Monday, June 10, 2013

Marxists' humor

There was humor at the Left Forum too. Michael Hudson, debating a couple of Georgists, opened by trashing Henry George as a racist, libertarian martinet, then called his followers Fascists and Nazis. He criticized George for failing to include a theory of value, but he barely addressed the Georgist program. It was a kind of circus side show of the Left trashing each other like clowns carrying play-baseball bats. No narrative, no substance, just slapstick.

It's more than a comical tradition in the Left. It's a disease that undermines it. No good comes of it. On the Left, divide and conquer is unnecessary. It divides and destroys itself.

If you disagree on analysis or strategy or tactics, why not just set out the differences and move forward on the common ground? It's true that Georgism is libertarian, capitalist-friendly (though it's intent is labor-friendly) and antiquated, but there are still useful insights in Progress and Poverty. The Georgists on the panel didn't engage in the comical bashing. Instead they looked at how the program can be updated to include all monopolization, corporate giantism and the financial system. I side with Marx on the danger of capital, but absent a revolution today, a Georgist anti-rentier program has something to say for itself.

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