Signs of Political Evolution
A Refreshing Post-Partisan “Rage Against the War Machine” Rally
It’s not about right and left. It’s about life and death.
For a video of these ideas go here https://rumble.com/v2b68ws-rage-against-the-war-machine-diane-perlman-report.html. My presentation on “The New View,” a group of Baby Boomer, lifelong activist women who meet regularly and present our work. "We are evolving out of immature partisan divisions and going to a much deeper understanding and analysis," says Diane. Carol, Marylyn and Alanna also share their experiences and perspectives.
The February 19 Rage Against the War Machine (RATWM) Anti-War Rally was a vitalizing evolutionary shift from the rallies I have attended since the Vietnam War. Mature, open-minded people across the political spectrum set aside political differences for a higher purpose - to expose and replace the war machine.
Rather than viewing our political opponents through prefabricated lenses that reduce us to cartoon characters, we opened ourselves to the direct experience of each other and thoughtful speakers outside of our political silos. We respectfully focused on deeper truths.
We ignored small-minded, ignorant criticisms discouraging attendance with designated unacceptable participants. It was a refreshing quantum leap above the stale, predictable, boring, one-sided, two-dimensional rallies of the past.
“The rally organizers' "heinous agenda" according to Austin America (and some others) actually produced one of the best rallies I'd been to in a long time! “ Mitchel Cohen, writer, activist, poet, a founder of Brooklyn Greens, etc. & new friend, see more of his reflections below.
RATWM was spearheaded by the Libertarian Party (LP) and the People’s Party (PP), among other coalition participants. The LP and PP respectfully and creatively joined forces for a higher purpose.
The Rally’s 10 Demands
· Not one more penny for war in Ukraine
· Negotiate peace
· Stop the war inflation
· Disband NATO
· Global Nuclear De-Escalation
· Slash the Pentagon budget,
· Abolish the CIA and Military-Industrial Deep State
· Abolish war and empire
· Restore Civil Liberties
· Free Julian Assange.”
Here are links to watch the entire rally or click on individual speeches.
This New American overview article “Rage Against the War Machine” Rally Held in D.C. excerpts some of the speakers’ comments.
The World Said No to War: Got Endless Wars
RATWM fell around the 20th anniversary of the largest global demonstrations against the unpreventable US invasion of Iraq, a done deal, which had been planned by the likes of the Project for a New American Century.
United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) coordinated over 70 progressive peace and justice groups for the 2003 “The World Says No to War” UFPJ rally in New York City. 500,000 attended, despite fear-mongering propaganda about terrorist attacks that discouraged attendance. UFPJ also helped coordinate over 790 global demonstrations, drawing perhaps 30 million, including UK’s largest rally with over 1 million. The New York Tines called world public opinion the “second superpower.” If only that turned out to be true.
Polarization and Compulsory Mutual Disparagement
Previous anti-war rallies, reflecting our collective contrived dualistic mentality, have been dominated by lefty peaceniks protesting right wing neocon hawks. In Collapse of the Peace Movement, Part I, my friend Sam Husseini describes ways the peace movement failed.
Sam observed that by “focusing on hatred of Bush rather than love of humanity, they effectively turned the great antiwar movement into an appendage of an appendage of the Democratic Party.”
Polarization, contempt and disdain have escalated since the days we all watched Walter Cronkite at 6:30. They have been superseded by the 24/7 mean-spirited, dueling FOX and MSNBC blood sport of compulsory mutual disparagement.
Hostility, fear and hatred between right and left spiked with Obama’s election, triggering political hysteria and the Tea Party movement on the right. Trump’s election magnified fear and anxiety on the left.
