Chris Hedges: “We owe Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party an apology”

Thanks to Ian Wilder at onthewilderside for the tip.

(excerpts from)  Truth Dig
Nader Was Right: Liberals are Going Nowhere With Obama
Chris Hedges

…We owe Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party an apology. They were right. If a few million of us had had the temerity to stand behind our ideals rather than our illusions and the empty slogans peddled by the Obama campaign we would have a platform. We forgot that social reform never comes from accommodating the power structure but from frightening it. The Liberty Party, which fought slavery, the suffragists who battled for women’s rights, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement knew that the question was not how do we get good people to rule—those attracted to power tend to be venal mediocrities—but how do we limit the damage the powerful do to us. These mass movements were the engines for social reform, the correctives to our democracy and the true protectors of the rights of citizens. We have surrendered this power. It is vital to reclaim it. Where is the foreclosure movement? Where is the robust universal health care or anti-war movement? Where is the militant movement for sustainable energy?

“Something is broken,” …No one sees anything changing. There is no new political party to give people a choice. The progressive forces have no hammer. When they abandoned our campaign they told the Democrats we have nowhere to go and will take whatever you give us. The Democrats are under no heat in the electoral arena from the left.

“There comes a point when the public imbibes the ultimatum of the plutocracy,” Nader said when asked about public apathy. “They have bought into the belief that if it protests it will be brutalized by the police. If they have Muslim names they will be subjected to Patriot Act treatment. This has scared the hell out of the underclass. They will be called terrorists…

0 thoughts on “Chris Hedges: “We owe Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party an apology”

  1. Christopher

    Since Chris Hedges voted for Nader and not Obama there is no need for him to issue an apology. Will they remember this in 2012? Probably not.
    Abortion trumps any issue for the vast majority on the left. It does not matter what the candidate’s position is on The Patriot Act, war, universal health care, corporate welfare , or the minimum wage. As long as the GOP candidate is “pro-life” and the Democratic candidate is “pro-choice”, the voters that Hedges has made an apology on behalf of will vote for Obama once again in 2012.

  2. paulie

    the question was not how do we get good people to rule—those attracted to power tend to be venal mediocrities—but how do we limit the damage the powerful do to us.


  3. paulie

    As George Phillies posted on another thread

    With respect to town halls, let me suggest that there are a lot of cameras and newspeople there, so it would be a fine time to have a peace demo on the theme “Obama continues Bush War Crimes”, “Bring the Troops home from Asia”, etc. or a money demo on the theme “Obama/Bush means America is Broke” “Uncle Sam spends, our grandkids pay”.

  4. Dale Sheldon

    No apology necessary: It’s not your fault.

    The two-party system is resilient, and reinforced by perverse incentives accidentally introduce when we decided how we would count votes (democracy was young, and we picked a naive option.)

    The system has only been broken four or five times, and each time it’s taken a lot more anger, for a lot longer, then we are seeing in today’s politics (but maybe we’re getting close.)

    I’m actually currently writing a series on the historical shifts among the two-party system. Part I went up today:

  5. Catholic Trotskyist

    Christopher, I am also quite perplexed that so many people on the left (and some in the Libertarian movement for that matter) are obsessed with protecting womens’ right to have their babies murdered. I would love a contest between a pro-choice Republican and a pro-life Democrat. But, abortion is also a maor issue among the right-wing too, and no matter what your wining, the Democrats still have better positions on the war, healthcare and economy. Just imagine President Sarah Palin, that’s all you need to know to support Obama. So many people fail to realize that the Christian evangelical right is in a conspiracy with the abortionists, the divorce agenda and the homosexual agenda to attempt to collapse the economy by keeping the far left out of power. Obama really is a far left ideologue on the economy, healthcare, war etc, and he is pro-life on abortion. Soon, he will overcome his enemies who are holding him back and introduce the Catholic Trotskyist New World Order, ending america as we know it and surrendering us to UN world control, initiating a world democracy based on a socialist economy, universal healthcare, world peace and a strong alliance with Christianity and other religions. Chris Hedges will still be able to practice his atheism, don’t worry. I look forward to this day, and I am glad that the fascist/stalinist criminal Ralph Nader could not ruin it, amen.

  6. Robert Milnes

    The problem here is a few million more votes for the green is an enormous undertaking under present circumstances and even then nowhere near enough to impress let alone scare the democrats and nowhere near enough to actually win. However if the greens were to ADD the libertarian vote (13%) to their potential vote @27% that would produce a winning plurality in a close 3 way race of 40-30-30%. That comes to about 50 million votes.

