The Left in America is dismembered.
The political party that calls themselves liberals, the Democrats, are sold out to corporate interests on a massive scale. Their policies defend the status quo, their wars spend the lives and limbs of American men like so many tokens to open new markets abroad, even their ‘feminism’ is nothing more than the ideology that women should be made to work as much as men. And the radicals? The unions, the anti-war activists, the greens and environmentalists, the communists, socialists, anarchists, the inter-sectional Marxist academics? Scattered. Shunned. Bullied. Kept out of the camera frame by a sold-out media, kept out of textbooks by the unwritten rules of acceptable inquiry. The ones who fought? The ones with the brass balls to actually be members of the Communist party when they were hunted down like dogs? Jailed, blacklisted, fled country or hunted down like dogs.
The left isn’t dead. We knock on the door and they tell us nobody is home, that they haven’t seen “the left” in months. Maybe they went on vacation? And anyhow stop asking, go visit the Democrats if you’re looking for some reform. All the while the left is being beaten and tazed in the back room.
You know this already. Consciously or not we’re all here because we’re trying to bring back something lost. Like stroke victims in a familiar room, we don’t know what’s missing but by god we know it isn’t supposed to be like this! This crap they call debate, books not worth the pages they’re printed on, dead, soulless. A room filled with cheap plastic crap where once there was so much more. So we go searching. Searching through the old books and the dark corners of the world. Marx, Stirner, Engels, Hegel. Trying to find what was lost. A way of thinking, a way of living, a family that we never had but always knew was missing. This is why I’m angry and I know you’re angry too. I have no grudge against this cheap plastic crap, this culture of slaves and boot lickers, but it is not my culture, it is not my family. How angry I was to be considered one of those scum. But friends I tell you now that anger is nothing. A brief glimmer, a reflection off the shifting water. One day I found that I had a family, I had a people and they were gone. Go back far enough and there was a whole culture of people like me, books, poems, ideas I’d thought I was alone in explored and debated by brilliant men and women. There was a real left, and not just the left of Russia or China, an American left too. A vibrant, rowdy bunch. Bright, sharp-tongued men and women. Too blunt, too honest, too quick to fight, too quick to forgive and too soon gone. Not just gone, murdered, dismembered, torn apart, the pieces scattered and their names scrubbed from the history books. I was not abandoned, I was orphaned. It was not stroke, it was lobotomy.
Maybe you know this rage, maybe you know this grief. It’s too big for me to grasp. They say you can’t kill an idea but these bastards came within an inch of wiping out our whole culture and banning our way of thinking. It worked. We are not what we once were. American anarchists were once so feared they were banned from entering the country, unions united much of the working class in common struggle, Communism was the most dangerous idea in the world. The left is not gone, socialism is not ‘disproven’. Might makes right in the eyes of slaves but we did not lose the argument, we lost the war.
If you are here you know all this already, but we are not fascists, we are not Christians. Truth is not something handed down by god, it is not something that everyone has a copy of in their hearts. Truth is a living breathing thing we build for ourselves. Truths must be spoken to be known. The bastards that tried to kill the left, they break bodies when they must but their biggest weapon is to ensure that their kind of truth is the only one which is ever spoken. To fight we must speak, articulate clearly and loudly and with hellfire the truths we see. This is what the bastards fear. Not gunmen, not bombs but that one day everyone will start speaking with their own voices and discover to their own astonishment that they are neither weak nor alone. If the left had been weak, if our truths held no power, the bastards could have let us speak, they could have ignored the brave men and women that came before us. They didn’t. After a long and dirty war they tried to saw out our throat. Wear those scars with pride, because it means they feared what you might say.
There is only one thing I want to say today. We are all quick to debate tactics, ideas for new ways of organizing, of governing, of living. How to banish the spooks that inform our ways of living and this is important, this is interesting. It is not so interesting to say the things we already know, but it is of greatest importance. There is an assumption underlying every tactic, every type of socialism worth speaking of. Men should be free, they should have power over their own lives and enjoy the fruits of their own labor. Socialism is not good because it is socialism, it is good because it lets men benefit from their own work. Anarchism is not good because the state is evil, anarchism is good because the state cannot allow people their freedom. I hope this post bores you to tears. I hope I have not said anything you haven’t known your whole life. I hope you assume like I assume that men should of course be free. But truths must be spoken and I fear we speak this one too little. So I make this plea that you scream it from the rooftops.
Men should be free. To hell with the bastards who try to take that from us! Long live socialism, long live anarchy!