Labor Advocate Online
Count On ‘em To Move On
by Bill Onasch
The liberals haven’t had much to say about the Iraq war since they used it as an issue to hustle votes for Anybody But Bush. Not that they’ve been lazy. They have, in fact, been quite busy around such momentous issues as exposing Tom DeLay, demanding that Karl Rove be fired, and calling on President Bush to nominate a responsible mainstream conservative to the Supreme Court.
But, like those energetic flying products of Intelligent Design that show up for watermelon at a picnic, they rediscovered the war–in Crawford, Texas. The great upsurge in public sympathy, accompanied by extensive media coverage, around the modest protest launched by Cindy Sheehan excited their attention in a way that mere casualty numbers and reports of social disintegration coming out of Iraq never could. Add in the bonus that all this could be a big black eye for Bush and the evil GOP and it became a no-brainer–it was time for them to descend on the scene to take charge.
First there were the usual gadflies you would expect such as Arianna Huffington and Michael Moore. But now the big guns, with even deeper pockets, have arrived to give us our marching orders. MoveOn.org–the web site that is, not to be confused with MoveOn.org Civic Action, a 501 (C)(4) tax-exempt corporation, or MoveOn PAC, registered with the Federal Election Commission–has selflessly taken on organizing candle light vigils on behalf of Cindy without even being asked. After consulting focus groups they may very well come up with additional branded activities for their purported three million e-mail subscribers.
So far none of these feisty liberals have so much as mentioned the fact that there is an on-going, somewhat organized antiwar movement. Up until now there have been no appeals for their followers to get involved in the September 24 March On Washington to End the War In Iraq, or other regional actions such as the one taking place in St Louis September 25.
I don’t expect such support for the independent antiwar movement to be forthcoming from them. Currents such as MoveOn–in all its various entities–are front groups for the Democrats, designed to latch on to protests against the crimes of the Establishment in order to safely channel them back into the loyal "opposition." In 2004 that meant diverting antiwar activists into backing a candidate who supported–and continues to support–the war.
The broad antiwar movement should of course welcome all who come around to protest the war no matter how fleeting their presence may be. I have no problem with those who want to carry a candle in solidarity with the heroic efforts of Cindy Sheehan at the behest of MoveOn.org.
But such flighty gestures are no substitute for building the kind of independent movement focusing on mass action needed over the long haul. These Democrat shils will soon live up to their name and move on to another hot button issue they think they can exploit for petty partisan advantage.
The people of Iraq have no such option to switch to another issue. Nor do the GIs on the ground there. While some move on we need to build on–build on the majority sentiment against the war, captured by the initiative of Cindy Sheehan, to turn it into an ongoing mass movement that cannot be ignored by the bipartisan war-makers.
August 17, 2005
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