Really, what’s left for OBomba to run on? ‘Forward!’ his campaign slogan hollers, like Ward Bond yelling ‘Wagons, Ho!’ as the Conestoga faithful snap whips at their horse teams and mule teams* and follow The Rock of a Trailmaster to the Promised Land. Ah, California, the Land of Milk and Honey, where you can just pick the food up from the ground to feed your hungry family. ‘The land is so fertile, all ya have to do is stick some seeds in the ground, and watch ‘em grow!’ There might not be quite enough Law and Order there yet, but it’ll come, by crackee!
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or rage at the August 9 piece ‘progressives’ Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Carl Davidson posted at Alternet.org. Glen Ford wrote about their crapitude yesterday, and he’s calling them out:
“Bill Fletcher and Carl Davidson** are two Left opportunists with a problem. Unlike four years ago, when Fletcher co-founded Progressives for Obama, their guy now has a record – and it is indefensible. Solution: nullify the issues right up front in the title to their reworked rationale for backing the Bill of Rights-destroying, Wall Street-protecting, Africa-bombing, regime-changing corporate Democrat. Their August 9 article, “The 2012 Elections Have Little To Do With Obama’s Record … Which Is Why We Are Voting For Him” frames the campaign as a contest between “revenge-seeking” white supremacists and – well…those of us who are not revenge-seeking white supremacists. The facts of the Obama presidency – his actual behavior on war, austerity, and civil liberties – are deemed irrelevant, and the president himself becomes a mere stage prop in the battle against “Caligula,” the Republicans. (my bolds throughout)
After explaining how undemocratic the electoral system is, and describing the victory of the rightwing Southern Strategy of the Republican Party, Davidson and Fletcher proceed to make the tired ‘progressives didn’t make him do it’, meaning uphold heretofore Democratic ideals and policy, FDR programs, though they frame even those as ‘progressive’. They then describe the continually eroding power of the progressive movement, then assert:
“In the absence of a comprehensive electoral strategy, progressive forces fall into one of three cul-de-sacs: (1) ad hoc electoralism, i.e., participating in the election cycle but with no long-term plan other than tailing the Democrats; (2) abandoning electoral politics altogether in favor of modern-day anarcho-syndicalist (my link) ‘pressure politics from below’; or (3) satisfying ourselves with far more limited notions that we can best use the election period in order to ‘expose’ the true nature of the capitalist system in a massive way by attacking all of the mainstream candidates. We think all of these miss the key point.”
Pace to any of you who agree, and espouse the ‘we must be practical on election day’; you will vote your consciences or your fear. Some of you may even agree with the authors that third-party politics at the Presidential level are not only quixotic, but may amount to ‘flag-flying propaganda and serve only to recruit tighter circles of ‘militants’ or whatever. Well, fuck me, I’d hate for them to think I’m militant since I’m going crazy because this administration is selling our futures to the highest bidder; is refusing to prosecute massive amounts of financial crime on Wall Street; crapping on workers; bombing funerals in Afghanistan and Pakistan hoping they’ll kill the next No. 2 Al Qaeda/Taliban, or anyone OBomba deems ‘a militant’, and creating ever more enemies who’d like to take us down, and get us the hell out of their lands.
I’d hate to be thought of as a militant for caring that this President has chosen to void his pledge to uphold our nation’s Constitution with impunity, and is more secretive and punitive against whistle blowers than Bush ever was. Or that his FDA is fast-tracking pharmaceuticals that may be killing us in the name of profit, or fast-tracking secret trade deals in which multinationals will hold all the power, and citizens…can eat shit and die, just like we’re supposed to. Never mind fast-tracking the XL pipeline, or disregarding its own EPA on pollutuants from coal-fired power plants.
