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Taking Stock


I just turned seventy which is hard for me to fathom, probably because people constantly told my generation, grow up and leave your values behind. Maybe rebelliousness prevented our following that advice. Maybe it was sex, drugs, and rock and roll. In any case, we became forever young. Each new year we identified less with people our age and more with people much younger. I am forty years older than Chomsky was when I first became friends with him, and I remember then thinking he was an old guy. So by my own reckoning, I am old plus 40. Nonetheless, I don’t see the aged as peers.

Another reason my generation resists that we are seventy and that those we worked with are seventy, and that many of us are even dead, is that we haven’t achieved what we sought and we don’t want to face that. The further left we are, the more I think this factor operates.

When I was becoming revolutionary, fifty years ago, my agenda was to help create a new world. For me, back then, and ever since, winning a new world didn’t mean winning a little better this and a little better that, though winning a bit of this and that along the way would certainly be part of a larger process. My agenda was winning no more racial, geographic, cultural, gender, sexual, property, or job related demarcation of people into some who ride, and others who are ridden.

My generation often chanted “We want the world and we want it now.” We did not get what we wanted. We did not win what we sought. Taking stock starts with admitting that.

In judging myself, and I suppose by extension my allies in our pursuit of winning a better world, it wouldn’t be fair for me to complain that in 1969 or 1970 we didn’t fully topple injustice and replace society’s horrific institutions with liberating ones. No one could have achieved that in 1969 or 1970. No different choice on our part could have achieved that much, that soon. To not do what we couldn’t have done was not failing.

But for people like me it has been fifty years. Some might argue that nothing we or anyone could have done differently even over the full fifty years could have left us with a new world now. That may or may not be true, though I admit that unlike many of my peers, I think that when a new world is won, the duration of going from the project’s initial stages to revolutionary movements being fully in command of developing new relations will take considerably less than fifty years.

But even stepping back from that, I think there is simply no way to justifiably claim there was nothing that people with views like mine could have done differently to give people today a much better, albeit perhaps not yet fully revolutionized world. There is no way to claim, for example, that we could not have generated insights and activities and spread each widely enough to ensure that the current population of the U.S. would now be overwhelmingly progressive, informed, and for a great many even active, and at least not subject to such confusion or downright vulgarity about so many matters as to be able to be deceived into, or herded into, or running rapidly toward climate catastrophe, racial reversion, sexual surrender, economic dissolution, and war, war, war.

For example, after fifty years of my generation’s efforts to contribute to change, why did so many white working men and women who we were supposedly trying to relate to all that time, vote for Trump? Why did so many Blacks, for that matter, support Clinton not just against Trump – rightly – but against Sanders? I am not asking for a proximate explanation emphasizing media manipulation, vapid democratic party policy, and so on. I am asking how could people like me have known what we knew about society’s structure, about social possibilities, and even about activism, for fifty years, and not have conveyed it more effectively?

Answering that question may be painful for many people. It is for me. But it doesn’t mean pointing fingers of blame. It doesn’t mean rejecting everything past generations did based on the logic that if we dump everything we will have dumped whatever in the mix wasn’t effective, because we will have also dumped everything that was effective. It doesn’t mean now adding new content to our approach just because it is new. If stuff we did for the past fifty years didn’t succeed, certainly something new is needed, but adding something new that is again flawed won’t help.

To take stock means asking what we have done these past fifty years, that has caused our views to have so much less impact than needed.

It wasn’t our understanding of what was wrong with society at fault. That much is virtually certain. But if over the years we had gotten 50% of the population, much less more than that, to have the same understanding we had fifty years ago, and the same willingness to fight that we had back then, we would now have a vastly different society.

So the question becomes, what was it about what we chose to talk about, how we spoke, our actions to reach out, and what we didn’t address or didn’t do but should have done, that was either wrong or deficient?

If we can answer, we will know how to alter our past approaches to activism to do better now. But if we don’t even ask the question, if we don’t take stock, it would be pure luck to do better and we will more likely repeat the same dismal pattern of courageously and wisely struggling but not winning.

