[Marxism] Ronald Reagan's death

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jun 6 08:10:36 MDT 2004


Ian Pace wrote:
> 
> Absolutely agreed: focussing attention upon individuals rather than larger
> processes involving corporations and peoples is to adopt the trivialising
> language of the right.  The evils that went on under Reagan's presidency are
> not attributable simply to one man, that would let many other
> representatives of ruling class interests off the hook.

This is a crucial point. One of the hallmarks of the ABB crowd today is 
to explain American politics in terms of the mindset of a particular 
chief executive as if Reagan or George W. Bush were some kind of 
absolute ruler. The major foreign policy decisions of the past century 
have been *bipartisan*. Where there are differences on domestic policy, 
they are more on the level of tactics rather than strategy. Clinton was 
the president during the dismantling of aid to dependent children. When 
I was a welfare worker in 1967, I never dreamed that this would happen. 
I assumed that it would provoke huge uprisings to throw defenseless 
women and children to the wolves. Of course, it took a Democrat to pull 
this off just as it took a Republican to pull off a rapprochement with 
China.

One of the most unfortunate legacies of the decline of the New Left has 
been the failure to sustain the kind of radical scholarship that focused 
on these questions. People like Gabriel Kolko, Robert Fitch and others 
looked at the *institutions* in the background that helped to formulate 
such policies in the context of what has been called "the invisible 
government". By looking at the careers of people like Alan Greenspan and 
outfits like the CFR or Trilateral Commission, you begin to see how it 
makes little difference who you vote for. Nowadays, if  you point such 
things out you are regarded by people like Norman Solomon as being 
little better than the Spartacist League. Let's stick to our guns.


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