“When will you bring back socialism?”
October 12, 2017 9:40 AM   Subscribe

“In some cases – as with Greece’s Syriza, Spain’s Podemos and France’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon – the leftist explosion took place outside the political mainstream. In Britain, it happened within the venerable Labour Party. Young recruits were joined by older returners who had left the party during the Blair years. The membership swelled from 200,000 in May 2015 to 299,755, with a further 189,703 affiliated supporters and 121,295 registered supporters (at more than 600,000, Labour’s membership is now among the highest in western Europe).“ - How the Labour left triumphed: the inside story, George Eaton (New Statesmen)
posted by The Whelk (50 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
thank you for giving me something upbeat to read, instead of the godforsaken us politics thread.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:43 AM on October 12 [6 favorites]


Funny you should mention that YCTAB “My Generation’s Best Chance Is Socialism” (The Nation)
posted by The Whelk at 9:53 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]


Awesome to the max! I'd love to see us in the US pick up this momentum.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:53 AM on October 12 [2 favorites]




Here's the kill shot:
“The left in parliament had dwindled, but there were mass movements outside,” Fletcher recalled. “There were a lot of politically motivated people who, given the opportunity to vote for a candidate they believed in, would take it.”
Party establishments, beware!
posted by No Robots at 10:33 AM on October 12 [3 favorites]


They'll triumph when they actually run something and lets face it, with Brexit on the horizon all they'll run is ashes.
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on October 12 [6 favorites]


"I’m Leaving Lyft to Fix Politics. Here’s How," by John McBride.
posted by No Robots at 10:37 AM on October 12


They'll triumph when they actually run something and lets face it, with Brexit on the horizon all they'll run is ashes.

What does this mean?
posted by Automocar at 10:42 AM on October 12 [3 favorites]


Just my gloom rising to the surface.

It's great, really great that as neoliberal capitalism is failing socialism is taking off and that there's an upswelling of young socialists. Here's hoping that the Tory losses of the recent election translate to a labour majority eventually and them being able to do anything.

And that seems to be happening everywhere, along with other, less healthy populist movements, which in the UK got the jump on the young socialsist and manage to put the countyr on a path to destruction. Bootstrap out of an impoverished, isolated state with a broken economy is going to be hard as hell.
posted by Artw at 11:17 AM on October 12 [8 favorites]


“The left in parliament had dwindled, but there were mass movements outside,” Fletcher recalled. “There were a lot of politically motivated people who, given the opportunity to vote for a candidate they believed in, would take it.”

One of the biggest things I feel I've taken away from the last couple of years is that US (and I think also British from what I can tell) society's gatekeepers, especially in media and politics, are complete trash who have actively stifled progress and supported bigotry through some variable combination of disguised bigotry on their own part, an inane conception of The Discourse itself being society's true goal, the honestly baffling idea that we're living at the end of history, and attempting to flatter their current or future billionaire employers.

Why did the person who would, within a year, become one of the most popular politicians in the UK, have to accept pity nominations to run for party leader? Why does the New York Times editorial section feature significantly more anti-Trump Republicans, one of the least popular viewpoints in US politics, than people who support universal health care, a thing about half the US supports? Too many of the people who control what is or is not an acceptable viewpoint to discuss on the national stage are people who know nothing, represent and speak for no one, and who only serve to further entrench power where it already sits, and they should almost all be gotten rid of.
posted by Copronymus at 11:27 AM on October 12 [47 favorites]


They'll triumph when they actually run something and lets face it, with Brexit on the horizon all they'll run is ashes.

Bearing in mind the face of new (sort of) British socialism is pro-Brexit and is keen to emphasise a vote for him is a vote for Brexit, is he any more than just another dickhead playing with matches?
posted by biffa at 1:58 PM on October 12 [5 favorites]


"I’m Leaving Lyft to Fix Politics. Here’s How," by John McBride.
The political world remains outdated for two main reasons:

The culture in politics and government tends to be bureaucratic, hierarchical, and risk-averse. These conditions provide significant barriers to innovation from within.

