7/6/2017 0 Comments
And whatever happened to Howard Zinn? And a whole host of other political heroes/heroines/political celebrities from the nineties/early 2000's?
Are the years and historical memory diminishing so much that thirty years ago is really like, a hundred years ago?
Has social media and the internet truly demented our minds so?
Whoever heard of these names?!?!?!? ( The only name I know now is TRUMP)
INGA MUSCIO - Lord have mercy, she wrote a book called "Cunt". Maybe the mainstream press didn't pick up on it, but if you were some manifestation of a left-wing activist from this time period, (especially a woman, because per usual, left-wing men don't really care about feminism) you heard of this book. Read it. Owned it. (Still own it). And I personally gained inspiration from the story she tells of inducing her own abortion with herbal tea.
I looked her up recently and found very little activity. I mean, maybe she is doing stuff and I didn't try hard enough to find it, but she's def not blowing up Twitter.
HOWARD ZINN - Okay, yes, Howard Zinn died in 2010, but when he was around, he was THE HISTORIAN of record. His "People's History of the United States" was the seminal volume of history for any fledgling left-wing twenty-year old to read (and its' chapter on the Clinton presidency a searing indictment of the true right-wing proclivities of the man and his wife, more evidence as to why you really shouldn't be giving Hillary Clinton your time and/or your treasury).
He wrote plays and tons more books and gave speeches ( I saw him once on campus) and went to demonstrations. And now no one speaks a word on the fellow, as if he never even existed.
SUBCOMANDANTE MARCOS AND THE ZAPATISTAS - Remember gorgeous, faceless Subcomandante Marcos?
No one ever saw his face or claimed to know anything about his life, but that 60 Minutes episode of him and his movement declared that millions of Mexican woman wet their pants when they dreamt of him at night. He was a professor or something and lived sexily and scantily in the woods, serving as the white or mestizo political and guerrilla leader of a band of renegade natives, also railing against treacherous trade deals such as Bill Clinton's NAFTA. (His romantic story even had my dreams involved for a while there. No, not really.)
The twentieth anniversary of NAFTA was like three years ago and there was nary a peep in acknowledgement of its installation and duration, its impact on the joblessness of this country. (Only recently, and I never thought of this but should have, thoughtful people criticized Donald Trump for wanting us out of it because it would mean we would lose control of Mexico. So that was the point?) I thought the point was to save jobs for Americans, but apparently, that will be up to Americans themselves.
WARD CHURCHILL- Before the days of James Woods mocking Elizabeth Warren for her barely there Native American heritage, Ward Churchill's ethnic identity was attacked in retaliation for writing articles saying the US deserved to be attacked on 911 because of all the shit it's done to other countries; he called the people who died in the buildings "Little Eichmans". He got fired from his job. He writes scathing books about how the White Man came and destroyed the Native population of this country and other things Americans don't want to hear about. He's heavy and confrontational and nobody talks about him anymore.
MUMIA ABU-JAMAL - Now this was a guy a lot of hardcore white anarchist kids (especially the boys) had a hard-on for. He had so much support and large demonstrations in Philadelphia and other locations demanding his release from prison for having allegedly murdered a police officer. His books were coveted and I knew an activist/stuck up anarchist kid who went around pretending he knew all the members of the Africa family on a first-name basis at one demonstration I reluctantly attended.
LEONARD PELTIER - Obama had the opportunity to exonerate this Native American political activist accused-of-killing-two-FBI-agents and have him released from prison last year before he left office, but he didn't. This poor fellow still languishes in jail, and is apparently very ill (but I think his star was already fading even in the early 2000's.)
JOHN TRUDELL - Native American (although he was half-Mexican) poet activist and movie star ( he starred in "Thunderheart" with Val Kilmer about the tensions between Native American militants in South Dakota in the 1970's), he went out with Angelina Jolie's mom! He died in 2015 and nobody gave a shit.
And I'm not going to get into the really vintage left-wing political heroes that antifa people and other macho anarcho-fascist derivatives might be into, people like Emma Goldman, who are always popping up every generation it seems. Scrappy white boys still arguing about Marx and Lenin while trying to "shut down the RNC" ( like WHY? who cares. I really enjoyed myself that week, it was good for the city). Setting themselves on fire in Cleveland and other repetitive shenanigans that have not furthered "progress" one bit.
I feel like the only person from this heady time period who still has any relevance to anyone ( but BARELY) is RALPH NADER. The guy is in his eighties but still saying clear-headed, intelligent things and even daring to suggest ( he wrote a book about it) that right and left wing people should work together on the things that unite them (but that will never happen because it's way more fun to be a partisan stick-in-the-mud rooting for your team. You wouldn't have a job otherwise).
A couple honorable mentions:
DERRICK JENSEN - Radical environmentalist writer ( I also saw this guy in person in Cincinnati once, I made sure to try and see ALL THESE PEOPLE in person when I was younger because I was obsessed) who was way more critical of mainstream environmentalism and civilization than capitalism, but critical of that too.
He was also critical of JOHN ZERZAN, a guy I liked much better, but have also lost interest in. (He was the anarcho-primitivist philosopher who used to correspond with the Unabomber, but no one even knows WHO THAT is anymore). Maybe every once in a while I tune into the radio show he does on Tuesday nights from a college radio station out of Eugene, Oregon, but I really haven't done that in a while.
Tereza de Cleyre is such a throwback to the Nineties ( a decade I hate).