imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Taking Impeachment on the Road

by Dave Lindorff Tuesday, Jun. 27, 2006 at 1:01 PM
dlindorff@yahoo.com

Impeachment can play a vital role in building resistance to dictatorship, both in the electoral politics and on the street. It’s not an either/or proposition.

Over this past week, I had a few experiences in the course of several book events for The Case for Impeachment which both illustrate the importance of this constitutionally important method of checking the actions of dangerous or criminal presidents, and the difficulty of doing so.

On Friday, I debated my Counterpunch editor, Jeff St. Clair, in a forum that was part of the International Socialist Organization conference at Columbia University in New York. Jeff crushed my argument in favor of impeachment at that forum with a brilliant monologue of one-liners that made John Stewart's "Daily Show" seem like a Dick Cavett re-run. Declaring that Bush had in five years managed to destroy the U.S. military, U.S. imperialist strategy, the U.S. economy, and any remaining credibility that the New York Times might have once had, he asked the assembled radicals in the audience to "just imagine what else he could accomplish in just two more years in office!"

Jeff, who said he had supported the impeachment of Bill Clinton (though for his war against the Iraqi people and other substantive reasons, not for adultery and lying about adultery), argued that impeachment was a bad idea because the Bush administration is doing such a good job of destroying the world's leading imperialist power.

Against such an onslaught, particularly one presented with such biting humor, I was hard-put to make the impeachment case--particularly because the self-styled radicals in the audience were for the most part predisposed to dismiss electoral politics as futile or, even worse, as a diversion designed to trick and placate the masses.

A part of me has to agree with Jeff's basic analysis, but then, I think it is also true that off-hand dismissal of electoral politics by the hard left also represents a kind of diversion and a convenient cop-out. After all, the left, for all its rejection of electoral politics, has accomplished essentially nothing when it comes to halting U.S. militarism and imperialism, or challenging the rapacious behavior of the domestic corporations that increasingly dictate U.S. domestic and foreign policy. It's easy to claim elections are a joke, and easy to organize marches down Broadway or demonstrations in D.C.'s Lafayette Square, but none of these actions have altered U.S. policy one bit.

It's also easy to dismiss the US Constitution as the literary product of landed gentry and nascent capitalists, but the reality is that that remarkable if flawed document has been the basis for laws barring race and sex discrimination, protecting free speech and assembly, and outlawing child labor. It also provides the basis for challenging a president bent on becoming a dictator.

But for the Constitution to work, it has to have the active and aggressive support of the people--its protections, as historian Howard Zinn has ably pointed out, are routinely violated in the absence of mass protest--and dissing the document is no way to build that kind of support.

I would argue that those on the left who reject electoral politics in this era are making a possibly fatal error. Jeff's mocking account of Bush presidency's incompetence was truly inspired, but I see this administration in a much more dangerous light than he does--or at least than he did in that debate. My experience living in the military-fascist Chinese state during the early 1990s, and my experience living in West Germany in the mid-`60s when memories of the rise of the Nazis were still fresh, convince me that the past five years in the U.S. have represented a concerted march towards fascist dictatorship--a march that calls for a broad, multi-fronted resistance, both electoral and extra-parliamentary.

Democrats in Congress--particularly the leadership of the Democratic Party which has been so complicit in many of the policies like the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and apparently even the NSA spying that are paving the way to a one-party state--are a weak straw on which to hang hopes for that resistance. That said, the Democratic Party does provide a vehicle for millions of people who value freedom and democracy but who aren't ready to fight back by taking to the streets or storming the citadels of power as my colleague Jeff proposes. For a variety of reasons, the US is not France, the Philippines or the Ukraine.

It is a historic mistake, I believe, for the left to walk away from that electoral process and from those millions of potential opponents of authoritarian rule.

I believe that a campaign for impeachment, which according to some polls a majority of Americans and nearly all Democrats support, is a way of both educating the public about the Republican-led, corporate-backed drive towards dictatorship and neo-fascist control and of consolidating and rallying progressive forces within the Democratic Party. The latter effort is crucial if the death grip of the Democratic Leadership Council of conservative Democrats is to be pried loss from the control levers of the party.

Saturday found me, together with my co-author Barbara Olshansky, at a church on the New Haven green, talking about impeachment to an audience organized by Squeaky Wheel Productions, a group that produces the syndicated radio program "Between the Lines."

This audience was composed almost totally of people who are committed to Democratic politics. The wild applause that ensued on several occasions when I endorsed their efforts to back insurgent Ned Lamont in his effort to deny the Democratic Party nomination in Connecticut to incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman made that clear. Lamont, by some accounts, now has the backing of as many as 40 percent of the state’s Democrats, to the point that Lieberman has already said he would run as an Independent if he should lose the primary this August. That said, it would be an astonishing victory for the left if the pro-war, pro-Patriot Act Lieberman were defeated by the voters of his own party--and such an event would send shivers down the cartilaginous spines of every pro-war, pro-Patriot Act Democratic member of Congress.

Of the two groups, I have to say I have much more respect for the efforts of the activists at the Squeaky Wheel gathering than those at the ISO. It's not that the ISO activists are not committed and hard working. Many of them are certainly investing much more of their lives into their political struggle than those in that church in New Haven. But I'm convinced that for all that, the Democratic Party activists have a much better chance of halting the country's slide into fascism than do the ISO radicals. There is certainly an important role to be played by those who organize in the street (a role that could become even more important if electoral efforts fail), but at this point, with no viable Third Party, and no significant opposition in Congress to the Bush power grab, those who mock electoral resistance should reconsider their stance. A third event showed me why the Right has been able to make the inroads it has since 9-11. I was signing books at a Barnes&Noble store in Willow Grove, a suburb north of Philadelphia, when an older man stormed up and, shaking his finger at me, yelled, "What about Iran! Do you want to just let them build a nuclear bomb and then blow it up here?" As heads turned all over the store, I told him that his argument was preposterous--that for Iran, or North Korea for that matter, to launch an atomic bomb at the U.S. would be to commit national suicide. Any country that did such a thing would be obliterated by a U.S. response, and countries don’t commit suicide

"What about the attack on the World Trade Center?" he countered angrily. "They committed suicide!"

"But those people, were not a country," I replied. "They were individuals acting on behalf of a little organization, not a country. And the organization was not committing suicide, either--just those men in the planes."

"That’s your problem," he shouted in triumph before storming out of the store. "You’re too rational!"

` Like Jeff St. Clair, he had me there.

For other stories by Lindorff, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .

To find out more about the new book, The Case for Impeachment, click here. For early review quotes, check out the “Impeachment News” box on the top right of the homepage at This Can't Be Happening! .

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy