The Left as it should be.
In many ways it is defamatory of the historic Left to refer to the trash that passes for “leftism” today as actual “leftism.” Today’s “left” consists of two basic wings. One is the mainstream Democratic Party center-left. This “left” is rooted in late 19th/early 20th century “progressivism” (i.e. the public administration state and scientism). Let’s not forget that it was these folks that brought about such “genius” ideas as eugenics and Prohibition. It’s historic figures are Woodrow Wilson (of WW1, Red Scare, Jim Crow, and labor suppression fame), Franklin D. Roosevelt (who placed Japanese-Americans in concentration camps), Harry Truman (incinerator of cities), and Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam War). Fuck all that. The “radical left” of today consists of “identity politics” (tribalism), “no platforming” (mob action against unpopular people), and a Church lady-like phobia that someone, somewhere might be saying bad words or promoting bad ideas. Precisely the same characteristics that are traditionally identified with right-wing authoritarian states and movements. To concede the label of “left” to these cretins is really to dishonor the legacy and achievements of the historic Left.
The antiwar Left in the US is essentially non-existent with the exception of a handful of individuals, groups, and outlets such as Medea Benjamin, Counterpunch, the Greens, the old guard commie anti-imperialists, and journalists associated with foreign media outlets. The labor Left barely exists. Union membership is at an all-time low. The economic Left amounts to little more than “single payer health care.” The civil liberties Left seems to be very marginal. The “left” today is basically technocratic centrist progressivism and neoliberal economics in the mainstream, environmentalism and veganism, and these “left-fascist” tendencies on the margins.“Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.”– Ennio Flaiano.
We very much need a “new New Left” in the spirit of folks like Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, and Hunter S. Thompson, i..e a party of outlaws and heretics, not do-gooders.
By Ryan Blacketter
I occasionally despair of the loss of the 1960s rebellious left in American life. Many 60s writers refused a total allegiance to their politics. They found singular voices through dissonance, ambiguity, and contradiction—as individuals often do. It’s not surprising that Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, and Hunter S. Thompson explored free expression on so many of their pages.
What made these authors so attractive was their willingness to embrace ideology only so far. They kept plenty of room in their minds to pursue other beliefs. Also, they rejected certain ideas on the left, as they saw fit—and without drastic consequence. Outside of extreme cases, the 60s alternative culture allowed for such diversity of thought.