(Inspired by the assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya)
There’s no shortage of outrage on the Left. Plenty of marches and manifestos to go along with the myriad calls to change this and take back that. Toss in the occasional fighting words and the intermittent flirtation with property damage and the Left typically does just enough to get itself effectively demonized by the mainstream…thus making it that much easier for the police to get away with swinging their nightsticks at the next “anti-globalization” protest.
So, here’s my question: What would those who identify as leftists do if one of their high profile icons were openly eliminated? For the sake of argument, let’s say the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)-with the full support of the corporate media-overtly did away with Michael Moore for his political beliefs and anti-corporate activism.
(Let me clarify something before you send off all those e-mails telling me Moore is a poser, fake, Democrat, opportunist, egomaniac, gatekeeper, whatever. I’m neither endorsing nor condemning Moore here; I’m simply recognizing his current status. In a society as heavily conditioned as ours-a society that defines the “left” to include both Hillary Clinton and Ward Churchill-Michael Moore might as well be Che fuckin’ Guevara. In other words, choosing the nation’s best-known “rebel” as a target would be nothing less than the government declaring war on dissidents of all stripes.)
So, what would the American left wing do if Moore were deported like Emma Goldman, Charlie Chaplin, and (almost) John Lennon? What if he was railroaded, denied a fair trial, and imprisoned like, say, Mumia Abu-Jamal or Leonard Peltier? What if he was to be publicly executed even in the face of massive protests, e.g. Sacco and Vanzetti, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Tookie Williams, or Ken Saro Wiwa of Nigeria? How about an assassination; a straight-out hit job along the lines of Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, or even Patrice Lumumba and Salvador Allende?
Pick your poison; it doesn’t matter how he’s removed. The question remains: What if the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)-with the full support of the corporate media-transparently eliminated Michael Moore for his political beliefs and activism? Would we see anything more than a flood of articles, blog posts, t-shirts, and open letters from Sean Penn? Would the reaction go beyond asking the state for permission to protest and agreeing beforehand how many of those protestors will consent to be arrested? Would Bob Dylan re-write “Who Killed Davey Moore?” and have Bono sing it outside the Pentagon?
If that’s the case, perhaps emboldened by the ease with which Moore’s eradication was achieved, the government might then toss Noam Chomsky, Derrick Jensen, and Cynthia McKinney into prison for treason. More protests, more outrage, more fundraisers. Undaunted, Corporate America pulls all advertising dollars from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and forces their shows off the air. In response, 500 new blogs emerge and the “Free Jon Stewart” website registers nearly a million hits a day until it is hacked and removed.
Shortly thereafter, the government might start spying on American citizens and detaining prisoners without pressing charges while corporations ravage the earth in pursuit of profit, wiping out entire eco-systems in the process. Oops…sorry; they already did all that without being stopped.
Marveling at the relative lack of resistance, the powers-that-be may initiate mass arrests of suspected domestic eco-terrorists, culminating in the bombing of several ELF and/or ALF safe houses, leaving dozens dead? (Not possible, you say? Ask the folks at MOVE.) We know what the general public would say…the same thing they say every time a new “security precaution” is instituted: “If it makes us safer, I’m all for it.” But how do you think lefty activists and thinkers would react? Would they/could they do anything to stop the onslaught?
This is not a facetious question, an accusation, or an ill-advised attempt at satire. I’m genuinely curious: What do you think radicals, progressives, liberals, anarchists, socialists, communists, and all such fellow travelers would do if the U.S. government (or one of its proxies)-with the full support of the corporate media-blatantly killed Michael Moore for his political beliefs and activism?
MICKEY Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.