Is there a hope for the Labour Movement? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15115638
I'd like to move my response to @Wellsy from 'What are good Aussie media/journalists' to a new thread, because this could be an interesting discussion to have. First, I will address his post.

Wellsy wrote:Perhaps we're of similar backgrounds if you are also an Australian raised in a city and got reasonable education.


Good guess.

Wellsy wrote:Do you think the Greens have been gaining momentum as a popular party in recent years under Richard Di Natale?
And that the Greens push social issues and policy response? That sounds a reasonable approach for a minor party that can't oust the two dominant parties.
I agree the Greens cannot succeed due to structural implications of our voting system which differs from say the Germans which allows representation for anyone who gets 5% of the vote.


People put far too much emphasis on which type of voting system is used, in my opinion. Certainly, it is telling that despite having approximately eight percent popular support, the Australian Greens only have one of 151 seats in the House of Representatives. However, if you look at New Zealand, which does use a form of proportional representation in their lower house, you will find that it doesn't change much, and that actually, the Canadian Parliament, which doesn't use proportional representation, has more variety in political parties than the New Zealand Parliament does, because the social divisions in Canadian society demand that.

The intention of my earlier post was to communicate that if cultural groundwork is what lays the foundation for social progress, it doesn't really matter whether the Greens have one seat or sixteen. If the grassroots support for their ideas isn't there, they won't get anywhere. Further than that though, they needn't get anywhere. Perhaps the Greens themselves don't understand this, but at the end of the day, the general public are not going to vote for what they perceive as the 'far left'. The job of the Greens is to make Labor look good. Think: around the West, Justin Trudeau was considered wildly progressive when he was elected. In Canada, however, he is still a moderate liberal, because Canada has two major political parties with more progressive platforms than his.

Wellsy wrote:I have some skepticism though without exploring it further, even in the case of Biden and Sanders. I've seen the assertion of Sanders pushing the Democratic party to the left because of the concerns he raised and the strong response he got.
I'm not yet convinced that is the case and wish to keep an eye on the claim. Because I've not heard actual concessions made on such a basis other then headlines asserting it but not anything specific. Which could just be my own media consumption as I don't read news all to often and don't need to at times because everyone else is so immerse it pops out just like I end up knowing what some celebrity is doing without any effort.


Well, I'll provide some examples, then. A decade ago, Barack Obama proposed a public health insurance option for the United States, which, despite Democratic control of the US Congress, did not pass into law. Consider also, by the way, that when he ran for president in 2008, he was described as 'the most liberal member of the Senate', and was presented by Republicans as some kind of radical socialist. Ten years later, you had Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez presented in that same light, and the public option is now considered the moderate, common sense option for healthcare reform, supported by Joe Biden along with nearly two thirds of Americans. Joe Biden supports a $15 dollar minimum wage, popularised by Bernie Sanders. Before Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, no politician talked about student loan forgiveness. Now, the majority of Americans support this, and Joe Biden's campaign includes tuition free college. Only a third of Americans supported marijuana legalisation when Obama was president. Now, Biden is viewed as socially conservative because he only supports decriminalisation. This is what I'm talking about when I say that progressives pushing the envelope allow for the normalisation of certain ideas.


Wellsy wrote:I have been hearing some policy positions from Labor party MPs on FriendlyJordies youtube channel which has been the only time I've seen and heard extensive coverage of their policy views and find them quite agreeable to what a labor party is meant to be about, Australian workers.
Which makes me somewhat hopeful that they haven't entirely gone to shit by the weakening of modern day Unions to merely service providers rather than solidarity among workers.


Yeah, the weakening of the unions isn't the main problem. It's that union membership in Australia has gone from a half to a third. It's that Labor's traditional working class base has been carved up by tradesmanship and automation, and that many of its less devoted followers have switched to the Liberals or the Greens. And that's really what I want to talk about with this post, so I now turn to the rest of PoFo.

If you've read to this point, please read on. I promise it will become more relevant.

In 2010, in Australia, the Australian Greens gained their first seat in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Australian Parliament, with the Prime Minister and whatnot. That election, they had 12% of the primary vote. In the three elections since, they have gotten under ten percent of the primary vote. Notably, the conservative Liberal/National Coalition have also been in power since the 2013 election. Now, I can't pretend I pay much attention to the Australian media, but I'm under the impression that a combination of Rupert Murdoch owning most of the private news outlets and the government constantly threatening to end funding to public ones have meant that the Australian Government have gotten off fairly lightly with regard to their record. There also seems to be less and less coverage of either the Greens or the Labor Party.

From what I know of the new leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, I actually quite like the political platform he's running on. But what I know of Adam Bandt, I know because I've specifically sought out that information. The average Australian woudn't know that information, I don't think, because the media ignores the Greens and hopes they'll go away. Of course, very country's political situation is distinct. In the United States, until this year, the ideas of Adam Bandt were represented by Bernie Sanders. In the United Kingdom, until this year, they were represented by Jeremy Corbyn. But there is a common thread here.

In 1947, President Truman launched the United States' First Red Scare, with an executive order screening people associated with socialistic organisations. The anti-socialism promoted by Senator Joe McCarthy over the 1950's took a while to crystalise, but oh boy did it work. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Ronald Reagan President of the United States at the start of the eighties. Inspired by Chicago School economics, those two presided over the liberalisation of the economies in the Anglosphere. Before then, Fabian Socialism was the driving force of the British, Australian and kiwi Labour parties, but since that happened, not a socialist prime minister ever has graced us. They were all replaced by centrist Keynesians: Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in Australia, Bill Clinton in the US and Tony Blair in the UK.

I watched on, as for four straight years, Jeremy Corbyn was maligned by the British Media as a fanatical Stalinist, all the while only putting forward policy which would've been perfectly acceptable fifty years ago. As Bernie Sanders was purposely ignored and left out of conversations on American Television, so that the discussion was always centred around Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. And in Australia, of course, the unnecessarily moderate Labor Party lost last year's election purely for suggesting that they would implement policies that would raise taxes, while the Greens were dumped in the gutter and forgotten about entirely.

As I said earlier, labour unions are losing ground. The (in my view inevitable) processes of offshoring and automation have rendered them increasingly irrelevant, and this has a negative effect on the electability and platform of labour parties, who must necessarily attract new voters who do not necessarily have the best interests of the working class in mind. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless across the developed world, and this only increases as the rich get richer, yet people below the poverty line can be convinced to vote for Boris Johnson because apparently free healthcare equals Mao Zedong. What is the future of the labour movement which propelled the British Labour Party into power in a matter of decades?
#15115716
Local Localist wrote:People put far too much emphasis on which type of voting system is used, in my opinion. Certainly, it is telling that despite having approximately eight percent popular support, the Australian Greens only have one of 151 seats in the House of Representatives. However, if you look at New Zealand, which does use a form of proportional representation in their lower house, you will find that it doesn't change much, and that actually, the Canadian Parliament, which doesn't use proportional representation, has more variety in political parties than the New Zealand Parliament does, because the social divisions in Canadian society demand that.

The intention of my earlier post was to communicate that if cultural groundwork is what lays the foundation for social progress, it doesn't really matter whether the Greens have one seat or sixteen. If the grassroots support for their ideas isn't there, they won't get anywhere. Further than that though, they needn't get anywhere. Perhaps the Greens themselves don't understand this, but at the end of the day, the general public are not going to vote for what they perceive as the 'far left'. The job of the Greens is to make Labor look good. Think: around the West, Justin Trudeau was considered wildly progressive when he was elected. In Canada, however, he is still a moderate liberal, because Canada has two major political parties with more progressive platforms than his.

I agree with the sentiment that it's not enough to reform the system as in tune with your point about politics coming from culture I would specify political struggle is first in civil society and all developments come through illiberal means despite liberal thinkers like Rawls who speak of liberalism as an attempt at consensus but with no overriding consensus to be hegemonic whilst accepting the basis of a liberal society.
Well here you seem to be noting how somethings are seen as extreme but having one group seem the more extreme makes more acceptable what is more in the middle and thus normal.

Well, I'll provide some examples, then. A decade ago, Barack Obama proposed a public health insurance option for the United States, which, despite Democratic control of the US Congress, did not pass into law. Consider also, by the way, that when he ran for president in 2008, he was described as 'the most liberal member of the Senate', and was presented by Republicans as some kind of radical socialist. Ten years later, you had Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez presented in that same light, and the public option is now considered the moderate, common sense option for healthcare reform, supported by Joe Biden along with nearly two thirds of Americans. Joe Biden supports a $15 dollar minimum wage, popularised by Bernie Sanders. Before Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, no politician talked about student loan forgiveness. Now, the majority of Americans support this, and Joe Biden's campaign includes tuition free college. Only a third of Americans supported marijuana legalisation when Obama was president. Now, Biden is viewed as socially conservative because he only supports decriminalisation. This is what I'm talking about when I say that progressives pushing the envelope allow for the normalisation of certain ideas.

This is a good example in that I do think whilst Obamacare is insufficient it began the opening crack for a dialogue of how the US healthcare system doesn't properly serve people but profiteering. Bernie Sanders has also played the role in mentioning universal healthcare although the discussion hasn't yet gotten to what that might actually look like and how to implement it in detail but just an acceptance of the idea in the abstract.
I think the above does show that civil society and voters when voting as a block do hold some sway over how politicians try to appeal to them in order to get their vote as the system isn't entirely indifferent to voters.
It's just voting as an individual is insignificant, but groups who organize around a clear end can influence mainstream politics. Although the way voting is view is still in a very abstract atomized view even when they include demographics. There is a big difference between women, men, blacks, whites or what ever vote this way and more concrete grouping of actual X groups tend towards this, clear subjects rather than a collection of abstract universal attributes.

Spoiler: show
Yeah, the weakening of the unions isn't the main problem. It's that union membership in Australia has gone from a half to a third. It's that Labor's traditional working class base has been carved up by tradesmanship and automation, and that many of its less devoted followers have switched to the Liberals or the Greens. And that's really what I want to talk about with this post, so I now turn to the rest of PoFo.

