This perhaps applies more to American politics than Australian, but since we tend to follow their lead, think of this as a primer. Over the last forty years, the right has continued to stake out positions further to the right and demand that the left meet them in the centre. However, as I have said before, what is the centre to the far right is not the actual centre. In other words, the political centre is a relative term. In addition, lest we think it is only the right moving further to the right, the so-called left continues, due to their inherent weakness, to ‘compromise’ with the right and meet them in the increasingly right-wing ‘centre’. This must stop immediately.
Compromise as The Essence of Practical Politics
Now, you might argue that to get anything done politically requires compromise. This sounds good in theory, and the media often praises it. What they do not say, however, is what the bipartisanship actually achieves. The focus is on bipartisanship for its own sake, which is good by definition. Given the corruption inherent in politics, when bipartisanship does occur, the issue of agreement is likely to be something to benefit the donor class. The next time you hear the media crow about bipartisanship, focus on the substance. Focus on what the parliament has passed, rather than the bipartisan aspect.
Bipartisanship and ‘Centrism’
Bipartisanship is a distraction tactic: look, politicians from different ideologies worked together to pass something. Ignore the fact that it is likely a tax cut for the rich, they worked together. The utter lack of substance that comprises political analysis in mainstream media is pathetic. They call for political unity, but only ever from the left. Consider the Democratic National Committee and the demands they made for party unity following the 2016 primary. All of the demands were for Bernie Sanders and his supporters to fall in line behind Queen Hillary. Such demands continue to this day, despite the fact that Bernie and his supporters are right on the policy. The establishment views these policies, which are very popular, a somewhat important thing in a democracy, as too far left.
We cannot go too far left, they say. We have to agree with the right some of the time, they say. Gotta be reasonable. Gotta be above the fray. We have to be the adult in the room. This is the only way to get things done. No – what this is, is crap. Placing yourself at the centre of an increasingly right-wing political debate is useless. Populist, left wing politicians can clean up in this environment. Their policies are popular, and unlike the corporate politicians, the left knows how, and perhaps more importantly is allowed, to play politics.
The Way Forward: The Unapologetic, Political and Tech Savvy Left
Playing politics is quite simple. If corporate politicians get in the way of your popular and progressive policy, you threaten them with political death. You say you will hold press conferences, do rallies, use social media to expose and make known the fact that they did not vote for this policy that is wildly popular. You take this fact, and you break them with it! That is the essence of practical politics. Lest you think it is all stick, there is a carrot here too. If they vote in favour of the policy, you do the same thing, but instead advertising the good thing that they did.
The policies of the conservative movement have been wrong for quite some time. Corporate influence on politics and control of the media has resulted in these destructive policies being far more palatable than they had any right to be. However, the rise of social media, as I said in an earlier post, has led to an alternative platform for the actual left, who get precisely no play on mainstream media, to get their ideas out.
The idea here would be to generate such a presence online that we force the media to pay attention. We do not give them an option. The right may have control of old media, but the left has far greater presence and influence on new media (read the internet). Have you ever seen a Trump tweet, or a ScoMo video posted online? Or any other right-wing clown saying fact-free nonsense? The comments are rife with users eviscerating the right-wing idiot of the moment.
The Death of Centrism
The Left is correct on the policy, we have by and large control of new media, and we are uncorrupted enough such that we can play smart politics. In time, the so-called centrists will fade as the alternative, the policy-driven left, replaces them in the political discourse. While being a so-called centrist may have worked in the early 90s for Mr. Clinton where he presented himself as a ‘new Democrat’ to bring the party back from the political wilderness, that was nearly thirty years ago. Times have changed. Centrism was useful then in reframing the Democrats as a ‘serious party’ following the hippy movement. However, the Democrats evolved into Republican-lite and, under Mr. Obama, Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Pelosi, lost more than a thousand seats in state and federal government elections.
The upshot is, given the choice between Republican-lite and the genuine article, the electorate chose the real thing. The reason these ‘Democrats’ went with the Republican-lite model was, essentially, because this was as far left as they were allowed to go. Actually advocating for popular, left-wing policies would cause them to lose that sweet, sweet donor cash, and that was unacceptable.
Well the new message is simple: corruption, and all the political, social and international upheaval it brings with it, is unacceptable.
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