May 22 Open Thread: What's left of the left?

It's Day 142 of the Year 2019 CE (Gregorian), meaning that it's May 22, 2019 (Gregorian), or 13.0.6.9.3 by the long count


Image from page 109 of "The dance of death" (1820)

On May 22, 1964, LBJ launched "the Great Society". How bold and brash its naming, and how soft and quiet its demise. Who among us noted its passing with appropriate ceremony, or, for that matter, any ceremony? Yes, there is a double entendre in the title. It is no accident.

I keep hearing that some politician, some group of citizens or some ideas are (far) to the left of mainstream "america" (meaning the USA). This puzzled me until I realized that this rhetoric comes from a group of "centrist" + "Democrats" who see themselves and only themselves as representing that mainstream. They also, without any hesitation see and define themselves as not only "centrist" but also both "liberal" and "progressive". That this is oxymoronic seemingly escapes them, as does the fact that there is no such thing as centrism or centrists. "Curiouser and curiouser", said Alice. "WTF?" said enhydra, he of the now old "new left" that, in its birth throes converted the "American Left" into the "old left" in order that "the left" might become, for a while at least, the "New left". (For the record, Enhydra, like much if not most of the "new left" foot soldiery, was an amalgam of ideas, policies, and positions from both lefts, picking and choosing the best elements from each.)

Upon analysis it became clear that a massive linguistic upheaval had oleaginously slithered into common parlance. Hearken back to the USA's two "mainstream" parties, the Whigs, no, no, the GOP and the Dems. Sometimes (often) referred to as the two wings of the business party, they were, by whatever name and description, well established and taken for granted. Then, a quiet revolution occurred ushering in a Brave New Era. A new third party arose, but instead of openly strutting and fretting their hour upon the stage, they took the sly name Brave New Democrats (hereinafter also New Democrats or New Dems), and quickly took over the existing Dem organization and ideology pretty much lock, stock. and barrel. "So what of it?", you may ask, as well you might. Well, as the somehow presumptive "liberal" or "left" party, the newly reinvented and newly renamed (Brave) New Democrats began to redefine political terminology. It didn't happen overnight, and has steadily evolved since its first Reaganistic beginnings some 26 years ago. Let's have a peek.

Rebranding Ronald Reagan

So what are the newly progressive policies of this new new left. The (Brave) New Democrats campaigned and delivered on being business friendly and proved it with various policies. Deregulation, especially of banks, financial instruments and the financial sector. A policy that government was the problem, and needed to be downsized, outsourced and privatized was implemented. Mergers and monopolies were deemed to be good things and facilitated and permitted across the board. Job exporting trade agreements, starting with NAFTA. Creation of the WTO to empower corporations to override health, environmental, zoning, safety, and labor laws or else be paid outrageous fortunes in blackmail for being forced to abide by such laws. Reduced capital gains, business and estate taxes, somewhat offset by increased taxes on social security benefits in the name of balanced budgets and their concomitant austerity. Economic policies and government actions were all to be "supply side" and "market based" or involve a supply side "public-private partnerships".

Not directly business related were many other policies. "Welfare reform." Increased policing and militarization of the police as part of the creation of the mass incarceration state, including the school to prison pipeline to round up all of those "super predator" minority and impoverished children. DADT and DOMA. "Charitable choice" was instituted to allow any social service and welfare funding left after welfare reform to be diverted to faith based organizations who could then use it for proselytization and spewing dogma such as replacing sex education with "abstinence only" non-education leaving graduates unaware of the basic operation of the reproductive system and what to do and how should they ever decide to get married and couple. This policy has since been expanded to involve active "partnering" with religious organizations, including officers embedded in key agencies to continuously seek out opportunities to divert more and more resources and responsibilities to faith based organizations.