From where I sit, people seem to feel that to have strong opinions about anything is fine, but to voice strong opinions is not fine. It may upset someone. Someone may feel insulted. But I wonder why do people feel insulted?

If someone says to me your agenda is unmet, you failed, you made poor choices, we need to find what they were – then no matter how forcefully, they say it, I am not insulted. I agree. In fact, it better be true, because if my generation did the best that could have been done, well, then there would be little hope and very little motivation for a sensible person to become active now, I suspect. We need to find correctable flaws so we can see real reasons why we did not succeed, and confidently make needed corrections.

I have my own ideas about our flaws. Lack of answers when asked what we want in place of current society. Lack of belief in our own capacities. Lack of organization that could sustain unity and mutual aid, while planting seeds of the future. Lack of attention to the non property factors generating class division and their interpersonal and social effects. You probably have your different list. Openly addressing what has been wrong, writ large, and posing corrections, would be taking stock – and taking stock is exactly what we need to do.

29 Comments

  1. Lary Fuku June 21, 2017 9:10 pm 

    Tyler, you didn’t take power in US, but you did in Venezuela… How did that turn out?

    • Kelvin Yearwood June 22, 2017 3:10 pm 

      Chavez and his party did not take power in Venezuela, they were elected in all instances by an overwhelming majority of the people with an electoral system that is more secure than that in the US.

      There were and are many great steps forward with the rise of the left in Venezuela to constitutional power. Chavez was protected by a politicised people from being overthrown in a US backed coup.

      There have been many projects to try to get the Venezuelan economy off its oil dependency and to promote community partcipatory projects.

      Many poor Venezuelans now have health support for the first time in their lives, and education and literacy generally improving.

      Presumably this is all nothing to you.

  2. gary olson April 15, 2017 9:32 am 

    A belated Happy Birthday!

    • avatar
      Joel Isaacs April 16, 2017 12:23 am 

      Hello Michael and also those who are commenting .Happy birthday Michael, and thank you for writing this piece that has a lot of us thinking about your question: “What have we done for the past 50 years that has caused our views to have less impact than they needed?”

      I’d like to discuss this from a different perspective, from the likely perspective of an individual who is just being exposed to alternative ideas like those of ZNet, ideas I have deeply shared for many years. To begin with, to start to accept new and radical ideas means that you are able to risk going against all that you have been taught, all that you see, hear, and read in the news, all that your friends talk about. The frightening question arises: “Am I really smarter than all of those people?” “Do I believe in and trust myself that much?” “Can I risk standing out in that way, to say that?” These questions must be answered, and usually by yourself, alone.

      And that is only the start. If and when you choose to speak out, you are putting at risk your sense of belonging, your membership in your social community. Now, that’s OK if you are say a member of a progressive labor union. Plenty of support there. Or, if the time is 1965 – 1975. Plenty of brothers and sisters visible then, whether they be hippie, student, black, brown, dropouts, students, or academics. Or, if there is an active, vocal alternative political group in your community. That could do it.

      Otherwise, and this is deep in an emotional way, you are putting at risk your “membership” in your social community. And that is, on a psychological level, as emotionally frightening as it gets for most people, whether they are aware of it or not. It is the equivalent nowadays of a teenager being mocked or shamed on Facebook. That’s the kind of risk I have in mind. We all know about the strongest punishment in many early cultures: It was banishment, loss of your tribe, no longer being recognized as a person. In our modern times, this is still there.
      Maybe some time, in some other place, we can talk about this.

