The New Yorker har en väldigt intressant artikel om Naomi Klein och hennes familj. Jag minns hennes sambo/make Avi Lewis väldigt väl från mitt år som utbytesstudent i Kanada. Han ledde (och leder) ett debattprogram på TV som är så fantastiskt mycket bättre än de parader av pratande och skrikande huvuden som får passera som detsamma i Sverige. Lewis är också i väldigt hög grad den kanadensiska varianten på ett ”a-barn”.
“Unlike Klein, the descendant of embittered ex-Communists, Lewis comes from a distinguished political family that has always been Socialist rather than Communist, and so has kept its political faith. ‘My earliest memories are of conventions and election nights, seeing grownups crying or celebrating,’ Lewis says. ‘We understood in my family that we were part of a cause, a movement, and the Party, capitalized, was a big part of that.’
The politics of the Lewis family have changed very little in the past hundred years. Avi Lewis’s great-grandfather Maishe Losz was the leader of the Jewish Labor Bund, a secular Socialist party, in his small town just east of Bialystok. The Bund was anti-Bolshevik; it believed that revolution should be achieved through democratic processes, even if that meant compromise. Thus, the Bundist maxim: ‘It is better to go along with the masses in a not totally correct direction than to separate oneself from them and remain a purist.’ In 1921, fearing that he would be killed by the Red Army, Losz fled to Canada. Losz’s son David Lewis became the national leader of the Canadian democratic socialist party, the New Democratic Party. The N.D.P. never formed a national government, but it came to power in the provinces: in Canada, socialism was mainstream. David Lewis persuaded the Party to delete the eradication of capitalism from its manifesto, and he crushed movement dogmatism and indiscipline. (‘When in heaven’s name are we going to learn that working-class politics and the struggle for power are not a Sunday-school class?’ he asked.) David’s son Stephen, Avi’s father, also followed in the family tradition, and was elected the leader of the N.D.P. in Ontario at the age of thirty-two. (Avi’s mother, Michele Landsberg, is a journalist, who is well known in Canada for her feminism and her pugnacious left-wing politics—in her columns, conservatives are always ‘jack-booted’ or ‘henchmen.’) When, in the late sixties, a faction called ‘the Waffle’ threatened to splinter the Party, Stephen Lewis crushed it, just as his father had crushed factions before. For Stephen and for David, loyalty to the Party was paramount. They would not permit the left to destroy itself.”
Senare i artikeln berör Naomi Klein även protesterna mot det allamerikanska toppmötet i Quebec City 2001. Det var faktiskt just där – i tårgasdimman – som jag bestämde mig för att bli partipolitiskt aktiv. Och när jag läser hennes kommentar minns jag de motstridiga känslorna av ilska, rädsla och upprorets eufori. Jag tror det var Klein som kallade det ”tårgasens sammanbindande effekt”.
“Quebec City was just madness … It was one of those times when nobody knows what’s going to happen, and there are these breakthrough moments, these liberated moments, these moments of euphoria. It was mostly young people, and they were getting gassed, but they were still enjoying themselves tremendously, playing cat and mouse with the police. What I loved about it was that the whole city joined in—people working in cafés on the main streets, and neighbors got buckets of water to wash out people’s eyes. It was like an alternative reality.”
Uppdatering: Läs även en intressant intervju med Naomi Klein på den kanadensiska vänstersajten Rabble som till stor del handlar om den koalition som de kanadensiska socialdemokraterna (NDP) har bildat med liberalerna (som jag skrivit om här).