Wither the Left

There isn’t an anti-imperialist left anymore.

The conflict in Ukraine has, among many other things, highlighted a consequential, indeed historic, shift taking place in American politics with regard to foreign policy. The center of gravity of the anti-war movement is shifting away from its traditional home on the progressive left. 

Indeed, leftist commentators can barely conceal their enthusiasm for American involvement in the Ukraine war. Here’s the founding editor of the progressive magazine American Prospect, Robert Kuttner: “It is appalling that the West keeps lionizing Zelensky, giving him standing ovations after he addresses national parliaments, but denying him what he needs to save his country. “What does he need? He needs warplanes. “Sooner or later, NATO will have to give Ukraine planes powerful enough to annihilate Russia’s invading armies. It might as well be sooner.”

What we’re seeing is that the calls for more and more weapons by leading progressives shows they have abandoned their traditional and long-held opposition to American wars of choice. Instead, the only place where dissent is heard over the Biden administration’s war policy is on Fox News, hosted, respectively, by Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, who routinely demand to know how ordinary Americans are benefiting from this increasing U.S. involvement.

In Washington, instead of the “Squad” demanding how congress can authorize $40 billion for Ukraine while “American mother’s can’t buy baby formula,” it’s Marjorie Taylor Greene. As far as the Democratic Party, they became empire supporters a long time ago and use bait-and-switch to lull their supporters. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party’s hypocrisy and duplicity is rocket-fuel for Christian fascism. Its exclusive focus on the culture wars and identity politics at the expense of economic, political, and social justice fueled a right-wing backlash and stoked the bigotry, racism, and sexism it sought to curtail. Democrats have failed to address the structural injustices that turned America into an oligarchic state while wailing about how the mean Republicans plan to end abortion. At this point it’s safe to assume that the Democratic Party is a faux opposition party. It’s like the “unplugged remote control you gave your kid brother so he’d stop nagging to play video games with you.”

One would usually expect the American left, or whatever passes it for these days, to be indignant about the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars for weapons while ordinary Americans suffer. But the American left, such that it exists, is barely visible when it comes to debates over the war in Ukraine, while American liberals stand in virtual unity with the establishment wing of the Republican Party behind the Biden administration in support for the escalating U.S. role in the war in Ukraine. That has left the traditionally left-wing argument about war opposition to the populist right.

I want to know what happened to the Left in America, you know, the New Dealers and 60’s radicals who used to view power with suspicion? Maybe I’m nostalgic for a largely forgotten milieu–the New Deal years where leftists fought against Franco in the Lincoln Brigade, and battled the anti–Communist paranoia of the postwar decades. What about the antiwar movement of the 1960s and early 1970s? The people animating these movements had memories and experience. They remembered what American society could be in its potential because they had lived for and acted on that potential. They knew another kind of America was possible. All of that is gone now.

Maybe that’s why liberals hate Trump in that he made more obvious their duplicity, hypocrisy and historical incoherence? Super shout-out to the propaganda and censorship system in this country where 4 years of Russia-gate, where the hatred of Trump morphed into hatred of Russia and Putin specifically, could turn liberals into raging war-hawks ready for Armageddon. The deep state claimed that Trump was a Russian asset and the election was stolen from Hillary due to Russian hacking and influence operations. The information/disinformation environment has only gotten worse where the corporate media have completely abandoned even an attempt at objective reporting and turned, simply put, into propaganda mouthpieces without any credibility.

Then, there’s that whole ministry of truth thing.

Update: “Tens of billions, soon to be much more, are flying out of U.S. coffers to Ukraine as Americans suffer, showing who runs the U.S. Government, and for whose benefit. But as gargantuan as Biden’s already-spent and newly requested sums are — for a ten-week war in which the U.S. claims not to be a belligerent — it was apparently woefully inadequate in the eyes of the bipartisan establishment in Congress, who is ostensibly elected to serve the needs and interests of American citizens, not Ukrainians. Leaders of both parties instantly decreed that Biden’s $33 billion request was not enough. They thus raised it to $40 billion — a more than 20% increase over the White House’s request — and are now working together to create an accelerated procedure to ensure immediate passage and disbursement of these weapons and funds to the war zone in Ukraine. “Time is of the essence – and we cannot afford to wait,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to House members.”

Update II: The $40 billion package for the war in Ukraine passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 368-57. According to CNN: “All 57 votes in opposition were from Republicans.”

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