Whatever Happened to the Far Left?

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Contrary to the fevered imaginings of some on the right, the far left has been remarkably comatose lately. They’ve been unable to mount much of a challenge to or major protests against the current crisis of capitalism, a crisis they say they’ve waited for decades to occur. By any accounts, our financial crisis is a corker, complete with massive fraud, curiously asleep-at-the-wheel government regulators, and a Federal Reserve that keeps sending money to big banks that are arguably insolvent. The result of all this financial chicanery has been a serious recession which has now metastasized and is affecting the stability of the European Union.

You’d think Marxists and their fellow travelers would be dancing in the streets at this once-in-a-lifetime organizing opportunity. But instead they’re mostly power snoozing (when, of course not engaging in the usual fratricidal warfare over maddeningly microscopic doctrinal points.) A CPA friend says, too many lefties never got past Econ 101, and he has a point. It’s like the South Park Underpants Gnomes. Step 1. Smash capitalism. Step 2. (something happens.) Step 3. Worker’s paradise! There’s no real analysis from the far left beyond cardboard stereotypes about the causes of and solutions to our financial implosion. Most of the heavy lifting and analysis is coming from elsewhere. If you want white hot anger and serious investigative journalism about ongoing corruption in the financial system, read the right wing libertarian blog Zero Hedge and not cookie-cutter prose from socialist sites.

For those of us with experience on the far left, Rep. Allen West’s recent comments about House Democrats being members of the Communist Party are comical. For years, the Communist Party of the United States has been considered a quaint joke on the hard left. Its membership is tiny and they consistently tell members to vote Democratic to stop Republicans from being elected. They are about as dangerous to the established order as Justin Bieber.

What we’re seeing on the left (and probably on the right too) is those who are wed to archaic ideas and outmoded concepts are losing influence as independent voters and similar movements build and gain strength. People across the political spectrum are increasingly angered at what is happening in this country and are finding common ground on issues they thought used to separate them. This isn’t Right vs. Left. If anything, it’s populism.