Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Seattle Days

I spent a long weekend in Seattle. That brought back memories of the Left, when the left in the United States still consisted of socialists, communists, and anarchists. True, these types can still be found here and there in tiny numbers, but in 1983 and 1984 there were some twenty coherent leftist organizations in Seattle. If nothing else, this provided a lot of political cover for the "left of center" politics that pose as the left today. Except the center has itself moved far to the right. Most of the leftists I knew then were five to thirty years older than I was, so most of them are probably retired or dead now. Events never produced a new generation of such leftists in the United States. Marxism has largely gone out of style since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Anarchism has fared better, but is largely a self-serve fringe phenomena, not an organized movement capable of laying and executing plans.

In 1984 it never occured to me that 25 years or so later we would be fighting what amounts to religious wars. They are also wars of imperialism. I guess if you grew up while the Cold War was on, you thought imperialism was always opposed by national liberation movements with essentially Marxist theology.

If I had been more perceptive I might have realized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would some day split the world in a new way. I had a conversation with two young Palestinians who were Maoists at the time. They told me they saw Maoism as the best alternative for getting justice for the Palestinian people. They were not really committed to Maoism. The did not like the PLO, which you might recall at least pretended to be a Marxist organization, Soviet camp. But they were open to joining up with a Moslem group (Hamas would not be founded until 1987) if that was what would mobilize their country to fight for their freedom. I never saw them after that. Since they were students in the U.S., probably they just grew up, got jobs, and never joined any fighting organization.

Hamas, of course, won elections in Palestine in 2006. The U.S. promptly decided Democracy was not such a good idea. So it came down to fighting again, and Hamas ended up with Gaza and the PLO ended up being West Bank jailors for Israel and the U.S. Situations do not get much sadder.

In the U.S. the Democratic Party has again proven that it is just as much a front for the capitalist, ruling class as the Republican Party ever was. The war against the people of Afghanistan goes on, and we constantly threaten Iran, Somalia, and everyone else who disagrees with America's idea of how the world should be run.

I am still deeply anti-religious, but that does not make me want to join up with ruthless bitches like Hilary Clinton to kill Taliban sympathisers. If I were an Afghan, I might not let the Taliban push me around. Just like I don't want Christians bossing me around with their lifestyle legislation in the U.S. But what goes on inside Afghanistan is not my business, and it is not the business of the United States government. Every politicians who votes for the war in Afghanistan is a war criminal, and both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are war crimes organizations, whatever else they might be.

On the whole, things are a whole lot worse than they were in 1984. It is hard to believe that a government, and a bunch of hard-nosed capitalists, could run an economy even worse than they were doing in 1984, but apparently they can. While destroying what is left of the environment at the same time, and involving just about everyone in the stupidist global war in human history.

I looked for a couple of buildings I where I worked in Seattle. They were still there, though obscurred by new skyscrapers. I spent a considerable amount of time learning about just how dangerous nuclear power plants were, working on the mess left by the Washington Public Power Supply System's attempt to build five of them.

Now Obama wants to start building nuclear power plants again. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe there is a devil. Maybe everyone who wants to be President has to sell his (or her) soul to the Devil. Certainly Obama had his crossroads, probably back when he saw how shitty the pay was for "community organizers." Maybe the Devil is a metaphor. But I don't think Obama would be making such horrendously bad decissions if he had worked some real jobs before seeking political office. The kind where the bosses treat you like dog leavings, so you get to smell the reality really, really good. It is a smell you should never forget.

I'm not betting on it, but what with the budget deficit the way it is, and Californians tired of being bossed around by a bunch of demented halfwits in the Old South, I would not be very surprised if some day the United States became the Untied States of America.

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