Paralysis of the will
Boris Kagarlitsky, Colonel Cassad, Jul 31 2016
Excellent article Kagarlitsky on the surrender of Sanders and ideological crisis of the left movement in Pindostan – BR
The DNC in Philadelphia ended with a great schism, not just between supporters of Hillary Clinton and her opponents, but between Bernie Sanders and the movement that he a few days ago, headed and symbolized. The Senator from Vermont who collected across Pindostan thousands of people and ignited them with his vivid speeches, looked ridiculous and helpless in Philadelphia. Making a call to support Hillary, he literally within seconds turned from a charismatic leader embodying the hopes of millions of people, into a pathetic old provincial who poorly understands what is going on around him. With a confused smile, he said that Hillary would be a great President that the party had made a wonderful progressive platform, exhorted his indignant supporters to “live in the real world,” clearly demonstrating a complete lack of connection with the new political reality, outside of which he would never have become a famous national politician.
Sanders already few supports, it is at best regret. Should not too sharply criticize, say sympathetic to his grief, the young people, because in the end, it was he who raised the banner of the movement, awakened us, brought us together. But they are wrong, attributing the Senator from Vermont’s own merits. Over the past 20 years, a candidate like Sanders has appeared in nearly every primary, and then been eliminated in the early stages of the struggle. Something similar happened with Bernie was not due to his special talents or achievements, but the fact that there is a fracture in Pindostani society, implicitly accumulated, and the need for social change is suddenly bursting out. These needs are objectively generated by the systemic crisis and contradictions of neoliberalism, which somehow must be resolved. It only required the occasion to this natural mood, especially acute among youth, has turned into a political movement. This occasion was the nomination of Bernie. The wave picked him up and carried him.
Until then, as long as he just gave speeches that accorded with the sentiments of the masses, all went well. But just then, when it was necessary to take political decisions and really show the qualities of a leader, the Senator from Vermont has demonstrated a complete helplessness. Of course, it is not only the personal qualities of a particular person. For almost the entire election campaign, the left-wing intellectuals of his near and far environment were preparing the way for what can now be described as the surrender of Bernie in Philadelphia. All of them, from Noam Chomsky to Michael Moore, unanimously repeated that the main danger is a brawler and homophobe named Donald Trump, and that support for Hillary is the only way to prevent the disaster that will inevitably happen if the Republican candidate wins the election. Today these people are panicking. They have succeeded in ruining the movement of Sanders, forcing him to surrender, and suddenly realized that the most likely outcome in this situation will be a win by Trump.
Looking at electoral fraud, corruption machine of the Democrat party, fraud and lies, millions of people quite reasonably concluded that Trump is not the “greatest evil” in Pindosi politics today. And the surrender of Sanders ripped out the last moral support from the political rhetoric of the Democrats. For people who watched the elections, hoping for change and a sense of how deep the looming crisis was, it became clear that nothing good should not wait from these politicians is. And again, if even the best, most honest Democrats so shamefully surrendered, then all are hopelessly rotten. If Trump wins, it will be possible to confidently assert that the outcome of the election was determined the moment that Sanders expressed support for Clinton, thereby betraying not only his supporters, voters and himself, but also Pindosi democracy. Now the moral duty of every decent Pindo is to punish the Democrats. All of them, including Bernie. And they do not even have to vote for Trump; they can stay home, they can vote the candidate of the Green party, Jill Stein, or the libertarian, Gary Johnson. But they thereby open the way for Donald Trump. And this will be the beginning of a new era for Pindostan and for the world; an era when the uncertainty of risk and freedom comes to the neoliberal consensus.
In fact, we today know very little about Trump, except for his politically incorrect statements that really have no meaning, because they do not require any practical action, but a funny project of construction of the boundary wall. But if Trump really is even half as dangerous as the liberal media claim, then to stop will require not the dull support of the “lesser evil”, but only the enthusiasm of the radical mass mobilization around an alternative agenda for change. (It’s no good) trying to offer Sanders after what he gave at the Congress in Philadelphia. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. And in conditions when the interests of the egg is to the left of the main ideological principle, the omelet will definitely never get made. The trouble is that the efforts of the politically correct egg defenders are in any case useless. The eggs in the plot are somehow broken; the omelet just will not happen. The policy of “the lesser evil” is just a recipe for disaster. In the period of the crisis of scrapping the principle of minimizing risk is not simply not working, and is always working on the worst possible option. In a situation of the more than probable victory of Trump politically will survive are the ones left who did not support Hillary. The rest will go down with her. The attempt to keep intact a mechanism that is not working, is fraught with apocalyptic disasters, even planetary. Calls from the liberal Left to accept a lesser evil in the name of avoiding the greater, in conditions of the ongoing crisis, lead us on from one misfortune to another.
