[Marxism] A Crushing Defeat for Dems Beyond What Numbers Show
joshsaxe at gmail.com
Wed Nov 3 15:07:41 MST 2004
Podur, from Z Net, wrote in a featured article today:
"It looks like voters in a dozen states decided to ban gay marriage,
by huge margins, deciding to ruin other people's lives with no benefit
That means that it is time to admit something. The greatest divide in
the world today is not between the US elite and its people, or the US
elite and the people of the world. It is between the US people and the
rest of the world. The first time around, George W Bush was not
elected. When the United States planted cluster bombs all over
Afghanistan, disrupted the aid effort there, killed thousands of
people, and occupied the country, it could be interpreted as the
actions of a rogue group who had stolen the elections and used
terrorism as a pretext to wage war. When the United States invaded
Iraq, killing 100,000 at the latest count, it could be argued that no
one had really asked the American people about it and that the
American people had been lied to. When the United States kidnapped
Haiti's president and installed a paramilitary dictatorship, it could
be argued that these were the actions of an unelected group with
contempt for democracy.
With this election, all of those actions have been retroactively
justified by the majority of the American people.
When Bush made his response, talking about terrorism and unity and
enemies and intimidation, one could dismiss it as a fundamentalist
reply to a fundamentalist threat. When Kerry did his own posturing,
calling the terrorists barbarians and saying he'd stop at nothing to
kill them, it was, perhaps, just cheap electioneering.
But today the American people have answered as well. They lined up
behind their killer leaders when they could have rejected them. "
This is a disastrous logic that I predict will become current among
large sections of the left now that Kerry has conceded defeat. It's
self-defeating in the worst way and it can only lead its most serious
and honest adherents in the direction of guerrilla warfare or
Democratic Party electoral politics, and will only alienate its less
active constituents from the masses of American people because of
their elitism. In fact, the American people are not collectively to
blame either for Bush's past actions, or his future actions, and
certainly their voting for him does not mean they are really conscious
advocates of his policies.
The example of Hitler might do us some good here: the liberal line on
Hitler is that Germans bore some collective guilt for his crimes.
They did, more than 30% I believe, vote for him, and there seemed to
be some genuine popular enthusiasm for him. What the liberals don't
recognize is the class context for Hitler's rise to power or how
Hitler rose on the waves of enormous defeats for the German workers.
In a much slower, thinner, less substantial way, the rise of the GOP
in this election mirrors a slow attrition waged against the organized
American working class.
Check out this map of right-to-work states:
What does this tell us? The states where people voted in a majority
for Bush were states where workers, as a rule _have had their unions
taken away_. That means the bosses terrorize them with impunity (I
assume, since this goes on in union workplaces), most all wages are
not paid at the union rate, these are the halfway house states of
union jobs on their way to the third world. People in the middle
states are degraded, because capital drains their life more intensely,
more quickly, than it does in New England or on the West coast.
Yes, of course, it's not that simple, and the capitalist politicians
use different arguments for different people to enlist them in their
policies, and they make the most racist, backwards arguments to
native-born white people. 'Middle America's' worst side is America's
worst side, and someone's worst side comes out when they feel
miserable, atomized and helpless.
I am scared of those on the left who will blame the policies of the
Bush administration on the poor, duped souls who voted for him - who
went to shitty, run-down schools where they were taught fairytales by
teachers who were never taught themselves, who watch a newsmedia
reduced to pumping out jingoistic slogans, and who work themselves to
the bone to feed their families. People confined to the "prisonhouse"
of mainstream political language in the worst way. Those people are
our allies, the victims, not the bedfellows of the war criminals, and
unless we are sympathetic we won't have allies in this country and
won't build an effective movement.
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