Democrats’ “Trump Anxiety Syndrome” reflected legitimate concerns over some of Trump’s egregious policies, like abrogating the Iran nuclear deal, kids in cages, etc. Republicans have a legitimate point in diagnosing “Trump Derangement Syndrome” with Democrats’ mindless compulsive rejection of 100% of some of Trump’s better policies without discernment, like talking to North Korea and falling for obviously ignorant, anti-scientific propaganda about proven effective early Covid treatments like hydroxychloroquine, discredited and propagandized by fraudulent, retracted studies and the continuing absurd belief that the Nobel Prize-winning drug Ivermectin is horse paste. (antibiotics and aspirin are also horse medicine, effective in mammals.) See How a false hydroxychloroquine narrative was created, and more by Dr. Meryl Nass, whose license was suspended by the Maine Medical Board for prescribing effective early Covid treatments to her grateful patients.
The two dominant parties engage in “disidentification” with the other, or identification in opposition, rather than objectively thinking through the merits and consequences of each policy.
Political Maturity, Pathological Splitting and the Dread of Integration
I contend that the RTWM both reflected and cultivated a higher stage of political maturity, a sign of conscious evolution above our immature dualistic culture.
Naysayers objected to participating in an event where their stereotyped chosen enemies were permitted to speak. They reactively believed that participation would be disloyal and supportive of the other side.
Unfortunately, this mindset resulted in denying significant speakers the opportunity to speak. Peace movement leader Medea Benjamin was blocked by the staff of Code Pink, the organization that she founded. Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, former United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) weapons inspector and expert on the Ukraine war was blocked as well. Here is a video of his intended speech, Scott Ritter Uncanceled: Rage Against the War Machine Speech.
This need to maintain division demonstrates a pathological state known as “splitting” of the opposites. In healthy development, there is a process of differentiation and development of opposites, a prerequisite for a mature integration of refined, evolved opposites, a manifestation of the life force.
In pathological development there is a compulsion to split, a refusal to communicate, and a dread of integration. In individual psychology this can be associated with trauma. Collectively, it can be a matter of groupthink, conformity, and mindlessness, manipulated by forces of darkness.
Another aspect of splitting is “all-or-nothing thinking” and the inability to simultaneously hold different points of view. Thus, it is intolerable to both condemn Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine while also understanding historical forces, provocations, relentless rejections of Putin’s attempts to join NATO after the Cold War, broken promises, NATO encirclement, Putin’s attempts to prevent this invasion, etc.
It is a fact of human development that people at higher stages have experience, memory and access to earlier stages, but those at earlier stages do not have access to later stages of psychological, neurological, social, cognitive, and moral development. Perhaps 50% of adults remain at the conformist level of development, identify with the group and have not achieved the psychological construction of individuality or abstract thinking.
It is also a psychological fact that people who have achieved higher levels of development can regress to more primitive, concrete levels of development and function at lower levels of cognitive development, often triggered by manipulated existential fears. So, our otherwise mature friends can be gripped by an emotional one-sided narrative that saturates the media while other perspectives are censored.
Contrived Opposition: “Let’s You and Him Fight”
Although RATWM was transcendent and outside the “boxes,” it was smeared and misrepresented by small, partisan minds who live inside contrived, artificial boxes. They remain trapped in immature, superficial, concrete, dualistic, black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking, characterized by mindlessness and ignorance, manipulated by propaganda.
Hidden interests fuel overtly left/right, Democrat/Republican feuds that thrive on petty superficial divisiveness while privately collaborating to keep the “duopoly” two-party system in power. This duopoly manipulates public support for the war machine, a huge US budget for weapons contractors, and policies that drive endless wars. People uniting to expose and challenge the war machine are a threat to those interests, who exploit illusory partisan enmity.
Invisible forces benefit from us fighting each other to distract us from the true sources of our problems. Right and left, R and D have been successfully pitted against each other in a destructive conflict with no endgame. Mutual demonization serves the interests of those who instigate our reciprocal hostility.
"I knew I couldn’t kill them. More powerful men than me have tried. But if I could get them to kill each other …". — Colonel Helmut Zemo, Captain America: Civil War
Some of those opposing the rally were gripped by a simplistic zero-sum fantasy that protesting this war will prevent a glorious victory that will be achieved by spending our way to a certain, imminent Ukrainian victory and defeat of Putin and regime change.
