The Left: its own biggest obstacle?

What if, deep down, most Americans deeply identified with the leftist message of class warfare, “We are the 99%,” attacking wealth and income equality, universal healthcare, etc?

What if most Americans were even on board with us in terms of the Culture War – anti-racism, supporting same-sex marriage, generally leaning toward women’s rights, legalizing weed, opposing the wars?

Actually this is how things are.  In the USA all these issues are at least in the mid-40%s, and could be shifted with an informational campaign, if not already having solid majorities toward our side.  So why aren’t we winning?

Obviously there are the obstacles we are always contending with, like “our political system is intentionally unrepresentative of the population” and “therefore it will take more than just having a majority, the Left will have to act as a magnet for mobilizing that majority in struggle.”

But you’d think that by now, this much would be clear.  So why precisely does the Left, which does exist with some semblance of organization and numbers, not act as a magnet for mobilizing the majority in struggle?

I think the Left, while having political positions which many people increasingly agree with, often makes the mistake of presenting itself as a counterculture instead of a political movement.

Furthermore, when the Left does indulge in counterculture, they indulge in a very soft, white-light Buddhist/hippie version of counterculture which is opposite of the dark energy that defines most Americans.  (Make no mistake, America is sheer evil, so the question is do we whine about it or work with it?)

There’s also the issue of “lack of self-awareness.”  Like a subway masturbator, some leftists just yell out slogans with no awareness or concern of the context of how society will receive the message.  We navel-gaze with internal issues and preoccupations instead of sticking to the core messages of class warfare, fighting social oppressions, and revolution which really attract ordinary people.  This is a biggie.

Finally, building off that lack of self-awareness, we on the Left do not even imagine ourselves as playing this role – as a well-oiled machine for coordinating numbers of people far larger than ourselves.  We think of ourselves as just ourselves – a little group of people with similar ideas, and little thought of what part we play in the big picture.  In other words, no strategy.

So, without the vision or ambition of becoming the rallying point of a revolting majority, we don’t become one, except sometimes accidentally, like Occupy Wall Street.  And then because that was just an accident, we are not prepared to sustain the numbers we attract.  We make the mistakes listed above, the instinctively leftist majority drifts back into demoblization, disorganization — and depression.

The greatest enemy is not the neo-Nazis, whom we love to attack so much.  It is not the cops.  It is not the Republicans.  The Democratic Party establishment is pretty high on my list but no, I don’t even think it’s them.

Our greatest enemy is always our own failures, our own weakness, our own disorganization, our failure to resonate with wider masses.

Which is tragic, because we really could resonate far.

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2 thoughts on “The Left: its own biggest obstacle?

  1. > when the Left does indulge in counterculture, they indulge in a very soft, white-light Buddhist/hippie version of counterculture which is opposite of the dark energy that defines most Americans.

    I want to ask (not having too many preconceived notions about it myself): where do you think that comes from?

    Like, as I understand it, Lenin suggested that the labor aristocracy and the unions’ bureaucratization–opportunism–comes from the super-exploitation of imperialism. That is, they really can afford to “buy off” some segment of the working class in order to lead the rest of us astray.

    So, in that way, “dialectically” or materially (if the above example is indeed an example of material dialectical analysis), what gives rise to the kumbaya culture you’re talking about? And how endemic do you think it is?

    • Due to a series of unfortunate events, the Left lost its mooring in class struggle and class analysis.

      (The 1960s Left filled the whole which used to be the 1930s Communist Party, destroyed by 1950s McCarthyism.)

      So the next iteration of resistance which bloomed, bloomed out of a highly middle-class perspective. Many of the student protests of the 1960s were elite students, in a time when far fewer people actually went to college. Very different from today’s proletarianized debt slaves.

      The basis of that blooming of resistance in middle class culture lent itself to a moralistic univeralism. Essentially liberalism, but supercharged with a confused moralistic energy. In its tamer forms it became hippiedom and MLKJr; in its angrier forms, it borrowed from the Cultural Revolution across the Pacific and became the Weather Underground.

      As for me, if I can’t mosh then it’s not my revolution.

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