Advocacy of pro-Soviet and pro-Communist positions has vanished with the Soviet Union and all but a few Leninist fossils. The Left's membership has always been middle class and hostile to workers, wages, and unions, so in the one area where the Left could be relevant, they aren't. They have always taken great pleasure in calling absolutely everyone in America racist. In the months after tens of millions of their fellow racists elected a person arguably a negro to lead them, and who is shortly to be entrusted with a virtual carte blanche for national leadership, that may not have quite the traction it once had, even for the simple. Internationalism is gone now that Americans fear their jobs will be sent overseas by predatory capitalists. The establishment of democracies throughout Central and South America has cost them that set of issues. The former Left demand that the United States intervene against dictatorships abroad is now called the Bush Doctrine. What is an angry young Red to do?
The Left has become irrelevant politically, yet we are at a period in our history when the urge to rebel against and defy the system of society that has so clearly failed us, is stronger than ever. The mood of anger will grow with the unemployment rolls and increasing job insecurity for the still-employed. There is much to be angry about and not many ways to vent it.
Israel is central to Left thinking because it is all they have left. And even that issue barely draws flies. I was at a counter-demonstration when the major Left organization, ANSWER, ran a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate on Montgomery Street in the city. There were about 500 of them to 100 of us.
But thinking about who each group was was instructive. The main party affiliation of ANSWER members is the WWP -- the World Workers Party, a Trotskyite splinter from the Socialist Workers Party. The main party membership of those on our side was the Democratic Party, a splinter group which controls both houses of Congress and the White House. Our position is shared by the Republicans and the Democrats. Similarly, the leading members of the European Union support our position. It is very hard for politicians anywhere to articulate a position that makes it right for the Palestinians to bombard Israeli towns and wrong for Israel to prevent them from doing it.
But not hard at all for angry street leftists to shout slogans and to wave signs. But they cannot put anyone in a suit at a table who has anything defensible to say. So the rallies go on and signify nothing because they cannot lead to political organizing or political influence, let alone electing anyone.
Even with that, the considerable majority of people whom ANSWER was able to bring out were Palestinians living in the Bay Area. Which is an inherently limited constituency.