May 14, 2014
For decades, those few Americans who have dedicated their precious time and energy to working toward a better future for themselves and their children – regardless of the issue of their focus – have seen all their hard work come to naught as their organizations, labor, and intellectual commitments become absorbed by one or both of the two Wall Street parties. This absorption, if the issue is genuine, almost never leads to the adoption of the original idea or the implementation of the activists’ demands but rather a total watering down of the message, complete with partisan bickering and division until those players who initiated the discussion to begin with are lost in the Democrat-Republican disputes.
Yet this is not merely an attempt by the two Corporate sub-parties at harnessing the energy of grassroots activists into their own political machines. It is a coordinated attempt at derailing those campaigns entirely and shaping the very will of the people that, given half a chance, would have sided with the groups on the ground. Instead, the average person is left with nothing more than the will of the one party system presented to them in saccharine form and catered to their own inbred political pedigrees.
The fact is that, anytime an issue of concern to the American people or the cause of a true grass roots movement is taken up by one of the major parties, the death knell of that cause has been sounded.
By now, many should be able to accept the fact that the two major parties are bought and paid for by Wall Street and major corporations in addition to its being a tightly controlled cover operation for the ensconced state apparatus.
While this two party system serves a variety of functions from the standpoint of the national and world oligarchy, one of its important aspects is the ability to co-opt and redirect legitimate political activity emerging at the grassroots level and use the energy and momentum of that activity toward the goal of the oligarchy even as it appears to be doing just the opposite.
This goal is itself accomplished by a variety of means, one of which can involve the actual publicizing of the issue at hand and the taking up of the cause by the major party or specific side of the left/right paradigm.
Of course, it is not necessary for members of the party proper to become involved with the co-opt, only for individuals seen as representing one of the two authorized political pedigrees. These individuals can indeed be politicians, but they can just as well be television show hosts, prominent activists or organizations, radio hosts, and others seen as leaders of the “conservative” or “liberal” factions.
All that really needs to be accomplished is that the vast majority of the public, those individuals who are almost always completely inert and uninterested in political affairs, become convinced that the position in question is either “conservative” or “liberal.” Once this task has been completed, the general public will divide themselves and retreat into their preferred camps of political thought. Any further discussion of the issue at hand will necessarily carry with it partisan overtones and political associations. Speaking of the issue with any opinion at all will thus link the individual voicing that opinion with a particular political party or at least the ideology associated with it.
Still, it is possible to acknowledge the existence of some of these traps where we know them to exist and thus attempt to avoid them as much as possible. For that reason, we must look to our recent history in order to see some examples of how this method is used to derail legitimate political movements, divide the general public, and stifle any legitimate mode of free thought before it begins to take off.
One example of the co-opting of a grassroots movement was the complete absorption of the Tea Party into the more reactionary elements of the Republican party. For those who may not remember, the Tea Party originally began as a loose organization of Libertarians and Patriots who generally mobilized around the ideals and political platform of former Texas Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul.
The general ideology of the Tea Party was anti-war, pro-gun, and against the militarization of police and domestic spying programs. The Tea Party participants were very vocal in their criticism of the Federal Reserve and Wall Street Banks, usually urging the elimination of the Fed entirely. Although there may have been some disagreement in terms of the details of some of these positions, the Tea Party was not monolithic and not part of any political party.
Soon, however, as the Tea Party grew into a sizeable number of people across the country, true Republicans began attempting to gain the respect of the Tea Partiers by claiming affinity with some of their ideals. The mainstream media thus began reporting the Tea Party as being a “conservative” movement and talking to Republican Congressmen and representatives as if they were spokesmen for the Tea Party. Conservative talk show hosts like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity then began “warming up” to the Tea Party, as did Republican politicians.
But this newfound fondness for Libertarians and Patriots was no more genuine than a typical Republican campaign speech. Indeed, it was only an attempt to cast the Tea Party in a Conservative Republican light in the minds of those that straddled the fence as well as those who were regular viewers and listeners to media outlets like FOX and other mainstream conservative media organizations. This became a self-fulfilling prophecy as more and more Republicans and traditional mainline conservatives began attending Tea Party rallies bringing with them the Neo-Con ideologies they inherited from FOX news. As there is clearly a higher population of FOX viewers than those who actually study the Constitution, Republicans soon overwhelmed the Tea Party.
No longer were the speakers at Tea Party rallies the likes of Ron Paul and other Patriot types. Now, the speakers were Sarah Palin and a host of Republican airheads who spouted off pro-war, anti-Arab, wedge issue rhetoric.
In 2014, the Tea Party is synonymous with the Republican party as a result.
Similarly, the criticism of what may come to be viewed as one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation to have been passed in the United States in recent memory, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was co-opted by the establishment and turned into a partisan issue.
During the initial phases of the debate surrounding ACA, the overwhelming majority of those who took even one look at the implications of the bill found themselves in opposition to it. This criticism extended across the aisle from conservatives and Libertarians who did not want any type of government healthcare system to socialists and progressives who wanted a “single-payer” or completely government-run system. This opposition also covered everyone else in between.
At the heart of the criticism was the concern over the individual mandate and the built-in “death panels” which were included in the bill, despite the delusion of Obama supporters who still continue to believe otherwise.
For instance, even Dennis Kucinich, a proponent of a “single-payer” system criticized the bill as a bailout for the insurance companies and the opposite of single-payer (before he voted for it).
Thus, Liberals and Conservatives, divided on their vision for the healthcare plan they wanted to see for the American people, were largely united in their desire to stop the ACA from being implemented.
