I don’t know about you, but every time I write about them, I’m never quite sure what to call them because they don’t fit the historical definitions of Communists, Marxists, socialists and so forth.
Cathy and Judy sent me this long, but really interesting article by Barry Rubin entitled, Needed: A Marxist-Style Analysis to Understand and Combat the Extreme Left’s Hegemony which to some degree helps answer my question.
Rubin refers to them as the New New Left and explains why he thinks they don’t fit into the normal definitions.
Before I get to Rubin, here are a few of the facts that have puzzled me and has made it hard for me to define the hard Left:
* Surely George Soros isn’t pushing all this B.S. so that he can live as Ayn Rand described in ‘We the Living’ where he, as one of the mega rich, would give up to the government all of his homes and 4 or more families of the proletariat would divide his mansions for their living space.
* Saul Alinsky described in both his books the joy of creating chaos. And, when I say joy I mean it in near religious terms as Alinsky, the atheist, describes it. Alinsky actually said he wished he had the fervor of an ideological Communist but he didn’t. It was the game, the war, the upsetting the rich and privileged that he enjoyed so much.
* What happened to the poor of Appalachia I heard so much about in the late 1950’s and 60’s whose plight motivated the Left at the time? Remember later, during Bill Clinton’s Presidency, they were transformed into “trailor trash.” Why do Lefties like some poor people and not others? Rubin actually helps answer that—lives of middle and poor Americans improved under Capitalism and they became those folks clinging to their Bibles and their guns. Their kids went on to yet better lives, some by joining the military. They are patriots for the most part and aren’t demanding goodies from the government. It’s just as Rubin said recently, here, those people aren’t cool (those Walmart shoppers).
* Then how about this question of mine: In a Communist system big businesses would necessarily lose their companies to the government. But, that isn’t happening (to any great degree), but instead many big business leaders are working hand in glove with federal and state governments. Aren’t they afraid of being taken over as the New New Left gains power? Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism), describes what they are doing as corporatism—using government regulations and such to out-compete any competitors.
* And, finally, if the rich of the New New Left are so interested in wealth redistribution, why aren’t they redistributing their own wealth? Why did Barack and Michelle buy a mansion in Chicago? Why indeed is Barack Obama making nearly $800,000 a year and not just giving his federal salary back to the government so it might be redistributed to the poor? Surely he has a roof over his head at the moment and food on the table for his family. He is also using the tax code to its fullest to make sure he pays less taxes (only 20%!). So why aren’t his 99 percenters complaining about that!
Sorry readers, this is already getting way too long, and I haven’t even gotten to Rubin who begins his analysis with this:
Ironically, those opposing the current hegemonic ideas and political forces in the United States and Europe must develop a Marxist-style analysis of what has happened. To call the current dominant ideas and political currents socialist, Marxist, Communist, leftist, progressive, or liberal is not meaningful and conceals more than it reveals. The movement must be understood on its own terms in order to understand it and see how it differs from its predecessors.
The problem of revolutionary movements has been to find a group to be the motive force in fundamentally transforming society. Next, they must analyze which groups can be made into allies and which must be defeated.
Honestly, after reading Rubin and thinking about Obama and all he and his cadre are doing, I believe they are being “revolutionaries” simply for the joy of bringing chaos (ala Alinsky). I don’t think they have any real ideological goals beyond bringing themselves (the cool people) power.
Here (below, emphasis mine) is one section of the Rubin piece that interested me as he describes the new “proletariat” as educated “intellectuals.” And, because they had to have some theme around which to organize their new collection of the downtrodden (immigrants, gays, Muslims and blacks), the “redistribution of wealth” is a handy “ideological” reason for what is really just a naked power grab (in my opinion it’s merely about power of the elite New New Left ruling class over the country class conservative rubes). In psychological terms these New New Lefties are covert aggressive manipulators who have joined forces. These are people who just want to win.
The strategy was greatly assisted by another factor — a new definition of the revolutionary forces. The proletariat was replaced by elements of the new technological-intellectual-managerial elites. Since these people had high levels of education, power, and money, they were far more empowered than the proletariat had been.
Much of this sector was linked to the state. Increasing government spending could be portrayed as something that would benefit “everyone” with “free stuff.” In fact, such a policy was in the class interests of those advocating it, including the recipients of government grants, for welfare or other purposes, and employees of the state. Crony capitalism benefited those big companies that went along with the program (General Motors, General Electric, “green energy” scams). See cartoon, above.
Much of the alliance would be built on cultural-intellectual lines. As Bill Ayers and his colleagues posited in the early 1970s, the key was to use race and gender; Third World peoples (including illegal immigrants and Muslims); gay movements, and other “out-groups,” including a lumpenproletariat dependent on government payments. Even the planet Earth itself was co-opted into this coalition through global warming.
This provided the movement with the cultural-intellectual equivalent of nuclear weapons: any critic could be accused of racism, sexism, homophobia, and Islamophobia. Those in the intelligentsia and professional classes who would laugh at being called “enemies of the working class” cringe and surrender at the hint of being called one of these new “-isms.”
Despite the fact that capitalism has met past “group” grievances, new complaints are continually manufactured to ensure that opportunity, past reforms, and capitalist productivity will never get credit for solving problems. Just as the Stalinist USSR had to create counterrevolutionary agents, the New New Left must create accusations of racism, etc. to argue that American or Western or capitalist society can never offer justice.
Equally important, the left could not compete on complaining about low living standards since Western — and especially American — capitalism had achieved tremendous gains that enriched the average working people. It therefore switched to the argument of inequality: the injustice was not poverty as such but difference. Marx argued that the workers would never be able to purchase goods, say — in today’s context — automobiles, television sets, or homes.
Obama complains that not everyone has the same quality goods. The tactic, then, is not nationalization of the means of production — which remain in private hands — but redistribution of wealth. This may be more economically damaging than a socialist economy, since successful capitalism is simultaneously left in place and sabotaged.
Rubin says that sooner or later they will fail, but the big problem for us is whether it’s later (when it’s too late to avert economic disaster):
One weakness of the radical movement, however, is clear. The old revolutionaries created a new regime that ensured their hold on power. Failures, such as economic decline, need not worry them because they could repress any dissent and did not need to win fair elections. The New New Left, however, is trying to run an existing capitalist society in which its misfit policies inevitably produce failure and even disaster. What they are doing is somewhat akin to trying to get your computer to boot up by hitting it with a club. There are also big holes in its control over information, allowing reality to shine through.
Thus, the failure of their program will be increasingly obvious and sooner or later they will be voted out of power. There is a big difference, however, between “sooner,” when the damage might be reversed, and “later,” when things have gone too far, too many people bought off or indoctrinated, and too much debt accumulated.
I won’t go on. You get my drift. The New New Left is nothing more than a bunch of pseudo-intellectual punks (kind of like the cool kids in high school), using immigrants, minorities and such to give a patina of some larger ideological mission, but who are only interested in their own power. Do not be frightened by them! Don’t let them shut you up!
I am not however dismissing the reality that there are political forces around the world with sinister goals for America, and these punks of the New New Left are helping them reach their goal. If they win, they will throw the “cool” kids in the media and Hollywood, Obama, Ayers, and the whole bunch away like so many pieces of garbage.