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Replacing the "Left"- Democracy grows up, erratically

Updated on March 24, 2012

Before you start hitting the younger generation for its apparent total ignorance of politics and history- A word of caution. History wasn’t so great, to start with. The “left” of the past was no particularly heroic thing. If the so-called left of today is a timid, inconsequential thing with no real agenda, no organization and no ideas, the Old Left was a sorry collection of hangers-on agreeing with Marx, Stalin, Mao and Lenin and practically anyone else. Apart from Marx, they were virtual Fascists in everything but name, and responsible for the death of more of their own people than anyone else.

The fighting side of the Old Left, as personified in the Spanish Civil War, was an idealistic, rather naïve, and spasmodic thing. The Old Left, as a matter of fact, showed up for a few demonstrations, held protests, endless meetings easily as pointless as the corporate variety of today, but didn’t actually spend a lot of time on the barricades singing heroic songs and dying "gloriously".

The modern version of the Old Left, for example, was swept along by the anti-nuclear demonstrations and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations. The Baby Boom generation, whatever its other failings, (and there are so many) scared the hell out of the smug suburban ethos, but it was never quite a political thing, much more a social movement. As even a would-be leader of these things, the Old Left was pathetically ineffectual.

The end of the Old Left actually started in the 60s. The Old Left never quite got the environmentalist ideas, feminism or anything else. It simply watched like a football spectator as unionism, its most tangible form in the democratic part of the world, demolished itself in a mindlessly unrepresentative, bureaucratic daze which like the Old Left simply lost the plot and never found it again.

There’s not really a New Left as such. The actual profile of the current model is more “Non-conservative/anti-conservative”. That may seem innocuous enough, but it’s actually a big step forward. The two party system has a natural tendency to polarize societies. The level of polarization may vary, but this old “Whigs and Tories” model is truly due for the scrap heap. It’s primitive, it’s obstructive and much worse, it’s out of touch with the real needs of a society which is totally different from its predecessors in every way.

The current version of “left” is the result of the downright insanity and hysteria of the neo-conservatives, who are more of a PR agency for themselves than actual movers and shakers. This, ironically, is creating the current “left”. Being non-right qualifies you as a “leftie”, that ridiculous word from the depths of some redneck’s limited vocabulary.Unless you’re not Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter, or someone equally intelligent and paid never to shut up, you’re a potential leftie.

Big deal. Those who believe political scripts of any kind deserve what they get. The Old Left was rather fond of portraying itself as a fighter for social justice for many years, but in practice it was simply echoing a demand from the new generations. After World War One, the public anger and self-inflicted collapse of the Old Establishment was the vehicle for the rise of a supposedly working class, but in fact dumb, ill-thought-out movement. It demanded equality, got it mainly because it was inevitable, and then didn't know what to do with it.

Americans and other Westerners simply thought the Old Left was an alternative. As it progressively proved that it was no more than yet another political farce, it fell out of favor. Communism barely got started in most of the Anglo European countries. Socialism got some traction for social benefits, and lost it again through sheer bureaucratic stupidity and lack of achievements.

However regressive neo-conservatism may be, (in some cases it appears to be trying to return to an idealized, non-existent womb), the Old Left was a verbal urinal. It simple spouted dogma and if you read some of the materials it left behind, it could bore a corpse back to life at its most verbose. These days, an ideology based on averaging out a social norm and calling it progress doesn’t have much appeal. A slogan saying “Defend the glorious decision to build a new tractor” doesn’t quite cut it, either. That’s exactly how out of date the “left” became.

Which leads us to a basic question- What replaces the “left”?

Well, how do you replace an old store dummy? The Punch and Judy show of modern politics is an expensive waste of time, creating more problems than it could ever be worth. It starts wars, enforces destructive policies which lead to poverty and massive inefficiencies across the entire spectrum of human need, and considers itself essential and immovable.

It’s not. One of the most thoroughly deserved fates in history may well happen to the modern political environment, which even by historical standards is plumbing the absolute bottom of non-achievement. “Privatizing government” may be an agenda of the right, but “de-politicizing government” is the cheaper, and probably more effective embracing option for non-conservatives.

The 1% can be left to their pitiful wealth, trashy ostentation and their delusions of grandeur. As long as they’re not destroying the planet, they’re virtually irrelevant. Just throw them a few bucks, tell them what great successes they are and they think they’re somebodies, despite or possibly because of their mental deformities. This is a problem that solves itself.

The 99%, however, need support mechanisms which work and can develop their abysmal lives into something worth living. That’s now, finally, actually possible. A combination of global realities and global necessities will force change. The incoming 10 billion people on this planet can’t be expected to take kindly to having no future and living in a sewer.

An agenda, of sorts-

Commerce can be fully automated and decentralized, getting rid of the financial sector’s various maniacal obsessions. That removes the undue control of societies by the very unelected and totally untrustworthy financial sector, which apparently has nothing better to do than create global financial catastrophes on a daily basis.

Crime can be permanently castrated by simply cutting off its sources of revenue, and charging hard cash for criminal offences. (Criminals may not see anything wrong with crime, but try getting money out of them. Talk about drama queens. They’d become model citizens rather than lose a cent.)

Poverty can be eliminated by simply providing access to goods and services, which, after all, is what’s missing. That was actually tried in the 60s, and it worked. A thing called The Free Shop simply created a place for people to come and collect things other people didn’t want, for free. Other variations are also possible, it’s just a matter of how to do it.


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    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Today's youth, quite rightly, want to know what's relevant about the archaic babblings of the so-called left and the holier-than-God right. A third alternative is the only way out of this destructive non-achievement. America's problem isn't socialism or capitalism- It's mediocrity on a mindboggling scale. If you had a choice between Ben Franklin, etc and this collection of elected lobbyists, who'd you pick? These people aren't thinkers. They're dogmatists, living on their recital of "ideals" related to a world that no longer exists.

    • Josak profile image


      6 years ago from variable

      Heed not the people who will cry socialism at every leftist idea generally with no understanding of what socialism is (in their minds it seems to boil down to welfare payments) the left, like all political movements has it's share and perhaps more of shame in it's history, we must strive to avoid such errors in future, excellent hub, voted up and interesting + following.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Sorry, but I don't buy it. You final conclusions are nothing more than a rewording of the socialist approach to society...take capitalism out of the picture and problem solved. Neither industry nor people work just for the sake of work and none of us want to have to work to support those who elect not to work...that is the inevitable fly in the ointment of socialism. The "Baby Boomer" generation of the 60's might have been the social movement of the times but those people eventually morphed into adults who cannot live their life for five minutes without a cause...they are the tree-huggers, the green peacers, and the rabid environmentalist of the day now. They are the members of the Obama administration who just happen to associate themselves with socialist movements and mindsets...they are, in a word, dangerous. They are also more than willing to drive America right off the cliff in order to transform it into the a utopian socialist state where their perceived idea of fairness will reign on high. We saw the welfare and entitlement world created during the administration of LBJ with his concept of the "Great Society". We did not know what to call it then but looking back on it, there was every basis of socialism interwoven into it...trying to cut the pie into equal slices with the federal government wearing the whistle and the striped shirt. That momentum on the part of the federal government has continued to present day with no real good results. The youth of today's world wants to thumb its nose at history as if it does not matter while they are totally missing the point...those who do not know and understand history are doomed to repeat it...that is not a choice, it's a fact. WB


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