By Gilad Atzmon
In the good old days when the terms Left and Right meant something the distinction between the two was clear. The Left believed that the resources and wealth of the state ought to be shared equitably. The Right’s position was that since only a few people in society are capable of handling capital properly, transforming prosperity into more prosperity, those few should be given a free hand and be taxed lightly to enable them to make the state more prosperous.
Noticeably, both of these viewpoints were both patriotic and intended to benefit the nation state and its citizens. The Left wanted equality for the good of all. The Right maintained that Laissez-faire policies actually benefited the working class as well as the rich. Metaphorically we can think of the state’s wealth as a cake. The Left believed that the cake should be sliced equally to provide each member of society an equal portion, while the Right contended that if those who know how to make money enjoy a relatively free ride, the cake would actually get bigger and that working people would be among the first to benefit as their portion expands.
The theories of both Left and Right were meaningful within the political context of a capitalist manufacturing society. Industrial society produced the wealth that made the debate between ‘equality’ and ‘Laissez-faire’ relevant. But the West is hardly productive anymore. Manufacturing has travelled to find the cheapest workers, moving among the Far East, South America and Africa. The working class has been reduced into a global workless class. Arguments about the distribution of wealth mean little in a globalist universe where state wealth has been replaced by exponentially growing debt. In a society that has replaced production with consumption, the bond/conflict between the factory owner and the worker belongs to nostalgia.
This may explain the worldwide rise of new populist political formations that don’t fit the standard political clichés. Traditional political institutions, both ‘Left’ and ‘Right,’ struggle to cope with change let alone adapt. Maybe two decades ago Labour could manage to be elected to lead Britain by pretending to be Tories, but this strategy is not going to save Labour in the future, as the Tories are hardly an attractive option. The same applies to the Democratic Party. Being an avid Neocon and and a war monger didn’t help Hillary Clinton. Instead it was Donald Trump, an anti politician with zero ideological standpoint, who made it to the White House.
The world we are part of desperately awaits a new ethos: a new ideology, religion, spirit, metaphysics, it may even be an anti ethos. Is this spirit going to refresh our yearning for the universal, poetic, and the ethical consistent with Western Athenian roots or is it going to be repressive, hateful and tribal in accordance with the Jerusalemite approach that has been threatening Athens for two millennia? I guess that it is down to us to determine as this world is ours as we are this world.
Gilad Atzmon — gilad.co.uk Feb 28, 2019
It seems that there is not much left of the Left and what remains has nothing to do with ‘Left.’
Contemporary ‘Left’ politics is detached from its natural constituency, working people. The so called ‘Left’ is basically a symbolic identifier for ‘Guardian readers’ a critical expression attributed to middle class people who, for some reason, claim to know what is good for the working class. How did this happen to the Left? Why was it derailed and by whom?
Hierarchy is one answer. The capitalist and the corporate worlds operate on an intensely hierarchical basis. The path to leadership within a bank, management of a globally trading company or even high command in the military is of an evolutionary nature. Such power is acquired by a challenging climb within an increasingly demanding system. It is all about the survival of the fittest. Every step entails new challenges. Failure at any step could easily result in a setback or even a career end. In the old good days, the Left also operated on a hierarchical system. There was a long challenging path from the local workers’ union to the national party. But the Left is hierarchical no more.
In a world without manufacturing, the working class have been removed from the consumption chain and demoted into an ‘under class.’ The contemporary Left politician has nothing to do with the workless people let alone the workless class. The unions are largely defunct. You won’t find many Labour politicians who have actually worked in factories and mixed with working people for real. No contemporary Left politician including Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders is the product of a struggle through a highly demanding hierarchical system as such a system hasn’t really existed within the Left for at least four decades.
In most cases, the contemporary Left politician is a middle class university activist groomed through party politics activity. Instead of fighting for manufacturing and jobs, the Left has embraced the highly divisive identitarian battle. While the old Left tended to unite us by leading the fight against the horrid capitalists rather than worrying about whether you were a man or a woman, black or white, Jew or Muslim, gay or hetero, our present-day ‘Left’ actually promotes racial differences and divisions as it pushes people to identify with their biology (skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, Jewish maternal gene etc.) If the old Left united us against the capitalists, the contemporary ‘Left’ divides us and uses the funds it collects from capitalist foundations such as George Soros’ Open Society Institute.
The British Labour party is a prime example of this. It is deaf to the cry of the lower classes. It claims to care ‘for the many’ but in practice is only attentive to a few voices within the intrusive Israeli Lobby. As Britain is struggling with the crucial debate over Brexit, British Labour has been focused instead on spurious allegations of ‘antisemitsm.’ It is hard to see how any Left political body in the West even plans to bring more work to the people. The Left offers nothing in the way of a vision of a better society for all. It is impossible to find the Left within the contemporary ‘Left.’
Why has this happened to the Left, why has it become irrelevant? Because by now the Left is a non-hierarchical system. It is an amalgam of uniquely ungifted people who made politics into their ‘career.’ Most Left politicians have never worked at a proper job where money is exchanged for merit, achievements or results. The vast majority of Left politicians have never faced the economic challenges associated with the experience of being adults. Tragically such people can’t lead a country, a city, a borough or even a village.
The shift in our human landscape has created a desperate need for a new ethos: a fresh stand point that will reinstate the Western Athenian ethical and universal roots and produce a new canon that aspires for truth and truthfulness as opposed to the current cancerous tyranny of correctness.