How much fight do the liberals have in them?

One day away from the election. This is definitely the moment when everything else is completely drowned out. Do we blame the media or ourselves, for shutting out things like the fact that the UN is overseeing the massacre of Haitians in residential neighbourhoods (if you want to take advantage of this moment to invest in Haiti, there’s a delegation you can go on. I’m sure the Haitians will be thrilled for the opportunity. Don’t forget to bring a sample of things you’d like assembled.) Or the four assassinations in Occupied Palestine today. Or, hell, even the Tel Aviv suicide bombing (I suspect you will hear about that, even tomorrow). Or the planned razing of Fallujah, which will probably start immediately after the elections, regardless of who wins. Is it that the media only cares about the spectacle of these elections, or is it that the rest of us are unable to give the world any attention when there’s something going on in America?

No one can say what is going to happen tomorrow. It is a big black hole, and feels that way. But I can say that it, like the future of the US and therefore of the world, depends on something very specific. It depends on how hard the liberals in the US are willing to fight against the movement against them. Tomorrow the Republicans will cheat. The media will help them. The grassroots fundamentalist constituency of Bush will vote, and then they will start moving to ensure that the person they voted for wins. And they will not back off until they are quite sure they cannot win. If that happens, they will immediately start mobilizing to ensure — with success they have been demonstrating over years — that Kerry dances to their tune, which he probably will. I don’t want to think too much about if Bush gets more electoral votes. What I want to say is that if Kerry wins the election, whether or not he will actually become president depends on the liberal movement against Bush.

Over the past few months, I can’t help but think that we anti-Bush people have missed opportunities for systemic critique, antiwar protest, analysis, creative action on any number of issues. Those who didn’t want to focus on the election found that no one was listening. Those who did focus on the election were making a calculation that defeating Bush was the thing that had to be done, without which all the other things that had to be done would be much more difficult or impossible. Whether that calculation was the right one remains to be seen. The worst shame of all would be if, after sacrificing so much principle to beating Bush, the liberals back down in the face of another electoral coup.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.