Bringing the peace

If your main “hobbyhorse” or “pet cause” is the halt of war-mongering—and I’m with you on this one—it’s important to think long term, as well. It’s not just about stopping this war, but also about preventing future ones, and dismantling the power of racism is absolutely essential and non-negotiable in this cause. Few things help fuel the march to war like racism. I’d say that it was one of the top three things that helped fuel the march to war on Iraq—call it the “all Muslims are the same, anyway” belief that made it possible for Bush to equate secular Saddam Hussein with fundamentalist Osama Bin Laden. The amount of power that white supremacists have in our society has a strong effect on overall racist sentiment in two major ways. First, they crank out myths and stereotypes that feed racism once they get watered down and mainstreamed. (Look at their huge role in whipping up anti-immigration sentiment.) Second of all, as long as we have prominent white supremacists, everyday moderate racists can get away with feeling that they’re not so bad, because they aren’t shaving their heads and waving some flags around. Disempowering white supremacists may not seem in the microcosm to be a part of the anti-war movement, but from a big picture angle, it’s critical. And unless we’re willing to be big picture, we’re not going to address the underlying social reasons that war-mongering is so effective in our society, and imperialist wars will still be a strong possibility in the future.

With that in mind, I think that this post by Dave should be made into a pamphlet for people to carry around. Paul’s supporters are big on hitting the streets and accosting people—again, one reason I think it’s being fueled by a lot of political naivete, especially since a lot of the ones I see have a strong stoner vibe to them, and they may have even never voted before—so they’d be perfect for handing off a two-page pamphlet about how they’ve been lured into throwing in with neo-Nazis.

The anti-war left needs to distance ourselves from these kooks if we’re serious about bringing the peace. This unsubtle conspiracy theories only feed the pointless discourse about whether or not Israel has a right to exist, and that point of contention is the source of much of the grief that feeds Middle East hostilities. Until it’s well-understood around the globe that Israel isn’t going anywhere and policy has to proceed with that fact in mind, peace will be stymied, and there will be paranoia in Israel that will help feed the right’s power. In general, this is a rule of thumb—just because right wing crazies are nominally anti-war at any point in time doesn’t mean they’re actually anti-war in the global sense. They keep feeding hostility, racism, and paranoia into the machine, and it comes out as violence on the other side.