A man often has to be stripped of his delusions, especially when creating heroes. But unless I'm confused, both the Weathermen and Panthers had their roots in SDS and SNCC. And I would say when you get into the bomb and gun business, you've slipped into terrorism.
And, Max, some of the netroots started out as campaign consultants and others HAVE morphed into them. Which sort of undercuts your point, but that's OK. They've chosen to do that. Not my choice, but it's there.
I hate to tell you, but American politics has always been shallow. Mistresses, bastard kids, religion have always had a role, just like Obama's name and Kerry's personality. Thomas Jefferson was dogged with rumors of his having a black mistress.
You seem to have this fantasy that political power comes from some combination of good intentions and honesty The fact is that the left, from the Greens down to Avakian's bunch, have either debated everything to death or created a cult of personality. I don't think you know what political power is. I mean, you have an idea of what it is, but you don't really get how it works, because it's all theory to you.
Let's say you want a parking spot outside your store. A mundane thing, but people need them. How do you get it? You can apply for one, or you can call the mayor, who you supported and ask him for help. That's power in action, getting things done. If you haven't noticed, Labor's power to affect it's own fate has been limited over the years, and decades of GOP rule has limited their power.
Oh, and did you forget that labor during George Meany was right tilting, supporting the war and Nixon? That started the trend towards limiting labor's power, a self-inflicted wound.
Max, I'm 42 years old. I know talking about Marx not only bores the shit out of people, it marks you as a less than serious person. It isn't anti-intellectualism, but a simple fact that the Beatles recognized nearly 40 years ago. You don't win people over by discussing theory, but by delivering for them.
And what you describe as "leaderless groups" aren't leaderless. They just don't need a Nader to tell them to do what they need to do.
I think people on the left fear leadership from below. They talk a good game of it, but they don't want some housewife telling them what to do. They recoil when they meet the Cindy Sheehans of the world, they sneer at the Michael Moores. They try to hide their elitism and classist views with talk of solidarity.
Max, this isn't a big institution, it's people's lives. When your pet theories fail, people pay for it. The netroots, and that's actually an idea I find slightly overblown, is not about a movement, but people trying to better their own lives without waiting for permission to do so.
posted by Steve @ 10:09:00 AM