Friday 13 August 2021

The Left and the Party Question

Some of the greatest nights out I've had have been with comrades, but the left does have a dour, super serious, and dull reputation. Most of its publications are didactic boring reads, and the culture of activism and "work" frowns on "distractions" from the class struggle. But, as Jem Gilbert argues in his discussion with Novara's Ash Sarkar the left would do well to get over this sniffy attitude and embrace the things that make life enjoyable.


Alex Dawson said...

This is spot on - and it is also indicative of the English left's wider approach to politics which is catastrophist and depressive.

Much of the left resembles an unarmed Dads Army parody of an American armageddon cult - lecturing the lumpen proletariat to turn to socialism like ghastly street preachers urging shoppers to repent from their sins before it is too late lest they be cast into the pits of hell.

We are supposed to be the ones offering a better future - one free of the constraints of pointless work and financial enslavement and societal alienation.

Instead all we seem to be able to promise is a future which is somehow slightly less bleak than the one the capitalists are going to give us, mainly on the basis that we are a bit nicer than they are.

Anonymous said...

Did you really listen to this? In the first two minutes Radio 4 regular Ash Sarkar sets up false dichotomy between Radio 4 and themselves. Thats the problem with "the left". It doesnt realise that it is part of the problem. It is the false opposition. It is just more content for the information industry. Then, like an embarrasing punk uncle with a bald patch in a mohican, Professor Groovy and Radio 4 Ash have a cosy chat about scenes that mostly died before Gen Z was born. Cosy, middle class winking about "psychoactive substances" and "slutdrops". Groovy being frightened by "reactionary" dubstep "dont @ me on Twitter". "The worst time in history, the early 2000s." Fuuuuck. "Intermediary institutions" organising left cultural products. "intellectual pretension" by writers outside Groovy's ivory tower. Talking about radical culture and all the examples are top ten, BBC broadcast, Mercury prize winning, Glastonbury headlining acts. Its fucking tragic that this is the left today. "Culture cant be a substitute for political struggle" well it wont be if your only point of reference is officially sanctioned, state approved Culture. These talking heads are here to be the other side of the daily mail. Talking up what They talk down but keeping the proles focused on the same old shit.

I love how the first image promised commie Es but then we get two boring old wankers talking crap about how they went out dancing a hundred years ago and interviewed some celebrities. It just confirmed the left doesnt know where the party is and I dont think Prof Groovys Hovis Mobile Working Class Disco is going to get one started. Fucks sake.

Anonymous said...

What is the above word salad from "Anonymous" actually meant to say?

BCFG said...

This is wrong on so many levels it is hard to know where to start.

I will concentrate on two aspects, firstly it is a complete straw person (woke friendly usage), secondly it gets everything arse over tit (slang possibly stemming from the evils of patriarchy, but no misogyny intended wokists). I will use arse over cock if that makes you happy.

It is a straw person because firstly it isn’t really true and secondly it would make fuck all difference if it were. It really is a sign of the left activist’s desperation that they think throwing a party is any kind of issue.

The second issue sort of ties in with the first, it presents the left, in all its dubious glory, as the real movement to which the working classes must become attached, rather than the reality, the left attaches itself to the working class. The real movement is the working class. And the real movement does party now and again, does have barbies on the back garden, does attend footy matches, does celebrate xmas etc etc etc. i.e. it does all the things that are considered fun.

Even Marx had to attach himself to the real movement, he had no control over the Paris commune (of course not how could he), he had to attach himself to it, and even though it was built on entirely opposing economic principles (Proudhon) he still backed it to the hilt.

I remember watching a BBC programme where Alexei Sayle talked about his upbringing with communist parents and how it was like being in some weird sect, well if the BBC had bothered to film my upbringing then it would have been a very different story. My dad was a union activist, and communist, and yet we we partied, we celebrated xmas, we went to football games. We also went out on strike. I.e. normal working class life (apart from the striking bit)

The mistake being made here is to believe the left sects and their activists represent the movement. You/they do not!

But I thought the left sects were sort of cults where impressionable young women were groomed for, erm, revolutionary activity?

If that doesn't sound like fun I don't know what does, yet they are still irrelevant and small!

Having said all that Partying really is overrated, I prefer the Norwegian social democrat idea of a retreat, better than getting shit faced. All that healthy outdoor fun, well until Brevik turned up to spoil it!

Last point, is there anything more intent on taking the fun out of life than the woke brigade? They won't be happy until sex is conducted under strict supervision, once all necessary paperwork has been signed and countersigned.

Anonymous said...

Latest reports are saying the Taliban are going to take the Afghan capital, we can only hope their next target is love island! I know that Love Island is supposed to be fun, and even Jeremy Corbyn had to pretend to like it, but what could be more fun than seeing the Taliban take charge?

The universalist principle surely means that if it makes sense in Kabul it makes sense over here, right? Or does that principle work only from West to East, or is it the prevailing wind?

Let us have fun, Afghan style!

Blissex said...

«What is the above word salad from "Anonymous" actually meant to say?»

I think that this sentence is rather clear and direct:

These talking heads are here to be the other side of the daily mail. Talking up what They talk down but keeping the proles focused on the same old shit.

That is a rather political point: whether the "left" is about developing a different path for the economy and culture, or (New Labour) embracing the cultural and economic framing of the right and supporting or opposing something depending on which side of town one currently can afford to live in.

Blissex said...

«Last point, is there anything more intent on taking the fun out of life than the woke brigade? They won't be happy until sex is conducted under strict supervision, once all necessary paperwork has been signed and countersigned.»

This seems to show that like many men (whatever gender you identify with) you don't want to understand or take seriously consent: even a millisecond after signing and countersigning a consent form a woman has every right to withdraw her consent, without even speaking or signalling it, because consent is not the same as agreement, consent is (like belief) a pure and subjective state of mind, one that only the individual woman can or need to know about. Also in the case of sexual crimes against a woman actual consent is (or should be where it isn't, for many people) a strict condition: it does not matter whether the man intended to violate a woman's consent, all it matters is that the violation occurred, a man can be in good faith in having reason to believe that a woman was consenting, but that would not excuse his crime: "Rape is rape" "#WeBelieveYou"