Friday, February 19, 2010

New Left Review at Fifty

Monday, February 15, 2010

Euroland and Tea Partiers

Pungent commentary by Kunstler on the economic crisis in Europe, Greece in particular.

And Auntie Hattie, opining on Kunstler's column from 8 February, is not worried by the Tea Party movement.

In response to Kunstler's claim that the "Tea Party people are the corn-pone Nazis I have been warning you about" Hattie says:

The Weimar Republic and the Third Reich are historical eras I happen to know something about. I lived in Germany and Switzerland for many years, and when I came back to the States studied the period extensively in college and read many sources in both languages. Nothing going on now reminds me of that period. We are in a totally unknown world and trying to understand what's happening through false analogies from past events.

And no, the Teabaggers are not Nazis. They don't at all resemble the raggedy resentnicks who were the backbone of the Nazi Party. One flaw in leftist thinking has been to lay the blame for the rise of the Nazis on the middle class, especially the reviled bourgeoisie. Statistics show that the majority of the Nazis were the working class and peasants.

The Teabaggers are a scheme to make money, and that is their only purpose. They are playing affluent dumb people for suckers. They can't build a viable movement without inviting in the poors, but since they are just out for the buck, they will keep such people at bay. Their "audience" is middle aged and elderly people with some means but no brains who get all their ideas about life from Fox News and other garbage TV sources.

The Tea Party movement is definitely a conservative-populist one. As Firedoglake points out, a rift is developing between the libertarians who started the movement and the national and neo-conservatives who came late and are trying to co-opt it all.

Ron Paul himself warns that the Tea Party "might not necessarily build the [Republican] party."
"'They get frustrated, they act out and sometimes they act too angrily and sometimes it doesn't come off well,'Paul told MCNBC's [sic] Rachel Maddow on Wednesday."

Though premature and inaccurate in calling the Tea Partiers the "corn pone Nazis", Kunstler offers a compelling case that the Long Emergency will "produce a lot of economic losers, and many of these will be members of an angry and aggrieved former middle class."

Tenured Radical writes, "I would say that the spine of this protest is not any well considered opposition to health care, but to taxes, and to the idea of government itself…" The Tea Party has attracted many protestors for different, sometimes contradictory, causes (e.g., low taxes but keeping a large military).

(Fun fact: In the first photo (left edge) from the post, some guy is holding a sign that reads BEST ICE CREAM EVER! Milwaukee Frozen Custard. The sign [not that particular one] can be seen here.)

18 February update: A discussion on Kunstler's anti-Tea Party column at Life After the Oil Crash.