Approaching the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War and the second anniversary of there being no Left mass action to protest the war, it is interesting to consider the United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) conference last December.

At that UFPJ conference, there was surprisingly little rancor between those that sought mass action and the status quo that wanted no large single demonstrations to protest the war.  It was not a close vote.  Perhaps that’s why there was little combat.

There was the decision to conduct mass action in early April with an emphasis on a variety of issues.  There would be no one clear message.  But, then again, the Left has no one clear message.  There are three reasons why.

Obama, running against the Iraq War candidate, emphasized that he would be pulling troops out.  Obama, as a black man, has congruently, metaphorically manifested the change he says he’ll bring.  The economy is turning media and Left attention to issues of economic justice.

As economic justice becomes the new rallying point for the American Left, there is an opportunity for an alliance between hard and soft Left factions.  Maybe almost all the folks at the next UFPJ conference will share a strategic perspective.  Both Left factions can demand that the government withdraw from spending money on controlling assets and destroying bodies overseas to address the appalling, spiraling, out-of-control conditions at home.

Both hard and soft Left populations will find themselves being driven by youth/tech Left communities creating Facebook protests off of news events.  At some point, news not appearing in the mainstream press but emerging and proliferating across website blogs and Youtube will be driving hard, soft and tech Left into political action.

I expect that the approaching waves of protest, protests in the form of street demonstrations and online campaigns such as e-letters, petitions and boycotts, will not be associated with particular individuals or organizations.  They will be the spontaneous productions of individual creativity and timing.  The sources of information driving those protests may also be temporarily highly trafficked compilation blogs and portals.  As the relationship between users of information and information distributors become more and more seamless and integrated, major blogs like Kos and TPM may be visited to find out what’s come and gone.

The split between hard and soft Left feels temporary to me.  I have the naivete of an organizer without much history.  Still, history as we know it is coming to an end.  Hard times soften positions.


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