Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The failures of the Tom Haydens

Good morning, fellow Maoists, Trotskyists and neo-anarchists! If you don't get the joke, it's multi-pronged but in part refers to Tom Hayden's little smear he launched in The Nation (click here to laugh at it at CBS News). It's so hilarious because, point of fact, that was Barack's support -- except for the neo-anarchists -- and Tom who renewed his 'friendship' (with benefits?) with Carl to get the rag-tag aging do-nothing relics from the past on board damn well knows that. Find, for example, a Socialist Party in the US which didn't endorse Barack or -- tip off that you weren't dealing with Democrats -- endorses 'the movement behind Barack.'

Democrats, for those who are confused, vote for a candidate. They're not into this drippy "Oh, movement! Yeah, let's elect, like, a movement, to be president, man. Yeah, that's, like, where it's at." It's all so very 'up with the masses!' That's the talk at the Losers Ball as all the over sixty rejects from failed domestic 'revolutions' convince themselves that Barack's proof their pathetic lives had meaning. (No, it didn't. Your lives had no meaning. And you ensured that there would be no shiny bow to tie around it at the end by selling out whatever beliefs you had left to promote a Corporatist War Hawk.)

In one of the most hilarious moments on a campus in 2006, a young man asked about Tom Hayden who'd just breezed through to promote his bad book on Iraq (one we never commented on community wide because we were trying to be kind). About the coming revolution, the young man wanted to know and I cut him off, unintentionally, because I couldn't help laughing. I apologized and explained I wasn't laughing at him. I said that was typical Tom Hayden grandiosity. We didn't even have a functional peace movement in this country (this is 2006 and not much has changed since) but Tom's talking the coming left revolution?

That's the kind of garbage Tom foists off on college students today. It's an addiction, actually, and why nothing ever came from all those burn outs like Tom and Francis Fox Piven and all the other Socialists because they couldn't do a damn thing, they were too damn entranced with the sound of their own voices and too hooked on their own fantasies.

To be clear, I'm speaking of faux radicals fifty and above. I don't pretend to know what's coming down the pike and I see more honesty and more reality in today's young Socialists and Communists. For instance, they can be honest in public about what they are.

Unlike Francis Fox Piven or Bill Fletcher Jr. or Laura Flanders or a host of others, they don't lie and say they're Democrats for public consumption. (Frannie would argue she's only inferred it. Okay, if that helps you sleep better, old girl.)

There is currently (my opinion) no grass roots base for a left revolution in this country. It would require a lot more work, as I explained to the young male student who thought Tom had brought him the gospel, than any of them realized but, in addition to the industrial base required, it would require a knowledge base and the bulk of those who could impart knowledge had spent the last forty years lying, watering down their views, posing as Democrats, etc. There was, for example, a stronger working knowledge of Marx forty years ago than there is today. By that I mean, more people knew of and grasped the teachings of Marx back then.

There is nothing that's replaced it -- meaning, Marx didn't fall by the wayside because some sparkling new left theory emerged in the last decades. There's no knowledge base and it's because those pathetics of Tom's ilk weren't interested in creating a working knowledge base. They didn't want critical thinkers (especially ones who could emerge as leaders), they wanted mindless followers. More to the point, the young male student was informed, if the county's on the verge of a revolution (not a meltdown, that's not what Tom had talked up), you won't hear it in a whisper from an old hippie-poser (Tom was never a hippie, he couldn't handle the hippie ethic which didn't allow for his power drive) who stopped by to try and sell some books.

There are the roots for a revolution currently in this country, but not a left revolution. The left's spent so much time hiding and lying that, should the economic meltdown continue for several years, the country could see a huge lurch to the right. That's what happens when you have a largely uneducated people facing a crisis. You can see what happened with the deification of Bully Boy Bush after 9-11 as the trial run for that (all the more reason to be alarmed over the similar build up of Barack).

2007 and 2008 for Tom-Tom were about convincing the establishment that he was a player. (Actually, that's what every year's been about for Tom and the act's never really taken.) Which is why he really didn't call Barack out. When he offered some minor words (in 2007 after Barack personally and publicly insulted Tom Hayden -- "Tom Hayden Democrats" -- and July 3, 2008) and there wasn't a groundswell that came to life, Tom had to back it up because he's been so busy trying to repackage himself as still the man of Young America, as the only one who can interpret the "Barack phenomenon," etc.

That's Tom Hayden's life story. Spin and lies as he attempts to set up his end. Yes, a man his age should have long ago set up his end. And all that self-promotion doesn't allow much time to impart realities, truths or facts.

Those pretending to be left 'leaders' in this country are largely disgusting because here we are at a moment in time when an economic meltdown could reshape the country and they spent the last forty years on everything but education. Propaganda to get out the vote for a certain candidate they had time for (election cycle after election cycle). The hard work of transferring a knowledge base?

Please, this is the crowd that grew bored talking about Iraq in January 2005. They can't handle current events (with one exception -- Palestine) and they were the ones who were going to pass on knowledge? That's rich.

This group of pathetics, the 'sixites' 'leaders' who never accomplished a damn thing, were lost when the arts left the movement because they weren't leaders, they were opportunist glomming on what was popular, what other people made popular. An ethos popularized by the Mamas and the Papas, Janis, Jefferson Airplane, etc. Something with life and verve that caught the attention of the country and began to impact film and other mass forms of entertainment. But when the arts moved on to a new phase, these so-called 'leaders' had nothing to offer because they'd never staked out anything, they'd merely ridden a popular wave.

Well the tide's turned, Big Kahuna, and you've got nothing to show for your pathetic life except a lot of lies you've pimped to several generations of young people. (Your own peer group refuted you long ago.)

Your entire life is an attempt at creating an image and you're no Madonna. As your role in the Chicago riots of 1969 become more and more well known and as people grasp that we're not talk about the Chicago Eight here, we're not talking about the DNC convention in Chicago in 1968. We're talking about a year after, when you were in Chicago on trial for that, and you were 'advising' the 1969 riots, you look like the fake you are. That was forty years ago and you've still not gotten honest about it. Did you think others wouldn't? There are already two published memoirs that, had people paid attention to them, would have had your house of cards collapsing.

Poli sci major here, I could offer multiple justifications for your actions . . . except you kept them hidden all this time. It's hard to make the case that you did something out of conviction and courage when you've spent forty years hiding it. Your decision to hide and obscure reality makes your actions an embarrassment in your own eyes. That's how it'll be seen and you'll be judged on the terms you created.

And Tom's just one pathetic example. That whole crowd, they never grasped the importance of truth telling. (Which is why they're all so hostile to feminism and have spent the last forty years being so hostile. Tom likes to pretend otherwise but it's what got him kicked out of the Berkeley commune and it's the same attitude that led to so many whispers last year when an April videotaped interview with the Rocky Mountain News began circulation featuring Tom instructing his young, female assistant to step in front of the camera and turn around to give the viewers a 'good look'. Tom's floating threats of violence in that interview may have attracted more attention but that little display of sexism -- and what it might mean in terms of the stability of his current marriage -- led to a lot of chatter. I believe this is the link.)

So they've provided no premise or foundation upon which future strides could be made, let alone a left revolution take place.

Doesn't mean it won't happen, just means if it does, it will be the young people's doing and they will owe nothing (zero, zilch) to those who came immediately before. The entire point of generations is for knowledge to be transferred from one to the other. The babyboom 'left' failed there because they were never willing to share the stage, let alone surrender it.

And to be very clear, none of the above should be seen as an attack on the sixties (either chronological or cultural) because it's not. But in the end, it was the artists and the people who lived that period who made it worthwhile and exciting, not the self-appointed political 'leaders' who did damn little then and do damn little today. And that shouldn't be read to include everyone who is known as a leader. Tariq Ali, for example, is a leader today and one who emerged during the sixties. (Of course, he actually emerged. He didn't set himself up or self-promote.) He's an actual leader and he's never tried to lie about who he is, no "I'm not the same angry young man" commercials from Tariq.

