Unfinished business, an alternative political movement
No one has been where we are before, but forty years ago we were somewhere very similar. For some of us the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and all that culturally stuff that came out of the bottle in the 1960’s is learned from the history books. For others it is our personal past. For me it was my childhood.
It was time for a change, and in some ways things did change a lot.
People felt that things were going to move forwards in our county. We were going to have a new society. One that put race and sex discrimination into the past. One that would be dedicated to personal freedoms, civil rights, democracy, peace, modernism and the environment.
And then American society took a great leap backwards under Ronald Regan. We have been moving backwards ever since. For me the symbol of the Regan era was taking the solar cells off the roof of the White House. Their dedication to vengeance on all social progress was so deep that we were led from there to failing implement the metric system. The symbol of Barak Obama is that he can barely even get those outdated solar cells back on the roof and keeps the torture center open in Guantanamo.
So what happened to the big movements of the 60’s? Why did the considerable American Left and trade unions not put the breaks on this kind of foolishness? Why was the press free to play cheerleader to the corporate free-for-all and the triumph of the military industrial complex over all forms of decency and common sense?
Well for all our fanciful thinking and big ideas back in the 1960’s and 1970’s we somehow felt that things had to change so much that we were above doing boring things like build an alternative political party. When the moment came, progressive, left leaning America had built nothing independent of big money politics so we had to settle for what the market offered us from the Democrats.
The Democrats never offered much more than being not as bad (theoretically) as the shock jocks. Not only did they not stand up for principals when participating in vote marketing and infotainment, the Democrats had their hands in the dirt. From Clinton with his National Guard helping the Contras in Honduras and doing a job on the poorest with a welfare “reform” to the Obama continuation of the Bush tax cuts and financial bailout and running a coup in Honduras, disappointing is too generous of a word. The Democrats are part of Big Money running America as much as their dance partners, The Republicans.
All through this time we have been told by “leaders of the left” that we need to be practical and do what we can by voting for Democrats and not “spoiling” elections in our rotten pseudo democracy. Year after year things have just continued to slide to the logic of the “free market” and globalization, the logic of collective punishment of the poor, and the logic of endless imperial wars.
And here we are in the 21st century without an American political party of the left. The Occupy Movement has shown that we are starting nearly from scratch. I know that most Democrats are still whining and blaming all their problems on Ralph Nader who at one point said that there was not a dime’s worth of difference between the two official parties. W tried to prove him wrong and Obama has proved him right. Our next election will be between a RINO and a DINO (Democrat or Republican in name only, as if their names had any value)
And us Greens? Our proposal is to participate in democracy with a party that is FREE OF CORPORATE MONEY, in favor of national health and social welfare and opposed to the prison-industrial complex and the endless war doctrine. I could go on, we have 10 core values and that gives us ten more than the democrats.
Just saying ….