It is difficult not to address the expansion and continuation of the newlanguage or newspeak of the newnewleft or (Brave) New Dems - DLC - Third Way, but I'm tired, have a cold, and am starting to bore even myself. This is not about whether you think those things are good or bad, nor whether you think those (re)definitions are appropriate for this "Brave New World We're Living In" ((Beatles), but about the need for a modicum of linguistic consistency. I'm not even arguing for decade to decade or even year to year consistency, but for consistency within the moment. It is preposterous, illegitimate, insulting and blatantly false to claim that somebody like Bernie or Elizabeth Warren is too progressive or too liberal, for they neither one want more deregulation nor even such amount as we currently have suffered. They do not seek, advocate nor support more consolidations and monopolies, nor do they approve of the carceral state and the school to prison pipeline.

We are not looking at some mere shift in the overton window, but a complete dislocation and translocation of both language space and concept space. It is all well and good for the insiders to adopt and use this vision and weltanschauung, but it is simply inapplicable to the old left and the old new left, old school liberals and all other outsiders, for they cannot be positioned anywhere in the concept space created by this newspeak and the doublethink that underlies it. It is not merely inapplicable in the way that the rules and concepts of Euclidean geometry are inapplicable to non-Euclidean spaces such as those of Lobachevsky or Reimann, but also in the sense that said rules are inapplicable to Urdu. They are simply of another universe. It is no longer possible for anybody or anything to be to the left of the left or any fragment or degree thereof. A stable discontinuity has occurred in language space.

And now, The Great Society:

When logic and proportion have fallen softly dead ....

When the truth is found to be lies and all the joy within you dies ...


Image is Hans Holbein's "Dance of Death" and is publi domain

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Its an open thread so have at it. The floor is yours
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Raggedy Ann's picture

Happy hump day!

This isn't such a "great" society - maybe that's why the rhetoric was changed to "exceptional" society. That didn't work either. We are less than average. For the moment. I still have hope that the society will rise up in the face of adversity, but it looks like it's gonna take A LOT of adversity.

Have a terrific day, everyone! Pleasantry

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Women are human beings, not prey.
(I forgot where I read it although it might have been in The Intercept)

enhydra lutris's picture

@Raggedy Ann
somehow arguably not yet "good". "Patriotism" and self-deceit has become a cult. Let us all now sing Crock of Ages. Heh, still in a bad mood, sorry.
Have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

bondibox's picture

18% of registered Republicans and 23.4% of Democrats turned out in Kentucky yesterday.

The incumbent Matt Bevin won with 52% of the vote, or 9.4% of registered republicans. Ought to send up a red warning flag there.

Democrat Andy Beshear will try to vindicate his family name in a redux vs Bevin.

To many people's surprise, it was Rocky Adkins who was neck and neck with Beshear for most of the tally. Adam Edelen conceded before the count was finished.

IMO the purity police shot themselves in the foot. Sure, Rocky wasn't the most progressive candidate but he was extremely well liked where it matters - the former Democratic stronghold of Eastern KY. Rocky's home county set a record for voting Democrat for president for more than 100 years straight. Until 2016. He then ran an intensive grassroots campaign in Western KY. If you figure the D votes in Lexington and Louisville are a given, seems to me that he made the stronger candidate.

I will surely hold my nose and vote for Beshear, but will FEC reports show that his campaign was funded once again by Perdue Pharma, makers of Oxycontin? In a state that has battled the scourge of painkiller addiction for 25+ years, I'm not sure that is going to go over.

ICYMI - Connecticut's legislature passed ranked choice voting this week. I wonder how the Kentucky primary would have turned out with ranked choice. I suspect Beshear's voters would have Edelen as a second choice, but who would Rocky Adkins voters have picked second? If Adkins' voters had overwhelmingly chosen Edelen as their second choice it's possible Edelen would have won a ranked choice election. I think ranked choice is the better way to hold an election, but would voters accept the nomination of a guy who came in 3rd?

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F the F'n D's

skod's picture

@bondibox any election results *at all*, anymore? It seems to me that the “It doesn’t matter/why waste the time” crowd is growing in number.

I’ve never missed an election, but I can already see the writing on the wall for this one, and fully expect to be voting Green in opposition to the uniparty after the inevitable Sanders/Gabbard ratfucking. And if I weren’t in a vote-by-mail state, I’d probably join the “why waste” brigade...

It is clear that the uniparty would prefer that we not bother.

