Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Meme for the Alt Left


Alt Left on the Internet:
Alternative Left on Facebook

The meme of the red pill (also used by the Alt Right) appeals to Millennials and is pretty funny too. I say the Alt Left should steal it:

Realist Left on the Internet:
Realist Left on Facebook
Realist Left on Twitter @realistleft
Social Democracy for the 21st Century: A Realist Alternative to the Modern Left

Alt Left on the Internet:
Alternative Left on Facebook
An Alt-Left closed Facebook discussion group can be accessed through this page as well.

I’m on Twitter:
Lord Keynes @Lord_Keynes2


  1. DOn't like the name Alt Left at all. Old Left or Realist Left, fine. Alt Left is setting oneself up for liberals to say 'Alt Right and Left are both sides of the same coin' or 'equally bad' i.e. Alt Left is communists or something to the Alt Right's neo-Nazis.

  2. Alt Left or whatever has to be realistic. That includes recognition of property gains as a big issue.

    Even given the same level of income and education and class voters were far more likely to vote to the right if:
    They owned and used a car rather than using public transport.

    They owned shares rather than having a pension.

    They owned a house instead of renting.

    That is even middle-upper class voters were more likely to vote left instead of right if they used public transport, had a pension, and rented, and most importantly even working class voters would vote for the right if they owned a car, some shares, and a house, no matter how thin such ownership was.
    Just fancying themselves landlords with a sliver of equity in a modest 2-up-2-down made working class voters think that their interests were aligned with those of bosses and peers of the realm rather than the interests of other workers.

    I think that the original push to therefore undermine public transport, pensions, rented housing in the UK came from Keith Joseph, but it could have been Nigel Lawson who clinched the deal, or Norman Tebbit, or Malcolm Rifkind.

    Whoever was, that voting attitude study has become the right-wing bible in many countries, and in the UK Thatcher determinedly targeted enormous subsidies at car, share, and house ownership, while sabotaging public transport, the pensions system and the rented sector.

    The stroke of genius was of course Right-to-Buy and the legal prohibition to use for house building the meager proceeds from selling rented council housing at well below market prices to future gratefully Tory voters.

    Because of course pushing up house prices and pushing down wages may be break even for a voter - but what it does is mean they have a far greater % of income coming from property. People notice when being landlords nearly doubles their income.

    This was the goal of the social engineering policy, because it was a social engineering policy, not a political engineering one. The goal was not to make working class people change their vote to that for the party of another class, it was to make them change their class identification to that of the other class.

    This arguably has succeeded materially. A pithy summary by the BBC on one important detail:

    "In 2001, the average price of a house was £121,769 and the average salary was £16,557, according to the National Housing Federation. A decade on, the typical price of a property is 94% higher at £236,518, while average wages are up 29% to £21,330"

    Now, currently in the South-East a 230K house is a working class two-up/two-down terraces house, and 20K is a working class income, let's say in marketing categories C1-C2.
    The figures above basically say that the average "working class" person in the South East got tax-free capital gains for £12,000 per year for 10 years, that is an extra 70% on top of their after-tax job income.
    That’s an average between the North and the South, and it does not really apply to the North.
    But even it taking it as it is, that means £12,000 a year for a decade of tax-free effort-free income for a working class family in the South earning around £16,000 after tax.
    And £12,000 (likely more) a year of tax-free effort-free windfall is GIGANTIC, especially if it recurs every year for 10 years as per the above numbers; and actually it has been going on for 20-30 years. And for the millions of people with a house in London it has been even bigger than in the rest of the South. Do people here really realize what an extra £12,000 a year of (purely redistributive rentier) windfall going on for decades can mean on top of an earned after tax income of £16,000? For millions if not a dozen million families? Do readers here realize what that means to “aspirational” Southern voters and what they are prepared to vote for to keep it coming? Also that these people are “right-wing” is not quite right, those voters are rather socialist and left-wing when it comes to their own civil rights and their own incomes.

  3. A realistic-leftie position is that around the upper 40% of eligible voters think that their interests are aligned or compatible with those of the global corporations, as they also want bigger capital gains and lower taxes for themselves and lower wages and lower benefits for the bottom 60% of voters as well as non voters.

    Failing to recognize that 40% of eligible voters support neoliberalism because they think it benefits them, and blaming it all on corrupt politicians and exploitative corporations is very wrong: a lot of voters, perhaps even a plurality are also corrupt and exploitative. That poses a lot of problems for the left.

    The mandelsonian solution to seek the votes of those voters who are corrupt and exploitative is wrong, but ignoring the issue is also wrong.