Henwood vs. Cockburn

Max Sawicky sawicky at epinet.org
Thu Nov 11 11:42:17 PST 1999

Well. A nice food fight. What a welcome relief.

I am firmly on both sides of this one. Cockburn is often over the top, and Henwood has a tendency to one of those New Yorker-style maps of the U.S., from a leftward angle.

Let's sort it out, which to some -- the scrambled -- will seem like scrambling things even more.

The basis for a populist coalition, contra Cockburn, is not basic issues of liberty by and large (excepting privacy and civil liberties to some extent), but economics.

That the decline of wages and manufacturing motivates the militia boys to some extent is plausible enough, but from what I've seen they haven't a clue as to what to do about it. The framework for responding to this is industrial policy -- not a strong point of the militia (or Cockburn, for that matter). The "right" angle here is that such a policy could favor the self-employed, proprietors, and other entrepreneurs. To some extent what is painted as "right" by the "left" is actually left whereas the "left" is really right. Right? An example is the extent to which green and regulatory issues are over-valued relative to employment. Which is not to say they have no value. Just less than is often made out.

Carrol's point about nationalism is cracked. The positive dimension of "nationalism" is the potential of the national government to protect good jobs and benign regulation (green included) against an amoral global capitalism. It need not degenerate to military adventurism. We can see the main tendency now at the grass-roots is to eschew militarism, on both left and right. Both hairy-chested men and progressive women journalists (or was it hairy-chested women and progressive men) can agree on that. As for serious organizing, there has been little aversion to any such thing on this list from our most left-ward list'ers, perhaps excepting Mme. Yoshie.

I don't know about Cockburn/Henwood/ Pollitt, who said what to who that was inappropriate. Who cares? They all have their perches in the aviary of the left, and they all leave stuff on the newspapers underneath.

I have to say I strongly support this remark by AC, though not so much its focus on Henwood:

"Apropos my supposed enthusiasm for the right, I think, Doug, your problem is that you rarely advance into the American hinterland west of the Hudson, and regard it as a place of terror infested with fundamentalists, militia men and other demons of the polite liberal metropolitan imagination inflamed by hysterical fundraising letters from Morris Dees. . . . "

On the other hand, any truck with people like Pratt or Buchanan is bad. These guys will ruin whatever positive inklings may be found among their potential proletarian constituents.

In this sense, the populist right must be *decapitated.* It's necessary in order to free up the rank and file for better things.


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