Comments: The Non-Crazy Left

Are they so important if there are only five of them? Regardless of whether they are right or morally superior or whatever, how important can five people be in a nation of 300 million?

Posted by marcus at August 30, 2010 12:15 AM

I AGREE whole heartedly with Mr. Henwoods accessment of the situation and its natural progression. (ah yes, business as usual.)

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 30, 2010 01:02 AM

I'd have to agree with marcus's implicit point that the conceit of five members of the "non-crazy left" is a fairly obnoxious conceit.

If you're going to go w/ such a definition, than you should at least define your terms.

Signed,
the crazy left.

Posted by Rojo at August 30, 2010 06:20 AM

marcus:

Are they so important if there are only five of them? Regardless of whether they are right or morally superior or whatever, how important can five people be in a nation of 300 million?

Clearly you haven't noticed the MASSIVE SUCCESS the NCL has had in winning Americans over to the NCL's ideals.

Rojo:

I'd have to agree with marcus's implicit point that the conceit of five members of the "non-crazy left" is a fairly obnoxious conceit.

Just because I founded it doesn't mean that I'm a member.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at August 30, 2010 09:04 AM

Henwood is a very good and astute critic of capitalism but offers no real solution that I am aware of besides, I think, some kind of top down market socialism which a lot of marxists advocate...This s not a solution if one looks at the history of such IMHO....he is not alone regarding solutions and it is very big problem on the left since very, very few have even attempted to come up with some alternative that is compelling and worthy of effort.-Tony

Posted by tony at August 30, 2010 10:34 AM

I like Doug, but in the second part, he says that the government can't keep borrowing forever. That may be true, but it overlooks the fact that a government that is sovereign in its own currency does not HAVE to borrow money at all. It is why you can't compare a country that is sovereign in its own currency e.g. the US, with one that is not, e.g. Greece, or the US government with an ordinary household.

There is a distinction to be made between a government HAVING to borrow money, and CHOOSING to borrow money, and it is one of the most important distinctions that should be made in these times.

Posted by Euripides at August 30, 2010 11:12 AM

Mr Schwarz, though you founded the organisation NCL, are your ( ATR ) commenters allowed to nominate individuals for membership or is it going to be an "exclusive members" club?
If I may, I would like to nominate
1. Danny Schechter
2. Paul Street.

Not only these two individuals have identified problems but have always recommended plans for action to resolve them and both are proud to be called Socialists.
Mr Schechter's recent article is excellent though his frustration is very evident.

"On the Third Anniversary of the Crash of the Economy: 'Those Were the Days, My Friend. I Thought They'd Never End.' They Haven't"
here

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/03

Posted by Rupa Shah at August 30, 2010 11:41 AM

Henwood's analysis is right on the mark. Now he will have to be killed.

Posted by Bob In Pacifica at August 30, 2010 11:46 AM

Will that month's worth of Fridays all be on a single Wednesday in a different month?

Posted by darrelplant at August 30, 2010 12:41 PM

I'm not sure what your definition of the non-crazy left is but based on this blog's ultra-liberal/leftist slant that is quite typical of what sadly passes for the "the left" today, I think it probably doesn't match my defintion. Today's left really has lost its way with its childish, knee-jerk anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Israel sentiments and its complete abandonment of its core principles of human rights, feminism and international solidarity.

For those interested, see the following posts for more on the decent/non-crazy left:

What's wrong with Chomsky?

That blog is worth reading for a non-crazy left perspective.

Posted by Rob at August 30, 2010 01:25 PM

See also this post:

What is wrong is when the instinct is channelled through a worldview that only allows you to support the oppressed when they are darker skinned than their oppressors, or when the oppressed are Muslim and the oppressors are Christian or Jewish, or when the oppressors are allied with America. And what is also wrong is when the instinct blinds people to the obvious (“dialectical” as Marx would say) truth that the oppressed easily become the oppressors.

