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Tropes about the left…  March 22, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.


It’s never very heartening to read BTL on any article, but this piece by John Downing from quite a while back had me sitting up and thinking. The piece was essentially about the Right2Change initiative and had some thoughts on the orientation of various forces both inside and outside it. But the comments were fascinating. One cliche after another about the ‘left’.

Yes we have seen how syriza have done in Greece. Thanks but no thanks lads. It doesn’t matter how often your ideology fails everywhere it is tried, you still don’t learn. Please all head to Cuba where everyone is so happy (or else).


Socialists always run out of other peoples money. Hope people will look at what what happened in Greece and not vote for these policies that will not work and however bad things may be now they will only make things much worse if elected.

[just on the above, it doesn’t even make sense in its own terms, given that Syriza is implementing orthodoxy].

Broad brush generalisations abounded:

The problem with the political left is not rooted in its people, but in their fractious, bitter and ultimately failed ideology.  Vicious and at times murderous internecine conflict has been a constant and endemic feature of every socialist or communist regime in history, wherever and whenever it has been tried.


Put Sinn Fein, Anti Everything Aliiance, People bringing Populism and Brendan Ogle together and all you have is a recipe for a Greek Tragedy.  None of these parties can get a set of credible economic figures let alone sit down and argue what their real priorities are in terms or A but not B.


Not everybody who was anti water-charges supports Right2Change. Trade unions are notoriously jealous about self-promotion and protecting their own patch. But most trade unionists regard their union telling them how to vote, as an unwelcome intrusion. For anybody who is totally intent on voting against FG/FF/Labour, the alternatives are thin enough. As it currently looks, Right2Change have no clear policies, nothing specific apart from abolishing Water Charges and LPT. Taxing the rich sounds fine in theory but it hasn’t worked anywhere that I know of. The Greek Syriza party is now implementing Centre/Right policies. Many of the isolated, independent TDs who support this voting pact will themselves, be eaten up by the Sinn Fein tiger.

Of course much of this is blowhards – we’ve seen a fair few of them on the CLR over the years, but these charges do resonate, and they have a political impact. I’m not sure how one goes about countering that sort of informal hegemony, any ideas?



1. Ed - March 22, 2016

The ‘other people’s money’ line seems to crop up ever more frequently, the more absurd it becomes. It can’t have escaped many people’s attention that the Western economic elites have been given unimaginable sums of other people’s money since 2008, first in the form of bail-outs, then in the form of QE: trillions and trillions and trillions of pounds/dollars/euro, simply handed to them in the hope that they’ll be able to revive the world economy (which they’ve failed to do so far). That’s a soundbite that people should be repeating at every opportunity: ‘the trouble with capitalism is, sooner or later you run out of other people’s money’.

Liked by 3 people

Gavin Mendel-Gleason - March 22, 2016

Not to mention that capital accumulation comes from exploitation, the appropriation of surplus value. Essentially all rich people are rich from taking other peoples money.


dmoc - March 23, 2016

And the idea that banks lend capital into existence as debt, ex nihilo, seems to escape the Irish media again. Quelle surprise.

Only a matter of time before capitalism runs out of everybody’s nature, in any case.



2. CL - March 22, 2016

“Much of what investment bankers do is socially worthless.”



3. CMK - March 22, 2016

For some reason this reminds me of an unintentionally hilarious tweet from Elaine Byrne last week where she recounted how she had holidayed in Cuba in 2006 and could see that the communist system there ‘was on its last legs’. 2016 and while that system is changing the CP of Cuba and their system don’t seem to be going anywhere soon. Many of these tropes about the Left seem predicated on the assumption that the capitalist world is somehow one where all human needs are met etc. Cuba is ‘on its last legs’ while thriving stable polities like Mexico, Honduras etc are pretty great places. Moreover to make many of these points you’d have to be pretty immune or insulated from the outworkings of capitalist exploitation or be pretty well placed within the hierarchy of capitalist society. The coming vulture fund attacks may soften some coughs here about the benign functioning of the capitalist system.


