Stop Complaining About Right-Wing Protests! The Left Should Be (Re)Learning How It's Done

Those protesters showing up at Democratic "town meetings" to promote
the president's health care "reform" program are being bused in
from out of town?

Que horrible! (Gasp!)

Those protesters showing up at Democratic "town meetings" to promote
the president's health care "reform" program are being bused in
from out of town?

Que horrible! (Gasp!)

wait! That's exactly what we on the left always did when we held demonstrations--at
least if we could. Who in the trade union movement hasn't called on
fellow workers in other unions to join them in rallies during struggles
with an employer, or asked them to join sparse picket-lines? Who hasn't
pulled out the stops trying to get people from other cities to attend
a local protest?

if it were shown that the Republicans were hiring fake protesters
to go to those Democratic pep rallies to mess them up, as was done during
the 2000 Florida vote recount, there'd be a good investigative story,
but from the righteous if ignorant anger that is being expressed by
the tea-baggers and anti-government types that I've seen in news reports,
these seem like legitimate right-wing cranks, who are willing to be
rallied to the cause of opposing what they see as a socialist plot.
Never mind that you've got ignorant numbskulls demanding that Democrats
in Congress "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" or that
you've got right-wing protesters in their 70's who are all on Medicare
irrationally shouting "Keep government out of health care!" The point is that confused and ignorant or not, these people are
willing to make the effort to travel fair distances to make their voices
heard, and they're willing to stand up, shout, and even scuffle for
the chance to make their point.

not as if Democrats haven't gone to great length to fill those same
halls with earnest supporters.

real question is why is the left in the US so goddamned polite and domesticated
that these Right Wing cranks look positively rowdy.

in the late 1950s and the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement wasn't
polite and domesticated. It brought activists to events in the Deep
South all the way from New York and Boston. Its members rallied in the
thousands to shut down segregated public and even private institutions.
Its activists occupied buildings on university campuses, boldly confronting
police and police dogs and armed men in white robes.

the late 1960s and early 1970s, anti-war protesters in turn shut down
recruiting and induction centers, destroyed draft board records, tried
to close down Washington, DC, got arrested in the hundreds, incited
soldiers to desert and then helped hide them from the law, exposed the
1968 Democratic Convention as a farce, and faced down armed police and
soldiers repeatedly, at one point in 1970 closing down the nation's
campuses in a national student strike when soldiers shot and killed
four unarmed students at Kent State University.

Years earlier, when workers were being
abused, they occupied factories, forcibly shutting them down with sit-down
strikes, battled Pinkerton detectives and armed National Guard forces,
and set up tent cities in Washington to make themselves heard.

And they won great victories.

Where is that passion today? For
the most part, the left, in all its various guises--environmentalists,
labor unions, civil rights advocates, health care reform advocates,
anti-war activists--have become neutered office-chair potatoes, sending
canned emails to their elected representatives or to the White House,
occasionally marching politely inside of pre-approved, permitted and
police-prescribed routes, and attending sponsored events like the current
round of town meetings, perhaps to raise polite objections to aspects
of a proposed piece of legislation.

The agenda of the left in today's America
is being written not by uncompromising radicals in the street as in
earlier decades of struggle, but by the bought-and-paid Democrats in
Washington. The left, such as it is, has become simply a reactive force,
trying to make discrete little improvements in the truly horrible legislation--health
care "reform," cap-and-trade, the Employee Not-So-Free Choice Act,
continued Iraq and Afghanistan War funding bills--that is being offered
by a wholly corrupt Washington in thrall to corporate lobbyists.

We all need to take a lesson from the
Right, and from those lusty, cantankerous folks who are raising hell
at those pathetic "town meetings."

How can it be that 10 percent of American
workers don't have a job, and that the government is expecting that
number to keep rising for another year or more, or that another 7 percent
have either given up even trying to find a job, or have taken part-time
work in desperation, and yet we have not had one mass protest in Washington
demanding public jobs for the jobless!

How can it be that the country has been
mired in two wars now for eight years, and we haven't had a million
people storming the Pentagon to shut it down (or at least levitate it)!

How can it be that we have 49 million
Americans who can't even afford to see a doctor when they're sick,
and we're talking about a health care "reform" plan that not only
won't fix the problem, but will actually end up costing us all $600
billion over 10 years without solving it! And we just write letters
to Congress! Why aren't we liberating hospitals and opening them up
to the uninsured?

How can it be that the ice cap at the
North Pole is actually disappearing, and the whole arctic tundra across
Canada, Alaska and Siberia is starting to boil with the release of prehistoric
methane trapped under now-melting permafrost, threatening the very lives
of our grandchildren, and we're calmly watching as even the Obama
administration's pathetic "cap-and-trade" legislation gets stalled
by coal-state Democrats! Why aren't we on the left lying down on the
tracks to block the coal trains, or tearing up those tracks!

Where is the passion and commitment we
once had?

It all seems to be on the Right these

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