A Facebook comment by a well known radical journalist denigrates Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges for not being real leftists.
Because they “don’t want a violent revolution.”
“Real leftists” according to him, “want a violent revolution.”
It needs to be understood that his position goes well beyond the longstanding Marxist assumption of violent revolution as inevitable. Those who have accumulated wealth and privilege, so the story goes, will necessarily deploy violence to defend it and the working class should prepare itself to respond in kind.
While it might be a mistake, regarding violent revolution as a regrettable necessity is rational.
Wanting one, as the leftist in question does, is the opposite of rational.
It is insane.
To see why, it is worth itemizing what he can expect if his wish is fulfilled, which includes some if not all of the following:
**Witnessing your sister or daughter sodomized with rifle butts.
**Being chained to a wall while having electric cattle prods attached to your genitals.
**Subsisting on a diet of whatever rotting vegetables, raw oatmeal and canned food you managed to hoard during a famine precipitated by the breakdown of the food production and transportation systems.
**Not knowing for months or even years the whereabouts of friends and family only to discover that they were summarily executed by an informal revolutionary tribunal.
Recognizing that this is what a real -as opposed to fantasy-violent revolution entails raises a question: what term should we apply to those who want these and other atrocities to materialize?
Before answering it, it’s worth mentioning that this comment occurred within a thread bemoaning Amy Goodman’s failure to book the leftist in question to promote his new book on Democracy Now.
This points to an underlying “materialist” explanation (as the Marxists put it) for this kind of high dudgeon rhetoric.
It is a category mistake to understand it as in any way political. Rather, it is commercial-nothing more or less than a sales pitch to differentiate this leftist’s “brand” from the competition, i.e. other left media “product” available to us “consumers.(1)
It designed not to convince, but simply to move units among his target demographic.
And with that in mind, it is pretty easy to answer the question posed above. A one word description for this and other leftists in this line of work is not one they will want to hear but it is the fact of the matter. The word is capitalist.
The term idiot suggested in the title turns out not to be applicable to them since they know exactly what they’re doing.
It applies more to their followers who imagine that by feverishly clicking their assent and maniacally forwarding their rants to their network of followers they are doing anything other than helping to destroy the left.
(1) See here for some reflections on the ambiguities confronting left journalists in connection with the work of iconic left journalist Alexander Cockburn.
Updated 11/9: Minor editorial alterations for clarity.