I remember a scene from the film Hoffa, when Jack Nicholson, as Jimmy Hoffa, is running a railway workers union strike. As he walks through the railway yard, where thousands of his members are waiting for orders to march, he gets news from the national headquarters to ‘call it off.’. Hoffa then makes this fantastic retort when asked what he intends to do. ‘Everybody tells me I’m wrong so I must be right!’ This is exactly how I feel at this time. I get e mails and messages from many so called ‘progressive’ organizations asking me to participate in rallies and causes that, on the surface, seem to be in line with my points of view. Recently, Move On. Org and Progress Florida are actively pushing the envelope on the budget cuts and union busting attempts by Florida’s governor and legislature. Who could argue with protests of that sort? Yet, when you peel back the onion, it smells of strictly partisan politics once again.
For six plus years now, this writer has stood on the street corners of my town, with but a handful of fellow progressives, to oppose the invasions and occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan. We hold signs advocating cuts in the bloated military budget and closing the nearly 800 bases we have offshore (in over 100 countries) and using the savings to save our economy. When Bush and his crew were in power, we attracted a larger number of demonstrators. However, as soon as Barack Obama was a candidate for President, the numbers dwindled to what they are now. Move on.org and Progress Florida chose to ignore our protests, and the countless others throughout America. Why? Well, look at what the Democratic leadership and most of its members in Congress (and now the White House) support and vote for. Yes, they support the continuance of our occupations and bases in those countries. Yes, they vote to increase, not to cut, the military spending… They refuse to hold hearings on the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, or on the illegal and immoral policy of torturing suspects.
When Mr. Obama and his party leadership sold us all out with that phony health care bill, by taking out a public option for Medicare for All, where was Move on.org? As soon as the Democrats rallied behind this disgraceful sellout to the private insurance industry, all these so called ‘progressive’ organizations, like lemmings, followed the pied pipers right off the cliff of reason. All the rah rah rah ended when the Democrats caucused and followed our corporate president. Once again ‘Politics trumps principles in 21st century America. As far as most of the major unions and their leadership, well, I won’t even take that path at this time. You can note by their absence at any demonstration that does not have to do with their individual contract negotiations to get my drift. So, all in all, we face a situation that is not getting any better. All these rallies protesting the budget cuts etc are great ideas but… if you don’t connect them with real and viable solutions, what good are they? Ranting and raving about cuts in public services and jobs without showing where the money will come from is foolish. It is just one more way in which one corporate party wants to get you to vote for their corporate candidate.
It is time for the good and decent 9 to 5 Americans to say to Moveon.org to ‘Move over or join us!’