An op-ed column by Todd Gitlin, published in the New York Times Sunday is representative of this layer of ex-lefts, whose principal preoccupation is how to channel this movement behind the Democratic Party and the upcoming campaign to reelect President Barack Obama.
Gitlin, who was the president of the Students for a Democratic Society in 1963-64 and later an organizer of protests against the Vietnam War, has since secured a comfortable berth in academia as a tenured professor of journalism and communications at Columbia University in New York City.
Gitlin titled his Times column: “The Left Declares its Independence,” apparently in reference to the protests’ relation to the Obama administration in Washington. He argues that many of those now protesting “went door-to-door” for Obama in 2008 and quotes a fellow academic as writing that “This is the Obama generation declaring their independence from Obama.”
While Gitlin’s long-winded piece is full of professed sympathy for the demonstrations and celebration of its supposed “anarchist” and “New Left” sensibilities, the thrust of his argument is that, sooner rather than later, it will have to—and should—come under the wing of the Democrats.
He hails the efforts of the AFL-CIO bureaucracy to hijack the protest movement and turn it into a prop for the Obama reelection campaign in 2012. In this energetic movement from below, he writes, “Here, finally, is what labor and the activist left have been waiting for.”
As someone who knows Toad Gitlin, I just want to say that he didn't change. That's who he was. He was too old to be a part of the baby boom. He hates that reality but it's true.
He was also always about co-opting the work of others -- especially women.
His problem with Weather Underground stemmed mainly due to his dislike for Bernardine and that was because she was in a leadership role and she was a woman.
Toad's always been a disappointment, he will always be a disappointment.
I'm very glad Bill Van Auken called him out.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):