is not acceptable though is when one twists the truth and foists those delusions into the public square. You should expect you will be challenged for saying such things!


Attacks on people like Cornell West, who is actually working with others and laying all the cards on the table about Obama's complicity with the "powers that be," are nothing more than a sad attempt to cover Obama's bare behind. This is the state of our country today. Very sad indeed.


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