  3. avatar
    James April 15, 2017 6:31 am 

    “But even stepping back from that, I think there is simply no way to justifiably claim there was nothing that people with views like mine could have done differently to give people today a much better, albeit perhaps not yet fully revolutionized world. There is no way to claim, for example, that we could not have generated insights and activities and spread each widely enough to ensure that the current population of the U.S. would now be overwhelmingly progressive, informed, and for a great many even active, and at least not subject to such confusion or downright vulgarity about so many matters as to be able to be deceived into, or herded into, or running rapidly toward climate catastrophe, racial reversion, sexual surrender, economic dissolution, and war, war, war”

    Yeah, but that’s a bit like saying there is nothing a football side could have done differently to win the game. Yeah they could have, but the fact is they lost. They may win later on if the coaches are all still there and they have the cattle but again who knows. A classic in australian rules is the following. If they had of kicked straight they would have won. No, because in australian rules, when you miss a goal, equal to six points, and score a point, the ball winds up in the hands of the opposition and they kick the ball out from the defensive goals square. When you score a goal, it goes back to the centre and it becomes a neutral ball, a disputed ball. If any goals missed during a match were to be a goal, the whole history of the match would be different…absolutely no way to tell what would happen.

    “Answering that question may be painful for many people. It is for me. But it doesn’t mean pointing fingers of blame. It doesn’t mean rejecting everything past generations did based on the logic that if we dump everything we will have dumped whatever in the mix wasn’t effective, because we will have also dumped everything that was effective [who does that?]. It doesn’t mean now adding new content to our approach just because it is new [who does that?]. If stuff we did for the past fifty years didn’t succeed, certainly something new is needed, but adding something new that is again flawed won’t help.”

    How does anyone know something added, something new, isn’t flawed? It may sound cool theoretically but in practice a disaster. IOPS? Perhaps cool calm Chomskyan heads are not the norm. The subjective is a weird and complicated place. Parecon is cool calm and collected yet predominantly eschewed and dissed, sometimes angrily. Rightly? Global warming must be believed by the non expert because it is a rational position to hold in light of scientific consensus…99% of scientists attest to it.Only idiots would not believe it surely? But is consensus always the right way to go? I would say most people don’t feel good about Parecon, supposed economic experts included. I do. But is ‘feel’ the same as believe or know? What does that make me, a rogue idiot? In a similar vain, but very different domain, who do I believe when it comes to anomalies in red-shifts of astronomical entities. Non-cosmological red-shifts? Are these scientists crazy rogue fringe dwellers better ignored? only the future will tell I guess or I have to become technically proficient.

    Is the NSP the way to go? A liberal progressive well-mannered neat pleated pants approach to change that includes input from the right, and working paper after working paper by any man and woman and their dog, to be read by any who are stupid enough to believe it all worthwhile. Is that the right way to go? Or is that just a nice deceptive way to maintain all those wonderful hierarchies and salaries for the clever? Ordinary idiots like myself get shunted out because we have a flawed subjective nature…you know, we just go off at any moment! How are the NSP folk to take stock? Do they need to? Or have they found the solution to the problems and failings of those wild long haired unkempt crazy ramblings of the revolutionary Left, because they have already taken stock?

    “So the question becomes, what was it about what we [we?] chose to talk about, how we spoke, our actions to reach out, and what we didn’t address or didn’t do but should have done, that was either wrong or deficient?

    If we can answer, we will know how to alter our past approaches to activism to do better now.”

    Surely the question was asked before now as well. Way back. Surely the Left or parts of it, small and large, unions, the Wobblies, were asking the same. If not, why not? And surely this is a question for all those other radicals with decades of experience, not minor bit players like myself? And surely for it to have meaning would require all those asking to be of similar belief or stock, otherwise it would a shit fight? in other words, WHO IS THE WE? Who’s asking? Who’s taking stock? And where on earth would any of this happen in any real helpful coordinated way in order for such wisdom to be passed down to all in sundry and all us ordinary folk on the fringes of all these goings on?

    • avatar
      James April 16, 2017 12:55 am 

      further….

      A football club may be able to take stock. A closed group, an organisation, a company or business. A place where the members are known and clear. Where the foundation of the said organisation is fundamentally agreed upon. So any notion of a ‘we’ taking stock in this regard is fairly clear.

