[Marxism] Re: Robert Jensen attack on Fahrenheit 9/11

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 6 08:40:22 MDT 2004

Paul H. Dillon wrote:
>   Do you ever wonder if Moore puts this kind of material in primarily
> because that's sort of the way many Americans, especially those mired in
> American popular culture, think.  It establishes a certain kind of "hey I'm
> like you bond" typical of Moore's overall strategy.

Nation Magazine, Nov. 17, 1997
Is the Left Nuts?
by Michael Moore

Is it me, or is the left completely nuts? I won't bore you with the 
details of October's Media and Democracy Congress, but suffice it to say 
that the left is still in fine form, completely ignoring anything that 
really matters to the American public. I'm convinced there's a good 
number of you who are simply addicted to listening to yourselves talk 

Speaking of talking to ourselves-just who the hell is reading this? Who 
is the Nation readership? Is it my brother-in-law, Tony, back in Flint, 
who last night was installing furnace ducts until 9 o'clock? Is it the 
bus driver at the airport who told me he's been cut back to a 
thirty-hour week so the airport commission won't have to pay the health 
insurance for his asthmatic daughter? Is it the woman at Sears who sells 
blouses by day and then waitresses at Denny's from 8 PM. to midnight?

No. The person reading this would probably sympathize with the one who 
wrote the flier I saw at the media congress announcing a "Stop Police 
Brutality Demonstration." The flier promised a rally "from 4 Pm. UNTIL 
THE TRUTH COMES OsOUT!" Until the truth comes out? Let me tell you, 
friend, the truth ain't ever coming out to your rally, and neither is 
Tony the furnace installer, 'cause he's got mouths to feed. But you 
don't really want him there anyway, do you? What you really mean by 
saying that the demonstration is going to last "until the truth comes 
out" is that it will go deep into the night, until all self-serving, 
attention-starved "lefties" have had their hour and fifteen minutes at 
the podium. Get a clue! Go away!

Is it true what they say about "the left"-that it loves humanity but 
loathes people? I want to let you in on a little secret I've discovered: 
"The people" are already way ahead of "the left." After years of being 
downsized, rightsized, re-engineered and forced to work longer hours for 
less pay and fewer benefits, they already know from their personal 
experience that our economic system is unfair, unjust and undemocratic. 
They know the evil it does and the havoc it wreaks on their lives. They 
know that corporate America is the enemy, that the media are telling 
them lies and that the Democrats and the Republicans are actually the 
same party, and that neither is worth voting for. Look at any Gallup 
poll and you'll see that the public is very "left" on all the issues-the 
majority are pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-labor.

Yet they despise liberals. If they knew where to find the nutty left, 
they'd despise them, too. They see liberals, progressives and lefties as 
arrogant, self-righteous and dreadfully predictable.

They know you won't ever go have a beer with them, or talk to them about 
how the Indians did in the Series. Christ, can you even name a single 
Cleveland Indian?

And why should you? You've got The Nation and Pacifica, the food co-op 
and your Working Assets credit card. Don't get me wrong-I love The 
Nation and Pacifica and food co-ops and not supporting Citibank. But if 
you stop there and refuse to participate in the real world, how are you 
ever going to effect change? Back in the eighties thousands of you went 
to Nicaragua in Sandinista brigades. Yes, that was important work; our 
government was killing innocent people. But I never saw a single one of 
you come to Flint while the world's largest company was destroying the 
lives of 30,000 families. Where were you when we needed you? The people 
in Flint were ready-Jesse Jackson beat Dukakis by a 9-to- margin there. 
In the white suburbs, Jackson beat him by a 4-to-1 margin! You should 
have come! The right wing did. They organized the Michigan Militia. It's 
no accident that Terry Nichols is from the Flint area.

Here's the part I don't get. Remember the antiwar movement, when we 
didn't have the American public on our side and actually had to go out 
and convince people the war was wrong? That was tough, but we did it. 
These days, the difficult organizing work has already been done for us 
by Big Business. It has spent the past decade destroying the middle 
class and brutalizing the poor. Beating up on the poor, I get-that's the 
way it's always been. But the middle class? What a stupid error 
injudgment-and now there are millions of Americans waiting to vent their 
anger and frustration.

And where are we? Inside New York's Cooper Union chanting for Mumia! I 
want Mumia to live, I've signed the petitions, I've helped pay for the 
ads-hell, I'll personally go and kick the butt of the governor of 
Pennsylvania! But, for chrissakes, the woman working at Sears just wants 
to be able to spend an hour with her kids before she heads off to 
Denny's. Can't we help her? Do you want to help her?

It's taken me a while to figure it all out, and after last month's Media 
and Democracy Congress I think I have the answer: Because "the left" has 
lost so many battles, it now doesn't know how to live any other way. 
It's kind of scary, isn't it, to think that we could actually reach a 
mass audience. Or that after all these years of failure, real change 
could actually occur in our lifetime. Better to fight among ourselves! 
It's an uncomfortable, unfamiliar feeling, isn't it, to get a whiff of a 
real populist progressive movement taking shape. Better that we keep 
those furnace installers and bus drivers away from us-they don't read 
Chomsky anyway!

The signs are everywhere, but "the left" can't read a road map. There's 
a whole New Politics taking place, and it's being led by U.P.S. drivers 
and Borders bookstore workers. I say, with all due affection and 
appreciation for all of you and your causes, get over yourselves, start 
talking like a real person, then start talking to real people. You could 
begin by hitting 0 every time you get a robot when you call 411. Have a 
chat with the human operatorthe phone company will eventually have to 
hire more of them. Or sponsor a bowling team and put the name of your 
local Labor Party or environmental group on their shirts. Or try bowling 
yourself. It's where you'll meet Americans.


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