You could further argue that letting these losers like Tom and Leslie Cagan play 'leaders' today prevented a real peace movement from ending the illegal war. Tom, Leslie, none of them have charisma and couldn't fill an enclosed bus station on a rainy day.

So Tom wants to show up and attack and hope he didn't alienate some of his closeted political allies. (He did.) And he wants to prove that, yes, he's old, yes, he's feeble-minded, but he can talk about a best selling book! He can talk about Thomas E. Ricks' The Gamble! He can't grasp it, he can't understand the book! But he can babble about it! He can set down a marker saying, "Anti-war left, stay away from this book!"

That's really all Tom is, the troll under the bridge still trying to prevent the transfer of knowledge. Thomas E. Ricks wrote a great book and, unlike Tom-Tom Hayden, I didn't have to wait multiple weeks to weigh in on the book. Are their parts we disagree with, yes, and we've been over that. It doesn't change that he wrote an amazing book, one that's a pleasure to read because Ricks' has a way with words, that's packed with information and a book I highly recommend. Knowing Tom-Tom Hayden as I do, he didn't read the book in full. Which is why he makes so many errors in the book report section of his latest tirade.

Tom-Tom wants to pick fights over things that Ricks wouldn't argue and wants to misrepresent other portions. Most likely, and if pattern held, Tom-Tom didn't read the entire book before rushing to weigh in.

He read some book reviews, he read a little press, but 300-plus pages were just too much for Old Yeller. And that, weighing in on a book he hasn't read in full, goes to the failure that is his life. He has consistently and repeatedly refused to do the work required, all his life, the only consistent thread.

He wishes people had talked about his bad Iraq book. He tried to get a conversation started at one point, remember? He was talking about how the American left needed to befriend the Iraqi resistance. And that idea could have been worthy of discussion and debate. But Laura Flanders made fun of him on air for suggesting it (and continued to crack 'jokes' in the segment immediately after) and Tom-Tom never brought it up again. He ran from it. (Ironically, Alexander Cockburn, Laura's uncle, would propose something similar and Laura would have to sit it out as Alex and Phyllis Bennis exchanged heated words publicly. Laura couldn't defend her uncle when she'd mocked Tom for the same suggestion.)

Was it a worthy idea? Tom didn't care. He was worried about the polls. (This is the man who polls on everything -- or did when he was married to money, including on whether or not to continue a marriage.) If he'd stuck with the idea, instead of running with it, he might have gotten some level of the attention Thomas E. Ricks' book has. But Tom-Tom always wants to do the easy thing, take the easy path, find out what's popular and try to glom on that -- and glom on it quickly enough so he can claim to have led or inspired.

In his attack on Ricks' book, Tom comes off like an unreconstructed Stalinist (I'm thinking of one person in particular, now dead).

Cause when the mind that once was open shuts
And you knock on the door, nobody answers anymore
When the love and trust has turned to dust
When the mind that once was open shuts . . .
(and no one can get in)
-- John Phillips, "Too Late," off the Mamas and the Papas' The Papas & the Mamas.

The following community sites updated last night:

Cedric's Big Mix
Barack and his cabinet of tax cheats
10 hours ago

The Daily Jot
10 hours ago

Thomas Friedman is a Great Man
CBS says US citizens "carried" by the military
10 hours ago

Mikey Likes It!
Comics and Chris Hedges and Third
10 hours ago

Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude
suck on it, tom hayden
10 hours ago

Comics, Iraq
10 hours ago

Trina's Kitchen
The difference between Tom Hayden and a turd
10 hours ago

Ruth's Report
Comics and Iraq
10 hours ago

Oh Boy It Never Ends
Luke Cage, Sunday comics, more
10 hours ago

The World Today Just Nuts
The Charm Offensive
10 hours ago

Like Maria Said Paz
Comics and Oprah
10 hours ago

Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills)
Comics and music
10 hours ago

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas e. ricks

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends