Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another Jacobin Weighs In

How Can the Left Win?
By Richard Seymour · In Summer 2011

Of course it deals with Britain, but the situation is similar here. Well, except for the absence of a political "left" -- which still exists in Britain, even if it is largely co-opted by the Gods Who Walk Among Us.

The premise that the right is unified and ready whatever happens is pretty spot on. They not only have a unified message, they have a unified vision. This is how that have been able to succeed so well over the last few decades. In addition, they are relentless. Persistent. And absolutely determined.

I have long thought they learned their lessons from the Old Left. As I pointed out in my Kochevik series of posts, the Koch brothers were strongly influenced by what their father saw in the Soviet Union under Stalin, and in fact their philosophy is nearly Marxist. Their vision is an inversion of Soviet social and Marxist economic ideals, to be sure. But it is dependent on both Marx and the Soviet model.

What passes for the Left, but is actually a very conservative protector of the status quo in this country, has largely abandoned Marx altogether and would sputter in raging denial of any affinity with the Soviet Union or Stalin. In that they would be correct. The so-called "left" in this country isn't even remotely Socialist, let alone Social Democratic. It is conservative and elitist. Much like Rockefeller Republicans of days gone by.

Richard Seymour is writing about a political Left that is still viable in Britain and much of Europe, which is -- yes -- becoming more and more aligned with the what the conservatives used to be, more and more hidebound, and more and more devoted to preserving the status quo against the barbaric radicals of the other side.

It is the solutions that he recommends that I find interesting.

Now we can state, in slightly more abstract terms, what the strategic aims of the Left ought to be. First, since it is normal for people to entertain conflicting ideas and ambitions, we should aim to shift the weight of emphasis along the continuum away from reactionary resentment and toward popular and class-based anger. Secondly, we should destabilize the austerity alliance by attacking their weak links, and shaking free some loose elements ripe for re-appropriation. ... Thirdly, the aim is to re-articulate many of the same elements operated on by the Right into a new majoritarian leftist political mobilization.

The majority has long been far more closely aligned with the principles and policies that we associate with the Left than it is with those of the ostensible Right, but what's happened, especially in this country, and especially since the Reagan years and collapse of the Soviet Union, is that the genuine Left has clammed up, essentially gone silent, and an ersatz political "left," within the Democratic Party and among the Libertarians that infest the internet masquerading as "progressives," has taken its place in public consciousness.

A consequence has been a captured political and electoral system that serves the immediate and pecuniary interests of its sponsors.

Shifting the emphasis away from resentment and toward what I would characterize as righteous anger is essential, and it is happening. The Occupation forces are countering resentments -- for example, that public employees like cops (still) have pensions -- by calls for everyone to have a decent retirement. Why should 20% of children live in poverty in this country? Why should anyone be homeless?

We know why. Those who have the most won't be satisfied until they have it all. They are trying to steal the Future from everyone else.

The whole "austerity" gambit is intended solely to entrench the highest levels of the Ruling Class in their positions forever and to do it at the expense of everyone else. Forever.

The People are rising up and resisting. "End the Wars, Tax the Rich." Very simple, but getting it done is proving to be nearly impossible. The People must persist.

The People will win. It is inevitable.

The current movement is "transpartisan," neither right nor left, but beyond them. The Leftist ideals are still motivational; their realization, however, seems to be possible only outside the political and electoral system. Understandably, this makes the political parties nervous, in ways they weren't at all nervous about the TeaBaggers -- knowing as they did that the 'Baggers were a branch of the established Republican Party and were funded by well known and respected billionaires. The Occupation Movement seems to have come out of nowhere -- which is not quite what happened, but set that aside -- and has no clear line of authority back to any political party or even ideology, nor does it seem to be funded by anything other than grassroots contributions of money and supplies.

It is legitimately outside the system.

It isn't controlled by anyone. It is fully open and participatory.

Scary, hunh?

Well, it is to the Ruling Class, or at least it should be if they've been paying any attention to Movements this year.

They should be.

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