I complain a lot about mainstream liberalism/progressivism's various problems, but never let it be said that the real left-wing can't drive you crazy. (I could write a book, really.) Now, this is gonna be a bit tricky to write, because what I'm writing about is self-implicating: the endless ability of the left-wing to criticize its own practice.
I'm inspired to say this by this recent effort by Occupy types to purchase debt at a lower price than what is owed (a common practice) and then freeing the indebted from their obligation. I saw a familiar pattern among the Facebook and Twitter set, now sped up to the point of self-parody: people get excited by some new idea or campaign, people want to deflate that bubble of enthusiasm and start poking holes, and before you know it everyone is shitting on the new idea. I understand: this is never going to happen at a wide-enough scale to be a feasible solution. I also get, I guess, that buying the debt drives up the price of the debt-- although doesn't the former complaint undercut the latter? Personally, I find this effort to be a smart fusion of symbolism and practical solution: symbolic because it helps call attention to a the debt problem, an area of genuine and extreme need (and not at all limited to student loan debt), and practical for the direct beneficiaries, who will have their lives helped considerably. Is that really something to immediately begin looking down your nose at?
I love the fact that the left-wing is self-critical. Contra Thomas Frank, I don't think caring about theory and getting practice right is a failing. In fact, I think it is the only way for true left-wing practice to endure, to matter. But there's a difference between an appropriate critical skepticism and a constant shit-eating "look at how clever my critique is" nihilism, and I'm sorry that the online space is absolutely full of the latter. Our problems are huge. Our enemies are many. Our efforts and our resources are limited. But with integrity and determination, good things can happen-- but only as long as we aren't busy tearing down every proposal before it gets off the ground.
To put it more bluntly: what are you doing to fix things?