Alexander Cockburn weighs in on recent “progressive” Democratic conferences and their blog counterparts who did an admirable job of ignoring the war as well as any even vaguely hot button issues.
In political terms the blogosphere is like white noise, insistent and meaningless, like the wash of Pacific surf I can hear most days. But MoveOn.Org and Daily Kos have been hailed as the emergent form of modern politics, the target of excited articles in the New York Review of Books.
Beyond raising money swiftly handed over to the gratified veterans of the election industry both MoveOn and Daily Kos have had zero political effect, except as a demobilizing force.
Precisely, they are fundraising tools for the Democratic Party. Their actual political impact has been negligible, except to fundraise and support the very same Democratic establishment they claim they want to reform. Worse, they sap energy from genuinely progressive causes into the sink hole that is D.C. Democratic politics. Shall I back Wesley Clark or Hillary Clinton? Now there’s a real choice.
At the Kos convention if we are to believe ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ which I do ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the hilarious reports by Michael J. Smith on our CounterPunch site ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the ugly matter of the war in Iraq was scarcely raised, as the Kosniks reserved the surge of their passion forÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Joe Wilson, husband of Valerie Plame.
He says, and I agree, what’s wrong with a CIA agent being outed? This being the same CIA that sends prisoners to Third World countries to be tortured, yet the ‘progressive’ conventions managed to avoid the subject almost completely. Goodness, we don’t want to be upsetting our donor base with all that icky talk about torture.
Cockburn goes on to ponder why such ‘progressives’ spend inordinate amounts of time focusing on Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, incompetents at best, rather than mobilizing against the war, an issue that has genuine traction with the public.
He then rips Truthout a new one, documenting their mind-numbingly stupid insistence that Rove would be indicted, longer after actual facts showed it wasn’t going to happen.
Welcome to blog world. They’re loonies, beyond any sanction or reproof by reality. These people are going to stop a war, change the direction of our politics? They make Barbra Streisand sound like Che Guevara.
But the larger point is that too many allegedly progressive groups exist solely in cyberspace. They have little grounding in the real-life world of organizing, of building coalitions, of being in the rough-and-tumble of politics as it truly exists. They fantasize it can all be done via the Net. It can’t. The Net is an auxilary tool, the real work is done in the streets. That’s how you build a political organization.
Which is why netroots and the rest of them are ineffective and will fade away. They exist only in the bitstream, in a self-referential bubble, unaware of how they are being gamed by real world pols, with no real plan, strategy, or tactics. It’s like the Children’s Crusade, “our cause is pure, so we must triumph” so they marched against the enemy – and were decimated. A righteous cause is certainly a good thing, but reality needs a seat at the table too. Several seats, actually.