Everyone should read the opposition press, not just to keep tabs on what the opposition is thinking and saying, but also because it is possible to learn from error. In the old days I read The Nation chiefly for Christopher Hitchens’ literary criticism, which was always the best offering of the magazine. If I wanted to sample the latest in Communist apologetics, Victor Navasky had no peer. In more recent years whenever I’ve been curious about what my old-age dementia might look like, I reach for the latest ravings of the heiress Katrina vanden Huevel.
The current issue of The Nation offers a whole new achievement: massively ironic satire in the guise of political analysis from William Greider. Greider is an old fossil of the Left—his long-time conspiratorial ravings about the Federal Reserve make Ron Paul look sober and cautious—and no doubt he is desperate for a revival of summer socialist camp hootenannies. And so he thinks the Occupy movement is the bee’s knees:
In Occupy Wall Street, we are witnessing a rare event—the birth of a social movement. Ordinary people are engaging in sustained grassroots protest against the political order and against citizens’ exclusion from the decision-making that governs their lives. They seek to rearrange the distribution of power, and they are doing so by injecting a creative, often playful vitality that has been missing in our decayed democracy. The protesters have slipped around the soul-deadening, high-gloss marketing of mass-communication culture. Instead, they insist that politics starts with citizens talking to one another and listening—agreeing and disagreeing with mutual respect. The open-door, nonhierarchical membership commits people to engage in what historian Lawrence Goodwyn calls “democratic conversation.”
The whole article is a comic masterpiece, and I highly recommend it. How long before Greider or someone turns it into a Broadway musical? Springtime for Occupy. . .