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NikkolasKing
Apr 3, 2010





So ever since I started to pay more attention to politics in 2016, I've generally heard the explanation for Populist Right's success attributed to there being no real Leftist alternative. Basically it's all economics - poor people are hurting and will vote for whoever will alleviate their hardship, fascists or not. I heard this a lot online of course but I also heard it from people like Professor Mark Blyth who this forum introduced me to and who was a big influence on how I understood the world going to poo poo.

But recently I had a bout of interest in trying to assess the academic consensus on this. What do the numbers and surveys and all the rest of it say? I got a lot of sources but just listing what I found to be the most interesting and relevant ones:

From what I could find, I think this is the most clear and recent exploration of the matter, particularly as it pertains to why the counterpart Left isn't winning:

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/b...in_document.pdf

quote:

We argue, though, that in the advanced West, voter demand for left populist politicians and parties is comparatively limited. Why? In short, poverty, inequality, economic rent-seeking, and corruption are (almost by definition) less extreme in the developed world than in the developing world. As a result, voters in the advanced West suffer less absolute and relative deprivation, and regard their economies as less unfair, than do voters in developing countries. More voters in the advanced West belong to the middle class, or to what Seymour Lipset might have called the “relatively well-to-do working class.” It follows, we posit, that they place more emphasis on the promotion and protection of their core values and culture, and less emphasis on advancing their absolute or relative economic position, than voters in developing countries.

They are also less susceptible to class-based appeals and economic tribalism. After all, where the gap between rich and poor (economic and otherwise) is smaller, and where the middle class and “relatively well-to-do” working class are larger, fewer voters are liable to define themselves as lower-class, or to identify themselves in opposition to the rich or economic elite. Even in countries like the US, where inequality has become an important political issue, a large majority of citizens self-identify as middle-class and express hopes of becoming wealthy. In such contexts, there is limited demand for left populist rhetoric emphasizing class solidarity and an economy “rigged” by elites. When such demand does arise, it is often in response to cyclical – and hence temporary – downturns like the Great Recession.

Advanced Western countries also have larger welfare states and have used these welfare states to materially compensate the less well-off. In Northern Europe and North America, if a citizen loses her job, she can receive unemployment insurance and public health care. If he falls below the poverty line, he may qualify for supplemental cash transfers. The EU provides economic support to its poorest subnational regions. Over the past three decades – the very time period in which free market policies have proliferated – mean per capita social spending has increased across Northern Europe and North America. Some programs, such as the American “Trade Adjustment Assistance” fund, explicitly compensate those dislocated by free market policies.

[…]

Just as the political right led the neoliberal turn, the political left led this socially progressive turn; and just as established left forces accepted the neoliberal turn, established right forces have largely accepted the socially progressive turn. In recent decades, conservative establishments across the Western world have shifted considerably on specific policy questions such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and immigration, and with respect to broader social trends such as changing gender roles, racial and sexual diversity, and multiculturalism. An increasing proportion of “establishment” Republican elites and opinion leaders in the United States, for example, support same-sex marriage and (at least prior to the rise of Donald Trump) immigration reform.xiii Germany’s Christian Democratic Party, under the leadership of Angela Merkel, famously oversaw the “welcoming” of nearly one million migrants in 2015. Under David Cameron, British Conservatives “modernized”xiv their policies on same-sex marriage and other hot-button cultural issues. Across Europe, parties of the mainstream right now advocate a minimalist nationalism and embrace the quasi-supranational vision of the EU. In short, on the divisive social questions of recent decades, major pre-populist parties of the right sued for peace.

In contrast to left populist voters, right populist voters are socially and culturally driven. They are social conservatives, and their primary subjective political grievances are social progressivism and mass immigration. Like their left populist counterparts, they believe that they no longer have a “dog in the fight” – i.e., that there is no longer an established political force that opposes social progressivism and mass immigration. Right populists (e.g., Trump, Germany’s AfD) enter this vacuum, placing central programmatic emphasis on rejecting or reversing social progressivism. They focus on social and cultural grievances; lament the erosion of traditional values and national identities and criticize established right forces for capitulating to social progressivism and demographic change.

The shift to social progressivism in the advanced West, both culturally and politically, has alienated social conservatives, creating significant electoral demand for right populism. Traditional values and religious beliefs have fallen out of the mainstream and are increasingly regarded as outdated. Formerly homogenous communities have been disrupted by mass immigration, and new ethnic cleavages have emerged (e.g., between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe; between Spanish-speaking Latin Americans and English-speaking Euro- and AfricanAmericans in the United States). Social conservatives in Northern Europe and the US report an increasing sense of cultural erosion and dilution, of feeling less “at home” in their countries.


[…]

Two additional points bear mention in this context. First, because many immigrants and refugees in advanced Western countries are low-skilled workers, their growing presence in the population has made native-born low-skilled workers less susceptible to broad class-based appeals. Native-born workers often do not identify culturally or ethnically with these immigrants and refugees, and to some extent they compete with them for jobs. The result is fragmentation rather than solidarity among the working class. This further limits electoral demand for left populism, which depends on class appeals.

Second, there have not been – and arguably, there cannot be – policies compensating social conservatives for mass immigration and the rise of post-materialism. In other words, there is no analogue of the welfare state in the more “zero-sum” sociocultural domain.xvii If same-sex marriage or abortion is legalized; if a country changes demographically and becomes more culturally plural due to increased immigration; if traditional gender norms and roles erode, politicians cannot, at the level of national policy, provide compensation to citizens who oppose these shifts. They can only roll back the socially progressive policies themselves (e.g., reimpose bans on same-sex marriage or abortion). In areas like immigration, this would require extreme measures (e.g., mass deportation) regarded as unthinkable or infeasible.

[…]

In short, not only have social progressivism and mass immigration generated a comparatively large number of right populist voters in the advanced West, these right populist voters are more subjectively aggrieved than left populist voters. Right populist voters reject both the left-wing social status quo (i.e., social progressivism, demographic change) and the rightwing economic status quo (i.e., neoliberalism). By contrast, left populist voters only reject the economic status quo, tending to support social progressivism. Thus, whereas left populist voters only feel economic alienation, right populist voters feel social and economic alienation, making them an especially committed and combustible electoral constituency. Consequently, electoral demand for right-wing populism is not only higher but also more intense and persistent than electoral demand for left-wing populism (Demand-Side

[…]

Right populists have a clear advantage over left populists in internecine electoral contests (i.e., in electoral contests between mainstream forces and new populist entrants on either side of the political spectrum). Why? Very simply, right populists are more programmatically distinct from their mainstream rivals than are left populists. Right populists differ from the right-wing establishment socially and economically; by contrast, left populists only differ from the left-wing establishment economically. Consequently, right populists have a clearer, more effective brand vis-a-vis their mainstreamxxi counterparts and can siphon more votes from them (Supply-Side Argument 1).

