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The Demise of the Left

On several occasions I have asked in my columns the rhetorical question: What became of the left? Today I answer my question.

The answer is that the European and American left, which traditionally stood for the working class and peace (bread and peace) no longer exists. The cause championed by those who pretend to be the “left” of today is identity politics. The “left” no longer champions the working class, which the “left” dismisses as “Trump deplorables,” consisting of “racist, misogynist, homophobic, gun nuts.” Instead,the “left” champions alleged victimized and marginalized groups—blacks, homosexuals, women and the transgendered. Tranny bathrooms, a cause unlikely to mobilize many Americans, are more important to the “left” than the working class

All white-skinned peoples except leftists, including apparently victimized women, are racist by definition. Racism and victimization are the explanations of everything, all of history, all institutions, even the US Constitution. This program of the left cuts the left off from the working class, who have been abandoned by both political parties, and has terminated the left’s connection to the people.

The collapse of the left as an effective and real political force followed the Soviet collapse. The underclass had resisted their exploitation before the publication of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital in 1867. But Marx raised the exploitation of labor to a fighting cause on whose side was History. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia seemed to validate Marx with its overthrow of the existing order and proclamation of Soviet Communism.

Soviet practices deflated left-wing hopes and expectations, but nevertheless an alternative system which continued to speak against capitalist exploitation existed. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, neoconservatives and neoliberals declared that History had chosen capitalism over the working class, and Marx’s prediction of the triumph of the working class had been proven wrong.

The Soviet collapse caused communist China and socialist India to change their economic policy and to open their economies to foreign capital. With no rival, capitalism no longer had to restrain itself and allow widespread access to the growth of income and wealth. Capitalists began collecting it all for themselves. Many studies have concluded that the productivity gains which formerly went mainly to the work force are now monopolized by the mega-rich.

One avenue to the concentration of income and wealth is the financialization of the economy (emphasized by Michael Hudson and by Marx in the third volume of Capital). The financial sector has been able to divert the discretionary income of the working class into interest and fees to banks (mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, student loans).

The other avenue is the offshoring of American jobs to which Donald Trump is strongly opposed. Here is what happened:

Wall Street told US manufacturers to move their production to China in order to increase profits from lower labor and regulatory costs, or Wall Street would finance takeovers of the companies, and the new owners would raise the firms’ profitability by moving production offshore. Large retailers, such as Walmart, ordered suppliers “to meet the Chinese price.”

When the jobs were in the US, most of the gains in productivity went to labor. Therefore, real median family incomes rose through time, and the consumer purchasing power this income growth provided drove the US economy to success for ever more people.

When the jobs were moved to Asia, the growth in real median US family incomes stopped and declined. The large excess supplies of labor and lower cost of living in Asia meant that Asian workers did not have to be paid in wages the value of their contribution to output. The difference between the US wage and Asian wage was large and went into corporate profits, thus driving up executives’ “performance bonuses” and capital gains (rising stock prices from higher profits) for shareholders. In my book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism published in 2013, I was able to calculate that based on current information at that time, every 1,000 manufacturing jobs moved to China resulted in a labor cost saving for the US company of $32,000 per hour. These hourly savings did not translate into lower prices for US consumers of the offshored production. The labor cost savings translated directly into the incomes of the executives and shareholders.

Thus, jobs offshoring permitted the productivity gains to be monopolized by corporate owners and executives.

Instead of responding to Trump’s support of the working class and his actions in their behalf during the first week of his presidency—Trump’s termination of TPP and his demand to auto manufacturers to bring manufacturing back to America—the “left” has rallied around a victim group—illegal immigrants. The “left” even elevates non-US citizens above the US working class.

Trump was elected by the working class. If the left is defined historically as the champion of the working class, then Donald Trump is their champion and the “left” is their enemy.

Throughout the contest for the Republican presidential nomination and the contest for the presidency, the “left” was allied with the ruling establishment of mega-rich capitalist oligarchs and the warmonger military/security complex against Trump. As Trump’s presidency begins, it is the “left” that wants Trump impeached and delegitimized, precisely the goals of the war- mongers and the mega-rich and their presstitutes.

Even environmental groups, such as NRDC of which I am a member, has joined the identity politics against Trump. Rhea Suh, NRDC’s president, has just sent me an email in which she declares NRDC, supposedly a champion of wildlife and the environment, to be standing with women in the Women’s March on Washington against Trump “in defense of our most basic rights as women.” “Women matter,” Rhea declares, and proceeds to blame Trump for Flint Michigan’s polluted water.

ORDER IT NOW

I am convinced that it is a mistake for Trump to emphasize jobs at the expense of the environment. Whether or not global warming is a hoax, environmental destruction is not. It is real, and the working class, as in Flint, are suffering from it as well as from the offshoring of their jobs.

The Democratic Party died during the Clinton regime when Clinton allied with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) founded in 1985 by Al From. I have often wondered who funded the DLC. It could just as well have been the Koch brothers as the DLC turned the Democratic Party into a second Republican Party.

The DLC convinced Democrats that the defeat of the presidential campaigns of George McGovern and Walter Mondale proved that economic populism is not politically viable. Democrats had to turn away from the left and embrace “mainstream values” and “market-based solutions.” The DLC was a big supporter of NAFTA. Reportedly, the DLC’s Will Marshall regarded pacifists and Iraq war protesters as anti-American and advised Democrats to keep their distance.

In short, the message was: compete with the Republicans for the big corporate and financial sector money. It certainly worked for the Clintons, but not for the Democratic Party.

As “market-based solutions” offshored US manufacturing jobs, the Democratic Party’s finances declined with union membership and power. Today Democrats and Republicans are dependent on the same interest groups for campaign funds. Thus ended the Democratic Party’s connection with the working class.

The question is: Can Trump stand for the working class when both political parties and the presstitute media, the think tanks, universities, environmental organizations, military/security complex, Wall Street, and courts stand against the working class?

Who is going to help Trump help the working class?

(Reprinted from PaulCraigRoberts.org by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Left, Democratic Party, Neoliberalism 
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  1. I agree with the premise of this commentary that what is called the “left” now is not “leftist” in any serious sense. Identity politics is a form of divide and rule and the power structure’s backing of jihadi barbarians in Libya, Syria and elsewhere was the ultimate jumping of the shark to treason against civilization. There are still real leftists around, and they are not the faux leftists funded by Soros. Trump’s positions are to the left in many instances as the author states of the establishment he is opposing. I also agree with the author that the environmental issues must eventually be addressed. Of course, this would be impossible if the establishment globalist policies were continued.

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  2. The Soviet collapse caused communist China and socialist India to change their economic policy and to open their economies to foreign capital.

    Nah. The Chinese reforms started in the early 1980s (with Hu Yaobang), long before any signs of the Soviet collapse. It’s just that the Chinese elite had managed to reform/evolve the system, and the Soviet elite failed.

    As for the main topic, it’s really frustrating to see how identity-politics liberals are being misidentified as ‘the left’ everywhere these days. Quite simply, they have nothing to do with the left, and never had. All they are dying is destroying the workers solidarity, splitting them into various identity-based groups fighting each other. Instead of uniting (as in ‘workers of the world, unite!’) and fighting the oligarchs. Liberals are the worst enemies of the left.

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    • Replies: @Jim Christian

    Liberals are the worst enemies of the left.
     
    Good take, Mao. To add: I'm waiting for someone learned to undertake the issue of the roughly 40 million abortions since 1970-onward. Given that number, absent abortions, am I safe to assume Liberals overwhelmingly raise Liberals? Would I then be unreasonable to guess that via abortions (not to mention birth control and outright refusal to marry) the Feminist Left cost themselves 8 or 10 million Democrats at the polls all these years later? And shouldn't that effect on the polls grow?

    Possible? If true would it even possible for someone prominent to point it out to them? Jesus, imagine the shit storm.
  3. Environmental issues my ass. We demanded families hold it to two and legalized abortion and ignored the birth rates of the rest of the world. And here we are, taking in THEIR children by the tens of millions. God damn the environmentalists.

    Flint was a direct consequence of handing over municipal control of first-world infrastructure to a Black majority to whom corruption is a warm and fuzzy thing. Flint was a case of broken maintenance, ignored by Democrat rule for decades. Stop with the environmental concern, there IS no concern. We here are lean, clean and mean compared to the 60s going back to the beginning of industrialization. New cars and their catalysts actually scrub the air for God’s sake. However, overseas in China, in India, throughout manufacturing-Asia they burn filthy coal, run filthy factories and run smoke-belching diesels with impunity to build and transport goods here. This is the “environment” U.S. business loves to manufacture in because it’s expensive to mind the environment, it’s a feature of profit to move and pollute, the EPA and Green coalitions are a prime reason factories left, not unions, like they initially said. Those factories are filthy overseas and it pays. And so they moved. But don’t wave the environmental card at me while you sniff at the working class having new jobs..

