There’s one main reason the vast majority of Americans continue to lose and suffer, while a very small percentage of people continue to win and prosper, and it can be summed up with one word, unity.
I know this sounds corny and cliché, but that doesn’t make it untrue. There’s a reason a small group of vested parties are able to run this country in their interests alone while the general public gets scraps, and it’s not simply money. A big part of the problem lies in ourselves and our inability to form mass movements that cross political lines on issues of tremendous importance. The “elite” don’t suffer from such divisiveness, which is how they are able to hold on to power despite repeated failures spanning decades.
A perfect example of how the status quo comes together when their collective interests are threatened was on full display during the 2016 election. Many of us stood in shock with our mouths open in horror as corporate Democrats, neoconservative Republicans and the corporate media formed a total alliance in opposition to Donald Trump. Those of us who pay attention to the world knew this had nothing to do with Trump’s comments about Mexicans or Muslims. All of that was merely a smokescreen for what really concerned them. What really got them terrified was the prospect that Trump would reverse course on the reckless late-stage imperial foreign policy that has been relentlessly pursued since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
To see what I mean, watch the following video of General Wesley Clark describing the days after 9/11:
I’m sure you noticed Syria mentioned in that clip. The plan to overthrow Syria was already laid out over 15 years ago. As you can see, they’re a bit behind schedule, which is why we witnessed complete panic when Trump won the Presidency. While I was always convinced Trump would be a ruthless corporatist at home and all his commentary against Wall Street was a lie, I held out a small degree of hope he might chart a more reasonable course on foreign policy. This is clearly not the case, and Trump has now been trapped and played by the foreign policy establishment. He is now their puppet.
With his bombing of Syria, Trump has been successfully manipulated into a distinct foreign policy from what he promised during the campaign and adamantly warned against in 2013 when Obama was threatening military intervention in Syria. Trump was played by neocons in the Republican Party (principally John McCain and Lindsey Graham), Russia conspiracy theorists in the Democratic Party (led by Adam Schiff), and the always war-mongering corporate media. It was this unified stance by powerful interest groups ostensibly residing on conflicting sides of the political spectrum that won this fight and flipped Trump. The status quo stood together on an issue they care deeply about (provocation with Russia and war in Syria) and they are getting what they wanted.
To see just how united the corporate press is on this issue, take a look at these tweets from Adam Johnson.
find someone who looks at you the way the US media looks at bombs pic.twitter.com/GdMoc33NCO— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) April 9, 2017
The top 10 US papers–USA Today, WSJ, NYT, WaPo, LAT, Daily News, Chi Tribune, Newsday, SJ Mercury, Sun Times–all endorsed Trumps airstrikes.— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) April 8, 2017
Meanwhile, let’s see how Trump’s new neocon best friends are thanking him for his reckless bombing.
Punishing Assad for use of chemical weapons is good. Regime change in Iran is the prize.https://t.co/vnRo82CU4r— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) April 8, 2017
Well yeah, Wesley Clark already told us all about that.
Meanwhile, Graham is calling for 5,000-6,000 U.S. ground forces in Syria, so there’s that. The neocons smell blood and weakness and are now going for the jugular. Well done, Donald Trump.
The bottom line here is we need to learn lessons from our adversaries in order to defeat them. The “elite,” or status quo, isn’t a uniform blob which maintains conformity with one another on every political issue. That said, there are some issues so important to establishment players that they will put aside all other concerns in order to defend them. Imperial wars of domination is one of these issues, which is why rather than accept defeat after the election, the truly powerful in America united like never before to paint Trump as a Putin puppet so that he’d be backed into a corner and then manipulated into doing their bidding at the appropriate moment. This is exactly what happened.
The “elite” are very good at unifying when their key interests are threatened, while average American citizens are terrible at it. We’ve been completely divided and conquered. We’ve self-separated into ideological tribes where we support and celebrate only those thinkers who agree with us on a vast majority of issues. As such, when something like a crazy neocon war abroad becomes a reality we are totally incapable of crossing tribal lines to unite on an issue of tremendous importance. The elite have no such qualms, which is why they win and we lose.
