The Cowardly Liberals

Chris Hedges, like many on the left, is becoming angrier and angrier. Author most recently of Death of the Liberal Class, he writes today in Truthdig.Com:

There is no major difference between a McCain administration, a Bush and an Obama administration. Obama, in fact, is in many ways worse. McCain, like Bush, exposes the naked face of corporate power. Obama, who professes to support core liberal values while carrying out policies that mock these values, mutes and disempowers liberals, progressives and leftists. Environmental and anti-war groups, who plead with Obama to address their issues, are little more than ineffectual supplicants.

Obama, like Bush and McCain, funds and backs our unending and unwinnable wars. He does nothing to halt the accumulation of the largest deficits in human history. The drones murder thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as they did under Bush and would have done under McCain. The private military contractors, along with the predatory banks and investment houses, suck trillions out of the U.S. Treasury as efficiently under Obama. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus, have not been restored. The public option is dead. The continuation of the Bush tax cuts, adding some $900 billion to the deficit, along with the reduction of individual contributions to Social Security, furthers a debt peonage that will be the excuse to privatize Social Security, slash social services and break the back of public service unions. Obama does not intercede as tens of millions of impoverished Americans face foreclosures and bankruptcies. The Democrats provide better cover. But the corporate assault is the same.

[ … ]

“The more outrageous the Republicans become, the weaker the left becomes,” Nader said when I reached him at his home in Connecticut on Sunday. “The more outrageous they become, the more the left has to accept the slightly less outrageous corporate Democrats.”

Hedges, who was arrested along with Daniel Ellsberg and more than 130 other anti-war demonstrators outside the White House earlier this month, says that “either we begin to practice a fierce moral autonomy and rise up in multiple acts of physical defiance that have no discernable short-term benefit, or we accept the inevitability of corporate slavery.”

The left, he says, must stop merely making noises, only to cave in the end.

Again quoting Nader:

“The best example is Richard Trumka and the AFL-CIO. Obama has given them nothing. Therefore, they are demanding nothing. They huff and puff. They make tough speeches. But Trumka hasn’t even made Obama’s campaign pledge of a $9.50 minimum wage by this year an issue. If you want to increase consumer demand, what better way to do it than to unleash $300 billion in wages? The card check for unionization, which Obama pledged as his No. 1 sop to the labor unions, is dead. The unions do not even demand a hearing. And now wait till you see what they will do to the public employee unions. Part of it is their own fault. They are going to be crushed. Everybody is ganging up on them. You have new class warfare. It is non-unionized lower income and middle class taking it out on the unionized middle-income public employees. It is a classic example of oligarchic manipulation.”

Read full article here: The Left Has Nowhere to Go

Comments

7 Responses to “The Cowardly Liberals”
  1. GregZaller says:

    I don’t think trying to shame people should be in the liberal tool kit. It just exacerbates the problem by allowing the shamer to feel self righteous and the shamee to shut down and turn off.

    Where are the realistic solutions, please?

  2. Don Pelton says:

    It has nothing to do with shame.

    It has everything to do with responsibility.

  3. GregZaller says:

    This is what dictionary.com uses to define “shame”

    verb (used with object)
    5.
    to cause to feel shame; make ashamed: His cowardice shamed him.
    6.
    to drive, force, etc., through shame: He shamed her into going.
    7.
    to cover with ignominy or reproach; disgrace.

  4. depelton says:

    Thanks, Greg. Very enlightening.

    It sounds like shame is a very charged issue with you, and — if I get your point — you want to spare the Dems and liberals from being shamed. The best way for them to avoid shame is to walk their talk, something they seem to be having difficulty doing.

    I’ve been a dedicated liberal Democrat myself for over fifty years, so I have a personal stake in the values of the Democratic Party. My concern is the abandonment of core progressive principles by the centrist elements of the Democratic Party. They might as well be conservatives Republicans.

    To dismiss this concern as merely self-righteous, as you did in your original comment, is offensive.

    You ask what are the realistic solutions. Hedges clearly calls for acts of “fierce moral autonomy.”

    These are the realistic solutions if the goal is — as I believe it is — to recover the soul of the party.

  5. depelton says:

    By the way, Greg, I have tremendous admiration for your courageous work in Pakistan, so I suspect you’re looking for something concrete and positive in that sense. I do appreciate that.

  6. GregZaller says:

    Hi Don, I don’t want to spare them the shame, I just don’t think it works as intended if the object is to raise their consciousness. You must have heard my Buckminster quote, “You can’t change things by fighting the existing reality. You have to build a new model that makes the old obsolete.” I really believe in that.

    Too bad you don’t have an email alert for comments. Maybe we ought to move over onto one of Jeff P’s old blogs and use it there. My email is also gregzaller@gmail.com but perhaps we are done?

  7. Don Pelton says:

    Thanks, Greg. Yes, I think we’re done.

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