"Every revolutionary party find its chief support in the younger generation of the rising class. Political decay expresses itself in a loss of ability to attract the youth under one’s banner. The parties of bourgeois democracy, in withdrawing one after another from the scene, are compelled to turn over the young either to revolution or fascism. Bolshevism when underground was always a party of the young workers. The Mensheviks relied upon the most respectable skilled upper stratum of the working class, always prided themselves on it, and looked down upon the Bolsheviks. Subsequent events harshly showed them their mistake. At the decisive moment the youth carried with them the more mature stream and even the old folks."
"The crying discord between the socialist posters snd the reality of life undermines faith in the official canons. A considerable stratum of the youth takes pride in its contempt for politics, in rudeness and debauch. In many cases, and probably a majority, this indifferentism and cynicism is but the initial form of discontent and of a hidden desire to stand up on one’s own feet….
Finally, the more impatient, hot-blooded, unbalanced, injured in thier interests and feelings are turning their thoughts in the direction of terrorist revenge. Such, approximately, is the spectrum of the political moods of the Soviet youth."
– Leon Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed
I’ll be referencing these quotes again in this diary but I wanted to put them at the front so you read them first. We can all appreciate the poetry and art of Trotsky’s writing. Even the most ardent conservative has to admit that the man was a brilliant author. It’s why they went thru so much effort to slander and blacklist him from Moscow to L.A., because of how powerful his words could actually be.
But I’m not here today to talk about the Soviet youth under Stalin. I’m here to talk about the American youth under Obama.
And when I look around at my fellow youngsters (I’m 27), I see almost nothing. No movement, no organization of any real kind. There is no youth movement of today.
There are trends to be sure. My age group tends to be more "Progressive", but there’s no such thing as a real progressive movement. A lot of you will probably get mad at me for saying that, but let me back it up. Who is the leader of the "Progressive movement"? What is the official name of the progressive movement?
There’s Kos, but as I’m sure most of us here will agree he’s not progressive in actuality. He’s a third way centrist in progressive’s clothing. The same can be said of Open Left. Centrist and not in reality progressive. I won’t even bother showing how they’re not "movements" it’s enough for me to show them not to be progressive.
Then there’s us, lil old FDL. Progressive to be sure, but a movement we are not. Now by movement I should define what I mean. Taken right from google
"Movement – a group of people with a common ideology who try together to achieve certain general goals"
Common ideology sure, but I dare say we’re not working together to achieve common goals.
Believe it or not the closest I’ve found is the Atheist movement. My generation also tends to be far more Atheistic than the older. Name me one solid accomplishment "we", and I mean we as FDL as a movement have accomplished. I can’t do it. But then I look at the Atheist "movement" and I see things like this.
That’s a solid concrete win.
I’m not saying this to be mean to FDL. I am however saying this to show that FDL needs to change tactics and start organizing better. Jane’s work thus far has been amazing, but the way we’re going isn’t going to accomplish anything.
Why do I bring this up now? Well now we get to go into those wonderful Trotsky quotes.
Every revolutionary party find its chief support in the younger generation of the rising class. Political decay expresses itself in a loss of ability to attract the youth under one’s banner.
Let us consider the world of the past few years. Obama coming out of the blue like lightning, bringing with him this groundswell of youth that marched him to victory and barely breaking a sweat along the way. Truly it almost seemed that the Democrats were becoming a Revolutionary party like they hadn’t been since FDR.
But what happened? It was all a sham. Nice shiny words trumped up to make us see what we wanted to see. And oh the villian they gave us. I know this is something I’ve said before but only Palin could do for Obama what was done. She was the perfect enemy for our generation. I knew better with Obama, I knew he wasn’t the real deal, and even still the moment "she" came onto the scene it was all I could see. Such a perfect personification of every single thing wrong in this world.
But the election came and went, and all of a sudden when the pretext was gone how the wool fell from our eyes.
Back to Trotsky
"The crying discord between the socialist posters snd the reality of life undermines faith in the official canons. A considerable stratum of the youth takes pride in its contempt for politics, in rudeness and debauch. In many cases, and probably a majority, this indifferentism and cynicism is but the initial form of discontent and of a hidden desire to stand up on one’s own feet"
Change the phrase "the socialist posters" with the phrase "Obama’s rhetoric". A tad scary isn’t it? And it’s true. There is a very large section of my generation and of my friends that completely doesn’t care at all about politics. Because no matter who they vote in, nothign ever has or ever will change. It’s a worthwhile futile interest that does nothing but get you stressed for no reason.
