This past week I heard Dennis Kucinich*, Gareth Porter*, and Glenn Greenwald* all say that what they feared most was a CIA driven campaign to get rid of Trump through impeachment. As much as one may dislike the policies of Trump, they believe he can be restrained legally and constitutionally managed. However, because the “Deep State” (the “intelligence community” including allies in the Pentagon and military), operate outside the law with no oversight—their taking over would bring an end to our democratic system . With regard to this scenario, Kucinich said the thing he fears most is “the Left’s attacks on Russia” which play into the intelligence community’s determination to ignite a new cold war with Russia as well as get rid of Trump. All three of these respected authorities on political history and “deep state” strategies believe that if, Trump, having been “legitimately” elected through our “democratic” process were impeached, this would so undermine public confidence in our political system that the consequences would be catastrophic. I was not able to get clarification when I asked Gareth Porter what the nightmare scenario would look like. “Revolution” I asked?
Possibly I am being distracted by a red herring, but it is my experience that it is the “Liberal” and “Progressives” who blame Russia and who are interested in impeaching Trump; not the “Left.” Those who believe that the USA is a democracy, based on laws and a social contract that applies equally to all of its citizens, and that the members of Congress and the President work to increase the safety and welfare of the majority of the population, are NOT part of the “Left.” A not too profound knowledge of the history of this settler-colonial enterprise and its widespread use of slavery, genocide and land theft for the profit of the relatively few, should lead one to at least question the propaganda that “we are a nation of immigrants” in a free and democratic nation. Laws and documents drawn up by a relatively small number of the wealthiest men and slave owners in the “new world” were not meant to empower the larger population of low-income, landless, indentured servants, workers, slaves and women…not then, not now. Those who challenged the authority of these elite “founding fathers” were dealt with very harshly.
The long history of presidential abuses of power, and more recent risks of nuclear war, would, one might think, cause Liberals and Progressives to question what is “legitimate” and “democratic” or worth preserving about our extremely class-based, racist, and sexist political-economic system. Even when one-half of the eligible voters in this country don’t bother going to the polls, Liberals and Progressives don’t get the message. And when Trump is elected, they are dumbfounded and outraged. On election night, around 2:00 am the next morning, I heard NPR news analysts exclaiming in disbelief that it appeared “white professional men were voting in large numbers for Trump!” Some days thereafter they concluded that Trump voters were those middle class people who had experienced erosion of their standard of living over recent decades. And finally, and this I find to be the most popular conclusion among Liberals and Progressives, it was those ignorant low-income working people who didn’t know they were voting against their own interests who voted for Trump.
Kucinich, notes that US “Intelligence” agencies have eliminated people they found problematic; that Obama every week selected a human target to be assassinated by drone attack (along with any innocent children, women, elderly and other human “collateral” nearby.) All three of the above mentioned experts* can give stomach-turning descriptions of the massively destructive interventions of the US in other countries where it has overthrown democratically elected officials. They are aware of the numerous times a president has brought us to the brink of nuclear war with no notice or conversation with the citizens of this country about their desires. And yet they expect those same citizens to work hard to elect more of the same to the same system. Now, that in my experience is the sign of good Liberal, progressive thinking.
Kucinich, Porter, and Greenwald are also adamant with regard to the lack of any evidence that the Russians meddled in US presidential elections. Having gone over all the documentation, data, and intelligence reports available to them from the government and other sources—as well as all known information made available to the American public and the press— they see not one bit of evidence that would support the accusations that Putin and the Russian state in any way interfered with or influenced the outcome of the US presidential election. And, yet, most of the Liberals and Progressives I hear on the corporate media and in community gatherings are certain that the Russians intervened to get Trump elected. It seems this is becoming the stronger argument for his impeachment, along with his supposed financial interests and dealings with Russians.