[…]

Right populists also hold an advantage over left populists in open, nationwide elections. Why? From the perspective of ordinary voters, left populists are more radical than the mainstream left on economic issues and roughly indistinguishable on social issues. By contrast, right populists are more radical than the mainstream right on social issues but more moderate on economic issues. This has two effects. First, right populists can more easily attract former left-wing voters than left populists can attract former right-wing voters. After all, they hold some anti-neoliberal economic positions, whereas left populists do not hold any conservative social positions. Second, because right populists mix right and left positions, ordinary voters perceive them as, on balance, more programmatically moderate than left populists – although not necessarily more moderate in their attitude toward democracy. Consequently, right populists can also more easily attract moderate, centrist voters – at least those primarily concerned with programmatic issues. Both dynamics advantage right populists in open, nationwide elections (Supply-Side Argument 2).

The data bear out this set of arguments . Before the 2016 US presidential election, for example, American voters regarded Donald Trump as the most moderate and least partisan GOP nominee in a generation.xxv Trump’s winning electoral coalition included a plurality of moderates and independents, and his popularity with both groups substantially exceeded that of previous Republican nominees. France’s National Front and Germany’s AfD, despite drawing most of their support from traditional constituencies of the mainstream right, made crucial inroads with formerly non-right voting blocs. The National Front performed well in France’s “Socialist strongholds,”xxvi and the AfD siphoned nearly a million votes from the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and far-left Left Party (Die Linke) in the 2017 German elections.xxvii In the 2019 EU Parliament elections, Britain’s right populist Brexit Party drew 13 percent of its support from erstwhile Labour Voters, while the Labour Party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, did not draw significant support from the Conservative Party.xxviii

TL'DR: The Far Right galvanizes greater support because it offers a wholesale change. Bernie and friends say the exact same social things as regular Progressives but have more radical economic policies. This dual prongs of right wing social policy and left wing economics allows the Far Right to lure in people from all over while Left Wing Populists can only draw from the usual voter pool.

On that topic,

ttps://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1467-9477.12147

quote:

Secondly, many countries have seen a realignment in which the sociocultural dimension has increased in salience, at the expense of the socioeconomic axis of conflict (Rydgren 2002; Kriesi et al. 2008; Bornschier 2018). This tends to benefit radical right‐wing parties, as their profile issues belong to the sociocultural dimension (Oesch 2008). In Sweden, for example, there has been a marked increase in the degree to which voters consider immigration – SD's core issue – to be an important political issue. In 2010, only 19% of the Swedish voters considered immigration to be an important political issue; in 2014 this proportion had increased to 27% and in 2015 to 53% (Bergström & Oscarsson 2015; Demker & van der Meiden 2016).


Thirdly, voters are less likely to vote for alternative parties if they can easily find policy alternatives among mainstream parties (Rydgren 2002). Across the Western world parties have been converging across the left‐right divide on socioeconomic issues (Kitschelt 2018). In Sweden, this process was further intensified after 2006 when the centre‐right coalition Alliance1 was established. Such converging may lead voters to perceive all mainstream parties as being very similar, thereby contributing to a depoliticization of the traditional socioeconomic issues and increasing salience of (and voting based on) sociocultural issues (Rydgren & van der Meiden 2018).

[...]

Thus, individuals may vote based on their social class, attitudes on specific issues such as taxes or immigration, and/or underlying values and ideological worldviews. Importantly, recent changes in voter behaviour seem to reflect an increased prioritization of sociocultural issues in politics, rather than a shift in the values and attitudes that explain these sociocultural preferences (Ivarsflaten 2008; Mudde 2010; Rydgren & van der Meiden 2018). By being less focused – or even intentionally vague – on socioeconomic issues, radical right‐wing parties can attract voters from different positions on the political spectrum, as long as voters agree that their core sociocultural issue, most notably opposition to immigration, needs to be prioritized in politics (Rovny 2013).

[...]

Social class and socioeconomic status

To gain a clearer picture of social class among voters who are currently of working age, we compared voter groups after excluding retirees from the analyses. A chi‐squared analysis revealed statistically significant group differences in occupation categories, χ 2 (21) = 175.45, p < .001. SD supporters who previously voted for the Social Democrats more commonly come from the working class (50%) compared to current Social Democrat voters (38%), as well as SD voters who previously voted for the Conservative Party (30%) and current Conservative Party (27%) voters. Also, being unemployed or on a long‐term sick leave was more common in this group (12%) compared to SD voters who previously voted for the Conservative Party (9.9%), as well as current Social Democratic (6.9%) and Conservative Party (3.6%) voters. Complete distributions of occupation are presented Table S1 in the Supplementary Material.

Regarding education, a chi‐squared analysis (excluding students) confirmed statistically significant group differences, χ 2 (3) = 72.35, p < .001. To have university education was approximately 1.7 times less common among SD voters who previously voted for the Social Democrats (25.1%) than among SD voters who previously voted for the Conservative Party (41.8%) and current Social Democratic (44.3%) voters, and twice less common compared to current Conservative Party (51.0%) voters.

Concerning income, a chi‐squared analysis (excluding retirees and students) revealed statistically significant group differences, χ 2 (21) = 101.29, p < .001. Low income was more common, and very high income was less common, among previous and current Social Democratic voters than among previous and current Conservative Party voters: 27.7 per cent of current, and 26.5 per cent of previous, Social Democratic voters belonged to the two lowest income groups (<20,000 SEK/month), which can be contrasted with 15.6 per cent of SD voters who previously voted for the Conservative Party, and 14.7 per cent of current Conservative Party voters. Reversed patterns are observed at the other end of the income distribution: 4.0% of current Social Democratic voters, and 2.8 per cent of SD voters who previously voted for the Social Democrats, belonged to the three highest income groups (≥50,000 SEK/month), compared to 10.0 per cent of SD voters who previously voted for the Conservative Party, and 14.1 per cent of current Conservative Party voters. Complete distributions over income are presented in Table S2 in the Supplementary Material.

Finally, ANOVA analysis showed statistically significant group differences in subjective socioeconomic status, F (3, 2571) = 55.6, p < .001, η 2 = .06. SD voters who previously voted for the Social Democrats ascribed the lowest status to themselves (M = 5.82, Sd = 1.7), followed by current Social Democratic voters (M = 6.19, Sd = 1.7), SD voters who previously voted for the Conservative Party (M = 6.68, Sd = 1.6), and current Conservative Party voters (M = 6.92, Sd = 1.4). Bonferroni post hoc analysis confirmed that all these group differences were statistically significant (ps < .05).

In sum, these results support hypothesis 1a and (partly) 1b: SD voters who previously voted for the Social Democratic party had lower socioeconomic status than SD voters who previously voted for the Conservative Party. SD voters reported lower subjective socioeconomic status than the voters of the Social Democrats and the Conservative Party, but in terms of education, income, and subjective socioeconomic status, SD voters nevertheless resembled voters of their previous parties more than other SD voters.

I've always heard how Sweden is THE progressive country. Apparently this was agreed upon even in academia since they had a term for it. "Swedish exceptionalism" referred to how they had no far right parties in power. Then the Sweden Democrats got a lot of votes and some of that is due to luring away Social Democrats.

And on the topic of economic explanations vs. cultural explanations:
https://academic.oup.com/esr/articl...73-ccc3dbb96a47[/URL]

quote:

Yet evidence from the American case casts doubt on the hypothesized relationship between declining economic conditions and support for right-wing populism (Mutz, 2018). Examining electoral behavior in the American 2016 elections, Manza and Crowley (2017) conclude that there is no empirical support to the claim that Trump’s right-wing populist appeals resonated especially with economically disadvantaged voters; if anything, the evidence points in the opposite direction (but see Morgan and Lee (2017, 2018)).

