Friday, May 20, 2005

Opposition: A rude letter to Democrats

Okay, folks, I have here a rant of the rude variety. People with delicate sensibilities will perhaps not want to read further. I don't usually post stuff in full because it's not good copyright etiquette, but I simply could not excerpt any of this - it's too good - nor could I read it and pass by. What follows is an open letter to Democrats by Stan Goff at Counterpunch, and it follows on George Galloway's remarks at that Senate hearing on May 17.

Do visit Counterpunch and see the rest of their work. A good place to start is Those Patriotic Magnets by Richard Joseph.

Here's the Goff letter (emphasis added, and edited slightly for space).

Dear Democratic Elected Officials of the United States (with damn few exceptions):

...George Galloway did that for which you have proven incapable; he spoke as an opposition. Since there seems to be a great dark space in the middle of your heads where the notion of opposition should be - a void filled by parliamentary molasses and the pusillanimous inability to tell simple truths - ­I suggest you all review the recordings of Galloway's confrontation with Republican Senator Norm "Twit" Coleman to see exactly how effortless it is to stand up to these cheap political bullies (watch the video). While you are at it, you can watch your colleague Carl Levin demonstrate exactly what I mean about most of you and your party, as he alternately hurls petulant cream-puff insults at Galloway and kisses Coleman's stunned, clueless ass to give that toothy dipshit some comfort in the wake of Galloway's verbal drubbing.

Galloway didn't have to walk up to the docket and slap the cowboy shit out of Coleman,­ though I admit I still struggle with my own secret urges to do just that with most of the air-brushed, combed-over, Stepford meat-puppets who now people the United States Congress. No, all Galloway had to do was tell the unvarnished truth, and it had exactly the same effect. If Democrats had half the spine that Galloway does if you would stop chasing your creepy little careers through the caviar and chicken-salad circuits of duck-and-cover American political double-speak, then not only would people like me not be calling for all to abandon the Democratic Party and take their fight to the streets like good Bolivians - not only that, but you'd have won the last election.

The reason Galloway was able to break from your mirror party in the UK - ­ Blair's sell-out Labor Party - ­ and still get elected, is that Galloway fights for his convictions and the real needs of his constituents, and doesn't run for cover every time the bully-boys of the capitalist establishment attempt to take him down.

Here's a hint.

People follow those who speak plainly and fight. Aside from Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, and Cynthia McKinney (not surprisingly black women who know where it goes if you let rich white men get away with giving you a bunch of shit) and a precious few others, the Democratic Party is not only just another party controlled by big capitalists; it is not even a good capitalist opposition party (much less a real opposition).

You don't deserve anyone's support, not even as a tactical matter any longer, because you end up doing ritual verbal combat then give the "cornpone Nazis" of the Republican Party any goddamn thing they want. That's why Galloway rhetorically spanking that soap-opera-looking shitbird was the most satisfying thing many of us have seen in months.

That's exactly why some of us are saying go Bolivian on their asses. Tell the Democratic Leadership Council to eat shit and die. Stop working, stop obeying, block the streets and highways, shut down the capital, and watch them choke on their own sewage. If Americans weren't so bewildered by television, so addled and soft from junk food and cars and electronic appliances, and so addicted to their own cultural superficiality, they might begin organizing general strikes: women's strikes, workers strikes (without union bureaucrats to calm them down), Black people strikes, Brown people strikes, info-tech strikes, eco-strikes, all working our way up to One Big Strike.

It's a ways off, but it's coming. Of course, there won't be any Democrats there. They'll be wringing their hands about their defunct careers, and conducting focus groups to see how they can shift further to the right in the next election.

And the reason this doesn't happen is that people still hang their thin hopes on you, on electing Democrats who stab them in the back the first chance they get. But Galloway's appearance before the U.S. Senate moved us an inch closer to the Big Strike, and an inch further away from your worthless asses.

Because Galloway didn't, as some are saying, expose the Republicans. Someone with a full frontal lobotomy could expose a Republican politician. He exposed the spinelessness of the Democrats.

Yours very truly,
Stan Goff

To Goff's list of plainspoken fighters I would add John Conyers, Louise Slaughter, and Barbara Boxer, but I can't think of many others. Dean, but he's been muted. What's interesting about Dean is that while his positions were square in the center of the Democratic party, he was mistaken for a raving leftist simply because he did fight. No one was familiar, it seemed, with the concept of a fighting moderate.

Which is exactly what I hope to be.


Anonymous said...

Sadly, fighting moderate is anathema to recent political history. I think of Johnson and Civil Rights; Carter and foreign policy; even Nixon and environmental regulation seems downright radical lately.

Barbara Boxer is the feistiest of your list, IMO, but all our federal legislators, regardless of affiliation are so beholden to the corporate slop bucket, both the middle and the extreme seem contrived and trumped, so to speak, up. Witness sometime firebrand Joe Biden voting with MBNA when push came to shove over credit cards.

Dems lose on this count too often because we want to see ourselves as apart from the trough, but when it's clear we're up to our neck in it too, we abandon ship and go Green or just stop voting.

Still and again, it's all about campaign financing. The Brits don't have this problem, ergo they can have real firebrands like Galloway, and we cannot.

Alna Dem said...

Thank you for pointing out the role of campaign financing. That bankruptcy vote was a dismaying reminder of how narrow the range of free will really is in Washington.

I'd like to think that 527s and netroot finance opened the door to new possibilities, but those hopes seem to be fading. More cheering is the rise of independent voices outside the top-down media - Talking Points, Daily Kos, Air America, and even the Daily Show being good examples - who are rewarding and reinforcing an entirely different kind of behavior than, say, Cokie Roberts. (I really hate Cokie Roberts.)

Finally, I like to think about the late Paul Wellstone - not a moderate by any stretch, not beholden, and yet popular and re-elected in a nearly red state - as the exemplar of the "speak plainly and fight" model.

leolabeth said...

That was me above, don't know why I ended up with a cloaking device...
Anyway, on a cloudy day like today, I worry that Wellstone is the exception that proves the rule. There simply are too few like him to make a difference because there's so little incentive for campaign financing integrity or even any response at all to unmitigated graft.

Yes, you can offer them props and even votes for behaving honestly, but when the cash cow keeps mooing at the door, it takes extraordinary people to look the other way.

Until we revolutionize our campaign finance system we will continue to curry the status quo.

Alna Dem said...

Thought it sounded like you!

Agreed, Wellstone was one of a kind. But I hold out a tiny hope for change, if not in this group of dems then in the next crop - if the party lives that long. I don't think they can go any further down the road they're on!

Mike went to Camp Wellstone two weeks ago and came back very inspired. People are looking for a new model. ... Guess that's where my hope lies.

leolabeth said...

Yes, I recommend Camp Wellstone. It kept me breathing smoke, if not fire, for nearly a year. Maybe I need a booster shot.