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If Leftism is dead, what will replace it?

So curious to know what some of you "IMC'ers" see for the future. I mean, we are definitely living in a time of Lore.
Many things changed on 9/11/01, especially here in the United States, but the greatest effect the bombings had on American society seems to have gone unnoticed: the death of the American Left. The great political, cultural, economic, and social movement that has shaped American and world society since the 1960s died in the rubble of the World Trade Center and nobody seemed to notice or care.

The surest way to kill off an ideology and its subsidiary political or cultural movements is to expose the beliefs upon which it is based as false or flawed. That's exactly what the 9/11 atrocities did to the American Left, having exposed its values as silly, shallow, stupid and false.

The American Left that came out of the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s had one central myth that was quickly and easily destroyed by Osama bin Laden's followers. The myth was that there was no such thing as evil in the world and no evil people. People who did something wrong were simply misguided and could be persuaded to do good through discussion or dialogue.

The existence of such a blatant evil as terrorist fanatics bent on using death and destruction to force their beliefs on others simply doesn't fit in with the American Left's worldview. While such fanatics confined their activities to foreign countries or to lesser regions of the American heartland such as Oklahoma City, the left could ignore their existence. Now, that the fanatics have struck at New York and Washington, the left has to take notice of them and deal with them.

The idea that there are people you can't negotiate with, people whose minds can't be changed by music or protesting or dialogue or poetry, people who sneer at the idea of peace and love and hate the whole idea of freedom, just didn't jive with the American Left. The left was secure in the delusion that villains only existed in comic books, and that the last evil man, was Adolph Hitler who had died in 1945. When conservatives and others complained about the atrocities of the Communists or right-wing death squads in Latin America or issued warnings about Arab terrorists, the leftists dismissed them as warmongers and bigots.

If bin Laden can't be dealt with through negotiation then he must be dealt with through force -- military force -- meaning that violence and war itself are sometimes legitimate solutions to problems here in the real world.

What this means is the whole ideology behind the peace movement of the 1960s, and much of our popular culture -- the idea that war and those who practice it are always evil -- is utterly false, silly and dangerous. In other words, the peace and love promoted by the Hippies, which had become one of the holy truths upon which our popular culture was based before 9/11/01, was nonsense.

Much of the left's appeal to American society and the world has been it's "work" for peace. Now the left's peace has been exposed as a dangerous delusion or even a shallow lie. The left's idea of peace has led to violence and terrorism while the use of military force has restored peace and security. In other words, the left of the counterculture has failed completely. It's delivered none of what it has promised and the application of its values has led to the opposite of what it was working for.

The whole ideological house of cards upon which the American Left's basic beliefs are based has collapsed. The left's promises of toleration and understanding of other cultures has led to a war between certain segments of the Islamic World and the West.

The left's anti-Americanism and its vicious attacks on basic American institutions such as the military have proven to be hollow lies. The left now realizes that the military is necessary to protect the nation and keep the peace. America is a good country dedicated to freedom and justice and a wonderful place to live.

Nothing proves this more than the spectacle of the cynical journalists and ex-hippies who once burned the flag and denounced the military as baby killers now rallying around the flag and enthusiastically backing the war effort. The sheer hypocrisy of the left-wing elite and its leaders is on display for all to see.

We can see this in the way that the generally leftist media has treated the peace movement and those few left-wing intellectuals whose thought processes are still trapped in the 1960s. They've ignored them. The media has given virtually no air time or newspaper space to people like Susan Sontag, Oliver Stone, Arthur Miller and others whom it once hailed as prophets. Peace protests that would have once attracted dozens of TV cameras pass unnoticed.

Nothing shows the demise of the left and the counterculture more than the material they read at the ceremonies for the one year anniversary of 9/11/01 attack: Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and readings from Theodore Roosevelt. In other words, our leaders feel that the recent products of American intellect are not applicable to the situation America is facing today. If that doesn't show the intellectual failure of the American left then nothing else will.

