I have always been a member of the left so I can speak with some authority concerning the left. The left is totally divided and as a result has failed to make any great inroads into the power of the 1%. Over my lifetime the situation has worsened, and within the 99% the left and right have been increasingly divided. In my view this is not based on who the left are and who the right are, it is based on false perceptions that have been used increasingly to divide us. Examination of the 1%-system can show how unnecessary these divisions are but for many their attitudes are so entrenched it would seem impossible to achieve unity yet it is necessary to try. |
I want to describe here some of the landscape on the left in light of the 1%-system previously described . The most important division on the left comes with regards to the acceptance of the electoral system and the ensuing government. Within the two-party state the 99% are encouraged to see the limitations of their political support to be that of voting. Ordinary members of the 99% work hard within the voting system to get their candidate elected. Once elected the 99% are encouraged to believe that their candidate is running the government when in reality for the majority of the candidates they are simply opportunists who once they are in government just do 1%-bidding.
It is this electoral delusion that can also unite both left and right. It is in the interests of the 99% to have their candidates accountable to them throughout their time in office. The greater their demands for accountability during office the more likely the interests of the 99% are going to be met. But in reality because of this electoral delusion most of government carries on the same way as it did before with only token differences dependent on the electoral system.
It is so important to understand that the government and elected representatives who are opportunists work in the interests of the 1%. Because Obama was elected it does not mean that he was acting in the interests of the 99%. Individually he started wars, he sanctioned drones, he never changed gun laws, and he never closed Gitmo; and at the end of his 8 years there were all the police shootings of black people. Would he have chosen this? Trump, as President, introduced a travel ban on 7 Muslim countries, yet the courts have blocked him yet other of his actions such as the global gag rule LINK http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/abortion/315652-trump-signs-executive-order-reinstating-global-gag-rule-on have gone through. Is it what Trump chooses?
Was the Obama administration left, is Trump administration right, or are they both 1%?
Blair did nothing for me. He took the UK to war, he increased security, and was then rewarded with huge bounties, the most ludicrous being his being peace envoy with the Quartet when he had started a war against Iraq. The 1% knew he would support Israel against Palestine.
It is important to note that two candidates against the 1% are continually being met with resistance within their opportunist parties, Corbyn with Labour in the UK, and Bernie with the Democrats in the US. These are indications as to whose system the parties work for.
I can only discuss the left with any authority and that is the left in the UK as that is what I knew. But it is worth looking at some details to understand what actually constitutes the left. As explained already I do not consider a vote for labour as being a left vote – although many would. Because the Tories have won elections in recent years, UK government has not been attacked as left-wing – as it has in the US, but nor is the government right-wing populist as can be seen with government resistance to the Brexit referendum. This is quite simply because government is 1%.
So let us examine the left-wing UK landscape. A high majority proportion of the left-wing support Labour mainstream politics – maybe as much as 80 or 90%. I would describe these people as traditional working-class where conditioned allegiance of their background community would vote Labour. But in recent years the voices of the working-class have been superceded by liberals who would vote for Labour as they are more likely to support liberal values of human rights and who are very vociferous about identity politics, and particularly silent about UK complicities in foreign wars.
And then there are the differing levels of Marxism. UK Marxist groups are significantly split, and it is hard to understand why they are so split. There are Marxist groups who work within the Labour party, and other Marxist groups who work outside the Labour party. There are differing levels of Marxist understanding. The smaller groups, some formed as parties outside the Labour party, all tend to call themselves socialist but there exist vehement battles between socialist groups especially between the extreme socialists and communists. It appeared to me that these groups were more concerned with fighting each other than they were concerned with attacking the 1%. I became a communist for a while and learnt a great deal about Marxism and how it allied to the mass movement but despite what they say they had marginal differences with other socialist left groups. Within the electoral group of the left there are what I call parlour socialists who claim they are socialist over dinner parties but are not interested in activity or organising; these parlour socialists are often indistinguishable from liberals.
Both inside and outside the Labour party much emphasis has now been placed on identity politics. Back in the 70s (when I first became aware) racism and sexism were serious social problems, for most white people it was acceptable to call a “spade a spade”, and feminism was starting to be more mainstream as the backlash to male chauvinism started in the 60s was beginning to reach a wider female audience. A significant tactic at this time was the necessary promotion of politically correct language. People learnt to overcome their racism and sexism by improving their language, and this hopefully brought with it improved awareness.
In practise I feel the opposite has happened. Beyond the use of PC language many on this broad left, although claiming liberality, cannot claim to have got rid of ingrained prejudices from within their white communities. Nor have they educated the wider communities not to be racist or sexist. So there has developed a schism around identity politics between those who promote identity politics through black awareness, gender equality and LGBT issues. Meanwhile a significant group within the 99%, white people, perceive that their jobs are lost, their communities are decimated, and that identity politics means that people from the minorities will always get jobs. White men feel this the worst. After being in clear ascendancy before the 60s, these men now feel they are not being recognised as deserving concern. Because of the lack of representation of this group within identity politics, and because many of these white men have been losing jobs there has been a backlash against this identity politics. The failure of the left to recognise that they need strategies to involve and support these men, many have turned to the populist right to seek representation.
The proportion of the left-wing who actively work against the 1% is very low – maybe as low as 10%. Whilst all the left, socialist and liberal, would agree with part of what I described as 1%-system, only a small percentage of hardliners would accept all. For far too many the electoral system is the focus of their politics, and failure to take their analysis and activity any further has opened the door to the populist right.
Alienation from the left also occurs in other ways. Back in 1990 was the poll tax riots. These were engineered by the 1%-system based on the propensity for some groups within the left to be violent. I was on that march and it was peaceful – there were even families walking but all the coverage is the violence and the alienation that violence caused. I have no personal doubts that the violence was created through intended provocation. I remember a colleague saying that the stewardship of the march was amateurish, stewardship is normally organised by the marchers themselves. As a result of the violence strong community anger towards the poll tax was commuted to a council tax that was a poll tax by another name; the Tories won.
More extreme left-wing violence also exists - where some groups feel justified by using violence to get what they want, but such acts of violence only alienate and make the job of uniting the 99% harder.
The perpetrators of the violence is the 1%-system of wage-slavery that is supported by military and police. Both have a dual function:-
To support the 1%
To maintain law and order
For a high proportion of the 99% law and order is an important issue for protecting their families and they ignore that the priority of the military and police is to support the 1%. There is one rule for the rich and one for the poor is an adage that is accepted, but very few recognise that it is a fundamental military/police platform.
It is important to note that the actions of these deplorable few alienate many within the 99%.
In conclusion the left is complex and from outside the left it is easy to see why the left can be seen as supporting the government because of the electoral system.