I confess I am not usually a fan of Jacobin, which often seems to me, to overstate its case.
However there is an interesting article here where I have some considerable sympathy. The article points out the initial joy of the Barrack Obama election success.
The author starts:
I came to my politics the way most people do: by way of a confused and often contradictory jumble of ideas and idioms gradually clarified through learning and experience.
On a basic level, I am a socialist because I simply cannot fathom reconciling myself to a society where so many needlessly suffer because of circumstances beyond their control; where human dignity is distributed on the basis of luck and a social caste system is allowed to permeate every aspect of daily life; and where all of this is considered perfectly normal and acceptable in a civilization that has split the atom and sent people to the Moon.
I find this interesting because I certainly didn’t have this sort of journey – far from it. I thought in terms of injustice: were things fair? If they were not why and how could they be made so? Naturally I was usually accused of impossible idealism.
The author considers that his trigger was:
…a searing dislike for liberalism as the hegemonic outlook in our culture and a deep, abiding disdain towards the political class that so self-righteously upholds it.
….No, that instinct owes much more to watching Barack Obama summon forth a tidal wave of popular goodwill, then proceed to invite the same old cadre of apparatchiks and financiers back into the White House to carry on business as usual despite the most punishing economic crisis since the Great Depression….
….to witnessing a potentially monumental hunger for change be sacrificed on the altar of managerialism and technocratic respectability. It comes from watching a smiling Nick Clegg stand next to David Cameron in the Rose Garden at Number 10 Downing Street before rubber-stamping a series of lacerating cuts to Britain’s welfare state and betraying a generation of students in the process….
….The problem, in other words, wasn’t that contemporary liberalism was failing to live up to its ideals, but that it was living up to them all too well.From an early age I had been trained by mainstream political culture to think of liberalism as an orientation synonymous with change, progress, even dissent. … The animating mission here is less to combat injustice than to efficiently manage discontent.
Now all this, I confess, resonates. When I was using most of my resources to run a small company I did not have the time to examine too closely the actual agenda of Cameroon ‘liberalism’. Initially and to my shame, I even accepted the ‘necessity’ of raised student fees. But at least I never accepted reduced ‘welfare’. Yet this does show how busy people – and most of us are – are deceived into thinking they are open and liberal but that also these severe restrictions on many citizens’ resources are ‘essential’.
This is why marketing or selling your point of view is so important – most people have little time. So the press in the UK continually sells for the ‘liberals’ and the BBC feeds off them.
‘The Guardian’ – what a pity they dropped the Manchester – is pretty much all we have left – and that is very far from perfect.
The narrative outlook desperately needs changing and that is why promoting a general understanding of the real origins of money is so important.
The left seriously needs a marketing system. And marketing is giving the salesforce- effectively the MP’s – the ‘ammunition’ to convince. Whilst most of the press are there at the disposal of the right wing who have the ‘Telegraph’ and the ‘Mail’.
Meanwhile ‘The Guardian’ is (rightly) still, too thinking by half…. but ideas have to be sold somehow.
The technique of properly and realistically ‘selling’ radical and progressive ideas is, I think, the issue of our time.