BW ha ha! Why NOT to be on the LEFT! a character study

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BW ha ha! Why NOT to be on the LEFT! a character study

Post by fabzilla » 04-28-2005 02:55 PM

Why I'm No Longer on the So-Called Left


Stephen Bender | April 28 2005


First off, we don't have a real Left in this country – haven't since Eugene V. Debs and the Industrial Workers of the World back in 1912. After that we had some people actually thought copying a backwards, feudal Eurasian country was a good idea. Then we had New Deal liberal-corporatism. The "counter-culture" left was mostly childish, but to the degree it fought against the Vietnam war and for civil rights, it served a decent purpose.

Since then, there’s been very little – some people thought the WTO protest meant something.

Anyway, so what’s left today is a thousand points of light of individuals, who live mostly in big cities and do some good stuff every now and again. There’s scant cohesion or coherence – all too often, there is scant seriousness too. They're bourgeois by what American life has become – I don’t blame them – but, too often they simply live life as a negation – America and what its government does is really hurting them. So, sometimes they lash out, other times they stew in resentment. In my experience of 6 1/2 years with it – in what Cheney calls the "belly of the beast," San Francisco – a lot of leftists are not only superficial, but selfish too. Sad to have to write this – because it's the end of something I had hope in, and devoted a lot of energy and passion to –

The Institutional Framework

1. The vanguard-hetero-Commie Left – Not much point in even critiquing this. The only worthwhile thing they do is organize demos and so forth. They shout their idiotic, alienating rhetoric and collect money in trash barrels.

2. The Academic/Cultural Left – Also rather useless in too frequent, specific cases. Amazingly helpful and worthwhile in others. The critique here is not of people who are professors – not at all – the problem, I believe, after 9/11 especially, is starting to recede somewhat. That problem? The jargon-ridden, cult-stud, po-co, post-mod, post-interesting claptrap that gets churned out in reams and reams. It’s just boring careerism – they have to write something. Also, they do poison people’s minds at times against this country – they’re one-sided about American history – sometimes almost as one-sided as the Neocon right is all the time. Not that it’s all junk, I’m referring more to the annoying "literary style" in which simple things tend to get mystified. I think academia is coming around to the crisis in front of us – great, join the party for those book-smart stragglers.

3. The Anarchists – This is where I cut my teeth on the urban left. I retain sympathy for the historic sensibility of anarchism, as well as individual anarchists I’ve met over the years, but it’s essentially an insular youth subculture that spends as much time drinking and complaining as doing anything. It can be fairly interesting – particularly if you meet the older generation. As for the kids? They’re mostly a bunch of suburban brats having their little rebellion before it’s off to grad school so they can ‘help the world’ – or get their MBA. Whichever. I now know what Frank Zappa meant when he said he never participated in much counter-culture political activism during the late 1960s – he said: ‘I saw how superficial it was.’ Yup.


4. The Non-Profit Left – Again, I’m glad they’re there – some of them do quite good work too, of course. It’s very middle class, however, and the funding comes from sympathetic rich people oftentimes. So, it’s not terribly populist, except for the use of volunteers. They organized WTO and other important milestones – they can be quite creative – they are unfairly being attacked by the InJustice Department. They deserve the support of people of conscience. It’s just that their room to maneuver politically is limited by who holds their purse strings. Sad that more ordinary people don’t support such groups – or that the model chosen was: the grant financing route. Reform groups are always allied with one element of the rich or upper middle class – which is fine, but it is what it is.

5. The Colloquial / Relgious Left – This is probably the group that I have the most respect for – even though I’m not religious. They have a core – the Unitarians, the Quakers, the Mennonites, lefty Catholics, the Buddhists, Jewish community groups – everybody else too. But, again, I’m not religious, so there’s no point in doing that either. We can work together though. These are also the secular grassroots community-based organizations that don’t necessarily have to rely on a wealthy benefactor. Sort of like what was utterly common all across this country – among brutalized working people too – as recently as the early 1960s perhaps.

