Snitches on the "Left"

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Apr 15 17:23:22 MDT 1996

On Mon, 15 Apr 1996, Doug Henwood wrote:

> Don't be so literal, Lou. Johnson was succeeded by Nixon, and Carter by
> Reagan - both palpable shifts to the right, lubricated by "liberal"
> failures.

These terms "right" and "left" start to lose their meaning when you talk
about Lyndon Johnson. He won the election in 1964 by painting Barry
Goldwater as a psychotic warmongerer, then turned around and implemented
Goldwater's Vietnam policy. Nixon ran as a "peace" candidate against
Hubert Humphrey, the ultraliberal who stood by Johnson's Vietnam policy.
I think there is a phenomenon of a fascist victory after a leftist
failure to lead a revolution successfully. Ken Loach's superb "Land and
Freedom" dramatizes how this took place in Spain. In recent years, the
closest we've come to this is the coup in Chile. Allende could not follow
through on socialist transformation and the enraged petty-bourgeoisie
provided mass support for Pinochet. These politics are class-based,
however, unlike the United States. In the USA we have a single bourgeois
party with two factions, so distinctions between "left" and "right" lack
a class context.

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