3rd Rail Politics

syriaThey call it the 3rd rail of American politics. No politician dares . touch it, lest it bring down the wrath of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the rest of the Zionist lobby. It’s not just the money. It’s not just them. It’s our whole political culture — media, lobbies, the Christian Far Right, and the U.S. Defense/Security/War on Terror establishment.

Yet cracks are still emerging in the hitherto impenetrable façade. The pretext is the latest round of Israeli atrocities.

The story has become clear. Three young Israelis were taken and killed. Netanyahu, early on knowing that they were dead, and perhaps even knowing who the perpetrators were, used the incident as a pretext for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to go on a massive search for the three teens, terrorizing Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza in the process. The usual. Mass arrests and murder (death count stands at 100 last I read), homes ransacked and destroyed. I read the news today, oh boy.

I recalled that the night of the Flotilla Massacre back in 2010, when the IDF slaughtered civilians bringing food and medical supplies to a Gaza under siege, I cried. My wife Rose wept most of that night. But now I have no more tears for the Palestinians.

Policy shift.

A Palestinian boy was burned alive by Israeli rightists in Netanyahu government-incited retaliation. A Palestinian boy from Tampa, visiting the West Bank, was videotaped being savagely beaten by the IDF, then arrested. Also standard stuff. Ho-hum.

trainBut oddly enough, it got some press. Some cries from leading figures that vengeance against children was actually wrong. Did the hard hearts of our communications industry suddenly melt? No. Decisions have been made at the highest levels, that murdering Syrians and Iraqis was a higher priority, and Israeli savagery was at this moment complicating their job. A minimum of Israeli restraint might be helpful. Or at least pretending that a minimum of Israeli restraint might be helpful.

Is something happening here? Yes … and no. The locus of the violence is slightly shifting, alliances are being rearranged. However, to be clear, the violence the Empire daily unleashes upon the peoples of the Middle East remains unfazed.


We really need to take a step back. To put matters in perspective, let me quote at some length from 2004’s Multitude by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri:

“The domestic face of just-war doctrines and the war against terrorism is a regime aimed at near complete social control, which some authors describe as a passage from the welfare state to a warfare state and others characterize as a so-called zero tolerance society. This is a society whose diminishing civil liberties and increasing rates of incarceration are in certain respects a manifestation of constant social war … a similar obstruction of freedom and productive express led to the implosion of the Soviet Union. This is, in any case, a highly contradictory situation in which the actions of the ruling powers to maintain control tend to undercut their own interests and authority.”

Thus every football and baseball game, with their overflying jets and uniformed color guards, with God Bless America sung alongside Take Me Out to the Ballgame, becomes a Nuremberg rally without the speeches

Let that sink in. We can’t just fix this. Our demonstrations will not be seen. Our screams will not be heard. The politicians pre-factor in our phone calls and online petitions and e-mails as just another cost of doing business, just as Ford Motors calculates whether the cost of recalling their defective cars is more or less than what they would pay out in wrongful death suits.

ballgameNo more tears.

Just as the authorities are now cutting off water to residents of Detroit who can’t pay their water bills. That cause has been taken to the United Nations. But I have no more tears for the people of Detroit. Just as the sick and the homeless of Florida die from lack of decent shelter and healthcare and nutrition for its children (oh yes they do), along with the unrecorded Trayvon Martins. I have no more tears for the people of Florida.

We, the Multitude as we are called by Hardt and Negri, or the 99% as Occupy puts it, have to achieve a synthesis of real resistance, while growing and developing (and loving) ourselves, amid the destruction of our society. We can no longer tolerate the liberals who cry for us (who cry for our votes), while standing four-square behind imperial Israel, and our own warfare state that Israel is part of. I mean the so-called “good ones.” The Alan Graysons (whose response to the Flotilla Massacre was “It’s a fundamental duty of the Israeli military to protect the people of Israel, just as it’s a fundamental duty of our military to protect us. What they did was what they needed to do in order to ensure the safety of their own people, and honestly, in the same circumstances, we would have done the same thing.”) The Debbie Wasserman Schulzes (who backed Obama’s plans to bomb Syria).

No deal is the New Deal.

We can’t accept the deal that was epitomized by Lyndon Johnson. “I’ll declare a War on Poverty if you’ll just let me kill two million Vietnamese.”

It was rotten deal then, and now, all that’s left of the deal is the killing.

No more free passes. As Greens, our weapon is the ballot box. It still can make a difference. Even small numbers can tip an election. Certainly we have to assess priorities and consider resources and map out strategies, all that stuff. Once again, from revolutionaries Hardt and Negri:

“[n]ever has democracy been more necessary. No other path will provide a way out of the fear, insecurity, and domination that permeates our world at war; no other path will lead us to a peaceful life in common.”

In the meantime, we build. I have no more tears for the Palestinians. No more tears for the people of Detroit. No more tears for the people of Florida. Only a cold, icy rage. And its color is Green.


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