[A broad range of activists have issued a call to the mainstream “Left Establishment.” For several years, these people and the organizations they lead have dutifully shepherded everyone they can into ongoing support for Obama. This has gone hand in hand with the de-activation of political action against US imperialism, its wars and its multi-pronged onslaught on oppressed peoples, working people, immigrants and students. This call is an important development that aims to break the political restraints on building a powerful grassroots people’s movement in the US. We expect that many will either join this call or add their own statements in the weeks ahead. We have included several comments by signatories of the call at the end of this post.–Frontlines ed.]
An Open Letter to the Left Establishment (Michael Moore, Norman Solomon, Katrina van den Heuvel, Michael Eric Dyson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Frank, Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher Jr., Jesse Jackson Jr. and other high profile progressive supporters of the Obama electoral campaign): A Call for Active Support of Protest.
With the Obama administration beginning its third year, it is by now painfully obvious that the predictions of even the most sober Obama supporters were overly optimistic. Rather than an ally, the administration has shown itself to be an implacable enemy of reform.
It has advanced repeated assaults on the New Deal safety net (including the previously sacrosanct Social Security trust fund), jettisoned any hope for substantive health care reform, attacked civil rights and environmental protections, and expanded a massive bailout further enriching an already bloated financial services and insurance industry. It has continued the occupation of Iraq and expanded the war in Afghanistan as well as our government’s covert and overt wars in South Asia and around the globe.
Along the way, the Obama administration, which referred to its left detractors as “f***ing retarded” individuals that required “drug testing,” stepped up the prosecution of federal war crime whistleblowers, and unleashed the FBI on those protesting the escalation of an insane war.
Obama’s recent announcement of a federal worker pay freeze is cynical, mean-spirited “deficit-reduction theater”. Slashing Bush’s plutocratic tax cuts would have made a much more significant contribution to deficit reduction but all signs are that the “progressive” president will cave to Republican demands for the preservation of George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy Few. Instead Obama’s tax cut plan would raise taxes for the poorest people in our country.
The election of Obama has not galvanized protest movements. To the contrary, it has depressed and undermined them, with the White House playing an active role in the discouragement and suppression of dissent – with disastrous consequences. The almost complete absence of protest from the left has emboldened the most right-wing elements inside and outside of the Obama administration to pursue and act on an ever more extreme agenda.
We are writing to you because you are well-known writers, bloggers and filmmakers with access to a range of old and new media, and you have in your power the capacity to help reignite the movement which brought millions onto the streets in February of 2003 but which has withered ever since. There are many thousands of progressives who follow your work closely and are waiting for a cue from you and others to act. We are asking you to commit yourself to actively supporting the protests of Obama administration policies which are now beginning to materialize.
In this connection we would like to mention a specific protest: The civil disobedience action being planned by Veterans for Peace involving Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Joel Kovel, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern, several armed service veterans and others to take place in front of the White House on Dec. 16th.
Should you commit yourselves to backing this action and others sure to materialize in weeks and months ahead, what would otherwise be regarded as an emotional outburst of the “fringe left” will have a better chance of being seen as expressing the will of a substantial majority not only of the left, but of the American public at large. We believe that your support will help create the climate for larger and increasingly disruptive expressions of dissent – a development that is sorely needed and long overdue.
We hope that we can count on you to exercise the leadership that is required of all of us in these desperate times.
Sen. James Abourezk
Margaret Flowers M.D.
Kevin Alexander Gray
Edward S. Herman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Please sign the Open Letter to the Left Establishment.
Here are 4 comments on the Open Letter as of December 10 by signers #2,031 to 2.034:
Rey Buono, Thailand
I began contributing to Obama’s campaign in April 1999 — long before the January 2000 primaries I founded a chapter of Democrats Abroad in my city in Thailand. I will not work for Obama again. Ever.
Frank Lambert, CA
No more excuse making or apologies for Obama and the Democrats!
L. Geraghty, ID
This administration is corrupt. It’s obvious. Do not let history show you as becoming sadly irrelevant b/c the corrupt imbedded forces of the corporatocracy have tricked you by covering themselves with the “Obama” brand (award winner in the advertising world – no joke!)
David Harwell, AZ
The Obama administration can have no credibility as long as the previous administration’s occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan continue. Stop U.S. drone attacks everywhere – the overwhelming majority of victims are civilians.