In the European context, another line of research suggests that support for the populist right is strong among those who are just a few rungs above the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, but not among the most economically vulnerable (Bornschier and Kriesi, 2013; Gidron and Hall, 2017; Im et al. 2019). Biggs and Kanuss (2012) find that active support for the radical right British National Party is in fact lower in localities with high unemployment. In Belgium, Rink, Phalet and Swyngedouw (2009) find no relationship between local unemployment and voting for the radical right party Vlaams Blok. These findings resonate with recent studies of mass public opinion which situate anti-immigration attitudes in cultural rather than economic concerns (Hopkins and Hainmueller, 2014); this more cultural perspective has become the established common-wisdom in the field.

[…]

Economic downturns are often followed by growing support for populist appeals and the radical parties that voice them; but is this increased support for radical parties in hard economic times driven by those people personally experiencing loss of income? In our effort to answer this question, we took as our starting point the literature on populism across Western democracies in general, and in Europe in particular. Scholarship suggests that populist parties benefit from economic crises (Roberts, 2017) and documents a correlation between low socio-economic status and voting for these parties (Rooduijn and Burgoon, 2017; Visser et al., 2014), as well as regional-level associations between economic hardship and these parties’ bases of support.

Our findings are interesting in light of evidence that economic crises primarily benefit the populist radical right (Funke, Schularick and Trebesch, 2016). Our results suggest that if this is the case, the electoral success of the radical right likely comes from people other than those most directly and personally affected by the crisis. Previous work suggests that greater commitment to redistributive policies is required in order to deal with the challenge of radical right parties (Colantone and Stanig 2018). Yet our findings cast doubt on this conclusion, since individual-level economic losses do not serve as a major driver of support for the radical right. At the same time, the small increase in nativist attitudes among those hit by the crisis in the Netherlands suggests there is a potential incentive for right-wing political actors to make anti-immigration appeals in times of economic downturn. The fact that, at least in the case of The Netherlands, growing nativist attitudes did not go hand in hand with increased support for the radical right may suggest that other parties, including the mainstream right, have found ways to capitalize on such sentiments in the short term.

Another implication of our findings, which resonates with research on European populism, is that different mechanisms drive support for the radical left and the radical right (Akkerman, Zaslove and Spruyt, 2017; van Hauwaert and van Kessel, 2018). These results are relevant for the literature on support for populism in the American context, where scholars have mostly focused on what drives support for populism on the right (Manza and Crowley, 2017; Morgan and Lee, 2017, 2018).

Our analyses also invite further discussion about the relationship between economic, cultural and societal factors in driving support for populist radical parties (Gidron and Hall, 2017). For instance, ethnographic research locates the core concerns of populist and radical right supporters in demand for social recognition, which likely stems from a combination of economic and cultural factors (Cramer, 2016; Gest 2016). We hope our findings will help push forward the literature on the determinants of the rise in populism and the intersection of economic and cultural factors.

In conclusion, it bears emphasis that our findings do not suggest that economic factors are irrelevant for understanding support for the radical populist right. Economic factors may shape support for such parties not through personal income loss, but by an increased scarcity of welfare services (Cavaille and Ferwerda, 2017), a sharpening of moral boundaries toward outgroups (Mijs, Bakhtiari and Lamont, 2016), or by growing concerns over subjective social status (Gidron and Hall, 2017). There are likely to be multiple sources feeding right-wing populism, some of them more closely linked to economic factors than others (Harteveld and de Lange, 2018; Stockemer, Lentz and Mayer, 2018). Our findings call for renewed thinking about alternative mechanisms through which changes in economic circumstances shape the populist politics of our time.

I've seen this addressed in many articles and books but this one explicitly cites how it's the "common-wisdom" that culture is the dominant motivation for the success of the Right and that's why I selected it. If you'd like some other sources, I have them.


In any event, hope some of this might be illuminating. If you perhaps disagree with the listed reasons why the Right is beating the Left, that could also be an interesting discussion.

NikkolasKing fucked around with this message at 16:17 on Nov 21, 2020

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Crumbskull
Sep 13, 2005

by MSDOS KAPITAL

Also, only one of those political tendencies is actively broadcast on all media channels and supported by capital and the ruling class. The other one is violently repressed. Probably has something to do with it, not a scientist though.

i say swears online
Mar 4, 2005

medio de fonte leporum surgo amariter




one side has all the money op

El Pollo Blanco
Jun 12, 2013



Have you heard of this thing called White Supremacy, op

El Pollo Blanco
Jun 12, 2013



.

The Oldest Man
Jul 28, 2003



i say swears online posted:

one side has all the money op

The left challenges the political-economic order and the far right doesn't, it doesn't matter whether any billionaires are hiding SS tats because the guys with the SS tats can be useful idiots for them or at least are not a problem that their class interest is threatened by.

i say swears online
Mar 4, 2005

medio de fonte leporum surgo amariter




The Oldest Man posted:

The left challenges the political-economic order and the far right doesn't, it doesn't matter whether any billionaires are hiding SS tats because the guys with the SS tats can be useful idiots for them or at least are not a problem that their class interest is threatened by.

i can't tell if you agree or disagree with my statement

Shakespearean Beef
Jul 12, 2008

Ask me all about how I proudly marched alongside literal NEO-NAZIS to protest against the GOVERNMENT taking away our FREEDOMS because of nothing mote that the common FLU!!! I'm holding aloft the TORCH of FREEDOM!!


Doctor Malaver
May 23, 2007

Ce qui s'est passé t'a rendu plus fort

Crumbskull posted:

Also, only one of those political tendencies is actively broadcast on all media channels and supported by capital and the ruling class. The other one is violently repressed. Probably has something to do with it, not a scientist though.

Where do you live that left political tendencies are "violently repressed"?

Panzeh
Nov 27, 2006




There's something to be said for the notion that the new right folks are certainly animated mostly by cultural things- their newfangled willingness to buck neoliberalism is incredibly vague and flexible, which makes them fairly useful for institutional parties, who I think are cottoning on to this tendency. I also think there's something to be said that the average person confuses supposedly incongruent opinions with moderation, as especially in 2016, people really kind of projected a sense of moderation onto trump in the US presidential election since his views were incoherent.

I think it will be tricky for any leftist, imo, to try to navigate this kind of politics because working class solidarity does not stop with citizenship and certainly shouldn't stop with it, so we're always going to be at a disadvantage here. Socialism is not a One Weird Trick that makes all other political factors irrelevant.

