[lbo-talk] making the dead left deader

shag carpet bomb shag at cleandraws.com
Sun Apr 11 08:18:19 PDT 2010

so, i think it's interesting that, in a lot of this, some folks do agree that the left is dead. but as i read the Platy statement, it read as a series of extreme abstractions. i wanted some concrete examples.

i mean, if you agree with the Platy, what do you make of this stuff:

"Platypus asks the questions: How is the thought of critical theorists of modern society such as Marx, Lukács, Benjamin and Adorno relevant for the struggle for social emancipation today?"

i wondered: why these guys and not anyone else? if you're going to get down to brass tacks asking questions, ferfucksake, explain to me why it has to be these hosers. there could have been a million and one configurations of the four horsemen in that sentence, why *these* four horsemen?

*shrug* no explanation.

Doug rightly pointed out that the Platy doesn't interrogate what 'emancipatory' means. Well, they don't interrogate most of what they mean, seems to me.

"How can we make sense of the long history of impoverished politics on the Left leading to the present ­ after the international Marxist Left of Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky, to the barrenness of today ­ without being terrorized or discouraged by this history?"

my gut instinct was to say: "sounds like a personal problem to me."

which is to say, this history doesn't discourage and terrorize me, nor does it discourage and terrorize others. so maybe it's only a problem because of the assumptions you're making to begin with. which aren't neccess. 'personal' -- probably highly political = but to assume that people are discouragde and terrorized by the left's history is taking too much for granted.

it's cards on the table time for Platy: what about this history discourages you? hell, what TF is this history anyway? what is your vision for social change? how do you think social change works? if politics is impoverished since the international marxist left of lenin, lux, and trot, then what did its non-impoverished politics look like? I have no idea from what you say here.

if you're going to ask questions, it seems to me that these are the foundational questions that ought to be asked of your own assumptions. but instead what seems to be the point is to attack everyone else, and not expose your own foundations.

"How might the answers to such questions help the urgent task of reconstituting the Left at its most fundamental levels of theory and practice?"

I don't know, how? we have flown to the icy heights of such abstraction here that I'm exasperated enough to say, who gives a flying fuck? i have no idea why they think its important to reconstitute the left. I mean, from what they are saying, we've been getting by without a left for nearly a century.

and what the hell are fundamental levels of theory and practice? what's wrong with the theory? what's wrong with the practice? reading this, i have no idea. i know one thing: you wouldn't get the same answer out of anyone if you asked a couple dozen lboers. so why on earth is it just assumed that we don't even have to hint, just a wee bit, at what the Platy assumes is wrong.

it's all slewn about as if it's self-evident.

"How might we help effect escape from the dead-end the Left has become? "

"help effect"?

I feel like Marx in CoTGP. what the fuck use is this phrase, "help effect"?

And the rest is curious too. I mean, if you're at a dead end, i usually just, you know, turn the fuck around. took a wrong turn somewhere, no? but the weirdest part is - maybe you guys don't drive -- we have to "escape" a dead end. i mean, what's so wrong about turning around and going back and figuring out which road you should have taken?

escape makes it seem like you're trapped. but it's just a matter of turning around and going back. so why the "escape" language?

it's curious to me because what comes to mind is the "leap" the Combahee River Collective images they could take. Like you could "leap" out of history.

but more, so is it that the left is *ON* a dead end road? Or is it on a road that became a dead end? But the words suggest that the left isn't on a path or road, but it was or is the path or road and it has "become" a dead end.

my money's on the latter interpretation, of course. and it certainly does convey the idea that the left itself is completely hopeless but even better, to me, is that the metaphor and sentence construction tells me something else. I kind of see the Platy floating above a suburban cul-de-dac, looking down watching others who are stuck there. From the position on high, the Platy wants to "help effect escape".

write it this way: "How can we escape from the dead-end...."

See the difference?

-- http://cleandraws.com Wear Clean Draws ('coz there's 5 million ways to kill a CEO)

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