Whatever Paul’s past sins, they say, he’s at least ensuring that opposition to the US's wars gets a hearing in the mainstream. Except that Paul’s foreign policy is, in essence, isolationist.
That’s the basis of his opposition to war — the idea that what happens overseas is no business of ordinary Americans.
He has institutionalised the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield.” Greenwald’s list of disappointments is lengthy. Anyway, even if such passages were written by someone else, the assumption that recipients of Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, the Ron Paul Survival Report, the Ron Paul Political Report and the Ron Paul Investment Letter wanted to read crude racism says volumes about the milieu from which Paul emerged.
Yet how does this progressive critique of the Democrats lead to support for a Republican, especially given that party seems so evidently dominated by murderous buffoons? Part of the reason Paul seems different from the rest of the Republican field is that his initial support base was built outside the mainstream — indeed, against the mainstream, and largely resting on the far right.
These days when an online conversation turns to international affairs, even here in Australia, it’s not long before the Ron Paul supporters arrive.
Not since the height of Obamania have so many Australians been so enthusiastic about a US politician.
The left-wing anti-war tradition begins from a totally different place.
The left has always argued not for ordinary people to ignore the world but to embrace it — that is, not for isolationism but for solidarity. If the left retreats from its traditional commitment to internationalism, it opens the way for warmongers to present themselves as the champions of the oppressed, much as the neocons did with Iraq.
He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. Next time, hold that demonstration at a food stamp bureau or a crack house.” Paul now says he knew nothing about such comments and he didn’t write them himself. Who circulates a publication under their own name and then pays no attention to what it says?
Such campaigns simply cannot succeed without enlisting organisations like trade unions, able to wield real social clout precisely because they organise millions of people in chains of solidarity.
Paul’s free market libertarianism is, however, fundamentally hostile to that kind of collectivism.
Thus, the more that demands to end war and restore civil liberties become associated with Ron Paul and the current he represents, the less chance these campaigns have to build links with the forces they need to actually win.
Which is simply another way of saying that allowing right-wingers like Paul to present themselves as the champions of the causes traditionally associated with the left is an utterly disastrous strategy for progressives, one that will have consequences for years to come.