V. Illych L.
Apr 11, 2008

ASK ME ABOUT LUMBER



it's an unfortunate fact of life that we in the global centre tend to benefit from global capitalism. a lot of people recognise this while also recognising that for effective, anti-liberal government to be a Thing, we cannot respect all people's rights all the time. what the populist right offer is a credible alliance between mostly rural people in the local periphery with the forces of capital; this is more attractive to people than a long-term death struggle against a world order which mostly still seems to work, especially after being massaged a bit by compliant press.

de facto, most 'left' coalitions have allowed themselves to become dependent on a set of urbane, educated types whose interests are increasingly being credibly represented over those of the local periphery. see brexit for a very clear example of this; when the most serious and credible mobilisation came against a specific neoliberal institution, the left pretty much all sided with the local centre in trying to preserve it, to the point of refusing to take the mandate of the referendum seriously. to be clear, i'm not sure that going the other way would've worked out either - they really are dependent on those urbane educated types as well - but in this point of friction do you get right-wing populism

populist right forces look a lot more credible in these cases than anyone on the left. we're too preoccupied with grander environmental issues to look like we're serious about toll roads or petrol taxes, and our proposed solutions to people's problems are often not relevant (unionisation takes an awful lot of work, is risky amd has relatively low rewards). to join the western left is pretty much an act of masochism, so one can understand why people are reluctant before it's their own arse on the line

ronya
Nov 8, 2010

I'm the normal one.

You hate ridden fucks will regret your words when you eventually grow up.

Peace.


V. Illych L. posted:

it's an unfortunate fact of life that we in the global centre tend to benefit from global capitalism. a lot of people recognise this while also recognising that for effective, anti-liberal government to be a Thing, we cannot respect all people's rights all the time. what the populist right offer is a credible alliance between mostly rural people in the local periphery with the forces of capital; this is more attractive to people than a long-term death struggle against a world order which mostly still seems to work, especially after being massaged a bit by compliant press.

de facto, most 'left' coalitions have allowed themselves to become dependent on a set of urbane, educated types whose interests are increasingly being credibly represented over those of the local periphery. see brexit for a very clear example of this; when the most serious and credible mobilisation came against a specific neoliberal institution, the left pretty much all sided with the local centre in trying to preserve it, to the point of refusing to take the mandate of the referendum seriously. to be clear, i'm not sure that going the other way would've worked out either - they really are dependent on those urbane educated types as well - but in this point of friction do you get right-wing populism

populist right forces look a lot more credible in these cases than anyone on the left. we're too preoccupied with grander environmental issues to look like we're serious about toll roads or petrol taxes, and our proposed solutions to people's problems are often not relevant (unionisation takes an awful lot of work, is risky amd has relatively low rewards). to join the western left is pretty much an act of masochism, so one can understand why people are reluctant before it's their own arse on the line

this is true, but at the same time:

- the old vanguardist left rose to prominence in a period where the industrialized nations imposed substantial net tax burdens on lower-to-middle income households (mainly via indirect taxes); ww1 was very effective at forcing participating nations to dispel the impression of a "rich man's war" and since then income taxes have become a significant share of revenue in most large countries; unlike earlier continental wars there has been little reversion since then
- mass conscription imposing a serious burden on lifetime incomes, and its general abolition in most industrialized nations mitigating that burden
- mass secondary education being very effective at distilling ambitious, driven members of the working classes into the professions, and removing them from factory floors, worksites, and other social spaces where they might have otherwise become organised labour leaders
- recession of the prominence of means of production where social relations are predominantly 1) male, 2) hierarchical, 3) highly physical, 4) where team cohesion is continually enforced by physically dangerous working conditions - hence labour-intensive metalworking, longshore/stevedore dock work, mining, etc. - and instead replacement amongst organised labour with relatively educated, female, public-sector roles: teachers, nurses, civil servants

this is a predominantly American forum where the New Left breakup of the vanguardist old Left coalition was well in evidence by the 1960s (in particular with women moving from the conservative to liberal tent). These took several more decades to make itself felt in Western Europe but the trend was already there, albeit slower; it was already in well in hand when Enoch Powell's dockworkers were marching in the 1968.

"When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now all I see are the dregs of the middle class. And what I want to know is when you middle class perverts are going to stop using the Labor Party as a spiritual spittoon." - remark in 1970 by an Australian Labor Party politician

quote:

The division within the party was not merely about who made party policy. It was also about who was listened to. [UK] Labour's MPs had a dual mandate: they had obligations to their electors and to their party. This caused little difficulty until the late 1970s when differences between the ideas of the average elector and the party workers who controlled the CLPs opened up. The electorate had been moving away from the socialist ideas which Labour implemented in 1945-5, while the party workers moved on to more socialist positions. Most MPs were ill at ease with their constituency activists' new-found radicalism and tried to keep in touch with their images of their electors.

The difficulty was exacerbated by an apparent drop in the number of individual members. Official figures are of little help here. No party's central office really knows what its individual membership is, and most take steps to hide what they do know. From 1963 to 1979 Labour used an artificial method of calculating which, in 1978, credited them with 675,000 members: the real number was probably nearer 250,000 of whom about 55,000 were active. On the other hand, Labour can also count on the energy of very large numbers of the four million trade unionists who are affiliated members of whom perhaps one million help at elections. The best available estimates of the numbers of individual members in the British parties are shown in Table 3. 1. There is some reason to think that the drop in Labour Party membership results from a disproportionate loss of working-class members. In other words, constituency parties, like the PLP, have become increasingly middle class (Whiteley, 1982, p. 115). This is confirmed by other research which shows that Annual Conference delegates in the late 1970s were disproportionately male, middle class and militant (Whiteley and Gordon, 1980).

Ball, Alan R. 1981. British Political Parties: The emergence of a modern party system: pp67

quote:

In the social-democratic centralist age, large-scale rank and file opposition to the centre was mediated by a willingness, in the final resort, to accept its authority. Many might disagree with NEC decisions but, equally, they acknowledged its right to make them. This ability to exert a large measure of normative control was rooted in two crucial features of Labour's political culture in the 1950s and early 1960s - loyalist sentiment deriving from a widespread solidaristic attachment to the Party and a considerable measure of consensus which legitimated the structure and exercise of authority. Both these conditions of normative control suffered serious erosion from the early 1970s onwards. Major changes in membership composition (which proceeded at an uneven pace throughout the country) undercut loyalism. There was a steady inflow of educated, assertive, younger recruits, often employed in professional occupations. The working class members who deserted the Party in droves in the late 1960s were never replaced. As a result, the social complexion of Labour's membership (particularly its activist component) underwent a substantial alteration. The new cohorts of activists were considerably more likely to exhibit a purposive orientation than the older ones; they were often animated by a distinctively socialist matrix of ideas and values and entered the Party primarily to influence the policy process. In addition they tended to be radical in outlook and imbued with a participative ethos.

The educated, articulate activists of the 1980s possessed the self-confidence and the political skills which earlier generations of members bad often lacked to challenge authority figures at all levels of the Party. Given their social background and occupational experience they were less influenced by solidaristic sentiments, and - this reflected broader societal trends - they were far less likely than older members to exhibit a generalised deference towards authority. The status and esteem in which the NEC's key intermediaries - the regional officials were held fell (often dramatically) as they lost their monopoly of skills, expertise and information. Middle-class activists rapidly acquired a mastery of how to operate within the Party. New channels of communications, outside the formal Party structure, emerged with the rapid development, from the mid 1970s onwards of Party pressure groups. The 'aura of priestcraft' (in Ian Mikardo's phrase) in which Party officials once bathed all but vanished and they often found themselves confronted by activists who felt not the slightest inhibition about questioning their rulings or defying NEC directives.

