Current Affairs editor Nathan J. Robinson examines the curious case of passive voice in New York Times coverage of Israeli violence that happens to happen to Palestinians, and wonders if perhaps the loudest reactionary media voices constantly complaining about being sidelined aren't the ones being silenced.
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
People are wondering, okay, what's next? After the current order destroys itself, what fresh horror will emerge? Now that the contradictions of democracy perverted by capitalism have revealed themselves, after the snake eats its tail, and chews all the way up into its own heart, what misshapen, radiation-mutated phoenix will rise from its ashes?
Recent think pieces have bemoaned the failure of the left. Rightly so. Quite rightly. The diagnosis is a lack of Leninism in the blood. Leninism is nostalgically pined for both for its leadership and its roots in the laboring class.
The reason for the left's suspicion of a Leninist vanguard party is clear enough, with China and the former Soviet Empire providing spectacular examples of the pitfalls of allowing anti-democratic, authoritarian regimes to dominate the fight, even the rhetorical fight, for economic justice. Even before Stalin, on whose shoulders most of the historical burden of Soviet totalitarianism is heaped, Lenin's treatment of soviets daring to assert autonomy, and the prematurely Orwellian impulses evinced by the Bolshevik party, were enough to give Emma Goldman pause. No romanticism of the professional revolutionaries of the early 20th Century is going to wash away the gray flavor of oppressive social engineering and attempts to stamp out bourgeois, culturally and sexually exploratory, and religious values from above. In the USA, the fear the left has maintained of despotic rule is the Jeffersonian one giving the Constitution its suspicion of concentrating power in any one of the three branches of government. Unfortunately, the framers were notoriously lacking in sufficient suspicion of capital, but that's our burden now, isn't it?
Then there's the other question of what the left misses of Lenin's charms: why has the left become so isolated from labor? Everyone on the left I know who has tried to return to their ideological roots in the working class has maintained some distance from wage slavery. I've known progressives that turned to organic farming. Many, of course, become teachers. I know middle-class people, or those who assume they're middle-class, who have eschewed the class-enemy status of what we call "the professions" for something more like trades: furniture makers, chefs, bicycle mechanics, nurses, journalists, barbers, electricians. Contractors of various types. People who work... read more
Liz is author of Europe’s Fault Lines: Racism and the Rise of the Right from Verso.
Kevan co-authored the report Voter Behaviour and Political Mobilization in Iran for EIRG and co-wrote the article How years of increasing labor unrest signaled Iran’s latest protest wave for Washington Post.
Gordon is author of The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time from Cornell University Press.
Terence is author of Divine Variations: How Christian Thought Became Racial Science from Stanford University Press.
Jeff's movie comes out next month. He wrote it!
Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.
Jeff Dorchen is damp. Not even sure how to go about carving into this nonsense. Shirthole countries. Did you hear about Donald Dump's complaint about shirthole countries? The racism, the colonial, imperial, capitalist disdain and hatred. He really needs to find his fat face at the end of a swinging baseball bat. He needs a dentist, a dentist who uses only baseball bats. That's the fever talking. Delirium. And with the heartburn. For days I've eaten nothing but a few select oddities. A dozen roasted potatoes. A plain bagel. A cookie. A pizza. Plain green beans. A pear. Chicken soup. Blueberry pancakes. Ginger beer. A varied diet, but somehow it hasn't nourished me.
The temperature changes radically, moment to moment. The pillow is hot, the air is cold, the blankets are hot, the sheets are cold. The head is thick and full of fuzz. In the parking garage of Trader Joe's, where I'd gone to get ginger beer, a customer was doing a noisy but conscientious job of collecting errant shopping carts and bringing them to the cart corral. I passed her just as she completed her task. "Damn," I said, "You really earned that free parking!"
Shirthole countries! Y'know, I'm in no condition to pick apart this event, but I don't know if there'll be a future. Dump. A sizable amount of people on Earth considered him the worst sort of human being, decades ago. I don't believe he's won any converts since then, he's just fattened up the ones he already had. It's just not nice, that's what it isn't. For a president to say about people's homes. Shirtholes.
This may be the delirium talking, but isn't it safe to say that we've never elected to the presidency the best person for the job? Think about it. The actual best person to be President of the United States, the person who could delegate and diplomatize, be an inspirational figurehead, guide the economy to a sustainable course – that person is probably too old or young or female or transsexual or bald or black or deaf or queer or Buddhist to even enter the running. We've never elected the best person to be president because the process is designed to prevent the best person from even running. We're not looking for the best person. We're looking for someone who can convince the largest number of people that they're the best person. We're looking for a con artist. And boy, are we ever... read more
James is author of Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States from Yale University Press.
Sarah wrote the articles Families fear no justice for victims as 31 die in Honduras post-election violence and US recognizes re-election of Honduras president despite fraud allegations for The Guardian.
Anne is author of City of Debtors: A Century of Fringe Finance from Harvard University Press.
Rebecca wrote the article On Poisoned Ground: East Chicago’s legacy of lead pollution for The Baffler.
1: We don't have to do anything: How the Democrats found their dead end. | Thomas Frank
2: No path but revolution: Introducing the Communist Manifesto. | Jodi Dean
3: Trump is the endpoint: On cruelty and isolation in American politics. | Henry Giroux
5: Down with people: How cultural elitism went mainstream. | Angela Nagle
7: The disintegration has already begun: Austerity politics at the end of Europe. | Yanis Varoufakis
8: Conspicuous construction: A trip to McMansion Hell. | Kate Wagner
9: Reclaiming democracy and rebuilding politics at Cooperation Jackson. | Kali Akuno and Ajamu Nangwaya