The libertarian leninist


For a foreigner like me is still strange how in America the left had manage to survive with the constant sign of defeat on the front, more strange even is try to understand liberalism as leftism. Keynesianism re-distribution had clearly a very different way of solve the problems of society than socialism in general or marxism in particular. Even socialdemocratic programs couldn’t be implemented with the current political system, sorry Chris Hayes. But even if there were some people that fight for a real left for example Ralph Nader a left winger with Old Right nostalgia and Chris Hedges although he too sounds almost as puritan socialist. Alexander Cockburn was different, the former editor of CounterPunch was more left-winger than both Nader and Hedges and at the same time more right-winger than both of them by being in favour of gun rights and militias with more sympathy for libertarians and less hope in State. His death in 2012 gave a empty feeling in the left that was fragmented in CPUSA style voting for the lesser evilism Obama while others maybe more commited to a real change were voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party or maybe the more idiosyncratic campaigns of Rocky Anderson or Rosanne Barr. The relation of Cockburn and Green Party wasn’t the best one even if sometimes he had fundraising with them but he was a naderite with no much sympathy for Cobb in 2004 and in 2008 even while in the past had defending Cynthia McKinney for her foreign policy positions he was another time pro-Nader after Republican primaries when he had some sympathy for Ron Paul or even says a few good things about the populist appeal of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, the bêtes noires of liberals that year. He even go as far as to saying he will vote for Laura Bush over Hillary Clinton. He was a radical more than anarcho-syndicalist or anarcho-libertarian or as I read some time at The American Conservative, one commentator said he wasa stalinoid writing in Chronicles”, the paleoconservative journal that was also his last home of Alex. The Nation editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel never liked the criticism of liberalism and never read the newsletter founded by Cockburn named CounterPunch probably the best outlet of the Left, not a magazine in the traditional sense. CounterPunch was a like a Free Spech board in a university campus. From red-state rebels like Joshua Frank and Jeffrey St. Clair to Reaganite populist Paul Craig Roberts to marxists like Louis Project even to libertarians like Sheldon Richman, columnist for Reason and former fellow at the Cato Institute.

His writings are among the journalists who most had influenced me. I was susprised by an attack of the The New Republic in the form of book review of his latest book A Colossal Wreck. The ad-hominen attack was silly. Cockburn was never a “trot” neither homophobic. He was a writer with sense of humour. He was of radical scottish born, irish by nationality with a B.A. at Oxford but american by choose since he come there in the 70s. He was a leninist more than marxist, some form of libertarian rather than liberal. He was radical or if I could say I libertarian leninist. A revolutionary against the state, the corporations and hipocresy. Three things that sadly characterized the American Left in these times. But maybe new young radicals could embrace his anti-keynesianism and realize that politics is all about power. The legacy of Alex for the radical journalists of tomorrow is that with the exact punch at the exact time even the system is going to fall apart.


About Camilo Gómez

My main interests are history, politics, film and music. Twitter: @camilomgn
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