There are days where I’m inclined to agree, for example Obama’s pathetic speech at Wall street last week. With such a cowardly, pathetic leader doing the wrong thing when he positively knows better is extremely disheartening. It makes you want to stop caring to save your sanity.
There’s no real giving up the struggle once you care about it however. But we must be careful, and here is why I say that we MUST organize. Once again comrade Trotsky.
"Finally, the more impatient, hot-blooded, unbalanced, injured in thier interests and feelings are turning their thoughts in the direction of terrorist revenge. Such, approximately, is the spectrum of the political moods of the Soviet youth"
I only need point you to the Hutaree militia amongst other militias to make my point here. These were not "older people". These were people of my own age and my own generation. the unbalanced and injured youth looking for terrorist revenge.
America as it is is a broken system. And if we don’t organize, they will. Hell they ARE. Either we excite the populous, or they’re going to do it.
But now I want to take a minute and go back to those people who say we need to reform from inside the Democratic party.
"The Mensheviks relied upon the most respectable skilled upper stratum of the working class, always prided themselves on it, and looked down upon the Bolsheviks. Subsequent events harshly showed them their mistake."
Change Mensheviks to Democrats and Bolsheviks to Progressives and we have a perfect representation of today. The "respectable skilled upper stratum" is Wall street and the insurance / Pharma industries. Supposedly "respectable" people working with the Democrats. And ones that look down on Progressives.
Just as it was a mistake for the Mensheviks, it will be a msitake for the Democrats. And it’s one we cannot replicate. We cannot allow ourselves to get tied into that darkness and evil. As an Atheist I have no problems using the word evil to define big corprate power.
So I look around, 27 years old and DESPERATE for a movement. Everyday I’m not out in the streets fighting for these ideals Atheistic, Progressive, whatever ideals of the day, is a day I know I’m wasting. It’s another day I’ll wake up angry at myself because I didn’t help change anything.
I’ll admit my hypocrisy here right now to be fair. I work IT for a financial firm in NYC. In essence I am aiding the enemy. I despise it. Every day I can feel a coat of slime on my skin as I walk to the subway. But there is no alternative. You either work in this society or you die. It’s that simple.
My friends have a similar problem. They have money they want to invest and earn on. There’s no point in investing in companies you agree morally with. They don’t earn any money. So you either invest with Goldman and earn, or you don’t and stay poor.
But then I look around, desperate to find a vehicle for change, and find nothing. Marches are ignored by the MSM and have zero impact on politics unless you’re a tea party march. A lefty march need not apply. Marches are a waste.
Trying to play the money game doesn’t work. We as FDL just proved that with HCR. The math just isn’t there. We will NEVER be able to out.
Phone bombs, E-mail bombs, money bombs, It’s all a waste. The onyl answer is to be more radical.
Say what you will about the Athiest movement but "nice" is not one of its attributes. It doesn’t care about being nice. It’s right, and that’s all that matters.
And yet here on FDL you see diaries like "Are we being too nice" and "are we not angry enough?". I wish I could find links for them but google isn’t playing nice and I probably don’t have the names exactly right.
We SHOULD be angry. Anger is not by definition a bad thing. Anger is a necessary part of the emotional spectrum just like love and kindness. Would you show love to a man who is running away with your wallet? Of course not you’d be pissed and you’d chase his ass down.
That’s not a bad reaction, that’s the exact correct reaction you should have.
And it’s not a question of if we’re angry. We ARE angry, just some are very good at hiding it because they think they’re supposed to. And we cannot try and sugar coat it, because if we do that anger will go to the Tea parties, and Hutaree, and other organizations that understand not only should you be angry, but you should be doing something with it.
But FDL is as "radical" as the left gets these days. It horrifies me personally. the entire Democratic caucus just betrayed us on a huge plank of thier party platform with abortion rights, and where was the outrage? A few pissed off posters here, and nothing else. Nothing.
We need to be angry. Very angry. Because if we’re not, the anger that is already there will go to places where we’ll have to fight against it.
Radicalize FDL comrades!