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January 09, 2004

A Political

Almost a year ago I dismissed protests against the then upcoming Iraqi war as irrelevant to the Bush Administration, aside from their impact on the Democratic Party.

When the peace movement sneezes, Democrats catch cold. Republicans don't even hear anything.

In the months since, the Howard Dean influenza has gained a tight grip on the Democratic body politic, leading to much hand wringing in the party over concerns about his electability.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. Case in point, the upcoming World Social Forum in Bombay India, where 6 days of continual protests are planned against American foreign policy in general, and George Bush in particular.

While the tens of thousands of activists heading for the January 16-21 World Social Forum have already begun to spar -- with the far-left holding its own more militant meet -- one glue that binds the movement is fierce opposition to President George W. Bush.

"It's now more or less proved that US foreign policies are against the basic concepts of humanity," said Tushar Joag, who is on the WSF central organising committee.

"We at the forum will oppose what the imperialist forces led by the US are up to," he said.

He said organisers were even considering reserving one hall just for debates and demonstrations against US actions, particularly the war that ousted Saddam Hussein.

"Hundreds of activists at any given time will be seen protesting and keeping the issue alive," Joag said. "The amphitheatre that is coming up at the venue will also showcase anti-US plays and documentaries."

Now there's a briar patch that Karl Rove is begging George to be thrown into. There's nothing like an international gathering of protestors against America when it comes to making Republicans. The more media coverage of the event, and I'm sure Karl is hoping there will be a lot of it, the more American voters will be pushed into the Bush camp out of sheer recalcitrance. Many Americans, not just Republicans, are simply unwilling to do anything that might please the forces orchestrating the Mumbai event. Those who would be are already planning to vote for Dean, so the protest's effect on the American voter will be largely negative.

The Left faces a crisis, though the movement is seemingly unaware of its danger. It has the least amount of leverage in the one country where it needs to be strong in order to have the best chance of furthering its worldwide agenda, and the actions it takes in the arenas where it is stronger only serve to decrease that leverage.

Lose the United States and you will eventually lose the world. That's been the main international lesson of the last 100 years, and it appears likely that yet another movement is set to learn that lesson.

The Left is almost certainly blind to this possibility, thanks to the organizing principles of the Internet--its ability to put those of similar mind in contact with one another. Essentially, the Internet has given the Left a perception of growth where there is in fact none. It may have even masked a decline in the real political power of the Left.

Say one 10-member anti-globalist organization, in San Francisco, comes into contact with another 10-member group, in Seattle. Each feels that their membership and political power has doubled, when in reality nothing of the sort has occured. Communication and coordination between the two is enhanced, but the actual number of votes has not changed at all. There is an inflation in each group's perception of its political power, but there is no corresponding rise in actual power wielded. The perception versus reality mismatch becomes even worse when one of the groups is foreign-based. Marching in unity with Brazilian socialists, Palestinian activists and French graffiti artists may feel great, but it doesn't advance the Leftist cause in the U.S. one iota.

What the Left is experiencing is the political equivalent of the 1990's dot-com bubble, up to and including the illusion that the Internet will allow it to remake the world in its image. Like all bubbles before it, it will burst. The only questions are "How long before the inevitable happens?" and "What acts of hubris will the mistaken perception of its own power cause the Left to undertake before the crash?"

Domestically, I suspect the first will happen in November, if not earlier. I get the feeling that among the second will be an endorsement of Howard Dean's candidacy by various international groups, especially if he gets the Democratic nomination. It's stupidity on a grand scale, but there's nothing in the Left's recent past that would suggest acts of political imbecility won't be readily forthcoming in the future.

Posted by Bigwig at January 9, 2004 02:49 PM | TrackBack
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Interesting analogy, Bigwig. The third question is what will they do after the bubble is burst? After their bubble burst, the programmers did - what, become stock brokers and such? I predict a sharp rise in New Age spirituality after the election. If you're thoroughly rejected by this plain of reality, you try the astral plain.

Posted by: Jim at January 9, 2004 09:23 PM

As a fairly conservative guy who usually votes republican, I'm distressed by the Dems' collective glue-sniffing. Their delirium has left a power vacuum, which the Republicans are filling by moving left. The things that made the Republican Party worthwhile for a bit - fiscal discipline, the ability to say "no" to all the special interest groups (this includes corporation, not just social welfare groups) asking for benefits - are slipping away. With the collapse of the left, the party on the right often slips into the center, seeking advantage.

This is bad for the country, and its also going to be bad in the long run for my tax bill, which is already outrageous.

Posted by: Blackavar at January 10, 2004 09:03 AM

I would echo Blackavar's comments. However, folks like us need to be aware and also be active in taking part in politics, in order to keep our party in line, and stop the leftward creep.

Posted by: ronin at January 10, 2004 11:23 AM
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