If you've read to this point, please read on. I promise it will become more relevant.

In 2010, in Australia, the Australian Greens gained their first seat in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Australian Parliament, with the Prime Minister and whatnot. That election, they had 12% of the primary vote. In the three elections since, they have gotten under ten percent of the primary vote. Notably, the conservative Liberal/National Coalition have also been in power since the 2013 election. Now, I can't pretend I pay much attention to the Australian media, but I'm under the impression that a combination of Rupert Murdoch owning most of the private news outlets and the government constantly threatening to end funding to public ones have meant that the Australian Government have gotten off fairly lightly with regard to their record. There also seems to be less and less coverage of either the Greens or the Labor Party.

From what I know of the new leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, I actually quite like the political platform he's running on. But what I know of Adam Bandt, I know because I've specifically sought out that information. The average Australian woudn't know that information, I don't think, because the media ignores the Greens and hopes they'll go away. Of course, very country's political situation is distinct. In the United States, until this year, the ideas of Adam Bandt were represented by Bernie Sanders. In the United Kingdom, until this year, they were represented by Jeremy Corbyn. But there is a common thread here.

In 1947, President Truman launched the United States' First Red Scare, with an executive order screening people associated with socialistic organisations. The anti-socialism promoted by Senator Joe McCarthy over the 1950's took a while to crystalise, but oh boy did it work. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Ronald Reagan President of the United States at the start of the eighties. Inspired by Chicago School economics, those two presided over the liberalisation of the economies in the Anglosphere. Before then, Fabian Socialism was the driving force of the British, Australian and kiwi Labour parties, but since that happened, not a socialist prime minister ever has graced us. They were all replaced by centrist Keynesians: Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in Australia, Bill Clinton in the US and Tony Blair in the UK.

I watched on, as for four straight years, Jeremy Corbyn was maligned by the British Media as a fanatical Stalinist, all the while only putting forward policy which would've been perfectly acceptable fifty years ago. As Bernie Sanders was purposely ignored and left out of conversations on American Television, so that the discussion was always centred around Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. And in Australia, of course, the unnecessarily moderate Labor Party lost last year's election purely for suggesting that they would implement policies that would raise taxes, while the Greens were dumped in the gutter and forgotten about entirely.

As I said earlier, labour unions are losing ground. The (in my view inevitable) processes of offshoring and automation have rendered them increasingly irrelevant, and this has a negative effect on the electability and platform of labour parties, who must necessarily attract new voters who do not necessarily have the best interests of the working class in mind. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless across the developed world, and this only increases as the rich get richer, yet people below the poverty line can be convinced to vote for Boris Johnson because apparently free healthcare equals Mao Zedong. What is the future of the labour movement which propelled the British Labour Party into power in a matter of decades?

Agreed, although in regards to unions it also is a symptom of the general break down of the social fabric.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/social.pdf
It may be some cold comfort to trade unionists to see that the curve of union membership (p. 81) fairly closely matches the curve for all “chapter-based” associations (p. 54); Putnam reports how, as these phenomena began to bite in the 1970s, activists in various kinds of organisation began to soul-search and enquire into the reasons for their demobilisation, but we now know that the issue is not the unpopularity of trade unionism, or whatever, but a society-wide decline in civic participation of any kind. Also, unionists will be aware of how leaderships reacted to this crisis by a move to “service” unionism, of transforming activist-based self-organisation into cheque-book unionism, resembling an insurance service rather than an organisation in the normal sense of the word. This same move was accompanied in the union movement, as elsewhere, by professionalism; even child-care now no longer employs part-time teenagers, but relies on professionals with degrees in early childhood development. Putnam’s curve showing the rise of membership of national environmental organisations (p. 156) shows not so much a rising interest in the environment rather than worker-solidarity for example, but the rise of subscription membership as opposed to participation.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/flourishing.pdf
We also take ‘projects’ rather than ‘groups’ as a unit of analysis. That is, rather than seeing a community as a mosaic of groups of various kinds – ethnic groups, age groups, occupational groups, voters, consumers, etc. – we see the social fabric as woven of projects. This has a number of implications.

Firstly, it means we do not take subjects as nonentities with contingent attributes attached (gender, occupation, ethnicity, ...) by means of which they can be pigeon holed into various groups. We see social life as made up of people pursuing common ends, i.e., projects, and the community as we find it is the product of these projects. This society, with its laws, customs, land, human beings, etc., is all created and shaped by past projects and kept alive by the projects we pursue today. Every individual human life is itself a project.
Secondly, although statisticians prefer the pigeon-holing approach to analysis, the project approach is an eminently suitable lens through which to view society for those of us who are interested in change and who are less interested in people as consumers and voters than in people as agents shaping their own lives and the lives of others through participation in projects.

And this also emphasizes the strength of media in determining what people think and talk about because they're more susceptible to it without alternative communities with different views and values.
People really have been rendered atomistic individuals with the break down of the social fabric whereas previously they may have found some resistance to such influences based on communities they participated in whether it was the church, the union or something else. As this is where (socialized individuals) subjectivity is founded rather than as objects of manipulation, they actively form their views on things.

I think wisdom founded in the trade union movement and other social movements emphasizes that the core ethic to guide the development of such subjects in civil society within a condition of modernity where markets have encroached on civil life is that of solidarity.
Solidarity means giving support to a stranger on their own terms; so solidarity differs from community because it is extended to strangers, and differs from philanthropy because it is given on the stranger’s own terms, not that of the giver.
Jane Jacobs is a good example of how this has proven itself outside of the trade union movement in opposing city planners fucking up communities, but they're not communities in a traditional sense as they're of a particularly modern variant.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/social.pdf
For Jacobs, “social solidarity” is all those qualitative conditions which are prerequisites for a vital and sustainable life in a big city. The principal challenge that a big city faces, in order to be able to benefit from the concentration of so many human beings in one place, is the ubiquitous presence of strangers. She is at pains to point out that suburbs, villages and rural properties sustain their own kind of life and self-government in quite different conditions, requiring quite different preconditions, and nothing in Death and Life should be taken as relevant outside of urban neighbourhoods. In order to enjoy the benefit of living within busride of sufficiently many other people engaged in almost any activity you can think of, in sufficient specific weight to make it viable, you pay for it by living cheek-by-jowl with strangers, and certain moral norms and geo-social conditions are necessary to survive these conditions fruitfully.

One of the things which has changed in the 40 years since Jacobs wrote her book is that “urban neighbourhoods” now subsume the majority of the world’s population. Of course, Jacobs was always convinced that the people living in these neighbourhoods were the most important for the future of humanity, but now we can say “urban neighbourhoods” is pretty much the normal environment for modernity.

The social conditions Jacobs was interested in were broadly speaking networks of solidarity, trust and collaboration encompassing people living, working in and passing through a neighbourhood and moral norms supporting the public good up to the point where the population of an area could become capable of “self-government,” of effectively defending itself against the attacks of city planners, big business and hostile strangers, securing safe streets and good living conditions out of which people could go to off work in the morning, in which people could raise their children and enjoy leisure time and into which people could come to visit or do business, etc..
...
Sidewalk culture. Jacobs says that the essence of the experience of having strangers looking out for you as a kid on the sidewalk is that they have not been hired to do so. So, if the neighbours are paid for the job they formerly did for free, the essence of the practice has been lost. If caring for sidewalks is privatised, transformed into “real” capital, then the so-called “social capital” is not “realised,” it’s destroyed! The insurance/litigation/regulation dynamic has exactly the same effect. It is no longer acceptable for a teenager to mind their smaller cousins, and they are replaced by paid childcarers. Good news for the valuation of women’s labour, but bad news unfortunately for social solidarity.

And in regards to broader movements I like this concept in which instead of the tendency of alliance politics in the short term, there is an emphasis on something which is valued in itself across various groups.
It suggests a useful idea on how to bind many different ideological groups as there is no point in trying to establish a hegemony of Marxists or whatever, but to start from solidarity and on the basis of establishing trust and collaboration based on a shared value.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/amphictony.htm
The remarkable success of the amphictonies must cause us to reflect on their significance for our own times. The establishment of an amphictony recognises that the relevant subjects do not intend to make an alliance or union, but are prepared to deal with each other as moral equals and make common sacrifices in order to protect and maintain something of common value to them all, and are prepared to continue doing that even when at war with one another. Participation in an amphictony in no way sacrificed the sovereignty of the participating states, since maintenance and protection of the sacred site was the only responsibility of the amphictony, even though that duty could have profound repercussions for any state.

The inclusion in the scope of an amphictony of the inviolability of water sources gives us a clue as to what a modern amphictony would mean. It is the institutionalisation of the recognition by subjects, that there is something which transcends them and whatever may separate them. The nearest thing to a modern amphictony would be a league of independent sovereign subjects which accepted the responsibility to protect the environment or a particular feature of the environment relevant to them.

Amphictony provides for bonds with other subjects with whom we would not form an alliance or even make a peace, but which is in many senses stronger and more long-lasting than an alliance. An amphictony can be exceptionally long-lasting because the object to be protected defines its continuity, rather than the parties.

An amphictony differs from a hegemony because the controlling entity (on one hand the hegemon, on the other the sacred site) is outside, and it is not a subject. Amphicton, the mythical founder of the Great Amphictonic League was born of the soil of the sacred site. The maintenance of shared festivals (like May Day) and institutions (the unions) are possible examples, but above all of course, protection of the environment, create opportunities for the establishment of amphictonies.

At a deeper level, what the amphictony represents is the collaboration of mutually sovereign and independent subjects in a common project, itself a sovereign and independent project outside or above the life of each participating subject. The shared religious rituals and beliefs of the Greek people provided this opportunity, just as do shared religious beliefs and institutions today, though it is stewardship of the environment which is more paradigmatically modern.


