Stefan Wray on Wed, 9 May 2001 13:47:02 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Bush, China, and The Left....

Bush, China, and The Left....
by Stefan Wray

Damn... Time flies when youıre not having fun with Bush as the assumed
president. Itıs about 6 months since the ill-fated 2000 presidential election
of last November. And the grim reality of George W. Bush as leader of the
so-called free world is starting to set in. The pre-Dubya world begins to
become a fuzzy memory.

I remember a big rally in Austin when Ralph Nader came to town last fall.
People packed a big public meeting hall. Lots of people. Even if youıre an
anarchist and donıt vote, there was something in the air. An excitement.  There
was the smell of change. The anticipation of something different. Sure we knew
Nader had no shot at it. But just the fact that he was able to gain so much
attention - if not in the end many votes - meant something.

Now. That sense of anticipation has changed to dread. The monstrosity that we
imagined Bush to be has started to come to life. (Yes. I know. Itıs not really
Bush, but Cheney, Powell, and the whatıs-his-face defense secretary that are
running the show).

Just in the period of a few weeks, a bunch of seemingly unrelated incidents,
proclamations and policy moves splashed out of Washington onto our TV screens
and newspapersı pages.

Clashes with China. A new list of terrorist rogue state threats. A new defense
strategy that says ³fuck you² to earlier nuclear weapons treaties.  An energy
policy based on continued greed that belittles conservation and pumps up the
value of nukes. (And on less of a national scale, a nuke waste dump sails
through the Texas senate.)

What does it all spell? Bush wants to drag us into a new Cold War with China,
and at the same time use the threat of nuclear terror from ³rogue² states
internationally and the energy crisis domestically, to reinvigorate the
nuclear-defense industry - a Star Wars-like defense system and more nuclear
power plants.

Talk about Deja Vu... Reminds me of the early days of Reagan. Itıs as if Georgy
Boy wants to come in and pick up where Reagan left off. Weıre returning to the
early 1980s all over again. Kind of makes sense, the people pulling his strings
are all his dadıs pals and surely old friends of brain dead Ron.

But why another Cold War? Because itıs an easy game to play. Itıs a game for
half-wits. In the simplistic Cold War world, there are good guys and bad guys.
Itıs the us and them game. Easy to divide up the world that way rather than
deal with subtle shades of gray and complexity.

Who wins in Bushıs New World Order Revisited? Defense contractors. Nuclear
contractors. All kinds of big cash cows that suck millions of dollars of tax
payers money. Who loses? Just about everyone else.

And where is the Left in all of this? Well, since Iım rather isolated from the
Left on a national level here in this little bubble of Austin, Texas, I can
only comment on the Left in Austin.

I guess first we need to define the Left. I say Left for lack of a better term
and because it has generally been used as a term historically to define people
to the left of the political spectrum. I donıt really like the term anymore.

Iım talking about all the various groups that periodically come together to try
to make some positive change here in Austin and in the rest of the world.
Campus groups like the Radical Action Network, Accion Zapatista, or the ISO.
Community groups like PODER, the Green Party, the Campaign To End The Death
Penalty. And coalitions like the Austin Peace and Justice Coalition and the
relatively newly formed Democracy Coalition, that explicitly formed to fight
Bushıs agenda.

Granted, the Democracy Coalition organized a decent-sized protest when Bush was
inaugurated on January 20, hosted a teach-in on resisting Bushıs agenda, and
more recently put together events around the FTAA - which only covers one
aspect of the Bushıs corporate world.

But overall something is lacking. There is not a sense of crisis and urgency. I
donıt see groups marshalling forces and resources to confront, both
intellectually and organizationally, the new Cold War rhetoric spewing forth.
Iıve not heard of any forums or public discussions about the current U.S.-China
wrangling. I donıt see any mention of it among the rather thin content passing
by on some of Austinıs progressive listservs. Simply, I am not seeing signs of
discontent about Bushıs foreign policy fiascos waiting to happen. And this
worries me.

Itıs a speed thing. Bush and his entourage have an incredible machine that can
continually and rapidly manifest shifts and changes in course. We have no
machine. We are slow and laborious to react. Weıre still dealing with the mess
that Bushıs father created. Not to diminish the importance of the End The
Sanctions on Iraq movement, but this effort is based on incidents that began
over 10 years ago.

Itıs painful to think about how swiftly big government is impacting history and
how slowly we move to position ourselves.

What should we do? Thatıs always the question, isnıt it? First start with what
we can do. And clearly one thing we can do is to talk about what is happening
NOW. And then figuring out what might be an appropriate course of action.

But to undertake this first step, to inspire the conversation, to get a
dialogue going requires leadership. It requires inspired intervention. And Iım
not sure where that is coming from. I donıt see anyone spitting mad about
Bushıs new Cold War rhetoric. No one is on fire yet.

The dry tinder is there. Branches have been falling from the trees. It wouldnıt
take much of a flame to spark a roaring blaze.

One thing we can do as Texans (ha, Iım no Texan but for media purposes we are
all Texans, right?) is to publicly and globally denounce Bushıs China policies
and his other heinous foreign policy measures. We could place a full-page ad in
the New York Times completely distancing ourselves from Bushıs agenda signed by
people from Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio.

In such an ad we could: 1) affirm that his presidency is illegitimate; 2)
declare that he does not represent the people of the United States in any of
his foreign policy ventures; 3) apologize profusely to the rest of the world
for his existence and our inability to stop him from taking control; 4) urge
the rest of the world community not to take anything he does or says seriously;
5) pledge to work with people in other countries, whenever possible, to
undermine his administrationsı authority.

This is just one idea for a course of action. It may not be the best. If anyone
has a better one, please put it forward.

We are only beginning to feel the impact of Bushıs presidency. We best brace
ourselves for a long 4 years. And we best be prepared to act swiftly lest we be
left wiping the trail of dust out of our eyes, wondering what happened.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: