The New York Times is accusing the left of being revolutionary:
The rhetoric of the Tea Party — the far right of the Republican Party — asserts a quite different view: that Obama’s mode of governing represents a betrayal of our revolutionary ideals and calls for a “mission . . . to restore America’s founding principles.” Although few Tea Party members advocate armed opposition, many, like the original Tea Party, are committed to much more than the conventional elective and legislative efforts to thwart the goals of “liberal” government.http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/...
Ever since Obama’s initial election, they have been willing to employ almost any “acts of disruption” short of civil disobedience or insurrection. They routinely use filibuster to oppose legislation, obstruct the implementation of laws (especially the Affordable Care Act) already enacted, and put on indefinite hold appointments to key administrative and judicial positions. In this sense, they are indeed a revolutionary party.
On the other side of the political spectrum, recent developments — particularly Edward Snowden’s leaks about government surveillance programs — have evoked similar revolutionary sentiments from the far left. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who published Snowden’s information, maintains that it shows a “government [that] continues on its orgies of whistleblower prosecutions, trying to criminalize journalism, and building a massive surveillance apparatus that destroys privacy.” Snowden himself sees such actions as “an existential threat to democracy.” Similarly, Noam Chomsky says the surveillance program is an example of how “governments combat their primary enemy — which is their own population.
We may well think that a proper response to a government so opposed to the fundamental rights of its citizens would be “disruptive action” to negate its power — which is precisely what Snowden undertook. We might further think that at this moment, at least, both the far right and the far left are revolutionary parties: both insist that disruption is necessary because the current government, like that of our 18th-century British rulers, is violating our fundamental rights as citizens and so has lost legitimacy. The principles of our original revolution, it would seem, once again require revolutionary action.
There is a lot of charter on the net wishing for revolution in America today (go read Slashdot). At the same time I see no evidence that the progressive left has become violent or revolutionary. Pissed off and seeking to influence our representatives, yes. Violent, not so much. Opinions like the one expressed by this New York Times columnist seem more likely to cause a situation (such as the protests some are planning tomorrow) to spin out of control. We are a heavily armed and heavily divided country. Equating Progressives, possibly the last group calling for a restoration of government legitimacy, with revolution strikes me as irresponsible and dangerous. Calling a large portion of the political spectrum, both right and left, revolutionary before a day of planned mass protests risks upping the chances of a violent confrontation. Perhaps the protests planned for tomorrow fizzle. Perhaps they don't. The New York Times should still know better than to brandy about the term revolution.