The Collapse of the Left

The source of the angry angst rippling through the Democratic Party’s progressive camp is not President Trump–it’s the complete collapse of the Left globally. To understand this collapse, we turn (once again) to Marx’s profound understanding of the state and capitalism.

We turn not to the cultural Marxism that is passingly familiar to Americans, but to Marx’s core economic analysis, which as Sartre noted, is only taught to discredit it.

Cultural Marxism draws as much from Engels as Marx. In today’s use, cultural Marxism describes the overt erosion of traditional values–the family, community, religious faith, property rights and limited central government–in favor of rootless Cosmopolitanism and an expansive, all-powerful central state that replaces community, faith and property rights with statist control mechanisms that enforce dependence on the state and a mindset that the individual is guilty of anti-state thinking until proven innocent by the state’s own rules.

Marx’s critique of capitalism is economic: capital and labor are in eternal conflict. In Marx’s analysis, capital has the upper hand until the internal contradictions of capitalism consume capital’s control from the inside.

Capital not only dominates labor, it also dominates the state. Thus the state-cartel version of capitalism that is dominant globally is not a coincidence or an outlier–it is the the only possible outcome of a system in which capital is the dominant force.

To counter this dominance of capital, social democratic political movements arose to wrest some measure of control out of the hands of capital in favor of labor. Social democratic movements were greatly aided by the near-collapse of the first version of cartel-capitalism in The Great Depression, when writing down the bad debt would have brought down the entire banking system and crippled capitalism’s core function of growing capital via expansion of debt.

The decimated owners of capital realized that they faced a bleak choice: either resist and be toppled by anarchism or Communism, or cede some of their wealth and power to the social democratic parties in exchange for social, political and economic stability.

Broadly speaking, the Left favored labor (whose rights were protected by the state) and the Right favored capital (also protected by the state).

But over the past 25 years of globalized neoliberalism, social democratic movements have abandoned labor to embrace the self-serving wealth and power offered by capital. The essence of globalization is: labor is commoditized as mobile capital is free to roam the globe for the lowest cost labor. In contrast, labor is far less mobile, and unable to shift as fluidly and frictionlessly as capital to exploit scarcities and opportunities.

Neoliberalism–the opening of markets and borders–enables capital to effortlessly crush labor. The social democrats, in embracing open borders, have institutionalized an open immigration that shreds the scarcity value of domestic labor in favor of lower cost immigrant labor that serves capital’s desire for lower costs.

Globalization and neoliberal financial / immigration policies signify the collapse of the Left and the victory of capital. Now capital completely dominates the state and its cronyist structures–political parties, lobbying, campaign contributions, charitable foundations operating as pay-for-play cash vacuums, and all the other features of cartel-state capitalism.

To mask the collapse of the Left’s economic defense of labor, the Left’s apologists and PR machine have substituted social justice movements for economic opportunities to acquire economic security and capital. This has succeeded brilliantly, as tens of millions of self-described “progressives” completely bought the left’s Great Con that “social justice” campaigns on behalf of marginalized social groups were the defining feature of Progressive Social Democratic movements.

This diversionary sleight-of-hand embrace of economically neutered “social justice” campaigns masked the fact that social democratic parties everywhere have thrown labor into the churning propellers of globalization, open immigration and neoliberal financial policies–all of which benefit mobile capital, which has engorged itself on the abandonment of labor by the Left.

Meanwhile, the fat-cats of the Left have engorged themselves on capital’s largesse in exchange for their treachery. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s $200 million in “earnings” come to mind, as do countless other examples of personal aggrandizement by self-proclaimed “defenders” of labor.

Please examine this chart, which depicts labor’s share of GDP (economic output), and tell me the Left hasn’t abandoned labor in favor of personal wealth and power.

The Left is not just in disarray–it is in complete collapse because the working class has awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of the working class in favor of building personal wealth and power. Anyone who denies this is still in the fatal grip of the Left’s Great Con.

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  • ICFubar

    This post by CH Smith certainly gets to the core of the matter. Even in Canada where the default position is social democracy we see the former champion of labour, the NDP, now holding policy positions of the center right with the emphasis on the right.

  • Mao Cheng Ji

    The confusion comes from liberals (identity-politics mongers) insisting on calling themselves “left”. A brilliant ruse, you’ve got to give them that…

    • diogenes

      A ruse is exactly right. It’s OK with the “left” if we live in a police state with third world levels of maldistribution of wealth and public health, just so long as there’s gay marriage. (I’m fine with gay marriage, but not as a major priority compared to say, infant mortality rates worse than Turkey’s and Cuba’s and maldistribution of wealth worse than ANY “developed” country on earth. But, as you say, a ruse — and a ruse in the service of the Wall Street oligarchs who profit from wageslave plantation America. Time for another Emancipation Proclamation. America needs to invade Wall Street and shut it down, b ecause obviously from its behavior it’s not part of America, it’s our enemy.

  • diogenes

    Yes, all this is obvious. Capital is fraud. It’s a cabal selling paper entitlements to something for nothing (dividends, interest). The question is, how do you move forward (or is it back?)? And the answer certainly isn’t wringing your panties about “left” and “right” and “donkeys” and “elephants” — all of which are part of the hoax. Now you see it, now you don’t. Poof! There went your country.

  • DebL.

    Glad someone finally brought up Engels–his “Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State” should be must reading for those wanting to understand what the so-called “left” is all about (plus, of all the commie writers, Engels is the most literate and interesting…how anyone reads Karl Marx is beyond me! Lenin was strictly an obfuscating know-it-all, while Stalin was the opposite, but could write in plain Russian I guess, and Mao? a real “hundred flowers” guy…his “Red Book” should also be required reading is you want to understand how screwy the left is!

  • exomike

    One more time with feeling. There is effectively no Left in the U.S. The Democrats are to the Right if center. The Democratic Leadership is well to the right of centernnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn n I’m falling asleep at the keyboard. Another time.