This title comes in the form of abstract nonsense but nonsense that takes heed of ‘the dilemma’. The dilemma is how to break out of the all encompassing capitalist edifice. Such a task is the mission of the left. After being engaged on the peripheries and sometimes deeper levels of left wing Anarchist and Trotskyite sects of the London UK left I find myself at a double edged sword.
My radical left ambitions seem to be very different from the rest of the left or rather the organised left here in the UK, and doubtless to say most of the UK left. The title of this article is my attempt at deciphering the disparity between myself and the UK left, the contours of this disagreement encapsulated by this ambiguous title will be depicted and revealed in this article. No doubt it will be of no interest to anyone but myself, although I write this in the hope of someone to completely rip apart my sentiment or ideally help me towards the realisation of what it is I have to say about what it really means to be a member of the Radical Left.
I have been struggling to see how the UK left hope to achieve a revolution. Their focus, rhetoric and doctrine are embedded in 19th and 20th century text, philosophy, and crucially, tactics. It is the tactics which really concern me - as the sentiment of holding onto a Marxist, Trotskyite, Leninist, Luxembourg’s teaching is part and parcel of the constitutional edifice of the Left but - these teaching, especially today, are not sacred and should not be treated as such. What resides in the form of sacredness is the underlying message of these philosophers and revolutionaries, which is - Capitalism is a system that should be opposed and defeated and those opposing capitalism the Proletariat and slum dwellers, who constitute one of the largest proportion of densely populated civilisations around the world) the majority of the population, a section of the population who are suppressed or excluded by the ruling classes and the section of global society, need to rise up and take control of the reigns of history before the capitalist train, we are all riding, collides into oncoming traffic.
A collision is a very likely scenario in light of the current global constellations developing in the sphere of the International Relations of the 21st century, but it is the 21st century that is the crucial point here! WE live in the 21st century and to stick to Socialist tactics of the 19th and 20th century, which do not account for slums or ecological propensities, is in my view, the reason for the total failure of the left to engage and ignite with the revolutionary potential of a proletariat, that does not even realise its potentials or even that the proletariat is the proletariat!
Show me a contemporary Marxist arguing for a 21st century vision of what a left wing revolution would look like? For me, as it is clear if you were to read my blog roll would quickly discover that, although I have my disagreements and criticisms with Zizek, he is the only Marxist philosopher trying to challenge this dilemma that the left face. It is abundantly clear that he is the Anti-Christ of the left, an analogy I am sure he would relish, and this is a just analysis, but at least he is attempting to reconstruct the radical left in order to bring the left face to face with the realities that our old ways and theories, although relevant in many aspects, just do not cut it when it comes to our current epoch!
If the left is to engage with a Politically ignorant and quite frankly capitalist proletariat, a proletariat that is unaware of its existence, as seen in all those who see themselves as ‘Middle Class’ who are in fact the true definition of a working class Proletariat - “those out of joint in the social space, the part of no part lacking their proper place within it...What qualifies the proletariat... is ultimately a negative feature: all other classes are (potentially) capable of reaching the status of the ruling class, while the proletariat cannot achieve this without abolishing itself as a class (Zizek, 2008, pp 414) Owen Jones has recently written on how Middle Class sects of society, will, if the definition of what it means to be working class is defined to them, conceive themselves to be working class.
As for the lefts engagement and relations with, slum dwellers, the unemployed and the underclass is concerned this is a true lack of the left. The riots highlighted the lefts complete inability to engage with a disenfranchised, under-educated and lost sects of society, who hate the system which impoverishes them, most crucially, in the realms of education and health care, but yet still in some perverse way - perverse as their dream has been dictated to them by the system which rules over them and they follow like braying sheep to aspire toward imposed dreams that suppress them. This is well and truly a failure of the left. Not just to engage them but rather for there to not be radical left wing organisations which work outside the parameters of the state, within their own social space which challenges the sate through its very abstraction? Not in children charities funded by the state or shelters or even the farcical liberal construction of Corporate Social Responsibility, but actual bodies who work outside the parameters of the state organisations which can create its own new society behind the back of the overarching failed western neo-liberal edifice.
Yes trade Unions are important, but it is blatantly clear that this form of social organisation is dwindling and that corporations will not adopt trade unions any time soon. Yes we can infiltrate the state as John Mcdonald and Jeremy Corbyn have done and try to work from within the structures laid out by the state which allow the left to oppose the state but such action is rare if existent at all, and when such opposition does arise the contours of such opposition are hijacked by the state or powerful individuals. Take the recent comments made by Warren Buffet one of the world’s richest men, he proposes that the rich should be taxed more, this is an idea long proposed by socialists and is a prime example of the revolutionary capacity of capitalism to monopolise policies and rhetoric or the left to serve its ever expanding control of all opposition to it, which is why the radical left need to work outside the parameters of a capitalist system that, at the moment, has the capacity and power to control and devour the left.
Whilst there is no denying the fact that the left do more for the working class and those underrepresented and repressed sects of society, and humbly, do more than I am willing or able to do, due to my disagreement with the way the left functions in the UK, with its bitter, sectarian, clique infighting, and with its obsession over left wing sect disagreements over foreign policy which although valiant in sentiment, such action does more to disenfranchised the Left away from relation to those that it should be concerned with most, those whose thought and action they should be working in UNITY to convert, that being the Workers and unemployed here in the UK and across Europe. Take the Spanish uprising and subsequent direction of an attempted opposition to their government. They claim that a new movement should not be concerned with left or right wing politics but should be in some way apolitical. Such sentiment not only calls on the state to act in such a way ‘without’ ideology, a dangerous ambition, but also proposes that the only way to achieve this is to make demands to the government to reform. And this is the crucial point of their failure. The Spanish revolt should grab the reigns themselves take a radical left wing stance and create their own state from which to construct new socio-economic realities, outside the constructs of their state. This is what the left in the UK should attempt to do.
This is why I make the statement that if our expressions are to be heard then they must be silent. We must cut off the balls of Capitalism so that they will not realise that capitalism has been overthrown they will just all of a sudden realise that their voices have gotten a bit higher. The only way to do this is to not work within or against the state but rather to operate outside the state. It is not for me on my own to lay out the contours of how such a task should be enacted upon, as this would not be left wing sentiment, but this is the task I believe that the left should be tarrying with, and this is the only way I believe that the left can hope to achieve emancipation and universalism?