Sunday, October 20, 2013

Descredited Power

  remind people that it shows a real loss of perspective to highlight only a leader and movement’s errors and forget its important successes, such as those derived from Ch├ívez’s taking power in the first place (at a time when that idea was somewhat discredited on the left),
From Chavez's Way of Doing Politics, by Chris Gilbert

I highlight that quote from this article for the second part of the quote.  That Hugo Chaviez achieved a position of power while 'that idea was somewhat discredited on the left'.  Since then, much has changed in the region, with left-leaning leaders also achieving power in Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay and other places.  The region is labeled as a 'resurgance of the left'.

Meanwhile, back in America, the idea of actually taking power remains more than somewhat discredited on the left.  Perusing the comments allowed up on left-leaning websites and articles, one hears a constant theme that voting doesn't matter and that all politicians are corrupt.  This leads to an American left that very rarely seems to even mount a campaign.  In 2012, there was no primary challenge to a pro-war, pro-banker Democratic President who can best be described as a moderate conservative, if not described as Dubya's third term.

Yet, no one in the Democratic party ran against him, and Rosanne Barr was as credible as any other leftwing independent candidate in the general election.

And you see the same pattern in lower level elections.  I live in the highly progressive city of Denver.  There have been 2, count them 2, decent statewide leftwing challenges in the 10+ years that I've lived here.  My representative in Congress is yet another pro-war, pro-banker, millionaire lawyer's wife who is never challenged in primaries and who's Green Party opposition treated his campaign as a joke.  When he paid any attention to it at all.

An reasonable question of logic is to ask "Cui bono?", which is of course Latin for "Who Benefits?"  When the left disappears from the electoral landscape, when there's not a bonifide grassroots progressive campaign in sight, much less a party or a movement, then 'cui bono?'

In the words of Illinois Senator Durbin, 'the bankers own the place'.  Corporate regulation and penalties are almost non-existent.  Corruption appears to be rampant, and I'm referring to the now legalised corruption where payments in the form of campaign contributions are answered by favorable votes and policies. If you want ROI (Return on Investment) in the range of thousands of percent, buying a politician is the best investment you can make. 

Meanwhile, the militarization of our police and the growth of a domestic police state runs rampant.  We are sliding down a slope where we are constantly told that we have to give up one right after another.  When I grew up, a DUI checkpoint was considered unconstitutional.  Now we see the police put entire intersections and neighborhoods on 'lockdown' and consider everyone there a suspect. 

Even when there are rules that are supposed to limit the government and protect our liberty, the government routinely ignores them.  The NSA has been caught in illegal spying on Americans.  This is ignored and nothing happens.  The NSA director openly lies to Congress while under oath at a hearing, and that is ignored and nothing happens. 

Then there is of course our national policy of continuous war abroad.  We've been told for 12 straight years that we are at war.  With no sign of it ending soon.  Since the enemy remains poorly defined, there's no real end in sight.  If the original Al Qaida seems to decline, we'll just shift the war to some other group who is usually happy to accept the role from the recruiting edge it gives them amongst their people.  One thing that 12 years of war has created is that almost every where in the world, anyone who stands up to America is locally a popular hero.

So, a question to the American Left .... how's this working for you?  While you've been off building community gardens, while you've been holding fake protests designed to be ineffectual, while you've been lazily supporting the Democrats as the lessor-evil to the image of the evil Republicans, what's been happening in the world around. you?  Are things getting better or does it seem that everything is getting worse? 

In America, it seems clear that the withdrawal of the American left from the battlefield of politics has been a disaster.  We've been steadily going backwards as a nation.  The trend seems to be accelerating.  And in addition to the old dogmas that argued to ignore politics, you can now add an genuine appreciation that perhaps we are already sliding too fast and too far down the slippery slope to make it even worth trying.

In South America, a renegade paratroop commander ignored the popular wisdom of the left and achieved power.  By doing so, he improved the lives of the majority of people in his country.  He build a political movement that survives his death, and he's sparked a series of other leftist victories across the region.

I wonder what would happen if the American left ever woke up and realized that in order to change anything, you have to first achieve a position of power?