by Martin Murie
(Swans - December 17, 2007) The movement has received heavy criticism. Many of the critics slam the mistakes and glacial progress, but offer little real analysis. I wish liberals and leftists would stop doing this. There are always causes. We need to face up to them, ground them, cheer ourselves up with greater understanding of the huge obstacles faced in this year of 2007.
The big elephant in the room that everyone mentions is excessive reliance and/or ties to the Democratic Party. This criticism is right on the money, but let's go a little deeper. What lies behind the shameful dependence? I'll mention just one factor: fear of the Republicans. They are on a fascist track. Too many of us don't realize that the donkeys are on that same track, "Bush lite." The solution? One big step would be acceptance by all of us in the full light of day that the corporate-government-military alliance can only be conquered by thorough grassroots actions that build a big movement of citizens aroused.
During the Clinton years we slumbered, accepted the no-fly zones in Iraq, bowed to the culture mavens who captured the media's attention and forwarded a "humanitarian" onslaught on Yugoslavia, demonizing the Serbs. Clinton actually went so far as to demand that Milosevic accept NATO troops in all of Yugoslavia. When that demand was rejected the stage was set for NATO, dominated by our president, to move to another bombing war. Clinton was a war hawk from start to finish and Al Gore went along with it. Let us remember, let us not forget, the fury with which Democratic administrations have plunged into war.
Truman: Korean War. Over 50,000 troops slain... It was Kennedy who, when French colonialist forces faced defeat in Vietnam, took from France the mantle of imperial management. Kennedy also sanctioned the training of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Then Johnson, refusing to pull out of Vietnam, turned that war over to Nixon and Kissinger.
The year World War II, as we so blandly named it, ended in Europe we GIs listened to Armed Forces radio tell us about controversies and reservations at the founding of the United Nations conference. I was a naïve twenty-year-old, wondering what the big problem was. We won the war didn't we? And we did it with an alliance with the Soviet Union, a nation that had lost millions of soldiers and civilians in that war. What the hell was going on?
The beginning of the Cold War is credited to Winston Churchill's speech at Fulton, Missouri, but he and Harry Truman, a Democratic president, had already plotted the Cold War course. War in Korea, the opener. We Americans are still in ignorance about the fierce bombing raids all across North Korea, killing untold numbers of civilians, smashing villages and cities.
Building a huge and independent movement of enraged and engaged citizens is the way to not only move democracy out of its infancy, but to force the next administration, whether Democratic or Republican, to stop the insane, tragic, cowardly invading of other nations. Another mistake is still with us, the fact that many peace demonstrators are still hooked on "humanitarian wars" to rescue people in other nations from cruel oppressors, Darfur being the current stalking horse. Diana Johnstone comments on that.
It would certainly be a good thing for democracy and peace to go together. For that, we need to oblige our own democratic countries to make peace with the world. That would make democracy more attractive. For if we really care about political systems in other parts of the world, we should start by recognizing that all we can actually do is to set an example -- above all by imposing a peace policy on our own governments. If we are unable to do that, what is the use of this "democracy"? (Rostam Pourzal interview of Diana Johnstone, in the second week of November, 2007. Published on MRZine, December 5, 2007.)
As we go about building this angry movement we should not be intimidated in our voting. Vote for the honest and forthright person. We need to cure ourselves of this utterly stupid ailment of voting for whoever has a chance to win. Let's stop fretting about "splitting the vote." It's time to get over that itch. Why? Because whoever takes over the reins next time will betray us unless we succeed in building "the other greatest power in the world."
The good news for 2007 is this: peace activists have learned that big demos in Washington, DC, alone will not save us. Sure, let's go there, or other big cities to show the peace doves, and Old Glory too, once in a while. But the real engines in this campaign to save ourselves from oblivion are the small but determined protests mounted everywhere across this land.
So, profiting from what we've learned in 2007, let's bundle up for a winter of protest with fire in the belly to keep us warm.
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