Grass-roots organizing, the hard work of building movements, can be grueling. Pay is often low or nonexistent. Success is never assured. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But it doesn’t bend itself. Right now, under some of the most repressive circumstances that exist in the United States, a national movement is growing for prisoners’ rights. The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population and almost 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.
In the current weekend edition of Counterpunch, a writer named Andre Vltchek begins an article entitled “Failures of the Western Left” starts with this sentence; “It is tough to fight any real war. And it takes true guts, discipline and determination to win it.” I would add that it also takes a willingness to accept casualties, to be a casualty, to be willing to put one’s life on the line, to accept being killed if doing so is part of furthering the cause for which you are fighting.
That’s what the “Western Left” lacks – I know I do. I did 3 years in the Army as the Vietnam War was peaking December '65 to December '68 and lucked out and managed to meet my drafty “obligation to serve” stateside, was never personally in danger. I heard the tales the returnees were telling and had been “against the war” when I enlisted to avoid being drafted, trading off an extra year I hopes of getting a better MOS (Military Occupational Specialty, your Army job title) that could give me a better chance of not being shot at, of having to kill it be killed. Anyone who doesn’t understand how anyone who was against the war could join the Army – you had to be there then. I always told myself that if I got orders to go to Nam I’d go AWOL but I do not know if I would have had the guts to go.
They talk about military “sacrifice” and that’s a term that, while mocked by some Left Talking Writers, but that’s what it takes to have the “true guts, discipline and determination to win” that Mr. Vltchek’s article talks about takes. The Viet Cong had that, the suicidally bombing Islamic militants have that. I don’t know about the high tech pilots and drone steering Western Establishment enforcers of the unstable status quo.
A nonviolent fight in the tradition of Gandhi, whose birthday is about here, or Dr. Martin Luther King does not mean there will be no violence – both Gandhi and King were shot to death, after all. Their way meant accepting the violence and not answering back with the same no matter how tempting that might be, how fierce the feeling is that “you do that to me and mine I’ll do it back to you only worse” might be, laying your life on the line without taking anyone else’s.
The “Western Left” seems to believe that if one thinks Left, talks Left, writes Left, and hits the streets in large numbers to let the “elites” know how how many people don’t like or agree with what’s going on, that this way there can be gain without pain other than some high profile jail time by “Left Leaders” whose names have made the media.
I feel that way. I don’t want to risk injury or death by going up against people with depleted uranium bullets, tactical nuclear weapons, with a willingness to self righteously kill to stop the defiance by “fools” who just “don’t understand” why all this exceptionalist war and exploitation are “necessary and virtuous.”
I have no idea how the Left could go about “agitating” for change without taking unacceptably painful terminal casualties. The only think I’ve thought of is to out creatively communicate them, and that idea, which I have put out here and other posting sites, has never aroused any interest,
The last sentence of Mr. Vltchek’s article says this: “we will become an irrelevant laughingstock, and history will and should judge us harshly!” My sense of things is that the way things are going, unless someone can come up with a safe way to get change going that starts soon and that doesn’t manage to make things worse, there won’t be anyone left to write a judgmental history of this deadly new “new normal”.
Being sincere shouldn’t cause one to become forlorn in the bargain.
And taking casualties is unnecessary in the war being fought and should never be considered as an option. The military trains that option into its recruits because they want them to kill or be killed. That’s ruthless and unacceptable thinking in a civil society.
In the Art of War it is repeated endlessly that overwhelming numbers always defeats power.
The 99% has those overwhelming numbers when measured against the 1%.
If nobody worked, what would get done?
Say for a week?
A national strike would indeed be a great way to demonstrate disapproval of what the 1%ers are doing. I don’t see the “massive numbers” being anywhere near ready for anything like that, the fact that Donsld Trump is doing as well as he is despite all the ex presidente being against him seem to make me doubt that a national strike is on the verge of happening. If someone were to attempt to publicly try to call for such a thing, I think would get treated in ways that would make what Snowden, Manning, and Assange got done seem like easy get-offs. The PTB have proved conclusively that murder by assignation by drones or graduates of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation is nowhere near off the the table, that or turning then into deceparacedos.
But I shall try to keep my forlornitude in check, my hopes up, and retain an awareness that I might be wrong (a not unprecedented occurrence in my now long life) and things may not be as bad as I thinh.
The decline of Free Speech TV.
Thom Hartmann has a personal vendetta against Jill Stein.
Stephanie Miller is a third-rate comedian and a political hack doing Hillary’s work.
Bill Press simply won’t accept that his time has come and gone and continues to sing the praises of the corrupt Democrats.
And so it goes on Free Speech TV this election year.
Just curious about the basis for that statement. I’ve been listening to Jill Stein’s sideline debate on Democracy Now, moderated by Amy Goodman, which seems contrary to what you are saying…?
Because in the bizarro world of online politics, criticizing the walking catastrophe that is Donald Trump is paramount to shilling for Clinton the Anti-Christ. Never mind that Stein was just featured prominently on DN.
So evidently has everyone who should know better. Unfortunately, the more people who go on a panicky stampede to the Hillary Support Stage, now boarding and getting ready to hightail it to the edge of The Newest Frontier, the better it looks for Trump. I think a lot of my fellow Americans who are still living on the stateside of the the Homeland dislike the feeling of being railroaded by a runaway consensus that’s being insistently advertised at them with a “get with the program now before it’s too late” message style.
It is a true shame that Jill Stein and The Green Party got so completely frozen out of mainstream medialand. The moguls only let Libertarian Gary talk on camera until they were sure that he didn’t know excrement about the world and would give his game away by proving conclusively that, while he’s an unassuming seeming nice guy, but far too inane have what it takes to rule the collapsing roost.
It’s probably too late for Jill Stein and the Greens to show that there is something good there that could be of help to the US if she could have gotten a foot in that thoroughly locked slammed shut door. From Jan. 2017 through whatever comes between then and the scheduled start of the 2020 campaign season, will people be wearing “Don’t Blame Me, I Backed Jill Stein” buttons? Sadly, that will let none of them or any of us off the at fault hook. It won’t help to yell “I’m not to blame, I voted and lived right!”