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Re: What Is The Professional Left Thinking ?

ne@nderthal, if you want to read the whole Smith column, it's right here:

www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0409/S00304.htm

"I mean, he's [Chomsky] so far outside of the accepted political spectrum (in the US) that it's funny (in a sick, Pythonesque kind of way)."

Ah, but think of all the now-well-known tenets of Rightie thought that were considered outlandish and unthinkable 30 years ago. All this crap about a "crisis" in Social Security necessitating its handover to private/corporate interests, for instance.

The truth is, Kerry isn't a fool incapable of understanding Chomsky's ideas. He just doesn't want to listen to them, as they threaten his belief in his own right to power.

If you ask me, Chomsky shouldn't give a shit about that. He should shoot off his mouth in any and all venues in which Kerry or someone with access to his inner circle might stumble across them, and he should be relentless in doing so. Preaching to the converted isn't going to advance the Left's agenda. Nor is dealing solely in abstractions and putting out our theories without putting a human face on those theories' practitioners. Keeping to our own only creates a situation in which perfectly sensible ideas continue to look bizarre to the uninformed and unexposed, and makes us look as if we have no true faith in the value of those ideas.

Like I said, the fact that the attitude you mention is near-universal on the Left spectrum helps create the ridiculous spectacle we saw in 2004, in which activist leaders (Benjamin, Solomon, et al) felt they had every right to tell Nader to sit down and shut up, but it seemingly never occurred to them to call out Kerry for simultaneously dining out on his anti-war past even as he called for escalation. With the resources at their command, they could have done so, even if they never got onto "60 Minutes" or "Face The Nation." There was still the internet, direct mail, radio ads, etc.-- All the tools that they were more than happy to bully Nader with could have easily been turned the other way. They could have embarassed Kerry, rallied the voter in the street to demand more from him than a bunch of bloodthirsty, social-Darwinist, flagwaving bullshit. They could have pushed on him, reminded him of who he works for. The fact that they felt they had every right to threaten and guilt-trip Nader instead has made me lose much of my respect for them.

Of course, Alexander Cockburn and some others at Counterpunch have posisted that the professional Left crowd wouldn't dream of prodding Kerry because they themselves are dependent on his kind's largesse. That is, their groups are dependent on foundation grants and so forth. They can't afford to risk pissing his own friends in the intelligensia off. They have to be nice to him in case he wins, and then maybe they could get a job in D.C. themselves.

I really hope that Cockburn is wrong in this assertion, but sometimes you have to wonder...
 


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