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bondibox's picture

@skod The news went through voter participation in Kentucky primaries since the 1980's. Used to be close to 50%, this year was 22% and that was more than expected. It's hard to say "it doesn't matter" when the alternative is Matt Bevin.

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F the F'n D's

Pluto's Republic's picture

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
enhydra lutris's picture

@Pluto's Republic

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Pluto's Republic's picture

@enhydra lutris

And, technically, it's not a duplicate but a really wrong placement.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
enhydra lutris's picture

@bondibox
No replay on that particular derby, I assume, which will, in the future, allow us to endlessly speculate as to various what ifs. In these cases, I always wonder about the reflexive impugning of the "purity police". Whatever their beef was, if it had a material impact on the results, then clearly it touched a nerve and was important to the locals actually doing the voting, so the onus is really on them. Information is a boon, and a fully informed populace is a theoretical, though non-existent, underpinning of electoral systems, and it is incumbent upon the voters to react correctly to the totality of the available information.

Ah well, hindsight and all that ...

Have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

specificity. Is the question seeking to know what remains of the left among politicians or what remains of the left among the huge population of the US?

We also need to say what "the left" means. In the last quarter of the 1800s, "the left" meant socialists (whether or not "self-avowed," whatever the eff that means) Some decades later, it meant socialists and communists.

Now "the far left" according to the establishment Democrats and Republicans and organizations like No Labels, means anyone who is not out to "reform" Social Security as Bill Clinton "reformed" welfare, namely, proudly ending "welfare as we know it"--or as we knew it before we elected our first "self-avowed" New Democrat President. (Like all good New Democrats, Clinton didn't so much end welfare as privatize it. See, for example, gofundme.com. OK, that's an exaggeration.)

That this is oxymoronic seemingly escapes them, as does the fact that there is no such thing as centrism or centrists.

I am soooo with you on all of that, "seemingly," of course, being a key word. They know exactly what they are doing. I wrote a couple of light(ish) essays on this topic back in 2017.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/liberals-must-not-say-liberal-left-p...

https://caucus99percent.com/content/dutch-election-confirms-caucus-99-li...

I am about to write another essay because of a recent issue of TIME that I bought recently. (I was so desperate for reading material while I waited interminably for Godot, aka, my ride home from physical therapy, that I paid six freakin' dollars for an inexcusably thin issue of that rag).

Anyway, I have so many essays in my head that I hope to write that I don't know if or when I will get to this one. Please wish me luck in that regard.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@HenryAWallace
what was the question. 1) What is left of the left among the a)politicians or b)populace ideologically. What beliefs do they hold and what ideas do they support and what do they propose to do.
2) Subsumed within that is what is left of the left among the a)politicians or b)populace numerically, of course.
Finally, we get 3) What is to the left of the left. Previous eras have seen at least a putative "far left" or "radical left" hung out there as a target for sniping at by the left in order that they might demonstrate their reasonableness and patriotism. THAT is gone, defined out of existence by the newspeak that sees Reagan, neoliberalism and neoconservative policies and agendas as "liberal" or "progressive". Acceptance of that rhetoric, that definition of what it means to be on the left, means that one could only be more to the left by being reactionary, which is, of course, reactionary. Hence there can no longer be anyone or anything to the left of the left.

Have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

detroitmechworks's picture

since I have officially gotten to the point where I see Identity Politics as actively harmful to creating the mass movement of the proletariat... Or did I misunderstand the question, Tovarisch?

I may just put myself down as a Cascadian Nationalist for all the good it will do. Personally, I think it makes as much sense as anything else, and since I won't get to vote on it, might as well advocate for something that might work.

Random Metal that I'm feeling this morning...

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

enhydra lutris's picture

@detroitmechworks
as that. As I posted to HAW above, the title can also be interpreted as asking:

What is to the left of the left. Previous eras have seen at least a putative "far left" or "radical left" hung out there as a target for sniping at by the left in order that they might demonstrate their reasonableness and patriotism. THAT is gone, defined out of existence by the newspeak that sees Reagan, neoliberalism and neoconservative policies and agendas as "liberal" or "progressive". Acceptance of that rhetoric, that definition of what it means to be on the left, means that one could only be more to the left by being reactionary, which is, of course, reactionary. Hence there can no longer be anyone or anything to the left of the left.

