Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Progressive, yes, but Liberal or Radical Progressive?

Portside recently sent out this brief comment about the criticism of John Conyers:

Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007
> From: Claire Carsman
> Subject: John Conyers
> It's appalling that people on the left have chosen to
> attack John Conyers. How are we ever going to build a
> unified movement with ridiculous tactics like that.
> And not to ignore the underlying racism.
> Claire Long Beach, CA

Frankly, I'm amazed that the atrocious behavior of John Conyers is receiving so much defense. On the progressive left, this must be the dividing line between liberal and radical. I'm a radical who sees Conyers' inaction as completely, totally, and absolutely unjustifiable. Every (let me emphasize -- every, single, each, and all) excuse I have heard in Conyers' defense has rung hollow. After hearing all the excuses there is only one logical conclusion: Conyers can't come up with a valid excuse because he has none. Perhaps Conyers is to be pitied, because circumstantial evidence points to the sad truth that he would probably like to bring the bill of impeachment, but Speaker Pelosi is ordering him not to do so. Since he can't just come out and say this openly, he is left to give the clearly bogus rationalizations that we have heard.

Portside readers like Claire Carsman wonder how are we going to build "a unified movement" by criticizing Conyers, yet she doesn't ask why Conyers is breaking up the unified movement by refusing to act? Why is it that Conyers should get a free ride as the liberal gatekeeper against the radicals while the radical's complaint at being locked out of Congress is then called the source of the problem?

This divide on the left was recently revealed in the attempt by Hillary Clinton to cover it up. In the most recent Presidential debates, Clinton was asked to define liberal and state if she is a liberal. She waffled and evaded and said that liberal used to be a positive word but isn't any longer, so now she considers herself a "modern progressive." I used to relish the label progressive until I heard if from her lips. The question is begged: what is a "modern progressive" -- is it a liberal progressive or a radical progressive?

I'm a radical progressive and proud of it. Let the liberal progressives like John Conyers, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton continue to wield their gatekeeping power against the radical progressives like us, so be it; that's real politik. Radicals criticizing Conyers have been called racists, but let me say it plain: it is the radicals in the progressive movement who are continually treated as the house slaves by the liberal Democrats, always expected to give our votes and money but never to raise our voice in criticism. But don't for a minute think that we radical progessives are going to hush up like good servants or slaves and keep quiet while the liberal masters lock up Congress, keeping it for themselves, and in so doing aiding and abetting George Bush's crimes against humanity and the Constitution.

No comments: