Suppose we give them a militant left?

I’m usually able to avoid the “Obama is going to make this a socialist country” business, but today I happened to find myself captive audience to an elderly conservative. To prove that Obama’s a socialist (not that I asked her to) she offered that he’s trying to take the money away from police, firefighters, and schools, and give it to rich people.

For those of you whose heads have not exploded, I’ll go on. Maybe socialism is a slightly more esoteric concept than the average person would be familiar with. This lady was on a lot of meds, and worried about her Medicare prescription plan premium subsidy (I know, shut up) so maybe I can’t expect her to be up on her Marx and Engels in addition to all that.

But she’s getting it from somewhere. As we all know, calling the President and all Democrats “Socialists” and “militant leftists” is its own industry in this country. Certain media outlets, as well as certain politicians, have had amazing success riling people up with this stuff.

And it’s so, so divorced from reality. There is no militant left wing in this country. Anyone who says that’s what Democrats are obviously does not know what “left” means.

The thing is, we do have a militant right wing. Right-wing militias and secession movements really do exist, even though they’re at the fringes. And of course those people have the right to do what they do. What I’m saying is, there is no equivalent on the left, and I think that distorts some people’s idea of what a “militant left” might look like.

So I say, they want a left-wing bogeyman? Why don’t we just give them one? I’m talking about an outspoken, unapologetic revolutionary leftist movement; an angry, wealth-redistributing, brick-throwing, Ho Chi Minh worshipping mob feeding off the anger of the lowest, poorest sectors of society, promising a worker’s paradise in America and (ominously) justice for past wrongs. General strikes, massive demonstrations, red flags waving in the air, miles of cars overturned and set on fire. Oh, and firearms galore! None of that “gun-control” shit for these left-wingers. They’d treat the Second Amendment like the Black Panthers did.

So, other than educating certain ignorant people about what a real militant left looks like, what would be accomplished by reanimating Lenin in America? Paradoxically, I think it would force our two mainstream parties to work together more. Because they’d both be pretty terrified of a movement like this. Not to mention the right-wing groups that would have to seriously ramp up their own game in response, because right now they have no competition.

How crazy am I for thinking this?

Interesting hypothetical. On the one hand it would make Obama look way more moderate. However, the right wing would somehow spin it to make it seem like Obama is working with the radical left (no matter how vehemently Obama denied it!)

The populace of other countries look apon US politics with amusement. You get to choose between a right wing party and an uber right wing party.

Watching what’s happening over in neighboring Madison, WI – this doesn’t seem all that far away.

Re your original post, for years I’ve been saying that Martin Luther King Jr. was considered a crazy radical, unworthy of dealing with … until Stokely Carmichael came along. Then MLK was suddenly the reasonable, moderate one.

In what ways is the Democratic party right wing?

This is something I hear over and over and over. I want to know why people feel this way.

Because their debate and positions are constrained to the right of moderates in many other countries.

In Canada the Conservatives are mostly down with socialized medicine, as are the Liberals. In the US this was a tough sell, even among democrats, even when the Democrats had a solid mandate, and it still was vastly watered down.

Democrats won’t even talk about real gun control, the whole discussion, even their end of it is way off on the right - can you carry a gun as a legislator-type stuff, or can you open carry all the time. This is stuff even the Conservatives would regard as crazy in Canada. And yet Canada is more like the US than say, Norway.

It would be more accurate to say it was a tough sell to Democratic elected officials in Washington DC. I believe polls of Democrats in general show a much higher, even majority support for this.

There are militant leftist parties in the United States. They’re just too small and marginalized to effect much of anything in the larger political milieu, so much of their history (for example) is about their alliances and splits with other tiny ineffectual parties, or the debates over the fine points of their ideologies.

There are even literally militant leftist fringe groups - if you search for instances of terrorism in the past decade in the US you get the familiar Al Qaeda-style ones but you also get various environmental and animal-rights groups carrying out local attacks on places like medical testing centers and suchlike. As already noted, these are very small, very fringe groups but they do exist.

It is, however, much harder to fire up the broader left-wing, in part because fear is the most effective motivator of crowds and plays best to right-wing audiences, and in part because the left-wing don’t really do the marching in lockstep thing very well. What’s going on to get the left really roused up? Even the two wars have been going on so long that protest fatigue has set in. Short of instituting a draft or actually overturning Roe v Wade, I can’t see it happening.

I totally think we need that, though without the guns and burning cars.

Oh, I know about those guys - the SWP and all the even-more-radical socialist agitators out there. They’re still not the equivalent of the radical right in the US. Whether it’s because of their insignificant numbers or their neurotic ideological hairsplitting, they have no influence on anything anywhere, and nobody is afraid to piss them off. They can safely be ignored. The radical right cannot.

It’s weird that they get all terroristy about animals and the environment, but not worker’s rights or full employment. I’d almost say their identity as “leftists” is in question because of that.

A movement like this could do without burning cars, but I don’t see how they could be taken seriously without the guns.

A local far-left, anarchist group that was organized (such as it is) to protest the Republican Convention in St. Paul is still somewhat active. These types usually aren’t very organized or effective, but they have been held together by the hard work and committed effort by the volunteer who was their secretary. Now it turns out that she wasn’t really a volunteer, but a paid spy for the FBI!

Sometimes I think that the only organized & effective people in such far-left groups are the spies from the FBI, state or local police, Homeland Security, etc. Maybe if they all ignored these groups, they would just fall apart.

I’d love to see a citation for this. It would make me very happy.

I had to look this up too.

A deputy sheriff and two others infiltrated the RNC Welcoming Committee before GOP convention.

Iowa activists drew extensive FBI scrutiny This refers to an archived Des Moines Register story. (their link is dead).

:smack: So proud to be an American.

As to the OP, I do think the left needs to take more action - but from a different rulebook.

I am reading this and its companion book - *From Dictatorship to Democracy

Two good articles about the new revolutionaries.

Revolution U

Author of the rule book

For targets, I recommend Bank of America.

Rachel Maddow made an excellent point on her show tonight. Rather than cut spending, or increase taxes, we should first fix our ‘billing’ issues and make sure everyone is paying the taxes they owe.

It’s not just America where this happens.

Yes. However, the agency that collects taxes is the IRS. How popular do you think in increase in their budget would be right now? How about a broadening of their authority to collect? I have a close relative who has worked there for 40+ years. He makes the point that, it’s never unpopular to cut the IRS budget or curtail their powers (nazi thugs that they’re supposed to be) but especially so when everybody’s talking about deficits. So, in response to the government not having enough money, they want to hobble the only agency that actually brings in money? Good one, guys.

I’ll check out those article later, Agnostic Pagan, thanks.

No kidding. I can imagine how long an executive would last if faced with a budget crisis and the first thing he proposed was to cut the Accounts Receivable department.

But do so for the evil government, and the idiots get re-elected.

We had the Communists and the Weathermen and neither made a long-term difference in politics. A majority of the leftist hippies became arch-conservatives as soon as they had some cash in their hands. We’ve had many more Republican presidential years than Democratic ones since 1968. Somebody’s voting them in.

Another factor is that the right-wing’s tactics for crushing the opposition are more effective. Would a liberal FBI director have collected so much information on an MLK-type leader or would they consider it a beach of human rights?

You are aware, are you not, of who the Attorney General was who approved the wire-tapping of MLK?


Because when they’re being cosmopolitan and talk about “what the world thinks,” they think the world is US + Western Europe, overlooking the fact that by Asian and Middle Eastern standards, Republicans are in many respects on the left.

I’m not sure what the “median politics of the world” sort of evidence is supposed to prove in deciding what the best course is for our country. Russia moved hella far to the right after the fall of Communism yet this is not taken as evidence that we need to make radical political changes ourselves.

(Of course it’s mostly just tribal status signaling: look, my tribe is more numerous than you thought if you look at this subset of “the world,” thus associating me with both high-status cosmopolitans and making my tribe look bigger. Intimidated into silence yet?)