At least since the end of the second world war we have had a neoliberal system – probably since we had universal suffrage, now ordinary people are paying for this compromise. Neoliberalism allowed for public political parlour games in the West. Over regular periods (usually 4 or 5 years) we went through a sham of electoral democracy in which politicians stood up for marginally different versions of the same deal, neoliberalism, with the parties (usually two in each country) offering different levels of token support for ordinary people whilst carrying out 1% policies.
And the left has now paid for their own compromise with this neoliberalism.
Here is an example that happened to me. I don’t know what the current CP tactics are but back in the 80s the CP asked its members to compromise with the neoliberal system in order not to split working-class or union support. Typically this involved extremely distasteful actions. In my own case I attended the NUT conference, and at this conference I was asked to support the Broad Left which included the mainstream leadership. I attended their disco (I attended discos then) and watched a degree of sycophanticism that was so distasteful I walked out. It was undoubtedly true that the Trots, known as the Socialist Teachers’ Alliance then, were adopting policies that would have split the union if their conference motions had been passed. So I understood why the CP asked me to do what I did, but it was distasteful. More attempts at building bridges on the left against the neoliberalism could have been made but they weren’t, and there was an impasse with built-in stagnation. Such analysis concerning these bridges was not around then, so all of the left needs to accept responsibility for this. I think it significant that there was no recognition at the time concerning neoliberalism. The analysis was simply bourgeois and proletarian, and working within the labour movement, either in the unions or the labour party, to remove the impact of the opportunists. The weakness of this analysis, lacking any emphasis on the neoliberal system, was significant in the lack of bridge-building. Because the emphasis was on mass movement unity, battles existed on the left (typified by Trots vs Commies), and the direction of the discourse was always towards unity within the mass movement. However that unity, supposedly considered as unity of the proletariat, effectively meant unity on the left, and there was never any real efforts to unify with the right wing – whether in the union or the labour party. In the minds of the left the populist right, because of their politics lacking compassion for liberal issues were being identified with the 1% when in fact they were populist right and needed to be included within the mass movement against the 1%. To me this weak position was the early causes of the separation of the populist right and move to fascism that is indicated by votes for Brexit and Trump.
Soon after this NUT conference I left the UK so I don’t know how the CP and others on the left have dealt with neoliberalism since then, but I do feel this stagnation continued. Supporting the 1%-Labour, Blair Labour and Blair unions, might well have been CP strategy in order not to split the Labour movement. How awful – supporting war.
As a result populism, those on the right against the 1%, has taken the stage. Now we have a far harder battle, how to unite with this populist right, against the 1%. If we don’t accept that this is the way forward, then fighting against the 1% will be self-evidently impossible when the 99% are so divided. How many of the 99% could now be described as on the left and against the 1%?
I suggest that the left in the 99% have dissociated themselves from the populist right, primarily because of the platforms that I have assessed as being part of the populist right:-
1) Work against the 1%, its influence, the lobbyists that Trump described as the swamp.
Whilst the first two are clearly unifying the third is intended to be divisive by the 1%.
However if the power of the 1% is to be minimised, both the populist right and the liberal left need to compromise against the real enemy – the 1%. In the US such a compromise seems almost impossible but it has now become necessary otherwise people are in for a very difficult time with the increasing rise of fascism. This is a compromise that is far more distasteful than the compromise I had at the NUT disco but without it fascism will increasingly take centre stage.
It is my understanding that Trump supporters actually believe he will support them against the 1%. Undoubtedly he has strategic plans for buying off his supporters such as providing jobs in Trumpland, and it is conceivable that whilst adopting 1% and anti-liberal policies (racist, sexist and against LGBT) he will maintain his vote-base.
