Before I look in more detail at these articles there are issues to be considered. First and foremost, leftwing politics needs to be clear about the Veil or neoliberalism, it matters not which mainstream political party is in power the system works for the 1%. The electoral process is not intended to offer genuine alternatives, the mainstream parties do not usually offer the people candidates that will genuinely represent them. With both Trump and Brexit right wing ignorance amongst white voters was manipulated, and these right-wing populists will be shown for what they are – con-artists. However these ignorant white voters accept being conned because they are racists, and I don’t mean simply the racists of the Trump mobs but the polite disguised racists of “normal” white communities, racists who should be ashamed at their inhumanity; those ignorant voters often with education who voted for the right emotionally because their emotion of fear is personal greed and self-interest rather than compassion for humanity – “nice white people”.
If we understand the Veil then we do not seek genuine solutions in the electoral process, for the genuine left-wing the electoral process can never be a matter of conviction-voting because the 1% will never allow genuine democratic candidates. This picture has been slightly clouded by the emergence of two genuine candidates – Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, but on both sides of the Atlantic the mainstream has shown its preference for the right at the expense of the parties themselves. The Democrats and Labour who are complicit with the 1%, the opportunists, prefer to lose an election than allow Corbyn or Sanders into power. Without an understanding of this reality the left can never consolidate the problems that have been shown up by Trump and Brexit.
Liberals however in general do not recognise the electoral system for what it is – a delusion (Veil), and they are beating their chests with remorse. Liberal analysis is weak and emotional – as intended. Understanding the Veil for what it is a revolutionary understanding, whereas expecting neoliberalism to deliver a solution is a reformist position. These two words I have used because they were used by Bell Hooks in describing feminism yet these are words which can be used to describe the left in general and anti-racism as well. Genuine left-wing understanding has to be revolutionary, reformism can only be liberal. And by revolutionary I am talking about a deep insightful change in the mindset, what I discussed in transcendence; I am not talking about Marx’s “communist revolution” nor revolutionary violence.
It is the reformism of the liberal, and the arena of that reformism that does need to be questioned. Reformist liberals have been manipulated into turning in onto themselves. So often liberal arguments attack each other – much like the liberal analysis that has followed Trump and Brexit, what have we liberals done wrong? But they have not attacked the source of the problem – the reformism. In terms of the election liberal voters are clearly Labour or Democrat, yet they attack each other. Why? They seek reform within the system, they do not describe the system as broken. Reformists will support Beyonce as a feminist icon because of her success rather than seeing her as being exploited by the capitalism of the music industry – no matter how much money she has. Reformist liberals are happy with her as an icon, do not see her being part of the system as a problem, and will attack what I am saying as being chauvinist rather than understanding it as revolutionary. For such reformists Beyonce has used the system for her benefit, and within the system good luck to her, but she is not helping to change the system that exploits black people – women and poor. The purpose of reformism is to demand that the individual reformers become entitled to a greater part of the cake, but this cake is only the remains that the 1% have left. Reformism basically accepts the system, and fights against each other (of the 99%) for what the 1% have put on offer.
In the US election reformism meant that we chose between Hillary and Trump, and whilst the choice is obvious for any sensible non-racist yet 53 % of white women still voted for Trump. But voting for Hillary is only a token part of the struggle, the electoral system is part of the establishment – and not something we should see as a focus of our fight. Yet Liberals see this as important, and are beating themselves up over these votes.
And the issue of arena is important here, liberals are ashamed that they have lost but they have not taken the fight to their families. How many liberals are ashamed that their families have voted for the right? And when they accept the system as reformists these liberals are unable to question their bosses who are voting for the right. When their bosses are racist and sexist what can they do? As reformists they are seeking the cake the bosses are offering, how can they then attack them for fundamentally lacking compassion – being racist and sexist. Liberals need to bring shame to the people who are not liberals. Polite discourse that is disguised racism and sexism should not now be tolerated because tolerating it has allowed Trump and Brexit. These disguised white racists voting for their greed will always bring in fascism. The deplorable crimes of the racist and sexist thugs need to be laid at the doorstep of these “nice” white people, and not turned in on the liberals. Liberals need to question why they accept reformism, but whilst they are accepting that reformism they need to consider where they are targeting the reform. Arguing with reformists at dinner parties does not make a change, they need to bring more people into the reformist arena – that for me is the liberal failure of these votes; the liberal reform has not spread wide enough, and closet racists have been allowed to exist without being publicly brought to account through shame. Increased violence as a consequence of the racist votes for Trump and Brexit needs to be placed firmly on the shoulders of the “nice” white people who emotionally voted for greed.
Hillary people are questioning why their campaign failed. This questioning needs to lead amongst those who genuinely seek change to an understanding of the role of Hillary’s democrats in the system. She does not represent the people – she said that as part of this “deplorable” clip, what is most ironic is that an exploiter like Trump managed to manipulate public opinion into thinking that he represented people; from someone outside I find that ludicrous but the fear and ignorance of “nice” white people never ceases to amaze me – and never ceases to anger me. The racism was not ludicrous to black pundits who warned about it – see Keith Ellison and Van Jones warning us.
