Today the Red Cross announced that the NHS is suffering a humanitarian crisis. Jeremy Corbyn warned about it coming weeks ago and was met with derision from the ‘centrists’/liberals in his party and in the media who accused him of playing it safe. Today he was criticised for not being quick enough to comment on it. It’s pretty clear that the left is damned if we do and damned if we don’t when it comes to appeasing liberals. You have to wonder, what with all of the recent electoral failures of status quo managerial liberalism, why we should have to.
The right is in power but liberals can’t stop punching left, be it Democrats or Blairites in the Labour party. We’ll get nowhere if we have to keep punching through liberals. We have to just bypass them. They have the choice of socialism or barbarism and we can’t just hang around to console them about it. If they need to be convinced they are not worth convincing.
If the left is to win, in any terms, it has to change the narrative- to do anything else, to try and win on the right’s terms, as the liberals want to do, is to fail before we even start- and we can’t do this whilst still trying to cater to liberals forever enamoured with the status quo. Liberals themselves have to face up to reality; they have lost and they are losing, everywhere. Their way of doing things has lead us here, to, among other things, a fascist in the white house. If this isn’t going to be a wake up call to them then what is? We can’t afford to wait and find out.
The call of socialism or barbarism isn’t just vitriolic bifurcation of leftists who want to lump anything to the right of them in with the fascists and tyrants. it’s a message that says- the world is going to change, whether you like it or not. It’s about the fact that there are millions of people who find the status quo unbearable. You, if you are a self identifying liberal or centrist are likely not one of them but after the Iraq war, after the 2008 financial crash, your way of doing things is dead. You can keep trying to live on it its corpse but it’s rotting away and people can tell that it stinks and they want out, and these people are being courted by the far right. The narrative that defines these people’s lives is being acted on by the right. The overton window is swinging ever rightwards by a right wing media. There is no static hallowed centre ground you can lay claim to. You have to make a choice.
One of the differences between the supposed centre left and the centre-right is the right will allow itself to be dragged further right but the liberals will sooner cut the left off at the knees at the first opportunity than be dragged leftward - Think of how Fox News gave Trump endless exposure whilst CNN cut away from a Bernie Sanders speech to an empty Donald Trump podium.
This is the struggle for the left but we have to offer a counterhegemony and refuse to give ground on it. We will fail, though, if we keep having to filter it through a milquetoast liberalism committed to playing the game where it currently stands rather than where it should be.
(using liberal / centrist in the political more than economic sense here. i know sanders et all aren’t Real Radicals don’t @ me)