In other words, the American Left is dead. It's ideology has been disproved and its leaders exposed as fools, hypocrites and worse. This doesn't mean that the left will disappear or go away, instead it'll keep on moving like a zombie, a walking corpse roaming the countryside mindlessly.

Then we must ask the most important question raised by the terrible events of 9/11/01: What will replace the American Left? This answer I do not know, but we'd better have an answer or something really terrible and destructive will fill the political, social, cultural and ideological vacuum created by the death of the American Left.
An Utterly False Thesis 26.Sep.2002 03:31

Troy

Your position's thesis is entirely false. You stated that the political left, since the 1960s, has been based on the idea that there were no evil people in the world. I'm not sure where that delusion came from, but us leftists have always known about the evil people in the world. Where to begin? How about Reagan, Bush I and Bush II? Saddam Hussein? Rupert Murdoch, R.J.Reynolds, and the Phillip-Morris CEOs? Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Negroponte. Do any of those names ring a bell? I'm sure other indymedia posters can think of five dozen more people that we've always considered evil.

Quit wasting your time writing essays based on a patently false premise!

i sense a little bitterness 26.Sep.2002 04:09

member of the american left

I sense a little bitterness in your article. I will explain to you and all the readers what i mean:

I consider myself to be a member of the American left, in that i'm socially liberal(as opposed to economically liberal, or neo-liberal), poltically social(as in I consider socialism as a realistic viable option), and maybe anti-fascist?????. . . . .who knows exactly what the left is anyways? Environmentally friendly? I'm that too. Peace loving? Well, yes, naturally.

But, im realistic. Yes there are realistic people on the left. I dont completely ignore "the right", im conservative in many ways, and i value the rights and freedoms of an indivdual, too.

So thats a little about me and my beliefs, only so you know where im coming from.. . .

I agree, people in general can be naive, and i believe that sept 11 was a wake call to the americans, to us, that we are not innocent. It was the end of the innocence. To the left, and to the right.
As to the myth belonging centrally to the left and claiming that there are no evil people in the world; it is not something sane people can believe. And i've never associated this utopic vision with my leftist political beliefs. Sure, some left wing radicals might think that way, but hey dont tell me this problem is'nt on the right, or in the center, or whatever. ( This is probably one of the biggest problems with politics, bickering over which side has the least radical ideology, etc)
But terrorism is new to the leftists world view, this much is true. But again, it's new to the right as well. Admittedly there are some far right extremists who are more familiar with terror, not from personal experience, publically, but from having to defend against it. But generally i dont believe the right has more information about terrorism or any easier time than the left incorporating these violent ideas into our world view. It's hard for us all. And its certainly false that the left has ignored this historically, As any zinn or chomsky reader will tell you.
Violence and war are never solutions to problems. This idea I am happy to associate with the left, but you know, that's probably not a good idea because the idea is so good i cant claim it for the left. I wish all men and women believed this simple slice of rationality, but alas, reality bites, no way josť. War is only necessary to defend the homeland, period. Ok that might be radical but thats what i believe.
So not all war is evil, but most wars are. And if you thought for yourself more, you would see "evil" all over the place, especially from bushes mouth. And to call me a hippie because i think most wars are evil, so be it, but you're an idiot.

Peace, total peace, could never exist at this moment in time. But this moment doesnt last forever, everyone knows that. Peace is possible. What happened on sept 11 was a fluke, not a daily event. When 9-11 loses its significance because of 9-13, or 2-5, or 5-17 or whatever, then i will probably lose all hope in mankind. But until that day i believe peace is possible, and this is an idea that should never die. Because the day you stop believing in it is the day it dies. That is thinking realistically my friend. Plus i need to say that the "lefts idea of peace" has not led to violent acts of terrorism, but has instead helped to shape a friendly adverstising sector without which the present consumer growth based economic system would not be possible. Thank you hippies!
My guess is that you're a yuppy.

