[Marxism] Re: Tracking the evolution of former ex-leftists:

Nick Halliday halliday.nick at gmail.com
Thu Nov 10 01:59:16 MST 2005

This thread resulted in such observations as:

>>But Christopher Hitchens?  Marc Cooper? Are these people on the left? What's
>left of any of their leftitude and should they be of concern to people who
>discuss in terms of and self-identify as Marxist? I fail to see what that
>might be.
>Walter Lippmann

>Hitchens and Cooper were and are connected with the Nation Magazine, which
>has a circulation of 184,296. It has an enormous influence on the left and
>it is therefore incumbent on us to know what its contributors are writing,
>especially when they are writing something harmful to the left.>>

I agree quite a bit with WL, though I think this issue of
'self-identity' above all else is part of the problem. To so many
people, individual accomplishments, up to the point of fetishization,
are more important than collective identity and accomplishments.
Especially for the people born in the US , say, 1946-1955.

But moving on, don't I connect the name David Corn with the Nation as
well? I'm not so sure about the mag's influence on the 'left'. It
seems more likely its concerns reflect the 'mainstream's' perceptions
of where the parameters of the left will be set (and allowed) and not
allowed. Since 9-11 that seems to be the biggest prerogative of the
publication. Shhhh...rational people (not the looney left) just don't
say things like that. It might scare some people away. And so on.

And then there was:

>>Well, I can think of a couple examples of people who
went from right to left.  There is Doug Henwood who
was for a while as a student at Yale was active in
the Party of the Right.  There is the case of our
esteemed moderator who as
a high school student had founded a chapter of the
Young Americans for Freedom.>>

In the case of Henwood, there seems to be a Nation connection again.
He now personifies the Nation approach to acceptable 'leftism', though
it should be noted he was a nobody as a rightwinger, and I've never
understood his trenchant leftism (?) outside of his cult following
which, if his list is any indication, is more about gossip, angry sex,
bitter consumerism and nasty American firsterism than it is about
anything I would identify with the 'left'.  I've seen analysis and
opinion coming from Pimco Bonds that is more 'left'.

I would have to say, though, that the shifts are like so many of the
first and middle waves of the baby boom that owe so much of their
success and influence to demographics and opportunities denied people
born after 1960 (typically). These individualists are really just
looking for which way the wind is blowing before they jump on this or
that bandwagon. BTW, I think the worst shift from left to right had to
have been Dos Passos. Was that disgust with leftwing politics or
something else? I can't enjoy his truly great literature the way I did
before I knew about his last stage of politics.


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