The antiprivilege Left and libertarians have common ground

The Mises Institute on how libertarians and some on the Left have common ground.

There are many, many left-wingers whose primary motivation for their left-wing political stance is the very libertarian impulse to protect people who are being pushed around. These left-wingers look at contemporary society and see an economy dominated by mammoth, impersonal corporations with enormous and seemingly unaccountable power; they see lower- and middle-income people disempowered in the workplace and struggling to make ends meet; they see institutions and social practices rigged against blacks, women, gays, immigrants, and other oppressed groups — and they turn to government to redress these inequities, viewing the democratic state as an institution in principle accountable to the public, and thus able to serve as a bulwark against private power and privilege. Call this variety of left-wingers the “antiprivilege Left.”

And this is the Left we can reach. The antiprivilege Left is already largely on our side when it comes to civil-liberties issues and to war; these are the folks who didn’t switch their positions on those issues when the White House turned from red to blue.

We of the antiprivilege Left need to realize there is plenty of common ground with libertarians. The primary problems in this country are not Red vs. Blue, but rather captured governments and legislatures that are beholden to corporate interests. As an example, when banks like Wachovia admit to laundering hundreds of billions in drug money and receive a fine and no one goes to prison, then our system of justice is barely functioning and something is very wrong indeed. When big corporations pay zero income tax because they’ve rigged the system then again, something is very wrong.

The left can and should join forces with whoever they have common ground with. That’s what real coalitions are about.

Via The Humble Libertarian

Polizeros Radio. The absence of a real left in the US

What passes for the left in the US, including the left blogosphere is mostly tepid liberalism with no genuine criticism of imperialism or capitalism. This ties in with the current liberal tendency to purge (epistemic closure) or denigrate views to the left of itself. Also, what would a left foreign policy look like?

With Steve Hynd of Newshoggers, and Josh Mull of Firedoglake & Rethink Afghanistan and myself.

Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio.

Download the mp3.

On the pretend left in the blogosphere

L’Hote in the The blindspot says what passes for the left in the US is merely tepid neoliberalism with no genuine radicalism much less socialism.

There are many myths within the political blogosphere, but none is so deeply troubling or so highly treasured by mainstream political bloggers than this: that the political blogosphere contains within it the whole range of respectable political opinion, and that once an issue has been thoroughly debated therein, it has had a full and fair hearing. The truth is that almost anything resembling an actual left wing has been systematically written out of the conversation within the political blogosphere, both intentionally and not, while those writing within it congratulate themselves for having answered all left-wing criticism.

That the blogosphere is a flagrantly anti-leftist space should be clear to anyone who has paid a remote amount of attention. Who, exactly, represents the left extreme in the establishment blogosphere? You’d likely hear names like Jane Hamsher or Glenn Greenwald. But these examples are instructive. Is Hamsher a socialist? A revolutionary anti-capitalist? In any historical or international context– in the context of a country that once had a robust socialist left, and in a world where there are straightforwardly socialist parties in almost every other democracy– is Hamsher particularly left-wing? Not at all. It’s only because her rhetoric is rather inflamed that she is seen as particularly far to the left. This is what makes this whole discourse/extremism conversation such a failure; there is a meticulous sorting of far right-wing rhetoric from far right-wing politics, but no similar sorting on the left. Hamsher says bad words and is mean in print, so she is a far leftist. That her politics are largely mainstream American liberalism that would have been considered moderate for much of the 20th century is immaterial.

Naked Capitalism agrees

Freddie deBoer’s post “the blindspot” (hat tip Richard Smith) seems to have created a bit of a frisson among political bloggers. It make a long-form argument that “the political discourse, in our punditry, lacks a left-wing.”

That should not be a controversial statement.

For instance, this blog has started to deal with political issues as they relate to the financial services industry, and now and again to the broader economy, largely as a result of the failure to implement meaningful reforms in the wake of the financial crisis. If you are not angry about the ongoing plutocratic land grab in this country, you are either not paying attention, deluded, or part of the problem. And I continue to be surprised that my views are deemed to be left-leaning. I’m middle of the road as of the Reagan era; the rest of the US has made a remarkably large shift to the right and seems to be continuing its move in that direction.

Oh, there is a far left blogosphere, and it’s often quite robust. But it gets no traction in the States.

Part of the problem on the far left is that too often such groups are primarily interested in recruiting for their little Marxoid cult not in the ostensible cause of their front groups. But you can’t have it both way. To build a truly mass organization, you need moderates. But they won’t allow that. This had very real ramifications in the anti-Iraq War protests with front groups like ANSWER who were controlled by Workers World (then PSL after the split from WW). They alienated the moderates because ANSWER was primarily a recruiting tool, the anti-war stuff was always secondary. (This is not speculation, I was there and also have it on impeccable authority from a decades-long organizer)

Also, on the far left, it is reasonable to assume that far left groups have been compromised and infiltrated by informers. In the 50’s, as it turned out, half the participants in Communist Party meetings were FBI. Anti-war organizers in the 1960’s who did FOIA requests decades later were stunned to find how much they were watched. So, there’s no doubt that such things still happen.

Sadly, the Iraq anti-war movement fell apart after Obama was elected. It appears the most of the protesters were really anti-Bush, not anti-war. Too many liberals and progressives now still think Obama will suddenly morph into Liberalman and continue to wait for that.

The US left, from liberals out to socialists, needs to determine what it actually believes in and to stop making self-destructive mistakes. We can’t change the right but we can change ourselves.

Polizeros Radio podcast tonight. Influential left-wing ideas

Tonight’s podcast will be on the Influential left-wing ideas (good, bad, and not influential enough) post on BobFromBrockley that has spurred considerable discussion, with Steve Hynd of Newshoggers, Josh Mull from Rethink Afghanistan and Firedoglake, and myself.

The podcast is hosted on BlogTalkRadio. Call in to listen live at 626-414-3492 tonight at 8:30 PST (9:30 MST, 10:30 CST, 11:30 EST.) You can also download it or listen to the archive on BlogTalkRadio after it’s done.

Links discussing BobFromBrockley’s post.


Harry’s Place. 1, 2, 3

Right here at Politics in the Zeros. 1, 2