Fighting dirty

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Jul 6 08:04:26 MDT 2003

NY Times Magazine, July 6, 2003
Temperament Wars



There are Democrats who would like the party to get down off its moral
pedestal and start fighting dirty, or at least dirtier. The journalist Eric
Alterman, author of ''What Liberal Media?'' has complained that liberals
need their own Fox News, their own talk radio -- their own unleashed attack
dogs. Put Michael Moore behind a desk, and watch the right-wingers squeal.
The problem is that many Democrats would squirm as well. It is just a fact
that the Republicans are now the party of passionate convictions, while the
Democrats are the party of grave reservations. The Democrats are
essentially devoted to tempering the harm caused by the Bush
administration, which is not much of an agenda at all, though it certainly
makes a virtue of moderation. Ruthlessness is just not in the party's DNA.

It's an odd reversal, if you think about it. The Republicans used to be the
party of the First Methodist Church, and the Democrats of the great
unwashed. Now the Republicans are the hellions, and the Democrats are the
ones you want to bring home to mother. The G.O.P. is making such inroads
among younger voters for the same reason that Fox News is making inroads
among younger viewers. We live in a culture that values brazen certainty
and loud conviction, no matter how wrongheaded. Pity the Democrats, stuck
with the wrong set of virtues.



Leon Trotsky, "Whither France":

The potential forces of the revolution exceed by far the forces of Fascism
and in general of the whole united reaction. Sceptics who think that all is
lost must be pitilessly driven out of the workers' ranks. From the depths
of the masses come vibrant echoes to every bold word, every truly
revolutionary slogan. The masses want the struggle.

It is not the spirit of combination among parliamentarians and journalists,
but the legitimate and creative hatred of the oppressed for the oppressors
which is today the single most progressive factor in history. It is
necessary to turn to the masses, toward their deepest layers. It is
necessary to appeal to their passions and to their reason. It is necessary
to reject the false "prudence" which is a synonym for cowardice and which,
at great historical turning points, amounts to treason. The united front
must take for its motto the formula of Danton: "De l'audace, toujours de
l'audace, et encore de l'audace." To understand the situation fully and to
draw from it all the practical conclusions, boldly and without fear and to
the end, is to assure the victory of socialism.


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