The capitulations of the Left, following one after another, are not accidental. At the heart of all lies the common cause: the rejection of those simple principles which actually formed the identity of the Left movement. These principles were self-evident half a century ago, but today we will have to recall them. The first of these, is class interest. Not abstract demagogy about compassion for the weak, inclusiveness, and the rights of minorities, but the specific interests of the working class, including those “white men” who so despise liberals. In fact, “white men” is a way invented to undermine class solidarity and discredit the labor movement. In practice about half of these “white men” are women, and not less than a third of them, are representatives of other non-white races. But for the liberal discourse that doesn’t matter. Logic enterprises for the sake of common goals and objectives portrayed in this discourse as an attempt to “white men” to discriminate against minorities with their special, private interests. The fact that these private interests will lead not only to discrimination of the majority, but give birth to the “war of all against all,” the victims of which will eventually become the same minority, it doesn’t matter. The purpose of this policy is not to protect minorities, but to fragment the society, while providing the benefits to a liberal elite that controls the redistribution of resources between minorities, which become its clientele. Discussing the capitulation of Sanders on the Internet, one of his recent supporters noted that the Senator from Vermont had to choose which is more dangerous, the homophobic rhetoric of Trump or the dictatorship of finance capital, protected by Clinton. He came to the conclusion that homphobic rhetoric is worse. Admittedly, this is a very accurate description of the “real world” of Sanders…
Second historic principle of the left was a vision of historical perspective, based on which stood a strategy. This common vision was in the 1930-ies in so many different politicians, like Roosevelt, Trotsky and Stalin. It was based on ideas about objectively urgent problems of development, the solution of which is the essence of historical progress. It is significant thatthe liberal left in the US continue to call themselves “progressives” (progressives), although the question of what, except, of course, some humanitarian activities have to be today historical progress, they are not even discussed. Meanwhile, the question is more than clear. Overcoming neoliberalism is today’s urgent historical task, not because we don’t like this system, or it does not meet our values, but because it has exhausted its possibilities of development and can persist only by devouring resources necessary for the basic reproduction of society. In other words, the longer it continues, the more it will destroy itself, and undermine the conditions of life for all of us.
Link of historical perspectives to the class interest is determined by the current response to simple questions: will you be creating jobs, ensuring not just survival but cultural, professional and moral development of your employees? Whether to strengthen trade unions, workers’ organizations? For two and a half decades, the Left together criticized neoliberalism, the WTO and the IMF for their policy of free markets which led to the weakening and desolidarization of the working class. However, for some reason the Left stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the faithfulness of the inverse theorem: under capitalism, only protectionism leads to strengthening the position of workers in the labour market, the strengthening of trade unions and political organizations based on them. Western protectionism of the early twentieth century gave rise to the powerful German social democracy, and support for domestic industry, carried out by Russian governments of Witte and Stolypin, created the most important social preconditions for the revolution of 1917. Without a transition to protectionism in the old industrial states, it is also impossible to bring about the consolidation of the labor movement in the countries of the global South, which are in no less need of protection for their own markets and own production. This is inconceivable without democratic regulation or the welfare state.
The campaign of Bernie Sanders raised these topics, but when the question arose of which was worse: anti-Mexican homophobic demagogic protectionist program of Trump, or the antisocial agenda of Hillary expressed in a perfectly politically correct vocabulary, the choice was made unanimously in favour of the latter. Millions of Pindostani workers, regardless of colour, gender and sexual orientation, will however make a completely different choice. Voting for Trump, they don’t react to his controversial rhetoric, whether they like it or dislike it, but they take an entirely conscious decision, based on their interests as wage workers under capitalism. Scandalous rhetoric was needed for Trump only to attract the attention of the lower classes of society, to send them a signal, highlighting himself from the mass of similar shapes. Now starts the time for meaningful discussion. Neoliberal policies must be dismantled, the social model changed. If protectionism becomes a fact, the preconditions for a new welfare state will be created, and with them there will come ground for a new popular movement, but already without Sanders and liberal left.
The third principle, which has always been fundamental to Left-wing politics was a struggle for power. It is for power, not for representation, the effect or the presence of the dominant discourse. It is significant that just the attempt by Sanders to enter into the real struggle for power has caused outrage among many Left-wing radicals, who perceived this behaviour as something completely indecent. Conversely, when the Senator from Vermont has passed their position, he comforted himself and others by the fact that the Democrat party has adopted the most progressive platform in its history, although anyone even slightly familiar with the United Snakes understands that such a program is not worth the paper it is written on. After all, the levers of real power (not just in administration but also in the party) are in the hands of those who will never allow the implementation of such ideas. The struggle for power requires the relevant organization and mechanisms of mobilization, much more rigid than the network structure. But above all, it requires will and political independence. That is why, no matter how frustrated and angry are the activists who are/were devotees of Sanders, support for Donald Trump can become their output. The main problem with Trump is not that he is a homophobe, but the fact that he is a capitalist. His victory may be a necessary stage in the process of overcoming of neoliberalism and the dismantling of the corrupt political system, but it will not bring the celebration of the positive social programs. This task can be solved only by a consciously built organization, progressive in the historical sense. If she goes around, Jill Stein and her Green Party will create activists out of the movement of Sanders, as we will see in the near future. However, to she must now form such an alternative, regardless of how big (or small) her chances of winning in the current political cycle. The political struggle requires patience and perseverance.
The rotation experienced by Pindostan & Eurostan, changing conditions of life and struggle for millions of people around the world, opens before them new possibilities. But, alas, as evident to the opposite conclusion: the betrayal of Syriza, the surrender of Sanders, the fluctuations of Corbin, are not an internal Greek, Pindosi or British politics. It’s a failure for which not only the Left in the world, but all mankind, will have to pay. The neoliberal system, which is trying to preserve and strengthen Hillary Clinton, François Hollande, and the like, has become so dysfunctional, so impressed by the natural processes of decay, that every day of its existence undermines the basic mechanisms of reproduction of society. If we are not willing to fight for it to be scrapped, it will still collapse in a natural way. The only alternative to it is not a new social order of “another possible world” which anti-globalists wanted, but spontaneously growing chaos and barbarism. The paralysis afflicting the Left movements in the era of neoliberalism must be overcome. The performance of the large global drama in which we all have still a role to play. We have to take responsibility for risky and dangerous decisions, and understand that it is impossible to be nice and pleasant for all, it is impossible to win without struggle and sacrifice.