Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Will the Last “Progressive for Obama” Please Turn Out the Lights?

Leaving Obamaland
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Black Agenda Report heartily endorses this Saturday’s Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally in front of the White House. Having said that, we turn to the subject of the legions of Obama-smitten activists that abandoned confrontation with Power for the past several years, for fear of harming their hero’s presidential prospects. How wrong they were, as subsequent events have shown.
Will the Last “Progressive for Obama” Please Turn Out the Lights?
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
It should now be clear to even the most dense among self-styled ‘progressives’ that Obama was never worth a damn.”
The U.S. peace “movement,” much of which “comes and goes” as often as Boy George’s “Karma Chameleon,” has finally discovered that its presumed perch in Barack Obama’s tree was untenable, if not wholly imaginary. To be sure, “Progressives for Obama” and other assorted delusional groupings were always squatters in the Obama camp – but they were the only ones who didn’t know it. How embarrassing it would have been, back during the campaign, had the lost little lefties realized that Obama’s imperial soul mates were laughing at them from a disdainful distance, knowing full well the path their bought-and-paid-for president would soon be traveling. How would the Obama peacenik groupies have preserved their sense of self-worth – much less their arrogant smugness – had they realized the absolute contempt in which they were held by their hero’s funders and packagers – and no doubt by the Object of Adulation, himself?
With the president’s hearty embrace on December 1 of not only current U.S. aggressions in South Asia but the entirety of the glorious rise of U.S. global hegemony since the end of World War Two, it should now be clear to even the most dense among self-styled “progressives” that Obama was never worth a damn. To Obama, the world-terrorizing nuclear arms race against the Soviets, the savage assaults on countries emerging from colonialism, the death of millions in the quest to make the world safe for corporations, the spread of the global drug trade under management of U.S. intelligence services – all this can be summed up as: “The United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades, a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, markets open, billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress, and advancing frontiers of human liberty.”
“’Progressives for Obama’ and other assorted delusional groupings were always squatters in the Obama camp.”
Obama lives and breathes American Manifest Destiny – which means, as a non-white person, he is profoundly mentally unbalanced. But any lefty worth her/his salt should have known that. Obama’s yearly talks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the regional equivalent of the Council on Foreign Affairs, were models of imperial-speak, totally consistent with his West Point performance. Beginning years ago, he repeatedly declared that, as president, he would draw a line in the sands (or mountains) of Afghanistan – which is something only militarist, imperialist pigs draw in other people’s countries. He warned everyone that, under the Bin-Ladin-Might-Be-There Doctrine, he would refuse to respect the sovereignty of Pakistan. And he has ceaselessly lied about his actions and intentions in Iraq – a key qualification for the job of imperial U.S. president.
Still, there seems to be a soggy cloud hanging over some self-styled anti-war circles, as if Obama’s most recent display of rabid war mongering, American Manifest Destiny-ism was a tragedy for and betrayal of the “movement.” And I suppose that those confused souls who believed that they were doing “movement” work while engaged in Obama groupy-ism for the last several years, might feel that some kind of tragedy had occurred. And they might be right, in that the absence of an anti-war movement during the campaign years undoubtedly encouraged Obama in his warlike proclivities. As a result, hundreds of thousands will undoubtedly die, because American “progressives” forsook their duty to humanity for reasons no more defensible than those a teenage girl would give for following a shallow but “hot” celebrity around from city to city.
Let’s make it plain: Obama didn’t do anything to the “movement.” Most especially, he did not fool anyone in the “movement.” Rather, people who claimed to be in the “movement” fooled themselves and then proceeded to fool lots of other people into thinking that Obama-work was “movement”-work – when events have shown it was the opposite.
The absence of an anti-war movement during the campaign years undoubtedly encouraged Obama in his warlike proclivities.”
A huge number of “movement” notables should be deeply humbled and, to varying degrees, ashamed at their lemming-like susceptibility to Obama’s…what? The two-year near-silence in the anti-war “movement” is proof, not of Obama’s Svengali-like powers (his imperialism is actually quite transparent), but of profound weaknesses in the “movement,” itself (which is why I’ve been putting the term in quotes).
I have a hunch that the worst of the paralyzing Obama-effect on “movement” politics is finally over – due mainly to Obama’s insistence on remaining true to the logic of imperialism and refusal to toss his groupies on the Left a straw to cling to, any further.
There is no need to name-the-names of the politically prodigal ones, many of whom are returning to some kind of oppositional activism now that their erstwhile idol is in full-spectrum war mode. Far better to quote Cynthia McKinney, the former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, whose engagement with struggle is a constant:
We have now reached the point where those who make and interpret current events think they can make us believe that war is for peace, ignorance is strength, slavery is freedom, and lies are the truth. Well, we know the truth, and we will not rest until every drone is stopped and no more bombs are dropped. We will not rest until peace is won. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said there comes a time when we do what we must because our ultimate measure is not where we stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where we stand at times of challenge and controversy. At this time of challenge, we are clear: we will not give up and we will not stop.”
There are many “movement” notables who, in fact, did try in the recent past to peddle a banker’s best friend as a man of the people, a proponent of “race-neutrality” as an ally of oppressed minorities, and an imperial invader and occupier as something resembling a man of peace.
Hopefully, they will make up for past misconduct and bad judgment through prodigious feats of activist productivity, including plenty of shouting at the White House on Saturday.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at