MoveOn.org sent out an email with the subject line â€œDonâ€™t Nuke
The petitionâ€™s two sentences only convey opposition to a â€œnuclearâ€ attack on
In MoveOnâ€™s mass email letter, the only reference to a non-nuclear attack on
â€œLikelyâ€ be a disaster? Is there any
Thereâ€™s no way around the conclusion that the signers of the letter (â€œEli, Joan, Nita, Marika and the MoveOn.org Political Action Teamâ€) chose to avoid committing themselves — and avoid devoting MoveOn resources — to categorical opposition to bombing Iran.
In preparation for this article, I sent emails to each of the four signers of MoveOnâ€™s â€œDonâ€™t Nuke
1) Why does the letter say nothing against a prospective non-nuclear attack on
2) Why was the petition confined to opposing a â€œnuclearâ€ attack on
3) Has MoveOn ever sent out a message to the three-million list taking a clear position against the
4) If the answer to question #3 is â€œno,â€ why not?
A response came on April 13 from Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn. Here is his three-paragraph reply in its entirety:
â€œAs you know, our focus is on bringing people together around points of consensus. We build our advocacy agenda through dialogue with our members. Since we havenâ€™t done any work around Iran thus far, we saw the prospect of a nuclear attack as a good way to begin that conversation — something everyone can agree was nuts.
â€œAs I mention in the [â€˜Donâ€™t Nuke
â€œWe wouldnâ€™t have had the membership to be able to run ads calling for an
I believe that the MoveOn decision-makers who signed the â€œDonâ€™t Nuke
Opposition to any bombing of
As MoveOnâ€™s mass email stated on April 12, â€œThere is one place where all of us can agree: Americans donâ€™t support a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran, and Congress must act to prevent the president from launching one before itâ€™s too late.â€ As Eli Pariser wrote to me the next day, â€œour focus is on bringing people together around points of consensus.â€
This approach debases the role of consensus in progressive political organizing. It shouldnâ€™t mean tailing the opinion polls or waving an organizational finger in the wind; nor should it mean taking cues from power brokers among congressional Democrats.
Nor should a progressive organization avoid taking historically imperative positions in real time because they might interfere with feeding cash cows a diet of lines that seem optimum for maximizing the flow of â€œthe motherâ€™s milk of politicsâ€ to pay for ads.
The voices in Congress denouncing the prospect of a military attack on
As long as MoveOnâ€™s leaders (not to be confused with MoveOnâ€™s email recipients) want to confine MoveOn to mobilizing against use of nuclear weaponry in an attack on Iran, theyâ€™re actually aiding a process that can dangerously reframe policy options — so that some kind of military attack on Iran becomes increasingly accepted while much of the debate shifts to arguments over whether use of nuclear weapons in the attack should be ruled out.
Of course the official scenarios for use of nuclear bombs are deranged and must be condemned. At the same time, in logical and practical terms, unequivocal opposition to bombing
Will those who put out MoveOnâ€™s email alerts and green light its advertising campaigns eventually use some of the groupâ€™s resources to promote opposition to any and all bombing of
The MoveOn apparatus is the largest single online mechanism for
For example, as part of broader organizing campaigns, a coalition of groups has begun a Donâ€™t Attack
And TrueMajority is promoting an equally valuable Donâ€™t Bomb
An April 14 letter from TrueMajority says: â€œClick here to send a message to top Democrats, including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, insisting they speak out loudly, now, against any plans to bomb
Thatâ€™s a message that MoveOn.org hasnâ€™t been willing to send.
Norman Solomonâ€™s latest book is â€œWar Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.â€ A link to his recent public radio interview on agenda-building for an attack on