Their horror at Putin’s attacks on the Ukraine are not entirely wrong. They are incomplete, devoid of context, ignorant of historical forces, cause and effect, facts on the ground and long-term dynamics. The dumbed-down, simplistic, compelling government narrative eclipses those critical dimensions.
The Big Picture
Organizers and attendees of the RATWM rally focused on the big picture. Most speakers reinforced the theme of refusing to be enemies, finding common ground and rising to our higher purpose.
Our enlightened calls for a ceasefire and peace negotiations were misperceived and reduced to being pro-Russian, pro-Putin, communist, anti-Ukraine, etc. Far from the truth, we are more motivated by legitimate existential concerns about potential escalation to a nuclear war and threat to life on earth, a lose-lose. In addition, we were concerned about pouring money into war and death at the expense of human needs and life.
The Libertarian Party, a main organizer, felt compelled to issue a statement that it was not a pro-Russian event:
Let us be clear.
We oppose all wars.
We oppose all states who initiate them.
We are not pro-Putin. We are not pro-Russia.
We oppose Russia’s invasion and any initiation of force.
Overlap and Immunity to All Propaganda
Propaganda is a language. Once you learn the language, you recognize it when you see, hear and feel it. Some figure it out when they discover that they have been lied to before. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Furthermore, if you have deep, detailed knowledge of a particular subject, you know when it is being distorted and lied about, using scientific or journalistic fraud. Some recognize propaganda in one domain, but fall for it in another domain. This is called the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.
Others recognize that the Powers That Be with conflicts of interest who lie about one subject are likely to lie about another subject and do their own due dilligence.
I should not have been so surprised at the overlap at RATWM between those immune to both war propaganda and Covid propaganda.
Those who dig beneath the propaganda know that the US government spent $10 billion on PsyOps and $1 billion on lockstep coordination of media outlets on messaging and censorship of all who challenge the official narrative. They know about the deep involvement of the US Department of Defense with Big Pharma and Big Tech on coercive lockdowns, masks, mandates, vaccine passports, surveillance, data capture, and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).
Many in the crowd and several of the speakers were able to link the two.
Former congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich mentioned how “the US paid for gain of function research that unleashed the virus into the world.” He also spoke on media censorship of alternative views, suppression of debate about Covid policies, and the domination by Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum.
Investigative journalist and documentary film maker Dan Cohen revealed the role of the military in technocratic biofascism:
“is not only about regime change … but it’s also about implementing a system of technocratic dictatorship all over the world run by the very scientific technological elite that President Eisenhower warned us about in 1961. It’s about digital IDs and Central Bank Digital Currencies. The ruling class seeks to implement the ultimate form of control over our minds and bodies and Ukraine is the laboratory.”
“We must oppose all aspects of Military Industrial Complex, not just the #1 Pentagon contractor Lockheed Martin or the #2 Boeing, but #5 Pfizer and #9, Moderna. We have to recognize that the Biopharma complex is inseparable from the Military Industrial Complex. We have to understand that the Covid 19 response lockdowns and experimental injections were deadly war measures imposed upon us by the Pentagon. If we don’t oppose the biosecurity regime, we are fighting the war machine with one hand behind our back. Information is power. Stay informed, Fight back.”
After Parties to Build Connections
There were two after-parties. I went to this one at the Tabard Inn. It was a valuable opportunity to socialize with people of different political persuasions and to develop deeper relationships.
A Political Mutation?
Unlike most rallies, the uplifting RATWM was a breath of fresh air, not to mention frighteningly warm air for February. It was a welcome culture shock. Partisan insults that saturate our cultural environment were absent. By listening to speeches, one could not even tell the speakers political persuasion as they were focused on transcendent truths, humanity, and life.
Although “rage” is in the title of the rally and many of the speakers spoke of justified righteous anger about the war machine at the expense of human needs, the event rose above the usual tone of usual angry rantings.
The positive pluralistic atmosphere is a relatively new experience. I believe that this post partisan rally follows an evolutionary path 13 months after the pioneering bipartisan Defeat the Mandates Rally in DC, on January 23, 2022, in which Democrats and Republicans came together in a new way. While RATWM had only about 2000 attendees, the Defeat the Mandates Rally had about 30,000 on a much colder day.
