Building a Powerful Left in the U.S.

This past week, the Los Angeles-based Pacifica radio station (KPFK) hosted a series of conversations with prominent critical voices that analyze the remarkable present absence of organized left-wing forces in U.S. society, discuss alternatives, and present potential ways forward.  The term ‘left’ as considered in the series is rather vague and undefined; at times it seems to connote little more than reformism reminiscent of social-democratic politics.

Derrick Jensen here once again presents salmon and trees as notable victims of prevailing power relations; his marked lack of sensitivity to human suffering has him continue to argue for the collapse of ‘civilization.’  More reasonable commentators invited to the show include Vijay Prashad, Eric Mann, Chris Hedges, Frances Fox Piven, Cornel West, and Noam Chomsky.  In particular, Hedges’ pessimism regarding the prospects for the development of broad-based leftist movements in the U.S. is striking, reminiscent in many ways of the darkness evinced at times by Theodor W. Adorno and other German critical theorists, among others; it is to be hoped that the grounds for such pessimism can be overturned.

An archive of the week’s series can be found here.

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