[Marxism] Open Letter to Michael Albert

Gilles d'Aymery aymery at ix.netcom.com
Thu Nov 4 17:59:51 MST 2004

Dear Michael,

Thank you much for your "Free Update in the aftermath of the 
election." Funny, every time I receive one of your "Free Update" e-
mails, I think of marketing -- like a McDonald's plug, if you see what I 

How generous of you, in the name of self-opinion making (an 
endeavor I keep recommending to our Swans' readers), to publish the 
views of Ms. Vanden Heuvel, a bona-fide member of the Cruise 
Missile Left. It will save me a trip to The Nation...

And many thanks for sharing your deep insights on the elections and 
their aftermath, in "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" -- indubitably 4,000 
words of wisdom...

Funny again, in my October 31 under-the-radar-screen "blips #5 
(published Nov. 1 -- see 
http://www.swans.com/library/art10/desk005.html), I wrote: 
"WHERE'S YOGI BERRA when we need him? And so, 'some of the 
best-known names of the anti-imperialist American left' will vote for 
Kerry in tomorrow's elections. Then they may watch Survivor on 
CBS, or the latest reality show hit, Trading Spouses, on Fox -- many 
will, more seriously, read a good book and make a few calls -- and 
the next morning, yes the very next morning, they will assemble, 
dissect the results, lay plans for the coming battles toward the 

Well, I was incorrect by only one day.

Yes, one should wonder how it is that Ralph Nader's message could 
not be heard. It obviously had nothing to do with the straight-jackets 
the friendly Democrats used to silence him (or keep him off the ballot 
through relentless legal shenanigans), and the help of his "friends and 
allies," you know, those dignitaries who graced vote2stopbush.org -- 
or those friendly opinion-makers, like Ted Glick and Norman 
Solomon, Ronnie Dugger, Barbara Ehrenreich, Michael Lerner, et al., 
whose voices, in the name of self-opinion making, you so lavishly 
broadcast time and again.

Nothing to do, indeed... Actually, I am surprised that you guys have 
not yet come up with the simplest line of reasoning: Yeah we thrashed 
Nader, but we did it so that no one could ever say again that he 
spoiled the election. See how our strategy was right on mark! A 
Chomskian logic, at its best...

Anyway, water has gone under the bridge and you are ready to move 
on, as we all are. Time to unite again and plan for the future. How 
refreshing, how welcomed...

Is the objective alliance between your good self and the CML buried 
for good, at long last? 

You are so compellingly correct, "[A] new left has got to be new 
where it matters - in having real and compelling shared vision, real and 
compelling short and mid term goals, and real and compelling shared 
practice and strategy - indeed, in having long term vision and 
empowering and engaging strategy at all."

And, yes again, "[T]he whole is, or should be, mostly the development 
of consciousness and commitment and the exercising of social 
pressure. We have to get right back to that.
And we have to do it immediately. And we have to do it more wisely 
than in the past."

No one would dispute that.

What one would possibly dispute is how you, as the folks at The 
Nation, the Dems and the Reps, keep playing on people fears: You 
say, "We have to look at it squarely. Bush, without a very active, 
militant, and effective opposition, could mean overturning Roe v 
Wade, ending the separation of Church and State, and gutting Social 
Security and Medicare. It could mean escalated ecological 
devastation, expanded Patriot Act and repression, even larger gaps 
between rich and poor, expanded violence in Iraq and beyond, and 
election reforms to protect all this reaction against democracy."

Michael, Row v. Wade has long been gutted (85 pct of US counties 
cannot perform abortions), there's not been separation of Church and 
State in this country (at least in the 22 years I lived in your blessed 
country), Social Security and Medicare *are* gutted and being 
privatized (ask Clinton). Ecological devastation is happening. Patriot 
Act is a continuum of bipartisan authorship. Violence is an American 
trade-mark. The gap between rich and poor is not a Bush creation 
(and are you talking about the down-trodden in the huge swaths of the 
world, or between you and me, nice white middle class petty-
bourgeois?), and your last point, democracy...err, what democracy, 

Anyway, it's a great pleasure and relief to read that you good folks at 
ZNet have chosen, in the aftermath of this debacle (of which you were 
an inherent part), to move on and build a new, progressive, left wing, 

In my blip #5, I added after those little dreaded three dots: "...till 
2008, when they'll ask again to put your hopes between parentheses 
(it's called "strategy," within the ranks of the self-proclaimed 
fragmented Left). The progress of the American progressive 
community is simply astounding, beyond my wildest beliefs. Yes, I 
know, America is tantalized and hypnotized by safety issues: safety 
from the terrOOOrists, safe food, safe drugs, safe cars (the bigger the 
better), safe sex (no parentheses here)...even safe states voting. How 
is it that the insurance industry has not yet fashioned a policy to make 
a few bucks...but actually it has, it's called the "American progressive 
community," where the competition is ferocious for the premiums 
charged. Please send your monthly check."

I hope that you and I will be healthy enough in 2008, so that we can 
revisit, in friendly terms, your call to vote for a Democrat again. If, I'm 
proven wrong, I'll be glad to acknowledge it (a behavior you may 
want to emulate, one of these days...).

Meanwhile, please let me know the mailing address where I can send 
my check to support your worthy endeavor. It will be in the amount of 
my comments: 2 cents.

You say you've been at it for 40 years. I hope my 2 cents, literally and 
figuratively, will help foster the next 40. 

(Note: Will you ever learn about Occam's Razor?)

Yours in solidarity,


Gilles d'Aymery
Swans Commentary

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