Transcript: Tom Hayden. Dubrovnik 07. Jun 07 2007
Thom was at the Dubrovnik Conference: Transforming Culture: From Empire to Global Community Dubrovnik, Croatia, broadcasting live from the studios of Radio Dubrovnik, Croatian Radio and interviewed fellow speaker Tom Hayden.
Thom Hartmann talks with Tom Hayden, 7 June 2007
Thom was at the Dubrovnik Conference: Transforming Culture: From Empire to Global Community Dubrovnik, Croatia, broadcasting live from the studios of Radio Dubrovnik, Croatian Radio.
[Thom]: And welcome back. 34 minutes past the hour. Thom Hartmann here with you, broadcasting live coast to coast. Well, actually, planet wide here today.
[Tom]: Pitzer College.
[Thom]: College. Thank you.
[Tom]: The Pritzkers are the wealthy people in Chicago.
[Thom]: Yeah, that's right, I know.
[Tom]: Yes. You would know that.
[Thom]: Yes. And former state senator in California, and you're on your way to speak at a big anti-war rally in Rome. Rome, Italy.
[Tom]: Correct. There's actually two, because the left is divided. I don't know which one I'm speaking at.
[Thom]: So, one or the other. Either the left or the other left.
[Tom]: That's right.
[Thom]: This should be fun. You gave a talk yesterday, Tom that I, really provoked a lot of thought in my mind. First of all, are your headphones working OK, you were just... ?
[Tom]: They feel good.
[Thom]: Yeah, OK. Fine. You were talking about the intersection of the power structure; what you referred to as the Machiavellians, and the existing power structure and the movement, and how movements galvanize around single issues like wars. And that that point of intersection creates the beginning of reform. And first of all, can you riff on that for just a second just for our listeners who, you know, I mean, I just threw that out there and there's a lot of information embedded in that, so just a...
[Tom]: Well, it's a book that remains to be written, but I'm trying to make sense of my own experience. On the one hand, a long time activist and the other hand, I'm a sociologist and a writer, and it goes like this: that I think social movements don't get the credit they deserve for the things that we have, like vacations.
[Thom]: Which came out of the union movement.
[Tom]: Exactly. Or the expansion of the franchise or the environmental protections that we have.
So I've been involved in these social movements and as they succeed, they become caught up in institutions, and they do achieve real reform. Some on the left say the reforms are meaningless but they're real in the sense that people really want these changes, and the establishment is very averse to giving them for a very long time. It took at least a hundred years of struggle for women to get the right to vote, for example. So I call it movements intersecting and battling with Machiavellians and it's an M model; your movement begins at the margins, cultural or otherwise, economic, you go through a community of meaning phase, where it's just a little band of people who sustain each other spiritually and morally and
[Thom]: And to a certain extent define themselves by the issue.
[Tom]: Yes, yes, or get defined that way.
[Tom]: They gain their identity that way, say. Eventually they hit the mainstream 10, 20, 30 percent support, and if their core issue represents something that comes from a long tradition, it's a next step forward, many other people can sympathize if not join, they eventually become a majority. And when they become a majority they usually achieve the original reform but by that point the movement has divided into people who want more than the original reform, and are skeptical, and people who just want the original reform, like 'get the troops out of Iraq'.
[Tom]: The Machiavellians also divide in a parallel way. There are the Machiavellians like the Baker-Hamilton report group want a partial or phased withdrawal from Iraq because they think it's causing too much chaos, polarization, the cost is too high, they're worried about Republican fortunes in the next election, and so on, and you get more extreme Machiavellians like Cheney and the neocons who want to go beyond the present terrain.
[Thom]: They want to transform the world.
[Tom]: They want to take it to another level. They're kind of the parallel with the radicals from the movement.
[Tom]: And the peculiar thing about American society is that we come very close to the brink, over and over: civil war, 1960s, 1930s. But usually there's a massive reform that satisfies most people but leaves a lot of disappointment on both sides; the movement and the Machiavellians. And we move on. And I think that where we are with Iraq, is the movement started at an extreme margin because after 9/11 anybody that criticized the government was in hell, they were in trouble.
[Thom]: Bill Maher got thrown of the air.
[Tom]: Exactly, for the media in particular. Yes. But it expanded so that by as early as 2003, you had the largest demonstrations ever. Then people say, 'well where did it go?' Well, when you expand well beyond the streets, you go into the institutions and you reappear as the Howard Dean campaign of '03 who was kind of the Eugene McCarthy. You reappear within the John Kerry campaign. But other things happened that break the inside-outside borders, like the Michael Moore movie Fahrenheit 911 or MoveOn. People don't realize; I didn't until I researched this book that MoveOn members raised $180 million in the '03/'04 campaign cycle. Presidential politics. When has a peace group ever become a player, so to speak...
