Wednesday, January 12, 2000

‘The purest Marxism’

“In nations that no longer are communist … ideology may be dead, but practices deriving from it seem almost beyond eradication. In nations that never were communist, by contrast, it is ideology itself that has gained a new lease on life. One feature marking the decade from 1990 to 2000 is the immense effort and unbelievable ingenuity displayed by the international Left in democratic countries, to avoid drawing lessons from the failure of communism… .

“The urban guerrillas who took to the streets against the World Trade Organization in Seattle … showed that protest against globalization is founded on anti-capitalist polemics drawn from the purest Marxism. The ideological success of these informal groups and organizations, quasi-religious as much as they are non-governmental, draws its inspiration from a generalized hatred of the open society.”

Jean-Francois Revel, writing on “If You Can Keep It,” in the Jan. 24 issue of National Review

Mating place

“Unlike the 92nd Street Y, which is Jewish but not hip, or the Angelika Film Center, which is hip but not Jewish, Makor (Hebrew for ‘source’) is trying to accomplish the tricky task of being Jewish and hip… .

“With its target demographic of Jews in their 20s and 30s … Makor is the latest tool in the age-old battle against assimilation, intermarriage, and low birth rates among American Jews. As Rabbi Andrew Bachman, the director of the Bronfman Center Hillel, at New York University, puts it, ‘It’s a place for Jews to meet other Jews, get married … and have Jewish kids.’ …

“Although [Makor founder Michael] Steinhardt is an atheist, he has funded many efforts to spark a spiritual renaissance among non-Orthodox Jews, including Birthright Israel, a program that offers every Jewish young adult in America an all-expense-paid trip to Israel.”

Michael Massing, writing on “Happily Ever After Dept.” in the Jan. 10 issue of the New Yorker

Attack team

” ‘While nobody has a copyright on rapid response, the Democrats have obviously perfected it by gaining so much hard-core experience,’ says one Democratic insider… .

“What, exactly, are the Democrats preparing? … A central strategy of the [George W.] Bush campaign is to boast about what a great state Texas is. But Democrats are planning to do to Bush what Bush’s father did to former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 campaign: use his home state against him. People are already saying that the plight of children in the Lone Star State may be Bush’s Boston Harbor. ‘Texas is one of the worst places in America to raise your children, and women who will decide this election are going to run away from him in droves,’ says the Democratic strategist.

“For Gore, going ugly is a good strategy. His unfavorable ratings hover in the 40s, which would be deadly for most politicians. But Gore’s strategists know that if he can energize his base and make the campaign so distasteful that most other Americans tune out, he can win the election.”

Seth Gitell, writing on “Mudslinging,” in the Jan. 7 Boston Phoenix

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