Have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

detroitmechworks's picture

@enhydra lutris To really get into meta-political dialogue. Smile

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

Pluto's Republic's picture

...on the changing names of the Left — old, new, and far.

I view this recent serial renaming of the Left as an intense psyop. Particularly disturbing is naming those things that are not the Left — the "Left." And naming things that are most definitely not far Left — the "far Left."

Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party suppress the Left. This began at the beginning of voter-based political parties in the US in 1820, which happens to be the beginning of the First Industrial Revolution. The wealthy American upper class (and investors) who underwrote the US government suddenly foresaw, to their utter horror, that one day soon, common laborers would have a vote that was equal to theirs. The implications of this were unacceptable. After all, slavery was still in its prime.

Sufficient legal barriers were established along the way to make certain that the US political system consisted of only two major parties: the Moderate Right Democrats and the Extreme Right Republicans. All other voices, especially the emergent Left were marginalized and disbursed to the fringes.

This is the reason why the US is the only democracy that never formed a Labor Party or Left Wing Party.

I'm guessing that the right wing duopoly gave workers enough concessions and lip service over the centuries to avoid a populist movement toward the Left. There was that messy business of labor unions and the various communist groups that popped up in the early 20th century. But there was no politically active Left in America until the New Democrats came along and betrayed the working class.

It's my view that there is a rather large, organic, Left contingent in the US, but they do not have a voice in the Democratic Party. We caught a brief glimpse of them in 2016. I'm not sure what a Progressive Democrat is supposed to be. Are they Left-alike placeholders in a Centrist-Right Party?

The term "Far Left" has to be a fever dream of the Republicans. They haven't met the Far Left. Yet.

I can only guess what the current renaming frenzy in the propaganda stream is all about.

Thanks again for the interesting OT.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
enhydra lutris's picture

@Pluto's Republic The formation of any sort of coherent left party in this country was achieved from the beginning by legislation setting forth the conditions and structure of the electoral process and then refined with further legislation restricting rights of assembly, association, speech, press and the like, the use of police and military violence, outright terrorism and one of the most complete all encompassing propaganda campaigns in world history. This was abetted by the New Deal in which a few bones were timely thrown to the oppressed and suppressed, and the eventual creation of first a garrison state and then a warfare state. I don't know how to overcome that, though dismantling the key narratives is definitely a major requirement.

A progressive democrat has been defined for us. It is a neoliberal neocon corporatist who is tolerant of GLBTQ and non-white persons up to a point. That is it. The Clintons, Gore, Biden, Feinstein, etc. Since that is what it now means to be left, at least within the party, then further left would be straight up reactionary or avowed fascist.

Thanks for reading and have a great one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Pluto's Republic's picture

@enhydra lutris

[A Progressive Democrat] is a neoliberal neocon corporatist who is tolerant of GLBTQ and non-white persons up to a point.

This helps. Thanks. I don't know why I couldn't nail that weasel word.

Regarding the historic suppression of Leftist thought in the United States:

I don't know how to overcome that, though dismantling the key narratives is definitely a major requirement.

I've sort of given up on the People after enduring the Russian Hoax. I tend to think the constant domestic propaganda may have caused some brain damage. However, I noticed just this morning that Caitlin Johnstone seems to agree with your rehab approach, at least insofar as our destructive wars go:

Remember, they wouldn’t work so hard to manufacture your consent if they didn’t require that consent. So don’t give it to them. The first step to ending the suffering caused by western interventionism is to help free public consciousness from the incredibly complex and well-oiled propaganda machine which manufactures the consent of the governed for unconscionable acts of violence and devastation. Wake people up to what’s going on so we can all cease consenting.

Enjoy your day.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus

1 (a) What is left {remains} of the left among the a)politicians or b)populace ideologically. What beliefs do they hold and what ideas do they support and what do they propose to do.

