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What happened (and what’s next) for the Left and the Peace Movement?

I have been stewing on this dilemma for months. Feeling like no one is holding any demonstrations, or even doing anything for peace but a few quiet rituals and some symbolic forums and such. Where is the action?

I stumbled upon a blog post at Confluence (via my friends at Third Estate Sunday Review) which articulates some of my worries and suggests the solution I have been long for: reflection.

It is a much longer post about a lot of other things. And, I don’t agree with the analysis of the Dem primary. But, still, very useful thoughts:

(excerpt from) the blog The Confluence
Not so fast with the primaries, Atrios

Posted on June 13, 2009 by riverdaughter

…The left is suffering from a moral sickness.  It wanted an outcome so badly that it was willing to sacrifice its own personality and principles to get it.  That sickness happened through clever psychological manipulation and unethical behavior on the part of the Obama campaign and its backers.  It is deeply rooted in the Democratic Party right now.  That party no longer has a foundation built on the working class.  It no longer stands for social justice.  It serves a new master now.

The left has been torn in half.  Our institutions have been bought off.  Congress doesn’t have to be accountable to us anymore because they were able to keep their seats by undermining us.  And the media, who Big Tent Democrat was content to let have its way, has become stronger than ever because the one candidate who was capable of neutralizing them by virtue of winning in spite of them, was stabbed in the back by her own party. At this point in time, it doesn’t matter if we all share the same values.  We are toothless.

The only way to get back on the right track as a movement is to take a good look at how we got to this spot.  It is going to be painful for many of us.  It requires a sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Now is not the time for apologies.  Now is the time for unearthing the truth and for reflection.  It is time for us to achieve what the Greeks called sophrosyne.  That is, “moral sanity and from there self control or moderation guided by true self-knowledge”.  In Greek tragedies, the lesson was only cathartic if the protagonist came to this understanding.

What has happened to us has been truly tragic.  But we can’t fix it by pushing it under a rock and moving on.  We need to face it and deal with it so we can stop getting played…

3 Responses

  1. As a blogger on the other end of the spectrum, if I may add my 2 cents:

    1st: Politicians lie, you stand for principals that they exploit to get elected. They played you like a fiddle.

    2nd: We can’t just up and leave Afghanistan and Iraq. Cut and run would have destroyed those countries. We have treaty commitments with over 10 other countries around the world. That is why soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are over there. (The Korean war is not over, we have just been taking a long pause).
    Read up on the world situation, don’t just protest. You think Iraq and Afghanistan are bad? Wait till Iran gets the bomb, North Korean goes crazy and China fights over the Sprately islands.

    3rd: Respect those soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. We chose to do this. Stop the hate. You want to help? Donate to charities that help soldiers with families, donate phone cards for deployed soldiers etc. IVAW and VoteVets have been overrun with phony wannbe “vets”, dump them.

    4th: Peacefull protests and lobbying, get the politician’s attention by calling in and writing to them. The NRA does not do street theater, they have their members write to their congressmen.

  2. Chockblock –

    It is interesting. I agree with a lot of what you say. And, vehemently disagree with other stuff.

    Yes, the politicians had “the Left” and progressive Democrats wrapped around their fingers, and mislead them in the election. I remember going to the Huntington Fall Festival and seeing a teenager with a t-shirt that said Obama and had a big peace sign. But, Obama NEVER said he was for peace. He always planned a surge in Afghanistan, and a long withdrawal process in Iraq.

    I think it is ironic you posture that you support vets, but say the IVAW has been overrun with “phony” vets. I know that IVAW are genuine vets. And, how can you deny them their voice and right to express. The IVAW does allow non-vets in to help, and acknowledges the difference. But, that does not take away the status of the vets for peace.

    Also, you seem to be directing peace activists and the Left to respect veterans and soldiers as if we do not. That is not the case. The peace movement was loud in shutting down the old Walter Reed, and making sure wounded veterans were cared for. Many of the peace activities here are vigils where we honor the names of the soldiers who died in the war. So, you are just wrong if you believe that the peace movement does not honor the soldiers and vets.

    Thanks for the dialogue.

    Kimberly Wilder

  3. There have been numerous cases where phony vets belonging to IVAW and votevets have been outed.

    Walter Reed was broken by service members, thanks for the help, but similar problems across the country had to be fixed by service members.

    Why the anger at recruitment centers?

    Why no outrage over the VA disability system? Why don’t more peace groups run more real vets? Some of the biggest pacifists are ex-military. Having seen the elephant, they know.

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