      Did IOPS take stock, and if it did, what would that have really entailed? Members hanging around, really trying to nut things out and grind out a general solution to its problems and flaws, over however long? Or do people just leave, go their separate ways and personally take stock, isolated or perhaps in discussion with a small group of close and like minded friends? When does one know when to jump ship? And so many good people jumped the IOPS ship and where have they all gone and are they all taking stock or are they just trying new things in ways and places I am not aware of…so what value is there in them taking stock, separated from a bunch of others who they once could have communicated with?

      Taking stock is rather pointless if whoever is doing it isn’t made clear and one isn’t aware of it even happening. IOPS fell apart in so many ways but I didn’t really notice a taking stock within its boundaries, until very recently with a tiny tiny group of obviously deluded stayers, but I did notice so many just desert it because it wasn’t doing what some felt it had to, which implied, at least to me, that I should just do the same. No taking stock, no real discussion robust enough and resilient enough to at least come to some conclusion as to its fate…no, people, experienced people, just walked…and I have no idea where they went or if indeed they are taking stock. Some started new projects that seem to have ‘failed’ equally…why? Are they taking stock and if so who are they talking to or are they just doing it internally. And if there was a taking stock of sorts at IOPS it obviously failed or fell apart as no clarity around the failed org was really found and no real decisions arrived at.

      So really, very pertinent to this essay and a genuine concern, I do not really know what it means for some amorphous left ‘WE’ to take stock.

  4. Clive Ray April 13, 2017 8:07 pm 

    Michael,

    you seem to be suggesting that your fifty-year-old diagnosis of ‘what was wrong with society’ is still valid today. This surprises me greatly and perplexes me even more. Surely the process of neoliberal globalisation over the intervening years has transformed beyond all recognition the nature of the political malady to which we must seek a cure.

    • Michael Albert April 13, 2017 9:52 pm 

      No, the time passage and associated changes alter many details of course. But by and large the opposition to the institutions of class, race, gender, and power hierarchies, ecological decay, and war remains in tact. The understanding that folks had fifty years ago of the roots and implications of race, gender, and class division not only still largely applies, but the consciousnes that existed then, of those matters, were it spread as widely as 50 years should have allowed, would have left
      current populations easily well further left than, say, Sanders. But regardless, the folks who had such views, didn’t ignore the changes. That isn’t where we fell short. Rather it was in readh8ng others, as the article describes.

      • Clive Ray April 14, 2017 7:19 am 

        Dear Z3k3@ndZ@mi,

        Woffle does nothing but waste time. Even 50 years if you work at it.

        • Clive Ray April 15, 2017 10:06 am 

          I would like to apologise for my flippant reply to Z3k3@ndZ@mi. Of course one person’s woffle is another’s considered analysis. But we need to address the causes of our problems, not the symptoms. If we devote most of our efforts to getting everyone to agree on what the symptoms are, there is little chance of getting those who do agree to also agree about what the cause is and, further, what to do about it.

          I, personally, almost certainly agree with Michael on most if not all of the symptoms, but this does not get us very far.

          • avatar
            Michael Albert April 15, 2017 1:02 pm 

            Clive,

            That weird name was me, I was online doing admin…and forgot to change to being online as a user…

            Since I have spent endless words writing not about symptoms, but rather about possible solutions and paths to attain them, with little attention garnered…every once in awhile I try a different route. In this case it had two points…actually identifying certain problems that go largely unaddressed and also suggesting an approach rarely entertained…that is, that we matter and therefore should take responsibility for our contributions, both positive and, more important, negative.

            That all aside, I have posted a whole bunch of interviews of late, source material for an oral history of future revolution. That, of course, is not about symptoms, but an imagined history full of solutions… so far I think there have been essentially zero substantive comments, in fact I think there have been nearly zero comments, period. These are interviews by Miguel Guevara of diverse future revolutionaries.

