Wednesday, July 20 marked the one-year anniversary of Michael Brooks’ passing. Michael was one of the most influential voices on the left, not only to me, but to thousands of leftists today. He was only 36 years old.
Brooks was the co-host of “Majority Report.FM,” alongside Sam Seder. He also hosted his own show, aptly titled “The Michael Brooks Show,” as well as numerous appearances on the shows’ parent company, “The Young Turks,” live forums/speeches, columns in Jacobin/other publications, and even authored his own book, “Against the Web: A Cosmopolitan Answer to the New Right.”
He always had a cool and witty presence, no matter the setting. He had the unique knack of brightening a room, especially when he did impressions (particularly his Barack Obama ones, in which he would mock conservatives’ wildly false caricature of Obama). His achievements cannot be understated, though. His goal was always clear,
“Be ruthless with systems; be kind with people.”
That is the moniker he steadfastly followed. He was a internationalist. From his works I truly understood why it is so important for socialists, especially ones that are from the imperial core, to pay attention to foreign politics. He introduced a large portion of the American left to former Brazilian president, Lula da Silva.
da Silva was the leader of the Workers’ Party and president from 2003-2010. He had tremendous approval ratings from the Brazilian population. Brooks and Lula developed a friendship over the years – the former president even took to Twitter when the political commentator passed away.
The reason Michael was always so avid about foreign politics, and Brazil is a perfect example, we see presidents such as Lula are hoisted from their positions and allows for people Jair Balsonaro. The right-wing nationalist, Bolsonaro has since let the power of global capital rule, as Brazil’s infrastructure deteriorates, and the Amazon rainforest is dying from forest fires.
He knew that the flow of capital and CEO profits were at the expense of the people. He also knew the most exploited were the colonized peoples of resource rich land (ie. South America, Africa). Therefore, he proclaimed often, “left is best,” because it was the side of politics that sticks up for the workers and the everyday citizens. Hence, he stressed critical support for socialist projects in Brazil and Bolivia, and African countries too, such as Burkina Faso.
His work opened my eyes to so many ideas and different socialists around the world. His interviews included those with people like Dr. Richard Wolff, Dr. Slavoj Žižek, and Dr. Cornell West. He always tackled the reactionary politics of the United States in such concise and intelligent ways, and ALWAYS with amazing humor.
His humor was always on point, and he could make his co-host Sam Seder (who is a funny dude himself) stop the show due to laughter. I even found myself snickering alone in my room the whole time I read his book.
He will forever be remembered for his wit and his morality, but mostly his love and devotion to people.