In March 2003, millions took to the streets worldwide to protest the impending invasion of Iraq. Despite their numbers, the efforts proved in vain. The war went on; the protests dwindled. But however attenuated, there are still protests. In Minneapolis/St. Paul this August, some 10,000 marched against the Republican National Convention. But as organized rallies gave way to irrational violence, the inadequacy of five years of failed Anti-War activism and Left opposition came into sharp relief.
The crowd assembled in a shady corner of Grant Park in the waning afternoon hours of August 28 might have been mistaken for extras in a poorly-funded period film. With clothes loosely evoking 60’s-era protest, they reclined in the grass, rolling cigarettes, eating peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, listening to speeches and gazing at the sky.
An interview with SDS member Rachel Haut published in the September issue of this publication provoked widespread comment in radical circles. We welcome the discussion but worry that it remains ensconced within the sterile jargon and petty antinomies of the actually-existing-Left.
WITH THE PRESENT FINANCIAL MELT-DOWN in the U.S. throwing the global economy into question, many on the “Left” are wondering again about the nature of capitalism. While many will be tempted to jump on the bandwagon of the “bailout” being floated by the Bush administration and the Congressional Democrats (including Obama), others will protest the “bailing out” of Wall Street.
I want to speak about the meaning of history for any purportedly Marxian Left. We in Platypus focus on the history of the Left because we think that the narrative one tells about this history is in fact one’s theory of the present. Implicitly or explicitly, in one’s conception of the history of the Left, is an account of how the present came to be. By focusing on the history of the Left, or, by adopting a Left-centric view of history, we hypothesize that the most important determinations of the present are the result of what th