Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Realist Left replies to Robert Lindsay

Robert Lindsay has an interesting post here on the Alt Left.

Realist Left (whose Twitter account is here) posted an excellent reply to this on the Alternative Left Facebook page, especially on the question of Marxism/Communism in the Alt Left:
“A not-so-brief reply to Robert Lindsay, with regards to the role of Communists, Anarchists, Marxists, the ‘Left wing of the Alt-Right’, conservatives, etc. within the ‘Realist Left’ and ‘Alt Left’ in general (to the extent that we and I are a part of it).

I agree and yet also respectfully disagree.

To me, the anti-Regressive Left, anti-SJW, anti-post-structuralism/PoMo in many ways is the bait. People are sick of it from across the board, and if that means that Libertarians (cultural or ideological), populist-conservatives, moderates, or even the Left wing of the Alt Right get attracted to it, all the better for us, because that gives us a platform to listen to our economic views, which in popular discourse has been completely neglected. Ultimately though, our ‘base’ will be ‘liberal’, ‘center-left’, and the non-Marxist ‘Left’.

In my experience, Communists, Anarchists, modern Marxists, etc. are a lot more trouble than it’s worth. They’re tiny, and yet they’re incredibly divisive, prone to conflict, and moreover give off a terrible message to anyone else given their cataclysmic human rights and economic failures. We (or I at least) don’t want them around or to be influential, or to be the ones holding up the microphone for our groups (or at least mine). I especially don’t want them in any position of power or influence within our groups. They’re welcome to join, listen in. There's even some room for Marxian analysis here or there when it's interesting (and especially when it comes from those who are the most interesting and prescient, i.e. Kalecki, Baran & Sweezy). But I don’t want to hear about ‘bourgeosie’, neo-imperialism, labor theory of value or any other buzz-words and simplistic forms of analysis. It doesn’t matter too much anyways, since most Marxists/Commies/Anarchists are themselves Regressives as well. So when the opportunity comes around to distance ourselves from Communists/Marxists/Anarchists, I’ll gladly do so. Castro is terrible, Stalin is far worse. The theory concerning the Falling rate of profit is wrong, and no the Revolution is not coming.

(clearly, I do not put Ryan England/Agent Commie in this group. He, unlike many Marxists, has actually read Capital and articulates its good points. And, of course, he's not really a Marxist/Commie as we all know).

Same thing goes for the ‘Left wing of the Alt Right’ – you’re welcome to hang around, bash Regressive Leftists et al, but I don’t want to hear about proactive white identity politics, minority bashing, Jooish Conspiracy, etc. There is NO place for that here. Period.

I DO want more conservatives to read things like the Realist Left / Alternative Left, or at least a certain type of them. I will always be against the Religious Right (of which the Reg-Left seems like the new moral puritans), against neo-conservative hawkery, and I will of course always be against ‘neo-liberalism’ or worse, libertarianism and corporatism, that’s found within modern ‘Conservative’ movements. But you have to realize, ‘Conservatism’ is a VERY maleable concept. 150-200 years ago, Conservatism was busy trying to keep the last vestiges of feudalism, monarchy and agrarianism alive and even included protectionism and industrial policies. 40-60 years ago, we had ‘Tory Keynesianism’ and Nixon’s ‘We are all Keynesian now’. I’d like Conservatism to go back to being more sensible on economic policy, and perhaps better on foreign policy too as they were. They may be more socially conservative or religious than we are, but that's okay. Conservatism will always be around, so let's try to make the best of it, instead of ceding it to the worst forces possible.

One extremely important thing is we absolutely cannot become another mirror image of ourself. We cannot become the Alt Right to the Regressive Left. We cannot become the Communists to the Fascists. We’re basically somewhere between the center and left, and we’re non-dogmatic about what the ‘truth’ is; rather we’d prefer to intellectually be in pursuit of the ‘truth’. Let’s not become another religion or ideology as has befallen so many of the others (Marxism, Intersectionality Feminism, Libertarianism, neo-liberalism, Alt-Right and Fascism).”
Realist Left, comment at
Yes, this more or less nails it.

In my experience, a lot of Communists/Marxists and Anarchists are already utterly indoctrinated in cultural leftism and the SJWism, and so are doubly wrong – both on their cult-like Marxist ideology and regressive leftism.

There is something of value in Marx’s economic thought, as I have pointed out here, but you can strip out the insightful points and reject Marxism as a political ideology.

My own final thought in this is: we need to *reclaim* the centre. The political centre – at the moment – isn’t much to boast about. It’s mainly neoliberalism and cultural leftism-lite.

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  1. Thanks for the repost.

    "My own final thought in this is: we need to *reclaim* the centre. The political centre – at the moment – isn’t much to boast about. It’s mainly neoliberalism and cultural leftism-lite."

    EXACTLY. That's why I want it to be available to more than just Tankies and other Leftists. We could attract 100 pragmatic liberals, moderates, populists, conservatives and libertarians for every 1 non-regressive Marxist/Far Left-winger. The choice is obvious about what audience we should play to.
    To me, I'd much rather be an open forum to host people looking for new points of view from sources they may not initially agree with, but have some room for common ground (i.e. on the anti-Regressive, anti-PoMo line, or perhaps green energy or anti-neoliberalism). But I'd prefer if something like Embedded Liberalism and Tory Keynesianism took back the center and center-rights.

  2. Certainly we have to reclaim the centre. After all, soc-dem policies are demonstrably better for everyone but the top 1%. Not to speak of how badly a green deal is needed.
    And yes packing all those with lame, divisive, far-left rhetoric is both unnecessary and inefficient.

    But then who will fight for these common sensical policies ?
    An educated guess is "reds" by any other name : industrial trade-unionists, activists, etc.

    It took much more than FDR like liberals to implement the reforms of the golden age. And I see no reason why it should be any different now.

    As to right-wing people going keynesian :

    1.keynesianism comes in many shapes, not all of them being genuinely enhancing the common lot.
    Right wing keynesianism can e.g. mean unfair tax cuts and, or worse full-employment through massive war spending, as Joan Robinson exposed if I remember correctly.
    2. the ruling ones at times happen to embrace soc-dem policies but more often than not you have to twist their arm : big unions, "dangerous" parties willing to seize power or at least create unrest, not to speak of the Ussr.

    And BTW happy new year LK and keep up the good stuff !