If we define "the left" as New Deal {FDR and (sort of) Truman}/Great Society {LBJ}, I would say we have currently on the national level only Sanders and Gabbard, although I am willing to wait and see how authentic AOC is or isn't or may grow to be. I used to include Sherrod Brown, until I compared Brown's voting record with that of Sanders. I think you know what those two propose--but will Congress cooperate, assuming either of them can ever get elected in this nation of rigged primaries and elections, vote caging, quisling msm, etc.

Please don't ask me the beliefs of anyone, especially a politician. All I can go with is what they say, or rather what I believe of what they say. Sometimes, even what I believe is not consistent from day to day.

1 (b) What is left {remains} of the left among the a)politicians or populace ideologically. What beliefs do they hold and what ideas do they support and what do they propose to do.

A few years back, I was hoodwinked more readily than I am now. A fellow poster then (on another board) said in a pm, "America is a liberal nation!" Being then in her seventies, she meant "liberal" in a good sense, as it was used by "Sixties liberals." Because I had been hoodwinked, I was all but certain that she was mistaken. So, I did some research. Polls that Mr. Google brought me showed that she was correct--and by numbers like 70% or over of Americans polled. Moreover, those were polls of the general population, not "self-avowed" socialists, communists, anarcho whatevers, etc.

What the general populace proposes to do, however, is a whole other issue. I see a lot of message board bravado about armed revolution and the like, but I've seen none that doesn't seem to me to be totally empty. I don't think the federal government allows things to get so bad enough that people are willing to risk taking a bullet rather than sit with the status quo. And that's political message board posters. I suspect that others are even less ready to hone guillotine blades.

I don't think armed revolution would work anyway. Maybe not peaceful revolution, either. After reading political message boards for about 16 years, and giving the matter much, much thought, I am not sure what, realistically, CAN be done. I had a bit of a colloquy with Big Al about that recently. It started about here. After a point, I didn't keep pursuing it because, as I stated to Big Al, I don't like saying it: It's depressing to me and quite possibly to others.

2) Subsumed within that is what is left of the left among the a)politicians or b)populace numerically, of course.

No clue how to get an accurate count either way.

Finally, we get 3) What is to the left of the left. Previous eras have seen at least a putative "far left" or "radical left" hung out there as a target for sniping at by the left in order that they might demonstrate their reasonableness and patriotism. THAT is gone, defined out of existence by the newspeak that sees Reagan, neoliberalism and neoconservative policies and agendas as "liberal" or "progressive".

As you obviously know, that is nothing but bs framing. However, again, I'm not sure how one gets a totally accurate count after McCarthy, Kent State, etc. BUT: Polls during (a) the Sanders-Hillary primary and (b) very recently, however, show about 40% of those polled do not see socialism as a bogey man. To the contrary, the most recent poll of which I am aware showed that 40% of those polled believed that socialism would improve America. And, as has been discussed many times, polling favors the views of owners of land lines, while Sanders' largest primary voting demographic were Millennials. And, the generations younger than Millennials may well be at least as far left as Millennials. Additionally, there isn't a pollster of whom I am aware who isn't right or faux centrist leaning.

Have a good one.

Thank you, You, too!

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enhydra lutris's picture

@HenryAWallace
correct as far as I can tell (or know). Of course, you start out by defining left in terms of LBJ and other liberals. Part of the whole rant was that they (NeewDems) have redefined progressive, liberal as movement in the direction of Reagan and enactment of Reagan's policies. If, arguendo, we allow those definitions to stand, then left would be further down that right wing rabbit hole, and hence nobody can be left of this redefined left without bringing on the full on open fascist police state.

Sorry it took so long to reply, too much going on today.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

I do appreciate yours.

I don't know if FDR or LBJ themselves were leftists or not. If I ever finish my series about the Democratic Party as seen mostly through its Presidents, I will elaborate on that possible distinction. However, the New Deal and the Great Society were certainly the most leftist Presidential domestic economic policies of which I am aware. And, as you know, in the Sixties, leftist economic and social policies were called "liberal."

