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Old Left, New Left, more than bit bereft

Glory days

Glory days

The Old Left and New Left in the US are indeed bedraggled. One reason is articles like these, well-meaning but almost comical, tomes filled with the history of the Left with little in the way of new ideas. The writing is boring and turgid. There are no images to help make points or liven up the article. Nope it’s just paragraph after paragraph of the glory days of the left with no real understanding we live in the 21st Century now and much has changed. Earth to bedraggled Left: We live in an Internet world now. It’s important to have pictures and to put crucial ideas in above-the-fold so people know what you’re talking about without having to scroll down. Oh, I forgot. Marx didn’t do that so apparently they don’t need to do so either.

Note how the author immediately excludes various fellow travelers and possible allies from consideration. The New Left is apparently just socialists and Marxists. No one else is deemed worthy of consideration, even as much of the New Left during the Vietnam War protests were not socialist. The anarchists who started Occupy aren’t even mentioned.

The “New left” is defined as a genuine group, party, or organization in the United States (US) that promotes Marxist revolutionary, Socialist principles in opposition to the Capitalist US government construct and society. This does not include anarchists, Democrats or independents.

Unions will not come roaring back. Joe Sixpack will not suddenly decide to start reading Das Kapital. The young of today, crucial in any serious uprising, will not suddenly embrace Che and Mao.

As for now, we have no Che. We have neither Mao nor Ho Chi Minh. We only have each other and until a person or a consolidated party emerges we will continue to be nothing but insignificant to the US political process. We need more than incremental reform that is devised to benefit the ruling class while placating the neoliberal interests in this country. We need revolution.

I often wonder what Che Guevara would think of this world if he were alive and active today. Would he succumb to the crumbs left behind by the ruling class? Would he hang up his Kalashnikov and enjoy the adoration of the world? I can’t imagine Che doing any such things. I like to think he would fight the good fight wherever it exists, especially in the US. And, I have no doubt that many would follow him. I would.

Jeez, I don’t think waiting for a strong leader to emerge is a practical strategy. First, it could take a long time. Second, maybe Glorious Leader will not be who he says he is.

The biggest problem facing the hard left is it systematically excludes people not like itself then wonders why they aren’t interested in what the Left says. You want revolution in the US? Then, among other things, you will need rednecks on your side. Real revolution, real change, comes from alliances across traditional boundaries joined together. It will never come from, as too often happens now, the hard left trying to jack social protest to build its own groups. And that’s what too much of the hard left still wants to do, foment social uprising with their predetermined goals as the focus and with them in charge. This just ain’t going to happen.

  • Michelle Klein-Hass

    Good points all. I wish that the Greens were better at making alliances. We don’t have a Left anymore. The Greens are closest, but they are pretty much center-Left from an European standpoint. The centrist Working Families bloc you see among East Coast Democrats are actually electing people, but they really are more classically centrist. The mainstream Democratic Party is solidly center-Right, while the Libertarians and the GOP are off in cloud-cuckoo Rightist territory. The only real difference between the LP and the GOP are the fact that the LP likes legalization of cannabis and the GOP doesn’t. They are both infiltrated by religious interests and they both are anti-Choice WRT women’s health at this point.

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