Ready to say screw
this country and buy a one-way ticket north? Here are some reasons to
stay in the belly of the beast.
1. The Rest of
the World. After the February 2003 antiwar protests, the New York
Times described the global peace movement as the world's second superpower.
Their actions didn't prevent the war, but protesters in nine countries
have succeeded in pressuring their governments to pull their troops from
Iraq and/or withdraw from the so-called "coalition of the willing."Antiwar
Americans owe it to the majority of the people on this planet who agree
with them to stay and do what they can to end the suffering in Iraq and
prevent future pre-emptive wars.
2. People Power
Can Trump Presidential Power. The strength of social movements can
be more important than whoever is in the White House. Example: In 1970,
President Nixon supported the Occupational Safety and Health Act, widely
considered the most important pro-worker legislation of the last 50 years.
It didn't happen because Nixon loved labor unions, but because union power
was strong. Stay and help build the peace, economic justice, environmental
and other social movements that can make change.
3. The great strides
made in voter registration and youth mobilization must be built on
rather than abandoned.
4. Like Nicaraguans
in the 1980s, Iraqis Need U.S. Allies. After Ronald Reagan was
re-elected in 1984, progressives resisted the urge to flee northwards
and instead stayed to fight the U.S. governments secret war of arming
the contras in Nicaragua and supporting human rights atrocities throughout
Central America. Iraq is a different scenario, but we can still learn
from the U.S.-Central America solidarity work that exposed illegal U.S.
activities and their brutal consequences and ultimately prevailed by forcing
a change in policy.
5. We Can't Let
up on the 'Free Trade' Front Activists have held the Bush administration
at bay on some issues. On trade, opposition in the United States and in
developing countries has largely blocked the Bush administrations corporate-driven
trade agenda for four years. The President is expected to soon appoint
a new top trade negotiator to break the impasse. Whoever he picks would
love to see a progressive exodus to Canada.
6. Barack Obama.
His victory to become the only African-American in the U.S. Senate was
one of the few bright spots of the election. An early opponent of the
Iraq war, Obama trounced his primary and general election opponents, even
in white rural districts, showing he could teach other progressives a
few things about broadening their base. As David Moberg of In These Times
puts it, 'Obama demonstrates how a progressive politician can redefine
mainstream political symbols to expand support for liberal policies and
politicians rather than engage in creeping capitulation to the right.'
7. Say so long
to the DLC. Barry Goldwater suffered a resounding defeat when he ran
for president against Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but his campaign spawned
a conservative movement that eventually gained control of the Republican
Party and elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. Progressives should see the excitement
surrounding Dean, Kucinich, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton during the primary
season as the foundation for a similar takeover of the Democratic Party.
8. 2008. President
Bush is entering his second term facing an escalating casualty rate in
Iraq, a record trade deficit, a staggering budget deficit, sky-high oil
prices, and a deeply divided nation. As the Republicans face likely failure,
progressives need to start preparing for regime change in 2008 or sooner.
Remember that Nixon was reelected with a bigger margin than Bush, but
faced impeachment within a year.
9. Americans are
Not All Yahoos. Although I wouldn't attempt to convince a Frenchman
of it right now, many surveys indicate that Americans are more internationalist
than the election results suggest. In a September poll by the University
of Maryland, majorities of Bush supporters expressed support for multilateral
approaches to security, including the United States being part of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (68%), the International Criminal Court
(75%), the treaty banning land mines (66%), and the Kyoto Treaty on climate
change (54%). The problem is that most of these Bush supporters weren't
aware that Bush opposed these positions. Stay and help turn progressive
instincts into political power.
Average January temperature in Ottawa: 12.2°F.
(firstname.lastname@example.org) is a fellow of the
Institute for Policy Studies.