But you do make some strong critiques, like the lefts lack of any leadership, but its not a problem, its a challenge!

But when you offer what the media says as proof to back up your arguments, thats when i ask: what's wrong with you?
Death of the American Left. Interesting, in any case

a fine for filling thee full of foolishness 26.Sep.2002 04:31

piet

mr hyper productive goes: The myth was that there was no such thing as evil in the world and no evil people. People who did something wrong were simply misguided and could be persuaded to do good through discussion or dialogue.


me:
Not sure I qualify as exponent of 'your' 'left' but if you go to pre 9/11 files on my site you may find I have called for restraint (even assasination) of people like Milosevic (rather than bomb duped subjects of said objects/ 'sujets'); a kinder and more generous take on solutions which I think no less within reach (not to mention highly advisible since no matter how merely reactive, and from no matter how deeply hands tied powerless a position it is made, a threat is a threat) is at


main 205242 Call for a global revolution next year. (english) profrv@(nospam)fuckmicrosoft.com 2:56am Wed Sep 25 '02

Early next year the last empire will be stretched.Extended in Iraq and Columbia it will be a good chance to trip up the maniac US cop.

There has been some heinous news on net repression lately,see... "Cops will share surveillance info with CIA, NSA, spooks" and... "State of Pennsylvania v. WorldCom -- court documents now online " at  http://www.politechbot.com/
The lunar right seem to be trying to build a 'golden shield' around the warthland.
The balkanization of the internet must not be allowed to succeed,already the barbarians are at the gates of Indymedia,see sydney and melb indy today.
There is the mother of all battles looming between the net and the state,all states.

1984 forever or international anarchy.

It is a question of life or death for us all.
We will either conquer or die,because defeat will be so terrible that we could not survive it.But we will conquer.I have faith in our victory and only regret that I cant speak with you face to face.One day soon, with the state abolished, we will live in a free society.

[No rats were harmed or even used in the creation of this page.]





I go:
do better than rats you rabid rubout (english)
piet 4:28am Wed Sep 25 '02 comment#205247
 http://nuance.dhs.org/lbo-talk/current/index.html snippets: A very interesting approach to timely information delivery by Google  http://news.google.com I especially like that one can easily & quickly see how different news organizations report on the same story. For example, clicking on the links at the bottom of each headline treatment (see link titled "and xx related stories") produces a page that includes a list of all news organization that have reported on the story, the story headline and intro paragraph from each of these news organizations, and a clickable link to each organization's full story. I would think that the researches at Project Censored will enjoy this new tool. ------------ And, as a note at the foot of the page says: This page was generated entirely by computer algorithms without human editors. No humans were harmed or even used in the creation of this page. Doug

I mean, a special taskforce consisting of former heads of state in a 24/7 netcast estate setting practicing expertise on the humble tools it takes to turn compost will keep them busy (and follow uppers forewarned) unless they wanna sit amongst organic 'refuge' generously donated and offend their noses.

Same with the junkies (youngkeys; jonkies = young uns in dutch); soon as you catch 'm selling a stolen bike it's one way to a big brother workshop where all good bike tools will help 'm ship out the genuinely abandoned and broken ones (after they take one of those new addiction remedies that produces a physical dependency kick within days).

Ps: and like I also said recently some(else)where before: America should be under no illusion it is striking out on unbeaten resourcerich and -overgrown paths cause it is really more than a few mindclicks behind .. . . russia for instance; if they manage to ignore dissenting voices just cause a comfortable majority has succesfull gotten hooked on car driving (forgivable in youth perhaps but. . . .)fine but when a pinch comes, the illusion fades and a freeze chills cyberia will be squeezed for a few scapegoats such as us, except such heros such as you who will be hailed as the jesus of once again and even more thoroughly conscience cleansed america, who went down to the pits of sin preaching redemption and dawn of the sqweaky clean pecunitary statics of immoralkey