Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Sitting This One Out"

Adolph L. Reed, Jr. has finally had it: "This time, I’m not going to acquiesce in the fiction that the Presidential charade has any credibility whatsoever. I’m not paying any attention to the horse race coverage -- that mass-mediated positioning in the battle for superficial product differentiation" ("Sitting This One Out," The Progressive, November 2007). I wish he had written this in 2004, but it's better late than never. Both running Third Party campaigns and pushing for left-liberal candidates in the Democratic Party primaries have clearly failed in the United States, leaving us no organized Left to speak of in the belly of the beast. At this point, the best we can do is probably to try the hardest to prevent political activism on other fronts from becoming subordinated to electoral calculations, and views like Reed's help us in this attempt.

His criticism of marches, rallies, and even civil disobedience in the United States, which are today all "carefully choreographed and designed to be minimally disruptive," is just as sharp.

I do not, however, share his view that "The anti-war movement isn’t coherent or popularly grounded enough to exert the pressure necessary to improve the electoral options; only the labor movement has the capacity to do so, but it doesn’t have the will." The problem is deeper. The reason that the so-called "labor movement" doesn't have the will is that it long ago ceased to be a labor movement, the residual rhetoric of labor leftists notwithstanding, and organized labor as it exists now is unlikely to become a social movement again.

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