This division of the 99% between the liberal left and populist right can be laid straightforwardly at the hands of neoliberalism, what has neoliberalism done for these hard-working white people on the right – in Trumpland? Nothing, why would they? The 1% seeks only to exploit for their own profit. But what is far worse, what has the left done for these people? Nothing. The left has fought other legitimate battles, often involving identity politics, and as a result these working people whose personal politics have not been compassionate – such as racist, sexist and anti-LGBT – have lost their incomes and become attracted to the populist right. Yet our interests are the same, and it is self-defeating to turn around and demand that because they are part of the 99% they should change their views and join us. They haven’t, and in the US they have chosen Trump – been conned by Trump – been conned by the 1%.
Because the liberals have supported neoliberalism, have been myopic in the politics they have been involved in, and ignored a significant proportion of the 99% – a proportion that Trump has strategically manipulated, the US now has a 1%-government that will move the US towards fascism.
There is an aspect of US media that I have not seen discussed but is the practise. I watch US comedy progs such as John Oliver, Daily Show, Samantha Bee, Saturday Night Live – these are the only US comedies I find funny. When I am watching them I see nothing but pro-Democrat party propaganda. I see attacks on Trump – OK I agree he is preposterously funny, not attacks on the 1%, and I see the progs increasing divisions within the 99%. These progs add to the problem because they perpetuate and increase the divisions with the rest of the 99%. I can enjoy the humour without being sucked into the division, but can most of the watchers? Can they see that the intended divisions are also part of the 1% mainstream media strategy of dividing the 99%? Without discernment liberals and the left will continue to be part of the problem.
Similarly left-wing media in the UK are attacking and ridiculing Trump, they are perpetuating the situation. The populist white right who are inclined towards UKIP are being ignored by this left-wing, and the 1% are agitating against the 99% using similar tactics to the US. This situation is different to the US because the government is right-wing. However it is functionally the same. Divide the 99% – left against right. Identify the media as left wing, identify the mass movement – labour party and unions – as not being interested in white people. Not being interested in protecting the jobs of white people. Similarly there are attacks on PC in general thus the populist right are ignoring much truth that is spoken by professionals such as teachers, social workers and care-workers. Underlying the rhetoric of this populist right will be blame – blaming the left (liberals in general although the use of that term is not as common in the UK because of the Liberal party and their alliance with Cameron). Neither right nor left are sufficiently focussed on the impact of the 1% in the UK.
Because liberals have supported neoliberalism, the 1% has divided the 99% by financing the populist right. Because liberals have failed to persuade more white people that what liberals are doing is right, we now have a situation where the populist right has grown significantly; liberals and the left do not put forward uniting policies such as fighting the 1% and maybe morality and compassion, they simply promote their own dogma and expect the populist right to accept it. We now have a situation where the liberals, left-wing and populist right need to court each other in order to provide a united front against the 1%. For years the liberals and left have ignored this populist right, and the 1% have managed to cleave apart the 99%. The populist right have peddled preposterous statements such as left-wing mainstream media, and because the left has previously ignored this populism such statements now have significant traction. The 1% have financed this populism with their main purpose being to divide the 99%, and there is such a strength of rhetoric against the left-wing, much of it built on lies and propaganda such as the anti-PC movement, creating unity will be hard. Not all of the populist right can be won over as there is a significant proportion of deplorables, but amongst the rest are compassionate, moral people, who, because of the propaganda, in the US manage to support a horrendous man (Trump) who is immoral and lacking in compassion – being racist sexist and anti-LGBT. In the UK the pattern similarly shows support for the Tories and UKIP, both of which are parties for the 1%. These moral people, quiet white people, need to feel ashamed for supporting Trump and Brexit (and UKIP) but that also means that liberals need to eschew their neoliberalism, and show the non-deplorable on the populist right that there is a unity of interest against the 1%. Both populists and liberals need to change their focus away from each other and towards the real enemy – the 1%.
I have looked a little into the mindset of this moral populist right, and I do not understand it. Yet we must understand each other. Through unity of purpose against the 1% communication needs to be built between the left, liberals and the populist right. This will be difficult because of the years of antagonism, but if we don’t do this Trumps, and to a lesser extent Farages, will continue to arrive on the scene as fascism increases.