But no; we’re supposed to rally to re-elect this President so we can ‘create a space, an arena, to pressure him with ‘progressive interventions’. They want us to vote against the ‘Republican populist irrationalism’ that is the driving force in the Party now, and even mention a few ways OBomba the President didn’t deliver what he’d promised incipiently. But their whole strategy/reasoning is based on the fact that for the ‘irrational’, Obama is the icon for all they loathe, and want to destroy as they espouse political revanchism. (Again, it’s our fault though, for not making him respond to our needs.)
Yes, progressives (whatever that term now means) need to organize better over time, but at this point, it’s no longer a left-right struggle! It’s a class war, and top-bottom instead. Occupiers aren’t all lefties, but they are all people who know that the system is rigged to benefit the wealthy and powerful, and they believe that electoral politics offer false choices between teams that make up the Corporatist Duopoly. The authors whine:
“Crying over this situation or expressing our frustration with Obama is of little help at this point. While we will continue to push for more class struggle approaches in the campaign’s messages, the choice that we actually face in the immediate battle revolves around who would we rather fight after November 2012: Obama or Romney? Under what administration are progressives more likely to have more room to operate? Under what administration is there a better chance of winning improvements in the conditions of the progressive majority of this country? These are the questions that we need to ask. [snip]
We urge all progressives to deal with the reality of this political moment rather than the moment we wish that we were experiencing. In order to engage in politics, we need the organizations to do politics with, organizations that belong to us at the grassroots. That ball is in our court, not Obama’s. In 2008 and its aftermath, too many of us let that ball slip out of our hands, reducing us to sideline critics, reducing our politics to so much café chatter rather than real clout. Let’s not make that mistake again.”
Personally, I think it might just be that Congressional Dems might actually throw a punch or two at Republican attempts to play the table. And we militants sure will organize against them. And I’d submit that ‘making the same mistake again’ would be being frightened into voting for either Corporatist Party…again. Every four years we’re told ‘is the most critical one ever’. Bah.
Glen Ford again:
“The great fallacy, here, is that Democratic presidents in general, and Obama in particular, somehow create “space” for progressive activism. Movements create space for themselves, by acting. Only charlatans preach that progressive movements must install preferred personalities from the menus of the ruling circles before they can find space to move.
The great tragedy of the Obama era, is that his presence has had the effect of shutting down progressive – and, most dramatically, Black – opposition to the prevailing order. This does not happen by the magic of charisma. Political operatives identified with the Left work diligently to maintain such silence – people like Fletcher and Davidson, who are once again guarding the left flank for Obama, whose great legacy has been to create vast political space for Wall Street and the Pentagon, with a minimum of resistance from white progressives, Blacks and the rest of the Democratic base. That’s why we at BAR call Obama the more effective evil.”
Wow; Romney choosing Ryan was sheer genius…for the OBomba campaign. Adding insult to veal-pennery, here are the authors’ bios:
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a racial justice, labor, and international writer and activist. He is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com, the co-author of Solidarity Divided, and the author of the forthcoming “They’re Bankrupting Us”: And Twenty other Myths about Unions.
Carl Davidson is a political organizer, writer and public speaker. He is currently co-chair of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, a board member of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network (I just highlighted the organization in my last post; arrggh.), and a member of Steelworker Associates in Western Pennsylvania. His most recent book is New Paths to Socialism: Essays on the Mondragon Cooperatives, Workplace Democracy and the Politics of Transition.
Sailing into the ocean blue
Trying to find at least one clue
On a paper scrawled
Is this all there is?
And they all came to talk about it
The came to cry and laugh and fight about it
All searching for the promised land
Tired souls with empty hands
Asking to themselves
Is this all there is?
Fifteen years on a sewing machine
Where twisted hands don’t mean a thing
Wondering to herself
Is this all there is?
Baby crying in an old tin cup
Wanting more but there’s never enough
While her mother sighs
Is this all there is?
Stay strong and healthy, share what you can spare with others in your community, and Fight the Machine every way you can!
(cross-posted at kgblogz.com)