Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy MLK Day

From One Big Birmingham Jail:
Today we need nothing less than to build a whole new way of life. Alternative to the corporate- dominated system, counter to it where possible, in resistance to it where necessary. This is a permanent necessity, whose goal is the eventual complete replacement of this world of crime and malice by a world of democracy and universal prosperity. I have no doubt that if MLK were here today he’d see the need for this movement. Before his death he was already seeing the need to expand the civil rights movement to encompass labor issues in general and the war. I doubt it’s a coincidence that after all those years of death threats, they actually killed him only when he wanted to make the movement more comprehensive, more of a fundamental criticism of the basic structures themselves
See Also.  Well stated. As shown again and again, the Left's best instincts have often been blunted by liberal "reformers." Talk is not action.

I also came across the blindspot (updated).  It basically asks why there are no real classical Leftists in the world of blogs.  The answer is that there are, but just not in the US.  Note how, despite English being commonly read throughout the world, very few comments on US based political blogs are posted by those identifying themselves as not being US citizens.  The US is a powerful country, yet its political blogs don't merit attention.  Why?  There are several reasons.  In the US, the populace generally does not understand the classical meaning of Right and Left.  It is portrayed to be primarily cultural.  Historically, in Europe, the distinctions, except regarding religion, were never about culture issues.  The fundamental question were regarding wealth/property, its form and whom should own it.  Both the Right and Left had authoritarian (statist) and anti-authoritarian (libertarian) factions.  In part, corporate entities have a vested interest in deflecting these issues elsewhere, but it also is a genuine cultural issue.  The early Leftists did not consider cultural differences to be of much concern.  The concept of the International Proletariat was supposed to transcend tribal identifications, but as WWI proved, it does not.

The early Leftists failed to take into account culture.  The ideology is an imprint of European social realities that are not generally applicable to much of the world.  In the US,  if our personal economic situation needs a change, we have historically picked up and moved elsewhere.  Due to language barriers, Europeans are more closely tied to closer locales.  European Leftist ideology had no such parallel upon which to build.

In addition, many classical Marxists viewed racial issues as some sort of mystification.  Unfortunately, as attested by pogroms and oppression, these things do matter.  (Especially for those on the receiving end!)  As such, there is no place in classical Leftist theories for the Civil Rights Movement, let alone one lead by clergy.   In Europe, religion was often a instrument of state power.  In the US, religion is separate, therefore dissident religious figures can and do emerge.

Before his death, MLK was trying to unite Civil Rights and Labor.  He was trying to so as an American.  His plan was not recycled from Europe.  He was a bigger threat.  He paid for it.

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