The Silent Death of the American Left

From Counter Punch:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/24/the-silent-death-of-the-american-left/

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
May 24-26, 2013

Is there a Left in America today?

There is, of course, a Left ideology, a Left of the mind, a Left of theory and critique. But is there a Left movement?

Does the Left exist as an oppositional political, cultural or economic force? Is anyone intimidated or restrained by the Left? Is there a counterforce to the grinding machinery neoliberal capitalism and its political managers?

We can and do at CounterPunch and in similar publications, such as Monthly Review and the New Left Review, publish analyses of capitalism and its inherent vulnerabilities, catalogue its predations and wars of military conquest and imperial exploitation. But where is our capacity to confront the daily horrors of drone strikes, kill lists, mass layoffs, pension raids and the looming nightmare of climate change?

It is a bitter reality, brought into vivid focus by five years of Obama, that the Left is an immobilized and politically impotent force at the very moment when the economic inequalities engineered by our overlords at Goldman Sachs who manage the global economy, should have recharged a long-moribund resistance movement back to life.

Instead the Left seems powerless to coalesce, to translate critique into practice, to mobilize against wars, to resist incursions against basic civil liberties, powerless to confront rule by the bondholders and hedgefunders, unable to meaningfully obstruct the cutting edge of a parasitical economic system that glorifies greed while preying on the weakest and most destitute, and incapable of confronting the true legacy of the man they put their trust in.

This is the politics of exhaustion. We have become a generation of leftovers. We have reached a moment of historical failure that would make even Nietzsche shudder.

We stand on the margins, political exiles in our own country, in a kind of mute darkness, a political occlusion, increasingly obsessed, as the radical art historian Tim Clark put it a few years ago in a disturbing essay in New Left Review, with the tragedy of our own defeat.

Consider this. Two-thirds of the American electorate oppose the ongoing war in Afghanistan. An equal amount objected to intervention in Libya. Even more recoil at the grim prospect of entering the Syrian theater.

Yet there is no antiwar movement to translate that seething disillusionment into action. There are no mass demonstrations. No systematic efforts to obstruct military recruiting. No nationwide strikes. No campus walkouts. No serious divestment campaigns against companies involved in drone technology.

Continue reading at:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/24/the-silent-death-of-the-american-left/

One Response to “The Silent Death of the American Left”

  1. Edith Pilkington Says:

    http://www.rifuture.org/rip-alex-cockburn-youre-star-carries-you-elsewhere.html

    Counterpunch, the inspiration for the only political glimmer of hope in the Rhode Island area. Always drawn to the light, even when its a collapsing star system leading into a black hole.

    Lee Hall wrote something incisive there a few days ago. She won’t do anything for those of us who are casualties of the nature/culture wars, though, and you will probably find mere mention of her name an affront. I don’t know. She’s a vegan, still, I believe.

    I just wonder how ethical some of these activists think eating roadkill is. Some of them appear to be cannibalistic.


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