by Bob Maschi
Thursday, 01 January 2015
I was talking politics with an old friend the other day (not usually a very good idea) who insisted that he hated both the far right and the far left. He was a middle-roader. A believer in compromise. A thoughtful voter immune to political rhetoric.
He listed a couple examples of this ‘far right’ as two Pauls, Ryan and Rand. Okay. Their policies could best be described as racist and anti-poor. Give them some pointy white hats and they could pass the torch test.
But then he listed a couple examples of the ‘far left’: Barrack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.
Really. Any impartial view of the current leadership of the Democrats would place them squarely in the center camp. A little more investigation would push them to center-right-conservative. They’ll offer up all kinds of excuses as to why their policies are logical and expedient but that doesn’t excuse their generally conservative positions.
Sure, Elizabeth Warren and Paul Krugman might tend slightly over the line and to the left. But where is the real left? What happened to it?
First, let’s define this real left without using buzzwords (I’ll get to them later). And let’s do that by example. On health care, the conservative position is; if you can afford it, you can have it. The center gave us the corporate giveaway known as Obamacare. The far left calls for free health CARE for all (note that it completely replaces insurance companies with actual care). On justice for the greedy bastards who crashed the global economy several years ago – the right rewards them, the center rewards or ignores them and the far left calls for their relocation to cozy little rooms with big metal bars. College education? The right wants it reserved for those who can afford it. The center wants to encourage high cost student loans that kids will pay off until nearly retired. The real left wants to free college education for all who want it.
I’m sure some readers are wondering how the real left proposes to pay for free health care, free lodging for greedy bankers and free college education. Rest easy, there are multitudes of proven successful ways. Just a few examples… tax the hell out of the wealthy, tax the hell out of the oil companies, tax the hell out of the churches and cut the military budget down to a size where it can be drowned in a birdbath (yeah, that’s a play on an infamous Grover Norquist quote).
Agree with these? It doesn’t matter. The point is that they are real left solutions that are being ignored in the media, in the courts and in the places where our laws are made.
So, when my old friend suggests that he’s against both the far right and the far left (without having a clue as to what the far left is actually all about) he’s taking positions that are fairly far right of the center (which he considers middle-of-the-road). Even if we don’t talk about solutions and we only discuss the politics of compromise, compare this to a negotiation over a $500 car where the seller asks $1000 for it. Then the buyer comes in and offers $600. Thus, they settle on $800, quite a bit higher than logic would suggest. (Since this is a pretend scenario, we’ll also pretend that the seller who pockets the unwarranted profit is a campaign contributor to both Democrats and Republicans).
The left being excluded from the national debate, having their solutions ignored (all of which have worked in other parts of the globe), is THE reason why the United States is, and will continue to be, heading toward third world status and why the global environment seems to be pointing us toward mass extinction. It wasn’t always this way.
Socialists, communists and anarchists (yeah, those are the buzzwords I avoided at the top of this article) were once numerous and in the streets and workplaces forcing concessions from our masters. These concessions included the 8-hour-day, Social Security, civil rights, the right to organize unions and all kinds of other things that liberals and Democrats now take credit for – though like today, they were more interested spectators than actual activists. Centrist liberals are very good at taking credit for things they didn’t really do.
So what happened to the real left? Well, some were assassinated by government agents (look up Fred Hampton for an example). Others, like Martin Luther King, were murdered by racist right wingers. (While there are attempts to label King as a liberal or even as a conservative, he was pretty far to the left of center, calling not only for an end to racism but for a radical redistribution of wealth!). Many more were put in jail on trumped up charges (see: Mumia Abu-Jamal or Leonard Peltier). Most of the rest are simply being ignored by the media and powerful politicians – both of which are completely owned by the wealthy, the real left’s natural enemies.
Want some real left views? Perform video searches for Noam Chomsky, Cindy Sheehan, Richard Wolff and Howard Zinn. All are or were quiet voices shouting for real change. Yeah, real.