But what is the future of the labour movement? I'm not quite sure, I am skeptical of those who wish to recreate the union movements of old or a vanguard. There is wisdom to be drawn from the past but we aren't in the past we're in a present with a different political landscape. Hence the need to pay particular attention to things happening today and their qualitative difference.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/SP-talk.htm
But secondly, while proletarian class consciousness is very fragmented and weak, capitalism has become absolutely ubiquitous, it covers the entire globe and penetrates even the most private and the most communal of relations. As a result, the potential for an anti-capitalist formation, based on the social conditions of all of us suffering under capitalism, is really there. But when I say ‘formation’ I mean that it cannot be a ‘movement’ like the social movements of the past. I'm sorry, but I think the social conditions for such movements, which gave the communists the opportunity to contest for leadership of the people, have gone.

This is not a bad thing. It just means that the social conditions for socialist revolution and for socialism itself are coming about in a somewhat different way than we envisaged. The Manifesto envisaged:

“In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” [Communist Manifesto, Chapter 2]

The communist ideal has always been connected with the modern wage labourer insofar as he or she thinks in and for his or her class. The task of Marxists today is to figure out how to translate that vision into forms of social consciousness which make sense in today’s world, in a form which embraces the irreducible diversity of modern society. The writings of Karl Marx and the experience of millions who have fought the good fight over the past 150 years remain a priceless resource, ... so long as we are prepared to find new solutions to new problems.
#15116335
Wellsy wrote:I agree with the sentiment that it's not enough to reform the system as in tune with your point about politics coming from culture I would specify political struggle is first in civil society and all developments come through illiberal means despite liberal thinkers like Rawls who speak of liberalism as an attempt at consensus but with no overriding consensus to be hegemonic whilst accepting the basis of a liberal society.
Well here you seem to be noting how somethings are seen as extreme but having one group seem the more extreme makes more acceptable what is more in the middle and thus normal.


This is a good example in that I do think whilst Obamacare is insufficient it began the opening crack for a dialogue of how the US healthcare system doesn't properly serve people but profiteering. Bernie Sanders has also played the role in mentioning universal healthcare although the discussion hasn't yet gotten to what that might actually look like and how to implement it in detail but just an acceptance of the idea in the abstract.
I think the above does show that civil society and voters when voting as a block do hold some sway over how politicians try to appeal to them in order to get their vote as the system isn't entirely indifferent to voters.
It's just voting as an individual is insignificant, but groups who organize around a clear end can influence mainstream politics. Although the way voting is view is still in a very abstract atomized view even when they include demographics. There is a big difference between women, men, blacks, whites or what ever vote this way and more concrete grouping of actual X groups tend towards this, clear subjects rather than a collection of abstract universal attributes.

And this also emphasizes the strength of media in determining what people think and talk about because they're more susceptible to it without alternative communities with different views and values.
People really have been rendered atomistic individuals with the break down of the social fabric whereas previously they may have found some resistance to such influences based on communities they participated in whether it was the church, the union or something else. As this is where (socialized individuals) subjectivity is founded rather than as objects of manipulation, they actively form their views on things.


Yes, given my particular ideological position, I am quite sympathetic to this view, that unfettered capitalism and liberal individualism has fostered the breakdown in community and social identity. Ultimately, the liberal conception of justice is insufficient and constrained, as an atomised individual who has gained their full liberty will inevitably feel lost and alienated without a strong and cohesive community and identity to fall back on, and further than that, one’s community, and its culture, shapes and defines them as an individual. A community is a web of interconnected human relationships that work to reinforce each other, and it shares common and disparate values, outlooks and histories. This force generates culture and assures the physical and mental health and wellbeing of every individual. For this reason, I believe that the self-determination of every people and community must be assured, and we must work to decentralise and localise authority to the community level to the greatest extent possible in order to empower every community to affirm and progress their individual cultures.

Wellsy wrote:I think wisdom founded in the trade union movement and other social movements emphasizes that the core ethic to guide the development of such subjects in civil society within a condition of modernity where markets have encroached on civil life is that of solidarity.
Solidarity means giving support to a stranger on their own terms; so solidarity differs from community because it is extended to strangers, and differs from philanthropy because it is given on the stranger’s own terms, not that of the giver.
Jane Jacobs is a good example of how this has proven itself outside of the trade union movement in opposing city planners fucking up communities, but they're not communities in a traditional sense as they're of a particularly modern variant.



In many ways, I am the opposite of a feudalist. However, I think that there are certain concepts in social ethic which were developed over thousands of years from the time of the Sumerians to Medieval Europe, and these must be considered. In addition to solidarity, which you have highlighted, I would also point out the importance of reciprocity, which involves building continuing positive relationships and exchanges through a mutual reward of kind actions. In addition, the concepts of subsidiarity and usufruct are also useful to consider. The first involves socially organising and solving problems at the most relevant and local level, while the second involves ensuring an ability to access and benefit from possessions and property which one does not own without significantly altering them.

Wellsy wrote:And in regards to broader movements I like this concept in which instead of the tendency of alliance politics in the short term, there is an emphasis on something which is valued in itself across various groups.
It suggests a useful idea on how to bind many different ideological groups as there is no point in trying to establish a hegemony of Marxists or whatever, but to start from solidarity and on the basis of establishing trust and collaboration based on a shared value.


On the point about binding many ideological groups, I think there is something to be said for that. At the end of the day, I don't believe that there is a one size fits all solution in terms of the form of government which should be adopted. The cultural context and material conditions of a society determine the ideal modus operandi. With this being said, you can't really successfully work with people who have different worldviews and end goals to your own. There are only really a handful of basic outlooks which shape the modern world, and if someone doesn't fall within the same broader ideological sphere as yourself, you can hardly form a political organisation with them.

Wellsy wrote:But what is the future of the labour movement? I'm not quite sure, I am skeptical of those who wish to recreate the union movements of old or a vanguard. There is wisdom to be drawn from the past but we aren't in the past we're in a present with a different political landscape. Hence the need to pay particular attention to things happening today and their qualitative difference.


I quite agree with this as well. I could never be anything like a Marxist-Leninist myself, because I don't think it is useful to dogmatically fixate on a set of written ideals without being able to adapt to the situation on the ground. I think that it's important to prioritise immediate and concrete goals over theories in the abstract, and while, of course, the Marxist material analysis is a significant innovation which is not to be overlooked, there is a tendency for people who wholeheartedly embrace this way of thinking to deify historical figures and create stagnating political entities. I think it is not talked about enough that it's not as hard as is often thought to turn from Che Guevara to Pol Pot. You are correct in saying that we can't merely seek to reestablish the unions and vanguards of olde. New social organisations are necessary, and preferably ones more organised than Antifa. As such, I think it's essential to build on the labour organisations that already exist.
#15117102
Local Localist wrote:Yes, given my particular ideological position, I am quite sympathetic to this view, that unfettered capitalism and liberal individualism has fostered the breakdown in community and social identity. Ultimately, the liberal conception of justice is insufficient and constrained, as an atomised individual who has gained their full liberty will inevitably feel lost and alienated without a strong and cohesive community and identity to fall back on, and further than that, one’s community, and its culture, shapes and defines them as an individual. A community is a web of interconnected human relationships that work to reinforce each other, and it shares common and disparate values, outlooks and histories. This force generates culture and assures the physical and mental health and wellbeing of every individual. For this reason, I believe that the self-determination of every people and community must be assured, and we must work to decentralise and localise authority to the community level to the greatest extent possible in order to empower every community to affirm and progress their individual cultures.

Indeed, liberal rights are fundamentally anti-socail, it's based more in a hobbsesean, holding back of people's infringement upon my desires and practices of thereof.
The details of decentralization are interesting and I can see points made towards it though specifics ellude me for lack of study.
But I will mention this summary of Marx and the assertion of his interest in decentralization by inferring possibilities based on events that had already occurred there than a mere projection from fantasy, we should always draw from what has or does exist.
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/smith-cyril/works/millenni/smith3.htm
The most important feature of this class activity was that it centred on the disappearance of this class itself, its dissolution in the true community.

The working class, in the course of its development, will substitute for the old civil society an association which will exclude classes and their antagonism, and there will be no more political power properly so-called, since political power is precisely the official expression of antagonism in civil society. ... It is only in an order of things in which there are no more classes that social evolutions will cease to be political revolutions. [Poverty of Philosophy]

rom his study of the experience of the upheavals of 1848, and of the Paris Commune in 1871, Marx clarified this conception. In The Civil War in France (1871), read by the General Council of the First International to its members after the brutal suppression of the world’s first working-class government, the characteristics of the Commune which he highlighted demonstrate how far his ideas of transition were from the ‘Marxist’ caricature. The Commune was ‘the direct antithesis of the Empire’, ‘a republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of government, but class rule itself. He stressed the Commune’s decision to suppress the standing army and to substitute for it ‘the armed people’. He firmly applauded its democratic character, its attempt to establish a form of government in which ‘the police was ... stripped of its political attributes, and turned into the responsible and at all times revocable agents of the Commune’. Among the most important features of the Commune were the efforts it made to prevent its servants from acquiring special privileges. Marx applauded the aim of setting up an ‘elective, responsible and revocable judiciary.

