Ten Years and Counting in Afghanistan...
by Willie Hager
Ten Years and counting in Afghanistan, U.S. troops still bogged down in Iraq after eight years, and a country deeply divided politically, ideologically, and now, even religiously, as a result. What a cluster fuck!
How did we get here? Well, it wasn't easy; we had to work at it in order to position ourselves to be right back where we were following the Gingrich Revolution in Congress in the early 80s; it isn't just happenstance that we here we are again, caught up in mix of a retro Gilded Age, and a painful re-emergence of Nixonian forces and money creeping back into the halls and back rooms of our government. Forces who still threaten our Bill of Rights and our Constitution.
I suggest that we are here, back from the future, because we as political and social activists have became complacent and self indulgent following our major victories of the 60s and 70s, to name a just a few; the end of the Vietnam War, the breaking down of racial barriers to voting, and the other civil rights victories of the day, including the end of the Draft, the end of domestic spying and political disruption by the FBI COINTEL Program, the downfall of Nixon, and the imprisoning of some, but not all, of his thugs. We in fact, recovered our Constitution, and re-instated the proper application of the Bill of Rights to our society. For reflection on what I think happened, I make the case for how the left actually became complacent and politically self indulgent in a piece that I wrote in 2005 entitled "The Cracker Swamp Manifesto".
But this discussion has more to do with the future, than with the past. We can't know where we're going, if we don't know where we've been A quick look back for reference at what has worked and what has not is called for, whenever doing any kind of strategical planning for the future, whether it is personal or political. None of what I describe above regarding our foreign policy, and the retaking of congress by the Repugs and NEOCONs could have happened, in my considered opinion, if the left hadn't of become a Babylon of minority interest groups fighting among themselves over political power and money. They sold the power of their all important UNITY in exchange for organizational, political, and cause oriented agendas and political careers that ultimately positioned them into being as ineffective as they were prior to the American social and political revolution of the 60s and 70s, as the "whole" morphed into minority special interest groups of society. The big losers? The American people.
To my way of thinking these groupings became as a whole so distracted and fragmented with politically correct self indulgence, that they lost the hearts and minds of the American people. The very hearts and minds (and votes) that that these groups as a grand and unified coalition of ant-war and social and political justice activists had fought so hard for so many years to win. These fragmented groups, not unlike the Repugs and Neocons, and most recently the Teabaggers, turned their backs on all who disagreed with their particular doctrine, whether it be a racial, political, or religious platform. But most importantly, they turned their backs on the American people in favor of their particular constituencies and careers. This dynamic was the birth of political correctness as we have came know it in our country. Prior to this rebirth, here; political correctness had originally a strategy of Mao's Red Guard in the Great Leap Forward in China.Here,it's re-birth ultimately became the death knell for all of our efforts and successes of the 60s and 70s.
In face of all of the above, it is my considered conclusion that this Administration's current strategies aren't going to change until we as a "movement" change our's. Collective GASP!!! I know, I know, this is politically incorrect thinking. But, it is my critical thinking assessment that the current, and now decades old, strategies of the left must take on a new profile. This has to happen if we are to have any hope of success in saving our nation from it's second post modern political Dark Age and the continued decline of the age of free thinking, free speech, and Constitutional democracy.
Here in the 21st century we need to develop our own strategies that are more pragmatic in their direction and application. That is not to say that militancy, fiery rhetoric, and occasionally manning of the barricades, is not critical to this process; it is to say that our militancy has to be more pragmatic than symbolic, our rhetoric based in empirical thinking and objective truth, as well as documentable evidence of that truth. It needs to incorporate clearly defined and realistically achievable demands and goals. Most importantly, it must appeal to more than those of one's particular organization, race, religion, ideology, and/or political party affiliation. it must be designed to democratically find the core issues that are common to all of us and rally around them in unity of purpose, and leave the ideological, racial, organizational, religious, and personal differences at the door. The keys to success in my paradigm are Unity of Purpose and Mission Focus
We are after all, all in this together; and we cannot succeed without mutual support, and the support and votes of the American people, who, as evidenced by history, we are potentially able to educate to the truth of our anti-war social justice agenda, and how it applies to them as individuals, and as citizens. To my way of thinking, in today's world this is best achieved by speaking with them, rather that at them. They must want to join with us and take action, not be verbally bludgeoned or shamed into it. So it is our responsibility to sort out what they agree with us on, and what they disagree with us on, and act accordingly in incorporating their energy and votes into our struggle.
My other other major consideration is the diminished impact of "mass" demonstrations and rallies in Washington D.C., where we all go occasionally to "confront" the powers that be on their home turf, and get ourselves arrested , or rather; arrange with the police to let ourselves be arrested, celebrities and authors first, in hope that someone out there in the hinterland will see how truly oppressive our government is to those who dare to speak truth to power, in spite of the fact that the buildings we are confronting are empty, and the mainstream media is in conspicuous absence. It's Kabuki Theater rather than Guerrilla Theater to me, and in spite of it's repetitiveness nothing ever seems to come out of it, except some great photos and action reports on the underground internet activist blogs, and in the foreign press.
I can only conclude that the government actually welcomes this activity anymore, since they are much more equipped to deal with then they were, forty years ago. They send everyone home for the day so that they can't be accessed or confronted by the revolutionary forces in the street. They reinforce the police ranks with crowd control trained riot police and ariel surveillance, and everyone gets overtime. Then theythey work closely with civil disobedience organizers