      • Clive Ray April 14, 2017 2:06 pm 

        So you wouldn’t agree, Michael, that today we are dealing with a transnational empire of corporate, financial and political elites who are busy curtailing the ability of nation states (including the US) to protect their citizens from the global marketplace, and that many who voted for Trump read ‘make America great again’ as ‘regain the sovereignty to determine national economic policy’. Sure, Trump was an outside chance, but better than the certainty of having a president who was a fully committed member of the transnational elite. Such voters may feel disappointed but they do at least – in my opinion – have a better handle on what the problem is than those who criticise their choice.

        • John Vincent April 14, 2017 4:36 pm 

          So then, if Trump voters have a better handle on what the problem is than those that criticize them, from whom would they say we need to regain our national sovereignty and who then would determine our national economic policy? We the people, or Trump and his administration of billionaires who accumulated their wealth via the globalized world market?

          Both major parties have displayed a crude affinity for the interests of corporate power while deserting the majority of the people, especially the most vulnerable. We have all seen the dismantling of our public education, the steep rise in our incarceration rates, the demonization of our young black men, the accusations against our teenage mothers, the selling of health care–public and private–to the highest bidders, the export of subsistence-level jobs in the United States to even lower-wage countries, the use of below-minimum-wage prison labor to break strikes and raise profits, the scapegoating of immigrants, the denial of dignity and minimal security to our working and poor people. At the same time, we’ve witnessed the acquisition of major communications and media by those same interests, the sacrifice of the arts and public libraries in stripped-down school and civic budgets. Piece by piece the democratic process has been losing ground to the accumulation of private wealth.

          The edited paragraph above was written 20 years ago by Adrienne Rich at a time when Trump was accumulating his vast wealth; he benefited from the process she describes. But some how his voters believe now he can be trusted and relied upon to bring back their jobs and prosperity. How? By scapegoating immigrants and building border walls, restocking the military’s tomahawk and MOAB arsenal, burning more coal, constructing pipelines to service tar sands, eliminating medicare and social security, privatizing public schools and teaching to standards set by Bill Gates and other billionaires like Betsy Devos, eliminating worker protections and so on?

          Trump is an ignoramus disaster.

          • John Vincent April 14, 2017 5:03 pm 

            And by the way, if this sovereign nation had instead 40 years ago moved in a direction that Michael Albert and others advocated, Trump’s voters would have learned from people like Noam Chomsky that when Trump talked about bringing back jobs he’s was really talking about ensuring more profits for those at the top. But unfortunately they didn’t learn that because the profiteers won out to a large degree.

            • Clive Ray April 14, 2017 7:12 pm 

              It would have been great if things had moved in that direction. There’s no arguing with this. Wish it had happened. Unfortunately it didn’t and things have since got so much worse that the we now live in a completely different political universe. We are now contending with a transnational empire which imposes its will – in the form of the new world order – via the mechanism of globalisation. Trump was lying, but Clinton was also lying and even her lies sounded bad.

          • Clive Ray April 14, 2017 6:25 pm 

            I agree, John, Trump is a disaster. So would most Trump voters. But as your second paragraph affirms, things would be no better if the Democrats had won. Trump did at least offer the hope of protectionism and of rapprochement with Russia. He will probably deliver neither, but Clinton didn’t even mention either. Trump may deliver war but Clinton virtually promised war and the Democrats would appear to want it now even more than the Republicans. It’s just not that difficult to understand why Trump won when the alternative was Clinton. What is difficult to understand is how Clinton and the Democrat party machinery got away with ousting Sanders, who would, otherwise, now be president.

            Sovereignty is not such a big deal for the US as a whole as there is still a large overlap between transnational and US interests, and the US is still a net beneficiary of the ‘free’ trade deals that transnational elites incrementally foist upon the world. It is, however, a deal for the US poor, who are net losers from such deals and know it, and it’s a big deal for the rest of the world. That’s why the promise of dismantling NAFTA was also a winner for Trump. He won’t deliver, but that’s not the point. Voting Trump was a statement.

        • avatar
          James April 15, 2017 5:19 am 

          Certainly correct, woffle does nothing but waste time!

