Monday, May 23, 2011

Best of the Democratic Left

David McReynolds, "The View from Over the Hill"

 On April 26, 2011, there was a book party in New York City for Martin Duberman's double biography of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds, titled A Saving Remnant.
This is McReynolds expanded version of his remarks.  He is a former chair of War Resisters International, and was the Socialist Party candidate for President in 1980 and 2000. 

Dissent writers on the killing of Osama Bin Laden  

Michael Walzer and four others. 

Russell Fox on "The History and Legacy of Kansas Populism

Alan Johnson, "The Mind of the Pro-Tyrant Left" 


This pro-tyrant left thinks it holds the key to the entire world in the palm of its hand. If America is opposed to a tyrant, then—there is some dubious logic here, but this really is the crucial move—the tyrant must be opposing America. And—this is the last stretch, stay with me—therefore the tyrant is an “anti-imperialist” and, objectively, “progressive.”

And these ideas have been adopted in softer forms throughout the culture—we see it in the refusal of emotional commitment to the West in its battles against dictators and terrorists, the refusal to credit the West with anything but malign intent, the tendency to blame ourselves when we are attacked, the demonization of Israel, and the pathological refusal to see plain the nature of forces such as Hamas and Hezbollah, who were defined by the leading American academic Judith Butler as “part of the global Left.”

When the 17th-century English revolutionaries dreamt of “a world turned upside down” it was not this they had in mind.
 David Osler, Rawanda: test case for absolute anti-imperialism

The more I think about it in retrospect, the more I am convinced that the UN should have gone in. Rwanda was hardly a purely academic question, and moral stances taken at the time had discernible outcomes. If there are any good counterarguments, they do not immediately occur to me.

This is not to say that the left should cheerlead the use of armed forces in every situation of humanitarian concern; opposition to the demands of the military-industrial complex rightly remains very much the default position. Nor should we back any old intervention; the risk of making a hash of it are invariably huge. Minimum preconditions include careful planning, thoughtful execution and widespread regional support.

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