Here’s Kling: “If you think about it, the forces fighting America in Iraq consist of former oppressors and would-be future oppressors. But because America is a rich, powerful country, the folk Marxist instinct is to romanticize (‘insurgency’) the real oppressors and demonize (“occupation”) the real liberators.” This perverted instinct pervades the left and I have argued against it on this blog before.

...

I think there is such a thing, however, as folk Marxism, which also has a dangerous hold on the left, which Noam Chomsky has probably done the most to disseminate. This is the “vulgar materialist” belief that everything done in the world is down to material interests, to economics. The most common form of this position is the stupid “No blood for oil” slogan, which sees American foreign policy as nothing but the expression of the interests of robber baron petrocracy.

Posted by Rob at August 30, 2010 01:27 PM

Knowledge and being right are fine things, in their place. When has a major national problem ever been solved in a thoughtful, reasoned manner? That isn't how it works. Things happen and we pretend to be in charge (or that someone else is). Not to say that apathy and ignorance are The Way. Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not because it is going to fix anything.

Posted by Murfyn at August 30, 2010 01:43 PM

Sorry, I didn't know the USA had become a socialist utopia. I fled the country a couple of years ago, and now my only contact with the empire is through this blog and Coca Cola billboards.

Posted by marcus at August 30, 2010 05:03 PM

“If you think about it, the forces fighting America in Iraq consist of former oppressors and would-be future oppressors. But because America is a rich, powerful country, the folk Marxist instinct is to romanticize (‘insurgency’) the real oppressors and demonize (“occupation”) the real liberators.” This perverted instinct pervades the left and I have argued against it on this blog before.

Is this suppose to be a joke?-Tony

Posted by tony at August 30, 2010 06:34 PM

rob your whole post was goofy but i'll just focus on one thing at a time, what the hell is a "folk marxist"??

Posted by Blackplates at August 30, 2010 07:27 PM

---(“occupation”) the real liberators.” ---

A joke, perhaps, or maybe he's trying out for the AP by displaying his ability to write nonsense like this headline I just had the misfortune to come across:

"AP - Firmly and finally ending the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, President Barack Obama will have but a moment before trying to hasten peace nearby between Israelis and Palestinians."

Posted by marcus at August 30, 2010 08:14 PM

@ Rob

"Today's left really has lost its way with its childish, knee-jerk anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Israel sentiments and its complete abandonment of its core principles of human rights, feminism and international solidarity."

Frankly, I do not understand what exactly you are trying to say. I do not give myself any labels but as Murfyn says, I do what I believe is the right thing to do according to my conscience.
Your stating, the left has abandoned core principles of Human Rights ( wonder how may followers of Beck and Hagee are active members of AI or HRW ), or International Solidarity ( International Palestinian Solidarity movement is the largest ever of its kind ) is rather difficult to understand.
And to take one issue at a time, what do you mean by anti-Israel? Against the state, the people or the govt policies? There is every reason to be critical of Israeli govt's policies and no one says it better than the great Israeli journalist Gideon Levy in the following excellent programme.
here

http://frontlineclub.com/blogs/theforum/2010/08/gideon-levy-in-conversation-with-jon-snow-why-the-medias-role-in-the-occupation-of-palestine-matters.html

ps on the video, please click NOT on the center arrow but the small one at the bottom, on the left.

Posted by Rupa Shah at August 30, 2010 08:35 PM

continued.......
And if a segment of the Israeli society needs to be criticised, the following article says it all.....

"How to Kill Goyim and Influence People: Israeli Rabbis Defend Book's Shocking Religious Defense of Killing Non-Jews (with Video)"

A rabbinical guidebook for killing non-Jews has sparked an uproar in Israel and exposed the power a bunch of genocidal theocrats wield over the government
here

http://www.alternet.org/story/148016/

I am anti-WAR, anti-TORTURE ( these are actions ). I am NOT anti-ANY PERSON.

If you define what you mean by anti-American ( govt, people etc ) or anti-Western ( music, art etc ), it would be easier to respond to your comment.

Also, not being interested in sports does not make a person "Elite" or "cold" and enjoying Bach/Beethoven/Jazz but not enjoying say 'country music' does not make one an outcast. Is it not possible for people to have different tastes?

Posted by Rupa Shah at August 30, 2010 08:56 PM

And here I thought only Warren Buffett understands Wall Street!

Henwood is pretty good. He understands economics quite well for a Yale grad, and I like his book Wall Street (which can actually be downloaded online due to his generosity!) That scholarship and dedication speaks very well of him, professorial cross eyes and all, and I would endorse him more enthusiastically but for the bug I have up my ass about people who get bent out of shape about "9/11 wingnuttery" and "crazy conspiricism," like those are real problems in the world. Alas, Henwood is somebody else who wants to figure out the world--but only up to a point. He isn't going to cross the intellectual Rubicon that keeps the crazy barbarians from taking over his brain, so he isn't going to understand some things that the crazy barbarians definitely do understand. So it goes.

That being said, Tony, you seriously can't fault Henwood for not having solutions. Sure his approach of "market socialism"--which I take to be coping with the irrationalities markets create and perpetuate by rational taxation and regulation--founders on political, social, and perhaps neurological realities that will likely doom such efforts in the future just as effectively as they have been doomed up until now. So yes, Henwood has no real solutions, but nobody else does either, even the anarchists (though I greatly admire their commitment and willingness to buck society). Every solution founders but for hope, and hope is hard to figure. All that's clear is that life continues to require courage and is best served by the old virtues--liberty, equality, and fraternity--which is, come to think of it, perhaps just three ways to say love.

Posted by N E at August 30, 2010 08:58 PM

PRINT MORE MONEY, DUMP IT ON MAINSTREET, call Pelosi @1-202-225-0100. Stop banker welfare.

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 30, 2010 11:11 PM

I agree with Mike Meyer.

Posted by Rob Payne at August 31, 2010 12:04 AM

Henwood seems solid on economics, but is really weak when it comes to real science. His critiques of peak oil theory sound a lot like global warming deniers in winter. If oil prices, drop 10%, we're suddenly all good. To rationalize his skepticism in light of increasing evidence, he's redefined peak oil to mean "OMG, we're all out of oil" rather than a production peak.

On the other hand, he has great taste in music. Unlike Chomsky, who's clearly a Cylon. (Thanks, Rob, for the heads up on that inhuman bastard.)

Posted by JMC at August 31, 2010 02:46 AM

As far as I can tell the non-crazy left is not a club at all, insofar as clubs by their nature are not inclusive. but then my humor of sense has often been hit or miss. keep in mind the establishment media's relentless drive to tell you that your neighbors are stupid and your beliefs, if not similarly stupid, are wrong and bad.(and therefore, paradoxically, stupid.)

Maybe the 'non crazy left' is millions of people, most of who keep their mouths shut for fear of being accused of being stupid, or worse yet, stupidity.

Posted by Jonathan Versen at August 31, 2010 03:31 AM

There is no left.

Posted by Rob Payne at August 31, 2010 04:38 AM

@NE -

For this:

"All that's clear is that life continues to require courage and is best served by the old virtues--liberty, equality, and fraternity--which is, come to think of it, perhaps just three ways to say love."

I am very grateful. Thank you.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at August 31, 2010 09:36 AM

Speaking of fraternity for some, and the killing of goyim, see Chris Floyd's article "Innocent Executioners: An Illustration of the Principles of Western Civilization in the Modern World".

[click on my name for this post to go there]

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at August 31, 2010 09:52 AM

Rob, the article on Chomsky is bullshit -- he cites Oliver Kamm, for heaven's sake, and the rest of it is simply false. If that's what you consider the non-crazy left, you're crazy.

Posted by Duncan at August 31, 2010 10:25 AM

That being said, Tony, you seriously can't fault Henwood for not having solutions.


Hello NE,

Well my comment was really directed at Henwood himself but more toward the left in general....The left is very good at saying what is wrong but not to good on solutions....That being the case, and I think it is so, we cant really be that upset when we fail to build movements for change....That seems like common sense to me...

Sure his approach of "market socialism"--which I take to be coping with the irrationalities markets create and perpetuate by rational taxation and regulation--founders on political, social, and perhaps neurological realities that will likely doom such efforts in the future just as effectively as they have been doomed up until now.

Cant really make heads or tails of this paragraph NE but it I think you don't understand the term market socialism


So yes, Henwood has no real solutions, but nobody else does either,

That's not true....people have proposed alternatives to capitalism all through history...most not too compelling in my opinion...you have state guided socialism-actually a contradiction in terms but never mind- on say the Soviet model which speaks for itself...you have market socialism which still accepts markets as an allocation system and as basically correct in such and so on...you have Michael Alpert's Parecon which you can read about in spades over on znet and so on.....There are alternative proposals but most just aren't any good and that is the problem...Personally I think Albert's are the best by far but you can read it and judge for yourself...

even the anarchists (though I greatly admire their commitment and willingness to buck society).

Well the anarchists in Spain did show an example of a democratic run economy...probably histories best example but it certainly had flaws...but these are not easy questions to deal with and I dont think the left will ever be what it could be unless we have a vision that inspires the general population to work for change that go beyond reforms and looks to overturn this crazy lunacy of an economy.-Tony

Posted by tony at August 31, 2010 11:21 AM

So who are the five?

Posted by Jake at August 31, 2010 03:19 PM

I think Jon must be referring to the Final Five Cylons. So, I guess they're Anders, Tigh, Ellen, Tyrol, and Tory.

Posted by Aaron Datesman at August 31, 2010 03:37 PM

Hi toni, good to hear you.

You wrote: "Cant really make heads or tails of this paragraph NE but it I think you don't understand the term market socialism."

I don't.

You wrote: "That's not true....people have proposed alternatives to capitalism all through history...most not too compelling in my opinion" and "but these are not easy questions to deal with and I dont think the left will ever be what it could be unless we have a vision that inspires the general population to work for change that go beyond reforms and looks to overturn this crazy lunacy of an economy"

--That's pretty much what I meant when I said that neither Henwood nor anybody else having solutions, because though Alpert and others have lots of things to say, no one has anything that could be mistaken for an impending solution.

Getting people on board is definitely the challenge. The problem with booze, drugs, sex, porn, gambling, whoring, gluttony, and other temptations is that (so I've heard) they can be kind of fun for a while, and the outer limit on that while seems to be seven or eight decades. Eventually there's hell to pay, of course, but eventually can take quite some time.

Posted by N E at August 31, 2010 04:12 PM

Brockley is part of the "Decent Left." It seems to be mostly a British phenomenon that American readers may have been lucky enough not to encounter. It's a few steps down on a totem pole that culminates in Harry's Place. See The Encyclopedia of Decency for a primer if you're so inclined.

Posted by Save the Oocytes at August 31, 2010 05:02 PM

That's pretty much what I meant when I said that neither Henwood nor anybody else having solutions, because though Alpert and others have lots of things to say, no one has anything that could be mistaken for an impending solution.


I see...I didnt realize this is what you meant...I agree. there is no impending solution and there wont be until people are willing to work to make it so...hence my original point about the failure of the left of presenting alternatives that are worthwhile. -Tony

Posted by tony at August 31, 2010 08:57 PM

@Rob, thanks for the plug!

@Tony & Blackplates, maybe read Rob's comment a bit more swowly, then have another go at having a go at him, because it isn't clear what you're having a go at - Kling, the conservative who talks about "folk marxism", me who argues with him, or Rob who quotes me?

@Duncan, what are the lies in my post on Chomsky?

@Save the Oocytes, sort of decent. See http://brockley.blogspot.com/2010/08/triangulating-bobism-1-harryism-and.html

Posted by BobFromBrockley at September 1, 2010 08:01 PM