From email@example.com Tue Aug 15 07:35:08 2000
Al Gore, The Jews and the Liberal-Left
By Dave Silver, 11 August 2000
The shrewd choice, the first Jewish vice-presidential nominee, has received a very positive response not only from Rabbis and leaders of the major Jewish organizations, but also a broad spectrum of liberal and Left people some of whom were active in the civil rights struggles of the 60's. Can we say that the selection of Joseph Lieberman (JL) is a blow to anti-semitism let alone white racism? I think not. Gore and Clinton were architects of the Democratic Leadership Council which moved the Party's middle" to the Right to keep pace with the perceived movement of their constituency to the Right. Much as the Reagan-Bush years did for the Republicans.
Rather the central consideration in choosing JL over let's say a "more moderate" Sen Richard Gephardt, was the possibility of winning over of some Jewish Republicans, as well as some a bit to the Left (such as Jews who are in the "Reform Temple" who may be toying with Ralph Nader) as well as "Independents." Lieberman was perfect for projecting the image of a "pragmatic independent" whose "moral values" were exemplary. Of course we have seen Jews in and out of government with far more power than JL. Kissinger, Alan Greenspan, Secretary of "Defense" William Cohen and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin come to mind..
Who is this moral Jew that is so compatible with the policies and practices of the ruling class? JL is for the death penalty, school vouchers for private and parochial schools, the "anti-missile defense" and was one of ten Democrats that voted for the genocidal bombing of Iraq. He advocated sending US troops to Bosnia, supports not only the blockade against Cuba but the Helms-Burton law and the Cuban Democracy Act which tightens the screws to Revolutionary Cuba even more. In addition he supports "welfare reform" (the Clinton kind which has and will result in sickness and death for thousands of poor people) as well as reform of Social Security (with the Transnational corporations, Investment bankers and insurance companies allowed into the fray) and while JL says he's for protecting the rights of undocumented immigrants he is for that quintessential anti-labor law the North American Free Trade Agreement known as NAFTA.
Oh yes this "pragmatic independent"nominee must convey a liberal face as well. So he claims to be for women's right to choose and a healthier environment as long as it doesn't infringe on the "rights" of the corporate community. In fact JL happens to be the 3rd largest recipient of money from pharmaceutical corporations not exactly a prescription for healthier people especially if you are poor. The moral JL has collaborated with the Christian Right in the person of Ralph Reed to uphold the right of school prayer. This peace loving moral man from the rich state of Connecticut supported Clinton's delay on the ratification of the nuclear proliferation treaty although it's fine for imperialist USA to continue testing. This moral man shouted for joy at the pre-emptive strike of our Mideast puppet Israel and its victorious aggression in the 1967 Six Day War which added Suez and the Golan Heights to Israel's Lebensraum. In addition like the Jewish neo-fascist and former Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon, Lieberman views Arabs as "Untermenschen", a favorite description of inferior peoples by the Chancellor of the Third Reich.
As I write these lines we hear on Cspan even more unique and sophisticated ways for repression of protestors at the Staples Center in L.A. The ACLU attorney for Southern California, Dan Takaji and organizer Susan Goldberg tell of new draconian measures planned by the mayor and LAPD. In the section of the Ramparts district where the scandals make the NYPD pale by comparison, we have already witnessed preventive detention, helicopter and video surveillance, arrests and detention for the perceived leaders and organizers who have visited the area. Pepper spray and chemical weapons is on the agenda as well. The ACLU lawsuit which has been filed alleges preemptive strikes, kidnapping, harassment and intimidation of activists. The attorney mentioned the case of puppeteers being raided and handcuffed and when they questioned the cops the response was "fuck you" and the cuffs were tightened. The protestors were then threatened with "we'll see you Saturday" alluding to a demo that was planned for that day.
Instead of falling in to the trap of the evil of two lessers (won't a vote for Nader help elect Bush they ask) the lessons here are that we have to organize, organize and organize even as we "hit the streets." But with a difference from past failed efforts of Resistance. No feeding illusions that the Democratic Party can be "reformed" and be part of a people's solution rather than the problem. We must clearly name the enemy and their puppets in the white house, state houses and city halls. They are called Transnationals and Banks. For it is this common enemy alone which unites all of the significant issues facing the overwhelming majority of working, poor and retired people on fixed incomes. In addition we must recognize the special oppression of people of color and the systemic and institutionalized racism of a system that literally kills for profit, and guarantee that the most oppressed not only participate in but give leadership to such a national, independent political movement.