Looking over the website of the Political Research Associates, a leading critic of Attack the System, I found it to be rather ironic how much the order in which the list on their “Issues” page mirrors the normal hierarchy of priorities found on the Left. In order, the PRA issues are
1. Reproductive Justice-(“Keeping abortion safe and legal”)
2. LGBTQ Rights-(Mostly pushing same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws)
3. Immigrant Justice-(Serving the interests of capital while attempting to create a larger constituency for the neoliberal center-left)
4. Racial Justice-(Advancing the interests of middle class and elite minorities within the context of capitalism and the state)
5. Civil Liberties-(An issue the Left generally ignores except for racial disparities)
5. Economic Justice-(Which for most leftists just means a larger welfare state)
6. Exporting the Culture Wars to Africa (This is the only foreign policy issue mentioned, and predictably it mostly involves gay rights in Africa).
This is more or less the order of importance that the pathetic joke that currently passes for “the Left” assigns to issues. A serious radical Left would represent a precise reversal of this order. This list of issues of an authentic radical Left might be something like the following:
1. Ending U.S. imperialism by overthrowing the U.S. empire, and doing this by eliminating the regime of the empire’s mother country. This is essentially what pan-secessonism is all about, i.e. attacking the regime of the mother country directly, dissolving it and breaking it up, and thereby ending its imperial projection and liberating its occupied peoples. That some on the “far right” are sympathetic to this idea is an advantage, not an disadvantage.
2. Overthrowing the domestic police state by challenging the entire axis of repression, e.g. police militarization, police brutality, the prison-industrial complex, the prosecutorial and judicial caste, the death penalty, the war on drugs, mandatory minimums, consensual crimes, overcriminalization, the Patriot Act, the NDAA, etc.etc. etc.
3. Attacking the state-corporate oligarchy and the widening class disparities. There can be differences of opinion on how to do this, from total laissez faire to a resource-based economy to anarcho-communism to the universal basic income.
4. Working for the interests of the poor and working classes of all races while recognizing issues that are unique to different ethnic groups (mass incarceration for blacks, American Indian land rights, political correctness and the nanny state for working class whites).
5. Immigration policies that serve the interests of the poor and working class of all ethnic groups, not the interests of capitalism and the state. (See Ralph Nader on this.)
6. The Left has already won on abortion and gay rights. The overwhelmingly majority of people outside the redder rural counties and smaller towns agree with the Left on this.
It’s important to remember that the actual Left doesn’t really exist in the West anymore. Historically, the meaning of the Left was anti-capitalism. The anti-capitalist Left is basically non-existent, with the possible exception of SYRIZA. Even the supposed “anti-capitalist” supposed left nowadays is really just about raising the minimum wage or opposing social service cutbacks. If you read the socialist, communist, and left-anarchist publications and websites today it is mostly about cultural politics, social issues, or identity issues. Even in most communist fanzines you will find just as many articles about LGBTs as you will actual socialism.
Categories: Left and Right