Politics lacks the financial incentives to attract attention from the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who have fueled the disruption of other industries.
[INTENSE OMINOUS WHOOSHING]
posted by jason_steakums at 2:46 PM on October 12 [3 favorites]


^There have been and will always be wealthy socialists.
posted by No Robots at 3:01 PM on October 12


I'm cool with wealthy socialists, but that specific take on the problems with government reads like Silicon Valley libertarianism so it raised some red flags.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:11 PM on October 12 [7 favorites]


In his 2017 book The Great Leveller, a study of inequality since the Stone Age, the Stanford historian Walter Scheidel casts doubt on the ability of any domestic government to reduce inequality significantly without the aid of one of the four “great levellers”: mass warfare, violent revolution, state collapse and lethal pandemics.
Wow, that's it, huh? The only way a government could reduce inequality is through situations that require tons of (most likely low-income and minority) people to die? What a load of shit.
posted by gucci mane at 3:25 PM on October 12 [7 favorites]


Silicon Valley libertarianism

Our libertarian brothers and sisters need to be reminded that socialism means the transition of mankind from political animal to social animal.

raised some red flags

Then raise the scarlet standard high!
posted by No Robots at 3:27 PM on October 12 [3 favorites]


One of the biggest things I feel I've taken away from the last couple of years is that US (and I think also British from what I can tell) society's gatekeepers, especially in media and politics, are complete trash who have actively stifled progress and supported bigotry through some variable combination of disguised bigotry on their own part, an inane conception of The Discourse itself being society's true goal, the honestly baffling idea that we're living at the end of history, and attempting to flatter their current or future billionaire employers.

It's not even in doubt. Harvey Weinstein personally e-mailed the Clinton campaign to get them to push against Sanders's "Danish Dream" of a better social safety net. For some reason the idea that young people just out of college being less precarious and dependent on powerful employers scared him. Can't imagine why.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:28 PM on October 12 [15 favorites]


Bearing in mind the face of new (sort of) British socialism is pro-Brexit and is keen to emphasise a vote for him is a vote for Brexit, is he any more than just another dickhead playing with matches?

Yeah, he basically says that to peoples faces and it slides over them and they'll deny they ever heard it. I like a lot about him, but I sure don't like that, which is why I like the movement a lot more than the figurehead.
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on October 12 [2 favorites]


The EU hasn't exactly been good for social democratic policies so I'm not going to yell at Labour for not branding themselves as the face of remainers.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:38 PM on October 12 [4 favorites]


Well, using the phrases "entrepreneurs and venture capitalists" does make the sentence sound like Silicon Valley speak, but it's a message that's held true for American politics since before tech was a thing. People go into private industry because that's where the money is. Very few of my polisci or IR classmates are actually involved in governance- those who aren't in academia have ended up in the private sector.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:52 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Bootstrap out of an impoverished, isolated state with a broken economy is going to be hard as hell.

Good point. A very common attitude in the US is: "Let Obamacare die, we'll redo it with universal healthcare." Or, "So-and-so is not progressive enough, so I don't care who wins." Both of these assume the silent partner of the opposition, and is music to their ears, because there are some things conservatives can't undo by themselves. When someone or something is really hated by Republicans, we should never assume they are mistaking it for something else. Obamacare contains a feature that sends real shivers down some spines, and it is taxing those who can afford great healthcare, and giving it to those who can't, all within the containment of a privately run health system (something they aren't yet programmed to destroy). By emphasizing non-profit care and non-profit insurance in the future, this has more hope to survive than rewriting the tax code to support runaway prices and health fraud. In an American milieu, insurance administrators must become both our lobbyists and quality assurance auditors. Building on something is easier than starting over, the latter of which may also be impossible.
posted by Brian B. at 4:06 PM on October 12 [5 favorites]


Corbyn, like all politicians, isn't a perfect mirror of my own political preferences, but the most recent thing I can find re: Brexit is him saying this:

"Asked if he would vote remain if a new referendum were held tomorrow, Corbyn replied: “There isn’t going to be another referendum, so it’s a hypothetical question but yes, I voted remain because I thought the best option was to remain. I haven’t changed my mind on that."

