This article is 18 months old, but it remains one of the best analyses I’ve seen to date of how most of the Western Left was completely coopted by neocons, neoliberalism, and totalitarian humanism. What seems to have happened was the simultaneously temporal convergence of “woke” and Trumpism, which created an amalgam of moral panics and mass hysteria among the left end of the spectrum. And then the pandemic strengthened all of that.
Right now, there is a lot of in-fighting among the Left about how far to take the “woke” paradigm. Some labor leftists are worried that all of that alienates the working class. Some antiwar or Marxist-Leninist/Third Worldist leftists are concerned the Left has abandoned the antiwar cause (which they have). The civil liberties left are worried about Big Tech’s collaboration with state security agencies. These sectors of the Left conflict with the race/gender/gay/trans/vaccine/mask/Ukraine flags/TDS paradigm on the Left.
There are some old-fashioned liberal Democrats who are concerned about the illiberalism of the woke Left, although they disagree on how much wokeness is too much and what they should or should not be woke about. I’m constantly seeing figures like Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi being characterized as National-Bolsheviks and Duginists by the woke Left and accused on promoting “Red/Brown alliances.” Liberal anti-woke or only-semi-woke or not-quite-as-woke types (like Bari Weiss or the “intellectual dark web” people) are accused of running a “left-to-alt-right-pipeline” or something like that, which supposedly includes everyone from Bret Weinstein to Nick Fuentes. I’ve seen some of the left-libertarians accusing the Mises Institute of engineering a neo-Nazi takeover of the Libertarian Party.
As one who doesn’t have a dog in the fight, this stuff gets genuinely entertaining, and I saw it all coming 20 years ago.
By Jonathan Cook
There’s been a new public fracturing of the intellectual left, typified by an essay last week from Nathan J Robinson, editor of the small, independent, socialist magazine Current Affairs, accusing Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi of bolstering the right’s arguments. He is the more reasonable face of what seems to be a new industry arguing that Greenwald is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, setting the right’s agenda for it.
Under the title “How to end up serving the right”, Robinson claims that Greenwald and Taibbi, once his intellectual heroes, are – inadvertently or otherwise – shoring up the right’s positions and weakening the left. He accuses them of reckless indifference to the consequences of criticising a “liberal” establishment and making common cause with the right’s similar agenda. Both writers, argues Robinson, have ignored the fact that the right wields the greatest power in our societies.
This appears to be a continuation of a fight Robinson picked last year with Krystal Ball, the leftwing, former co-host of a popular online politics show called The Rising. Robinson attacked her for sharing her platform with the conservative pundit Saagar Enjeti. Ball and Enjeti have since struck out on their own, recently launching a show called Breaking Points.
Notably, Greenwald invited Robinson on to his own YouTube channel to discuss these criticisms of Ball when Robinson first made them. In my opinion, Robinson emerged from that exchange looking more than a little bruised.