Monday, April 25, 2011

Did Obama's Election Kill the Antiwar Movement?

Did Obama's Election Kill the Antiwar Movement?

"As president, Obama has maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan," said Heaney, U-M assistant professor of organizational studies and political science. "The antiwar movement should have been furious at Obama's 'betrayal' and reinvigorated its protest activity.
"Instead, attendance at antiwar rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement have dissipated. The election of Obama appeared to be a demobilizing force on the antiwar movement, even in the face of his pro-war decisions."

Duh, who could have foreseen that having the 'anti-war movement' go out and campaign for the candidate backed by wall street millions, the same candidate who was advocating expanding the military, raising the defense budget and calling the war in Afghanistan the 'right war' and criticizing Bush for not being bloody enough in pursuing it ... who could have foreseen that this would harm the anti-war movement in the long term?

The energies of the anti-war movement were co-opted into electing a very pro-war candidate. Apparently, according to this study, this was fine with many of the participants of the anti-war movement since they were more anti-Republican than anti-war. Supporting a pro-war Democrat and supporting today's Democratic wars is apparently not a problem when the main issue was always that they just hated the Republicans.

And unfortunately, most of today's anti-war rumblings from the Republican side of the fence are likely to be equally ephemeral. Again, the main problem the Republicans probably have with todays wars is that they are run by a Democrat.

And of course, all of this has massively discredited the existing anti-war organizations and leadership. After all, the antiwar organizations that have massively supported this pro-war Democrat and these Democratic wars, by their silence if by no other means, have to be seriously discredited. They complain that donations have dropped. This undoubtably refers to the big corporate Democrat donors who have become less interested in opposing wars in an era of Democratic wars, but for me, I know I laugh when any of these organizations ask me for money now that they revealed themselves to be far more anti-Republican than anti-war.

Me, I'm one of those third party radicals who oppose the war no matter whether its a (R)-war or a (D)-war. All war is abhorrent. Hopefully, more people are joining me. If you are frustrated that your loyalty and votes for Democrats haven't ended these wars, then perhaps its time for you to move on past being a Democrat. And, undoubtably, in the next decade we'll see a similar chance at a learning experience from the Republican side, as the Republicans will eventually regain power, and the supporters of today's outsider Republicans who are complaining about the wars will be equally shocked at how pro-war their heroes and most of their fellow traveling Republicans become when the wars once again become (R)-wars.

Both parties are really pro-war. Both parties will lie about being against war, or against nation-building, or against international entanglements, whenever its convenient for their efforts to gain votes and power. But, neither party opposes war. Neither party has historically. Despite all the Republican rhetoric about the peace-niks in the Democratic party, the Democratic Party was only anti-war for a couple of years around the time of the popular rebellion against the Democratic leadership that marked the McGovern nomination in 1972. The party regulars then soon regained power, and when they did they did two things. They restored the pro-war stance of the Democratic party, and they changed the rules of the Democratic party to try to make sure McGovern never happened again, and that the Democratic party would never be anti-war again.

And oh yeah, back in the 1860's the Democrats were opposed to the US Civil War, mainly because they were the party of the southern slave holders. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any time the Republicans were anti-war. As close as they came was apparently the opposition of people like Lindbergh against the US trying to stop Hitler. Then again, the Republicans of the day hated the three time winner Roosevelt at least as viruntly as modern day Republicans hate Obama. So, maybe that was more of a hate-Roosevelt anti-war movement than the Republicans being totally pro-Hitler. At least one would hope that was the case.

To push an anti-war position in American politics, it is necessary to move beyond the traditional parties. The only place where consistent anti-war positions and candidates can be found is outside the traditional parties.

To all the Obama voters who pretend they were fooled by voting for their openly pro-war, pro-military spending candidate who was backed by millions of wall street dollars, well, don't blame me, I voted for McKinney. There were true anti-war candidates on the ballot last time. Maybe too many to allow for a concentration of effort and votes to see how strong we really. But, Obama was clearly a pro-war choice, and there were anti-war choices on the ballot.

Why is everyone surprised that voting for the pro-war Obama candidate has not worked out well for the anti-war movement?

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