The North Star sums up the problems with the American hard left, which has succeeded magnificently in becoming almost entirely irrelevant, locked into outmoded ideas, and unable to act.
The American left barely exists. The self-consciously “anti-imperialist” American left, in a country of 300 million people, can probably be housed in its entirety in one of our smaller to mid-sized sports areas. Its influence is marginal, but unfortunately this rarely translates into approaches of humility.
“Marx said it. I believe it. That settles it” is too often the credo of the hard left, either consciously or unconsciously. The Communist Manifesto was written 164 years ago. Parts of it are outdated and need revisions. But the hard left can cling to it like a fundamentalist to the Bible. I was a member of a hard left Marxist grouplet not too long ago and walked away / was purged because I could not accept their doctrinaire mindset and refusal to permit any competing ideas or views. They were as convinced of their infallibility as the Pope, and just as wrong.
The U.S. “hard left” is a collection of aged and unsuccessful revolutionaries who developed politically in the 1960s and 70s. They grew up with a view that authoritarian one-party states, and charismatic Third World dictators ought to be supported as liberators because they were fighting against capitalistic exploiters.
A ranking member of that Marxist grouplet once told me in apparent complete seriousness that Mugabe of Zimbabwe should be supported because he stands against imperialism. His deranged comment speaks volumes about how out of touch, morally empty, and fanatic the American hard left can be. Mugabe is a thug who has brutalized a country. But since he has uttered words against America, some Marxists zealots feel compelled to support him. Then they wonder why most think them lunatics.
I might also take this opportunity to remind our laptop revolutionaries that an actual revolution is a bloody awful and horrible thing. If you embark on a revolution you know that you are going to risk everything and everyone that you love and that is important to you. You may even lose yourself, and you may find yourself doing terrible things in order to prevent them being done to you.
Revolutions, like what we are seeing as a result of the Arab Spring, are tumultuous, often bloody, with no guarantee of victory. The hard left could still play a major role in the coming version of the Arab Spring in the US (something I see as inevitable.) But to do so it needs to leave its self-imposed cloister of debating how many Marxists can dance on the head of a pin and get involved in the real world again. That means finding allies wherever they may be and forgetting the groupthink.