Monday, May 27, 2013

What Is Left of the Left? III

Trey Smith

Today's posts will feature parsed sections of an excellent editorial, The Silent Death of the American Left, by CounterPunch editor Jeffery St. Clair.
A few weeks ago I wrote an essay on the Obama administration’s infamous memo justifying drone strikes inside countries like Pakistan and Yemen that the US is not officially at war against. In one revealing paragraph, a Justice Department lawyer cited Richard Nixon’s illegal bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War as a precedent for Obama’s killer drone strikes. Let’s recall that the bombing of Cambodia prompted several high-ranking officials in the Nixon cabinet to resign, including CounterPunch writer Roger Morris. It also sparked the student uprising at Kent State, which lead the Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes to declare a state of emergency, ordering the National Guard to rush the campus. The Guard troops promptly began firing at the protesters, killing four and wounding nine. The war had come home.

Where are those protests today?
When I was in grad school in Pittsburg, Kansas, during the first invasion or Iraq, we protested in a variety of creative ways. When I moved to Salem, Oregon, we protested and demonstrated against NAFTA, clearcuts, the Patriot Act, School of the Americas, the WTO and the second of invasion of Iraq. Even after stepping away from a more public life and moving to Aberdeen, Washington, I helped to organize a large demonstration against the continuation of the Iraq War.

What grieves me is the protest leaders of the past 20 years or so are getting old or, in some cases, dying off and too few of the members of the next generation are stepping up to take our place in a lasting way. Many of the younger activists started off on good footing with the Occupy Movement, but it has all but fizzled out. There seems to be too few efforts to keep the momentum going.

Without continued protests and massive demonstrations, nothing will change. Heck, things might not change WITH protests, but at least the public can express its overall dissatisfaction with the direction this nation is headed. Our leaders will not change course voluntarily because life is great for them. Main Street may be in shambles, but Wall Street is booming and that is all that really matters to them.

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