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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Friday, March 25, 2016

Peace Movement Ebbs & Flows Depending on Which Party is in Office


Saw it during the Bill Clinton years and now the Obama years.  Peaceniks who identified themselves as 'Democrats' became scarce when both those Democrat presidents continued doing the war making that previous Republican presidents had done.  Pentagon budget increases continued under Clinton and Obama just like they did during the administrations of Bush I and Bush II.  Star Wars research and development funding and deployments remained steady when both parties were in power.

Domestic surveillance and destruction of our privacy and civil rights expanded under Obama.  Cutbacks in social programs continued under Democrats as they had under Republicans.

During the Obama administration I watched local peace groups all over the country fold up their tents and shut down operations.  One group in Florida that I had spoken to more than any other organization during my career (about 20 times over the years) had me come talk just after Obama was elected.  I warned them to watch both of Obama's hands - he is a magician just like Bill Clinton.  They didn't like that I was being critical of 'their new president', most of them were loyal Democrats.  They never invited me back - nothing personal, they just didn't want to hold Obama to the same standard that they held the Bush crime family to.

In February of 2012 I wrote on this blog:

Just this morning the Washington Post carried a story entitled 'Poll finds broad support for Obama’s counter-terrorism policies'. The article reveals that a new "Post-ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy, which administration officials refuse to discuss, citing security concerns.....77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones, meaning that Obama is unlikely to suffer any political consequences as a result of his policy in this election year."

The poll also shows that "that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed."

So here is my prediction.  If Hillary gets elected the missing Democratic Party peaceniks (the ones who have Obama bumper stickers on their cars right next to the bumper stickers that read 'War is not the answer') will stay missing.  If Trump (or any other Republican) gets elected the ranks of the peace movement will again swell with outraged Democrats who will criticize every drone mission that a Republican president flies.

One thing is certain in this biz - and I've been at it full-time since 1982 - if there is a Republican in office then we've got a movement.  If we have a Democrat in office then those remaining loyal peaceniks on the streets will have their hands full carrying the endless war burden that others don't wish to acknowledge.

1 Comments:

Blogger kevin hall said...

Well said as always Bruce. Thanks, and peace brother.
Maggie & Kev.

3/25/16, 1:31 PM  

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