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Author Topic: "The Left Can Win"  (Read 3578 times)
Lurker
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« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2014, 07:01:59 pm »
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Bread and Peace, a slogan made for a situation where people were literally starving en masse and watching a whole generation of their sons consumed by a war with no obvious benefit to them, is certainly tailor-made for modern countries where literal starvation is next to unheard of and (as per most European countries not named Ukraine) aren't involved in wars of any kind at the moment.

But is he literally claiming that the Left should use that as an actual slogan today? Or is it only meant to be illustrative of the argument that simple/clear messages are most effective in reaching out to the masses?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 07:09:34 pm by Lurker »Logged
Foucaulf
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« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2014, 08:26:29 pm »
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It's too bad that the arguments in this thread are impenetrable in the exact way Iglesias warned against. If not deliberately so, it could be because the arguers are Europeans whose first exposures to English prose were through stodgy, terrible academic writing.

Here's something else I thought about this. For all the crap we throw at the American electoral system, with its money and interest groups, those who survive it have to reach out to donors with viewpoints not of their own. This is especially important when you think about how relatively homogeneous the political class in America remains. Is there any parallel in European politics, which I've thought is an almost incestuous chain of schmoozing through Master's programs and party offices? (Not trying to condemn any system here, just thinking about some side effects)
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ingemann
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« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2014, 03:08:06 pm »
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There is no recipe for victory, there is only hard work, luck and political fingerspitzengefühl, but that you showed in your post is a recipe, a recipe for defeat.

Hard work, sure. A bit of luck doesn't harm. Sure instinct (fingerspitzengefühl) is rare amongst European politicians, especially those aligned in the socialdemocracy. It's a gift for a party having a solid leadership, is it enough? Can the decadent European environment provide political animals like Lula or Pepe Mújica? Also, what is what I showed in my post? I only said that in my opinion is a big mistake copying the far-right agenda.

I doubt Lula would make it in Europe as leader of a major party, and that has nothing to do with any kind of decadence, but in his own qualities, in fact I fail to see how European political environments can be called decadent, when what it suffer under is center (from right to left) dominated by overeducated technocrates, a socialist left dominated by bleeding hearts and a far right dominated by populists.

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The recipe you make is by lumping every "islamophobe" together. There's real islamophobes out there and the left will never be able to get them to vote for them. But here's the thing a lot of the people you call islamophobes have nothing against Islam as such, for them it's much more simple, they live together with Muslims, and they don't like the values, behaviour and general problems, they see from them (or at least from some of them), and they tired of well off intellectuals calling them racist, when they bring it up.

First of all, I don't make recipes and don't have remedies. Second, why do you say I lump islamophobes together? I copied the commonly accepted definition of islamophobia, a concept coined in 1991 by a Britsh organisation called Runnymede Trust. That characterisation is recognized by the EU Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia. Do you think it's offesive? Why?

I think it's stupid, over intellectualised and lacking any connection with reality, it fundamental build on the idea that dislike of Muslims is ideological in nature, which it rarely is. It's fundamental a strawman which make any idealog with people critical of Muslims impossible.

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Let us leave that I didn't call "islamophobe" to anyone, just posted what is "islamophobia". When you say, "they don't like the values, behaviour and problems", what are you referring to? Aren't you lumping all Muslims together as problematic and misconducted people?

Of course if we have to have discussion, where we may not talk about any group as a collective, let's stop the discussion and just enjoy watching the populist right grow and grow.

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What do you mean with "values"? What are "Islamic values"? Here you have a part of the problem, Islam seen as "monolithic", "barbaric", "primitive", "sexist", etcetera. That is exactly how populist xenophobes portray those communities. The reality of "Islam" is actually too complex and varied to talk of "Islamic values" in a general sense. On the other hand, many immigrants come from socially conservative countries. It's not easy to deal with that, but it should be clear that "assimilation" to western "civilised" values is only possible through a gradual process. Our authorities and decision-makers should have a better knowledge of the cultural backgrounds of our immigrant communities.  

If you look at my post, I don't talk about Islamic values or Islam at all, I really don't find Islam interesting in this discussion, but Muslims.