    Wanna import your goods here duty-free? Clean up YOUR act if the environment is so important. Pay your people a wage, clean up your factories to U.S.-EPA spec. For 50 years now what we’ve had is not competition; the biggest factor aside from slave-Chinese labor that attracted manufacturing overseas was the lack of environmental concern in the countries they ran/run off to. If the environment is of such dire and grave global concern, prove it. Force foreign manufacturers that import here to build and operate factories, energy and transportation to the environmental standards demanded of OUR manufacturers here. Otherwise, concern for the environment is so much hot air to me. I don’t want to hear it.

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  4. I had thought that it was symbolically absurd when the American TV networks chose red as the Republican color. All other nations on Earth use red for Communist, Socialist, and Left parties.

    Now we can see it as a stroke of Providence. In a bizarre reversal, the Republicans, under Trump, are perhaps emerging as the champions of the working class. Well, Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com keeps saying that we are living in “Bizarro World”, so anything is possible. Let’s hold our red banners high as we advance behind the Dear Leader of the American Working Class, a billionaire aristocrat.

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  5. @Mao Cheng Ji

    The Soviet collapse caused communist China and socialist India to change their economic policy and to open their economies to foreign capital.
     
    Nah. The Chinese reforms started in the early 1980s (with Hu Yaobang), long before any signs of the Soviet collapse. It's just that the Chinese elite had managed to reform/evolve the system, and the Soviet elite failed.

    As for the main topic, it's really frustrating to see how identity-politics liberals are being misidentified as 'the left' everywhere these days. Quite simply, they have nothing to do with the left, and never had. All they are dying is destroying the workers solidarity, splitting them into various identity-based groups fighting each other. Instead of uniting (as in 'workers of the world, unite!') and fighting the oligarchs. Liberals are the worst enemies of the left.

    Liberals are the worst enemies of the left.

    Good take, Mao. To add: I’m waiting for someone learned to undertake the issue of the roughly 40 million abortions since 1970-onward. Given that number, absent abortions, am I safe to assume Liberals overwhelmingly raise Liberals? Would I then be unreasonable to guess that via abortions (not to mention birth control and outright refusal to marry) the Feminist Left cost themselves 8 or 10 million Democrats at the polls all these years later? And shouldn’t that effect on the polls grow?

    Possible? If true would it even possible for someone prominent to point it out to them? Jesus, imagine the shit storm.

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  6. Dear Mr. Roberts,

    I think the “bread and peace” left is still there.

    The proof of that would have come had not the DNC party bosses stymied the Sanders nomination and pushed Hillary into the top slot.

    If , as many surmise, Bernie would have won the nomination were it not for the oligarchs back room chicanery, the run off in the general election would have proven to be “the peoples rout”over the ” perpetual war, one percent”.

    A run off between Bernie and the Donald, would have fleshed out ,in detail, both candidates “bread and Peace” platforms and we would have seen a very animated , progressive , peace movement going up against the Donald’s “no more war, folks” “drain the swamp” conservative populism.

    It would have been great to see it, too, because both the Donald and the Berne, were hitting the nails on the head …….from both sides of the spectrum.

    The debates themselves would have had some real substance and dynamism, and our electorate would have been greatly improved by it all.

    Our belligerent war oligarchs, despised this possibility with such intensity….they simply had to put the kabosh on…..because if they didn’t, they would have been effectively ostracized from both the right and the left’s platforms .

    Ushering in an even louder “death knell” for “perpetual war”.

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    • Replies: @Marcus
    Sanders is a sell out, he wants amnesty and is generally weak on immigration. Also he campaigned rabidly for Hildebeest.
  7. “Would I then be unreasonable to guess that via abortions (not to mention birth control and outright refusal to marry) the Feminist Left cost themselves 8 or 10 million Democrats at the polls all these years later?”

    Proof that God is in the details, or karma is a bitch.

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  8. @alexander
    Dear Mr. Roberts,

    I think the "bread and peace" left is still there.

    The proof of that would have come had not the DNC party bosses stymied the Sanders nomination and pushed Hillary into the top slot.

    If , as many surmise, Bernie would have won the nomination were it not for the oligarchs back room chicanery, the run off in the general election would have proven to be "the peoples rout"over the " perpetual war, one percent".


    A run off between Bernie and the Donald, would have fleshed out ,in detail, both candidates "bread and Peace" platforms and we would have seen a very animated , progressive , peace movement going up against the Donald's "no more war, folks" "drain the swamp" conservative populism.

    It would have been great to see it, too, because both the Donald and the Berne, were hitting the nails on the head .......from both sides of the spectrum.

    The debates themselves would have had some real substance and dynamism, and our electorate would have been greatly improved by it all.

