If one is looking for evidence that reactionary right-wing romanticism is always an establishment tool, notice how white supremacy on the one hand and militant Islamism on the other can take the exact same steps as their intellectual ancestors took, and all you can hear is cries of xenophobia or fundamentalism.
Only those on the fringe, who can have no impact on grand politics, are calling it what it is – the rise of Fascism. It never happens any other way – economic stagnation, empty promises and hatred of the Other, until the charade is revealed when it’s too late.
But hear one whisper of regulation, social spending, progressive legislation, anything that can substantially improve the lot of the poor and the working class beyond charity and hand outs, and it is as if the entire establishment starts violently convulsing, thrashing its global supply chain arms, screaming STALIN!!! at the top of its voice.
Many are talking about the need for a resurgent Left. It begs the question – how can the right keep resurfacing so easily, and the Left cannot? Because the Left is not allowed to make empty promises. The right is never reminded of the historical consequences of its actions en masse – the Left cannot lift a finger without constantly apologizing for its history.
The reason that the Left cannot resurface any time soon is that global capital has convinced its subjects that they could not possibly stomach the logical consequences of a new socialism, while doing its best to keep them busy, distracted and desensitized with jobs, TV, Amazon and credit cards. Because they have co-opted history, co-opted the very idea of “freedom”, and reduced socialism to a pathetic spectre, so that most of those who still invoke the progressive promise will instinctively add a “but” after every demand. Sure we can fight inequality, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia. We can fight poverty and hunger, war and destruction…BUT. Beyond that “but” lies the fear of what “freedom”, “equality” and “justice” actually mean when they stop being slogans and start becoming realities.
Unless we are collectively and democratically willing to pursue those words to wherever they may take us, the Left can only be those countless many who toil away their entire lives for a smidgen of real change, a drop of revolution – in grassroots activism, in hard core policy making, and in the realm of ideas, trying to give voice and improve lives one painful step at a time. Monumental, indispensable and inspiring as their efforts are, they cannot be more than tiny thorns in the foot of Leviathan.
The Left is the Red Pill; until we swallow it whole, we can never see the bottom of the rabbit hole.