I think that the rigid, archaic, tribal red/blue, R/D, right/left, counterproductive structures are beginning to morph, mutate, and evolve into more adaptive, creative, functional, survivable organizations that can play well together. Our identities need not be based on opposition to the other party.
We are rising to be more mature, immune to propaganda and not beholden to corporate interests. We need not reduce the world to good guys and bad guys. We can understand context, historical forces, cause-and-effect, tension-reduction, problem-solving and the actual threats we face as opposed to the propagandized, manufactured threats.
“The Secret of Change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new!”
In the words of my friend, Steve Bhaerman’s Upwising, AKA Swami Beyondananda,
“Wake UP, Wise UP, Grow UP, Show UP”
I would add to that, don’t be a sucker, be an individual, think for yourself, jump ship. declare your political independence, shed your partisan skins.
Everything is at stake. We must unite as a matter of collective survival.
There is another rally scheduled for March 18, on the 20th anniversary of the cataclysmic invasion of Iraq. I hope we can remain transcendent and post-partisan, to reinforce and continue our political evolution to the next level.
I would like to end with the thoughtful reflections of Mitchel Cohen, writer, activist, poet, former chair WBAI-FM Local Station Board, one of the founders of the Brooklyn Greens. This is followed by more links to articles and speeches.
On Tue, Feb 21, 2023 Mitchel Cohen wrote:
The rally organizers' "heinous agenda" according to Austin America (and some others) actually produced one of the best rallies I'd been to in a long time!
For once, people gave talks that were NOT coming from a "hammer them with your correct line" bullshit. People participating actually talked to each other, disagreed on many things but did so amazingly respectfully.
Jill Stein gave a terrific speech that won many over who would have been discarded as Rightwing racists -- but who overall were NOT. They just never really heard solid socialist ideas, only hearing what their rightwing media heroes portrayed them as.
Some of us Leftists here are so afraid of presenting others face-to-face with their Left/socialist analysis that they won't even show up to talk with people, learn from them! They don't have confidence in their own arguments, except to post bullshit on this listserve.
Jimmy Dore -- whom I usually don't particularly like, because of the sophomoric snickering of his cohosts -- gave a bang up great speech -- gets better and better as he goes along! -- and in his own funny way tore apart the Ron Paul "arguments" against universal health care, for one of several -- as did almost every other speaker! But it wasn't done in a sectarian way, and it rallied the crowd around "OF COURSE we want that money for health care, for social security, for education, and NOT for the CIA and war!"”
Everyone there understood that the world is facing nuclear war. The speakers had different approaches -- some contradicted each other -- for what to do. Which was not only fine, it was a welcome relief from the tedium of many of the so-called "Left" lecture-filled correct-line rallies of the past.
And at the after-parties, people also got people talking with each other -- a great way of continuing the dialogue.
Roger Waters (founder of Pink Floyd, on video) and several others denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine in no uncertain terms. But Roger also talked about the intentional US/CIA provocations, and called for a cease-fire now, which the US opposes because the ruling class here desperately wants this war.
All in all, the rally was great, especially because, prior to the event, so many people felt attacked by so-called "Leftists" who called them white racists. Most of those Leftists couldn't organize their way out of a paper bag (as one could tell by the state of the collapsed antiwar movement those groups have been ”leading”). The Libertarian Party was split as well, as many LP members didn't want so many Leftists to speak!
We are so stuck in our old and failed ways of doing things that in a round-about way, this rally -- called by the libertarian party and the People's Party (which is only a few guys and no party at all) -- is creating a new model for how to organize a mass movement. So glad I went!
Here are some additional pieces.
