File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 152

Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 08:57:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: M-I: Re: A surfeit of corruption

Rebecca writes:

>It seems that the Left itself has been individualized during the Fordist >era.

It is only in its appeal to individual aggrandizement that the modern
Western Left has succeeded, if only partially, in producing "mass" support.
During the Vietnam war, that expressed itself in slogans reminescent of
churlish adolescents ("hell, no, *we* won't go!") and emphasized the
individual pursuit of pleasure as an agreeable alternative to social
(military) service.  

More recently, it has formed the whole basis on which the contemporary Left
rests; a galaxy of entitled, warring "focus groups", deeply suspicious of
any type of "cadre" or "collectivism" that extends beyond its narrow circle.
This has, in turn, led to a general rightward drift among heretofore "left"
groupings.  Gays are a notable (if extreme) example.  They have found the
libertarianism of some Republicans more congenial than the collectivist
policies of the Left.  But all, to some extent, bear this new coloring.  NOW
and the Feminist Majority have recently moved to support "moderate"
Republicans who, though draconian in their disregard of impoverished women
and children, are at least willing to allow abortions in some cases.  

You mention the university.  Twinges of a vestigial Leftist conscience can
still be found in history and sociology departments, but the extremes of
individualism and self-involvement --a perhaps inevitable consequence of
academic life -- has translated into a mood of "benign conservatism" on our
college campuses.

Is it surprising, therefore, that our rudderless society tolerates a
Harrison Ford earning $25 million for eight weeks work while its most basic
needs go unmet?  Or, that it accepts the open buying and selling of its
"representatives" -- the apotheosis of our "democratic" life -- as a given,
an inevitable feature of public service?  Recently, both the AFL-CIO and the
Communist Party prominently excused the malfeasance of Democratic party
"fundraising" as a "normal" function of American politics, a talisman,
perhaps, of the extent to which heretofore proscribed behavior has become an
accepted part of doing life's business.

Louis Godena 

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