Kuri was very good to start the discussion at progressivebloggers.ca (here) on why we members of the hard-left are so invisible and lacking a loud voice in the blogosphere. I’m fed up with that threat since it’s apparent to me that the left cannot agree on the colour of s#!&. However I do still feel that what she spoke about is important and worthy of action on our part.
I won’t post all of the comments on this thread since there’s actually at least three different threads all jammed into one. However I did want to post the thread that I was most involved in.
It all began with this very simple and innocent comment by me on the question posed.
There are quite a few Anarco-syndicalists, Marxists, Socialists et cetera kicking around but I think we’re in a bit of a tight spot right now. The problem as I see it is that there are no blog aggrigators (that I’m aware of) like the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy or Progressivebloggers.ca which cater to our views. I mean sure my feed’s carried on both vlwc and PB, but the vast majority of the readers in either place merely want the capitalist system managed differently or feel that if we just elect a more virtuous bunch of people into the halls of the bourgeois state aparatus that all of a sudden we’ll be so much better off.
So without one of these aggrigators, I see us as something of a diaspora without any central hub. I’ve tried figuring out how I can go about hosting something like this on my blog, but alas, no luck yet.
If you want more far-left blogs, I don’t know if you’ve looked, but I’ve got a few really good ones listed on my blogroll on my site.
(P.S. thanks for including me in your list of hard-left individuals along side Eugene – he’s so much more established than I am, I consider that something of an ego boost.)
This is why I shy away from calling myself ‘left’. It seems as though left these days is just a softer form of neo-liberalism. It would be nice to see more discussions that challenge pro-growth, neo-colonialsim, etc.
To address a few points:
Firstly: I think we have a big problem with nomenclature here. I don’t have an issue with the left/right nomenclature, however what I was referring to rather was what exactly is meant by “hard left”. What I mean by this is that the NDP seems to have gotten the idea — most likely because they’re often the farthest left voice in mainstream discussions — that somehow they’re “hard left”. With all due respect to the New Democrats (and I know quite a few and I do like them as individuals) the NDP is so far from “hard left” that I wouldn’t even know where to begin to prove that point. They merely want the global capitalist system managed differently — which in Europe would make them, at best, centre-left. Thus, even the NDP’s “socialist caucus” isn’t really “hard left”.
The second problem that I see stems from the first problem discussed above and also points directly to what I see as the only viable solution. The second problem is that we, as true far-lefters, haven’t been able to enter into the discussion in a significant fashion in even the most left-wing of the existing blog aggrigators.
If it weren’t for the NDP’s presence, the Liberals would, like their US Democratic counterparts, think that they’re the voice of the left. And on this front the NDP deserves praise. But the just as Canadian politics benefits from the NDP’s presence as a simple reminder to the other parties of a whole other set of ideas, so too would the NDP benefit from our presence for the exact same reasons – to constantly confront them, like they do to the Liberals, with the reality that they are not the be-all and end-all of the left and that they are, at best, mere left-moderates.
Therefore, the only feasible solution I see is for the development of some kind of blog agrigator like vast left wing conspiracy, but for the “hard left”. I do feel that all of us getting together and adding each other to our respective blogrolls would help, but it wouldn’t create the kind of dynamic discourse necessary nor would it create a central hub which can connect the “hard left” community in the same fashion that the NDP uses to gain some presence for their ideas.
On another thread I mentioned the NPI. That promised something new, but was derailed after Layton won the leadership. (He actually attended our swan-song meeting–told us that his screensaver consists of the word “dialectics.” Yeah, I know.)
The NDP is travelling the left side of the corporate highway, when what we need is to blaze a trail through unknown territory. But I’m not sure the party is susceptible to left ginger-groups. That “socialist caucus,” by the way, is “hard left” in the most odious of senses–machine Trots, for the most part, with old language, old ideas, bankrupt organizing principles, authoritarian sensibilities….
We need alternatives. Radical alternatives. And that means redefining politics–what they are and how we do ‘em.
Of course, we need to discuss things because as Paul rightly points out, the formal ‘hard left’ is perfectly happy to keep colonizing the rest of the world.
Discussion might provide concrete ideas (i.e. strategies, experiments that have worked in other cities).
I am particularly interested in child/elder care sharing strategies that might have worked elsewhere if anyone knows anything about this…
The problem with being pargmatic is that people will always tell you that your ideas are otherwise. You need to discuss and develop a vision and then start LIVING IT until people can’t deny it as a valid alternative.
I would have to disagree with Dr. Dawg.
Anybody who’s read Gramsci knows that one of his central concepts is the concept of the hegemony of capitalism. Closely related to this concept is the idea that since capitalism is stable (for now) and has won against socialism (again for now), a ‘war of manoeuver’ (his terms, not mine) is not possible. The best the ‘hard left’ can hope for is to engage in a semi-organized and coherent ‘war of position’ which is requires both discussion with outsiders AND precisely what we’re doing now.
In short the ‘war of position’ which we need requires that we do have a platform to come together and discuss matters otherwise, as this thread demonstrates, we won’t even be able to agree on the colour of shit. (pardon my vulgarity).
Now, Dr. Dawg, I don’t see why you’re opposed to this as I see no reason why this platform or “hub” as I’ve been calling it can’t also be used to reach out to a larger audience and address other groups and concerns. In fact I would argue that my proposal would do precisely this.
The only reason the NDP has gotten it into their heads that somehow they’re the be-all and end-all of the left is that we haven’t organized within our own group and in relation to other groups in order to make our presence known. My proposal would address this point which, coincidentally is another aspect of waging a Gramscian “war of position” – namely, it’s the idea that your mere presence is a force to be reconed with.
I have a wordpress.com blog, but if anybody is willing to host a wordpress.org blog, I can point them to a program which will enable a feed aggrigator to be imbeded into the blog akin to what vast left wing conspiracy has.
Then, much to my surprise, I get slapped with the idea that I’m trying to enforce a Stalinist or Leninist “platform”.