However, the co-opt followed quickly.
Democratic politicians and media mouthpieces soon ceased all criticism of the Obama plan while Republicans (who had supported the same plan years before) went on the attack. The mainstream media presented any and all opponents of Obamacare as Conservatives, Republicans, and rich/middle class white people. This soon became a self-fulfilling prophecy as opposition to Obamacare became a Republican talking point, along with the talking points of America having the “best healthcare system in the world,” how everyone already has access to healthcare, and how the free market will provide it for them if they exist.
The non-partisan grassroots resistance to the ACA breathed its last breathe when Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck took up the charge against Obamacare.
But the ability to co-opt a legitimate movement does not rest on the shoulders of Conservatives and Libertarians alone. Progressives and Liberals are every bit as susceptible to the absorption of their legitimate grievances and movements.
For instance, during the battle to save collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin from the assault leveled against them by fascist governor Scott Walker and his Corporate allies, workers and unions were able to secure record numbers of protesters agitating for their collective bargaining rights. Indeed, the sentiment of this movement was beginning to spread outside of Wisconsin. For its part inside the state, however, the protest against Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill ranks as one of the largest per capita protests in American history.
But while unions, workers, and other activists conscious of the fact that their fate is tied together with one another, sabotage soon came in the form of the Democratic Party.
As the party apparatus recognized the overwhelming desire to retain the right to collectively bargain, the Democratic party provided the public the option of corrupt Wall Street Democrat and party hack Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee. Thus, during the course of the recall vote directed at Walker, the only alternative was Barrett.
The choice between Barrett and Walker was less than amazing to say the least, resulting in a poor turnout and the subsequent victory of Walker. It is important to note that Barrett was the only candidate of the protesters in the minds of the apathetic public and the production studios of the mainstream media. Barrett had much more in common both in ideology and social class with Walker than he ever did with the tens of thousands of people marching in the streets. Indeed, Barrett did not even campaign on the central issue of working people of that which the protests were attempting to address.
Likewise, the peace movement of the early 21st century that represented growing mass resistance to the obviously imperial wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, and those nations next in line according to the PNAC documents, was co-opted and derailed by the Democratic party.
After suffering under eight years of George W. Bush, a struggling economy, a growing police state, and the endless prattle regarding the dangers of terrorists, extremists, and other potential enemies, the American people as a whole were tired of the constant warmongering of the ruling elite.
As one might expect, the anti-war movement found its roots in the more left-leaning groups and individuals. However, that sentiment was growing at lightning pace as groups on the left were being joined by libertarians and even some conservatives in their opposition to further military adventurism. Toward the end of the Bush years, it appeared to many that there was a real possibility of a mass movement of opposition to American imperialism and unjust wars. In what is even more interesting, there was a growing 9/11 truth movement as well.
And then the Democratic party stepped in.
In what will go down as one of the most successful co-opts of a mass movement in the history of the United States, particularly due to its lasting and radicalizing effects, the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama was introduced to the unsuspecting masses.
For the left, Obama seemingly embodied everything they held dear – anti-war politics and pro-labor positions, liberal positions on social issues, and, of course, the perception of being a minority. Unfortunately, reality has demonstrated that Obama was never any of those things. Obama, of course, has been as aggressive as Bush in prosecuting unjust imperial wars, social inequality, and anti-labor positions.
But Obama was much more effective in dismantling the anti-war movement than Bush ever could have been. This is because those on the left, obsessed with identity politics and “getting back at Bush” were entirely blinded as to the reality of Obama and all of the crimes that he has committed. Fully attached to the cult of personality and religion of Obama, what was once a movement that fought for peace and accountability is now an apologist and facilitator of war and secrecy.
Ultimately, the only thing achieved by playing politics with the major two party system and the false dichotomy of left vs right is that the status quo of the system continued to remain in place while a much larger agenda continued to be implemented. The general public, of course, remains entirely ignorant of that agenda or the methods in which continually progresses regardless of their vote or their awkward dinner conversations with family and friends.
Currently, we are seeing the marginalization, polarization, and absorption of freedom and class-based positions surrounding guns, the minimum wage, and economics in general. This is a recipe for disaster those of us concerned with the preservation of both our gun and economic rights as well as those rights that will inevitably become the central targets down the road.
As Webster Tarpley stated in his address to the United Front Against Austerity in 2012, “The two-party system has obviously become an intolerable straitjacket for the political expression of the American people. It is now necessary to create a mass movement outside of the two parties, a mass movement at least strong enough to destabilize the existing power combinations in the direction of constructive and radical reform.”
Indeed, the worst thing for any political movement is the involvement of the Democratic or Republican party. The best advice one can offer to any activist is to stay far away from these institutions.
Brandon Turbeville is a writer out of Florence, South Carolina. He holds a B.A. from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, The Road To Damascus- The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, Codex Alimentarius- The End of Health Freedom, Seven Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions, and Dispatches From A Dissident Vol. 1 and 2. He is a staff writer for Activist Post and has published over 350 hundred articles dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, war, government corruption, and civil liberties. He has been a guest on numerous alternative media broadcasts as well as mainstream outlets. Turbeville is also an occasional contributor to other media outlets such as Natural Blaze, The Anti Media, and Progressive Gazette. His books can be found in the bookstore at BrandonTurbeville.com, www.FalseFlagPublications.blogspot.com, and TheBookPatch.com.
Turbeville is also a the host of Truth on the Tracks, a weekly news round up that serves as a hub for activists, information, and solutions. Truth on the Tracks airs every Monday and Friday night at 9pm EST on UCY.TV/TT.