left-right alliance

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Apr 22 09:42:05 PDT 2000

Angela wrote:

> > Alexander Cockburn's speech at the antiwar.com forum:
> >
> > http://www.antiwar.com/orig/cockburn1.html
>So, he gets paid, they flatter him, laugh at his jokes, and he can manage to
>come up with the stunning riposte to someone who suggests sharing a podium
>with Buchanan is offensive that -- gasp -- Buchanan is no more offensive than
>Albright et al...
>Am I missing something, did someone suggest he was faced with the options of
>either sharing a podium with Albright or with Buchanan or face painful
>The article should have instead been titled 'Beyond Embarassment'.

Cockburn, in his advancing age, has given up on socialism & decided to settle for faux-populism, it appears. Or more accurately, he enjoys feeling as though he were a bravely "politically incorrect" contrarian, breaking from "left orthodoxy." What a tired cliche! Against "left orthodoxy"!

There's one thing that Cockburn gets it right:

***** And the Examiner reporter said, "how would you describe yourself?" And I said "well, how about radical?" He wasn't totally happy with radical, and I said all right, left, but then the word "left" can mean anything. There was probably a left to the Nazi party in 1935, wanting to wipe out only half the Jews. The word left does not mean much unless it is cashed in real currency, real positions, like being against war on Serbia, for example. *****

Anti-imperialism being practically dead in America (killed by "peace-keeping" and "human rights" interventionism), we can safely say we have no Left to speak of in the United States. However, that doesn't mean Cockburn has an excuse of going postmodern and saying "old categories are dead, we need new ideas beyond left and right." That's so Third Way, and the Third Way is no way. And he's quite wrong to think that "And if you're opposed to that [NATO's war], you really do start looking around for allies and I have noticed you find them increasingly in people like yourselves. People who would conventionally be regarded on the libertarian right or people like Buchanan." The libertarian right and the pro-Buchanan right are negligible elements in American politics, and they in no way oppose American imperialism. We need to rebuild the anti-imperialist left from the ground up, a hard task which doesn't interest Cockburn at all.

If Cockburn weren't so anti-feminist (why "Albright"? -- the Evil has to have a woman's face), he could pose a more provocative question: what's the point of providing youthful militancy, street credibility, artistic creativity, etc. for tired old men at the top of AFL-CIO complaining about U.S. trade deficits vis-a-vis "Communist China," the guys who have already endorsed Al Gore? It would have been a more cogent question for American anarchists and other activists gearing up for A16.


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