Lacking any instinctive sense of loyalty or deference, the orientation to authority of purposive members tended to be conditional. In the social-democratic centralist era, authority bad been respected because it was regarded as legitimate. Legitimacy, in tum, rested on a large measure of consensus, both substantive and procedural. By the early 1980s, this had collapsed.

Shaw, Eric. 1988. Discipline and Discord in the Labour Party: The Politics of Managerial Control in the Labour Party, 1951-87. pp248-249

still, I daresay one should not walk away here with "the New Left and the permissive society was a mistake" but rather that the old left outlook rested on a social compact which was probably not sustainable anyway - the countries where counterculture and rock'n'roll underwent active state repression, or where the communist parties actively recognized and denounced it as a bourgeois threat, nonetheless did not succeed in putting the genie back in the bottle. And, you know, there were all the other genuinely liberatory aspects of social change - issues on which right-wing voters may elect right-wing government after government and yet find themselves equally unable to reverse, but only temporarily stymie

DrSunshine
Mar 23, 2009

Did I just say that out loud~~?!!!


So, what I'm getting from this, is that the left's agenda, and leftism itself, is doomed to fail. As it seems, the right is bound to only get stronger while the left will just get weaker, and there's nothing that can really stop this from happening. Bad times economically only seem to bolster the fascist and extreme right, while good times economically also benefits the conservative business right. It feels like we're elves in Middle Earth, watching the world slowly slip away as there are fewer and fewer of us as time passes, constantly looking towards the past for comfort.

EDIT: Even if you take a Marxist interpretation of the material conditions of today's working class, it is, as ronya put it, the form of the mass of working people today has drifted away from conditions of working that would be conducive to mass labor organizing.

DrSunshine fucked around with this message at 15:35 on Nov 22, 2020

ronya
Nov 8, 2010

I'm the normal one.

You hate ridden fucks will regret your words when you eventually grow up.

Peace.


it might be worth observing what the old left reckoned when the left was actually winning, when social democracy was going from strength to strength and apparently unstoppable in its grip on establishment wisdom for another two decades still at least:

Nye Bevan, that star of the old Labour left, acidly commenting on the young voters that failed to back Labour a second time in 1959

quote:

That is to say, among those who have grown to manhood and to womanhood during the last 10 years or so and whose material conditions leave them comparatively contented — or perhaps 'contented' is not the word. A more accurate description would be to say that they are politically unadventurous.

To the extent that the Labour Party meant anything to them, it was an invitation to attempt social and political experiments, and this they are disinclined to do.

The overwhelming majority of them are in debt, either buying their homes on heavy mortgages and/or buying domestic equipment and gadgets of all sorts on the hire-purchase system. Sometimes a motor-car is also being acquired on the 'never never'. [ed note: this refers to instalment plans]

Their psychology, therefore, is compounded of two contradictory elements - contentment and apprehension. Contentment because their material horizons have expanded and apprehension because they know their new-found improvement is precarious and fragile.

In short, this section of the population has become thoroughly Americanised. Its chief ingredients consist of a brash materialism shot through with fear.

It is, therefore, highly volatile, easily exploited, and it will continue to have important influence on the texture of British politics. It would be pleasant to believe that this influence will be wholesome, but that is most unlikely.

and his then-counterpart Gaitskell on the Labour right, commenting (as the right tends to do - this hasn't changed in the past half-century) that he concurs with his colleague in principle but sadly the electorate is forcing one's hand -

quote:

No doubt it has been stimulated by the end of post-war austerity, TV, new gadgets like refrigerators and washing machines, the glossy magazines with their special appeal to women, even the flood of new cars on the home markets. Call it if you like a growing Americanisation of outlook. I believe it's there, and it's no good moaning about it.

(this was the same year Khruschchev would point at a washing machine and denounce it as a unnecessary gadget with no purpose)

of course within ten years the old left would learn that in fact the young 'uns are extremely politically adventurous but all the adventuring they want to do is still the wrong kind of adventurism

the point, again, of going through all this history is to underscore that the coalitions that preceded the shift to social progressivism (first on the left, and - as pointed out in the OP - more recently on the right) are not all that appealing either. Austere Webbian traditional-values socialism existed once; it died.

The Oldest Man
Jul 28, 2003



i say swears online posted:

i can't tell if you agree or disagree with my statement

I was pointing out that it doesn't actually matter whether far right movements have money or not, despite agreeing with what I think is your underlying premise that far right movements are much more acceptable to monied interests than leftist ones. The issue goes beyond whether the rich are members of or are providing material support (direct or indirect) to any specific far right movement. Rich people must ensure the destruction or failure of the left in order to remain rich, the same is not so for the far right.

Nix Panicus
Feb 25, 2007



Doctor Malaver posted:

Where do you live that left political tendencies are "violently repressed"?

Weird how Ferguson organizers ended up committing suicide by shooting themselves and then setting their cars on fire. Its probably nothing though.

The Oldest Man
Jul 28, 2003



Doctor Malaver posted:

Where do you live that left political tendencies are "violently repressed"?

My mayor tear gassed an entire neighborhood over a dozen times this summer to try to halt left political demonstrations.

Crumbskull
Sep 13, 2005

by MSDOS KAPITAL

Doctor Malaver posted:

Where do you live that left political tendencies are "violently repressed"?

I live on the unceded traditional fishing grounds of the Salish and Sawamish peoples, in the United States of America.

PIZZA.BAT
Nov 12, 2016





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGuaoARJYU0

V. Illych L.
Apr 11, 2008

ASK ME ABOUT LUMBER



i do tend to think that the emphasis on masculinity of workplaces during the old left's reign is somewhat anglocentric. certainly the social democratic tendencies of midcentury scandinavia weren't culturally very radical, but issues like militarism were seriously big deals in 1920-30s norway - at the same time, typographers and matchmakeresses were big groups of very heavily mobilised female workers

it's hard to find reliable demographic data from norway in this period, but i always look somewhat askance at the idea of burly men being the necessary cultural foundation of labour solidarity and militancy of the sort you had back in the day

Panzeh
Nov 27, 2006




V. Illych L. posted:

i do tend to think that the emphasis on masculinity of workplaces during the old left's reign is somewhat anglocentric. certainly the social democratic tendencies of midcentury scandinavia weren't culturally very radical, but issues like militarism were seriously big deals in 1920-30s norway - at the same time, typographers and matchmakeresses were big groups of very heavily mobilised female workers

it's hard to find reliable demographic data from norway in this period, but i always look somewhat askance at the idea of burly men being the necessary cultural foundation of labour solidarity and militancy of the sort you had back in the day

yeah, i agree with this- even historically we tend to assume the victorian middle class housewife is how every woman lived before ~feminism~ when in reality women made up a significant chunk of both the industrial and agricultural labor force, and they did play a role in labor organization, even in places like the USA

but then, i think a lot of the people who fancy the exact same alliances as the early 20th century as a way to victory have an intensely romantic version of history

ronya
Nov 8, 2010

I'm the normal one.

You hate ridden fucks will regret your words when you eventually grow up.

