Joshua Frank: Ron Paul from the Left

December 13, 2007

An Open Letter to the Antiwar Left

Ron Paul’s Campaign Deserves Our Attention

By JOSHUA FRANK

The left wing of the antiwar movement has some very serious problems, mainly our inability to recognize that the antiwar sentiment in the United States is resonating far beyond the confines of the so-called “left.”

We cannot step back and effectively analyze the failures of the antiwar movement without peering under the hood of John Kerry’s campaign in 2004. In essence, I think the majority of the left made a huge mistake on this issue by not opposing the Democrats; the movement supported a pro-war position by not opposing Sen. Kerry, who promised to continue the occupation of Iraq. There was no pressure on Kerry to alter his position on the war. No bird-dogging protests along the campaign trail. No outrage over his flip-flopping-let’s-send-more-troops-into-battle rhetoric. Silence during election season is complicity. So let’s be loud.

Despite his good intentions, Dennis Kucinich also failed us four years ago as well by abandoning his antiwar platform in favor of Kerry’s pro-war candidacy. There is little reason to believe ol’ Dennis won’t do the same thing again this year if Hillary is the nominee. It was party politics before issues. Kucinich, unfortunately, wasn’t an activist but a pawn in the Democrat’s game. And the antiwar movement, or at least those who supported his bid, felt the damaging tremors for months afterward. Kucinich has been running in Iowa for almost nine years and is barely pulling in 1% of the vote. So what’s the point?

The backlash to the Iraq war in this country is much larger than Kucinich’s fan club, yet there is no real visible “moving” movement on the ground to end it. In many ways this is our fault as we are not willing to reach out to antiwar folks across the lines. A movement will never move forward with archaic sectarian factions or unyielding adherence to entrenched political philosophies. We must overcome our unwillingness to collaborate and collectively organize.

Case in point being the most visible and enthusiastic antiwar candidate in the country, which we consistently ignore: Rep. Ron Paul. Whether we agree or disagree with Paul’s libertarian solution to every problem, we cannot disregard that his campaign is exploding owing to a broad coalition of people who oppose the war on terror. Paul has built a viable campaign, one that must move beyond the Republican primaries and into the general election. We can’t let Paul become Kucinich of ’04. The more independent antiwar voices we have running against the war machine the better we’ll all be. And Paul has millions in his coffers to push an antiwar agenda.

This is not about Rep. Paul as an individual per se, but about his grassroots following. He’s exciting many newcomers to the movement and that must be welcomed. We certainly don’t share the same views with all who have latched on to his campaign, but on the issue of the Iraq war we are in total agreement. One doesn’t not have to be a member of the left to oppose empire.

As a movement that allegedly grew out of WTO protests in Seattle, which was an unimaginable coalition of interests (labor, environmental, protectionist), one would think the left would be at the forefront in calling for such an alliance again today.

Whether we’re beer-drinking rednecks from Tennessee or pot smokin’ hippies from Oregon, we need to come together. And working to keep the movement away from supporting a pro-war candidate like Hillary Clinton is an important endeavor. One we shouldn’t shy away from over the course of the next 11 months.

Rep. Paul’s call to end the war needs to be supported. We need to monkeywrench the war issue so the media and the big party candidates cannot ignore it. There is a lot of work that must be done and we cannot be locked in the logic of old if we are to succeed.

Ending the war in Iraq will take substantial pressure from all sides of the political spectrum. From conservative veterans to radical peaceniks. Let’s embrace this new reality. The antiwar movement is larger than the left, in fact so much so that we may be at the whim of a real grassroots resistance instead of at its forefront. And if that means bringing this ugly war to a screeching halt, I’m all for it.

Joshua Frank is co-editor of DissidentVoice.org and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming Red State Rebels, to be published by AK Press in March 2008.

source: http://www.counterpunch.org/frank12122007.html


Rate The Candidates Matrix

November 28, 2007

MSNBC.com has an interesting matrix located at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21116732.

Just thought it was interesting enough to mention.


Freedom of expression

November 1, 2007

Listening to Bob and Tom show on the radio this morning and they had a 3 or 4 comedians in conversation with them….and it kept coming up over and over whether they could say certain things or how they could say certain things to be ok for broadcasting over the air. I could only think about 1)how our founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they could hear this. 2) how the # of instances and circumstances when free speech rights were limited are growing and how self imposed censorship is rampant, 3)how much creativity is limited by this obsession with controlling speech 4) that these are professional radio people that have been doing this for 30 years and they are struggling ON THE AIR to try and figure out what is ok and what isnt. To me this is awful and shameful.


Open honest government

October 16, 2007

Thinking about our posts and about how many speak to integrity and honesty within society. I am wondering if we are at the point where we have problem identification down pretty cold and if we should think about what real world options are there. Is there a “state of the art” for open and honest government? I think about the listing for freedom of the press and I beleive that a scandinavian country like Finland is at the top of that particular list. Not sure how much that equates with open and honest but it seems like it would have potential to be a component. What would the measures be if we were finding a model of a society that is “working” right now – or, if that doesnt exist, which one is working the “best” by some objective measure. Maybe this kind of ranking is already out there – I have to confess that writing this blog is all the further I have looked into it.


Trying to Squeez Ron Paul Out

October 3, 2007

According to Gambling911.com, the betting odds of Ron Paul becoming President are 6 to 1, making him a bigger favorite than Mitt Romney. However, those odds may soon diminish because the Republican Party, in various states, is (quietly) closing the primaries to allow only registered Republicans to vote. This means many Independents, Libertarians and Democrats who support Ron Paul will not be able to vote.

Some states, including Michigan, are aiming to move their primaries to earlier dates which may result in other states doing the same. The end result will mean even fewer people voting in the primaries for Ron Paul because the momentum he has obtained and continues to gain will not be what it could have been if the primaries were held later.

And so far as I know, Ron Paul is the only candidate who will end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ASAP.

Ron Paul


“Media Matters”: Should it be “Conservative Media Matters”?

October 3, 2007

I recently learned of a website called Media Matters, although it was launched in May of 2004.

It looks pretty interesting and they sure have put the pinch on some of the “conservative media.” They seem to be squirming. I’m not sure who is funding the site however.

On their “about us” page, they state the following:

Launched in May 2004, Media Matters for America put in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation — news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda — every day, in real time.

(emphasis added)

Are they implying that if it is “news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the” liberal agenda, then it does not need to be monitored or corrected? Or perhaps they figured they’d leave that up to someone else?


Michigan Income Tax Increase: Will It Really Be Rolled Back?

October 1, 2007

According to The Detroit News, the new bill just passed to avert a government shutdown

would ratchet up the levy from 3.9 percent to 4.35 percent to raise $760 million. The rate would begin a gradual rollback in 2011 and return to 3.9 percent by 2015.

My question: Will the income tax ever be rolled back to 3.9 percent? Ever?

I predict that the Michigan income tax will never see 3.9 percent again. Ever!

This is the way government usually works: Squeak something in via “compromise,” place some kind of “rollback” or “sunset” provision in order to get it passed, and later pass new bills that remove the “rollback” or “sunset” provision.