So what happened to the left/socialist/revolutionary impulse that haunted the West from the coffee houses

used to be
places of
countercultural foment,
wombs of revolution;
  • liberté
  • égalité
  • fraternité

    now they're "investment opportunities"

    now they're leisurepalaces


  • through


    Woodstock? Has it vanished, to be supplanted by

    Time Warner


    Joe? Not even right-wing media outlets like The National Post think so. They obsess about the left.

    like Abe Simpson
    on a bad day
    spitting at ghosts

    The same day as their (anti-spirit-of) Woodstock editorial, they ran a piece on the NDP from coast to coast and one on how chimpanzees are socialists -- you can look it up. They sound like Milton Acorn's poem of the sixties, "Where is Che Guevara?" Che, a leader of the Cuban revolution, suddenly vanished in the 1960s and rumour made him part of every revolutionary uprising in the world.

    saw him in Mozambique

    saw him in Nicaragua

    saw him in Berkeley

    saw him in Paris

    saw him under the bed
    splashing rum
    in the boogie man's latte

    Acorn pictured the leaders of the capitalist West pausing as they went about their grisly business to wonder with a shudder, "Where is Che Guevara?" Acorn's answer: "He moves..." wherever people struggle against wealth and power.

    You won't find him in the NDP. They've so adapted to the needs of "the market" that the only capitalists they'd cause a shudder in would be certifiable paranoiacs.

    "Talent on loan from God..."

    Nor in the left in the media, such as they (or we) are. Counterspin is a show on CBC's Newsworld that uses left and right perspectives. But host Avi Lewis often introduces guests as "lefties" or "lefty-in-exile," as if it's in their CV and ought to get them media gigs just like experts on mutual funds. None of this passes the Che Guevara Threat Test: a sense that those who occupy the corridors of power would think, Uh-oh, here's something we better put serious worry into.

    -- Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail, 29 July 1999

    Remixed (the Gas Face in boldface) by me. Che Guevara: still dead. The livin' bejeezus sleeps tonight. Unless you're really, really paranoid -- then your bejeezus likes to jump out and take long, soothing walks.

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