[Marxism] Obamamania and taking Chomsky and co. off their high horse
Dbachmozart at aol.com
Dbachmozart at aol.com
Mon Dec 1 08:29:50 MST 2008
Chomsky is agreeable to supporting an alternative to the two factions of the
US ruling class as long as that alternative is viable. Absent that, he's
willing to lend his immense prestige to strengthening the most crippling
illusion facing the US left - that the Democrats are the lesser evil and are thus
worth supporting. But just how will that alternative arise? Will it start out
with 20 - 30% support in the polls or will it, at first have much less support?
As Peter Camejo used to say, "how many terrible things does the Democratic
Party have to do before people say 'enough'?" Just when will it be permissible
for those on the left who clearly see the role and history of the DP, to
actually oppose them and propose an alternative? Nader, for all his
shortcomings dared to take that step years ago and has caught hell for it ever since
from the "progressive" left (including if I'm not mistaken, the Left Business
Observer's own Doug Henwood, another supporter "without illusions" of Kerry).
Chomsky, for all his excellent analytical abilities and great courage over the
decades speaking out against the crimes of the Empire, has shrunk from it.
He, Zinn, Henwood and co. gave the Democrats a major assist in '04 when they
supported Kerry. Many antiwar people who were uncomfortable about supporting
someone who was quite proud of voting in favor of a US President's right to
start a pre-emptive war, were won over. "If Noam Chomsky was supporting Kerry,
that's good enough for me."
On the question of how to take on Obamamania - at this point Obama has
strong support from the great majority of Americans who are so thrilled and
relieved that Bush/Cheney will be leaving, that they're not paying attention to
Obama's history, his Cabinet selections or our criticisms, no matter how loud
and shrill they are. Attacking him head on as a betrayer of promises (that he
never really made) would cause the people who we are trying to win over to say
- "give the guy a chance; he hasn't even taken the oath yet". What we can do
is urge his followers to petition him to undo the eight years of Bush/Cheney.
As a former law professor, who better than he would understand the scope of
the outgoing administration's violations of international and US law and the
breaking of his oath to uphold the Constitution? Certainly a law professor
understands the necessity for filing charges and putting on trial all those,
including lawyers and the complicit media suspected of breaking the law. In a
democracy, "no one is above the law" - doesn't Obama agree, or will he sweep
it all under the rug in the name of bipartisanship? Don't we teach our
children that there are consequences to misbehavior? If left unpunished, don't
these crimes serve as a precedent for future presidents, much like the Democrats'
letting Reagan and Bush Sr. off the hook with Iran-Contra provided
Bush/Cheney with a precedent?
We should ask Obama's supporters to
call on him to apologize for war based on lies, withdraw totally from Iraq
and Afghanistan, and help rebuild those countries;
officially pledge to cease torture by any name, including "enhanced
interrogation techniques" and prosecute all those responsible, especially the
begin dismantling the 800 US military bases around the world and use the
money to rebuild the US infrastructure;
etc, etc, etc.
Our approach - as if we are an organized political force and not a bunch of
disparate graying 60s radicals - should be to act like a small gear turning a
much larger one - Obama's leftist supporters. We are not strong enough to
take Obamamania on directly, but we can make reasonable demands on his
supporters to do that for us. "If he actually accomplishes some of these moves, we're
willing to admit that we may have been wrong about him". If and when he
refuses, our credibility is enhanced, and those who did not want to listen to our
critique may now open their minds a little more, provided we don't have a
condescending "we told you so" attitude.
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