What does it mean that the Vice-Presidential candidate for the ostensibly “conservative” party is a female from a working class background who has the flag of a foreign state associated with a domestic ethnic minority hanging in her governor’s office? What does it mean that the Presidential candidate of the opposition party is a black man with an Islamic name? Essentially, such phenomena demonstrate that the political Left has become entirely status quo and that the core values of the historic Left-cosmopolitanism, internationalism, universalism, liberalism, proletarianism, feminism, anti-racism, anti-anti-Semitism, religious ecumenicalism and anti-xenophobia are more or less mainstream and “normal”. Indeed, such values are very much those of the elite. As Joe Bageant recently observed:
“Elite consensus on the issues of race, sex and role of faith in public life are to the left of public opinion, the only area in which this is the case. Elite opinion is overwhelmingly secular, pro-choice, supportive of gay rights and hostile to overt displays of racism.
Tolerance and liberalism on this front is a very useful tool, since it buys political space to be more conservative on the more important money issues. It also enjoys the advantage of making the right enemies, after all who wants to be on Pat Robertson’s side during weekend dinner parties at the Hamptons.
When social conservative complain about the “Liberal Media” they are not wrong, but only in regard to their issues. The contempt of the American elite for the religious right is quite real. What social conservatives misunderstand is that the hostility against them is not because the threat their ideas represent but only a display of the traditional contempt that the merciless strong have for people they consider to be the feeble minded weak.
The significance of the religious right in our politics is only in the wonderful diversions their issues create. Issues that feed a war between urban educated middle classes against the more numerous, the ever more frustrated lower income fundamentalists on issues that are unsolvable in nature.”
This fact provides a great deal of insight as to why the radical Left is now utterly impotent in resisting the forces of U.S. imperialism, state-capitalism and the expanding police state. Beginning in the 1960s, the Left abandoned its historic position as the party of class struggle, first of the middle classes against the Ancien’ Regime, and then of the proletariat against the old bourgeoisie order. Instead, the Left reinvented itself as the party of cultural politics, shifting its focus to such matters as race, gender, homosexualism, environmentalism, abortion, secularism and so forth. Consequently, we now have a situation where the ostensible “radical Left” maintains essentially the same basic set of cultural values as the “liberal elite”. The more socially conservative poor and working class have subsequently been abandoned to be colonized by the Right.
But what is the Right? If we are to judge by the actions of the Republican Party leadership, we might realize that the so-called “conservatives” really care about only three things. The first of these is the perpetual expansion of the American empire internationally. There must not be a square mile of territory on Earth that the U.S. does not control, or so the policy makers and the jingoist propagandists who dominate the more rightward leaning sectors of the media would have us believe. The second of these is the perpetual advancement of the expansionist interests of Israel. The third is the advancement of the economic interests of those narrow economic sectors that dominate the Republican Party, primarily banking, “Big Oil”, armaments and so forth.
Of course, the Republican leadership has to pretend to be social conservatives so that all of the yahoos, jingos, flag-wavers, Bible-thumpers, “homophobes”, money-grubbers and amateur cops who fill the ranks of their most enthusiastic supporters will still come out and vote for them. Â But do they take their social conservatism seriously? Of course not. American society is now more liberal than ever before. Do they care one iota about the right-to-life cause, countering the influence of the gay movement, or restoring prayers in schools? No, they have made zero progress on these matters, while making much progress on the things that really mean something to them, like enriching the corporate fatcats, building a police state and conquering the world. Do they take their rhetoric of fiscal conservatism seriously? Not if the federal deficit and the national debt are any indication.
As contemptible a lot as the Republicans are, the Democrats are equally if not more pathetic. The Demos are struggling with a very thin and narrowing lead in this year’s election in spite of the dismal performance and unpopularity of the incumbent party and President. Ultimately, the Democrats represent the same set of interests as the Republicans. The Demos are beholden to the same kinds of banking, petroleum, armaments, pharmaceutical and communications interests as their rival party. The Demos are likewise firmly in the grip of the Israel Lobby. They are just as committed to the expansion of the empire, though they may prefer slightly more covert methods. Consequently, they have no real alternative to offer. Additionally, the Demos are much more reflective of the social and cultural values of the elite classes than the Republicans, hence their intransigence on these matters and their impotence on virtually everything else. Their best hope is to rally the array of left of center constituents group who share their cultural outlook and anyone else who wants to vote for “Anybody but a Republican”. Meanwhile, the Left will continue crying “racism, sexism, homophobia” (as if these were the most pressing matters in politically correct twenty-first century North America) while the ruling class drives things further down the tubes on matters of political economy, law and foreign policy.
The creation of a new radicalism capable of resisting the forces of State, Capital and Empire requires the development of a genuine “third way” beyond Left’s habit of appealing to traditional outgroups or the Right’s habit of appealing to “traditional values”. Instead, the new dichotomy pits those who are against the system versus those who are for the system. Enemies of the system may come from the extreme Right or the extreme Left, with a common denominator being a desire to attack the system! Pan-secessionism is our methodology, and perhaps some sort of lumpenproletarian-oriented anarcho-pluralist populism is our ideology. Our natural constituents are neither cultural conservatives or cultural leftists per se but enemies of the states wherever and whoever they may be.