[Tom]: ...in the politics of money?
And then you saw the American people switch to viewing the war as a mistake faster than during Vietnam. This occurred in '04/'05 and by '06, you had the phenomenon of the voters throwing out the Republicans who were dominating the Congress, and it was largely on the issue of Iraq. So here we are now, with a great change going on, and some people think it isn't happening rapidly enough. I understand that, but the movement has reached a strong majority with respect to getting out of Iraq.
[Thom]: So by some definitions, it is no longer a movement. It's not the Machiavellians.
[Tom]: Some people feel, 'Oh my God, we're being co-opted, or being...'
[Thom]: We've become the majority.
[Tom]: Yeah, and they have an identity crisis, perhaps, over that.
[Tom]: But on the other hand, we have to get used to the dynamics of winning, and winning has a its own contradictions and problems. But I would say from the movement point of view, if you include the role of the voters, which you have to, the movement is winning and the Machiavellians are considering their options. A partial pull-out of Iraq would probably demobilize the movement, do you think?
[Thom]: Right. Yeah.
[Tom]: Everybody can answer. Or they might want to escalate to Iran which would intensify the movement.
[Thom]: Which is Cheney's thing.
[Tom]: It may be Cheney's thing. I think they're more likely to realize that they have to fold on some level and go for the best deal they can, because they don't have the resources to start a war with Iran right now.
[Thom]: You made the point yesterday that this was the first time in history of the Republic, history of the United States, that the people had voted against a war that was ongoing.
[Tom]: Yes. It's arguable. I mean, they voted for Nixon, who promised a false peace.
[Tom]: But generally, neither party wanted this last election to be about Iraq until the very end. The Democrats turned a bit. And people voted a gerrymandered Congress out of its majority Republican status.
[Thom]: Which is inconceivable.
[Tom]: As a long time politician, I can tell you, it's not supposed to ever happen. You're supposed to assign these safe seats. So this meant the movement impulse had spread to Republicans, beyond Democrats and independents, because how else did Richard Pombo out there in California get beaten? He had to lose Republican support. And I think Bush may not be running for election, we know that, but the Republicans who are running in '08 are pressuring Bush to do something and he of course will make his own choice, but I think the big Machiavellian would be James Baker, and he will be stepping in and...
[Thom]: Sure. He is really representing the old Bush dynasty.
[Tom]: Yes, and oil.
[Thom]: Yeah. Which is the old Bush dynasty.
[Tom]: That's right, let's get the...
[Thom]: But the thing that troubled me, or I guess provoked the question that I've been looking forward to this moment to ask you, is your notion that movements when they achieve their goals, not only dissolve, but they also evoke counter movements among the Machiavellians, who then become committed to destroying the goals of the movement and the movement has now dispersed itself. And to the extent that, for example, listeners to this program, people who identify themselves as progressives; you know, the "left" in America, the Democratic Party, for that matter, to the extent that they may accomplish their goal in the next little bit, in the next, you know, 18 months, and I think frankly the Republicans are going to do it for them and take credit for it, to that extent...
[Tom]: That would be in keeping with the model.
[Thom]: Right. To that extent, will that be the end of the movement, and if so, what's going to replace it?
[Tom]: Not the end of the movement in a general sense, but movements peak and the anti war movement is peaking, and may intensify but it would be the most natural thing, in my experience, if the troops are pulled back, however imperfect the whole settlement goes, when the troops come back the movement activists will demobilize and divide.
[Tom]: And then the politics of blame will begin. Some of the Machiavellians will try to come back and say, 'I told you so, you know, this went wrong in Iraq'.
[Tom]: When it was really, I mean, the liberals' fault, and so on. We're already getting to that point. So, the reform is the end of the war in Iraq.
[Thom]: Yeah, and it just...
[Tom]: And the result of that is some demobilization, but people have always found reasons to go on and build new movements.
[Thom]: Well, that's the thing, and that's, you know, what's, I'd like to.
[Tom]: Your audience is secure, Thom Hartmann.
[Thom]: I'd like to look at the crystal ball and also get Frances's thoughts also, and what the next movement might be.
This was segment 07; the beginning of the second half of the second hour. You can hear an archive of the entire interview at KPOJ. The first 2 segments were with Steve Bhaerman. The 3rd and 4th segments were with David Korten and Frances Moore Lappé, and the 5th and 6th segments were with David Korten, Frances Moore Lappé and Steve Bhaerman. Remaining segments to follow.