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nstead of echoing the claims of populist xenophobes, dealing with conflicts between immigrant and local communities requires a lot of hard work in education, social services and many other areas. The problem is complex and I don't have a magic solution, but common sense tells me that it's needed a lot of pedagogy to comprehend other realities and foster tolerance, as well investment in deprived areas where immigrants and poor locals use to live, mediation in conflicts... It's important to note that problems have a clear economic background; the far-right likes to say they are the result a cultural clash. I think Arab multimillionaires never cause problems, do they? The easy way is, of course, the one exploited by xenophobes. They don't provide solutions.

I think people not causing trouble are not a problem, but that's really a meaningless discussion, if the average Muslim immigrant was a person with a secondary or tertiary education, we would not have this discussion, but that's really not the case, so that "what if" is not just meaningless, it will also fail to convince any person ever to change their opinion. Of course we can ask why the reaction to immigrants from China, Vietnam and Poland have not seen the same reaction, but everybody with a little common sense understand that.

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et's give a example, in Malmö some time ago, a African man and his child was attacked, the usual suspect brought it up, and began using it as example of the racism in Swedish society and when ... there was just silence...

This example you provide is a clear sample of counterproductive overreaction, especially if it wasn't rectified. I think such attitudes from well intentioned progressives can be costly, indeed.

That's not a rare example, yes it's rare in severity, but lot of people have seen how the Left ignore things, which they condemn in the ingineous population.

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That's the left's true problem, we have lost the trust of a significant segments of the working class, because we have let this kind of hypocrisy run loose without reacting. They don't trust us any more, some of thm still vote for the left, but they doesn't trust their own politicians, when they do things which hurt, but they say are necessary. We have simply made it easy for the populist right to pick these voters up.

I think there's something more like that. What you call "hypocrisy" -my impression is that it's more an issue of not dealing with problems- may be a reason for distrust. However, I'm not sure if it's really the most important factor in play. In what regards socialdemocracy, which has been traditionally the most significant portion of the "European Left", the core of the problem is the loss of identity. It's hard to keep the trust of your potential voters when your policies are indistinguishable from those of the mainstream right. I'm talking of economy, obviously. I think the problems of the "radical" left are different, maybe more related with chronic infighting and disconnection from reality: those students complaining because "workers" don't understand them.

No the left have often even in the "Good Old Days" implemented right wing economical ideas (just as the Left have in Brazil), when it make sense, but their voters trusted them to take those decisions then. They don't anymore, and the failure to take their voters problem seriously, and the hypocrisy in how they treated minorities is a major part of this.

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Right now we can't do much, we have lost the trust of much of the working class, the only way we can get them back, is by showing the populist right for what it is, and that ironic demand that we stop treating them as untouchables, we need to force them to take responsability for the state, make compromises with them in other issues like pensions, taxes and all those things, where we will either force them to the left or make them show their true face.

Also we need to stop the hypocrisy. Sometimes a racist is just a racist, that's not something we should be afraid to say, but other times the people we call racists are people who bring important issues, and we need to listen to those.

If we do those two thing, maybe the left can win again, but at the very least it may force the populist right to moderate themselves and move to the left


As for the last paragraph of your post, I'm not sure of how to deal with far-right xenophobes and right-wing populists. Luckily, they aren't strong in my country. For sure, the left must fight them by showing for what they are. I think that you may be right on that treating them as untouchables -the cordon sanitaire- is not going to work anymore. The challenge is how to fight them without losing the core values of the left -such as social justice, brotherhood or tolerance- and counter demagoguery with argumentation accesible to common people.  I doubt that if they touch power, they are going to "moderate" themselves or moving to the left. Maybe the first, to some extent, but not the latter.
 
