( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Let’s begin with an essay by Chris Hedges wherein he shines a spotlight on just how pathetic the liberal left really are.
Ralph Nader Was Right About Barack Obama
By Chris Hedges (Courtesy of Truthdig)
We owe Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney an apology. They were right about Barack Obama. They were right about the corporate state. They had the courage of their convictions and they stood fast despite wholesale defections and ridicule by liberals and progressives.
Obama lies as cravenly, if not as crudely, as George W. Bush. He promised us that the transfer of $12.8 trillion in taxpayer money to Wall Street would open up credit and lending to the average consumer. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), however, admitted last week that banks have reduced lending at the sharpest pace since 1942. As a senator, Obama promised he would filibuster amendments to the FISA Reform Act that retroactively made legal the wiretapping and monitoring of millions of American citizens without warrant; instead he supported passage of the loathsome legislation. He told us he would withdraw American troops from Iraq, close the detention facility at Guantánamo, end torture, restore civil liberties such as habeas corpus and create new jobs. None of this has happened.
He is shoving a health care bill down our throats that would give hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the private health insurance industry in the form of subsidies, and force millions of uninsured Americans to buy insurers’ defective products. These policies would come with ever-rising co-pays, deductibles and premiums and see most of the seriously ill left bankrupt and unable to afford medical care. Obama did nothing to halt the collapse of the Copenhagen climate conference, after promising meaningful environmental reform, and has left us at the mercy of corporations such as ExxonMobil. He empowers Israel’s brutal apartheid state. He has expanded the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where hundreds of civilians, including entire families, have been slaughtered by sophisticated weapons systems such as the Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of victims’ lungs. And he is delivering war and death to Yemen, Somalia and perhaps Iran.
The illegal wars and occupations, the largest transference of wealth upward in American history and the egregious assault on civil liberties, all begun under George W. Bush, raise only a flicker of tepid protest from liberals when propagated by the Democrats. Liberals, unlike the right wing, are emotionally disabled. They appear not to feel. The tea-party protesters, the myopic supporters of Sarah Palin, the veterans signing up for Oath Keepers and the myriad of armed patriot groups have swept into their ranks legions of disenfranchised workers, angry libertarians, John Birchers and many who, until now, were never politically active. They articulate a legitimate rage. Yet liberals continue to speak in the bloodless language of issues and policies, and leave emotion and anger to the protofascists. Take a look at the 3,000-word suicide note left by Joe Stack, who flew his Piper Cherokee last month into an IRS office in Austin, Texas, murdering an IRS worker and injuring dozens. He was not alone in his rage.
“Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?” Stack wrote. “Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political ‘representatives’ (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the ‘terrible health care problem’. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.”
The timidity of the left exposes its cowardice, lack of a moral compass and mounting political impotence. The left stands for nothing. The damage Obama and the Democrats have done is immense. But the damage liberals do the longer they beg Obama and the Democrats for a few scraps is worse. It is time to walk out on the Democrats. It is time to back alternative third-party candidates and grass-roots movements, no matter how marginal such support may be. If we do not take a stand soon we must prepare for the rise of a frightening protofascist movement, one that is already gaining huge ground among the permanently unemployed, a frightened middle class and frustrated low-wage workers. We are, even more than Glenn Beck or tea-party protesters, responsible for the gusts fanning the flames of right-wing revolt because we have failed to articulate a credible alternative.
A shift to the Green Party, McKinney and Nader, along with genuine grass-roots movements, will not be a quick fix. It will require years in the wilderness. We will again be told by the Democrats that the least-worse candidate they select for office is better than the Republican troll trotted out as an alternative. We will be bombarded with slick commercials about hope and change and spoken to in a cloying feel-your-pain language. We will be made afraid. But if we again acquiesce we will be reduced to sad and pathetic footnotes in our accelerating transformation from a democracy to a totalitarian corporate state. Isolation and ridicule-ask Nader or McKinney-is the cost of defying power, speaking truth and building movements. Anger at injustice, as Martin Luther King wrote, is the political expression of love. And it is vital that this anger become our own. We have historical precedents to fall back upon.
“Here in the United States, at the beginning of the twentieth century, before there was a Soviet Union to spoil it, you see, socialism had a good name,” the late historian and activist Howard Zinn said in a lecture a year ago at Binghamton University. “Millions of people in the United States read socialist newspapers. They elected socialist members of Congress and socialist members of state legislatures. You know, there were like fourteen socialist chapters in Oklahoma. Really. I mean, you know, socialism-who stood for socialism? Eugene Debs, Helen Keller, Emma Goldman, Clarence Darrow, Jack London, Upton Sinclair. Yeah, socialism had a good name. It needs to be restored.”
Social change does not come through voting. It is delivered through activism, organizing and mobilization that empower groups to confront the hegemony of the corporate state and the power elite. The longer socialism is identified with the corporatist policies of the Democratic Party, the longer we allow the right wing to tag Obama as a socialist, the more absurd and ineffectual we become. The right-wing mantra of “Obama the socialist,” repeated a few days ago to a room full of Georgia Republicans, by Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. speaker of the House, is discrediting socialism itself. Gingrich, who looks set to run for president, called Obama the “most radical president” the country had seen in decades. “By any standard of government control of the economy, he is a socialist,” Gingrich said. If only the critique were true.