I'm more concerned that Corbyn does not become the only avatar of the left in politics. I want a socialist labour party and a socialist government. I don't particularly care who leads it. The party is still very divided from the grass roots up. For a while there's been this conflation of Liberal with Left (very much so in the US which I'm pretty sure doesn't even have a party of the left) and Labour under Blair was Liberal, but not left.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:11 PM on October 12 [7 favorites]


The EU hasn't exactly been good for social democratic policies

Counterargument from the same publication: The lure of Lexit must be resisted – socialism in one country is a fantasy
posted by Artw at 4:18 PM on October 12 [5 favorites]


Yeah with a heavy dose of Not My Country but while I get the left arguments against the EU, exiting it is not how you solve them (if only cause, hey the lack of borders is huge ) and I hope the unpopularity of Brexit would stall any future government in actuslly going through with it (I get the impression the Tories are bloody minded enough to keep pushing for it regardless of what people want cause they want an island sized tax haven with the smallest possible population)

Hopefully the EU will respond to the growth of leftwing parties by backing away from the failed austerity experiment.
posted by The Whelk at 5:34 PM on October 12 [4 favorites]


Corbyn looks a lot less messianic in Scotland, where his dances with Lexit do not go down well - although if you look at English parliamentary seats he has to win, you can see why he does it, it just sits badly with how he wants to be seen. But mostly because he sees the SNP as a bunch of Labour defectors who are to be fought and degraded, while in reality the SNP's real sin is being a bunch of Labour defectors who are basically more Corbynite than the Scottish Labour party.

If you'd like to think that Labour's rancid tribalism is in any way a thing of the past, then come north of the border and see what it looks like from up here.

The really sad thing is - the desire for Scottish independence is driven mostly by the consistent mismanagement of Scottish affairs from Westminster, and there's a wide spectrum of options that could give the Scottish people a great deal more self-determination while not 'destroying the Union'. It would be entirely possible to get the SNP and Labour working towards the common cause of a more progressive nation/federation/whatever you like, without compromising anyone's ideals, but I don't expect that to happen any more than Ken Livingstone turning into a newt, not while Corbyn keeps that part of Old Labour burning brightly in his heart.

It's a real shame.
posted by Devonian at 6:01 PM on October 12 [10 favorites]


Obamacare contains a feature that sends real shivers down some spines, and it is taxing those who can afford great healthcare, and giving it to those who can't.

Funny how those same spines don't seem to be shivering about taxing those who can afford great healthcare, and giving a gold-plated healthcare system to the legislators trying so hard to ditch Obamacare.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 6:07 PM on October 12


Wow, that's it, huh? The only way a government could reduce inequality is through situations that require tons of (most likely low-income and minority) people to die? What a load of shit.

Never doubt that a massive disaster claiming the lives of millions of innocent people can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
posted by officer_fred at 6:12 PM on October 12 [6 favorites]


Something that George Orwell constantly emphasized was the stupidity of the upper classes of his day. His view was basically that to support the system you either had to be corrupt or stupid, and the British upper classes had gone for stupid.

The last few years have made it a lot more clear what he meant. This year has been plenty bad, but it would have been far far worse if Trump and May had been actually competent.

Sadly, this doesn't mean that they can be written off. Corbyn's rise has been impressive, but it's not exactly triumphant until, y'know, he wins an election.
posted by zompist at 6:24 PM on October 12 [8 favorites]


This year has been plenty bad, but it would have been far far worse if Trump and May had been actually competent.

I completely agree, but we should clarify:

if they had been competent in their evil and stated (and unstated) plans would have been disastrous for us

if they had been competent in the parts of the government running that one could describe as "neutral" (civil service, routine beuracracy etc), then maybe suffereing would be less - their lack of competence there has hurt us daily and more likely has set up conditions for systemic failures down the years
posted by lalochezia at 8:21 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Glad to see MeFi running a story about Corbyn. Things must have changed--I got redflagged here when I tried to bring up Bernie during the primary last year.
posted by technodelic at 9:00 PM on October 12


Hopefully the EU will respond to the growth of leftwing parties by backing away from the failed austerity experiment.

For the current EPP led EU, austerity was a massive success. After all, it bailed out plenty of banks and lenders, and allowed the private sector to step further in what should be public services under the guise of "reducing public spending".
posted by lmfsilva at 10:02 PM on October 12 [1 favorite]


Corbyn's position on Brexit is quite simple and Napoleonic:

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
posted by quarsan at 10:07 PM on October 12 [3 favorites]


Also he unambiguously supports it.
posted by Artw at 10:30 PM on October 12 [3 favorites]


> Glad to see MeFi running a story about Corbyn. Things must have changed--I got redflagged here when I tried to bring up Bernie during the primary last year.

