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Ravens and Vultures

Did you notice that there are people who say they are of the Left but who seem to only criticize people of the Left?  Never against the Right, whatever it does.  They specialize in pouring gasoline on any little fire within the Left.

They never recognize victories, conquests, advances.  They only make predictions of defeats, treasons, turns to the Right, whose sin will be always denounced as responsibility of the Left.  They revel in defeats, the bigger the better, for they are others’ fault, no matter that common people are the ones who pay the price.

They are great at preparing balance sheets of defeats, but they never can propose alternatives and never succeed in leading any process.  They are always critics.  A species of vultures, feeding only on carrion.  Ravens, who always foretell catastrophes.

That someone says he is of the Left doesn’t mean he gets respect, unless he is up for the struggle against the Right.  In this department they just lie low, lurking to attack the Left, for not being radical enough, not defeating the Right radically and definitively.  They themselves are not capable of making a dent in the power of the Right, nor are they centrally preoccupied with this.  What matters to them above all is all the “treasons” of the Left.

In serious situations like Bolivia today, for example, they ratchet up rancor at Evo Morales and his leadership, just as they took the same stance against Lula in Brazil.  All of them “betrayed,” including Hugo Chávez, Rafael Correa, Pepe Mujica, the Kirchners, Fernando Lugo, Mauricio Funes — only they are pure.  Except that people don’t believe it, so they never manage to organize popular movements with strong grassroots participation, they don’t lead any process, they can’t tell you a single case where their ideas led to victories and advances.

They don’t appreciate the agrarian reform, the nationalization of mines, the Constituent Assembly put into practice by Evo.  They don’t support sovereign foreign policy measures of Brazil: recognition of Palestine, mediation with Iran, support for Cuba.  Only denunciations, because their universe is not the general struggle of people, but the limited universe of the Left.  They don’t push forward mass struggles, only ideological struggles.  They don’t build political power to advance the Left, they try to always divide it.

Conflicts on the Left, in the popular camp, must be discussed and treated as conflicts among tendencies of the Left, be they more moderate or more radical, without issuing excommunications that throw others out of the camp of the Left.  This attitude is the first step toward bundling other tendencies of the Left with the Right and taking equal distance from both.


Emir Sader is a Brazilian sociologist.  The text above is a partial translation of his article “Corvos e urubus” (30 September 2011).  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at] gmail.com).  En español.


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