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Have Liberals and Leftists Lost Their Minds?

I’ve always considered myself basically a radical populist and a political independent. In the 1960s I was part of the Yippies, as my mentor in the New Left, Abbie Hoffman, called us, rejecting authoritarian socialism and communism as well as corporate “profit-at-any cost” capitalism and imperialism. We listened to John Lennon, rather than Vladimir Lenin. I was born and raised in Texas, where I was heavily influenced by my beloved Louisiana-born Cajun grandparents, traditional family farmers and populists in the tradition of Huey Long.

Ever since my early days in the 1960s anti-war, Civil Rights, counter-culture, back-to-the-land organic and coop movements, and my many years of doing solidarity and organic farming work in Central America and Mexico, I usually agreed with many on the left when it came to issues such as war and peace, imperialism, disarmament, civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, economic justice, labor organizing, environmental protection, and climate issues. But I also always felt a kinship with what I call “grassroots libertarians,” those distrustful of Establishment politicians (whether Democrat or Republican), proponents of natural food, natural health, common sense, Constitutional rights--those believing that we need a radical decentralization of power from national and international elites and corporate board rooms to local participatory democracy.

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