social democrats

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at
Sat Dec 8 08:08:50 MST 2001

After a few cups of super strong black coffee on a cold and snowy Idaho
morn -- and my always friendly daily tussle with my extremely loyal and
faithful one-half Bobcat cat -- I've a little tobacco to toss into the
Socialist Register mess.  I haven't kept up with the Register for a very
long time or the Socialist Scholars thing. I don't read Dissent.  [Names of
friends of mine have been briefly mentioned in this discussion -- e.g., Mac
Stainsby and Michael Pugliese -- but they're obviously not the issue here at

I don't feel especially profound this morning -- but I do feel quite direct.

I've been in the geography of the Left  long enough to recognize certain
movements and rustles in the bushes. [I've opposed every US military action
since Korea.] Obviously, I'm totally and vigorously with Louis -- and I
think he's stated the basic issue clearly and trenchantly:

"This is not about bridging cultures. It is about a rift on the left between
those who support imperialist war and those who oppose it. The very first
word from Panitch after 9/11 was a crossposting of a pro-war piece that
Fred Halliday wrote for the Guardian. Penetrating through Panitch's crafty
inscrutabality on the list, we can only surmise that he agreed with it."

The more or less DSA list -- ASDnet -- has been caught up in this for weeks.
>From a classically "social democrat" perspective has come a pro "War"
barrage whose consistency and momentum have been quite undeterred by reports
of  US bombing atrocities and rivers of blood, oil agendas, regional
destabilization and much much more in the Dark Cloud Complex.  About the
only difference in these wasps is a range of articulation spreading from
crude to  literate.  I always remember the comment made a long time ago to
me by a good friend and colleague who had -- for very real safety reasons --
left a Union of South Africa academic context where he'd been one of a token
number of Jews.  "I realized," he said, "that the more ostensibly
intelligent my colleagues there were, the more intricate the
rationalizations for the regime and the system."

 From 'way back in my perspective -- say, the mid-'50s -- it's been clear
that, pushed inevitably to the wall by argument, the  frequent social
democratic response is simply efforts to ridicule and red-bait.  Maybe the
level of intellectual discussion in some quarters at Socialist Register
tends to be higher than some other settings, but the words of my old
buddy -- the refugee from South Africa -- still ring true.

Frankly, without getting into a lot of talk, I tend to agree with my oldest
son who, last night and from his vantage point somewhere on the frozen North
Dakota border, dismissed the whole social democratic entourage as "just a
bunch of Clinton Democrats."

The basic ethos and enduring common denominator of these people, from Jay
Lovestone to the present,  is their effort to control, manage,  and retard
social protest. And to destroy anyone who stands in their way. In the
present context,  their perspective hovers somewhere in the shadowy world of
the "Democratic Liberals" which lies down in the canyon  between the very,
very narrow boundaries of the top AFL-CIO leadership.

History moves, of course, and the social democrats et al. aren't going to be
able to stonewall It.  But they can, obviously, be consistent irritants --
and often problematic far out of proportion to their stats.

Keep fighting -- and success will indeed be ours in the long run.

Here, just for the hell of it, are my essentially wrap-up comments to a
couple these people at ASDnet -- which does include as well many very solid
folk.  Sometimes I like to shoot an arrow or two into the bushes and see
what quivers.

To ASDnet:

Like many of us, I occasionally have weighty things to which to attend.  But
I haven't been  completely oblivious to the toy train of finger-flipped sand
burrs and hissy sniping --  faithfully engineered on its perennial and
eternal round-and-round by Casey and Chapin.

On the matter which seems to have made them rattle their tails with unusual
vigour even for them -- the  Rosenberg affair -- about all I can say is
that, as usual, I made up my own mind and I speak my own piece: I think the
Rosenbergs were innocent, were framed up in an awful and enduring era, and
that the apt lessons for our darkening sky of today are myriad.  Some of us
will act on those lessons as we always have:   An injury to one is an injury
to all -- and Solidarity reaches to the Four Directions.  Casey and Chapin
will continue on their circular track fretting about Reds under the bed --
some of them dead.

Others of us will certainly try -- even as we deal adversarialy with the
dark-suited and grim-faced  dragons in the bushes --to cut new trails to the
Sun and Sky.

And we'll listen to the Wind.

Hunter [Hunterbear]

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear] (social justice)

Left Discussion Group

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