Michael Lerner bashing (was:Re: against 'entrenched identities')

Frances Bolton (PHI) fbolton at chuma.cas.usf.edu
Wed Jul 1 17:52:21 PDT 1998

Thanks, Carrol. I was expecting that you might respond. Lerner is a meglamaniac, and, as Carrol noted, is also a sexist pig and a nasty letch. Unfortunately I have experienced this first-hand.

I'd like to make a couple of comments that address directly the Tikkun project. They are sort of socialist, but in a deeply personal, navel-gazing sort of way. I think their (his) emphasis is more on a kind of touchy-feely spiritual self-improvement that only incidentally engages any political economic analysis. For Lerner, being a socialist is about being a more compassionate and empathetic person. His project is deeply elitist. Buy his book! Pay hundreds of dollars to attend his synagogue! Attend his seminars; they're expensive too! I went to one his events in Berkeley -- it was his 'welcome back to Berkeley' potluck. (pasta salad with sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and kalamata olives, anyone?) It was me and a couple of other younger jewish radicals (infiltrating), and a bunch of new agey white berkeley yuppies. There was no political or economic discussion, but there *was* a ritual which involved drums and triangles and a ball of thread that was thrown from participant to participant, each person who caught it had to say what they hoped to get from the Lerner group. Lots of people were looking for the new age, but no one was there looking for the revolution. As my friend Michael-David commented, " their problem is that they believe that a bunch or psychotherapists are going to be at the vanguard of the revolution."

I think they are fundamentally unprogressive because I think they are fundamentally completely self-involved and happy in their comfortable little bourgeois berkeley ("Honey, did you send the check to the Tibetans?") way, and any serious commitment to progressive/radical politics would challenge that.


Frances, whose been in the mood to rant about something All Day Long.

Max wrote:
> I don't think their character is
> > fundamentally illiberal or unprogressive.
> > They're all socialists, if not Leninist
> > or Marxists. What's the problem?
> >
And Carrol responded:>
> The problem is, fundamentally, that Lerner is an utter jerk, a low life,
> an irredeemable sexist pig (only the old language comes close until a more
> vindictive epithet can be coined), who spreads slime on everything he
> touches...


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