Monday, June 22, 2009
Glenn Beck Gives Distorted, Delusional Lesson in Leftist History
Sorry, but as somebody who is almost obsessed with the stuff, I must make some corrections.
1. Saul Alinsky was a social-democratic organizer. He hung around with Norman Thomas, Michael Harrington, and the folks who currently make up Democratic Socialists of America. He had no role whatsoever in founding SDS.
2. SDS was started by a number of radical college students who had originally been in the League for Industrial Democracy. SDS had no set program, ideology, or agenda. SDS had lots of hippie new-age pacifists, anarchists, Maoists, Trotskyists, reformists, and such within its ranks. The only requirement for SDS membership was support for the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War. SDS wasn't started by a guy named Booth. The founding document is called the Port Huron Statement, and it is signed by LOTS of people.
3. Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Mark Rudd, and others only supported violent revolution for a brief period. Shortly after the "Days of Rage" protest, they adopted the idea that the U.S. working class were "Labor Aristocrats" and were non-revolutionary. The Weather Underground Organization saw itself as the "Ameri-Cong", fighting against imperialism within its heartland. (I find it interesting that Bernadine Dohrn, the married partner of Bill Ayers is barely ever mentioned by the right-wing. She was much more well known than Ayers, and much more prominent in promoting the WUO's message.
Below is the "Declaration of a State of War", read by Bernadine Dohrn, not Bill Ayers.
4. ACORN is not affiliated with the Socialist Movement currently. It currently is beholden to the Democratic Party.
5. George Soros is very Anti-Communist, and is a very rich capitalist.
6. Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn have long abandoned revolutionary politics. Ayers works as a scholar in the field of educational theory. Dohrn is a law professor. Both have spoken very little about Socialism, Marxism, and Revolution since their "surrender."
7. Most of the radical left has not become supporters of the Democrats, or embraced violent revolution, especially what is left of SDS. When SDS collapsed, about half of them went to join the Worker-Student Alliance of the Progressive Labor Party. The PLP folks will happily give you a copy of "Challenge" newspaper attacking the democrats, and they don't make bombs or engage in terrorism. Other sections of SDS left to form the Revolutionary Youth Movement II. What's left of them is the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the League of Revolutionaries for a New America, and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (which recently had a group leave and form the Kasama Project. A big section of the Detroit branch of SDS joined Workers World Party. The Detroit folks just successfully organized the People's Summit - Tent City (Video From the hugely successful event.).
8. Most of the real U.S. left has rejected Barack Obama. The only U.S. socialist groups to endorse Obama were the Communist Party, USA, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. (Note:Freedom Road Socialist Organization supported voting against John Mccain, but never spoke in favor of electing Obama, to my knowledge. If I am wrong, please correct me in comments!)
The vast majority of the U.S. left, myself and my party included, did not support Obama's candidacy. Even those who did, only did so out of revulsion for the Republicans. The only people thinking Obama is a socialist are the Right-Wing. Nowhere on the Internet or in reality have I ever met a self-identified socialist who considers Barack Obama to be one of their own. (Just as a lot of Democrats and leftists had the illusion that George W. Bush was a fascist, now the right-wing is spreading the illusion that Obama is a socialist. This is a good cover for the fact that the political spectrum of the U.S. is one of the most narrow in the world.)
As someone who obsessively researches Left history, I felt it my duty to correct Glenn Beck's poorly researched, simplistic, and false generalizations about the history of the U.S. Left.