The hypocrisy and ineptitude of the Democrats become, in the eyes of the wider public, the hypocrisy and ineptitude of the liberal class. We can continue to tie our own hands and bind our own feet or we can break free, endure the inevitable opprobrium, and fight back. This means refusing to support the Democrats. It means undertaking the laborious work of building a viable socialist movement. It is the only alternative left to save our embattled open society. We can begin by sending a message to the Green Party, McKinney and Nader. Let them know they are no longer alone.
This is the most accurate critique of the liberal left I have seen in a while.
The only thing I would disagree with is that I don’t think the left needs Nader and McKinney. We need fresh faces or, old faces with a fresh set of balls. I also don’t think, based on what evidence I have seen, that Joe Stack was a “protofascist” or even a right winger.
But I really don’t care about any of that. The main thing I wanted to convey by posting this is my agreement that the liberal left is a bunch of pussies.
And coupled with this acute analysis from Idleworm, utterly impotent ones at that:
We’re happiest with feeble gestures of pseudo-solidarity that require no effort and cost nothing.
That sums up my attitude to most of the so-called political protests/activisim that people engage in today. Here’s a list of meaningless actions that waste so much of our time:
* T-shirts with slogans.
* Car bumper stickers.
* Online petitions.
* Email your congressman/MP/TD, etc.
* “Text us with your views! Have your say!” to your favourite TV show.
* Marches with papier mache effigies.
* Adding taglines to your Facebook/Twitter page.
* Wailing on internet forums/comment pages on newspaper articles.
* BLOG POSTS. Ahem.
All ineffectual – a near total waste of time. You invest almost no energy – therefore your results will be proportional. Allowing for entropy, you’ll actually get back a little LESS energy than you invested. Don’t be upset when your ritual email of outrage to your politician produces a ritual form letter. You pretend to be outraged (OUTRAGED, BY GOD!), and they pretend to give a shit. As in the old Soviet Union – “We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us”.
It’s an exquisite system – but don’t kid yourself that you’re “making a difference”. Real systemic change (as opposed to the illusion of change promised by Obama) will require real effort and real sacrifice. It’s unlikely that our cartoon culture is going to volunteer for such an effort.
How many of the people griping about the bank bailouts have taken the next logical step and removed their money from the banks? Some have, for sure, but I imagine it’s a very small minority.
Of course, if enough people did it (as I did, back in 06/7), the entire economic system would collapse. Of course, this doesn’t happen. It’s much easier to bitch and moan – and do nothing.
But we care. We really, really do.
Both of these commentaries really sum up where the liberal and progressive online “movements” are today: Nowhere.
The Netroots died with Howard Dean’s candidacy for president. Now, it’s mostly spam and a bunch of internet addicts arguing endlessly past each other, then clicking refresh to see themselves in the online mirror.
There’s a great scene in Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen where the Baron and his crew get swallowed up in the belly of a fish, wherein they proceed to settle in to a long game of cards and a slow determined death.
This is our Netroots. (Not to be confused with Netroots Nation which is nothing but a showcase for the same elitist, establishmentarian turds who’ve screwed everything up to recruit new little turds to their ranks. An army of Kos’s and Ezra Kleins to keep the left even more docile than it already is.)
But it’s actually worse than all that. Evidence is starting to show that what we’ve been calling the Netroots is really, for most people, just a common internet addiction. It’s going nowhere. Just a constant stream of hormonal rushes from having your buttons pushed.
I figured out long ago that Kos, being the little sleazebag that he is, has been taking advantage of the addictive nature of the internet to keep his page hit numbers up. That’s why the trusted user status is revoked, not just when you say something a lot of Demofascists find objectionable. It is revoked when you don’t visit enough or just go away for a couple weeks.
Apparently, trusted user status at Daily Kos has as much to do with quantity as quality. But what it really has to do with is an incentive to keep the addiction alive. (This is called a “hook” in industry jargon.)
Watch the recent Frontline Digital Nation and see if you don’t recognize some patterns.
My point of all this is that this model, the Daily Kos community model we’ve all been attached to isn’t working. It has become a long slow death. A game of cards. A nightly game of bingo.
A big stir will erupt every so often, and then it will die down. Then that process will repeat. But the power of the Netroots community model to inspire, inform, enrage and motivate is coupled with the power to immobilize and lethargize. Instead of being a call to action, it is almost always a call to… keep clicking. (Yes, I know YOU are the exception. You always are.)
The reality is, the power of the Netroots has more to do with neurochemistry than it does with political activism. Just surfing for the next high, endorphin high, anger high, ego high. Maybe it’s the next Cheney outrage or Teabagger outrage. Maybe it’s the next Obama or Rahm Emmanuel outrage. Anything that confirms our world view and sense of rightness. That is the addictive thrill of the political netroots.
This isn’t a movement. It’s a standstill. A sitstill more accurately.
Hedges fails to comprehend, or at least he doesn’t mention it, that the Tea Party movement is not real. It was a deliberate campaign to channel the outrage over the financial coup into anger towards the left.
It was ingenuous and worked like a charm. Instead of rioters in the streets over the banker heist and Washington mafia “bailout”, a well orchestrated campaign actually converted that into a fake movement against “taxes” and “socialism.”
What it was really designed to do was to keep the left from revolting. That and their trojan horse Obama managed to, once again, turn the liberal left into a bunch of whining pussies.
Did you know there were major protests scheduled for the same week that the first Tea Party rally was scheduled. But the left sponsored rally fizzled in the hubbub of the Fox and NBC promoted Tea Party rally.
They caved like the little cowards they are. And they allowed a staged, astroturf event to trump a real grass roots movement.