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The de-clawed left

On the value of a good riot now and again …

Remember last September, when there were a series of really large anti-war demonstrations across the country?

At the time a chorus arose from all corners of the broad "left," telling us that we should keep our politics out of the damn streets.

The message was pretty consistent from the DLC all the way to Kos, from Harold Meyerson to Chris Bowers: this ain't the sixties and it's uncouth and ineffective to protest, and, worse, your protests scare off those soccer moms and precious gomers in the Heartland (who'll themselves riot in a minute given a few kegs and a college football victory).

My friend Paul Waldman probably put the sentiment best in a post that I thought was an instant classic for this line: "You, with the 'Free Mumia' sign you'll bring to any gathering of more than twenty people: do us all a favor and shut the fuck up."

Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer .