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Knock ‘em Dead

Aug
5
2004

San Francisco’s self-styled Progressives got the one-two punch this week. And, honestly, it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of power-mad, holier-than-thou pains in the butt. Particularly since the take-down appear in pubs known for their liberal slants.
SFWeekly’s Matt Smith details a series of fights over land use in the Mission on a woebegone tract of land south of Market in and around the Armory. In a truly Progressive community this would be seen as short-sighted, underhanded, and just plain silly. Local landowners say they plans to develop property is being thwarted so “non-profits” can buy from them at an artificially lowered (by the SF Board of Supervisors) price.


Smith has a drive-by, too, on the role unions play in San Francisco elections. It’s a nice anecdote that has – in this election year, in this tight race – implications for Democrats nationally and throughout the state. When they get going, they make a difference. You Progressive Libertarians who don’t like unions (but do like biotech) and do like John Kerry (but aren’t sure how get-out-the-vote really works) can think about that for a little while.
In Salon, Alan Goldstein, takes a look at the protests this summer against the Biotechnology Industry Organization (they call themselves, BIO, get it? cute) and after wandering many of the streets of San Francisco, concludes that the anti-BIO protestors are just plain dumb.
Here’s Goldstein who has a PhD, so we know he’s really smart. His complaint about local Progressives, who are really a bunch of faux Hippies and nostalgia-mongers could apply to a range of issues this crowd chooses to address. They know what’s wrong but they’re somehow incapable of looking at the problem in a coherent way. Because, well, their understanding is flawed. So are their tactics. They’re using arguments and approaches that worked 30 years ago when the moral high ground was a clear path that saved lives. Today, well, the world is a little different.
“The cosmic irony is that these people have tapped directly into the most profound and basic social truth of modern life …. they are witnessing the ascendancy of the corporate capitalist model for controlling human behavior and ultimately human consciousness…. They have correctly identified BIO as a manifestation of this campaign, but have incorrectly targeted it as a causal agent. Biotechnology is much too young an industry to have any real control.”
In other words, the protestors get the point, they just don’t know what to do about it. Apart from what self-styled Progressives have always done: hold a protest, rally the troops, wave signs and insult – or, in poor polite Matt Smith’s case – harangue people.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 2:10 PM | Permalink

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