Wednesday, March 14, 2012

They Think They're Socialists

This explains why I thought of Michael Harrington today:


Harrington founded the Democratic Socialists of America, who must be getting a bump in their Internet traffic and membership inquiries from the publicity this Daily Show bit has provided. The Socialist Organizer bloke who says "they [the DSA] think they're socialists" and "they represent the 1%" is only dreaming that the Democratic Party would give the DSA any attention whatsoever. Not even FDR or LBJ would have dared to associate themselves with socialists. Only atheists are probably more anathema to the image the Democratic Party wants to project.

Incidentally, almost immediately after posting my previous post about Michael Harrington today, I stopped by my local co-op and browsed the magazine rack. There, in the most recent issue of Dissent, happened to be a piece by Maurice Isserman marking 2012 as the 50th anniversary of Harrington's The Other America:
THE VOICE Harrington adopted throughout The Other America was calm and reasonable, but also idealistic and impassioned. Unlike many left-wing pamphleteers, he had the ability to convey moral seriousness without lapsing into moralism. There is no hint in his writing of the sanctimonious bullying of the better-off that pervaded so much of the radical style to come later in the decade. His tone suggested that the reader was a reasonable person, just like the author, and reasonable people, once apprised of the plight of the Other America, would agree on the need to find solutions. The enemies he identified in the book tended to be distanced abstractions like “social blindness” or “the vocabulary of not caring” rather than identifiable individuals or political groups. [more]

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