The consolidation on the left has to take a dual approach – revolutionary and reformist. I am only prepared to talk of white people, other peoples must decide for themselves – I am unsure of how important the non-white vote for Brexit was; non-whites did not vote for Trump. The reformist liberals need to expand their horizons working on the “nice” people who are not bigots but still find it acceptable to have voted for racism and sexism; this is not what good people should have done and those liberals within the electoral process need to question themselves about this.
But reformism does not offer an alternative, and the genuine working-class alternatives of Corbyn and Sanders need to be championed. Blairite centrism does not offer these “nice” white people an alternative, Corbyn does. Fascism of Brexit and Trump appears to offer an alternative. By blaming non-whites they say to racists we will favour you above the non-whites, essentially what colonialism stood for – exploiting non-whites to make Britain a power. They do not however offer an economic alternative because the cake the 1% allows the 99% to fight over is such a small cake; the 1% are happy to see us fight for the small cake. Corbyn is fighting for control of all the cake by the people, this always has and always will be the only effective way for change.
Owen Jones is talking about the bigotry that existed amongst my comrades in the 80s Trades Council – as well as the bigotry in the Communist party; the old white left. To some extent I can understand their claims that “come the revolution ….” Because I am from that old school I do not identify with the struggles for identity but because I am directed by the mass movement I accept that direction. A consolidated left must embrace the identity politics. But identity politics cannot simply be reformist, if they stay as reformist then they will simply be fighting over the small cake. I do not know how many of my “dinosaurs” still dominate the movement but if they are there they need to change. Help the reformists become revolutionary, work with them and not direct them.
In early 1990 I was on the poll tax rally and we marched from Brixton – or maybe it was Kennington? On the way to Trafalgar Square, in Lambeth I passed numerous estates where black people hung out of their windows offering support. Sadly I knew why they were not on the rally, the organisers just told black people it was their class and in their interest to be there. But the rally had no black identity, and so was rejected. I have no idea whether things are still the same. The racism is the same so I suspect the rest is similar. At that time the so-called leaders of the mass movement were not responsive to black identity. It appears from Owen Jones article that this responsiveness is lacking within the movement. Mass movement politics is diverse, and if the movement cannot embrace that diversity then it will fail. LBGT rights are repressed by the 1% because the 1% only allow a small cake. LBGT rights and mass movement struggle have the same interests. The “nice” white people become fascists because they are not worried about the size of the cake so long as they always have the same amount. Trump and Johnson who represent the 1% say “nice” white people should have the same amount, and turn white people against their class – a standard historical tactic. And because “nice” white people are still racists they fall for it. It is not the increase in demand for rights from different identities but the size of the cake that is the problem. That cake should be 100%, all that is on offer. Identities do need to see this as their struggle as well, but if the arrogance of intellectuals still dominates the movement then it won’t happen.
The issue concerning white women is perhaps worse, 53% of white women voted for Trump – is that 53% who owned up to voting for him it could be more – I don’t know. There is the often contextually-misquoted Susan Sarandon who said she would not vote with her vagina, the context was the Bernie debate. Hillary is a reformist feminist icon so why so many white women did not vote for her I don’t know. How successful as a woman has she been in the political world. But as Susan was pointing out in different words, Hillary was not a revolutionary feminist. The failure of reformist female liberals is most notable in the US because of this 53%.
In this article the writer points at women’s misogyny. She gives some reasons but in the end I have to ask female liberals “why do women hate women?” Or better “why do women still hate women after 50 years of Liberal training?” Did these Liberals try to train all women? How many of the 53% are “nice” white women who with encouragement could learn to recognise how voting for Trump puts the clock back for women?
Why is gender still an issue in the mass movement? Why is race still an issue? And so on …. why? Because liberals and others have rested on their laurels. Over the last 50 years the control of the 1% has increased. As a result of that control there have been advances made in identity politics but because those advances have been reformist they have only increased the pressures on the miniscule cake the 1% allow. These identity politics have been used to divide the movement. Whilst the 1% have vastly increased their wealth over the last 50 years they have deluded the reformists into thinking that they, the reformists, have made advances. Pointing at overt sexism, racism and homophobia in the 60s they say that things are much better now. But no overt racist has ever been in the White House since the 2nd world war. Nowhere near as many wars for profit have ever been fought. When the whole cake is bigger the 1% offer more, and delude reformists.
I feel angry at the white people in my country and the US who demonstrated their fear by voting for racism, but in the end the 1%-system is so powerful what do you expect. Being deluded in voting for racism, thinking things are better, these are just lies portrayed by a media with an agenda, the 1%-agenda. Fight complacency, maybe Trump and Brexit are wake-up calls for reformists to become revolutionary????