Give Peace a Chance Scott Ritter goes to Washington
Sam Husseini’s Collapse of the Peace Movement, Part II: Left-Right Cooperation “With minimal effort, there has been real success with the left and right working together. Rather than demonize the Rage Against the War Machine rally, left-right cooperation should be expanded.”
by Laurie Calhoun | Feb 7, 2023
Charitably, I would say that most of the people who display Ukrainian flags in front of their homes or on their social media platforms… have not fully processed the range of plausible endgames in the present case. … the targeted regime possesses a nuclear arsenal which, with the push of a button, could initiate World War III and the instantaneous annihilation of human beings on a scale not seen since 1945.
Russia possesses all means necessary to retaliate to the Nord Stream sabotage, though to date it has displayed restraint.
Under the circumstances, provoking Russia, through repeatedly informing Putin that his end is near, makes about as much sense as it would for—well, to be perfectly frank: nothing is more senseless.
Whether we oppose war because it is anti-democratic, because it is a lie, because it is a delusion, or because it is a moral abomination and a crime against humanity, we should seek to recognize the light of truth shining in our fellow antiwar allies’ eyes and charitably ascribe to them the best, not the most ignoble, of intentions. What matters more than anything else at this perilous and decisive moment of history is that all of us who oppose the practice of state-inflicted mass homicide, which invariably kills entirely innocent people, set our other differences aside for a time and come together to stop what is starting to look like the inexorable march to nuclear war. If we do not succeed in this quest, then there will be nothing left for us to debate. We will no longer be able to bicker over Social Security, healthcare, retributive entitlements, abortion, or anything else. We will have allowed amoral, mercenary forces to destroy our world and ourselves along with it.
David Swanson, How Dare I Oppose War Together With Libertarians?
I’m getting a lot more criticism for planning to speak at an antiwar rally at which libertarians will speak than I do for sitting around doing nothing. In fact, I get exactly no criticism ever from anyone for sitting around doing nothing, even though that’s far more dangerous.
It just always seems strange to me, and has for decades, that avoiding going near people you disagree with is a higher priority than opposing war for people who claim they want to oppose war. (Perhaps for others, avoiding the nasty criticism of those people is a higher priority than opposing war.)
But why would I team up with or even be seen with people who oppose war because it costs money? We’re talking about mass murder, massive environmental destruction, the risking of nuclear apocalypse — isn’t it embarrassingly comical to oppose it because it costs money?
At some point, don’t you have to criticize an event for what it actually says it is about, and not for unstated agendas?
· Scott Ritter Uncanceled: Rage Against the War Machine Speech
This is the text of a talk I gave in Washington, D.C. on Sunday at the Rage Against The War Machine rally. Chris Hedges
Note below is an example of a bizarre, pathological, partisan distortion of reality:
The “Rage Against the War Machine” rally: A reactionary political freak show Jacob Crosse, Joseph Kishore [Use a left margin red bar for the quote below.]
The “Rage Against the War Machine” rally held yesterday in Washington, D.C., was a political freak show attended by a motley crowd of several hundred Libertarian Party supporters, neo-fascists, and disoriented and demoralized middle-class individuals without an independent program or perspective. The speeches, many of which were obscenity-laced rants, were pitched to the lowest political level. By the time the event finally dribbled to an end, it had left nothing behind but confusion and a bad smell.
The rally, which was moderated by Angela McArdle of the Libertarian Party and Nick Brana of the “People’s Party,” was sold as an opportunity by the organizers and the speakers to “bring together” the “left and the right” to oppose war. In fact, there was no left-wing perspective; the political direction was provided entirely by the right.
 See Rob Reiner’s excellent 2017 film, Shock and Awe, showing how Knight-Ridder journalists were the exception to most media outlets manipulated by propaganda.
Thank you Diane! I wish I had been in DC to attend this event, but your description of it brings it to life for me. So glad to see many bridges built and focus on our common adversary, the war-mongering structures that try to divide and distract us. And thank you for drawing the vivid parallels between the Ukraine war propaganda and Covid propaganda, between this RATWM rally of this year and the Defeat the Mandates rally of last year.
What a wonderful opportunity to reunite ALL Americans. We blew it with the pandemic by allowing our government to make it into a political situation when it was never about politics. It was about LIFE. The same holds true for war. Let's not make that same mistake. Now is the time to finally unite for PEACE.