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Thursday, March 27, 2003

The Fifth Column-I'm becoming a bit worried that we may have a low-grade intifada on our hands with the various protest groups on the left. New York saw the latest version. One thing that disturbed me is how this anti-war bunch merely seems to be a warmed-over version of the anarchosocialist types who protest at IMF and WTO events; I remember seeing video of a SF protest where the target was Bechtel, the international construction firm that is likely to get business helping rebuild Iraq's infrastructure. Den Beste has an interesting piece on the groups gross and tacky protests; they might not be intended to be persuasive but to be initiation rites to bond people to the group. One of the scary parts is that these groups don't have many good solutions to the problems they seek, which plays into the hands of various Marxist groups. Frequently, Marxist political strategy will be to poke holes in modern society to a point where people become disgusted in the status quo and start to look at communism as a viable alternative. It's not the hard-core Marxist's goals to see positive incremental change in the system; they'd rather see negative incremental change to soften up the populous. People aren't going to want to switch from a functioning market democracy to communism, so they have to create a very dysfunctional system that will make communism look good. I don't think they will succeed in the US, but they will cause a lot of problems. I'm reminded of a old Tom Lehrer song
We are the Folk Song Army. Everyone of us cares. We all hate poverty, war, and injustice, Unlike the rest of you squares.
I forgot this from the pre-song patter Lehrer had on the That Was the Year That Was album-
It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee-house or a college auditorium and come out in favor of the things that everybody else in the audience is against like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on. The nicest thing about a protest song is that it makes you feel so good.
It's one thing to complain about poverty in the Third World or corporate influence in the economy; it's another to come up with concrete solutions. Also, your argument doesn't get better received the louder you shout it or the more civil disobedience you do to proclaim it. Civil disobedience only works as a political gambit if the population can be shamed into agreeing that your cause is just. Not all the protesters are violent, but there seems to be a progression of violence that could return us to the Weathermen era. The place where such protests could be really worrisome is western Europe, where market socialism is more dysfunctional than American welfare capitalism. There, if the economies continue to be more and more ossified, you could see anarchists on the left (greens and communists) and right (skinheads and other nativists) as well as Islamic youth taking to the streets and creating a ungovernable local that will look more like West Africa than Western Europe in its lack of civility.

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