2008: Wishful Thinking on the Left

Glen Ford, executive editor of Black Agenda Report, has this to say about Leftists who have adopted Obama as their Savior:
...Is anyone prepared to challenge the Rightists in Obama's organization?

Hell no. Nobody on the Left has any leverage on the Obama campaign, which has always been a corporate machine. The only option open to the Left is to pretend that they are standing like sentinels to ensure Obama doesn't capitulate to the people who already own him. The most pitiful communication on this subject comes from Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Danny Glover - the last of whom I consider an honest and decent fellow.

The self-styled "progressives" attempt to upend history and fool everybody, including themselves. The four claim that current conditions can be compared to the 1930s, when "centrist leaders" were compelled by activists "to embrace visionary solutions." There's a huge problem with that reasoning, however. In the 1930s, there were already strong movements existent before Franklin Roosevelt's 1932 and 1936 runs for the presidency. It was the movements - many of them communist-led - that shaped the Roosevelt campaigns and the New Deal, that in fact changed history. Today's four wishful signers insist that "even though it is candidate-centered, there is no doubt that the campaign is a social movement, one greater than the candidate himself ever imagined."

Really? Believe that hogwash when any of the loyal Lefties demand Obama discard his plans to add 92,000 addition soldiers and Marines to the total U.S. military ranks, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and bringing with it the certainty of more wars. Never happen. The signers have already claimed the political campaign is a movement. Would they expose themselves as poseurs and fakers by making futile demands on the campaign, which is, after all, supposed to be one with the "movement?" Would they risk being told to shut up? No, it's too late for Hayden, Fletcher, Ehrenreich, and Glover to strut around as if they have options; they pissed all that away in the initial glow of Obamamania, and from now on will have to accept their status as hangers on.

In the greatest irony of all, Black voters have convinced themselves that they are in a stronger position than ever in history, when the exact opposite is true. Having asked for nothing but Obama's autograph, they will get nothing from him for the next four years. No doubt, this will be a period of deep humiliation - as it should be. We'll call it "The Years of Living Vicariously."

There is no substitute for a real movement. The Obama stage handlers have proven that, in the absence of a movement, they know how to construct something that looks much like the real thing - at least to those who are eager to believe. This election season, we had millions of eager believers, but very few real leaders and not enough movement builders. We will have four years to correct the mistakes of 2007-'08.
Justifiable distaste for the Clintons led many on the left lend their support to Obama on SuperTuesday without getting anything in return. The idea that they are in a position to demand anything from the candidate now is delusional. Even if he had made promises, there'd be no way to collect on them; "leftists" these days earn the title by adopting opinions, not by leading organizations that can hold politicians accountable.

See also: MoveOn.org continues to shill for Obama (Impractical Proposals, 2008-03-13) and MoveOn, move back to the issues (Impractical Proposals, 2008-02-17)

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