The Left tide that rose worldwide in
the 1960s subsided in the '70s, just as
the previous tides from the '30s and '40s
subsided in the '50s.
There was no significant Left upsurge
in the '80s or '90s, partly because reactionary
forces were already on the retreat, with
the liberation of southern Africa, East
Timor and Eastern Europe, the creation
of the Palestinian Authority and the shift
from military to parliamentary rule throughout
Latin America, the Philippines and Indonesia.
When the left tide is rising, May Day
provides an opportunity to sum up past
victories and preview the revolutionary
"festival of the oppressed"
to come. When the tide is low or dropping,
as now, Mayday is just the international
distress call - a cry for help.
For more than two decades, the genuine
Left has been swamped by a pseudo-Left
whose hostility to capitalism is reactionary
rather than progressive. The pseudo-Left
opposes modernity, development, globalisation,
technology and progress.
It embraces obscurantism, relativism,
romanticism and even nature worship. At
May Day rallies, the pseudo-Left whines
about how things aren't what they used
The real Left has been marginalised,
debating neither the neo-cons nor the
pseudo-Left, simply because there has
been no audience for that debate. Incoherent
nonsense from complete imbeciles is published
as "Left" comment in newspapers
just so right-wing commentators can pretend
they have something intelligent to say.
In fact "Left" is used as a
euphemism for "pessimistic",
"unimaginative" and just plain
But now there is an audience. The war
in Iraq has woken people everywhere -
and the pseudo-Left has really blown its
Millions who marched in mid-February
stopped marching two months later, as
soon as the argument shifted towards democratising
and liberating the Iraqi people. Those
millions still agree that George W. Bush
is an arrogant bully but they no longer
believe the peacemongers have got it right.
People want to figure out what is going
on and are joining the debate at websites
such as www.lastsuperpower.net.
For months, the argument was about weapons
of mass destruction and the role of the
UN. If the demands of the US, and the
UN, had been fully met, Saddam Hussein
could have lived happily, and the Iraqi
people miserably, for ever after.
But look at what happened next! Suddenly
we were hearing a different song. Bush
has been making the argument not for disarming
Iraq but for liberating Iraq.
Stripped of the "God bless America"
stuff, the US President's case now goes
If we devote our resources to draining
the swamps, addressing the roots of the
"campaigns of hatred", we can
not only reduce the threats we face, but
also live up to ideals that we profess
and that are not beyond reach if we choose
to take them seriously.
Albert Langer is an unreconstructed Maoist (anarcho-Stalinist) who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for attempted incitement to assault police as a May Day speaker in 1971. Released on appeal after six weeks, he is still at large, and still supports the overthrow of tyrannical regimes by armed force. His most recent sentence was for contempt of both parties, and the courts, at the 1996 election.