Ahhh, the Monthly Review --
often I turn to it for...
well, in this case, it turned out to be foolkrieging:
As many of you may know, I hate my generation of meritoids --
the woodstock wing in particular, and its "new left" solarium in even more particular.
its walls of glass smashed in at a thousand points
by the stones of time's hard realities,
I've often recalled it with a mellow snicker.
But now, I'll be goddamned if after nearly
a third of a century
of total eclipse, this least worthy of radical structures
isn't appearing from behind the leading edge
of our new century. A gen-X maxim proves true again:
just when you begin to believe their reign has finally ended,
recall this bloody fact:
old boomers never die, they just wade wade wade... back in.
The old new-left Undead have "rewrtitten" -- how pathetic is that? -- a document that sank like a stone back in '63, when it was first written.
For a patch of unintended self-parody, the current version deserves immediate
into the boomer travesty temple of Olympian laughter. Early on, there's a whack at the
"long-winded" Vaclav Havel, which is very welcome of course, but then talk about long-winded:
...drafted by several MDS and SDS activists with criticisms and suggestions
from Bruce Rubenstein, Jay Jurie, Penny Rosemont, Mark Rudd, and Devra
Morice for MDS, Senia Barragan and Josh Russell for SDS, and a valued friend
from War Times, Max Elbaum. Paul Buhle did most of the drafting and
We stand at the beginning of a new social movement as well the beginning of
a new century. The global overreach of US strategies has created divisions
in society unknown since the 1960s, in some ways unknown since the 1890s.
Here, a soldier is shot to death after a fourteen-hour domestic standoff
because he is driven mad by the prospect of his return to Iraq. There,
casualty figures are systematically underreported, the degree of military
brutalization and eco-poisoning warfare hidden as effectively, or
ineffectively, as in the early years of the US invasion of Southeast Asia.
In Washington, powerful forces with billions of dollars behind them (and
clearly more at stake) rage against each other, hopeful of protecting Empire
but blinded by their past triumphs and unable to find a way out. New SDS,
with several thousand members and several hundred chapters, takes the field
in the name of a newly rebellious generation, its membership reaching into
community colleges and high schools far from the liberal arts limits of the
1960s, and across borders to Canada, Germany, Indonesia, and elsewhere. We
also see the beginning of yet a new project: the founding of MDS, the
Movement for a Democratic Society.
Can't touch stuff like that, now can ya? You just gotta bottle it
What follows that opening florish is a lickety-split dash
through the last 45 years or so.
Upshot : Uncle won all the marbles --
set up a global rigged casino --
and got to use even "depleted uranium" where and when needed,
without much meritoid yowling.
Yes, it's gotten pretty dark on planet earth,
but fortunately for civilizations' better angels, 9/11 proved "This was
not the end of history."
Since that frightful moment, "The truth is out and the subservient
backers of American military conquests have grown sheepish and silent."
However, "Rather than engage in the sort of introspection that would
reveal the role and purposes of U.S. power projected across the globe,"
the TNC goblins upped the ante, switching to No More Mr Nice Guy mode,
i.e. a "strategy that can be neatly encompassed as a Patriot Act for the
On the forty-fifth anniversary of the Port Huron Statement...
we once again face a world in which existing modes of thought are treated by
the public with contempt. Institutions both old and new seem to be
The golden age of confident socialism, in the first decade of the
twentieth century, can be book-ended with the golden age of capitalism
during the final decade of the same century... why then the self-confident
predictions of the Marxists and equally self-certain predictions of the
1980s-90s globalizers fail so miserably?
It seems the Wall Street rats, in
their new world order, didn't reckon with "a moiling world of
This triggers another plunge into Clio's record books,
now back to the age of the two Roosevelts,
which saved capitalism from itself --
Then FDR died... [beginning a] march toward total global hegemony at
any cost.... Labor leaders, screenwriters,
even career diplomats associated with leftwing causes
either abandoned their ideals or found themselves banned and discarded...A
new world of atomic bombs and Cadillacs emerged, with light weapons and
Chevrolets for small-fry wars and consumers, respectively....
... keen economic analysis updating a century of Marxist
predictions.... notes that stagnation and sluggish growth in the
old-fashioned categories of GNP and productive capacity have continued as
leftwingers long predicted they would.
Now we get a run of why that's good -- no, that's bad -- because despite the GNP
... remarkably enough, these disappointments have not impeded profit levels,
nor brought down the world's leading capitalist power, its center still
situated on Wall Street....
No one, neither Keynes nor Milton Friedman, had sufficiently
credited the power of seemingly bottomless debt.... [or]
predicted the degree of the financiers' takeover,
displacing actual production with the concentration of paper [or] the strange
contemporary conjunction -- punctuated by the Chinese State-directed bailout
of Wall Street....
Perhaps, and this is a grim thought, slow growth and wild
speculation are locked together in a downward spiral of widening class
differences and ecological decline. Making money steadily displaces the
making of anything else, goods or services. Debt creation and the
collaterization of debt, the magic instruments of recovery (or
pseudo-recovery), demand ever taller towers of cash. These disproportions
come, naturally enough, from a vast heightening of exploitation in every
respect, now no longer draining only the lives of people on the planet but
the earth itself. Lacking a successful challenge, they will, within two
generations, have wiped out nearly every species of fish, eviscerated all
but the least of rainforests, and set the planet upon a near irreversible
course of global warming. The lives of suffering humanity, in the face of
these threats, can only be imagined....
But! Be of good cheer! There's the "Crisis of Empire":
The explosion of simultaneous crises, as leading scholar of empire William
Appleman Williams noted long ago, stems from the demands for absolute
planetary control... [and yet]
How much does "the average American" feel the suffering of others in less
fortunate places of the planet?
Pretty sweeping, eh?
And -- there's more!
There's a "A Short History of the Old and Heroic Left."
A special moment in the 1840s-60s [which]
saw abolitionism, women's rights, and pacifism
predict the movements of more than a century later and offered a legitimate
counterpart to the emerging class struggles in Europe and elsewhere.... If
the Communist Manifesto and the Paris Barricades of 1848 had any single
counterpart anywhere, it was surely the Seneca Falls Convention and the
declarations of Woman's Rights.
At this point we enter the full Barnum and Bailey world
of lefticle struggle.
After a Dante to Virgil-like adeiu
to Allen Ginsberg, we reach "1962, the year of Port Huron,"
Like Finnegans Wake, river run back
to that mudsill of the left's "Age of Aquarius."
Oh I grow weak --
but read on:
such topics await you as "Globalized Labor -- At Home";
such insights as:
In the new century, the situation has changed utterly... new radical hopes become visible on the horizon... a version of
egalitarianism, successor to visions of socialism and anarchism....
the day has not passed when working people, as part of a broad
coalition (and not likely to be unionized) can make a decisive difference.
The Society We Face -- Then and Now
Perhaps the work begun at Port Huron will be taken up once again around the
world, for the globalization of power, capital and empire surely will
globalize the stirrings of conscience and resistance. While the powers that
be debate whether the world is dominated by a single superpower (the US
position) or is multipolar (the position of the French, the Chinese and
others), there is an alternative vision appearing among millions of people
who are involved in global justice, peace human rights and environmental
movements -- the vision of a future created through participatory democracy