Going forward, we must totally dismiss the notion that movements should be centered around individual politicians, and center them around principles. It wasn’t “getting the right person elected” that changed anything in the civil rights movement, rather it was mass popular movements by average citizens who pressured politicians. It’s never the politicians, it’s always the people. This is how it’s always been and how it must be today. I think activism has completely lost its way and until it finds strategic understanding, will continue to fail. There’s power in numbers, and we have the numbers on all sorts of issues if we can only get out of our little tribal comfort zones and accept people as allies in struggles of particular importance even if you disagree with them on a host of other issues.
While there are a large number of issues I care deeply about, I’ve come to the conclusion that we need to pick one big issue and then build a huge tent around it. I think Trump’s recent escalation of hostilities in Syria means interventionist wars in the Middle East should be the first issue we unify to challenge. It’s high profile, extremely dangerous and the sort of thing that can generate unity amongst a huge percentage of the population.
If war in Syria will be our first order of business, where do things stand as we speak? For one thing, I got a lot out of a recent poll highlighted by The Hill. Here’s what we learned:
About half of Americans support the Trump administration’s decision last week to launch a missile strike on a Syrian air base, according to a new poll.
A HuffPost/YouGov survey finds 51 percent of Americans support the president’s decision to order the airstrikes in retaliation for a chemical attack last week that killed civilians in northern Syrian.
Thirty-two percent of Americans are opposed to the strikes and 17 percent are uncertain.
Your immediate reaction to this may be that it’s disturbing and discouraging that 51% of Americans support the strike, and I understand that sentiment. However, given the total unified propaganda front from the tripartisan elite (corporate media and the Republican and Democratic establishment), the number is actually pretty low. Moreover, the following is encouraging.
Slightly more than one-third of respondents think the president should not take additional military action, compared to 20 percent who believe Trump should. Another 45 percent were unsure of what the president should do regarding future military action.
Only 20% of Americans want more strikes, but we know what McCain, Graham and Kristol want. Which makes you wonder, how will the neocons shape public opinion and get their expanded war? The corporate media, of course. This is the media’s true role in the American oligarchy. It must mold the opinions of the 45% who “aren’t sure what to do next” and convince them that more war is necessary. Be on the look out for that, because it’s coming.
Moreover, we learned some additional information in a different poll, also highlighted by The Hill:
Pollsters also found that 70 percent believe Trump requires authorization from Congress before pursuing additional action in Syria.
Few Americans desire U.S. military involvement in Syria beyond airstrikes, however, with 18 percent supporting the use of ground troops.
It’s very clear Americans don’t want a ground presence in Syria, but as we learned, Lindsey Graham is calling for exactly that to the tune of 5,000-6,000 troops. Again, the only way for the neocons to boost this number from 18% to something more acceptable is the corporate press. The above tells us that something to the tune of 200 million American adults may be against a ground war in Syria. If that’s right, where are the anti-war protests? Where’s the mass movement against more interventionism? Where did all the vagina hats go?
The movement is nowhere to be seen largely because the 80% of Americans against an escalation of this war are divided and bickering on a laundry list of other issues. The public has been totally divided and conquered and remains entirely unable to come together to stop something as important as war despite agreeing with one another on the subject. This absence of unity leaves the public vulnerable to manipulation by the corporate media and politicians who want more war, which is exactly what’s going to happen if we don’t wise up.
So how do we achieve this unity I’m calling for? It’s not going to be easy, but I think the first step is for all of us to get out of our tribes start listening to people outside our comfort zones. I try to do this here at Liberty Bltizkrieg with my posts. For example, one day you may see a video of Ron Paul and the next an interview with Chris Hedges. I don’t agree with either one on all issues, but they both have integrity and are against unethical destructive wars abroad. If people who like Ron Paul can cross over and shake hands with people who prefer Chris Hedges and agree to fight imperial war together, we can build the popular movements that will be necessary to turn this country around. If not, we will continue to lose.
The choice is ours.