CL - March 22, 2016

“Bono and the Edge of U2, together with developer Paddy McKillen, have bought back the city-centre Clarence Hotel from NAMA – for a price reported to be below the €40 million of debts that saw it acquired by NAMA in the first place….
this looks as if very wealthy (and tax-averse) rock stars have been given a debt write-down….
Meanwhile, a so-called vulture fund is seeking to evict people from a housing estate in Tyrrelstown in west Dublin..
Beltany is an arm of the Goldman Sachs investment banking empire and it ensures maximum tax “efficiency” by shuffling loan financing and profits in and through multiple other arms of the organisation….
To an overwhelming extent, the Irish state favours the interests of sections of capital – at home and abroad – rather than the interests of ordinary people.”


depps - March 23, 2016

On this point, the UN’s Human Development Index which is so beloved of cheerleaders of Ireland Inc ranks Cuba as number 8 in North America, ahead of all of the Central American countries with the exception of Panama. Cuba also has a higher score than all of the South American countries except Chile, Argentina and Uruguay and also comes in ahead of prospective EU members like Turkey, Bosnia and Macedonia.

Cuba is far, far from a socialist paradise but efforts to portray it as some kind of absolute basket case are way wide of the mark.


4. Starkadder - March 23, 2016

Ed: “The ‘other people’s money’ line seems to crop up ever more frequently, the more absurd it becomes.”

We should compile a list of right-wing cliches about “the Left”*

It would include such hoary prosaisms as:

* “Politically Correct Brigade”;

* “Social Justice Warrior (s)”;

* “The Intellectuals” (always counterposed to an imaginary
“ordinary people”, though not the ordinary people who support, say,
Mick Barry or Paul Murphy. A fav of Paul Johnson, Mary Ellen Synon,
and pseudo-liberal John Carey);

* “Cultural Marxism /Frankfurt School” (followed by a description of something which has almost nothing to do with Adorno & co.’s actual ideas)

* “Dead White Male Bashing”

* “Virtue Signalling”

* “Moonbat”.

Any others?


Dr. X - March 23, 2016

“The Nazis were leftwing socialists, you know” is my favourite.

Conveniently ignoring the fact that the NSDAP privatised numerous state-owned enterprises, including some that had never previously been in private hands.


gendjinn - March 23, 2016

“The running street battles the communists & socialists had with the Nazis, nor the fact they were the first into the concentration camps and mass graves when the Nazis came to power doesn’t sway you in that assertion at all?”

“Grand so then, I never need to pay any further attention to you.”


oconnorlysaght - March 23, 2016

Beware of categorising intellectuals among terms of right-wing abuse. Doesn’t Eoin Harris claim to be one ?


Starkadder - March 23, 2016

oconnorlysaght – Harris might claim to be an intellectual, but he would be in a distinct minority of right-wingers using the term in a positive sense.

The right-wingers I mentioned would not use “intellectual”
as we would (a neutral term meaning an educated and analytical person), but rather as a insult denoting someone as
unpatriotic, irreligious, disrespectful of tradition, snobbish,
“sexually immoral”, etc.

You only have to look read “Anti-intellectualism in American Life” by Richard Hofstadter, or
“Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain” by Stefan Collini to find numerous examples of conservative and anti-socialist writers using “intellectuals” as an insulting term.


dmoc - March 23, 2016

When Miller wrote Canticle for Leibowitz, his anti-intellectual dark age of the future was caused by a nuclear war. Never occured to him that america wouldn’t need an atomic holocaust for that to occur.

“Simpletons! Yes, yes! I’m a simpleton! Are you a simpleton? We’ll build a town and we’ll name it Simple Town, because by then all the smart bastards that caused all this, they’ll be dead! Simpletons! Let’s go! This ought to show ’em! Anybody here not a simpleton? Get the bastard, if there is!”

― Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz

Liked by 1 person

5. gendjinn - March 23, 2016

What is victory?

Surely the successful curation/moderation of this site is a victory?

Zombie Lies and Trolls are an infinite time sink. It’s like War Games – the only winning move is not to play. Ban/ignore and move on.

Note that major online publications are beginning to give up on comments sections because of the moderation costs and derailing by trolls.

Identity/Trust rating models are one way out of the swampy morass but no one’s really gotten traction yet.


6. English workers support Greek strikers | Dear Kitty. Some blog - April 4, 2016

[…] Tropes about the left… […]


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