Alex Cockburn on the state of the left

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Nov 2 18:29:10 MST 2002

In my years of going around the country doing anti-intervention talks,
fund-raisers, book tours etc, etc, the first thing to notice is that
there's a truly vast left that is invisible to almost all east coast
commentators. Church people, labor people, public defenders, Lawyers
Guild, faculty people, farm people, radical greens, World Federalist
types, red diapered middle-agers, in almost every town. (And in every
town the left will tell you with gloomy pride how conservative their
town is. )

And in meeting after meeting you can look at the audience and see older
folk who were labor commies in the 50s and who have certainly had their
share of doctrinal struggle and who have read Marx etc, and sixties
vintage people who might have fought their way through the RCP and out
the other side, and then younger people still who might have come aboard
in WTO wars and who read Counterpunch. It's a rich geology that varies
from place to place. For example in one town in Wisconsin the two most
bustling left activists and organizers were both kind of ex
Revolutionary Communist Party. In the Deep South I've met radical
lawyers who are still the organizing backbone of their communities who
came down as Maoists in the 70s. In for the long haul and lively and not
deserving of your misprision. A lot of good organizers are still in left
groups you might instinctively deride as fossilized Trots or Maoists or

Of course you're right in one thing: many of these, especially the
younger lot, couldn't give a toss about Hitchens. I was reminded of this
when I gave a speech in SF a few months ago and derided Hitchens'
positions and a lively young woman in a left group asked me impatiently
what was all the talk about this "Clifford Hutchins". As for Hitchens,
he parted ways with anything decently radical long, long ago, as I
occasionally point out. My hope of course, which Jeffrey and I try to
push along in Counterpunch, is that the left should understand that
common cause can be made with many in the populist right who take the
Bill of Rights seriously. Ashcroft is doing his best to help.



Louis Proyect

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list