Now, of course, all Democratic pols, including rightist Dems, are called "liberal" because the country, together with its terminology, have gone through the looking glass, to reference another of Carroll's works. With a huge push from the monopoly duopoly politicians.

Have a good one!

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

the cost of Medicare Supplement/Medigap premiums (if passed).

Since I'm pressed for time this morning, will just post a screenshot from Bernie's Bill which addresses implementing new 'rules' for insurers, regarding issuing Medigap policies.

Sanders UMFA Transition Plan - Medigap #1.JPG2019 Sanders MFA - Medigap Policy Screenshot.JPG

I was absolutely gobsmacked when I saw this cost shift to a few million seniors, instead of using the OBVIOUS remedy of enrolling our most fragile/ill Americans in both Medicare and Medicaid--paid for by all taxpayers, and federal and state tax coffers. Phew!

Will be posting and Tweeting other screenshots from the Sanders and Jayapal Bills. I suspect that once seniors who're enrolled in TM (Traditional Medicare) realize how toxic these so-called 'reforms' will be (for them), we'll see the Rosty Rumble played out once again.

As a reminder of what happened the last time that lawmakers wanted to pass a law that ONLY taxed/adversely affected seniors, here you go,

As the Chicago Tribune reported the next day, Aug. 19, 1989:

Congressman Dan Rostenkowski, one of the most powerful politicians in the United States, was booed and chased down a Chicago street Thursday morning by a group of senior citizens after he refused to talk with them about federal health insurance. Shouting "coward," "recall" and "impeach," about 50 people followed the chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee up Milwaukee Avenue after he left a meeting in the auditorium of the Copernicus Center, 3106 N. Milwaukee Ave., in the heart of his 8th Congressional District on the city's Northwest Side.

Eventually, the 6-foot-4-inch Rostenkowski cut through a gas station, broke into a sprint and escaped into his car, which minutes earlier had one of the elderly protesters, Leona Kozien, draped over the hood. Kozien, one of more than 100 senior citizens who attended the gathering, said she had hoped to talk to Rostenkowski, her congressman, at the meeting.

and,

The idea is to get the 'facts' out. I've also got several transcript excerpts to share, which I hope will be helpful.

Oh, on a happier note--the infrastructure legislation, which was going to be used--in lieu of tax cuts, which have already been legislated--to slash so-called 'entitlements,' has been called off. Of course, there are still two Dems crisscrossing the country to push for a Grand Bargain--even involving Harvard students in the effort. I'm still trying to find the white paper that the winning student team proposed. Smartly, longtime friends, Gary Cohn and Heidi Heitkamp aren't releasing it--yet. Supposedly, they will allow it to be discussed on CNBC. More on that later, if I can dig it up. (The 'contest' was several weeks ago.)

Oh, Everyone can cheer up, now. Apparently, Nancy is 'praying for DT.' Biggrin

BTW, hope the screenshot from Bernie's Bill is self-explanatory. If not, please ask for clarification. IOW, Blanket 'Guaranteed Issue' (extended to the sickest among us) will cause Medigap premiums to skyrocket (as happened with ACA premiums). And, this will result in only the wealthiest seniors being able to stay in TM. The rest will be relegated to Medicare Advantage--which is a private-sector managed care program. BTW, no problem with seniors participating in MA--if that's what they prefer. Just don't want to be pushed into it, myself.

Hey, hope you had a nice trip, EL. Thanks for today's OT. IMO, there is no Left. Or, at least, not in the Democratic Party.

Mollie

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.
~~Gilda Radner, Comedienne

[Postscript: Edited - Replaced period, with comma. Will post some of this blurb at EB. Need to make sure that some of the 'finer details' of the Bill are finally discussed/known.]

