Thursday, February 22, 2007

They’ll Be Back: Left Bashing and the "New" Right

The following piece by WSPUS member, Ron Elbert, was presented as a paper to the 2006 SPGB Summer School, 'What's Left of the Left?':

They’ll Be Back: Left Bashing and the "New" Right

It's got endnotes and everything. I'm too good to you sometimes.


robert said...

Thanks for that Darren. I was at the Summer School but had to leave just before that bit - either that or I dozed off and missed it!

Edward the Bonobo said...

That paper says a lot of obvious things...but that's not a criticism.

It's obvious enough that socialism-as-we-know-it exists within the same conditions as capitalism. That's Dialectics 101. And obviously we're living in a the cultural hegemony of capitalism. No surprises for anyone with a basic grounding in political thought. And globalisation (specifically, 3rd world exploitation) is the inevitable result of capitalism's impersonal drive towards a low cost base.

I often tease my American friends by telling them that they need a good dose of Marxism - Das Kapital instead of No Logo. They press all the right 'issues' buttons, their hearts are in the right place - but there's little thought given to structural, ie economic, ie class issues.

Yes, is partly down to the post-McCarthy demonisation of socialism, and partly it's down to the sort of divide and rule the paper talks about. But I feel there's another issue here.

I like the subtitle to Studs Terkel's book, 'Race: How Blacks and Whites Feel About The American Obsession' (my italics). Obviously, in America class is color-coded. Does this perhaps obscure the structural issues and lead the well-meaning liberal left into identity politics and other 'issues'.?

(Notwithstanding the CP-USA's early involvement in the vanguard of the civil rights movement; The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Bayard Rustin; etc. etc.)