          • avatar
            James April 15, 2017 5:27 am 

            “It would have been great if things had moved in that direction. There’s no arguing with this. Wish it had happened. Unfortunately it didn’t and things have since got so much worse that the we now live in a completely different political universe. We are now contending with a transnational empire which imposes its will – in the form of the new world order – via the mechanism of globalisation. Trump was lying, but Clinton was also lying and even her lies sounded bad.”

            Woffle again. It’s the same friggin’ political universe it always was, multi-national, or trans- national or spectral-national, or plasma-national or non-cosmological national. The Big Daddy White Geezer Hegemonic Power Grid digs an in house argument…Geez, ain’t that an old tactic. Yeah, let’s make out the whole thing is far more complicated now, than before…back to the drawing board all you old fogies…we need a new Marx and Bakunin…what a lot of distracting baloney…

    • avatar
      Paul D April 14, 2017 5:11 pm 

      Mr. Ray,

      How old are you?

      Do you consider yourself, broadly, a socialist?

      Neoliberal globalization is simply a continuation of capitalism, nothing about it – inequality, hierarchies, worker enslavement and the state violence that defends it, has changed in the least.

      If the US resumed its support for Assad – including sending people to his prisons there for torture as it did from 2001 to at least 2006, would Assad magically become a bad guy?

      Just like the similar dictator thugs of Latin America in the 1970s and 80s, Assad is a direct consequence of colonialism and superpower conflict.

      And I really loved the way you turned Chomsky’s condemnation of state violence monopolies into an approval of such violence.

      I don’t know you age or background, but you are no leftist, and you are no friend of the principles and values that, Z Magazine and Znet has been defending since the 1980s.

      • Clive Ray April 14, 2017 6:58 pm 

        What on earth has my age got to do with this discussion? I am 60. I consider myself more of a commoner than a socialist. As such my sympathies lie with the Syrian Kurds whose preferred system of autonomous local government is broadly in line with commoning. However, national defence is a public good, not a common good, and can only be provided by a socialist state. I therefore support the Syrian state and its army, most of whom are sunni muslim, who are fighting to save their country from the immense violence it would endure as part of Islamic state.

      • Clive Ray April 14, 2017 7:41 pm 

        Assad did not inherit responsibility for Syria of his own volition nor its security apparatus. That security apparatus is the unfortunate product of having to deal with decades of covert attempts by the US to subvert and overthrow the Syrian government by every foul means available. Remember that ‘thug’ Assad took in and housed over a million Iraqi refugees after the US had overthrown their government. Remember that thug Obama banned torture in the US and set up instead a mass programme of extrajudicial assassinations and colateral murder. If you are looking for thugs, look to your own country first before casting unfounded accusations at leaders of foreign governments.

  5. avatar
    Paul D April 13, 2017 5:36 pm 

    Tyler,

    I am a bit younger than Michael, and I can assure you that Kennedy was not, at all, trying to bring the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion. There was not even speculation that he was trying to do such a thing. Regarding his assassination, it was probably like past presidential assassination assassinated – wild acts of lone individuals – or possibly the settling of an old score from Kennedy’s father’s gangster and bootlegging days.

    You comments trouble me no small amount because they reflect the shift from any serious kind of community organizing to resist systemic and institutional structures. in its place, there is an obsession with false, conspiratorial narratives. It seems to have started with Occupy and its “The One Percent” narrative, as opposed to resisting the economic structures of capitalism. It continues, most disturbingly, with the narrative of Assad and Putin being “resisters of US Imperialism” (which it seems, is the sole source of all human suffering). The truth is that Assad is a torturing, murdering thug that our comrades in the Syrian internationalist left are unanimous in wanting to see hanging on a rope. Putin is a capitalist gangster with plenty of murder of his own under his belt, who likewise is resisted by our comrades on the Russian left.

    The list goes on and on from this new as yet unnamed dysfunctional manifestation of what now passed for the “US left” – from “Maidan was a CIA plot to install Ukrainian fascists” back to “911 was an inside job” then forward to the current total denial that Syria, most likely, conducted the recent barbaric chemical attack.