Those who accept the ‘Marxist’ version of ‘proletarian dictatorship’ may be surprised to hear that Marx favoured the Communard notion of decentralised government, in which

the rural communes of every district were to administer their common affairs by an assembly of delegates in the central town, and these district assemblies were again to send deputies to the national delegation in Paris, each delegate to be revocable and bound by the mandat impératif [formal instruction of his constituents]. [Civil War in France]

In The Civil War in France, Marx is careful never to refer to the Commune as a state, but as a form of government which had tried to take over the functions of the state. Indeed, in an earlier draft of the ‘Address’, he put it like this:

The Commune – the reabsorption of the state power by society as its own living forces instead of as forces controlling and subduing it, by the popular masses themselves, forming their own force instead of die organised force of their suppression – the political form of their social emancipation, instead of the artificial force (appropriated by their oppressors) (their own force opposed to and organised against them) of society wielded for their oppression by their enemies. [Civil War in France]

Considering what the Commune might have achieved, he speaks of

all France organised into self-working and self-governing communes ... the suffrage for the national representation not a matter of sleight-of-hand for an all-powerful government, but the deliberate expression of organised communes, the state functions reduced to a few functions for general national purposes. Such is the Commune – the political form of the social emancipation, of the liberation of labour from the usurpations (slave-holding) of the monopolists of the means of labour, created by the labourers themselves or forming the gift of nature. As the state machinery and parliamentarism are not the real life of the ruling classes, but only the organised general organs of their dominion, so the Commune is not the social movement of the working class and therefore of a general regeneration of mankind, but the organised means of action. [Civil War in France]

These words show why Marx never used the term ‘workers’ state’, later so widely employed by ‘Marxists’ to describe a particular form of centralised state power. When Bakunin asks, sarcastically, ‘There are about 40 million Germans. Does this mean that all 40 million will be members of the government?” Marx, in 1874, answers directly: ‘Certainly! For the system starts with the self-government of the communities. ... When class rule has disappeared, there will be no state in the present political sense.’

In his controversies with Proudhon, with Stirner and with Bakunin, what was at stake was not so much their call to ‘abolish the state’, but their refusal to consider what was the basis of the state. Only when private ownership of the means of labour, and thus the alienated form of labour, disappeared, would the state dissolve into the community. The socialist revolution was simply the way this historical process would be organised. In view of the distorting experience of the Russian Revolution, I believe these ideas of Marx are among his most relevant for our time.

Although the asserted distortions of the Russian socialist project in itself did have high ambitions.
http://burawoy.berkeley.edu/Marxism/Marxism%20As%20Science.pdf
the defeat of the working class in the West. In Results and Prospects (1969) he wrote that failing a revolution in the West the Russian revolution would be aborted and would turn inward on itself. He anticipated the broad outlines of what actually happened after 1917. The tragedy of Trotsky's life was that he was destined to be the agent and the victim of his own accurate predictions -the involution of a Russian Revolution that was not followed by revolution in the West, the process he analyzed with great acuity in Revolution Betrayed ([I9361 1972).
...
We have here an instance of fruitful dialogue between rival traditions in which Marxism incorporates the challenge of anarchism. While regarding the anarchists as utopians for thinking it was possible to skip the stage of socialism, Lenin took their fear of the emergence of a new form of state very seriously. It was not enough to elirninate one class -the bourgeoisie -we must guarantee that a new class would not emerge, in particular a class of officials and experts. Lenin thought that advances in technology would permit the reduction of state functions to "accounting and control," thereby limiting the possibility of the rise of a new class based on its monopoly of knowledge.
The very radicalism of his proposed democracy testifies to his recognition of the dangers of bureaucratization and officialdom. From the standpoint of this model of the transition to communism it is obvious why all socialist revolutions hitherto have failed to realize their goals of justice and efficiency: Instead of the institutionalization of radical democracy and the guarantee of bourgeois rights, there arose a new class of state bureaucrats who monopolized control over the means of production, undermining both the principle of reward according to labor and the possibility of effective planning. Why did events tum out this way? The Russian revolution took place in a semi-feudal agrarian country, already exhausted and defeated in war. Far from aiding the Russian Revolution, Westem states blockaded the Soviet Union and promoted a civil war against the fledgling state. These were not the best conditions for establishing a radical democracy.


In many ways, I am the opposite of a feudalist. However, I think that there are certain concepts in social ethic which were developed over thousands of years from the time of the Sumerians to Medieval Europe, and these must be considered. In addition to solidarity, which you have highlighted, I would also point out the importance of reciprocity, which involves building continuing positive relationships and exchanges through a mutual reward of kind actions. In addition, the concepts of subsidiarity and usufruct are also useful to consider. The first involves socially organising and solving problems at the most relevant and local level, while the second involves ensuring an ability to access and benefit from possessions and property which one does not own without significantly altering them.

Where you emphasize reciporicity, I tend to think of the conditions for trust where people work together often enough that they get a sense of another reliability.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/atheists.htm
Trust arises from collaboration within a single system of activity with another person. Trust means you know someone’s track record and there’s a reliability about it because your interaction has not just been random, passing interactions, but has taken place within some definite project or institution or movement. Trust extends only as far as the self-consciousness of the relevant subjectivity. So for example, if I've worked with someone at work, I will trust them with work matters, but I won’t necessarily trust them to look after my kids or in personal relationships and so on. And vice versa. In any case, trust is the relationship you have with people that you have collaborated with within a subjectivity.

Although my emphasis on Solidarity is that it is the prerequisite of any sort of connection between different groups against the destruction of the social fabric by markets.
So solidarity is the relationship which not only offers recognition, but also builds trust and strengthens subjectivity. So this is the form which political activity has to take if we want to build a new movement. It’s a kind of pre-condition, rather than the solution itself.


I could see those ethics becoming actuality as things kick-off and one really does foster strong communities and connections between them. I see with that last one a point about a change in property relations as of course we are excluded by the legal right of private property.
I also wonder if it fits well with this reading of Hegel in regards to property.
[URL]https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/property.htm[/ur]
What about use? For Hegel use is a way of taking possession of something (provided it is not already the property of someone else who wishes to use it), and has the effect of maintaining ownership. When one no longer uses something, then one has taken one’s will out of the thing and it becomes ownerless.

This concept seems to stand up. It appears to be a substantive and ethical conception of property: a thing is mine if I use it in the course of activity which is mine, that is to say, in the course of my socially determined activity. If I stop using it, it reverts to a ‘state of nature’.

In summary, it seems to me that there is a kind of concept of property which exists within the activity of working people and the ethical relations between them. Economic relations, i.e., bourgeois relations, violate this ethic and violate workers’ property. This concept of property seems actually to provide, in combination with consensus decision-making and collaboration, the basis for the organisation of social production on a global scale.

This seems similar but different to the way in which dispossession of land and so on was justified on the basis that one wasn't using it productively ie one wasn't a capitalist reinvesting in the expansion of production.
Here there is a great mass of property that is more than indulgent for a few individuals to own to the exclusion of masses. I see this sentiment of a wrong expressed in the case of Chinese money being used to invest in properties internationally, inflating market prices and never being used. THey're simply investment properties. There are proxies such as measures of use of utilities to show that many apartments in skyscrapers in Melbourne for example have no one living in them for years apparently.
It offends the senses to see such things exists all the while no one can use them because they're someone else's property. We have homelessness, food insecurity, poor health outcomes all on the basis that people don't have the money to make effective demand.
The absurdity is most apparent in recessions where entire factories and productive forces may be shut down not because there is no use for them, but they're not profitable.
https://critiqueofcrisistheory.wordpress.com/crisis-theories-underconsumption/
Capitalist overproduction is overproduction of exchange values, not overproduction of use values. A crisis of overproduction of exchange values breaks out when there is still very much an underproduction of use values, especially use values that the workers themselves need.


On the point about binding many ideological groups, I think there is something to be said for that. At the end of the day, I don't believe that there is a one size fits all solution in terms of the form of government which should be adopted. The cultural context and material conditions of a society determine the ideal modus operandi. With this being said, you can't really successfully work with people who have different worldviews and end goals to your own. There are only really a handful of basic outlooks which shape the modern world, and if someone doesn't fall within the same broader ideological sphere as yourself, you can hardly form a political organisation with them.

Indeed, the problems that face a country have a particular historical trajectory to them although they may hold similarities with others, but they need to be qualified in what manner they can be generalized from their particular contexts where similar problems exist.
Indeed, although the emphasis on some shared ideal against shared worldviews I think is the crucial point to develop to allow collaboration between different subjects/groups.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/arena_ethical_politics.htm
Because there is no shared ideal, issues which arise from an unexpected, or at least, unplanned turn of events, can never be resolved by consensus. At the same time, they cannot by their nature be resolved by majority decision either; firstly because most of the protestors see the imposition of majority decisions as unethical, but secondly because the transitory nature of the event does not justify sacrificing one’s principles to a majority decision with which you may be in fundamental disagreement.

There is no discussion of the ideals which motivate the different participants in an alliance, because such discussion is deemed hopeless. Some alliances have endeavoured to identify shared ideals; “democracy” is sometimes identified as a candidate, but as Naomi Klein demonstrated, if people cannot agree at any level on how to practice democracy, what does it mean that everyone values democracy?

Because the Left usually misrecognises alliance politics as a social movement, their aim is to transform alliances into fronts and ultimately a party. This is not only mistaken and offensive or threatening to other components of the alliance, it completely misunderstands the strength and historic significance of alliance politics.

Yet the paths of objectification by any of the means by which parties, fronts, social movements and identity politics have objectified themselves (i.e., made their ideal into something which objectively exists) is blocked for alliances. What on earth would an alliance do if it were to seize power? If an alliance cannot even decide when to wind up their blockade of the World Economic Forum (WEF), how exactly could they take over the World Trade Organisation (WTO), or create a subjectivity capable of telling the WTO what it ought to do?

The factors which block the path of alliance politics are not its fatal weakness however, which need to be fixed by finally getting a consensus on the meaning of life; these problems are the problems of the modern world, problems which currently leave neoliberalism as the dominant force on the world stage. In tackling the problems of decision-making within radical alliance politics, the young protestors are tackling the essential crisis of modernity: how can free and equal human beings who are strangers, collaborate?