    Our belligerent war oligarchs, despised this possibility with such intensity....they simply had to put the kabosh on.....because if they didn't, they would have been effectively ostracized from both the right and the left's platforms .

    Ushering in an even louder "death knell" for "perpetual war".

    Sanders is a sell out, he wants amnesty and is generally weak on immigration. Also he campaigned rabidly for Hildebeest.

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  9. I get the impression that Sanders was a fake candidate from the beginning. Recruited by the DNC as a whipping boy, with mutual understanding that he should end up defeated by glorious HC.

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    • Replies: @WorkingClass
    You got the right impression Mao. Sanders job was to keep left leaning Democrats in the party.
  10. “Trump was elected by the working class. If the left is defined historically as the champion of the working class, then Donald Trump is their champion and the “left” is their enemy.”

    Please. The working class IS, WAS AND WILL BE the left wether they know it or not. Centrist (corporatist) Democrats and Republicans are the enemies of the working class because they exclusively represent the interests of the ruling class.

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  11. @Marcus
    Sanders is a sell out, he wants amnesty and is generally weak on immigration. Also he campaigned rabidly for Hildebeest.

    Too true, Marcus, too true.

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  12. @Mao Cheng Ji
    I get the impression that Sanders was a fake candidate from the beginning. Recruited by the DNC as a whipping boy, with mutual understanding that he should end up defeated by glorious HC.

    You got the right impression Mao. Sanders job was to keep left leaning Democrats in the party.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Sanders job was to keep left leaning Democrats in the party
     
    Maybe that too, but I think it was also a way to pretend that HC was not being crowned: she fights! she's a tough fighter! she wins! - this sort of thing.
  13. @WorkingClass
    You got the right impression Mao. Sanders job was to keep left leaning Democrats in the party.

    Sanders job was to keep left leaning Democrats in the party

    Maybe that too, but I think it was also a way to pretend that HC was not being crowned: she fights! she’s a tough fighter! she wins! – this sort of thing.

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  14. For PCR the “Left” in American parlance means Liberal. There is no real Left in American politics because Capitalists rule the political field, Leftists are excluded from American political discourse.

    The Left includes such rare birds as anarchists, communists, socialists and social democrats, left-libertarians, progressives, and social liberals, you don’t find then on the American playing fields .

    Leftists advocate social justice, individual freedom, equality, brotherhood, individual [worker] rights, social progress, governmental reform, and internationalism,

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  15. Traditionally, the non-Communist Left supported the White Working Class. They has now abandoned them.
    Political parties are there to support the views and interests of their supporters. If they fail to do so, then these supporters will stop voting for them and support other parties who will.
    Hence, the rise in support for Trump, the National Front, UKIP etc.
    In the long run, it is doubtful if the mainstream left will ever have significant white working class again. They will become the party of the Salariat and the Welfare Dependent, as the voting figures for Washington show.

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  16. Left wing organizations were infiltrated and taken over by the security services starting in the 1970s. They did their job so well that these organizations now advocate for what forty years ago would have been considered to be right-wing causes. Right wing organizations didn’t get the same amount of attention, so on occasion a left-wing position will show up in the right’s basket of policies.

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  17. So much that is completely wrong here. Roberts often proves that is many ways he is just another delusional leftist. Here’s the first example of it in this article:

    The answer is that the European and American left, which traditionally stood for the working class and peace (bread and peace)

    Wow! Just explain to me how that peace part has worked out for the 80 million people the Left murdered in the last century? That is some kind of peace. Maybe you were thinking of the peacefulness of mass graves, Roberts? Or maybe you were smoking something when you wrote that lie.

    Then let’s remember who got us into WWI – Woodrow Wilson, a democrat. WWII – FDR, a democrat. Korean War, Truman, a democrat. VietNam – Kennedy, a democrat, and so on. The idea that democrats are the party of peace is a lie, just like fascists are right-wing is a lie.

    I am convinced that it is a mistake for Trump to emphasize jobs at the expense of the environment.

    More proof that Roberts ignores everything Trump says or gets his lies from the lying LSM. Trump has repeatedly stated in the last week that he will bring jobs and prosperity back to the US in an environmentally responsible manner. He has repeated this promise about the Keystone Pipeline and others when he signed the Executive Order earlier this week.

    The Left and the democrats (now THE communist party of the US), the party of the KKK, slavery and racism, has always been the party of hate and lies, and nothing has changed other than today they are completely open about it. They still lie like the dogs they are, but anyone can see it anytime they want on youtube and elsewhere.

    The truth is out there and yet Roberts still has blinders on. Leftism truly is a mental disease.

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