Peace.


quote:

Female conservatism has also been, and in many cases continues to be, a feature of voting behaviour in other West European nations. It is strongly associated with the presence of an influential Roman Catholic church; one author in fact suggests that women's vote prevented the communists coming to power in France, West Germany and Italy (Devaud, 1968). But, up to the 1970s, women were apparently more inclined than men to vote for conservative parties in every country for which information is available including not only Greece, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands but also Sweden and Finland. This difference, the evidence suggests, is declining...

Randall, Vicky. 1982. Women and Politics. pp50

I would say that even in the Anglophone nations one would have (as soon as temperance got off the stage) a majority of women intellectuals and leaders hailing from the left (in a broad sense, including social democrats and social liberals). Nonetheless women continued pulling the lever for conservative parties by large, if declining, majorities.

Why this was so is matter of sociological speculation, to be sure - but the observation of a gender effect in the golden decades of social democracy doesn't seem disputed

There is certainly an element in machismo in the rhetoric of revolution, power, and coercion, whilst - entrenched sexism and all, this being the 1950s - women are unduly called upon to care for the broken people and families afterwards, whether or not the revolution fails or succeeds

It's probably also not coincidental that the newfangled consumer appliances - that left-wing leaders were denouncing as materialist frippery distracting the working class from true liberation - were appliances that mainly reduced the kind of household labour performed by women

ronya fucked around with this message at 03:28 on Nov 23, 2020

Ardennes
May 12, 2002

It will always be about people.


I would say the lurch to the hard right is just pretty much down to decline and fall of the Soviet Union and as long as the West can not reconcile that fact it is going to move further and further into the far-right. Personally, I don't think it is going to happen and the West will spiral into further irrelevance due to chronical unstable political systems and an economy system that is destined to failed.

Ardennes fucked around with this message at 05:49 on Nov 23, 2020

Guavanaut
Nov 27, 2009

Looking At Them Tittys
1969 - 1998




Toilet Rascal

ronya posted:

(this was the same year Khruschchev would point at a washing machine and denounce it as a unnecessary gadget with no purpose)

ronya posted:

It's probably also not coincidental that the newfangled consumer appliances - that left-wing leaders were denouncing as materialist frippery distracting the working class from true liberation - were appliances that mainly reduced the kind of household labour performed by women
The automatic washing machine also destroyed more paying jobs than probably any other automation device, although the automatic dishwasher and mechanical digger are contenders for the podium, and the jobs it destroyed were heavily biased towards women.

It's a strange factor of the new modernity that the people who are now complaining about self-checkout at supermarkets taking away unskilled jobs will not on any level suggest taking up the mantle of Ned Ludd and bringing a hammer to their own automatic washing machine in the name of liberating the working woman. It suggests a dissonance where they know that automating jobs that suck is on one level good, because those jobs sucked, but on another level bad, because the profits of that go to the capital behind the appliance manufacturer rather than to the people that once did the work, but lack any mechanism to square that.

ronya
Nov 8, 2010

I'm the normal one.

You hate ridden fucks will regret your words when you eventually grow up.

Peace.


I don't think people (who are not already class-conscious, anyway) really care about who receives the profit inasmuch as they care that some of the residual labour not completely eliminated by automation - e.g., scanning and bagging - is now offloaded to you, the customer. There's still a checkout machine that does most of the busywork of ringing up purchases. It's just that the customer operates it instead in lieu of a cashier.

If anything the disquiet is more similar to that when the shopping trolley was first introduced and now you, the customer, had to perform the manual labour of pulling items off the shelf yourself, instead of just having the shopkeeper fill your order (and incidentally share any bespoke advice on substitutes, today's weather, local gossip, etc).

Freeing up vast amounts of housewive's time tends to have transformative social effects. A memorable remark I encountered recently was that the most effective way of reducing women's labour in rural Mexico, even today, remains electrification - in particular to reduce the effort of grinding corn at the metate. This has real social imapcts:

quote:

A Mexican acquaintance who worked for DIF, the agency for women and children’s welfare, told me that the fastest way to reduce child abuse in remote villages was to install an electric mill so that mothers did not have to choose between caring for their children and preparing food for their children.

Still, neoliberalism is many, many more decades after the initial mere 'electrification-plumbing-literacy' trifecta impacts to social transformation. To return to the OP topic, the really weird part is the collapse of meaningful antiglobalization sentiment not only on the center-left but also the left since the 1990s. How much of that is just a one-off China trade shock really?

Ardennes
May 12, 2002

It will always be about people.


ronya posted:

Still, neoliberalism is many, many more decades after the initial mere 'electrification-plumbing-literacy' trifecta impacts to social transformation. To return to the OP topic, the really weird part is the collapse of meaningful antiglobalization sentiment not only on the center-left but also the left since the 1990s. How much of that is just a one-off China trade shock really?

Perhaps it is "weird" because it glaringly untrue, if anything anti-globalization sentiment has hardened on the populist left/right in the West, really it is the center that still holds on to it.

Also, I would say the issue with automation in particularly in neoliberal-capitalist countries, the worker usually comes out on the losing end in the trade compared to other systems that support full employment.

So...double no

ronya
Nov 8, 2010

I'm the normal one.

You hate ridden fucks will regret your words when you eventually grow up.

Peace.


I don't mean Extremely Online leftist discourse, but the arc of the 'left alternative' parties - SYRIZA, Podemos, etc. dashing themselves on the rocks of European integration, the short-lived Wagenknecht flirtation with immigration baiting, etc.

Lenin is not wrong in observing that liberal concerns have taken precedence, I think

Ardennes
May 12, 2002

It will always be about people.


ronya posted:

I don't mean Extremely Online leftist discourse, but the arc of the 'left alternative' parties - SYRIZA, Podemos, etc. dashing themselves on the rocks of European integration, the short-lived Wagenknecht flirtation with immigration baiting, etc.

Lenin is not wrong in observing that liberal concerns have taken precedence, I think

I would say those parties are "left-wing" parties that moved to the center-right and largely got punished for it, but that the discourse on the left in the West really hasn't changed. Die Linke is still softly Euroskeptic.

As far as Lenin, I guess he would see these parties as liberal and it would make sense that would follow a liberal consensus.

adoration for none
Nov 22, 2013



This may be useful to the discussion:
https://youtu.be/3h11Of6dSxU

Contrary to Europe and the US, Latin America is seeing success from leftist mass politics for example in Bolivia, Chile, Perú, and Guatemala.

E: Could Argentina also be a counter-argument to this narrative that developed countries with a middle class hopelessly tend conservative? The Kirchners had 12 years of leftist governance from 2003-2015, being elected during economic downturn and maintaining that power through a period of economic growth.

adoration for none fucked around with this message at 23:07 on Nov 24, 2020

DrSunshine
Mar 23, 2009

Did I just say that out loud~~?!!!


I've been reading Inventing the Future and I think it presents a very compelling argument/answer to the OP's question. The summary is that the left has ceded control of a hegemonic ideology and vision of the future to neoliberalism, and has retreated from a broad program of change to embrace what Srnicek and Williams call "Folk politics" - a politics of localism, "bunkering" and small scale direct actions which are insufficient for challenging the neoliberal status quo.

NikkolasKing
Apr 3, 2010





DrSunshine posted:

I've been reading Inventing the Future and I think it presents a very compelling argument/answer to the OP's question. The summary is that the left has ceded control of a hegemonic ideology and vision of the future to neoliberalism, and has retreated from a broad program of change to embrace what Srnicek and Williams call "Folk politics" - a politics of localism, "bunkering" and small scale direct actions which are insufficient for challenging the neoliberal status quo.

Thank you for the recommendation, I will definitely check it out.

Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005

0.000% of Communism has been built. Evil child-murdering billionaires still rule the world with a shit-eating grin.

adoration for none posted:

E: Could Argentina also be a counter-argument to this narrative that developed countries with a middle class hopelessly tend conservative? The Kirchners had 12 years of leftist governance from 2003-2015, being elected during economic downturn and maintaining that power through a period of economic growth.

I feel like one of the main factors for preventing right-wing sentiment as people become more prosperous is deeply instilling left-wing ideology in a nation's culture to the extent that any sort of right-wing ideology causes someone to be ostracized. It would be very difficult to create such conditions, but once you might be able to maintain them.

The main issues are that 1. most countries have some sort of existing reactionary wealthy class, including many left-leaning ones, and 2. the US/West exist as a source of culture that can't be controlled.

DrSunshine posted:

I've been reading Inventing the Future and I think it presents a very compelling argument/answer to the OP's question. The summary is that the left has ceded control of a hegemonic ideology and vision of the future to neoliberalism, and has retreated from a broad program of change to embrace what Srnicek and Williams call "Folk politics" - a politics of localism, "bunkering" and small scale direct actions which are insufficient for challenging the neoliberal status quo.

I feel like the problem here is that it's kind of impossible to spread ideology and a vision to the broader population when the media/government exist to silence/discredit anything inconvenient.

yronic heroism
Oct 31, 2008


Panzeh posted:

There's something to be said for the notion that the new right folks are certainly animated mostly by cultural things- their newfangled willingness to buck neoliberalism is incredibly vague and flexible, which makes them fairly useful for institutional parties, who I think are cottoning on to this tendency. I also think there's something to be said that the average person confuses supposedly incongruent opinions with moderation, as especially in 2016, people really kind of projected a sense of moderation onto trump in the US presidential election since his views were incoherent.

It’s this. A platform and policy of “trigger the libs” and “be more racist” is just plain easier to achieve. In the US context, there’s not a single bill that needed to pass Congress for Trump to deliver these things. Being a chud is a low bar for success.

Guavanaut
Nov 27, 2009

Looking At Them Tittys
1969 - 1998




Toilet Rascal

ronya posted:

I don't think people (who are not already class-conscious, anyway) really care about who receives the profit inasmuch as they care that some of the residual labour not completely eliminated by automation - e.g., scanning and bagging - is now offloaded to you, the customer. There's still a checkout machine that does most of the busywork of ringing up purchases. It's just that the customer operates it instead in lieu of a cashier.

If anything the disquiet is more similar to that when the shopping trolley was first introduced and now you, the customer, had to perform the manual labour of pulling items off the shelf yourself, instead of just having the shopkeeper fill your order (and incidentally share any bespoke advice on substitutes, today's weather, local gossip, etc).
Many of the people who I've heard complain about it have framed it (along with McDonalds touchscreens etc.) as "eliminating paying jobs for people without specific qualifications" type rhetoric.

Now, you might be right and what they really resent is having to do the thing themselves instead of standing there while someone else does, but I think it's interesting that they had to frame it in some sort of 'dignity of labour' rhetoric where it is the soul of the poor cashier that they are concerned for.

If we take them at their word that this is the case, then you can immediately turn it to an argument of where the profits go, because in the case of the human doing the job, a portion goes to the company, and a portion goes to the human as a wage, which then generally gets spent in the local community.

So that does make it easier to make a case for, as in Inventing the Future, saying "well why not do just that but with the machines doing all the work?"

DrSunshine
Mar 23, 2009

Did I just say that out loud~~?!!!


Ytlaya posted:

I feel like the problem here is that it's kind of impossible to spread ideology and a vision to the broader population when the media/government exist to silence/discredit anything inconvenient.

They go into some detail about this by examining a case study of how neoliberalism went from a fringe school of thought embraced by the likes of Ludwig Mises, Freidrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, into a dominating ideology that is all-pervasive.It's not an easy task. It was once on the edge and derided by Keynesianism, which was the dominant mode from the 1930s to 1970s. They had to start from infiltrating universities, creating think-tanks, and disseminating talks, to work in the business schools training generations of management and business professionals in neoliberalism, to finally seizing upon the stagflation crisis in the late 1970s in order to become adopted and promulgated by the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

I think the implication here is that the left needs to spend time developing and promoting theory, and spreading a unique, alternative, and -- most importantly for Srnicek and Williams -- future-oriented point of view that has explanatory power and provides a compelling point of view for interpreting historical events. The point they make is that the answer isn't in adopting a purely reactive or negative critique, but creating an inspiring intellectual movement that embraces emancipation and redefines freedom and modernity, that can be used to explain why people are being alienated and materially dispossessed, and provide a singular way out. By deciding upon and promoting an alternative lens, and inspiring people, and spreading through alternative means, the left can build real power and change hearts and minds.

I think there are real avenues for this now. Look at the creation of "Breadtube" for instance, or the way ideas can trend on Twitter and Instagram. We don't need to have Fox News, we just need a theory of change and a vision for the future that is as coherent and explanatory as neoliberalism is, and to act in a consistent and inspiring way. I often see people on these forums say, when posed with the question "OK, so what should I do?", respond "Organize locally". Srnicek and Williams say that this is all well and good, but "acting locally" is insufficient to build a coordinated mass movement. I resonate with this response, because I find myself extremely uninspired by just doing local actions. I want to be part of a mass, intellectual movement.

For my own perspective, I think there's a lot of potential if more on the left would press on the concept of something like Post-Scarcity Now. The inklings of it are already there - pop culture already is familiar with metaphors from Star Trek, the Culture novels, and the like. Ideas like UBI, a Green New Deal, and an exciting technological future of luxury and abundance, need to be welded together into one distinct vision of the future for the left, explicitly counterpoised against capitalism.

Gatts
Jan 2, 2001

Goodnight Moon


Nap Ghost

So maybe it's also because the Right allow for racism while working in the existing system where these people think they too can be powerful enough and put their thumb down on all who deserve punishment while the Left suggest an alternative system which does not mean there will be those who suffer unjust pain as much.

Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005

0.000% of Communism has been built. Evil child-murdering billionaires still rule the world with a shit-eating grin.

DrSunshine posted:

They go into some detail about this by examining a case study of how neoliberalism went from a fringe school of thought embraced by the likes of Ludwig Mises, Freidrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, into a dominating ideology that is all-pervasive.It's not an easy task. It was once on the edge and derided by Keynesianism, which was the dominant mode from the 1930s to 1970s. They had to start from infiltrating universities, creating think-tanks, and disseminating talks, to work in the business schools training generations of management and business professionals in neoliberalism, to finally seizing upon the stagflation crisis in the late 1970s in order to become adopted and promulgated by the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

I think the implication here is that the left needs to spend time developing and promoting theory, and spreading a unique, alternative, and -- most importantly for Srnicek and Williams -- future-oriented point of view that has explanatory power and provides a compelling point of view for interpreting historical events. The point they make is that the answer isn't in adopting a purely reactive or negative critique, but creating an inspiring intellectual movement that embraces emancipation and redefines freedom and modernity, that can be used to explain why people are being alienated and materially dispossessed, and provide a singular way out. By deciding upon and promoting an alternative lens, and inspiring people, and spreading through alternative means, the left can build real power and change hearts and minds.

