America is ground zero in the struggle for the future of humanity. We must fight the good fight here, if only to support our brothers and sisters standing up for humanity everywhere else in the world, and most often struggling against the minions of the american empire.
But the Left in America has lost its way. Nowadays, being Left in America apparently means a dizzying variety of things, but mainly it means one thing and one thing only: hating the Right. Being Left/Progressive has devolved to tribalism. My clan against your clan. We wear earth colors and you wear bad suits and bad leisure clothes. We root for ‘humanitarian’ wars and you root for wars ‘for democracy’.
What’s worse, much that the Left in America achieved over the past century, or seemed to achieve, has been lost and STILL not even the most grizzled leaders on the Left will admit that there is even a problem! How can the Left return to relevance, when we won’t even admit that there is a problem? That not just the present, but the future as well, have been wrapped up, codified, surveilled and controlled by the oligarchic rule we have struggled against for so long?
Perhaps, on some level, the war on Libya has touched off what could be salutary crisis for the Left. Perhaps many lefties are asking themselves whether being Left should ever be compatible with providing propaganda cover for the lastest imperial war, and asking what it says about the Left that things have taken this bizarre turn.
Those of us who think that any Left which provides propaganda for an imperial war is no ‘Left’ at all, should consider two seemingly contradictory propositions, moving forward. On one hand, we must begin to tear down the wall between Left and Right, attacking ‘the false Left Right paradigm’. Counterpunch, it seems, has recently jumped into this movement from the Left side. On friday Counterpunch published this eloquent nutshell:
How Obama and Trump Imprison Voters
By SAM HUSSEINI
The Democratic establishment has relentlessly penned in Principled Progressives while the Republican establishment has continuously made captives out of Conscientious Conservatives.
This is particularly tragic because most Principled Progressives and Conscientious Conservatives agree on so much…
• Foreign policy: Cutting the military budget, ending the U.S.’s wars, dismantling the network of military bases around the globe, stopping support for tyrannical governments like Saudi Arabia, ending support of Israel’s aggressions and occupations.
• Economy: Stopping the Wall Street bailouts, ending the Federal Reserve, curtailing runaway corporate power and corporate welfare, ending trade deals like NAFTA that obliterate jobs in the U.S. while impoverishing many in other countries, challenging the IMF and WTO.
• Freedom Agenda: Ending the so-called “Patriot” Act, stopping government use of secret “evidence” to prosecute individuals, insisting on accountability for torture and illegal detentions and renditions, stopping government spying on citizens, ending the drug war and the mass imprisonment that causes, and challenging the media establishment while enhancing solutions like local low power radio and net neutrality.
What we need is the meaningful emergence of a New Center based on principle and conscience. Will there be disagreements? Yes, but with work, they will be honest ones, not endless political hackery.
It’s time for us to remember that Divide And Conquer is the single most important tactic/strategy of the oligarchic ‘center’. It’s crucial for them to keep principled Lefties and principled Righties from seeing how much they have in common. The oligarchic ‘center’ knows that most Americans feel betrayed and unrepresented by their government. They know that most Americans identify towards the Right while leaning towards the Left. They know that there is a giant, powerful, progressive and humane populist movement waiting to happen in America, if folks could just see it. They know that a unified Left/Right movement could open a lot of eyes, remove a lot of blinders, could give people a renewed sense of hope and power.
So, in one way, we need to be more open-minded about whom we are willing to consider bonding with politically. But there is a contradictory principle we need to put into play. We need to be far more discriminating about whom we validate collectively as belonging to the Left/Progressive movement. Bluntly put, we have to have some litmus tests. If you rationalize torture, then no, you cannot belong to our movement. If you support imperial wars and imperial policies, then no, you cannot belong. If you favor free trade over fair trade, then the answer is no. If you fail to challenge oppressive US policies in US allies such as Bahrain, Israel, Colombia and Mexico, then no. If you don’t oppose the encroaching police state, then no. If you support the drug wars and the prison industrial complex, then no. And so on. Reaching out to the principled Right makes it even MORE important that we stand for something, as the Left.
If we are to be open to the principled Right, even to link ourselves politically with ‘Conscientious Conservatives’, then the challenges ahead are great. There may be many issues where we already see eye to eye, but there are many where we do not. Right wing hatred for the ‘nanny state’ and opposition to socialist political principles is unacceptable to the Left. But if we can clarify our principles, deepening our understanding of them, reformulating them in the context of a new era, we may be able to find folks on the Right who are interested in doing the same, and working together we may be able to develop a unified political philosophy that transcends our differences. The challenge promises to be very hard, but the prize is the very future of humanity.
It’s time to seek a coherent, convincing and humane vision for the future of humanity that can unify the principled Left and the principled Right.
As he so often does, Chris Floyd articulates the agony facing Lefties and Progressives who may have seen Barack Obama as the last great hope of the Democratic Coalition:
Annals of a Golden Age: Peace Laureate Surpasses Reagan in Killing Gadafy Kin
O how wonderful it is to live in such an enlightened age! Just think: not long ago, the U.S. government was seen as little more than a vast war machine — brutal, murderous, inhumane, bent on global domination. Yet now, by some marvelous, miraculous twist of fate, that same government is being led by a Nobel Peace Prize laureate! … In what way was the Laureate in the White House advancing the vision and practice of peace? Why, he was murdering children in a “targeted assassination,” of course! He was escalating an increasingly savage “regime change” operation in blatant contradiction to the UN mandate supposedly governing the latest of his escalations and surges around the world.??…?With this great act of peace, Obama surpassed one of his favorite presidents, Ronald Reagan, who only managed to kill a single infant adopted daughter of Gadafy back when he was bombing Libya. The Laureate now has four Gadafy family members — and blood members, too! — notched on his gun belt.??This is surely an achievement in which all progressive lovers of peace can take enormous pride.
Now, finally, let us reconsider our affiliations and associations, our commitment to the tribalistic Left/Right paradigm that we have been taught over and over again is the single most important political consideration.