ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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American Left: Seduced and Abandoned?

When an indisputable villain like Saddam Hussein or Milosevic or bin Laden turns up it is no wonder many lonely leftists rally round the flag even if they know very well that every popular notion is processed by the right to serve its own purpose. This sudden feeling of national unity is a giddy experience. Has it become habit forming?

Is the American Left silent and quies-cent? What’s up? Please appreciate that being a leftist in the states is no bowl of cherries. Don’t misunderstand. Yank lefties, depending on what attorney-general Ashcroft does next, need not fear state-sponsored torture unless they are dirt poor or wrongly hued too. Death squads are only the fond dream of the abundant ultra-patriots who love to wrap their ugly angst in the stars and stripes. One is grateful for these mercies. Thick dossiers are compiled just in case this human rights activist or that trade union organiser or this anti-WTO pest really proves a bother, but one usually can live with it. This vaunted tolerance largely exists because the left poses no danger whatever to the ‘folks,’ as George W Bush likes to call them, who amassed even more obscene loot during decades of upward redistribution of income and wealth, and all through the auspices of the wicked state that staunch conservatives love to jeer.

The mass media dutifully shun all but a few token voices and even then a Ralph Nadar or Molly Ivins or Noam Chomsky are extremely lucky to sneak in a fleeting sound bite. It is downright demoralising to realise that the entire output of serious left-oriented commentators is outweighed in air time by a tag team of leggy conservative blondes in miniskirts parroting John Birch Society bromides and Econ 101 fantasies of the way the world works. Since the advent of Reagan (and, some leftists dare say, Jimmy Carter) the official political universe has been nudged steadily rightward by well-funded pressure groups so that Liberal remains the dirty ‘L’ word even though every poll indicates that considerable majorities support the positions the left stakes out on health, education, welfare, taxation and many other issues.

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