6. The Labor Movement – Well, it’s a mixed bag. Some unions – the ILWU, the SEIU and a few others – are quite good. Most are okay or mediocre. Some, like Hoffa’s kid’s Teamsters – will openly collaborate with Bush on certain issues – others are just a pack of frozen dinosaurs. Theoretically, the labor movement should be more ambitious – they don’t have the numbers or the money to do as much as they used to – but, I reckon it’s also a question of inertia and lack of creativity – I just have to look at the materials my union, the UFCW, sends out to see that they have scant concept of what younger people would find appealing. I have sympathy with this left too – since they do actually help ordinary people survive in this country – they actually serve a useful and helpful purpose – unless they don’t, of course.

So, I’ve gravitated towards the libertarians – not one of them, either – I look askance at capitalism – not one of anything – but at least they’re serious people and adults. They also happen to be nicer and more generous and mutually supporting than most leftists – which is funny, given all the ‘individualist’ talk and reputation.

They’re certainly more secure and happy.

Any idea why the Left never gets anywhere?

Because it’s a drag – who wants to spend time with a bunch of resentful, fulminating, self-righteous blabbermouths?

Almost no one does, save other big mouths with little educations from privileged, fancy schools. 90% of the "hard core" leftists – of whatever stripe – that I’ve encountered over the years are upper middle class white people with a Masters degree about half the time. They’re so "bourgois" – but they hate "the bourgeoisie" – how hilarious is that! Beneath the surface they are what they hate – sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively, sometimes both.

It takes an average working person about two seconds to see through that.


The left is soooo into categories.

"Libertarians are evil" – but I’m "open-minded!" Har de har har.

Many leftists are as close-minded as fundamentalist Christians. "Ever wonder why we laugh laugh at your lives?" goes an old Dead Kennedys song…

So, among the most sophisticated libertarians, their critique goes right at the state and the corporation – to the extent that it acts unethically, say, in the conduct of American foreign policy – or in business dealings which scam investors.

The best among them are essentially grown up anarchists – they just want the obvious – for people to treat one another with dignity and respect so that no state is necessary. That’s my utopian dream too – won’t happen – social democracy is almost utopian under Bush – but that’s my goal in the pragmatic, electoral, real-world sphere. Something like a welfare state and the abolition of the warfare state – some libertarians are almost ready to split that loaf…


The Psychological Dimension

I’ve also found that I really don’t care for too many left-wingers personally.

They’re so damaged by society that they can’t do much but complain, negate, piss and moan – they’re tiresome. Since their privileged their personal gripes are often childish – and boring. They’ve traveled the world – most drunk probably – there’s no global context in which their complaints are placed. They don’t think that their little credit card debt or little problem with a girl or boy are what they are – luxury problems. Some of them bother to do something sometimes – that’s fine. But it’s generally so far off base – extreme identity politics, silly class warfare sloganeering, nihilistic whining – pick your poison.


Do you think many of these unserious "radicals" spend much time talking to anyone who isn’t rather well-educated and middle class?

It’s not just white people either, but, it’s mostly spoiled white kids who think that they’re "making a difference" and stuff. They recycle! They’re vegan! They would never hunt or fish – that would be a grave transgression against their dufus-lifestyle-morality code. They hike in nature! They buy socially responsible stuff at socially responsible venues!

Aren't they just so, so admirable?

They rarely have any poor, immigrant or non-white friends or acquaintances though – but they’re going to get right out there and help those people.

Suuuuure they are – maybe they could discuss the exigencies inherent in the terrain of the spiraling negativity implicit in the post-colonial mindset – keep masturbating.

Aside from being babies, some of these ones are really rather backbiting, rather betrayal-oriented, rather small, insecure and pathetic. They’re so unhappy and about the world and stuff – they just have to take it out on someone they’re close to. It’s hilarious – after a while.

