If military actions, threats, and tensions ease in the coming days, it is thanks to the leadership of Iran, not Trump. They were the grown up in the room. His recent actions and longer term policy toward Iran are criminal in nature and dangerous to everyone’s future. Either by impeachment or the ballot box we have to get rid of this cancer on everything that we hold dear!
Wald’s analysis leaves much to be desired, but, as someone who was in the party’s leadership for many years, he is right to write that our inability to critique our past turned into a self inflicted and disabling wound. But for such a critique to be helpful, it wouldn’t be limited to the party’s relationship to the Soviet Union, nor the first half of the last century, as his analysis is. It would entail a rigorous look at our practice, theory, and internal culture over a century. On two occasions in the last half of the 20th century, we had opportunities to do just this, when larger events precipitated a crisis within the party. But each time the necessary mass in the leadership didn’t exist and an embedded culture didn’t allow for a process of critique and renewal.
People who spend a lot of time shopping their left/progressive credentials and defending their left flank from attacks from others on the left are doing themselves no favor. In doing so, they can lose their capacity to respond to changing conditions of struggle that require strategic shifts, tactical flexibility, and novel approaches. In the present election process, we see some evidence of this phenomenon.
I would like to say that militant posturing of this kind is a new arrival on the field of politics, but it isn’t. Dates back to the sixties where it was more the rule than the exception. Now the reverse is true.
Politics, not to mention life, is full of contradictions that we have to grasp, first of all, and then smartly negotiate our way through. It’s when we reduce politics to simple schemes that we get into trouble and miss opportunities to positively intervene in political life and outcomes.
Here’s my (abstract) thought for the day: At the collective and individual level, I’ve come to believe that the past is both a burden that can disable, disorient, and divide or a source of inspiration, insight, renewal, and new directions. Which becomes the road taken largely depends on our own readiness to soberly and honestly confront it.