Where liberals go to feel good. Conferences!

A fine rant by Chris Hedges

The moral outrage of the liberal class, a specialty of MSNBC, groups such as Progressives for Obama and MoveOn.org, is built around the absurd language of personal narrative-as if Barack Obama ever wanted to or could defy the interests of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase or General Electric. The liberal class refuses to directly confront the dead hand of corporate power that is rapidly transforming America into a brutal feudal state.

That’s only part of it. Many liberals are wedded to large government through jobs, consulting, media, advocacy organizations, nonprofits, etc. They don’t really want to rock the boat much.

The liberal class’ solution to the bleak political landscape is the conference. This, along with letters and cries of outrage circulated on the Internet, is its preferred form of expression.

Conferences, petitions, and the like are indeed often quite ineffectual. But that’s secondary. Their real purpose is to build the mailing list, contribution base, and membership of the group sponsoring them.

Such conferences can also be comical in their pomposity. And it’s not just liberals. When I was in a far left group a few years ago, they would hold conferences and then announce deep solidarity with resistance struggles across the planet (without ever actually doing anything to support the struggles, of course.) Tragically, those engaged in the actual struggles were unaware of such crucial support coming from a micro-cult in the States. Fiery manifestos were read, announcing the revolution would most certainly be here soon, and that The Workers would inevitably follow the selfless leadership of the group. In a stunning feat of irrelevance and overreach, like that of a chihuahua fancying itself to be a wolfhound, the group once released a ponderous 200 page statement expounding their views on whether China was still socialist. I doubt if many of their own members actually read it, much less anyone else.

Such foolishness is simply building the group for the sake of the power base of its leaders while pretending to be revolutionaries and helps actual struggles not a whit.


  1. Part of why, while I like a lot of Kossacks… I have little interest in going to a Netroots Nation. I imagine that you would pick up more on blogging/writing skills and a bit on trends for issues and do a lot of great networking. But a whole lot on where the “leaders” want to take people that I don’t want to follow.

    OTOH, I would like to go just to because it would be fun to meet a lot of the people that I talk to on a regular basis at dkos and elsewhere. But I’d probably get as much out of the experience just booking a room at the hotel and not attending any of the “conferences” there.

      • No, but I’m awake now;)

        Funny how much I’ve picked up these past five years. Happens, I guess, when upwards of half of one’s reading is a half dozen or more econ blogs daily and just about every new econ book that passes through our decidedly reich-wing library. Just finished Aftershock by Clintonite Robert Reich, I highly recommend it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.