[sixties-l] Re: sixties-l-Robert Scheer Sells Out

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: Sat Aug 12 2000 - 07:02:30 CUT

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    The ignorance is yours Carl, as someone who I know from the past,
    (organizationally, at least) never found a Democratic presidential
    candidate you couldn't support, including Clinton. So, perhaps, you took
    my criticism of Scheer, personally.

    I remember once telling Jack Weinberg in Berkeley, that Adlai Stevenson
    had sold out. "He didn't sell out," Weinberg replied. "He never bought
    in." But my erstwhile friend and colleague, Scheer, did buy in. In the
    60s in Berkeley, he edited Ramparts magazine, one of the most important
    radical journals in the US; he was one of the more articulate voices
    against the Vietnam War and in support of the Panthers, although the
    split in the BPP caused extreme shakiness in his sphincter muscles as it
    did quite a few other BPP supporters in Berkeley. But as of at least a
    dozen years ago, Scheer was drawing a $100,000 salary from the LA Times,
    doing interviews for Playboy, and having homes in both Northern and
    Southern California. A poor Jewish boy, whose mother was a NY
    seamstress, made good, and all of the work that he did in the 60s, which
    actually propelled him to where he is today, apparently became
    embarrassing, at least to the point where he excluded any mention of it
    from his web-site.

    That someone who opposed the US war in Vietnam and who supported the
    struggle for black liberation, and who now praises a president who (1)
    has maintained the continued genocidal sanctions against Iraq and (2)
    the daily bombing sorties of that country, (3) who himself endorsed
    Clinton's bombing of the chemical facility in the Sudan, (4) who
    supports a president who has made greater inroads into our civil
    liberties than any of his predecessors, (5) a president who has cut the
    safety net from beneath the feet of poor mothers, and (6) who believes a
    president who has just sent $1.3 billion of military aid to the brutal
    government of Columbia, (7) and who is hell-bent on deploying a Star
    Wars Defense program is an advocate of "world peace," has not sold out,
    is simply inconceivable.

    Now Scheer can put his praise of Clinton into his syndicated column in
    what appears to the average uninformed reader as reasoned argument,
    while Horowitz is viewed as something of a clown, whose effectiveness is
    virtually nil.

    By defending him, Carl, you have seriously embarrassed yourself and not
    for the first time, either.

    Marty, your apparent mellowness seems to have blinded you to the
    question of principles, first with Todd Gitlin, and now with Scheer. You
    may consider all of this to be simply a political exercise not connected
    to people's actual lives, or more importantly, to their deaths, but I
    do. There is no room in my tent for anyone who supports the continued
    sanctions or the bombing of Iraq, or who supports the aggressive type of
    US foreign policy we have witnessed under Clinton; who supports a
    president who believes civil rights are something that can be shredded.

    And if you think a disagreement over Clinton's actions as president can
    be dismissed as petty, I think you need to do some serious
    self-analysis, or be more careful in your choice of words. And by the
    way, I always supported the priest and nuns in Central America with whom
    I had no meaningful contradiction even though I am an atheist. I judge
    folks by how they behave to their fellow humans, and how consistent they
    are in their behavior. And in that Scheer is sadly and badly wanting.

    One last comment. During the 60s, it was quite fashionable to bash the
    Old Left (except when folks needed bail money). In retrospect, as some
    one who was a young member of the Old Left and an older member of the
    New Left, I have long ago come to the conclusion, that even though the
    Old Left made many political mistakes, their commitment to social
    justice was far deeper than that of the New Left. After all, I can't
    think of any Old Lefties who became the equivalent of Todd Gitlin, Bob
    Scheer, or for that matter, Tom Hayden (oh, oh, there goes Blankfort
    again, shooting down another 60s icon. Details at 11).

    Carl Bloice wrote:


    Marty Jezer wrote:

    > Thanks Carl for saying what I wanted to say.
    > I've not followed Scheer's career with the LA Times, but let's assume he's
    > moved towards the center and that I would disagree with him on five or six
    > political positions. Does that make him a sell-out? No! We just disagree
    > on certain issues and hopefully we'd work together on the issues we go
    > agree on.
    > People on the left still read people out of "the party" over every petty
    > disagreement. With maybe 5% of the population with us we continually strive
    > to get down to the 4% who are the purist (rather than striving to make it
    > 5, 6, 10, 50%). And when someone breaks with us on a particular issue, we
    > denounce them personally (he's sold out") instead of engaging them.
    > Recall the 1980's when we were all anti-interventionists, fighting against
    > U.S. intervention in Central America. Our best and bravest allies were
    > priests and nuns in the Catholic Church!
    > Fuck purity and savor the contradictions!
    > Marx's observation that "I wouldn't join any party that would have me as a
    > member" seems to hold true on the left today, just as it did in the past.
    > Marty Jezer
    > Jeffrey Blankfort wrote:

    > I picked up the National Edition of the LA Times yesterday to see what
    > it had to say about the choice of Lieberman and what do I find but a
    > column by Bob Scheer attacking Gore's choice but for the wrong reasons:
    > that Lieberman "betrayed" Clinton.
    > Scheer, for those who don't remember, was one of the leading voices
    > against the Vietnam War in the SF Bay Area, and even ran for Senate. He
    > edited Ramparts during its glory days. He was an early supporter of the
    > Panthers and lived in a communal household with Tom Hayden, unsubtlely
    > called, "The Red Family." Since those days he has drifted toward the
    > center, accompanied by a cushy salary from the LA Times, as an op-ed
    > writer, and as an interviewer for Playboy. Since Clinton's election, he
    > has become an unapologetic PR man for the White House, managing to
    > overlook all those issues which would have engaged and enraged the
    > Scheer of the Sixties.
    > Scheer, far more pernicious and dangerous than his old colleague at
    > Ramparts, David Horowitz, and no less a sell-out, writes that Lieberman
    > should be "boasting about the record of the Clinton-Gore years...The
    > fact is, Clinton has been a great president, presiding over eight years
    > of unprecedented prosperity and progress towards world peace."
    > This from someone who has completely expunged the radical past from his
    > web site (the past which led to the position where he could sell his
    > soul to the LA Times and could even afford to sleep in the Brooks
    > Brothers fashions he is never seen without).
    > In differing with Scheer on Clinton's record, I don't need, for this
    > list, to bring up the details of such domestic issues as so-called
    > welfare reform, the "effective death penalty and counter-terrorism act"
    > which has been the highlight of the greatest attack on our civil
    > liberties by any recent president, the elevation of incarceration levels
    > through the phony anti-drug war, and the trade agreements and support of
    > merger-mania which has widened the gap between rich and poor to
    > third-world proportions, nor to the international issues such as the
    > genocidal sanctions against Iraq and the promotion of the Star Wars
    > missile program that threatens to escalate the tensions between the US
    > and Russia and China, etc.
    > Actually, I just remembered that Sweet Old Bob (or just the initials, as
    > I prefer) interviewed Nixon before he died or perhaps he was writing
    > immediately afterward, but then, too, he praised Nixon as one of
    > America's great presidents.
    > Jeff Blankfort
    > -

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