Tolerance was never a integrated part of the Left, they supported solidarity, but when people didn't show solidarity the other way, it was not extended that way. One of my relative run foul of the unions, because he didn't wanted to be member of one, his co-workers ensured he was fired. As ugly as that were, it was necessarity. But today we have become a bunch of bleeding hearts, not willing to make any hard decisions, pushing a wishy washy ideology of niceness.
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ingemann
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« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2014, 03:08:45 pm »
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Clearly, the European left needs to re-invent itself. I'm not sure if the approach offered by parties like Podemos and SYRIZA is the correct one but it's more inspiring and certainly more "social democratic" in spirit than the tepid promises offered by the traditional parties of the center-left.
I think these parties are doing a good job by pushing new ideas like the universal basic income. It's not for tomorrow and they would probably not be able to implement it if they came to power in one or two years, but other revolutionary ideas like tax income, or paid annual leave were also very polarizing and took a long time to be accepted, and that's a kind of 'bright future' that makes people enthusiastic.


I hoenstly think that's a good idea
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ingemann
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« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2014, 03:14:11 pm »
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Slowly gearing into possibly considering maybe actually looking at this. And with that in mind I would like to point out one very important (very obvious thing) already: 'The Left' is not the same thing everywhere and pretending otherwise leads to confused arguments, woolly thinking and ultimately to the creation of a new imaginary political reality that has little resemblance to the actual one. Is the experience of Podemos and SYRIZA particularly relevant to Britain or Germany? Probably not. Is the PSOE the same sort of political party as the SAP? Not really. Things become even more complicated attention turns from Europe and the rest of the old First World. Sometimes the internationalism that good socialists are supposed to pay at least lip service towards blinds them (us) to what the world is actually like...

I would say that most countries are more interconnected political, than we sometimes find obvious, the spread of populist parties like the Pirates is a good example and it's not alone. But yes some parties are not always relevant on the other side of the borders, and some borders are harder to cross than other, example in Scandinavia we have seen relative much cross border inspiration and discussions.
Even a moron like Cameron have had some influence on Eurosceptism in conservative parties abroad.
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Comandante Arturo Belano (DSA-Fourth International Posadist)
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« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2014, 12:25:25 am »
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Quite the intriguing and insightful speech from Iglesias. I just read it last night and considered posting it here before seeing this thread.
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Velasco
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« Reply #31 on: December 28, 2014, 10:08:57 am »
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Bread and Peace, a slogan made for a situation where people were literally starving en masse and watching a whole generation of their sons consumed by a war with no obvious benefit to them, is certainly tailor-made for modern countries where literal starvation is next to unheard of and (as per most European countries not named Ukraine) aren't involved in wars of any kind at the moment.

But is he literally claiming that the Left should use that as an actual slogan today? Or is it only meant to be illustrative of the argument that simple/clear messages are most effective in reaching out to the masses?

Obviously the second (bolded) option.

I doubt the intention was to compare the situation of Russia in 1917 with Spain in 2014. It'd be silly trying to establish parallelisms between so different social and historic contexts.

However, it should be noted that the economic crisis in Spain has fostered economic inequalities more than in other western countries. For example, if we compare the impact of crisis in Greece and Spain, figures are eloquent:

- Disposable income fell 29% in Greece and 14% in Spain between 2007 and 2011.

- However, in both countries incomes developed differently at the top and the bottom. Top 10% incomes fell 31% in Greece and only 5.6% in Spain. Bottom 10% incomes fell 42% in Greece and 42.4% in Spain.

- Gini coefficient rose from 0.306 to 0.344 in Spain between 2007 and 2011, the highest increase in developed countries. In Greece remained stable at 0.335 in the same period.

- Poverty rate increased from 13.3 to 15.1 in Spain (14 to 15.2 in Greece)

- In 2011, poverty between those aged under 18 nearly reached 22% in Spain. It's a rate higher than that of Greece (20.4%) or any European country.

Source: OECD.

http://ep00.epimg.net/descargables/2014/06/19/7c03beab44419d4e1d4d1b02d8b0d3ed.pdf

Those figures have an obvious impact in people's life. Among other things, child malnutrition is nowadays an actual problem in Spain. Sadly, I can't say that the word "starvation" is totally unheard in this country. Of course, things were far worse in Tsarist Russia and I have absolutely no intention to compare apples and pears. The unequal impact between socioeconomic groups means that the middle class is being destroyed in Spain, which may have the foreseeable consequence of a drag on future growth and/or recovery. My 'diagnosis' - I guess that's what most of people think here- is that it's the result of certain policies.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 10:19:27 am by Velasco »Logged
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