The socialist left is calcified and bound to tradition. Everything is analyzed (endlessly) in terms of what Saint Karl of Marx would have done.
Socialist Webzine’s response to Paul D’Amato by Pham Binh on why the socialist left has been unable to join in with or react coherently to Occupy is instructive.
Look, these are smart, committed people and many of them have organized for years. The problem is they immediately begin by analyzing current day Occupy and their response to it in terms of Trotsky’s pre-1917 conciliationist line. Hoo-boy, that’ll be sure to get the cadres storming the barricades. From there the article goes into a long (and certainly highly intelligent) discussion of Marxist history, the inevitable factional disputes, and possible tactics to be gleaned from this. But all of this is mostly irrelevant for discussing Occupy tactics now.
Plus, Dear God, do Marxists ever inject humor and levity into their discussions or liven up their articles with lots of images and videos? Not nearly often enough, in my estimation. Richard Seymour at Lenin’s Tomb has a razor-sharp intellect but his posts do tend to be unending paragraphs filled with dense, abstract thought. This will not rally the masses or bring in newcomers.
Occupy isn’t about theorizing or pondering the current situation based on what someone said or did decades ago. They’re making it up as they go. Come to think of it, that’s probably what the original Marxists did too.