[Marxism] Ronald Reagan's death

Ian Pace ian at ianpace.com
Sun Jun 6 08:18:27 MDT 2004

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Sunday, June 06, 2004 3:10 PM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Ronald Reagan's death

> Ian Pace wrote:
> >
> > Absolutely agreed: focussing attention upon individuals rather than
> > processes involving corporations and peoples is to adopt the
> > language of the right.  The evils that went on under Reagan's presidency
> > 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.
Totally agree, but it does make me think of what's rather a difficult point
that I've wrestled with frequently: isn't is possible that the
'personalisation' of political debate, including on the left, owes something
to some strands of feminist thinking?  I would very much like to think not,
but I fear it is the case.


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