I was reading the NYRB’s review of ‘Crashing the Gate’ by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas ZÃºniga of Daily Kos the other night when I had a series of epiphanies in quick succession. Whoa. My brain did not stop that night.
I’m not going to talk about the main stream of thought yet. On a related note, I was trying to make sense of Gene’s limp comeback to Mike Marqusee’s critique of the Euston Manifesto and reading a few other blog posts on the document yesterday. So I’m mixing everything up together.
While it is tempting to say the left should stop bickering and get on with the issues in hand, and I will come back to that, it could be an illustration of the dominance of centre-left thinking that such debates are actually had. It is not necessarily a bad thing. But I feel that any attempts to draw a line in the sand between “us and them” is either lazy or lame attempt at power-grabbing.
The pro-war and anti-war left could spend the rest of eternity slinging mud at each other to win the argument but I think there are bigger battles. I quote from the above review:
Their point is that the Republicans have prospered by ignoring ideological consistency. They’ve held together a disparate coalition that ranges from right-wing evangelists and other promoters of conservative moral values to big businesses dependent on federal subsidies and tax cuts, each of whom realize they will get more of what they want by cooperating in joint efforts.
I think this is an important point. I frequently agree on issues with David T on Harry’s Place but there are reasons why I don’t want to sign the document. So what camp do I go in? The anti-war left, true. But do I align myself with religious fanatics? Erm, no. Do I have an irrational hatred of America? I don’t know, but given I recently enjoyed spending a month partying in LA and Las Vegas, I doubt it. Anti-semitic? I certainly hope others don’t think that.
Surely a ‘schism’ would be more valid if we were part of the same organisation? As it happens we all refer to ourselves as liberal or lefties. Where is the pro-war left going to go? To the conservative right? Or declare the rest are no longer liberals?
The points made in the EM aren’t earth-shattering, they merely codify what HP, Nick Cohen, Norman Geras et al have been saying anyway. The wrangling will always be around and I see it as healthy as long as it isn’t all people do.
My suggestion: let’s not assume all the pro-war types want to drag us into the neo-con agenda, while also agreeing not all of those on the other side of the fence have en-masse befriended Hizb ut-Tahrir types.
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