Where have you been all year? There have been Corbyn-related MeFi posts pretty much since the day he was elected leader.
posted by winterhill at 12:11 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]




the face of new (sort of) British socialism is pro-Brexit

There's an important difference between being pro-Brexit and supportive of the outcome of the referendum, which is that it leaves the door open for another – just a crack, but it's widening. This is not the sort of issue on which Corbyn won't ever shift, as shown by the fact that he swallowed his well-known distaste for the EU, voted Remain, and has said that he would again.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 1:47 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


Also he unambiguously supports it.

I still don't see where you're getting this from?
He perhaps ambiguously supports it? But he campaigned for remain, said he would vote remain again.
People have said a couple of times that Corbyn keeps saying that he supports Brexit, can you actually provide some proof of that?

But also for all that remain supporters (me included) would love for politicians to declare that "Brexit is dumb and we're not doing it" a majority of the country voted for it. It's sadly not politically feasible to just ignore that.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:58 AM on October 13


> Where have you been all year? There have been Corbyn-related MeFi posts...

I stayed away after my negative experience during the primaries. Looks like I'll be coming back more tho!
posted by technodelic at 7:05 AM on October 13


Every time someone says "maybe we should not do the Brexit?" or "maybe we should think again, or do another referendum?" he says "No, we should do the Brexit". There's not really and room for doubt on this.
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Ok, but there clearly is room for doubt.
A number of people have posted in this thread actual quotes wherein he said he was in favour of remain.
So if it's so absolutely cut and dried then perhaps you can some evidence (in terms of actual quotes or actions) to support that position.

The article that this post is about talks a lot about the very hostile press who routinely twist anything they possibly can to discredit the left (and Corbyn in particular) see for example the absurd Dancing to the Cenotaph story. So unless I see a primary source showing that he is in favour of leave I'll continue to believe that he campaigned for and voted for remain.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:49 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


But there isn't really a way to "not do the Brexit" at this point.

Article 50 says explicitly that the only way back in is through Article 49, the normal application process. That means lots of actors have the chance to stop the UK rejoining. It would also normally mean ditching the pound for the Euro, no budget rebate, and possibly joining Schengen. That's a very tough sell to the electorate, and one that nobody seems willing to make.

Some of those requirements might be dropped in the rejoining negotations of course. But that raises another difficulty: rejoining the EU would mean another set of lengthy and complicated negotiations. It's not a solution to the problem of difficult Brexit negotiations.

That's aside from the political problem that because of the "Re-Leavers" only about 25% of the population actually want Brexit cancelled.

Softening Brexit is a plausible option, but cancelling Brexit is not.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:23 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


I am heartened by the rise in excitement for these policies, especially among young people.

I am wary of celebration, because none of these movements have resulted in their representative leaders actually taking over the governments they're in. Getting your rhetoric broadcasted is not the same as writing policy and changing laws, and I'll be more hopeful when I see the latter happen.

Most of us recognize that xenophobes, bigots, and white nationalists have not simply gained power through public violence, threats, and exploiting existing attitudes of the general population. More than that, they've engaged in the traditional work of politics: focused, long-term, behind-the-scenes efforts to direct institutions through lobbying and strategizing when to use the carrot and when to use the stick with existing members of those institutions.

But on the left, despite the fact we'll readily argue how effective our opponents have been through these tactics of subversion, it's like we've decided that only the former is an acceptable means of gaining power, and becoming the establishment ourselves is somehow anathema. But I don't know how our policies are going to be the norm unless we accept that we've got to become the norm, and I'm not seeing movement towards that.
posted by schroedinger at 9:38 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


Softening Brexit is a plausible option

Deckchair rearrangement.
posted by Artw at 9:53 AM on October 13


Deckchair rearrangement.

Socialism: the art of making silk purses out of sow ears.
posted by No Robots at 10:30 AM on October 13


Like Corbyn, Teressa May also voted to Remain, so how someone voted last year doesn't really say much about how they would proceed now.
posted by 92_elements at 10:58 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]





Softening Brexit is a plausible option, but cancelling Brexit is not.


Rejoining the EU once we've left is subject to all the stuff you mention, but we haven't left. We have signalled our intention to leave - but nowhere in A50 does it say that intent equals effect. At the moment - and until the end of March 2019 - we are a full member, and all our agreements are legal and in effect.

I have read numerous analyses of A50, including some from legal bods who thought at first it was a binding action once invoked, and they end up with 'Actually, no'. Now, nobody's ever invoked A50 before, and nobody knows what would happen if the UK decided it didn't want to leave after all, but you cannot say it's impossible to cancel. Those words aren't in A50.

Let's play hypotheticals. Let's pretend that the Tory party implodes and May finds it impossible to carry on. If a hard Brexiter takes over, then the Remainers in the Conservatives will force an election. If a soft Brexiter takes over, then the ultras will do the same. Further, let's say that the election produces a dog's breakfast of a Commons where the Lib/SNPs are holding the balance of power, and they say 'The Brexit referendum was a con job, we're going to cancel A50, and we'll have another referendum once we've actually had a grown-up discussion about the consequences'. Labour finds it OK to go along with this.

If you don't like that scenario, invent your own. But I put it to the congregation that it's perfectly possible.

Now, what happens? The UK goes to the EU and says 'Look, sorry about this, but we want to stop the process and revoke A50.' The EU is very much against Brexit. It thinks it's a terrible idea. Who and why will say 'Nope, you can't do that'? And if someone did, then it would have to go to the ECJ or whatever particular arena decides on such things, and a lot of legal CPU cycles will be spent on deciding whether we can or cannot actually do that.

Until that point - until there is an actual legal decision by competent authority - you absolutely cannot say 'Brexit is now inevitable'. And even if there was some cast-iron legal pathway that made it so, that could be unwound - because if the UK wants to stay and the EU wants the UK to stay, then what greater power will intervene to prevent that happening?

I know that 'we can't back out now' is used as an argument to shut down debate, like 'The people have spoken' and ' Brexit is Brexit'. But if you'll believe a bus, you'll believe anything.
posted by Devonian at 4:24 PM on October 14 [3 favorites]


Nice theory... shame "The EU" in its form of Guy Verhofstadt have already rejected it:
"there is always a chance to reopen the door... [but] it will be a brand new door, with a new Europe, a Europe without rebates, without complexity, with real powers and with unity.
The old deal is not coming back. No-one in the EU wants to establish a precedent where nations can trigger Article 50 on a whim and start negotiating: they want it to not be triggered at all.

Not to mention that a UK Parliament desperate enough to try this would be desperate enough to accept any other deal as well. Easier to announce a 5-year "interim" deal where we accept free movement, current payments and single market membership and kick the can down the road to the next Parliament.

As for this scenario: you may not have noticed but we already have a hard Brexiter Prime Minister trying to take us out of the Single Market and Customs Union as well as the EU. The Remain Tories aren't doing a thing. We're drifting towards a hard Brexit right now.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:35 AM on October 15


The EU parliament has already said that the UK can withdraw A50 if the other member states agree. Therefore, that possibility has been recognised and codified. Again, this is different from the UK wanting to rejoin after leaving, when I agree there'd be no chance of the current arrangement being reinstated in toto.

And if "there's going to be a hard Brexit no matter what", then why are the ultras briefing so hard against Hammond? They don't think it's a done deal.

I don't know what's going to happen. A hard Brexit is a possibility, but absolutely not guaranteed. That notion is part of the propaganda war.

Incidentally, I note the Good Law project has raised its 60k to sue the Government to release its secret consequence assessment reports. The FOI request for the Scottish report was rejected on the grounds it would be destabilising - that even admitting it existed would be dangerous - so there is an awful lot of politics to come before March 2017.
posted by Devonian at 6:55 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


Maybe you meant to post a different link? That one actually says:
The EU’s chief negotiator lobbied for the UK to be barred from stopping the article 50 process without the rest of the union’s consent, it has been claimed.

Senior Brussels sources say Michel Barnier asked for the line stopping the UK from unilaterally reversing the process to be included in a European parliament resolution that passed on Wednesday. The move came amid fears in Brussels that Theresa May could “abuse” the process to extend talks when the two-year negotiations are over. The European parliament’s resolution subsequently made clear the withdrawal process could only be stopped with the consent of the other 27 member states.
27 different nations, each with their own wishlists and axes to grind, get a veto. That's deliberately the same as the Article 49 joining process. Barnier has carefully excluded the possibility of revoking Article 50 without going over the same hurdles as Article 49.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:00 AM on October 15


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