    The worst aspect of all this internet driven conspiratorial obsession is the profound agency-robbing learned-helplessness it instills. The next worse aspect is the total destruction of credibility it creates and almost as bad, the strange alliances it creates with the extremist nationalist right there was even a kind of soft-support for Trump among many of these “leftists”.

    I shiver to think what the resistance to Iraq War invasion would have looked like if the current-day US left would have ben in place in 2002. Instead of a principled resistance to the US led illegal aggression, it would have centered on “rally around the heroic anti-imperialist Saddam Hussein!”

    • Clive Ray April 13, 2017 8:54 pm 

      Paul,

      So what happened in the two recent Syrian elections in which Assad won landslide victories? Sure, opposition groups refused to stand, but Syrians chose to vote all the same in what were de facto referenda on Assad’s popularity. With their massive turnout, they gave him an overwhelming vote of confidence, twice. This suggests that your Syrian comrades, whatever other label you may apply to them, would not be very popular in Syria for wanting to see Assad hanging on a rope.

      Perhaps the truth is that Assad is not a ‘torturing, murdering thug’ as described in Western propaganda. Yes, as the leader of a country at war he carries ultimate responsibility for many deaths, but that does not make him a murderer. As Noam Chomsky has said, the main imperative of a state is to maintain a monopoly of violence. If it fails to do so, it ceases to be the state. Syrians and Assad have no choice but to defend themselves against violent attack, with violence. The choice is between the present Syrian state and the Islamic state.

      Obama was a murdering, thug while president. The acts of violence for which he was directly responsible were not in defence of his country and he did have a choice. Don’t you have any comrades who would like to see him hanging on a rope?

      What credible information do you have regarding Assad and torture? Bear in mind that the Caeser photographic evidence has been widely debunked.

      Finally, there is less evidence pinning any murders on Putin than there is to pin the recent chemical incident on the Syrian army. And, yes, sorry Paul, you are as misinformed as Donald Trump on this.

      • avatar
        James April 15, 2017 5:33 am 

        So yet another article that has its focus on Left reflection and taking stock gets warped into yet another of countless ones about Syria…fairdinkum!

        Woffle, woffle, woffle.

        • Clive Ray April 15, 2017 7:21 am 

          It was Paul D who brought up Syria.

  6. avatar
    Michael Albert April 13, 2017 3:27 pm 

    Tyler,

    First, I am not sure what makes you think otherwise, but Kennedy was in no sense one of ours…not even remotely other than some of his rhetoric affected people then young in positive ways – I was one. Some of Obama’s rhetoric likely did that as well. But he was an agent of elite rule, as was Kennedy.

    Of course we have had wins, but at the same time, we have at least in my view, we noted in the piece, fallen sadly short of our potentials. It does not deny wins to indicate failings. Quite the opposite, I think.

    Revolution is a word I use to connote, I hope for you too, a fundamental transformation of society’s defining institutions. How it comes about, if it does, and how long it takes, and so on, depends on circumstances.

    We are so far apart on the other brief points you raise, I think I will just leave my reply to them at that…

    • Tyler Healey April 13, 2017 3:44 pm 

      Kennedy was assassinated because he was trying to bring the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion. That alone makes him one of our own. He created the Peace Corps. He intended to fully withdraw from Vietnam by the end of 1965. I’d rather not get into a long argument about him. I’ll just recommend the book “JFK and the Unspeakable” to you and anyone else reading this.

  7. Tyler Healey April 13, 2017 3:06 pm 

    Thanks for this article, Michael. I think the Left has had some huge wins over the past fifty years, but agree with you that society has not been transformed. I think the reason for this is that the Left never seized power. The Bolsheviks seized power in Russia and then transformed their country. The Left hasn’t had one of their own in the White House since John Kennedy, and we now know that the Right assassinated him.

    So, the question becomes, how do we take power again? I’m not opposed to the electoral route, but I prefer the route being advocated by the Revolutionary Communist Party: revolution.

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