UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Gore Vidal: Radical alternative voice

The death of Gore Vidal on Tuesday leaves the USA much poorer with the loss of a radical alternative political voice - one prepared to take on the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the American establishment. Best known as a novelist and a playwright, Vidal was at his best in his dissection of the American political classes and their pretensions.

Lest that make him sound like a political gossipmonger, be aware that Vidal skewered the pretensions of both the Republicans and the Democrats, the former as "stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the democrats who are cuter, a bit more corrupt.......  and a bit more willing to make adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialist get out of hand. But essentially there are no differences between the parties."

In his essays his targets remained large, the military industrial complex, or the US constitution and its corruption by US politicians. Vidal was an outspoken critic of Israel and by extension a defender of Palestine. His great historic overview was in his development of the imperialism inherent in the US republic and in its manifestation in US foreign policy.

For his fierce criticism he was dismissed as an "iconoclast" rather than being answered in terms of the argument that he made. The novels, the plays and the movies have their own value, but his death means that one of the most articulate and acerbic critics of American imperial power has been silenced.