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Needed Now: A Real and Radical Left


Needed Now: A Real and Radical Left

Paul Street

It’s “socialism or barbarism.” So wrote the brilliant German Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg in 1915. The 20th and 21st centuries have borne her out. The list of barbarian horrors that have disfigured the human record under the class rule of capital across the last century is daunting indeed.


Socialists, capitalists, greens, libertarians, etc… Let the people decide, not the international bankers, party chairmen, Theocrats, Oligarchs or other dictators.

Direct Democracy


Excellent straightforward analysis and prescription. Street and Hedges are the best analysts getting space at Common Dreams.

The endless argumentation about electoral politics in these threads, is a major distraction form the core truths that Street writes about, and serves to reduce the possibility of effective politics in the USA.

Paul Street is addressing fundamental truths that MUST be addressed by millions of us, if we are to have any chance to construct a political economy that serves people and the Earth, rather than the present dominant system that uses and abuses people and devastates the Earth.

If i could up-vote this article more than once, i would. More, more, more, please and thank you!


From the article:
“The Democrats aren’t feckless, inept, or stupid, unable to ‘learn’ what
it takes to win. They are corrupt. They do not want to win with an
authentically progressive program because it would threaten the economic
interests of their main corporate donor base. … The Democrats know
exactly what they’re doing. They have a business model: sub-serving the
interests of the corporate elite.”

You should say this to yourself and anybody that will listen as often as possible. Why don’t we have a real left?
I lay that at the feet of the Democratic Party, its media and its liberal and “progressive” hangers on. A lot of them publish right here. As the GOP strategist Kevin Phillips said, the Democrats are “the second most enthusiastic capitalist party.” Capitalism is and capitalists are the enemy of a decent life for the overwhelming majority of humanity. It and they are your enemy. When you conclude that, you’ll be a leftist. Then, as Street notes we need to build anti-capitalist mass organizations with real power and durability. (We could have been doing this for the last 30 years; little of what Paul Street says above is new…)


From the Buffalo Springfield something to think about for those on the left and right of the political spectrum as we inch our way towards civil war:

For What Its Worth
There’s somethin’ happenin’ here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun, over there
Tellin’ me I got to beware

(I think it’s time we)
Stop, children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look - what’s goin’ down?

There’s battle lines bein’ drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speakin’ their minds
Gettin’ so much resistance from behind

(It’s time we)
Stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look - what’s goin’ down?

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singin’ songs and carryin’ signs
Mostly sayin’, “hooray for our side”

(It’s time we)
Stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look - what’s goin’ down?

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the man come and take you away

(We better)
Stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look - what’s goin’ down?
(We better)
Stop, hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look - what’s goin’ down?

For What It’s Worth lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.


A real live honest to godless socialist on Common Dreams

Almost as rare as an organic veggie on Killer Clown’s gold rimmed china.


A great article by Paul Street. One of his very best I have read in a while, with the exclusion of some of Chris Hedges work. Paul spells the truth out clearly, with no ambiguity or obfuscation.


Read the article on Truthdig, the other day. Glad it made its way to CD. Helps to expose what we call “left” in this country as little more than a different flavor of the same old capitalism, if even that.


I see our regular cadre of Democratic Party supporters are absent in the comments. Oh well.

Paul, like I said in TruthDig, this is a breath of fresh air. Thank you again for this analysis and for laying out clearly what we need to do.


It is my belief that if a person sanctions the corporate-controlled capitalism we’re globally under today, that person is NOT a leftist. Leftists advocate and work for the working class members of society – not the capitalists.


Capitalism is a ripoff period. Sanders came off as controlled opposition fully reminding voters that he would back Clinton even while the Democratic party manipulated the primaries in western states heavily. Sanders was never a serious candidate. He won’t be if he decides to run again next time. The article was very good singing “Power to the People.” The death of John Lennon was a grave loss for justice and humanity.


SURE … It would have been nice to have occasionally heard from a “real” and even 'radical" left over the last 80 years or so …

But most of those groups were too busy hiding from McCarthy & friends, and then backing the phony liberalism of the Democratic Party to help women or the poor or even the labor unions as they were being left to hang out to dry by the very Dems.

They apparently were busy, too, preventing 3rd parties from forming.

If anything, now we could use some of the basic goals and concepts, now to help us fight back against this oligarchy that only grew stronger under Dems, but the last thing we need is any of the traditional hype and rhetoric talk of the left.

Let’s talk of justice, fairness, democracy, equality. real democracy and democratic elections, saving the planet and creating jobs that do so. We need to express the basic notions using the language that most of America can understand and embrace.


I have not in a long time read any statement on CD with which I agreed in so many details. It’s nice to see that someone remembers what “left” meant to the people I spent most of my life around.

More to the point–

The observation that the American Communists from the 30s and many of their younger colleagues were a central force in organization is valuable. Street is stone correct that we need some group to do something similar. And it strikes me that at least for the present, actually running candidates might be a smaller matter than redigesting news and distinguishing the sort of usurped-“left” or false left positions–whatever their adherents choose to call themselves and whatever vocabulary we might fall into–from authentically humanitarian, anti-war, small-g green, and antipoverty politics.


While any Leftist including myself would whole heartedly agree with everything Mr. Street just wrote, I have to say that the corporate capitalists have been very successful in silencing anybody calling for social justice, ending the MIC or fighting the corporative narrative. One thing MLK, Malcolm X and John Lennon have in common besides being advocates for the 99%, is that they all died prematurely. Corporate media has been so successful in brainwashing the general public, that no one has even noticed how the shackles ended up on their ankles and the handcuffs ended up on their wrists. Most Americans are incapable of identifying the source of their anguish (corporate capitalism) while at the same time are easily distracted from real issues (like ending poverty, establishing universal healthcare and taxing the rich) by “fluff” like Russiagate, Stormy Daniels, or the latest celebrity scandal. The reason concepts like socialism, communism or a functioning democracy don’t resonate with the general pubic is that most people are completely unaware of where the blame lies. Instead, to the delight of corporate America, Americans blame different ethnic groups, the government (not the corporations who placed them in power), “liberals” (redefined by FOX News pundits on a daily basis), “terrorists”, unions, the poor and anyone else that the MSM directs our anger at. It has been effective and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. In fact I see this terrible state of affairs spiralling more quickly out of control until a violent revolution erupts in which large numbers of intellectuals, human rights activists, protesters, academics, scientists and of course ordinary, everyday people are arrested, imprisoned, beaten and killed all in the name of “keeping order”. The rich have a vast pool of poor, but also ignorant people, to call upon to enact their evil suppression of democracy with nothing more than the lure of a paycheque.
If there is anything I can do to reverse this ugly trend, please let me know how to proceed in your next article.


This is a great article and I agree completely, but it is very depressing and does not offer much in practical advice as to what we can do right now in 2018. I need to do something now to fight back!

Therefore, what exactly do we do right now, as Trump and the Republican Party are well on their way to creating a neofascist theocratic totalitarian capitalist oliogharchy both from within America and from without via pressure from Putin? What do we do now that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, Trump, Perry, Pruitt, and Zinke are doing everything that they possibly can to kill off all the remaining wildlife and birds in America, use sonar to look for fossil fuels in the oceans that kills whales and orcas and dolphins, drill for oil and gas in the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and the Gulf of Mexico, drill and frack and mine and pollute our public lands, National Parks, and national monuments and poison our air, water and land with mining runoff and toxic bee killing pesticides and pesticides that cause cancer, autism, and harms human and animal health, buys up all the farmland to rape and pollute it, and artificially prop up coal and nuclear power at taxpayer expense while putting a tariff on solar panels. They have given the oliogharchs trillions and crumbs to the rest of us and now want to pay for this by gutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, meals on wheels, and housing assistance. They have harmed the health insurance system so that premiums are more unaffordable than ever, and are taking away opioid pain relief from millions of suffering patients leaving them to lives of suffering in agony and committing suicide. They are taking children away from Asylum seekers and spending massive amounts of money on private detention centers where people are abused at taxpayer expense. Sessions is charging every person arrested with the maximum possible charges every time, such as sixty year sentences for protesting Trump’s inauguration and dragged the cases on for one and one half years before most were dismissed as a deterrant to protest of any kind. Trump has threatened to shut down any press that does not praise him and has allowed Trump TV to take over seventy percent of local news media and repealed net neutrality. Republicans have done little to nothing to fix gerrymandering, voter roll purges, and overly strict voter ID laws and appear to be fighting democrats efforts to stop this. Trump is messing with the 2020 census and is rapidly packing the federal bench and Supreme Courts with far right partisan judges for lifetime appointments. Trump has attacked, discredited, and violently assaulted the FBI, DOJ, and all intelligence agencies and still tries to prosecute his political opponents like a third world dictator. Trump has taken us out of the Paris Climate Agreement, out of TPP, out of NAFTA, cancelled the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and attacked NATO and our allies while kissing up to heinous dictators and our enemies. Trump has made a war cabinet that wants war with Iran and he has threatened North Korea with fire and fury although tensions have cooled a bit since then. Trump has inflamed Palestinian rage by moving our embassy to Jerusalem and has given up our only bargaining chip with getting nothing in return. And now Trump wants to give even more tax breaks to the very wealthy.

So, therefore, what exactly do you all suggest that we do about all of this? What other real choice do we have right now but to elect democrats to force out the more vile republicans that are actively destroying our country with both hands, even if democrats do it with one hand it is still the better choice until other choices become more viable and available. What other choices do we have? Please explain.


I can agree with all you said here except TPP and NAFTA, although, given time Trump will probably push for TPP or those parts that benefeit him and his ilk…


Progressives’ biggest gripes with TPP and other regulatory capture schemes disguised as trade agreements were that 80% of those deals transfer judicial authority from government to corporations…enabling corporate tribunals to overturn government regulations.

Trump and the GOP controlled Congress are 1) rapidly gutting the subject regulations thereby eliminating the need for corporate tribunals, and 2) stacking courts with young right wings judges to enable corporations to overturn any future legislation they don’t like post haste.

Trump therefore has no need to “push for TPP”, the corporations are rapidly getting everything they hoped to get out of TPP.


Bernie, the Judas Goat. We had his back in Philadelphia. He betrayed many contributors.
The real Revolution has to be fought in the streets, as usual. REVOLUTION not a civil war. We are sisters and brothers. Not enemies.
Peace, Love and Light at the end of a long dark tunnel.


Hi from Australia. The real issue I see is you have a somewhat corrupted and simple electoral system that does not allow a range of parties to run for election without substantial financial backing. It is skewed and needs serious change if your are able to support real political choice. In “Aussie”, we have a more complex voting system, voting is compulsory and we have a preference system so votes are not wasted.


Yeh, ‘Power to the People’ by John Lennon. I’m sure the royalties from that paid for the fuel for his big white Rolls Royce and a few of his $3000 Tommy Nutter Saville Row suits for many a year! Imagine no posessions, i wonder if you can.