Although discussion of ideals is verboten, alliances are very amenable to discussion of ethics, mainly because such an ethical discussion is inescapable if people are going to collaborate.
...
Consequently, I formulate the Golden Rule as follows: “What we do, is decided by us.” the converse of which is “What you do is decided by you.”
...
The hope behind raising the question of ethical politics is that ethical politics might be the focal point for the convergence of a broad spectrum of political tendencies breaking with the hegemonic neo-liberal political agenda, all of which have highly articulate criticisms of mainstream politics and definite agendas for their respective political alternatives. The only thing lacking is a common public perception of how such alternatives could be approached.

What is ethical in the opposition to the dominant agenda is the focus on respect for the moral worth of all persons, whether this takes the form of the legitimacy of group identities, respect for cultural diversity and equality of opportunity, or the defence of human dignity through wage justice, social welfare and democratic rights.

Could not a discussion around ethical politics provide a real opportunity for these diverse oppositional current to come together?

And many people we do not want a consensus with because they're the opposition/enemy of course.

I quite agree with this as well. I could never be anything like a Marxist-Leninist myself, because I don't think it is useful to dogmatically fixate on a set of written ideals without being able to adapt to the situation on the ground. I think that it's important to prioritise immediate and concrete goals over theories in the abstract, and while, of course, the Marxist material analysis is a significant innovation which is not to be overlooked, there is a tendency for people who wholeheartedly embrace this way of thinking to deify historical figures and create stagnating political entities. I think it is not talked about enough that it's not as hard as is often thought to turn from Che Guevara to Pol Pot. You are correct in saying that we can't merely seek to reestablish the unions and vanguards of olde. New social organisations are necessary, and preferably ones more organised than Antifa. As such, I think it's essential to build on the labour organisations that already exist.

Indeed, there can be a deification of figures and what they proclaimed instead of an emphasis on the very means/method in which they came to their conclusion. I believe Lenin actively criticized those so dogmatically attached to principles independently of the circumstances they were confronted with. It is the product of an unthinking person rather than someone trying to actively solve a problem and confront it in all its difficulty.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/articles/humanism-science.htm
In order to resolve the problem of uniting high moral standards with a maximum of the scientific spirit, the problem must first of all be viewed in all of the acuity and dialectical complexity which it has acquired in the difficult and tumultuous time we live in. A simple algebraic solution will not do. The problem of the relationship between morality and the scientific spirit has been resolved only in the most general fashion by Marxist philosophy. In concrete situations, on the other hand, it will occur again and again in the foreseeable future; each time it will have a new and unexpected twist. Therefore there can be no simple or ready-made solution for each individual occurrence of the conflict between the “mind” and the “conscience.”

There can be no simple prescription or mathematical formula capable of meeting every occasion. If you run into a conflict of this nature, do not assume that in each instance “science” is correct and “conscience” rubbish, or at best a fairy tale for children. The opposite is no closer to the truth, namely that “moral sentiment” is always correct, that science, if it runs into conflict with the former is the heartless and brutal “devil” of Ivan Karamazov, engendering types like Smerdyakov. Only through a concrete examination of the causes of the conflict itself may we find a dialectical resolution, that is to say, the wisest and the most humane solution. Only thus may we find, to phrase it in current jargon, the “optimal variant” of correspondence between the demands of the intellect and of the conscience.

To be sure finding a concrete, dialectical unity between the principles of mind and conscience in each instance is not an easy matter. Unfortunately there is no magic wand, there is no simple algorithm, either of a “scientific” or a “moral” nature.

This also plays out in my dislike for the abstract moral systems proposed, against a point of developing virtuous character.
https://epochemagazine.org/a-problem-based-reading-of-nussbaums-virtue-ethics-4cacfa3e74d6
It is not enough for me, when this problem arises, to remind myself of the maxim ‘be generous’, which I then interpret to universally mean ‘give away the thing that I want’, because excellence of conduct vis-à-vis this problem in this situation may not call for ‘generosity’ to be interpreted in this way (for example, in the distribution of attention and time between multiple people). In fact, from this perspective, this style of rational deliberation is entirely back to front. ‘Generosity’ is not a form of conduct I consult to match with my action when I encounter a problem, the form of conduct to be called ‘generosity’ is engendered by my overcoming of this problem excellently (and only I and those involved here in this predicament ultimately know what this consists in exactly). I don’t need the name of the virtue, or what others or I believe it entails (though this may provide assistance), merely intuit, when greeted with a problem, that there is some maximally ideal solution (notice, not necessarily “perfect”), given the situation, and things and actors within it. And, such an intuition is cooked into the very idea of encountering a problem as problem in the first place.

This is why the principlist objection that virtue ethics does not give a clear indication of what to do in moral test cases misses the mark. Not only is it not offering simple principles of the kind “be virtuous, be generous”, but it rejects the feasibility of the moral test cases as ‘false problems’. These moral test cases, stripped of all particularity, and with their assumption there must be some, one, clear solution, seemingly conflates the kinds of problems worthy of moral consideration (the problems of life) with ‘problems’ in the sense of a ‘math problem’ set for homework. Furthermore, as Annas has pointed out (2013), ‘flattening out’ the problems of life to the simplicity of a math-like homework problem is in itself a kind of attitude or pattern of conduct that can be evaluated by a more holistic virtue ethical approach. Towards what problems and when and where is it an ‘excellent response’ to flatten out the issue itself in this way? And when is doing so a vice? What does a Utilitarian buy for their spouse on their birthday, for example?


I have a knee jerk dislike in this tendency to do what feels like cosplay with the old terms of comrade and proliferate images of Lenin and such. Which is all fine and dandy but a radical this does not make. It tends to be a stage at which someone begins their shift into more radical politics after being disillusioned with liberalism. An immature stage, we all go through a period of dogmatism because we're learning, we can only hope that it is short lived.
#15118424
I have to be honest, I couldn't really be asked responding to all that, but I certainly agree with most of it. I'd like to now continue this thread with a word about Canada and New Zealand. These countries are currently in fairly similar political situations: they have moderately popular social-democratic governments which liberal media outlets such as The Guardian fawn over. The main difference is that in New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party is part of the original Fabian socialist labour movement, and as such, is a member of the 'Progressive Alliance'. Justin Trudeau's Liberals, on the other hand, have their origins in European Liberalism, and so the New Democratic Party are Canada's Progressive Alliance party. The NZ Labour Party and the Canadian Liberal Party both have fairly similar political platforms, though, and, in my mind at least, are really style over substance in a way that I have a viscerally negative reaction to.

Anyhow, I just wanted to reflect on what this says about the nature of politics in different Western countries. The Canadian Liberals are Canada's main social democratic party, and yet are constantly outflanked by the more progressive New Democrats. The Canadian Liberals are more socially progressive than the British, Australian, and Kiwi labour parties are right now, despite not being fundamentally democratic socialist in the same way. They can get away with this because the New Democrats are a major political party which is viewed as more 'radical' than they are, and presumably also because the media is not stacked against them in the same way as it is in Australia, where the Labor Party has capitulated to so many liberal demands that the party's internal documents now describe it as 'social democratic' rather than 'democratic socialist'. To think, Anthony Albanese is thought of as coming from the more progressive wing of his party, and yet is still a mainstream social democrat. Even in the British Labour Party, at least for now, the more progressive wing is made up of actual democratic socialists such as Jeremy Corbyn.
#15122520
Alright, I think I'm going to start using this thread as one to reflect on the current situation of where the things I stand for fit into the world's current political climate. As such, nobody should feel any obligation to respond to anything.

Well, I wasn't sure about Keith. He was, indeed, a great let down from the spirit Jeremy Corbyn kindled in so many youth of Great Britain, but I thought there was a chance for a gentle let down. Perhaps, he could steer the same course as had been navigated by Ed Miliband, or Gordon Brown before him, unpopular as they both were. Maybe, even, he'd be able to attract new voters who'd been gaslighted by Murdoch and Co against supporting Corbyn in the 2019 election. Even when he sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey, even when he willingly kowtowed to every Daily Mail complaint, I thought, there was a chance that he could pose some form of opposition to Boris Johnson. Any sort at all...

No. No he fucking won't. Kier Starmer is a neoliberal Blairite through and through, I'm thoroughly convinced now. Not a trace of 'social' to be seen.

The BBC wrote:But [Keith] said Labour had to be "brutally honest" with itself about why had it had lost four general elections in a row.

"When you lose an election in a democracy you deserve to. You don't look at the electorate and ask them: 'what were you thinking?'," he told the party.


Clearly, not only was Jeremy Corbyn 'too far', but Ed Miliband was too. No more pledging to end poverty, no more investment into education, no more public services whatsoever. The United Kingdom has reverted to the one-party state it was for a quarter-century before 2015 once more, I suppose, only this time the dynamic is an altogether more conservative Johnson-Starmer Axis rather than the more fluffy and cuddly Cameron-Miliband Axis.

The [bloody] Mirror wrote:Three Labour MPs have resigned from junior roles supporting Keir Starmer's front bench after they broke the whip to vote against a bill condemned by former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

They voted against the Overseas Operations bill, which the Government says aims to shield British soldiers from prosecution.

Labour MPs were ordered to abstain on the vote for the bill's second reading.

Beth Winter, Nadia Whittome and Olivia Blake are understood to have been informed that if they voted against the Bill they would be resigning their roles.


An amendment tabled by Mr Corbyn argued that the bill “violates essential rule of law principles such as judicial and prosecutorial independence and the absolute and effective prohibition of torture”.


The Labour Party is gone, at least for the time being. Now, I'm not one of those naïve enough to believe that any opportunities in the domain of electoralism are gone from British politics forever. There is clearly a movement growing among the youth which can only be suppressed for so long. If Fabian socialism can rise once or twice, it can certainly rise again. Just not here or now, unfortunately.