I think there are real avenues for this now. Look at the creation of "Breadtube" for instance, or the way ideas can trend on Twitter and Instagram. We don't need to have Fox News, we just need a theory of change and a vision for the future that is as coherent and explanatory as neoliberalism is, and to act in a consistent and inspiring way. I often see people on these forums say, when posed with the question "OK, so what should I do?", respond "Organize locally". Srnicek and Williams say that this is all well and good, but "acting locally" is insufficient to build a coordinated mass movement. I resonate with this response, because I find myself extremely uninspired by just doing local actions. I want to be part of a mass, intellectual movement.

For my own perspective, I think there's a lot of potential if more on the left would press on the concept of something like Post-Scarcity Now. The inklings of it are already there - pop culture already is familiar with metaphors from Star Trek, the Culture novels, and the like. Ideas like UBI, a Green New Deal, and an exciting technological future of luxury and abundance, need to be welded together into one distinct vision of the future for the left, explicitly counterpoised against capitalism.

The problem is that neoliberalism is still fundamentally an ideology that was never opposed to most of the interests of those with wealth/power. Even if most powerful people disagreed with it at one point, it didn't fall under the category of "an ideology that is opposed to their very existence."

The stuff you describe (creating think-tanks, disseminating talks, working in business schools training people) requires the support of people with money/power. That isn't a path the left can reproduce, and "spreading a point of view" ultimately requires actual resources. The left doesn't have the advantage of a bunch of wealthy backers funding think-tanks and university departments (and even if it somehow did, it will still run into far more strong and direct opposition from our other institutions).

When it comes to the broader public, "intellectual movements" do not spread organically. The broader public doesn't give a poo poo what academics are saying unless the ideas of those academics are being promoted by the media. Most people over the age of ~50 or so literally never hear anything unless it's on the television or in major newspapers.

To use Breadtube as an example, if it ever became something beyond a very minor internet cultural thing Youtube would simply suppress those videos. They don't resort to that sort of thing because they don't need to.

edit: I want to add that I don't think attempting to spread left-wing ideology like this is worthless. Communicating with other people about these things is important and helpful. I just think that it's impossible to actually spread it to institutions in a way that results in a top-down spread of ideology similar to what neoliberals have done.

edit2: One other thing that I don't think I was clear enough about. As you mention, stuff spreads on Twitter/Instagram. But the problem is that this only applies to a fraction of the population that won't be big enough for at least a decade or two. It applies to very few older people and also doesn't apply to most people disengaged from politics (regardless of age), who never encounter the same discussions people like us do. Due to the existence of the Republicans, for the left to actually gain power through electoral politics it would need to gain control over virtually all of the Democratic Party. And gaining power through non-electoral means is something that will likely be untenable until things are so dire that a critical mass of people are willing to risk their lives (or at least livelihoods), and it will be a while until that's the case. So, if I'm being optimistic, I might expect left-wing ideas to gain in popularity with younger generations through less reliance on television for information, but that doesn't actually translate to political power unless it applies to a large enough portion of the population.

Ytlaya fucked around with this message at 01:16 on Nov 26, 2020

DrSunshine
Mar 23, 2009

Did I just say that out loud~~?!!!


Ytlaya posted:

The problem is that neoliberalism is still fundamentally an ideology that was never opposed to most of the interests of those with wealth/power. Even if most powerful people disagreed with it at one point, it didn't fall under the category of "an ideology that is opposed to their very existence."

The stuff you describe (creating think-tanks, disseminating talks, working in business schools training people) requires the support of people with money/power. That isn't a path the left can reproduce, and "spreading a point of view" ultimately requires actual resources. The left doesn't have the advantage of a bunch of wealthy backers funding think-tanks and university departments (and even if it somehow did, it will still run into far more strong and direct opposition from our other institutions).

When it comes to the broader public, "intellectual movements" do not spread organically. The broader public doesn't give a poo poo what academics are saying unless the ideas of those academics are being promoted by the media. Most people over the age of ~50 or so literally never hear anything unless it's on the television or in major newspapers.

To use Breadtube as an example, if it ever became something beyond a very minor internet cultural thing Youtube would simply suppress those videos. They don't resort to that sort of thing because they don't need to.

edit: I want to add that I don't think attempting to spread left-wing ideology like this is worthless. Communicating with other people about these things is important and helpful. I just think that it's impossible to actually spread it to institutions in a way that results in a top-down spread of ideology similar to what neoliberals have done.

edit2: One other thing that I don't think I was clear enough about. As you mention, stuff spreads on Twitter/Instagram. But the problem is that this only applies to a fraction of the population that won't be big enough for at least a decade or two. It applies to very few older people and also doesn't apply to most people disengaged from politics (regardless of age), who never encounter the same discussions people like us do. Due to the existence of the Republicans, for the left to actually gain power through electoral politics it would need to gain control over virtually all of the Democratic Party. And gaining power through non-electoral means is something that will likely be untenable until things are so dire that a critical mass of people are willing to risk their lives (or at least livelihoods), and it will be a while until that's the case. So, if I'm being optimistic, I might expect left-wing ideas to gain in popularity with younger generations through less reliance on television for information, but that doesn't actually translate to political power unless it applies to a large enough portion of the population.

I mean, if you have any better ideas, I'm all ears!

ronya
Nov 8, 2010

I'm the normal one.

You hate ridden fucks will regret your words when you eventually grow up.

Peace.


is there any actual enthusiasm for a return to tariffs or wage/price controls or protectionism a la the Alternative Economic Strategy, even (or rather especially) on the left?

between the arms of the Rodrik trilemma, today's left does not seem averse to economic integration - instead the chief demands are for greater individual process rights (as humans, or as citizens, or as workers, etc.). Universal programmes and universal services. The radically liberal individualism is inside the house.

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Ytlaya
Nov 13, 2005

0.000% of Communism has been built. Evil child-murdering billionaires still rule the world with a shit-eating grin.

DrSunshine posted:

I mean, if you have any better ideas, I'm all ears!

I think it's likely that there literally isn't anything that can be done prior to things reaching the point where a large portion of people are desperate. There isn't some rule built into the universe that says "all good things must be achievable in the near future."

That being said, organizing labor is probably the best thing that people can do (and communicating with people IRL about these issues can also be useful to some extent). The only real power (short of actual violence) that normal people have is the ability to threaten to withhold labor, and we can only make good on that threat if we're organized. The problem there is that the modern economy is structured in a way that prevents most workers from developing a sense of solidarity with one another, and the gradual increase in the "gig economy" is only making that even worse.

Influencing think tanks and academia, even if it were somehow possible, doesn't really have any relevance to most normal people unless it actually translates to a change in media/culture that they're exposed to, and the downside to the (relative) freedom of internet media is that people aren't really exposed to it unless they actively want to see it out.

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