Tag Archives: idiot left

The Idiot Left Speaks


A Facebook comment by a well known radical journalist denigrates Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges for not being real leftists.

Why?

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.

On Voting and Responsibility: The Green Temptation in NY 19


A recent WAMC debate between the candidates in the closely contested New York 19th congressional district was a surprise in that, according to many of my friends from across the political spectrum, it was won by a candidate few had heard of, the Green Party’s Steve Greenfield.

It is likely, even certain, that some of those impressed by Greenfield’s performance will support him at the polls next week thereby taking votes away from the Democrat Antonio Delgado to the benefit of the Republican John Faso.

One outcome, however, is certain: whoever wins, it won’t be Greenfield who will acquire no more than a small fraction of the total votes.

Continue reading On Voting and Responsibility: The Green Temptation in NY 19

Michael Brooks on the Dum-Dum Left

A while back, a friend suggested that I subscribe to the podcasts of Michael Brooks as one of the few on the left who combine a clear recognition of the wilderness we are now inhabiting with an understanding of the path that we must take to escape it.

The particular reason for the referral was based on Brooks’ having referenced a “dum-dum left.” This, as my friend noticed, overlaps more or less exactly with what I have been categorizing here and elsewhere as the “idiot left.”

That we have both hit on two slightly different terms for the same thing is apparent at around 9’30″ in this recent segment where Brooks calmly and systematically defines what the dum dum left is and why it is deeply harmful to the left’s prospects:

Continue reading Michael Brooks on the Dum-Dum Left

Marketing the Idiot Left Brand

Everyone would prefer to have more people rather than fewer pay attention to what they say. So by the same token, those of us who have not achieved large internet followings will find themselves asking of those who have: how do they do it? What’s the trick?

Having been barraged by thousands of viral postings over the past years, we all know that there is no trick: one sure way of getting people to pay attention to you on the internet is the same way you do it in a public place: you pull down your pants and shriek-or produce the electronic text equivalent of the same.

Left politics is no exception: you don’t attract attention by calmly evaluating strategies through which left candidates compete in and win Democratic primaries or run as third party candidates where they have potential to win while making sure that far right Republicans are ejected from power as soon as possible.

What will get attention is to scream “burn it down”, the “it” here being the Democratic Party, and to advocate active “sabotage” of its candidates, particularly in the presidential election, even when this will result in, as it did in 2016, four years of a living nightmare.

The arsonists associated with this tendency, Paul Street, Jeffrey St. Clair among others appearing at Counterpunch, advocated for just that and continue to do so now, though it’s worth noting that it’s not just establishment Democrats who they reject: Bernie Sanders failed to meet with their approval despite the fact that virtually every establishment institution hated and feared him-and did everything in their power to take him down.

Given that Sanders didn’t make it over the anti-establishment bar, their logic dictates that neither would other radicals who actually succeeded in getting elected to office as Democrats. For example, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner who is carrying forward a wholesale purge of the vicious prosecutors who have fueled the mass incarceration epidemic in one major city.

Or Chelsea Manning, now a newly declared Democratic candidate for senate from the state of Maryland would also deserve rejection as would Chokwe Lumumba, the newly elected Democratic mayor, now following through on his pledge to make Jackson, Mississippi “the most radical city on the planet.”

And they would also sabotage Democrats-anti-establishment, and in most cases otherwise-whose victories will be required to begin to remove from power the “most dangerous organization in human history”.

***

At this point, the nihilistic absurdity of their non-strategy becomes so obvious that it hardly merits comment.

But the question remains. What accounts for the thousands of clicks and hundreds of “likes” of their postings?

To understand why requires recognizing that they don’t go viral in spite of their being idiotic. Rather they go viral *because* they are idiotic.

And that’s because most of those reading idiot left content are not actively searching for ways in which they can effectively participate in politics using it to address the almost inconceivable suffering those in power are inflicting on those who don’t have it.

Rather, those waving a crufix at any consituency developing behind left wing Democratic like Sanders, Lumumba, Manning and Krasner have no interest in doing that. Ultimately, they look to politics as repository for their fantasies where they can inflict random violence, burn, rape and pillage without consequence.

Of course, it’s fun to engage in video game fantasies, as any parent of a 12 year old knows.

But doing so has nothing to do with advancing politics which has any chance of helping those who desperately need it.

If recognizing that means my posts don’t rack up thousands of likes, it’s a small price to pay.

Note: Thanks to FAIR’s Steve Rendall for noting mistakes on a draft version of this piece.