So, where to go from here? The British healthcare system, even more so than the Australian one, is effectively private, at this point, despite all the song and dance to the contrary. The operations of capital have never been more blatant to see, in that when it gains the inertia, it can only serve to keep tendencies of progress at bay. Perhaps the concept of entropy is relevant here, I don't know. Of course, capital requires the aesthetic and the libidinal, but, at least, going by the analysis of Deleuze and Guattari, it cannot allow itself to succumb to this energy, the utterly schizophrenic, devoid of subjectivity and reality, without ceasing to be capital, in a fundamental sense. If capital does block the production of consistency, then libidinal energy is thoroughly necessary in any revolutionary struggle. I don't know about any of this. I'm not sure, but I think I'm growing increasingly attracted to the allure of a form of cultural accelerationism. Or, rather, I suppose, it is growing on me.
#15124105
I recently came across someone in a socialist Discord server who seemed to be some kind of orthodox Marxist. You know the kind: they who would call Joseph Stalin or Mao Zedong 'revisionist' because five year plans and productivism are 'counter-revolutionary'. Now, I don't entirely disagree, of course, and anyone who has talked to me much will realise that I'm not a Marxist-Leninist by any stretch of the imagination. With that being said, frankly, I was never really a Marxist of any variety in the first place. Anyhow, this individual was having an argument with someone over whether Bernie Sanders is a social democrat or a democratic socialist. Like the majority of progressives, I think, I would take the position that he's really more of a social democrat, but I don't really think this particular point of contention is something worth arguing over.

What was important in the argument which occurred was a specific point raised. The individual who I have been speaking of believed that Bernie Sanders was a negative force for 'the left' because he popularised describing social democratic politics as 'socialism'. While, in the long term, I suppose this is some kind of minor issue, having American social democrats self-describe as socialists, I really don't think it should be anything to lose sleep over. The fact is, Bernie Sanders has likely done more for progressives than perhaps anyone in the 21st Century. Among his achievements, he has mainstreamed the use of the term 'socialism' to the United States, perhaps the populous most allergic to the term of any in the world.

I'll now consider the current American situation. I think the first presidential debate was basically what anyone would've expected, and I don't really understand why some seemed quite so shocked as they were. Notably, I think, Joe Biden was turned away from the president for the whole debate. I don't know if that was a campaign decision or a personal one, but I don't think it was a good thing. I understand that he is essentially only able to confidently present himself in a single tone and with a single expression on his face, but he would've seemed more natural, and perhaps more friendly, if he weren't facing straight ahead whenever speaking. I think the intention was to make clear that he didn't have any time for Trump, and so, I suppose, that was conveyed.

The shoutout to the 'Proud Boys', I think, was correctly identified as a major point in the debate. These are the Blackshirts. This is the Sturmabteilung. This is the Kodoha. I am convinced of this much. Democrat-held areas will tend toward different voting methods to Republican-held areas. This will be exploited, and the Republicans will call Democrat votes invalid. There will be a crisis of legitimacy. Will Joe Biden be the next president? I find it highly unlikely. Even if he somehow won the election and didn't kowtow to Donald Trump, it wouldn't be like I'd be cheering him on. Nobody in the Anglosphere likes this kind of 'centrist' anymore, myself included. The time for liberals has passed.

Next election cycle, as much as I hate her on a personal level, Elizabeth Warren would be about the limit of what I'd be willing to endorse. If the DNC go with anyone less progressive than her, they will surely be thoroughly discredited. I for one hope they pick Bloomberg next, and that American progressives finally grow some balls and form their own organisation independent of the Democrats. That would really be the optimal outcome, at this stage, I think.
#15124427
I don't think the president of the United States having coronavirus will have much of an effect on anything. Frankly, there's maybe a five percent chance he dies, taking into account that he is an obese septuagenarian and also that he is a billionaire and the president of the United States. If he did die, it would almost definitely be after the election, and Mike Pence might become interim president while Ted Cruz or someone prepares to take over. I happen to think that it's not unlikely that the president has not actually contracted covid-19, and that he has only said that he has to avoid more presidential debates, as the first wasn't good for his polling. If he does have the virus, perhaps that will dampen his desire to stage a self-coup, but that's assuming the Republicans haven't already been planning the event for some time. Ultimately, only time will tell about any of this.

America's new populist conservatism, exemplified of course by the president, has really raised many issues in my mind that perhaps were not on the minds of the youth of previous generations. I have always been interested in finding the true nature of different ideological tendencies and their relationships with one another. What is the relationship between socialism and liberalism, between liberalism and conservatism, between conservatism and fascism, between fascism and traditionalism, between traditionalism and what has come to be known as 'libertarianism'? Generally, people only concern themselves with one or two ideological tendencies, and individual tendencies tend to have overly simplistic explanations of one another which reduce everything to a binary of some kind.

Take, for instance, the explanation socialist tendencies often give about other ideologies these days. Most socialists, in the Western context at least, were formerly only semi-ideological liberals who transitioned over time to accepting certain truths about the world, or what I would consider to be truths, anyway. Hence, of all non-socialist tendencies, they understand liberalism best, and it seems natural to them to assume that liberalism is the singular gateway from other ideological tendencies into socialism. Now, this makes sense, given that there does seem to be a continuum from MMT libs to social democrats to democratic socialists to anarchists to Marxist-Leninists, or something like that. But is this the only pathway into socialism? Why would it be? Why exactly would someone assume that socialism only feeds into one continuum? Sorry, I'm getting side-tracked, and now I'm going to have to start a new paragraph to lay out what I intended to lay out in this paragraph.

The standard socialist explanation of other ideologies is that epic based reds are on one end of a binary spectrum, on which next comes cringe libtards. These are followed by even more cringe 'centrists', who in turn are followed by conservatives, and then fascists. Now, my contention is that Western socialists essentially know how socialism links up with liberalism because of their own lived experience, but beyond this, they don't actually know or care much for how the ideologies beyond this relate to one another, and indeed to socialism. I have been grappling with these relations recently, and I'd like to try and make an amendment to what I had previously believed.

I had gotten to a point, as I think I've explained in other threads, where I separated things out into four broad ideological spheres which most people in the modern world inhabit. These were 'socialism', 'liberalism', 'fascism' and 'traditionalism'. If you were to graph these, socialism would be on one side, because it is the most progressive, and advocates communism, while traditionalism would be on the other, because it is the most reactionary, and advocates feudalism. Obviously, liberalism would fall between these, in advocating for capitalism, while fascism would also have an uneasy position between socialism and traditionalism, neither being reactionary enough to advocate for feudalism nor progressive enough to advocate for communism.

This is in itself a highly unorthodox position to take, an one which earns only hostility and scorn when expressed with Western progressives. The idea that fascism is not the ultimate reactionary ideological position seems to scramble their circuit wires, when they were always taught about the Nazis being the greatest evil ever set upon humanity. This is an extremely touchy subject, of course, because one must be careful to ensure that it is understood that the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany and affiliated fascist regimes by way of their ideology are not at all being dismissed, or anything of the like, but rather that it is being suggested that there are other ideologies which have led to even worse outcomes, and inherently so.

I'm not sure to what extent my 'four spheres' political model was subconsciously influenced by the abhorrently-designed 'political compass', which has very unfortunately become the standard method of depicting different ideologies on the same page, but I think it was to some extent, because I ended up placing fascism at the top of the model and liberalism at the bottom, in a way which echoes the political compass' rather nebulous 'authority-liberty' axis. Anyway, given that I do identify myself as progressive-aligned, I have, for a long time, been trying to square my own conception of fascism with the standard Marxist class analysis which indicates that fascism isn't even an actual ideology.

In a similar vein as this conception, I have long maintained that 'conservatism' is not actually an ideological tendency, but merely a form of praxis. I have just today come to the idea that perhaps I'm half-right about conservatism and that Marxists are half-right about fascism. Perhaps the first thought that might pop into someone's mind upon reading this is "you're going to say that they are two sides of the same coin." Well, I wasn't. Not exactly. It's going to be difficult to find a way to say what I'm actually going to say, though, and perhaps much of it is best left for future posts.

It has always seemed to me that so-called 'anarcho-capitalism' was a notable thing the Marxists couldn't accurately account for through the lens of their worldview. None of it made sense. Apparently fascism is the most reactionary ideological tendency, while also not actually being an ideological tendency, but merely a reaction of bourgeois capitalists -- and, wait a minute, I always thought capitalists were ultimately better than feudalists because capitalism is the stage of society beyond feudalism. So, for this framework to make sense, reactionaries must just be capitalists, who, in times of crisis, somehow become feudalists? Does this mean capitalism and feudalism are actually the same economic system? How come there are always reactionaries, even when there is no crisis? It seems to me that the Marxist position raises more questions than it answers.

The Austrian school of economics, from which anarcho-capitalism is derived, throws another spanner into the works. Fascism, by definition, demands that there be complete state control of everything. Ancaps, on the other hand, demand that everything be entirely private. As I recently laid out in the 'Raising the Black Flag' thread, they are the semi-feudalists of the modern era, rather than fascists. It all reminds me of the distinction made in neo-reactionary circles between three different strands of thought: the 'White nationalists', the theocrats and the techno-commercialists. In my mind, these are modern Western incarnations of fascists, feudalists and semi-feudalists respectively.

Essentially, what I think I need to do first and foremost with my model is add a 'conservative' sphere, because that's really the only way to incorporate Austrian economists. This splits capitalism between two spheres: social democracy, Keynesianism and MMT in the 'liberal' sphere, and Chicago school [neoliberal] and Austrian school economics in the 'conservative' sphere. Where the hell does fascism go, then? I'll be fucked if I know, and, to be frank, I'm pretty sure I will need to read more political theory to be able to form a comprehensive answer to that question. I'm almost certain nobody will read this post, but, if you have, please give me your opinion. I'd love to hear it.
#15126617
One thing I've so far glossed over in this thread is the push of the Western counterculture of the 1960's, and this is a very important factor to consider when looking at the praxis of the Western labour movement, which is ostensibly still what I want to do. There was a specific reason why I chose to claim this thread as my own, and that's because I want to use it to develop my ideas about the best way to assist Western progressives in the current age; namely, one in which the reactionaries seem to be on the verge of breaking through neoliberalism before the progressives can, which might well be a very dangerous prospect indeed. Will progressives be able to use the organs of the traditional labour movement to make real change in society, as indeed they did in the 1960's, or does something new need to emerge? It seems to me that something new definitely is emerging, and rather fast, at that.