So, as I say, while their politics might or might not be agreeable – their negation values, their empty core – what they do when no one is looking – is for ****, often times. They reflect in their own acts what they pretend to criticize when they talk. They're all about "freedom" and "choice" – but look what they do with it: get wasted, take drugs, screw people over after the sack, lie, cheat and steal.

Lot's of 'em.

They think that by being nice and conscientious in one sphere gives them carte blanche to be a jerk in another sphere. It’s quite funny how they push their insecurities and resentments on you and dress them up as "help" or "love" or "friendship." When you’ve seen what Nietzsche calls subterraneanism – a kind of cowardly concealment – a hundred times over again: it just becomes annoying and wearying.

Sometimes – in flashes of anger – it occurs to some of us to "smash them like gnats" – how my best friend once put it. But then, we reflect; we figure it’s not worth it – it would take too much effort. And besides, the coldest approach is always silence.

Theirs is an interesting approach to life – of course, it makes them miserable – they debase themselves and those around them – they often can’t even help even themselves. So, there’s no point in trying to "save" them – let them walk their in their goofy circles, chasing tails. They’re getting their just deserts one way or another.


http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/april2005/280405socalledleft.htm



This is absolutely priceless...

Both parties are the same, just different spice in the soup.

fab

OBTW, I'm still laughing...
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Post by mudwoman » 04-28-2005 03:06 PM

Good post Fab! I can't believe I just invoked the name of Eugene Debs before I read your post! LOL

Serendipity.

http://www.fantasticforum.com/1res/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15684

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Post by Westward Ho » 04-28-2005 04:31 PM

Fascinating article, but not knowing Stephen Benders, I am left curious what HIS bag is. He seems quite willing and able to categorize everyone else on the left, but from what arm chair, what pedestal, what glorious cone of objectivity? There is no such thing, so I would like to see a humble follow-up where he applies the same analytical scalpel to himself. It's only fair and let's the reader know just who is doing all this whining and judging and condescending towards those on the left that he finds whiney, judgemental and condescending. :)
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Post by mudwoman » 04-28-2005 06:19 PM

Westward Ho wrote:Fascinating article, but not knowing Stephen Benders, I am left curious what HIS bag is. He seems quite willing and able to categorize everyone else on the left, but from what arm chair, what pedestal, what glorious cone of objectivity? There is no such thing, so I would like to see a humble follow-up where he applies the same analytical scalpel to himself. It's only fair and let's the reader know just who is doing all this whining and judging and condescending towards those on the left that he finds whiney, judgemental and condescending. :)

Stephen Bender was born in Germany and grew up in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Penn State University with a degree in International Politics, he spent a semester as an intern in the office of Senator Joseph Biden. Following a year in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar, he moved to San Francisco where he has written for Salon.com, Z Magazine and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. A participant in the World Trade Organization action in Seattle, he established americanidealism.com in the summer of 2002.

* American Idealism
* c/o Stephen Bender
* 333 Hyde Street, #1
* San Francisco, CA 94109

http://www.americanidealism.com/index.php

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Post by Fred_Vobbe » 04-28-2005 06:25 PM

Good post, Fab.

Does anyone get the feeling that the 2-party system is under attack?
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Post by fabzilla » 04-29-2005 04:31 AM

It is, as it should be.

As soon as more realize what IS actually going on and drop their party allegiances, the better off all of us will be.

There is no two party system. The only possible way you could honestly apply that label in a comprehensible way for the majority is quite simply,

The Navy and the Army, the Air Force and Marines, or any other pairing of our branches of the military complex, they are both part of the same establishment and serve the same.

Or better yet, and I am sure I may "ruffle" a few feathers in rendering this parallel and it is in no way just as simple a comparison as it may first appear to be and rather a display of the "colored smoke" coming from the camps of the elitist locker rooms of the parties...


LEFT------MIDDLE----RIGHT

Appears and is labeled as...