  7. Robert Milnes

    Ever since JFK was pronounced dead the liberal democrats have schemed to get back the presidency. The Massachusetts Mischief and Mayhem Makers, Kennedy & Kerry tried & failed. With the death of JFK, jr., they came up with a black man candidate to manipulate the progressives into supporting him & also stealing the black vote from the Clintons/Blue Dogs. Obama was located, groomed & zoomed to the Senate. Back-up player was/is Deval Patrick.

  8. Christopher

    ” If the situation in Afghanistan is more or less as it is now, I would promptly request Congress to declare war against the Taliban government. This would be virtually a formality but should have been done after 9/11…The present Afghan government would almost certainly negotiate for terms of surrender. Upon the negotiation of terms etc. I would immediately withdraw all U.S. troops.” Robert Milnes

    Well said Robert. For eight years many on the left said that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were “unconstitutional” because Congress had not declared war (though they conveniently overlooked this constitutional question when President Clinton launched his military assault against Serbia). Obama has continued these unconstitutional wars, implemented his own Bush “troop surge” with 17,000 additional troops in Afghanistan, and his generals on the ground are suggesting there may be a need for an additional 15-45,000 troops . It should be noted that Obama’s chief of staff, secretary of state, and vice-president all voted for both Bush military assaults, and under Commander-in-Chief Obama, more American troops have been killed in a one month period (July) in Afghanistan than during any previous month including Bush’s eight years. I can hear many progressives singing “His truth is marching on!”

  9. Dave Schwab

    Obama isn’t progressive. Progressives don’t support Obama.

    Liberals supported Obama. Liberals claim to have similar ideas to progressives, but they do nothing to advance them, and often fight those who do.

    Progressives back up their ideas, in their everyday lives and in the voting booth.

    Progressives get good things accomplished, so naturally liberals have started calling themselves ‘progressive’ as if labels are magical fairy dust. In the same way, they’ve taken the word “green” and incorporated it into their advertising campaigns.

    It may seem that I’m splitting hairs, but I feel that this is actually important. We saw the likes of Reagan and Bush taking on the conservative label – as if conservatism has anything to do with racking up multi-trillion-dollar debts to support proxy wars and endless occupations around the globe. Conservatives went with it, happy to have “one of their own” in power. Now their ideology is completely discredited for anyone who can read.

    I self-identify as progressive and Green, and I don’t want the Democrats to do to ‘progressive’ what they did to ‘liberal’ – that is, suck it of all meaning and turn it into a mark of shame for association with their party. Playing go-along-to-get-along is the fast track to irrelevance for progressives and greens alike.

  10. Christopher

    Point taken, David. Bush was not a conservative, and Obama is not a progressive. Unfortunately, too many self described “progressives” are blindly following Obama.

    This from the March 24, 2008 issue of The Nation, “Progressives for Obama” By Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher Jr., Danny Glover & Barbara Ehrenreich

    “All American progressives should unite for Barack Obama. We descend from the proud tradition of independent social movements that have made America a more just and democratic country. We believe that the movement today supporting Barack Obama continues this great tradition of grassroots participation,”

    You are exactly right David, ” Playing go-along-to-get-along is the fast track to irrelevance for progressives and greens alike.”

  11. Robert Milnes

    Christopher, yes, I was quite upset with Tom Hayden at the time & surprised at Barbara Ehrenreich, a Green. But I could see the Obama train coming & building steam. Only Billary or the progressive Libertarian Alliance could stop it unless Obama tripped himself up. & Obama didn’t falter, Billary blinked on Michigan & Florida & the Progressive Libertarian Alliance never even got to dance. Mary Ruwart failed to bolt the LP & join me after her defeat by Bann Bobb Barr. W.A.R. was kingmaker. LP=Losertarian Party.

  12. Dave Schwab

    Ahh, the Nation. They brag that no one owns them, so I guess they voluntarily lick the boots of the Democratic Party.

    I’m sorry, maybe that’s an unfair caricature. I’ll try to be more nuanced:

    The Nation, non-election year: SCREW THE DEMOCRATS! WHY DO THEY SUCK?

    The Nation, election year: VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS! THEY RUUUULEZ!

  13. tom chastain

    ralph nader has a new book out called “only the super rich can save us” he also has a big book tour coming up and at the end of the month his other new book is called direct democracy these would make great gift ideas for your friends and family he will be at the miami book fair in november also sounds like hes thinking about 2012

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