I'll start with the political situation. In the United States, the rather moderate, and, dare I say, rather manufactured presidency of John F. Kennedy began in January of 1961. I understand that he was widely popular at this point in time, where McCarthyism had become an accepted element of political life, and the American people, as a unit, were anomalously wealthy and comfortable, enough so that the youth were willing to dip their toes into exotic esotericism and Eastern religious practices, and enough so that they were willing to support the plight of segregated African Americans, and, over time, other marginalised groups in society. Needless to say, JFK was soon replaced by LBJ, who, while also an element of the liberal political class, was a military man who didn't have time for the petty tokenism and the rather head-in-the clouds outlook which characterised the JFK presidency. In Great Britain, which experienced quite the opposite of the wealth the United States did following the Second World War, Harold Wilson in 1964 became only the third prime minister from the British Labour Party. In Australia, the Liberal Party ruled unopposed for more than two decades straight from 1949 to 1972. It was only in the 1972 election, where one of the most unpopular and out of touch prime ministers the country ever had faced off against an up and coming political heavyweight with a flashy add campaign, that the country voted the Labor Party into power again.



From a progressive's perspective, Gough Whitlam was almost indisputably the best prime minister Australia ever had. He visited Mao Zedong before Richard Nixon did, he established universal healthcare, he effectively ended the White Australia Policy, he established the precedent for recognition of Aboriginal land rights, he pulled out of the Vietnam War and he threatened the United States and the United Kingdom with consequences if they didn't afford Australia a greater level of political autonomy. But therein lay the issue, because British and American intelligence agencies colluded to literally coup him out of office. Less than three years into his prime ministership, the governor general, the Queen of England's representative in Australia, dismissed him from his position.

Well, that's basically the Anglosphere, because who cares about Canada and New Zealand. There was a point, not too long ago, when I realised that I'm basically what a typical progressive from half a century ago would look like if they were to exist in the modern day. There was significant political progress made in the Anglosphere over the 1960's, but most of the significant progressive philosophical development in the late 20th Century came from France. Deleuze and Guattari essentially carried the torch of the 60's radicals, and from there, I take Mark Fisher's work as the logical continuation of that, in the Anglosphere, at least. In this sense, I am continuing the tradition, you could say, which dates back to the counterculture. I was going to start talking about political theory, but I don't have time, and probably won't for a little while yet.
#15126937
Well, I really don't have time, but, to be quite frank, I just can't help myself. I need to write this down somewhere.

Local Localist wrote:In a similar vein as this conception, I have long maintained that 'conservatism' is not actually an ideological tendency, but merely a form of praxis. I have just today come to the idea that perhaps I'm half-right about conservatism and that Marxists are half-right about fascism. Perhaps the first thought that might pop into someone's mind upon reading this is "you're going to say that they are two sides of the same coin." Well, I wasn't. Not exactly. It's going to be difficult to find a way to say what I'm actually going to say, though, and perhaps much of it is best left for future posts.


So, what did I mean? Unlike Marxists, I see fascism as a somewhat coherent political ideology. People explain it correctly: ultra-nationalism. Nationalist economics, nationalist culture, nationalist politics. But it does come about as a result of certain conditions of the bourgeois and of the workers, and it is tied to conservatism and unbridled capitalism. I'm still stuck on conservatism. I'm still battling with myself over whether it is in itself an ideology, or merely an intersection between liberalism, fascism and traditionalism. I think I will, at least for now, class it as an ideology, because of the sheer volume of history and political thought related to it, but only an ideology in an extremely loose sense. As of right now, I'm unable to place where anything within the conservative ideological sphere fits with anything else.

What is the purpose of using these ideological spheres, exactly? Well, I will try to explain one of the ways I think they can be helpful now.

The conception of sexuality as a fixed identity was used to popularise the idea of different types queer romantic relationships to the populous of the West, but it can now be shed, for it is becoming accepted that sexual identity is fluid, and not fixed; just as, traditionally, it was taken that sodomy was an act, rather than a state of being. This logic of fluidity can and should be transposed onto ideology, in my opinion. In Sparta, they supposedly had a synthesis of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy, and if you described a modern country like that, people would likely suggest that your description didn't make sense (though some might joke that it explains the United Kingdom perfectly). Even if it does, the point is, Greeks did not think in terms of one political system or another, but in terms of how each political system could best serve their interests.

Bare with me here, because I know this isn't sounding promising, but I would suggest that one can have Marxist ideas, but that they themselves cannot be a 'Marxist'. Sure, I use these sorts of identifiers for convenience, so that people understand what I'm saying, but I don't want this to be the way things are thought about. Those who might attach their identity to 'Marxist' or similar terms would likely render this as 'yet another liberal conception of belief, from the fallacious internalised conception of a supermarket of ideology'. From my perspective, however, this would suggest a fundamental lack of willingness to engage with my position. I would say that the liberal position on this or similar issues is actually quite opposed to mine.

From the perspective of the liberal, there are simply a sea of equally valid ideologies, 'in theory', which each free-thinking atomised individual must independently analyse through logical rational scepticism and sceptical logical rationalism to come to an informed decision about which ideological positions are individually most applicable to a set of neatly separated out, arbitrary categories of governmental policy. Despite this, the vast majority of possible policy positions are automatically disregarded by virtue of being identified as 'communist' or 'fascist', which, in the West's prevailing liberal narrative, are the two binary and diametrically opposed ideologies of the world, and are best countered with Facts and Logic™.

In this way, liberals define the world in ideological terms, but terms which flatter themselves to such an extent that they can ascribe to themselves a post-ideological status which suggests that they are simply too smart for this whole 'ideology' business. In the words of Dickens' Mr. Bounderby, "facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the mind of reasoning animals upon Facts". Hmm, I must say, these facts are looking suspiciously liberal, sir.

So, how then does this differ from my position on the matter? Firstly, I will not confine myself to a constrained view of the world in which there is a binary political spectrum that I have somehow transcended by virtue of being a very smart rational individual. My contention with ideology cuts deeper, I think. If one seeks societal progress, and they confine themselves to the label 'Maoist', or 'Trotskyist', or anything of the like, they are automatically limiting themselves to a fixed and orthodox interpretation of those ideas, if only subconsciously. One is not a Marxist-Leninist, so to speak, one is rather a socialist (or communist, if you like,) who embraces the perspective of Marxist-Leninism.

Lets take it a step further. Much of the criticism of the rapid (and, I must say, quite impressive) societal development which occurred in the Soviet Union and Maoist China comes from their agricultural practices. These nations embraced the Marxist-Leninist emphasis on experimentation for societal development, which is actually one of the principal issues I have with Marxist-Leninism, because experimentation only needs to be undertaken when concrete solutions to issues do not yet exist. The argument in favour of experimentation is strong, as testing new theories is fundamental to the scientific method and to progress as a whole. Despite this, I would argue that experimentation, at least in the way it was undertaken by Marxist-Leninists, was reactionary. Trofim Lysenko's pseudoscientific and outdated theories about agriculture led to unnecessary famine. Mao Zedong's insistence on personally managing how agriculture was practiced led to unnecessary famine. Ultimately, if one does not accept the Lindy Effect and adopt the tried and tested methods of societal development in important fields, they risk regressing society, rather than progressing it.

So, the ideological spheres I use are useful, in that I think it's a bad idea for people to identify with a specific ideological position, rather than a broader ideological tendency. Even so, I will not identify myself with 'Marxism', or even with 'socialism', but rather with 'progressivism' more broadly. Karl Marx didn't invent communism, after all.
#15128075
Again, I really don't have time to waste writing this right now, but there's a thought I might as well post while I'm here. Who knows: perhaps, this time, it will be short enough that someone will actually read it.

I find it intriguing how people don't really discuss music from before the development of the counterculture of the 1960's. You talk to people:
"So, what was before the Beatles, then?"
"Oh, well, there was Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis --"
"Ok, but what about before rock and roll?"
"Well... there was, uh... Sinatra, and... um... look, who cares! Why would you care for music from before then anyway?"

I have to wonder to what extent this is as a result of the successes and large cultural gains made by progressives in the sixties and seventies. They managed to supplant the memory of bebop and swing and jazz with the stream of pop music which started and grew with the counterculture. I suppose, however, the issue is that this could be seen as having been weaponised by capital. This was discussed by Mark Fisher, who I believe said that capital, and specifically neoliberalism, seized and converted the energies of the sixties counterculture for its own purposes. Liberalism has done a great job of mainstreaming, commericalising and pacifying progressive culture. I think this is my ultimate contention with most Marxists, and especially Marxist-Leninists: that capital consumes all. You cannot escape it. I see it as something which cannot be fought, but can only be overcome. They already tried fighting it. It didn't work. Their socialism died with their leaders, and their nations were opened to market forces.

Supposedly, in the fifties, there was a monolithic culture, and then in the sixties there was also a counterculture. Then, in the seventies, that exploded into a series of different subcultures defined by their music and art, and everything continued to fragment until the point at which the internet was popularised, by which time everyone was plugged into several cultural identities at once. I think this postmodern 'shopping mall of culture' mentality resulted in people ultimately conforming to a more monolithic culture again in day to day life, for need of having a point of reference.

I would argue that all these cultural micro-identities have been digitised at this point, because, at least until very recently, everyone had come to accept the neoliberal status quo in their daily life. This, combined with the entrenchment of neoliberal politics having all but destroyed funding and culture which had been built up around the arts, led to the current reality: that, essentially, the only new and unique forms of music being produced are on the internet. In the West, at least.
#15129114
I'm decided. From the end of next week, I'll have time. I'm going on an essay reading spree till the end of the year. I'm going to try and read a historical essay per day, or half, or two, dependent on how long each is. I've already got a three page word document of them ready to go. I'm starting with some Montaigne, then moving in a roughly linear order up to French postmodernists and whatnot. I've got a book sitting on my shelf full of writings of Mao Zedong, and I'm planning on knocking out 18 of them all up, by far the most of any single author on the list. I just wanted to post this document here. I will return to it later, however many weeks or months away 'later' may be.