Again, it seems to me that it is their fellow Liberals and Progressives that Kucinich et.al should fear. Not the “Left.” The Left could possibly be impressed with the data collected by Gregg Palast, set out in his recent video/film “The Greatest Democracy Money Can Buy,” which documents the use of “cross-check” along with the elimination of polling booths and closing of DMV offices in Black and poor neighborhood, and the handing out of “provisional ballots” to those forced to stand for many hours in line waiting to vote (the provisional ballots are seldom counted or accepted; the closed DMV offices made it impossible for people to get the newly-required ID in order to vote, and “cross-check” eliminated a million or more voters in key states who had similar names such as “Willa Mae Nelson” in California, and “Willie Nelson Jr.” in Ohio; and whose social security numbers and birth dates also did not match. Pallast estimates that between “cross-check” and these other obstacles to voting, at least 7 million people were disenfranchised in this last presidential election. It appears that even those Democrats who are aware of these circumstances do not want to talk about it for fear that also would bring into question the legitimacy of our “democratic” system. The Left, however, has seldom agreed that working to elect Democrats or Republicans was their primary focus.
Clearly the Liberals and Progressives are fearfully divided over which is the biggest threat: Trump, Impeachment, Republicans, the Left, the CIA, or the Russians. As seems to happen after every presidential election, personalities and party affiliation stir up the swamp; and issues of systemic change the Left has always been focused on get drowned in the undertow of party politics and personalities.
Kucinich believes we can learn to love and respect one another. He passionately insists, “War is not necessary!” . Kucinich also says that the US cutting out “safe zones” in Syria would lead to an expansion of war. Yet, he is a supporter of Keith Ellison (whom he hoped would become Chairperson of the DNC). Keith Ellison favors a “No Fly Zone” in Syria. So do Hillary and the CIA. That this would lead to more US troops and equipment on the ground and an expansion of war in the area, as well as risk a nuclear confrontation with Russia, is acknowledged by both those who want to see such increased military involvement as well as by those who want an end to the war in Syria. From a Leftist point of view, these Liberals and Progressives are very frightening.
I have never doubted that people can love and respect each other in spite of their differences. Focusing on this truism, ignores the fact that our failing economic system is dependent upon increased manufacture and sales of military weapons, equipment and cyber intelligence globally. And the individuals who profit from and who claim ownership to the materials, infrastructure, labor and resources employed in the production and distribution of destructive war-making materiel are not interested in loving and respecting those they exploit and those they kill in the process.
I have as little belief in what Liberals and Progressives think of as “democracy” as they have in my analysis of Capitalism. With each major economic crisis, recovery depends upon the increased ability to lower the income of working people while taking by force the land, cheap labor, and resources of other nations (denying them to any competitors). Loss of jobs at home, decaying infrastructure, lack of necessary social and medical services, worsening ecological conditions (air pollution and contaminated water) are inevitable as the military-backed corporations, politicians and all those whose social status and power depends upon the profitability of the capitalist system compete for global dominance and economic survival. Under these worsening conditions for the majority, there is, of course, no place for citizen-based democracy, and no freedom of speech for those opposed to the systemic undermining of an entire civilization’s values, material needs and minimum expectations. The growing militarized surveillance-police state ensures the transition from the myth of “free-market capitalism” to the reality of state capitalism in all its Fascistic manifestations. “Obama went about it more quietly,” a domestic worker from Latin American told me; “Trump is continuing the same policies, but he is so loud about it!”
The problem is not that we need to learn to love each other in spite of our differences. But it does become more difficult under the competitive pressures of a declining Capitalist system. What is the alternative? “Make Love Not War” is not a slogan that speaks to today’s uninhibited millennial activists. Make Love Not Profits would have been more insightful and fitting, then and now.
That makes me wonder if any of those thousands protesting in the past few weeks (many of whom said it was their first time being a “political activist”) would have heard of Major General Smedley Butler. He learned from experience about how US capitalism operates globally while he was in the Marine Corp:
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.”
Smedley Butler concluded,
“War is a racket! A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can’t end it by disarmament conferences. You can’t eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can’t wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. “
I would not call Smedley Butler a Liberal or Progressive. Given that today the US economy is dependent upon the production and global sale of military weapons, military equipment, military infrastructure and cyber intelligence systems, he’d be talking about a revolution!
*Kucinich: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Trump Era. Presentation at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, February 24, 2017, Cambridge, MA. (Recorded by WZBC FM Truth & Justice Radio:
*Porter: How to End the Permanent War State. Tufts University, February 21, 2017; Medford MA. (Recorded by WZBC FM Truth & Justice Radio. Check with them for airing date: wzbc.org, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA)