Debating Who Is the Real Socialist

In Jewcy, Michael Weiss offer three sets of “poseurs” vs. “real deal” leftists and starts a discussion that, er, takes strange turns.

When Karl Marx famously said that events and figures appear twice, first as tragedy, then as farce, he might have been referring to today’s glut of hand-me-down Marxist kitsch. Even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, pseudo-radicals had long prostituted the socialist revolutionary tradition as a cheap reference for bumper sticker fatuities. The revolution will not be televised. Yes, well, it wasn’t ever supposed to be. The situation is even worse now that so-called “anti-globalization” activists blithely don Che Guevara t-shirts yet think Das Kapital – the most pro-globalization text ever written – is the latest post-punk sensation out of Hamburg.

Fascism in its worst, most medieval form is once again an ideological menace, and indigence has kept apace with exploding populations that are still too fettered by venal regimes to benefit from the market economy. It’s vital that there are socialists and social democrats in our midst serious about helping the working class, rescuing victims of genocide, and establishing parliamentary democracy on the ruins of lethal dictatorships. The left owes it to itself to identify and root out today’s species of buffoonish and sinister politicos claiming Marxist discipleship but demonstrating only moral and philosophical poverty. What follows is a troika of the worst poseur Marxists—faux-cialists, if you like—plus three world leaders who are actually literate in radical politics and willing to put their knowledge to good use.