#15129570
I would like to attempt to relate my understanding of Western religion and morality to politics. More specifically, to progressivism, and, linking to an earlier post, to how Western progressives view other ideological tendencies. I think that with the societal reset of the People’s Republic of China’s cultural revolution, as well as the acceleration of capital, China seems to be headed on a similar trajectory to the post-enlightenment West, in the sense that the people are increasingly turning to nationalism and to traditional interpretations of religion or philosophy in a reactionary bid to halt or reverse the entropic loss of moral structures. In the West, I don’t think people are really capable of going all-in with this, because the rug has already been pulled out, so to speak. The enlightenment successfully supplanted Christian faith with a liberal adoration of facts and logic™.

I tend to agree with those who suggest that this could only have been the next logical phase of the Protestant branch of Christendom. Northern Europe was able to break from the orthodoxy of the Catholic church, and then ultimately to break from feudalism itself. The material conditions of capitalism lend it to a more liberal mindset, however the newly liberal-minded populous required a humanist approach to reconcile secularism with their Christian moral structures, and this has carried on into modern Western progressivism. Perhaps the mistake has been to characterise a lack of faith in God and the Trinity as an eschewing of Christianity in and of itself. At the end of the day, one who professes nihilism in the Western world generally still operates with a Christian sense of morality; just an extremely watered down one, with no consequences or epistemological commitments.

Local Localist wrote:The idea that fascism is not the ultimate reactionary ideological position seems to scramble [Western] circuit wires, when they were always taught about the Nazis being the greatest evil ever set upon humanity. This is an extremely touchy subject, of course, because one must be careful to ensure that it is understood that the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany and affiliated fascist regimes by way of their ideology are not at all being dismissed, or anything of the like, but rather that it is being suggested that there are other ideologies which have led to even worse outcomes, and inherently so.


Ultimately, it just makes sense for a Westerner to view it like this, even if we ignore how the cultural mainstream have reinforced this view. Fascism is anti-human in its approach to morality. It is also fundamentally secular, because it is a product of modernity. When a Western progressive looks upon a community of traditionalist Christians or Jews, they see them as 'backwards', 'stupid', 'bigoted' - any number of these things. Despite this, they cannot passionately hate the neo-feudalist, as much as they might try, because they see, on some level, that that is just a previous incarnation of themselves. They have no such reservations when they look upon a fascist movement. This is not organic. This does not value humanity, in any conceivable way. This is just evil, with no redeeming features.
#15131343
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/p ... 29028.html

The Independent wrote:Mr. McCluskey - whose union is Labour’s biggest donors, giving around £7m since the start of last year - warned that failure to reinstate the former leader would leave a split party “doomed to defeat” at the next election.

His comment reflected widespread anger on the left of the party over the treatment of Corbyn, with former shadow chancellor John McDonnell branding his suspension “profoundly wrong” and Momentum denouncing it as “a massive attack on the left by the new leadership”.

In a sign of dissatisfaction with Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, Unite earlier this month voted to cut its affiliation fees to Labour by 10 per cent, or just under £1 million.


Well well well, looks like Sir Keith might've almost bitten off more than he can chew this time. In quite an incredible show of disrespect, he's suspended Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party less than a year after Corbyn led it into a federal election, with some transparently shallow pretence of charges of 'anti-Semitism', an especially thinly-veiled justification given that he already used the same one with Long-Bailey. As would be expected, Starmer's reckless and ironically autocratic behaviour has greatly angered most progressives and unionists, as the article states.

What will be the straw that breaks the camel's back? When will the democratic socialists finally endorse a new party and let the Labour Party crash and burn? Of course, I'm not naïve enough to think that an NDP-style solution will work in the short term, or that electoralism will work in the long term; but young Western progressives are no longer hampered by the liberal nihilism of the turn of the century. They're no longer postmodern: they have definitive visions which they won't waver from. Capital isn't the be-all and end-all. There's definitely a future beyond, and if democratic socialists can form their own independent political parties in countries other than Canada, those can be used as vectors of a revolutionary struggle in the future, as has been done in the past. I hope they manage it in the United Kingdom, and I also hope that can inspire this:

Local Localist wrote:I for one hope [the DNC] pick Bloomberg next, and that American progressives finally grow some balls and form their own organisation independent of the Democrats. That would really be the optimal outcome, at this stage, I think.


Call me an optimist, but I still have hope.
#15131755
Contrasting previous posts, today I do actually have some time, and I feel like writing, but there's nothing I specifically have to say. Anyone who has read much of what I've written in the past will likely note, however, that when I start saying something, I often accidentally spiral out into five different tangents. So, today I think I should try and address the upcoming presidential election in the United States, now only a couple of days out, and see where I go from there.

Reza Negarestani, open as he is, addressed an argument I made in response to one of his tweets yesterday. His somewhat provocative tweet implied that a vote for Joe Biden against Donald Trump would be a positive strategic move, as Kamala Harris, presumably assured a place as future president, would be able to reverse many of the worst reactionary policy decisions put into effect by the Trump administration. He later clarified that he considered this necessary due to having already "lost the policy war", and having a limited window to curtail certain executive changes. As one might expect, I put forth the classic progressive case that Harris would only serve to further entrench neoliberal politics whilst pacifying progressives, just as Barack Obama had done. I also said, in response to another reply I agreed with, that she would never be popular or likeable enough to get elected or reelected on her own. He made the case that the political credibility and cultural cachet that comes with the vice-presidency would lend itself to electability, given that "populism in this country... is about establishing nodes of influence and power."

His justification for all this was 'Metical politics', apparently a politics of cunning and strategy, which I assume is named for the Greek god Metis. This term, you might agree, looks suspiciously similar to 'Fabian socialism', so I had to ask for a clarification on whether or not this was simply rehashed reformism. Now, a Marxist-Leninist might well laugh at the response "short-term reformist look-alike, long-term revolutionist", but I given that I already agree with the vast majority of the theoretical framework Negarestani operates under, namely, including the conclusion that Marxist-Leninism has failed, I am inclined to accept his stance as legitimate. Indeed, I think I expressed a view approximate to this in my previous post on this thread:

Local Localist wrote:if democratic socialists can form their own independent political parties in countries other than Canada, those can be used as vectors of a revolutionary struggle in the future


Clearly, I don't know the details of Negarestani's position here. I haven't read his books, I haven't seen much of what he has to say at all. I have to assume, though, that I'm just being slightly more idealistic than him. I really want democratic socialists to form their own political parties in the US and the UK, equivalent to the NDP in Canada, because I think they would have the potential to garner a broad base of support, and to facilitate revolutionary activity that the Democrats just couldn't. Is all this particularly likely to happen? Not if we don't advocate for it. It would appear that Negarestani doesn't see this as worthwhile, however, and is set on trying to reform the Democratic Party as much as possible in the 'short-term'.

The question I'm trying to build up to here, of course, is "to vote or not to vote". I'm afraid I still don't have a concrete answer, but given that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and indeed Bernie Sanders himself, seem to be firmly grounded on the same page as Negarestani in this regard, perhaps it really is time I took the final black pill and started ridin' with Biden. As I've said before, I honestly think Donald Trump is uniquely dangerous in that he potentially represents a reactionary break with neoliberalism which could redirect steam from progressivism. Maybe we really do need to suck it up and kick the can down the road once again. Here's to my generation to rescue ourselves from this post-ideological capitalist hellscape, I suppose.
#15137020
I was going to describe it as 'rather amusing', but I'm sick of coming off as some kind of detached wanker. It's annoying, that's all it is. The average Westerner will often complain about the ever-mounting entropy of the stagnation of their culture and their political class' inability to satiate the desires of its populous as it reconfigures all relationships and bonds as contractual and further 'liberalises' society. Despite this, they will simultaneously deride any and all deviation from the neoliberal mainstream of political thought, as it was enshrined by the first generation of Thatcherites in the 1980's, as radical and insane. Perhaps I am talking about two separate types of people here, though, because those directly affected by neoliberal political policies seem to have much fewer qualms about voting for vaguely populist politicians, whereas those middle and upper class people who are not directly affected by such policies are outraged when their precious Reaganite consensus is challenged in any substantive way.

Now, I've written my fair share of hyperbole comparing Donald Trump to fascists of the past, but it was only that. Donald Trump's attack on neoconservatism was largely aesthetic, realistically, and to put him up as some kind of Mussolini figure is quite counterproductive, in that it obfuscates a clear diagnosis of what's going on. Then, to compare Jeremy Corbyn to Marxist-Leninist dictators of the past, as has so often been done, is even more ridiculous, when considering the reality that his milktoast democratic socialism had been the driving force of the British Labour Party prior to Tony Blair's takeover in 1994. As much as I hate to admit it; the establishment, the cathedral, whatever you might call them, clearly puts almost as much libidinal engineering into anti-Trump sentiment as it puts energy into blocking out progressive politicians, or relating them to Marxist-Leninism once they can no longer be blocked out.

Despite this, I am still more inclined to support neoliberalism than reactionary populism.
Local Localist wrote:In the current age; namely, one in which the reactionaries seem to be on the verge of breaking through neoliberalism before the progressives can, which might well be a very dangerous prospect indeed.

Neoliberalism still presents more opportunities for progressive change than fascism, which is invariably where reactionary populism will lead in the modern world. Critical of secular humanism though I may be, I wouldn't be willing to allow fascism to take the reigns even if that weren't the case. I suppose I've expressed this all before, in one way or another, but perhaps it needs restating every once in a while.
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