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

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

INTELLECTUALLY BANKRUPT



I've been reading various websites this morning and stopped by one Maine Democratic party blog that I regularly check on. A woman had posted an article wondering why their party was lacking in energy and not attracting younger folks.

She went on to describe better times and said, "Back in 2004, the Democratic Party was full of energy. We were at the end of George W. Bush’s first term. We had had enough. I joined MOB – Mothers Against Bush. I went to rallies. And let it be noted: this is WAY out of my comfort zone. I’m not usually one to be public about my beliefs. But I did what I could. I rallied around John Kerry."

I find this quote fascinating because she reveals several important things. First the name of the group "Mothers Against Bush" confirms what I've felt for a long time and that is many "party" people don't necessarily engage in protest movements because they are upset about a war or some particular issue. Quite often they join "rallies" because the events are really to smash one particular candidate (in this case Bush) or support another candidate (a Democrat).

Sometimes they do, for example, "join" peace groups but primarily because they believe it will help to build support for the slate of Democrats running in an upcoming election.

Then after an election is over these party people fold up their "activist" banners and go home to wait for the next election cycle. In their minds they see themselves as part of the larger "movements" but in truth their energy, money, and hearts are closely reserved for their party.

In the comments following this woman's piece a good number of folks wrote in trying to help offer suggestions on how to revive the flagging Democrats in Maine. One man wrote in part, "We also need to step back and realize how much President Obama and the Congressional Democrats have accomplished — passing national health care, ending both the wars, saving the economy from the forces of evil in the financial sector."

Reading this made me angry. This is what I'd call intellectual bankruptcy. Claiming that Obama had ended both wars and saved the economy from Wall Street! Outrageous. I immediately wrote a response that said:

Ending both wars? What planet are you living on? We are still mired in Afghanistan at the cost of $12 billion per month. You want to know why progressives are abandoning the Dems like rats off a sinking ship? It’s remarks like this that Obama has ended both wars. Dems are blinded by party loyalty and can’t be critical of their own corporate dominated war party. Very sad.

I see this with loyal Democrats all the time. They find it virtually impossible to face the reality of what their president and party stand for and are doing. They turn their heads when they see such actions like expanding the war from Afghanistan into Pakistan and miraculously convince themselves that Obama has in fact ended "both wars". Or they blame the non-closure of Guantanamo detention center on the Republicans.....on it goes.

One email I got today was in a series of emails discussing the Obama fiasco. A woman wrote, "Obama is now so discredited in the eyes of many fine progressives who believed he would make a dent (including me, duh!).... For sure, let's build an alternative party and take the fine progressives to the left of the democratic party with us: they are looking for alternatives!!!"

I'd sure hate to be a Democrat today trying to "rebuild" the energy for that party. The public ain't buying it and neither are the real honest hard working grassroots activists who are the bedrock of most movements - particularly the Occupy movement. They get it and won't be fooled again.

Sadly I think Obama will be reelected but it won't be because most voters buy his worn-out line anymore. Polls are showing that most of the public has little confidence in either party and are not happy with the declared candidates in either of the two corporate controlled political parties.

Obama is likely to win because many will hold their nose and vote for the "lesser" of the devils. Holding your nose though does not create energy and passion for a party. It just helps to hold off the smell from the rotting corpse.

We must continue to build the alternative vision, the non-corporate vision of what a world could look like without endless war, greed, materialism, and environmental destruction. Only when we do that can we reach the day where real democracy can flourish.

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