To my mind the onus of communicating lies with the liberal left. For all of last century the left has recognised the need to build the mass movement, yet after a century of such building in the US a member of the 1% standing for president has managed to divide the 95% in only one campaign. Not only is the candidate a member of the 1% he is an overt racist and sexist, yet he still split the vote. Why?
1) He promoted racism and sexism and other forms of bigotry. Voicing such enabled the deplorables. But those that should be ashamed also voted for him because they have been convinced that within the propaganda their compassion does not have to recognise racism and sexism.
2) Trump has managed to convince many on the populist right that he is the person to vote for in fighting the 1%. To people on the left this seems ludicrous but this is because the left has failed to see how they have been compromised by neoliberalism. Below I discuss Obama as an example of neoliberal failure. Because of this neoliberal failure leaders on the populist right have been able to convince members of the 99% that mainstream government and media is controlled by the left. How can the liberal left have been so remiss? Because they failed to identify and attack neoliberalism, even with Occupy opening the territory the left within the Democrats failed to take advantage. The Democrats did not identify themselves with Occupy, and so they lost the high ground with regards to attacking the 1%. Left-wing press clearly do such 1%-attacks, the Democrats don’t as a whole, and the populist right have identified the 1%-Democrats as the Left enabling a right-wing vote for the Deplorable.
3) And of course the main failure of the left has been its failure to embrace all in the 99% including those on the right. White racists and white disguised racists have lost their jobs as a result of 1% accumulation. Despite their lack of this compassion many of these people are hard-working trying to look after their families, and the left-wing have not represented them. This is shamefully ignorant as they have had years of analysis, understood that it is only through unity that the 99% can win yet such people have been ostracised because they lack liberal values – and compassion. If you genuinely believe in mass movement politics then you have to embrace white racism with all its faults. By being inclusive these people will hopefully see beyond the racism into recognising their interests are the same as all working people including liberals. At present they don’t and that has been as a consequence of the neoliberal system – a system that too many on the left have accepted.
4) The liberal left have become pre-occupied with identity politics. Rather than attacking the 1% the liberal left have focussed on legitimate issues such as gender equality, racial equality, LGBT equality etc Because they also failed to dissociate themselves from the neoliberalism, much of this focus worked on getting these identity groups better pay. From the perspective of the populist right all that appears is that the left agenda is to increase the pay of these identity groups at their own expense. Identity politics needs to fit into the struggle against the 1%, and this is clearly not the case. This is again a failure of the left to struggle against neoliberalism.
Voting a black man as president in the US alienated this populist right. This could have been alleviated if Obama had adopted policies that included the white right. When you consider the rise of Black Lives Matter, he didn’t even promote the interests of black people. When you examine with discernment, what he has done he has mostly acted as a puppet for the 1%. Prior to the elections and soon after mainstream left-wing media, what little I know of it, were fawning over Obama. But what has he done in the struggle against the 1%?
To conclude, the blame for the rise of the populist right and their manipulation by the 1% into accepting Trump and Brexit can be laid very clearly at the hands of the liberal left. They failed to focus on the real problem – the 1%, and the majority of them have colluded with the neoliberal system. The left have focussed their energies on identity politics thus alienating the populist right who have started to identify with neo-fascist groups. Even moral compassionate white people have thus identified because they have become alienated from the left part of the 99%. It is time for the left to change, re-orient their dominant strategies into fighting the 1%, and work towards including the populist right even though there is divisive racism and sexism within the right.
I would like to see a change in the use of the term neoliberalism – new liberals? How can the populist right recognise the difference between left liberal and neoliberalism? Without such a recognition how can there be a united 99%? A long blog!
Neoliberal ConsequencesPosted: 01/02/2017 in Democracy, Freedom, Insight, Media, ONE planet, Struggle