Communism--Democracy--Fascism

Which in essence is this...

---Anarchy
---Limited Constitutional Republic
---L/R Socialism


You could go on for days doing cross over comparisons as they are there, but it is all politics, and to "appear" to be on all sides is the nature of the political beast.


fab
Last edited by fabzilla on 04-29-2005 04:51 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by mudwoman » 04-29-2005 05:27 AM

Simple is right Fab. ;) Not quite correct, as I see it, either. IMWOT Communism is not anarchy. Socialism is not intrinsically bad. Fascism is the bastard child of government and corporatism, and is not socialism. You correctly pointed out that we have never had a Democracy. What we have coming down the pike in our own country is theocratic fascism. :eek:

Semantics and labels aside (they are so slippery and difficult to use, aren't they?), the bottom line is this: No matter what form of government (excluding fascism, which is by definition a form of government modeled after Mussolini's contrivance), if it is a government with true compassion, and an abiding concern for it's citizens can be a decent functional form of government. Not the ideal, but could be decent and functional. Even a benevolent monarchy. Any government that does not put the welfare of it citizens first and foremost, is a bad thing. Welcome to the Amerka. :(

Cheerio my friend! :D

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Post by fabzilla » 04-29-2005 05:44 AM

I agree.

it is more the terminology they embrace to 'feed' upon themselves avia the disinfomedia.

It is never as simple as it should be. There in lies the problem, they have taken such a simplistic proxy and turned it into a never ending dictation od shoulda woulda coulda antics and brash denial.

Mebbe the points I ascribed are a little gray in areas, but it is all the same in the end, we lose and they gain.

But they do fit the mold of the media presentaion and bylines within the press quite well.

We do not have much to look forward too. Unless you really do feel like taking a seat at the Coliseum and breaking out the festivities.


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Post by Devastated » 04-29-2005 07:03 AM

Fred_Vobbe wrote:Does anyone get the feeling that the 2-party system is under attack?


It is a one-party system and they did it themselves. It's part of The Program.
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Post by Corvid » 04-29-2005 11:45 AM

Devastated wrote:It is a one-party system and they did it themselves. It's part of The Program.


I think that it may be true at the top (judging from some actions of the elected of eirther party) but someone forgot to tell us rank and file slobs at the bottom.

It would show at the polls..... if we could just count the frelling votes.

I will NOT give up fighting for this simple justice... and I will not jump in a ditch to be shot.

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Post by fabzilla » 04-29-2005 12:20 PM

Corvid wrote:I think that it may be true at the top (judging from some actions of the elected of eirther party) but someone forgot to tell us rank and file slobs at the bottom.



The bottom must move outside of the lines of unknowing what the top is doing and whom they are serving.

If it is so obvious to so many, why are people still vesting themselves in the BS and propaganda they spew?

The "rank and file" must seek to regain control of the top, period, if there is ever going to be a change for the better.

Pure and simple.

fab
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Post by Cherry Kelly » 04-29-2005 02:20 PM

all the more reason why I say - I vote person - not party...

what party? where -- you bring the beer and I'll bring the brauts and someone else can provide the cooker...

. . . and does the article go far enough to include a lot more - they are out there and many of us run into them in a lot of places....

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Post by Riddick » 01-31-2012 12:41 AM

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Re: BW ha ha! Why NOT to be on the LEFT! a character study

Post by Riddick » 10-13-2014 11:57 PM

fabzilla wrote: Both parties are the same, just different spice in the soup.

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Re: BW ha ha! Why NOT to be on the LEFT! a character study

Post by Riddick » 03-14-2015 06:26 AM

One Fine Day In Chef Soetoro's Magic Kitchen

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Once the important work of getting elected is done, regardless of results Political Soup Nazis in both parties prefer the public defer to their culinary expertise. War, the economy, whatever the issue du jour, it's no wonder it's always business as usual in DC...

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