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

enhydra lutris's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

wendy davis's picture

but i'm glad you finally got to: What is to the left of the left, as i wasn't sure if you'd meant rather 'what remains of (some) Left'.

you haven't given any hints as to what part of the Left (i'm assuming) you occupy. ; ) i don't think there is anything much remaining of the socialist/communist left in this nation, although i'll volunteer that i'm of the socialist bent (so many definitions of that are afoot), radical leftist stripe, as in: anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist (meaning anti-war), and eco-socialist.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@wendy davis
There is, afaik, no phraseology and terminology that captures it. For example, I'm a civil libertarian, a proponent of civil rights and an egalitarian. We need more civil liberties, and we seemingly need them codified, else they will be ignored. WRT civil rights, said civil liberties need to be possessed by all, without fear or favor, regardless of sex, gender, race, color, social class, who you know and all that. There are things we can all do, little steps we can take to try to improve things in that regard but that is simply a palliative.

We need to stop imperialism, wars of choice, the warfare state and reign in the MIC; and whatever we can do in that regard is all well and good, but we seem to have been steadily sliding backward since the sixties if not before.

As to "egalitarianism", everybody needs equal rights before the law, equal access to the necessities of life and arguably certain "luxuries", but again, formulating a workable action plan is a roadblock.

Global ecocide is upon us. Even if we stop global warming today, we are still faced with ecosystem collapse from trash, pollution, overproduction of non-necessary goods and unwise elimination of some species along with overproduction of others, again, there is stuff we can and should do, each of us, daily, and I advocate that we do so but the prospects don't look all that rosy.

So, the leviathan in the room is capitalism. It has never worked for the masses or even for so much as a simple majority of the populace except under very specific conditions such as having a vast excess of resources available to a small population of well meaning people. Even that would in time break down, I suspect, but it is an arguable exception. After all, capitalism requires aggregation of a quasi-monopolistic surplus sufficient to control the means of production by some actor and how does that come about in such a world?

So replace, modify or supplant capitalism? That's the rub. That is especially the rub for me, since I'm in my seventies and see no likely path for a rapid smooth transition to anything else. As a result, I tend to snipe around the edges, finding things we can do and advocate for which might well be arguably palliative, but minimization of suffering and stress is at least better than doing nothing. Meanwhile, we can do a great many small acts to subvert and undermine capitalism, things which might also be palliative and even improve our living conditions, sort of a death by a thousand paper cuts. Minor monkeywrenching to shift the power balance when and where possible. I therefore tend to look for, practice and advocate such behaviors. They involve everything from recycling to gratuitous sharing to cooperatives and communes, home gardens, neighborhood gardens, respecting each other and each others rights, advocating and practicing reduced consumption, lobbying governments, boycotts and such to simple things like switching from banks to credit unions. Back in the sixties I was among those who were going to end wars, disarm the world, end discrimination and injustice, tame the corporations and bring forth some vaguely quasi-socialist state that would result in a more equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of life, labor, leisure and all of that. Didn't happen and isn't on the horizon, but it seems that we need to still try, at all scales to work on those things, all at once to the extent possible because what else is there for an ethical person to do.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

wendy davis's picture

@enhydra lutris

kindly for such a considered response, even though i don't see that tinkering around the edges of capitalism (as now with the DSAs reform capitalists) have done anything but prolong the immisseration of the working and pauper classes.

yep, subvert what we can, act as counter-weights to the now 'climate crisis', but don't expect to fix any of it w/ capitalist solutions in the US and UK green new deals, as well as the Sixth Extinction (now baked in) groups, all 3 are 'net zero carbon' silliness, while we should spend bucks adapting to the rising oceans, global cooperation on where to grow food in changing climates, and dealing with the massive dearth of potable water globally.

but i do understand that given your life-long activism and age now, your formula works well for you, and indeed for many others. john trudell had once chanted in a talking poetry song:

'it didn't have to be this way...except that we were that way'.

and that's right. peace to you, and to all of us...when we can manage it.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

And remember, only turkeys have left wings.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

enhydra lutris's picture

@The Aspie Corner
Have a great one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

magiamma's picture

good evening, all. The day has sped by. I read this morning and just came up for air. Hot air. heh.

Working with some others to get our city council to approve a re-write of their goals to include climate change as the over arching issue. We are editing the doc for them. On top of everything else. It's a good thing.

I am off to re-read this and savor. Have a good evening...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

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enhydra lutris's picture

@magiamma
goal change. Good luck with the re-write and have a great day.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --