45 votes

What do you *dislike* about current trends in leftism?

I think we can all (generally!) agree that the right-wing is too easy of a target here, and most of us seem to be left-ish. So, waves, what's leftism currently doing wrong, or on track to start doing wrong?

74 comments

  1. [12]
    emdash (edited ) Link
    The prioritisation of social issues above environmental ones. For the record, I've voted for the New Zealand Green Party in all two elections I have been eligible for, and I'm also gay. My feeling...
    • Exemplary x2

    The prioritisation of social issues above environmental ones. For the record, I've voted for the New Zealand Green Party in all two elections I have been eligible for, and I'm also gay.

    My feeling is that the constant pestering of social issues from some demographics of the left is driving non-leftist individuals further to the other side of the spectrum; all the while climate change & global warming—the biggest issues we'll ever face as a species—is coming to a head, and is going to result in decade & century-long cataclysms in the very near future.

    We (the left) should be trying to unite others to the cause of caring for our planet, not dividing & pushing people away because of our preferred use of social terminology.

    60 votes
    1. [9]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [8]
        alyaza Link Parent
        people should do this, but it's not going to make that much of a difference because the main source of pollutants and greenhouse gases is and remains corporations. everybody could revert to a...

        Our planet, our economy, our way of life. Very few people in politics are eager to rock this boat because the real answer is that we in the west are living a completely unsustainable lifestyle and we need to massively dial it back. In fact, it might even be too late to do anything meaningful about it. Nobody wants to give up their comfortable lifestyle. Nobody wants to have fewer or no children, stop flying, live in smaller houses, use way less energy, eat less meat, stop buying so much plastic crap, stop creating so much waste.

        people should do this, but it's not going to make that much of a difference because the main source of pollutants and greenhouse gases is and remains corporations. everybody could revert to a sustainable lifestyle where possible, and it's still pretty likely we'd blow by the goals we set to limit climate change if nothing else changed. individuals as a sum just do not use that much, honestly.

        We're navel-gazing right now as an environmental apocalypse looms. I can't say I'm surprised. Humans are masters of cognitive dissonance. Our hubris will be our downfall. We've taken too much and we're all going to feel the repercussions of that, no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall or what your pet social issues are. It just sucks to watch.

        in general i've just sorta resigned to this being the case. the sort of progress we need to make to have any hope of meeting the 2C goal would necessitate international self-preservation that has not materialized, and at this point i'm guessing we're going to crash through the 2.5C barrier toward 3C or 4C of climate change because of that. by the time people start realizing the weight of what's coming in the form of migration and immigration and presumably try to change course, it's going to be much too late.

        17 votes
        1. [7]
          vektor Link Parent
          I always find the notion that "the corporations are doing the polluting" to be a bit short-sighted. Not that it's not true, but you have to accept that at the end of the line, somewhere is a...

          I always find the notion that "the corporations are doing the polluting" to be a bit short-sighted. Not that it's not true, but you have to accept that at the end of the line, somewhere is a private person buying a product. Heck, if we wanted to go even further, we could say that no private person pollutes at all because we don't create plastics or don't drill up oil. But that's not what we do. Instead, the basis of the argument above seems to be that we say that whoever creates the pollutant is the bad guy, no matter in whos name. That puts the onus on power companies and airlines. But just the same we can attribute that to the individual.

          Of course, it's not that simple to attribute everything to individuals either. Because at the end of the day, you have very little influence over what the companies you buy from do with your money. Do they send their employees around on aircraft? Do they waste electricity? Do they waste perfectly fine food? It's hard to factor that into your market decisions because hardly will you ever find a company that is sufficiently transparent. And govt regulation isn't providing enough info either, usually.

          5 votes
          1. [6]
            alyaza Link Parent
            this is a remarkable amount of absolutely meaningless, totally hollow quibbling about the meaning of words to challenge something you admit ultimately is the case anyways, but i just want to...

            this is a remarkable amount of absolutely meaningless, totally hollow quibbling about the meaning of words to challenge something you admit ultimately is the case anyways, but i just want to highlight this in particular;

            Instead, the basis of the argument above seems to be that we say that whoever creates the pollutant is the bad guy, no matter in whos name. That puts the onus on power companies and airlines. But just the same we can attribute that to the individual.

            i cannot emphasize this enough: anybody who pollutes is a bad person and yes, the onus is on corporations and airlines and everybody else to develop sustainable practices and not on the individuals consuming what they put out to figure out who the fuck in this capitalist society isn't so motivated by abject fucking greed that they'd rather see the planet burn in a climate holocaust than actually fucking develop practices that won't kill us all

            3 votes
            1. [5]
              vektor Link Parent
              Seriously? I don't think my comment was hostile or meaningless and this is what I get? Look at it this way, is flying 10 times a year cool now because "I'm not polluting, the airline Co is"? No,...

              Seriously? I don't think my comment was hostile or meaningless and this is what I get?

              Look at it this way, is flying 10 times a year cool now because "I'm not polluting, the airline Co is"? No, because causality. The fact that corporations do the polluting doesn't help the fact that you still have leverage.

              7 votes
              1. [4]
                alyaza Link Parent
                i think it's ridiculous to even attempt to insinuate that the onus is on the individual to change their habits of consumption just because corporations think it's more cost effective to run the...

                i think it's ridiculous to even attempt to insinuate that the onus is on the individual to change their habits of consumption just because corporations think it's more cost effective to run the planet into the ground than be sustainable, especially given the fact that individuals would need to entirely restructure their lives to actually do that. do you do the same with people over the fact that almost all companies use extremely exploitative labor practices that kill and main people in developing countries? presumably no, because that's fucking impossible in most cases! so why apply that standard to finding companies which don't fuck over the planet? you don't have "leverage" if everything in your life has to be upended completely just to actually make a change.

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  hungariantoast Link Parent
                  Instead of making two comments, I first want to reference something in your previous comment in this thread: Doesn't everyone pollute? Like me, for instance. I eat a lot of meat in my diet. It's...

                  Instead of making two comments, I first want to reference something in your previous comment in this thread:

                  i cannot emphasize this enough: anybody who pollutes is a bad person

                  Doesn't everyone pollute?

                  Like me, for instance. I eat a lot of meat in my diet. It's probably the largest area of food I consume, except for maybe grain. I primarily drive a car from 1995 and another from 1982. One gets 26MPG and the other 19MPG.

                  I take these relatively inefficient (by today's standards) vehicles to a track every now and then and race the shit out of them, hounding their engines and burning up tons of fuel, brake pads, and tires.

                  I pollute a ton as a person, does that make me a bad individual?

                  Or is that we are all bad individuals?

                  Okay, now on to the comment I am replying to:

                  i think it's ridiculous to even attempt to insinuate that the onus is on the individual to change their habits of consumption just because corporations think it's more cost effective to run the planet into the ground than be sustainable

                  I mean, yes, companies and corporations need oversight to ensure they work towards sustainability, but the thing is, the first world western lifestyle as we know it isn't really that sustainable. Is it? We consume so fucking much as, you guessed it, consumers, that I'm not really sure there is a way to reach environmental sustainability with the current lifestyles that people in first world countries live.

                  It's not even about being rich. Poor people are 'great' consumers as well. The modern American supermarket and the globalized array of goods and services that are available to Americans in every single town is not sustainable, right?

                  Are companies and corporations the largest polluters on the planet? Yeah, sure, probably, but they pollute so much because it is profitable to, and while we can force them through oversight and legislation to be more sustainable, we as a people and a culture are not leading sustainable lives and our quality of life will most likely have to degrade severely if we want to reach sustainability soon, as the technology to reach sustainability but retain our quality of life doesn't seem close to fruition.

                  especially given the fact that individuals would need to entirely restructure their lives to actually do that.

                  I honestly think this is going to be a requirement in the future. I think it's a requirement to avert climate change, and I don't think that will happen, but I also think it will be a requirement because of the effects of climate change, and I do think that will happen.

                  3 votes
                  1. [2]
                    alyaza Link Parent
                    we are all bad individuals, but ultimately there is a difference between someone who pollutes because they have no choice and their entire way of living is inherently predicated and will continue...

                    Doesn't everyone pollute?
                    Like me, for instance. I eat a lot of meat in my diet. It's probably the largest area of food I consume, except for maybe grain. I primarily drive a car from 1995 and another from 1982. One gets 26MPG and the other 19MPG.
                    I take these relatively inefficient (by today's standards) vehicles to a track every now and then and race the shit out of them, hounding their engines and burning up tons of fuel, brake pads, and tires.
                    I pollute a ton as a person, does that make me a bad individual?
                    Or is that we are all bad individuals?

                    we are all bad individuals, but ultimately there is a difference between someone who pollutes because they have no choice and their entire way of living is inherently predicated and will continue to be predicated on things which cause pollution, and corporations who have the choice and the ability to restrict their pollution and choose not to. like i said upthread, it literally does not matter if everybody lives a sustainable life if nothing fucking changes on the corporate end of things. you still get the same climate change, the same upheaval that fucks tens of millions over, and the same unpredictable warming and cooling patterns that would occur if nobody did anything. changing individual habits is something that people should do, but it's not going to make a difference what individuals as a sum do if corporations do nothing. the onus therefore cannot and should not be on the individual person to totally alter their lives when nothing will change unless corporations also change how they act.

                    2 votes
                    1. hungariantoast Link Parent
                      I think I understand now, and you're correct, but I don't think we can make companies and corporations totally sustainable in their totality. We need to trim the fat. Some entities need to go out...

                      I think I understand now, and you're correct, but I don't think we can make companies and corporations totally sustainable in their totality. We need to trim the fat. Some entities need to go out of business, and consumption needs to go down. I think the way we consume products is a prerequisite of this, and I think, especially the citizens of the United States are going to have to radically change their lifestyles in order to force more sustainability upon companies.

                      Sure, we can pass legislation, provide oversight, and make sure rules aren't being broken, and we should do that, but consumers create demand for products like iPhones, and Apple ramps up production (and pollution) to meet that demand.

                      We either need to change our lifestyles of consumption as citizens to consume less, or put hard limits on the production abilities of companies, limiting their ability to pollute.

                      Either way, the lifestyle of Americans changes drastically.

                      I just don't think you can have one solution without the other, and they both affect each other in the same ways. We have so much choice in our supermarkets because production is through the fucking roof and that needs to change into a more sustainable model, but doing so removes some of the variety, and then Americans complain because they're scared of Communism and other buzzwords.

                      To be honest, I don't think it's going to happen. I don't think we're going to put on the brakes fast enough, if at all, to stop ourselves from flying off this metaphorical cliff that is climate change. It's going to get really fucking bad for people who don't live in the United States and other powerful nations, and it's going to get moderately worse for those who do.

                      I think we agree on the solutions necessary, but I just don't have any hope, which I know isn't relevant to this conversation, but I just wanted to bring it up.

                      6 votes
    2. [2]
      Eva Link Parent
      It depends on to what extent this is taken, but I'd say to a decent extent I'd agree with this.

      It depends on to what extent this is taken, but I'd say to a decent extent I'd agree with this.

      3 votes
      1. emdash Link Parent
        Thanks for understanding! Hopefully you can understand I'm not talking in absolutes—humans can parallelise tasks, and social equality issues are absolutely important and should be taken seriously...

        Thanks for understanding! Hopefully you can understand I'm not talking in absolutes—humans can parallelise tasks, and social equality issues are absolutely important and should be taken seriously by our politicians & government.

        Butttt.... we won't have many social equality issues to discuss if our food chain collapses and sea levels rise 10 metres while the thermohaline circulation of the oceans shuts down, leading to anoxic extinction of marine life, etc.

        12 votes
    3. Nabu Link Parent
      I don't like this phrasing. Anything that's progressive changes the status quo and will naturally upset people who don't like change. That's very true, but it shouldn't necessarily be seen as a...

      We (the left) should be trying to unite others to the cause of caring for our planet, not dividing & pushing people away because of our preferred use of social terminology.

      I don't like this phrasing. Anything that's progressive changes the status quo and will naturally upset people who don't like change. That's very true, but it shouldn't necessarily be seen as a negative. For example, someone getting angry because trans people want to be called the gender they identify as, is not necessarily a person we should worry about offending.

      Other than that, I think I generally agree with you. Saving the planet should probably be a priority, even though we can probably focus on social issues and the environment simultaneously.

      It's just difficult to tell someone to suffer in the short term because a long-term issues is more pressing.

  2. [8]
    alyaza Link
    one of the big ones in my experience is that leftists as a general group of people are much too quick to cannibalize their own for ideologically petty reasons, and this tends to cause them to...

    one of the big ones in my experience is that leftists as a general group of people are much too quick to cannibalize their own for ideologically petty reasons, and this tends to cause them to completely dismantle their ability to make change before it even begins.

    this is definitely more common with the chronically online and slactivist leftists (i.e. the sorts of people with which callout culture tends to be big) who never seem to stop finding new issues to drive wedges between people with, but even people who should know better will still do counter intuitive and counterproductive things like cancel AOC or Bernie Sanders for not being the definition of perfect when they're making the Democratic Party more and more left wing by the day, or bicker about how the DSA is too right-wing or not anti-capitalist enough when the DSA has almost single-handedly vaulted socialism into relevance again with americans and no other leftist organization has even come close to what they've done just since 2016, or continually tear down people who are on their side when there is no reason to, etc. etc.

    left unity is a thing for a reason, folks! your particular flavor of leftism is probably not going to be able to make a difference without the other flavors of leftism along side you. socialism/communism/anarchism isn't just going to come about in the general population, you have to basically beat it into people. can't really do that with just one tiny group of leftists unless violence is your deal.

    37 votes
    1. [3]
      Whom (edited ) Link Parent
      This is easy to say until you really think about what that means. There are a LOT of different people that would be labelled "left" by the general population, and assuming our goals all line up is...

      This is easy to say until you really think about what that means. There are a LOT of different people that would be labelled "left" by the general population, and assuming our goals all line up is a bit naive. It's easy to say "look at what we could get done if we all worked together," but that naturally means "look at what we could get done if you abandoned everything you believe in and became like me." If I'm an anarchist and believe that the state is inherently wrong and oppressive by its very existence, what "moving left" means coming from Bernie Sanders might be meaningless, and what it means to the M-L with the Stalin portrait on his desk might seem actively harmful.

      I do think the infighting goes too far...that Life of Brian clip and all that. I just don't see "left unity" as being a realistic goal beyond the places where it already is like work for queer communities and anti-racist things. "Left" isn't a meaningful enough label for that to happen.

      15 votes
      1. [2]
        alyaza Link Parent
        i think the inverse is true, actually. i think most leftists play up their differences far, far too much without considering the fact that literally all of them are basically working toward the...

        This is easy to say until you really think about what that means. There are a LOT of different people that would be labelled "left" by the general population, and assuming our goals all line up is a bit naive. It's easy to say "look at what we could get done if we all worked together," but that naturally means "look at what we could get done if you abandoned everything you believe in and became like me." If I'm an anarchist and believe that the state is inherently wrong and oppressive by its very existence, what "moving left" means coming from Bernie Sanders might be meaningless, and what it means to the M-L with the Stalin portrait on his desk might seem actively harmful.

        i think the inverse is true, actually. i think most leftists play up their differences far, far too much without considering the fact that literally all of them are basically working toward the same goal but with differences in how that looks in implementation. i find also that leftists seem to completely ignore the possibility of not even bothering to hash out what the future looks like until after they accomplish anything even vaguely resembling socialism, communism, or anarchism even when there are examples of that very strategy working out in places like revolutionary catalonia, the zapatista controlled areas of mexico, and other places where revolution was more or less spontaneously won or almost spontaneously won. i'm under no pretenses that "true" left unity will ever happen, but resigning to hopelessness about it seems exceptionally silly and squandering an actual opportunity to do something given the surging power of the left in america and some other parts of the world.

        11 votes
        1. Whom (edited ) Link Parent
          Sure, M-Ls and ancoms both have communism in mind as the end goal, but if you think the other way of doing things will be completely destructive, there is no way to bridge that. It really doesn't...

          i think most leftists play up their differences far, far too much without considering the fact that literally all of them are basically working toward the same goal but with differences in how that looks in implementation.

          Sure, M-Ls and ancoms both have communism in mind as the end goal, but if you think the other way of doing things will be completely destructive, there is no way to bridge that. It really doesn't matter that the end goal is roughly the same...specifics matter. If you think a vanguard and all that M-L shit inherently leads to dictatorships and state repression that's even worse than what you're living under right now, why in hell would you bend to that? What does them also claiming to want stateless communism far in the future even mean if you don't believe their method of organization and resistance will get you there?

          Again, this is mostly bridged in movements dedicated to specific issues, but there are things that are just too far to bridge.

          9 votes
    2. [4]
      Apollo Link Parent
      I didn't know that the desire for socialism/communism in America actually existed on any large scale. The way you worded it makes me think that you're in favour of it too; I'm just curious as to...

      I didn't know that the desire for socialism/communism in America actually existed on any large scale. The way you worded it makes me think that you're in favour of it too; I'm just curious as to why you (or anyone else) want such a system in place? (like what it offers compared to today's society, how it would improve things, etc.) I've only read a little on the subject, so I don't have a full understanding of what it means/offers.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        alyaza (edited ) Link Parent
        the simplest answer i can offer is that people deserve to bear the fruits of their labor (i.e. they deserve to own the means of production), and that's kind of the idea of socialism. the people...
        • Exemplary

        I didn't know that the desire for socialism/communism in America actually existed on any large scale. The way you worded it makes me think that you're in favour of it too; I'm just curious as to why you (or anyone else) want such a system in place? (like what it offers compared to today's society, how it would improve things, etc.) I've only read a little on the subject, so I don't have a full understanding of what it means/offers.

        the simplest answer i can offer is that people deserve to bear the fruits of their labor (i.e. they deserve to own the means of production), and that's kind of the idea of socialism. the people who do the labor and thus allow production to take place in effect have the value of their labor extracted from them by people who do not labor, and merely claim title to most of the profits of the labor that they're doing in the first place. under capitalism, working for virtually all businesses is in effect like renting from an absentee landlord: the landlord isn't doing anything for you, isn't around to help you, and effectively has no role at all in your life beyond your necessary relationship with them, but is still taking significant portions of money from you in spite of that. under socialism, that relationship ceases to be the case.

        as for what that might look like, Crash Course Socialism offers up measures like this:

        • Replacement of bourgeois parliamentary bodies with broadly inclusive workers organizations, such as unions, councils, or syndicates.
        • Seizing land, productive facilities, and housing and putting them under democratic control.
        • Elimination of all debts, suppression of all private banks and stock markets.
        • Direct democracy in as many decisions as possible.
        • A democratically planned economy for human needs, with open participation.
        • Low-level workplace democracy.
        • Elimination of the standing army, and the substitution for it of armed workers.
        • An emphasis on universal education, health-care, child-care, care for the elderly, and human welfare, paid for socially.
        • Increase in productive technology.
        • Low levels of wealth and income inequality, often driven by a system of labor vouchers for compensation.
        • Experts (if any) elected by the working class through universal suffrage.
        • All representatives and officials (including police) are revocable at any time.
        • Public officials are paid workmen’s wages.

        among others. socialists in general have many of them, and i'm certain nobody agrees on even what's listed here beyond the absolute basics. a general theme though is socialism is centered around the idea of everybody being able to influence and participate in society, democracy, and labor, as opposed to letting those things be effectively controlled and monopolized only by those who have the money and power to do so.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          Apollo Link Parent
          Hi, sorry, I haven't been around to read on here, but I have done some reading on my own time, too. Thanks for taking the time to write that up! Would I be correct in assuming that the majority of...

          Hi, sorry, I haven't been around to read on here, but I have done some reading on my own time, too. Thanks for taking the time to write that up!

          Would I be correct in assuming that the majority of the current push is only for socialism and not communism?

          I can definitely see how socialism would appeal to current Americans but I have a hard time seeing how communism would appeal to anyone.

          As for my own beliefs, I see the argument here, but I have to do a lot more reading before deciding where I stand. Thanks again!

          1. alyaza Link Parent
            it's murky, but in practice the two are basically joined at the hip. in general, you can't really have communism without first having socialism (or anarchism), and creating a genuinely socialist...

            Would I be correct in assuming that the majority of the current push is only for socialism and not communism?

            it's murky, but in practice the two are basically joined at the hip. in general, you can't really have communism without first having socialism (or anarchism), and creating a genuinely socialist state would presumably--eventually--lead to or seek to establish a communist society by its nature. the caveat is that communism is probably entirely untested in the real, modern world: there have been basically no societies which were socialist enough for long enough to even attempt to break ground where communism is concerned, partially because leftism in general has many fracture points and partly because many socialist and socialist-adjacent states were interfered with or overthrown by capitalists. in practice, it's basically a moot issue though, because even if socialists advocate for a communist state, you really can't do that without establishing a socialist state or an anarchist society first, and those unto themselves are massive undertakings that will probably take decades if not centuries without the inevitable interference.

            I can definitely see how socialism would appeal to current Americans but I have a hard time seeing how communism would appeal to anyone.

            i mean, when you boil it down communism is extremely similar to socialism, except its defining features are a lack of class and a lack of state. the lack of a state might be weird to some people, but the theory behind how that would come about can essentially be simplified down to "if we exist in a socialist society or state for long enough, the existence of a state will eventually become superfluous because people will develop self-organization habits that render a state obsolete and a non-factor in their lives". whether or not that's a reasonable assertion is up to debate even for leftists, but like i said, there have really not been any significant historical or current states which have come close to communism (and even the few remaining actively marxist-leninist states haven't really made a lot of head-weigh on just the socialism bit), so communism is kind of a moot issue and will probably continue to be for the foreseeable future.

  3. Whom (edited ) Link
    There's a trending idea that you should believe certain things or hold certain positions because a specific group supposedly does and you should take their word for it. I'm on the radical left and...

    There's a trending idea that you should believe certain things or hold certain positions because a specific group supposedly does and you should take their word for it. I'm on the radical left and not even "anti-idpol" but this is so frustrating.

    "Listen to x voices!" is a shitty way to promote any idea and I hate it. Not only is this how you end up with people who are vaguely antiracist, antisexist, whatever without any reasoning skills to defend those opinions, making them wishy washy and exactly the kind of person that people who say things like this also tend to mock...but the voices of that group almost certainly do not all agree! If someone says to "listen to trans voices and think/do this," they are using me and my struggle to justify something that I might disagree with entirely, and that's fucked up. Argue for the point itself and if there appears to be a consensus within the group, maybe bring that up as part of your argument. It's a relevant factor, but it absolutely should not be the only one.

    I should mention (because the word usage tends to be similar) that I don't have a problem with suggesting a certain group should be a bigger part of the conversation when it personally has an effect on them.

    24 votes
  4. [18]
    dubteedub (edited ) Link
    One thing that really worries me about Democrats / leftists in the US going into 2020 is the constant purity tests and belief by a lot of voters that if a candidate isnt 100% aligned with your...

    One thing that really worries me about Democrats / leftists in the US going into 2020 is the constant purity tests and belief by a lot of voters that if a candidate isnt 100% aligned with your personal views that you cant support them.

    Its one area that I really wish we were more like Republicans. I mean if GOP voters can hold their nose and vote for Donald fucking Trunp of all people simply to pass a huge tax cut and ensure their majority in the Supreme Court, then for fucks safe progressives, just go out and vote for a liberal if you have to.

    We arent going to enact progressive policies, let alone liberal ones, if we continue to have a Republican President.

    I also really dislike the complacency that so many liberals have when it comes to non Presidential elections. Democrats that only come out to vote every four years for President but ignore state and local races are killing us. While the Democrats flipped several state legislatures in the 2018 election, the GOP has been systematically taking control over the entire South and Midwest for decades and they have passed policy after policy to achieve their goals.

    23 votes
    1. [17]
      Whom Link Parent
      If I were in the shoes of someone that wanted Democrats to win elections, I would be more worried that your attitude continues to be the norm and the democrats again put up a candidate where the...

      If I were in the shoes of someone that wanted Democrats to win elections, I would be more worried that your attitude continues to be the norm and the democrats again put up a candidate where the only thing they have going for them is not being a Republican and shame people for not voting out of allegiance to the party. Maybe the blowback from Trump will be enough to get people voting regardless, but in general it's silly and unrealistic to blame people for not voting for someone when they don't believe that person will do a single thing for them. Maybe the frustration should instead be pointed at how someone as clearly uninspiring as Hillary Clinton made it to the election.

      No objections to the local part, though.

      18 votes
      1. [7]
        moonbathers Link Parent
        It works for Republicans, why shouldn't it work for Democrats? Also, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote so she clearly wasn't that uninspiring.

        the only thing they have going for them is not being a Republican

        It works for Republicans, why shouldn't it work for Democrats? Also, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote so she clearly wasn't that uninspiring.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          Whom Link Parent
          There's all kinds of reasons you could try to explain why it works for Republicans, ranging from calling them all unprincipled fools who don't give a shit about anything but the side they've...

          There's all kinds of reasons you could try to explain why it works for Republicans, ranging from calling them all unprincipled fools who don't give a shit about anything but the side they've claimed winning (and honestly it's very worrying to me that anyone thinks we need people to sit MORE within party lines) to it not actually working for them, and someone like Trump really is who they wanted. It doesn't matter though, it's totally backwards to be going after people for wanting a candidate that they think actually represents their interests as if they're being unreasonable. That responsibility lies entirely on the party that doesn't give them the option to vote for something they see as good.

          And talking about the popular vote isn't really meaningful if it didn't lead to a win. The electoral college is stupid, but it doesn't remove the responsibility of the loser for their own loss and it's a weak attempt at a gotcha that doesn't actually look to solve the problem. Voter turnout was low and it's not hard to see how any candidate where people actually thought they'd be on their side would've been able to take the election.

          5 votes
          1. moonbathers Link Parent
            I'm not going after people who want better candidates, I'm going after people who say that and then don't vote or vote third party. The responsibility lies on all of us to vote for Democrats...

            I'm not going after people who want better candidates, I'm going after people who say that and then don't vote or vote third party. The responsibility lies on all of us to vote for Democrats because 99% of the time they're gonna be better than Donald fucking Trump and people like him.

            I only brought up the popular vote as a counter to the idea that Hillary Clinton is uninspiring. If people couldn't bring themselves to vote for her when the opposition was what it was, that's on them and not her.

            3 votes
        2. [2]
          super_james Link Parent
          Does it work for republicans though? Are a majority of republican voters getting any policies they really care about enacted?

          Does it work for republicans though? Are a majority of republican voters getting any policies they really care about enacted?

          3 votes
          1. dubteedub Link Parent
            Republicans just passed another giant tax cut for big businesses and millionaires They also got two new Supreme Court Justices and have Roe v Wade in their sights

            Republicans just passed another giant tax cut for big businesses and millionaires

            They also got two new Supreme Court Justices and have Roe v Wade in their sights

            2 votes
        3. [2]
          Hypersapien Link Parent
          The point that it can and does work, and that's how you get bad candidates getting into office.

          The point that it can and does work, and that's how you get bad candidates getting into office.

          2 votes
          1. moonbathers Link Parent
            All I'm saying is that beggars can't be choosers when the opposition is Donald Trump.

            All I'm saying is that beggars can't be choosers when the opposition is Donald Trump.

            2 votes
      2. [9]
        dubteedub Link Parent
        The fact is that if you support having any kind of left-leaning policies enacted, you need to vote Democrat. It baffles me that there were people who claimed to be progressives in 2016 that voted...

        I would be more worried that your attitude continues to be the norm and the democrats again put up a candidate where the only thing they have going for them is not being a Republican and shame people for not voting out of allegiance to the party.

        The fact is that if you support having any kind of left-leaning policies enacted, you need to vote Democrat.

        It baffles me that there were people who claimed to be progressives in 2016 that voted for anyone other than Hillary.

        Hillary and the DNC literally put out the most progressive policy platform in the Democratic Party's history.

        If Hillary had been elected President we would now have had a solidly liberal majority in the Supreme Court ensuring that women's reproductive rights were not at risk, gay marriage would be guaranteed for the forseeable future rather than in doubt, workers unions would have been protected rather than dismantled, voting rights would be protected, racial gerrymandering would not be allowed, and workplace arbitration would have ruled in favor of employees rather than big business just to name a few.

        Not to mention we would not be having to worry about separating tens of thousands of children from parents and putting them in camps, a muslim travel ban, a transgender military ban, and all the other insane realities of a President Trump.

        in general it's silly and unrealistic to blame people for not voting for someone when they don't believe that person will do a single thing for them.

        I have zero problem with blaming all the leftists that stayed home or bought the Russian / Republican propaganda and voted for Trump or Stein, especially if they are still defending that choice today knowing the consequences of their vote.

        How can any progressive or leftist reasonably think that we are better off with President Trump rather than President Clinton?

        6 votes
        1. [8]
          alyaza Link Parent
          pretty easy. hillary clinton would have absolutely ruined downballot democrats. democrats are in a much stronger position now, having lost the election and rallied subsequently with massive...

          How can any progressive or leftist reasonably think that we are better off with President Trump rather than President Clinton?

          pretty easy. hillary clinton would have absolutely ruined downballot democrats. democrats are in a much stronger position now, having lost the election and rallied subsequently with massive amounts of grassroot support, than they ever would have been under a democratic presidency, much less a clinton presidency. it's not unreasonable--in fact, i'd venture to guess that it is extremely easy--to imagine a world where hillary being at the top of the ticket leads to an absolute massacre of democrats in 2018 both in the house and senate, and effectively locks democrats out of power downballot for perhaps a decade. and even if you don't assume that, any democrat's first two years at minimum would have been a wash--most likely, all four years would have been given the size of the republican house majority and the seats that were up in the senate in 2018.

          you can certainly argue that the ends did not justify the means here, but from a purely pragmatic standpoint? hillary losing was in retrospect the best thing democrats could have hoped for, and they're doing gangbusters because of that and will be in a much better position to actually pass progressive policies going forward than they ever could have been under a clinton presidency. and that's from someone who unabashedly supported clinton in 2016.

          7 votes
          1. [6]
            dubteedub Link Parent
            Sure, I am glad that Democrats seem to be rallying and are in a good position going into 2020. However, in my opinion that in no way makes it okay that we have lost the Supreme Court for decades...

            Sure, I am glad that Democrats seem to be rallying and are in a good position going into 2020.

            However, in my opinion that in no way makes it okay that we have lost the Supreme Court for decades to come, the day-to-day impact that the Trump administration policies have had on migrants, Muslims, trans people, gay people, and the fact that white nationalists and neo-nazis have been emboldened by Trump.

            It is easy to talk about how great it is that the Democrats political power is rising once again when you sit in a position of privilege where Trump's racist and authoritarian policies don't affect your day to day life.

            6 votes
            1. [5]
              alyaza Link Parent
              democrats would have definitely lost the supreme court anyways or otherwise been forced to appoint a GOP-type judge (unless you think mitch mcconnell was going to suddenly make an exception for...

              However, in my opinion that in no way makes it okay that we have lost the Supreme Court for decades to come, the day-to-day impact that the Trump administration policies have had on migrants, Muslims, trans people, gay people, and the fact that white nationalists and neo-nazis have been emboldened by Trump.

              democrats would have definitely lost the supreme court anyways or otherwise been forced to appoint a GOP-type judge (unless you think mitch mcconnell was going to suddenly make an exception for hillary clinton, which is laughable) so to be honest, the arithmetic of the supreme court is virtually meaningless. it was going to be like that no matter what. moreover, this all was going to happen sooner or later no matter what--trump just exploited it to his benefit. these aren't views that suddenly spring up overnight and they're not things that would have gone unnoticed by the GOP in the event clinton won. i feel pretty confident saying that had she won, in 2020, we'd be staring down the same barrel, but with less of an ability to actually address it than we do now. the GOP is not and would never abandon something that got them 45% of the vote.

              It is easy to talk about how great it is that the Democrats political power is rising once again when you sit in a position of privilege where Trump's racist and authoritarian policies don't affect your day to day life.

              you should probably make a habit of not assuming everybody who talks about rising democratic political power and who tells you why clinton losing was pragmatically good is in a position of privilege, unless you think a mixed family of 3 living on less than 20k a year in a rich, white person city that voted pretty heavily for trump and which is full of fire and brimstone anti-gay, anti-trans evangelicals is in a position of privilege and a place where trump's policies don't affect them.

              10 votes
              1. [2]
                dubteedub (edited ) Link Parent
                That is a pretty strong assertion. I dont believe there is anyway that McConnell could have kept the Scalia seat open on the Supreme Court for four years at minimum. The GOP made a gambit in 2016...

                democrats would have definitely lost the supreme court anyways or otherwise been forced to appoint a GOP-type judge (unless you think mitch mcconnell was going to suddenly make an exception for hillary clinton, which is laughable)

                That is a pretty strong assertion. I dont believe there is anyway that McConnell could have kept the Scalia seat open on the Supreme Court for four years at minimum. The GOP made a gambit in 2016 that they would win the Presidency and when they won they got the seat, but if Clinton had won, then we would absolutely have a liberal SCOTUS now.

                the arithmetic of the supreme court is virtually meaningless.

                There are tons of hugely meaningful decisions made by SCOTUS every year as I linked above and yes, the arithmetic absolutely makes a difference when most of those decisions are 5-4.

                it was going to be like that no matter what. moreover, this all was going to happen sooner or later no matter what

                You have no guarantee that is true. If Trump had lost we may have seen an actual reckoning within the GOP to not embrace blatant white nationalism and racism to win political power. Instead that has only been reinforced and we are going to see far more racist and far more rich people entering politics because they think those are winning attributes.

                you should probably make a habit of not assuming everybody who talks about rising democratic political power and who tells you why Clinton losing was pragmatically good is in a position of privilege

                There are a whole lot more layers of privilege than just being rich or white.

                I think of the tens of thousands of children that have been separated from their families, potentially indefinitely, because of Trump's policies that would have been avoided had people sucked up and voted for Clinton.

                Or the tens of thousands of trans people in the military that are being targeted by his ban.

                Or the millions of folks in Puerto Rico who received inferior assistance from the federal government because they are brown.

                Or the Muslims attacked by Trumps travel ban.

                Or the 800,000 federal workers who were forced by Trump to work without pay for over a month, not to mention the thousands more contractors who will never get paid.

                Or Heather Heyer who was run over by an emboldened Trump supporting neo-Nazi.

                Or the Empire actor who was attacked with bleach and a noose this weekend in Chicago by two Trump supporters shouting this is "MAGA country"

                There are a shitload of people hugely impacted by Trump being President and I feel for them and think it is disgraceful to simply write them off as not mattering because hey maybe the Democrats are in a better position going into 2020.

                3 votes
                1. alyaza Link Parent
                  i'll just say that i think you put far too much faith in norms as far as government goes and find your belief that the GOP would 'reckon' with their strategy had trump lost laughable, given how...

                  i'll just say that i think you put far too much faith in norms as far as government goes and find your belief that the GOP would 'reckon' with their strategy had trump lost laughable, given how they did the literal opposite of what the post-romney retrospective told them to do and leave it at that, to be honest. it's a fundamental difference of opinion.

                  that said:

                  There are a whole lot more layers of privilege than just being rich or white.
                  ...
                  There are a shitload of people hugely impacted by Trump being President and I feel for them and think it is disgraceful to simply write them off as not mattering because hey maybe the Democrats are in a better position going into 2020.

                  as i stated previously, if you could very kindly stop speaking for me and assuming that i must have some sort of position of power or privilege or whatever else because of my position when in reality my family gets to figure out how not to starve this month because of trump's inability to get over the fucking wall (presumably qualifying for the "hugely impacted by trump being president" thing given our lack of flexibility in income), that'd be much appreciated. unless, of course, you'd like to argue why literally having to ration to not starve in the shadow of what might be another shutdown now suddenly qualifies as a privilege just because i personally am not being locked in a cage.

                  4 votes
              2. [2]
                star69 Link Parent
                ... and another thing the left do - label, name call, without knowledge of the person.. Even their "own people" apparently.. (Oh gosh I'm so glad there's no downvoting here!) Edit: how do 3 people...

                ... and another thing the left do - label, name call, without knowledge of the person.. Even their "own people" apparently.. (Oh gosh I'm so glad there's no downvoting here!)

                Edit: how do 3 people live on $20K a year? :\

                1 vote
                1. alyaza Link Parent
                  food stamps, budgeting, and a lot of exploiting sales to make what you do have go the farthest. without a safety net we'd be fucked--and honestly, even with it there are times where we're eating...

                  Edit: how do 3 people live on $20K a year? :\

                  food stamps, budgeting, and a lot of exploiting sales to make what you do have go the farthest. without a safety net we'd be fucked--and honestly, even with it there are times where we're eating pretty much the same thing consistently because food stamps obviously only get you so much and so far for so long.

                  3 votes
          2. AnthonyB Link Parent
            This is a great perpective on this issue. That said, I still think it would be better to have the alternative. There is no guarantee that Democrats will accomplish anything over the next four to...

            This is a great perpective on this issue. That said, I still think it would be better to have the alternative. There is no guarantee that Democrats will accomplish anything over the next four to six years, which is distressing given all the damage the current administration has done. Even if Democrats are able to take the presidency and the senate next year, they will probably have to fight tooth and nail to just to turn some things back to Obama era policies.

            Meaningful progress comes from baby steps and hard work over decades. Sometimes it takes absolute catastrophe to expedite things, but I think it's pretty lazy to only support politicians who promise sweeping change then hope catastrophe will be the kick in the ass that the country needs. Plenty of people felt that way in 2000, enough to swing the election. Look where we are almost 20 years later.

            5 votes
  5. [3]
    Algernon_Asimov (edited ) Link
    Letting "perfect" be the enemy of "good". There are some absolutists out there who won't accept anything less than a full 100% achievement of their goals, right now, and will actively reject...

    Letting "perfect" be the enemy of "good". There are some absolutists out there who won't accept anything less than a full 100% achievement of their goals, right now, and will actively reject something which is only a step towards those goals in the longer term.

    The epitome of this for me here in Australia was the Greens' refusal to support the then-government's proposal for a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme when it was presented to Parliament a decade ago.

    The scheme was a first step towards putting a price on carbon emissions. It was far from perfect: it provided way too many rebates and subsidies to companies, to offset the extra costs they would incur due to the scheme, effectively negating the economic effects on many industries. But it was a first step in the right direction. It would have embedded the idea of a price on carbon in Australia's collective mind, and prepared people for an inevitable change in the economy. Once in place, the scheme could have been tweaked over time, to increase the price on carbon and reduce the subsidies.

    But, no. It wasn't the full price on carbon that the Greens wanted right now - so they refused to vote for it.

    Due to the political climate in Australia, this meant we've had no effective long-standing changes since then (a later government did pass legislation for a carbon price, but a subsequent government repealed it - making us unique in the world in doing so). The Greens' refusal to compromise means that nothing has been done in this area.

    I've seen the same mentality in other areas, too. This just happens to be the best example to use. But too many people are unable to compromise. Too many people won't accept a half-good proposal as a step towards their ultimate goal. It's all or nothing. And, far too often, it ends up being nothing.

    EDIT: Another example of this lack of ability to accept partial steps happened some years back (between 5 & 10 years ago, but I can't pin it down). An Australian home-renovation reality TV show announced that its contestants for the next season would include... a gay couple! This was the first time any LGBT people had been openly featured in this type of show. It was a big step for the producers to take.

    And a significant portion of the LGBT community abused them for it. "Where's the lesbian couple?" "Where's the transgender couple?" "This isn't good enough!" And so on.

    I tried to point out to some people online that having 1 gay couple in a group of 8 couples equated to 12.5% representation, which is far higher than the portion of LGBT people in the general population. And the show could have a variety of other couples in future seasons.

    But, no. Anything less than full representation right now wasn't good enough for these people. All or nothing.

    23 votes
    1. AnthonyB Link Parent
      I think the die hards always fail to see the forest from the trees. As Clay Davis once said in a completely different context, crawl, walk, run. Make a small adjustment, it becomes the norm, then...

      I think the die hards always fail to see the forest from the trees. As Clay Davis once said in a completely different context, crawl, walk, run. Make a small adjustment, it becomes the norm, then the bigger change doesnt seem so radical to people who are reluctant.

      It's the political equivalent to extreme new year's resolutions or crazy diet goals. Your best bet is to start slow and build on that progress. If you think the only way you can get in better shape is to go from shoveling fast food into your mouth in a parking lot at 2am to eating home cooked nutritious food and going to the gym 12 hours a week ''starting tomorrow,'' you will almost certainly fail.

      3 votes
    2. star69 Link Parent
      The Greens should be a great tool for the Labor party to swing things their way, but instead they're a detriment to all parties (and Australia in general IMO).

      The Greens should be a great tool for the Labor party to swing things their way, but instead they're a detriment to all parties (and Australia in general IMO).

      2 votes
  6. [2]
    patience_limited (edited ) Link
    Adding what I think hasn't been covered already: A refusal to understand what democratic politics can achieve, and how quickly. Only violent revolutions make things happen overnight, and the...
    • Exemplary

    Adding what I think hasn't been covered already:

    1. A refusal to understand what democratic politics can achieve, and how quickly. Only violent revolutions make things happen overnight, and the things happen badly. We're not going to stop emitting CO2 instantly (even though it's an emergent catastrophe), or fix poverty by emptying plutocrats' pockets in a single tax year, or undo any truly complex problem fast, through a magic law change. One of the reasons "identity politics" seem successful is that there are some human rights problems which can be fixed quickly and cheaply, but they never seem to change the broad conditions of life for citizens. [It never ceases to amaze me when professional programmers and engineers think political problems are simple. A code of laws is the program for society, and if you've ever studied law, you'll find a centuries-deep mess of social debt - old code, complex interdependencies, and unintended consequences.]

    2. Lack of clarity about desired outcomes. Without focused goals, you can do a great deal of work and accomplish little or nothing. After 50 years, the U.S. still has segregated schools, growing income inequality, declining labor organizations, diminishing human rights... It's nice for everyone to talk about what they hate, but be very clear about about the problems and where limited resources are best targeted.

    3. Fighting each other, rather than the enemies. We should know by now that Roger Stone, Rupert Murdoch, the "alt-right", Russian gangster plutocrats, and the rest of the reactionary ilk succeed by disseminating propaganda to divide people who should have solidarity interests. The most chilling thing to learn from past election cycles globally is that the enemies of leftism have figured out that many people are not motivated to vote by what they hate, but rather whom they hate. It's entirely too easy for an adequate candidate who supports many, if not all, of your goals, to be irredeemably tarnished by exaggerations, distortions, and lies. The truth alone is not an adequate defense - we need to put our own critical thinking skills to work and tamp down reflexive outrage each time a promising candidate is attacked with plausible lies. Each attack deserves a coherent, measured offensive campaign in response.

    4. Rotten right-wing parties demand and engage personal loyalty for candidates and hierarchical subordination regardless of ideological purity. Leftists are easily divided in part because we don't have any respect for those tools. If anything, disrespect for authority, flat political organizations, and the desire to hear all voices are hallmarks of the global left. What we need is to learn to sing in chorus, respect differences and focus on where we agree, then pull in the same general direction at the same time rather expecting to be wooed by flawless, charismatic, visionary political figures.

    5. Consumerist attitudes toward political work. "I clicked the button for my favorite candidate, I'm done!" Others above have mentioned poor political engagement in non-Presidential years in the U.S. Loss of local news, where there are political issues brewing that might deeply engage everyone (policing, schooling, livability, corruption, etc.), is a factor here, as is the seeming inability to "change the world" through a vote for somewhat obscure jobs like District Judge, Board of Education, Board of Elections, or Agriculture Commissioner. Those jobs affect individuals' lives far more directly and daily than national elections. Want to end racist schools and policing? Pay attention to your school board, local sheriffs and judges; maybe run for office. This activity doesn't change the world, but it does change your community. And local and regional elected offices are the incubators for national candidates.

    13 votes
    1. tindall Link Parent
      Eeh? "Identity politics" is a somewhat ambiguous term, but part of what it means (esp. in the context you use it, as it relates to "some human rights problems which can be fixed quickly and...

      One of the reasons "identity politics" seem successful is that there are some human rights problems which can be fixed quickly and cheaply, but they never seem to change the broad conditions of life for citizens.

      Eeh? "Identity politics" is a somewhat ambiguous term, but part of what it means (esp. in the context you use it, as it relates to "some human rights problems which can be fixed quickly and cheaply") is "trans people get murdered a lot less", which perhaps doesn't "change the broad conditions of life" for some people, but it sure does for me.

      Only violent revolutions make things happen overnight, and the things happen badly. We're not going to stop emitting CO2 instantly (even though it's an emergent catastrophe), or fix poverty by emptying plutocrats' pockets in a single tax year, or undo any truly complex problem fast, through a magic law change.

      This is obviously and self-evidently correct, and I wonder how much people actually expect this stuff to be instantaneous; rather, I think many people are rightfully frustrated that certain things which could change rapidly are blocked and slowed by intentional antagonism or inertia.

      A great example of this is at my college. We have an extremely bad retention rate, which is causing financial issues directly as well as feeding into a generally falling reputation, which indirectly affects the college's revenue. One of the major issues cited by many students who transfer out is that they were unable to work enough hours to meet their work-study caps; that is, a student could be awarded $2000 per semester in work-study and budget with that in mind, but then be unable to get a job that permits them to actually earn that much, leaving them unable to make up the difference. At $7.25 per hour for most jobs, this is a really common scenario, especially given the limited hours assigned to most workers.

      A raise of $0.75 would be a big deal for many low-income students, and for the last several years, the president of the college has taken a raise large enough to pay for a good chunk of that additional cost. The college does have the power to make a huge impact on this issue instantly, and all parties involved would benefit, except I guess the president, if the money does in fact come from that raise he usually takes. Instead, myself and the other students advocating for this have been tied up in meetings and long e-mail threads, constantly being given the runaround from accounting, payroll, and various vice presidents and deans. It's not that the college has come out and said, "This is a bad/ineffective plan, and here's why"; rather, there is so much inertia that any change is impossible.

      This, I think, is how much organizing feels, and the fact is that there is rarely a good reason for obstruction of that nature. I don't think it's particularly unreasonable to be somewhat frustrated by such situations.

      5 votes
  7. [4]
    kfwyre Link
    For decades we've been working to elevate the voices of people who have been under-represented. We've hammered "nothing about us without us" over and over again to make sure that conversations...

    For decades we've been working to elevate the voices of people who have been under-represented. We've hammered "nothing about us without us" over and over again to make sure that conversations about groups involve members of that group. It's a low bar to meet, but it's nevertheless vitally important and a continuing battle to this day, despite the strides we've made.

    In doing this, however, some have chosen not to deconstruct the previous hierarchy but invert it. Previously underprivileged voices became not equals but new rulers. Identity is now often used as the root of a message's merit, rather than the quality of the message itself. For some, "nothing about us without us" became "nothing about us from outside of us." Likewise, others seem to argue that members of an identity can never be wrong or criticized when speaking from within that identity. I understand where this sentiment comes from, especially as a defense against the many awful things that come from the aforementioned "outside," but the pendulum has swung too far when the solution to under-representation is systematic silencing.

    16 votes
    1. minimaltyp0s Link Parent
      I've never seen it put quite as eloquently as that before, but you're spot on. I think this comment has actually shone a huge amount of light on where identity politics came from, for me. Yes! The...

      Previously underprivileged voices became not equals but new rulers. Identity is now often used as the root of a message's merit, rather than the quality of the message itself.

      I've never seen it put quite as eloquently as that before, but you're spot on. I think this comment has actually shone a huge amount of light on where identity politics came from, for me.

      Likewise, others seem to argue that members of an identity can never be wrong or criticised when speaking from within that identity.

      Yes! The core issue with identity politics for me is this "protected opinion" paradigm. The points being debated and the items at stake are not really being debated - you're being informed of the correct position on the basis that the person speaking has authority from identity.

      Which, when considered fully, is actually the very behaviour and control set up we were seeking to escape.

      9 votes
    2. [2]
      dubteedub Link Parent
      I dont really think that is true. Elected Democrats at all levels are still very largely white and lmvery largely men. How do you think POC, women, or LGBT are now ruling the leftist, liberal, or...

      Previously underprivileged voices became not equals but new rulers. Identity is now often used as the root of a message's merit, rather than the quality of the message itself.

      I dont really think that is true.

      Elected Democrats at all levels are still very largely white and lmvery largely men.

      How do you think POC, women, or LGBT are now ruling the leftist, liberal, or Democratic world?

      2 votes
      1. kfwyre Link Parent
        I was speaking metaphorically, but I now see how it comes across as imprecise and can be read literally. I was trying to refer exclusively to discourse, so I should have said something along the...

        I was speaking metaphorically, but I now see how it comes across as imprecise and can be read literally. I was trying to refer exclusively to discourse, so I should have said something along the lines of "hierarchy of discourse" and "rulers of discourse." I definitely do agree that we lack solid minority representation in elected positions.

        5 votes
  8. [2]
    JuniperMonkeys (edited ) Link
    There's a lot of trends that bug me, but what I genuinely dislike is when people "grow out of it". I'm right in that 28-34 group where people I knew and liked start to get highly-paid jobs, and...

    There's a lot of trends that bug me, but what I genuinely dislike is when people "grow out of it". I'm right in that 28-34 group where people I knew and liked start to get highly-paid jobs, and it's been very depressing to see how quickly they transform into stereotypical California "liberals" with that "well, of course universal healthcare should exist, but I don't want my health plan to change and private hospitals should stay the same and I don't want the structure of my taxes to change and I don't think people who eat processed food should qualify" vibe. That minorities-are-cool-(as-long-as-their-voice-is-one-I-judge-safe), can't-the-homeless-just-move-to-Stockton, NIMBY-ass business. That Maggie Thatcher shit.

    And I'm sitting here like... the fuck happened to you people? When it comes to liking, favoriting, subscribing to liberal causes, they're all there, naturally... but it's leftist in the Tweets, conservative in the suites.

    I'm afraid to bring it up because it really sounds purity-testy, and that's one of the trends that bug me, but it's such a distasteful change. And I'm thinking damn, if it's $-related, would I have turned into an asshole too if I hadn't effectively limited my salary by working at a university? I dunno. Admittedly a rant.

    16 votes
    1. Eva Link Parent
      So much this. Interestingly enough, though, a lot of the people I know who tended to "grow out of it" actually were those who stayed in academia.

      So much this. Interestingly enough, though, a lot of the people I know who tended to "grow out of it" actually were those who stayed in academia.

      1 vote
  9. [3]
    Nmg Link
    Perceiving that certain opinions must necessarily go together. One can be against gun control restrictions and for universal healthcare. Pro- border walls and pro-immigration. Against...

    Perceiving that certain opinions must necessarily go together.

    One can be against gun control restrictions and for universal healthcare. Pro- border walls and pro-immigration. Against gerrymandering and against affirmative action. Etc etc.

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      Adys Link Parent
      I don't think this is specific to the left. In fact almost by definition it's not. US politics are far too party centric and not issue centric.

      I don't think this is specific to the left. In fact almost by definition it's not. US politics are far too party centric and not issue centric.

      15 votes
      1. Nmg Link Parent
        It might be more present on the right or left, though determining which one is more tolerant to diversity of opinions, I will leave to you. Ideally, the two party system wouldn't exist at all.

        It might be more present on the right or left, though determining which one is more tolerant to diversity of opinions, I will leave to you.

        Ideally, the two party system wouldn't exist at all.

        3 votes
  10. [6]
    agentseven Link
    The left needs a clear, thoughtful voice to articulate popular positions. In my view, the base reality of the purpose of government is to do that which the private sector a) will not do, because...

    The left needs a clear, thoughtful voice to articulate popular positions. In my view, the base reality of the purpose of government is to do that which the private sector a) will not do, because there is no profit in it or b) will not do because it requires far too much capital. I would add that we should never let the private sector do anything which we would wish (in our perfect world) would be easily available to anyone - health care being the prime example.

    I think the founding fathers even realized this, which is why the post office exists the way it does - leave it to the private sector and universal mail wouldn't have been a thing for a hundred more years. The country did its most impressive things - the freeway system, the moon landing - by spending huge sums of money in a short time that would only be feasible through the taxation of hundreds of millions.

    The left should be working hard to demonstrate that the word socialism is just a word. Why do they let the right dominate this word so? There is no such thing as a country that is not socialist. All countries tax their citizens to provide benefits of one type or another. Socialism. It's ridiculous that the right is able to get away with making an effigy out of socialism when they too drive on roads protected by police and fire.

    Why can we not articulate this?

    10 votes
    1. no_exit Link Parent
      For one, it's because what you're saying is a total recuperation of what socialism actually is and needs to be for it to be worth anything at all. As much as I clown on Jacobin, this article...

      Why can we not articulate this?

      For one, it's because what you're saying is a total recuperation of what socialism actually is and needs to be for it to be worth anything at all. As much as I clown on Jacobin, this article explains some of the problems I have with this line of thought fairly well.

      It’s one thing to identify public libraries with socialism. They operate according to democratic principles of access and distribution, providing services to all regardless of one’s ability to pay. They would be one of the most important institutions in any socialist society worthy of the name. But it’s quite another to include the police. If the forces responsible for killing Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and Rekia Boyd exemplify socialism in action, then no person who wants freedom and justice should be a socialist.

      Key questions about that state activity always need to be asked: does it reinforce or undermine the power of those who own capital? Does it increase our subordination to market discipline or offer us more freedom from its demands?

      In the absence of popular organization and militancy, government action will do little to shift the balance of power away from capital and toward labor, or to undermine market discipline instead of deepening it. So long as the fundamental structures of the economy remain unchanged, state action will disproportionately benefit capitalist interests at the expense of everything else.

      3 votes
    2. [4]
      Eva Link Parent
      Have you heard about Žižek?

      Have you heard about Žižek?

      1 vote
      1. agentseven Link Parent
        Just looked him up. I liked (and agreed) with his approach. He's articulate and frank, but he's no politician. One of the left's other problems is that difficult issues do not lend themselves to...

        Just looked him up. I liked (and agreed) with his approach. He's articulate and frank, but he's no politician. One of the left's other problems is that difficult issues do not lend themselves to be solved with sound bites. The left wants working solutions. The right wants the left to fuck off. Only one of these things is easy to get across on Twitter.

        3 votes
      2. [2]
        dubteedub Link Parent
        I have not, could you explain it?

        I have not, could you explain it?

        2 votes
        1. Eva Link Parent
          Žižek is a man! A myth! A legend! Jokes aside, he's a left-wing philosopher who's promoting the viewpoint of the above; I thought the poster might like him.

          Žižek is a man! A myth! A legend!

          Jokes aside, he's a left-wing philosopher who's promoting the viewpoint of the above; I thought the poster might like him.

  11. [2]
    Dot Link
    I feel both sides have a problem with censorship within their spectrum. I miss centrism, or I miss us all being able to moderately compromise. And I fear the hard left really doesn't want to...

    I feel both sides have a problem with censorship within their spectrum. I miss centrism, or I miss us all being able to moderately compromise. And I fear the hard left really doesn't want to compromise, specifically as a response to the political war waged my Mitch McConnell.

    9 votes
    1. tindall Link Parent
      There's compromise, and then there's being compromised ;) Joking aside, I don't think "centrism" is a good in and of itself. A lot of what is called "centrism" in the U.S. is actually what we used...

      I fear the hard left really doesn't want to compromise, specifically as a response to the political war waged my Mitch McConnell.

      There's compromise, and then there's being compromised ;)

      Joking aside, I don't think "centrism" is a good in and of itself. A lot of what is called "centrism" in the U.S. is actually what we used to call conservatism: slow or ineffective legal and policy response to social change (DADT; trans panic defense; Jim Crow), subtle upholding of existing oppressive power dynamics through new and less obvious means (e.g. the War On Drugs), and continued funneling of wealth to the wealthy.

      In the U.S., the Right is currently advocating not responding to climate change, an existential threat to the species, and not removing policies which are designed to directly harm transgender people, low income people, working class people, and people of color, and lower taxes. The Left is advocating responding rapidly and decisively to climate change, and changing said policies, at the cost of higher taxes. It seems unlikely that any "centrism" that could arise in the "middle" of these extremes will be particularly beneficial to anyone, really.

      7 votes
  12. BuckeyeSundae (edited ) Link
    I am permanently frustrated by the left’s entropy of near-victory, or snatching defeat from the jaws of success. For one reason or another any time we actually seem close to accomplishing...

    I am permanently frustrated by the left’s entropy of near-victory, or snatching defeat from the jaws of success. For one reason or another any time we actually seem close to accomplishing something, we piss off just enough people that we can’t do what we set out to any more. It’s been the way of the left for centuries.

    I get the ‘big tent’ being rolled into being called the left. I know what bumptious sort we are, that classical liberals and ancoms would only ever join up out of absolute necessity rather than any love for the other. But when push comes to shove, proving pragmatic isn’t something many of us do. And so, just on the cusp of a political victory, we’ll shoot ourselves in the foot. Every time.

    I also think that there’s sometimes so much thrist for the new on the left that we discard a lot of what was good about the old. This is uniquely left because the right frustrates me by refusing to consider new approaches because they’re new more often than giving the old because it isn’t new.

    That’s a bit vague, so let me give an example. In the 1990s, spiritualism or new age was a big topic, centered among the left (who were more likely not to be affiliated with any larger religious institution). A lot of people, including many very close to me, took up the trend to find a new way to explain or deal with the pain in their lives. The only downside were the self-interested pricks doing Cold Readings like John Edwards (not the politicians that cheated on his cancerous wife, who is also scum). Well, that and the several million dollar industry that sprang up to take advantage of people in pain. We had run-off relating to this new age stiff that included the beginning of the antivax movement, antiGMOs, and anti-nuclear, all from the basic premise that what was good was ‘natural,’ and not good ‘unnatural’ or ‘chemical.’ New age was the new thing, you see. Haven’t you heard the latest on that chemical killing your kids?!

    Of course, new age didn’t stay new, and so when it felt stale a lot of the left ditched it and moved on. Trouble is the rest saw it around long enough to gravitate toward it and we still have an awful mess to clean.

    5 votes
  13. [6]
    demifiend Link
    Maybe I'm just the wrong kind of leftist, but I honestly believe that there are only two identities that actually matter: proletarian bourgeois This isn't an opinion I express on Mastodon, because...

    Maybe I'm just the wrong kind of leftist, but I honestly believe that there are only two identities that actually matter:

    • proletarian
    • bourgeois

    This isn't an opinion I express on Mastodon, because I don't need the drama.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      spctrvl Link Parent
      The cynic in me suspects that the modern focus on social identity above all else was engineered to atomize and fragment the left.

      The cynic in me suspects that the modern focus on social identity above all else was engineered to atomize and fragment the left.

      5 votes
      1. Akir Link Parent
        I feel like I have spent a lot of time on Tildes defending the concept of identity politics. This is probably the comment that broke me. It's just like toxic masculinity; it's a fragmented phrase...

        I feel like I have spent a lot of time on Tildes defending the concept of identity politics. This is probably the comment that broke me. It's just like toxic masculinity; it's a fragmented phrase that means completely different things to different people.

        Frankly, I don't see why people are so eager to attack identity politics. Identity politics are natural in any democracy because it is, at it's core, simple self-interest. And no matter how you define identity politics, you can't deny that it has been an incredible force for goodness. Without identity politics queer people would still be in the closet and life would be significantly worse for people of color.

        7 votes
      2. demifiend Link Parent
        I wouldn't be at all surprised.

        I wouldn't be at all surprised.

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      losvedir Link Parent
      I'm sympathetic to this perspective but honestly don't know how those identities map to the modern world. What jobs these days map to those categories? At the quintessential Marxian ideal of the...

      I'm sympathetic to this perspective but honestly don't know how those identities map to the modern world. What jobs these days map to those categories? At the quintessential Marxian ideal of the factory: we have the factory director, production manager, process engineer, mechanic, operator, etc? Who's in what category? The actual owners of the factory are police officers, school teachers, and doctors who own shares in Proctor & Gamble in their pensions and 401ks. The mechanics who keep it running make more than the managers.

      Ultimately, I support a safety net for the economically disadvantaged and think that should be the number one priority of leftists, but I don't think "proles" and the bourgeoisie are useful semantic categories anymore.

      5 votes
      1. demifiend Link Parent
        Maybe not, but I'm not a very good leftist. As far as I'm concerned, if your income runs to eight figures or more you're probably part of the problem. Nobody needs that much money to have a decent...

        Maybe not, but I'm not a very good leftist. As far as I'm concerned, if your income runs to eight figures or more you're probably part of the problem. Nobody needs that much money to have a decent life, even in the US.

        5 votes
  14. [4]
    rickdg Link
    Not addressing the corruption in the system.

    Not addressing the corruption in the system.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      Eva Link Parent
      Ooh, have you heard about Lessig?

      Ooh, have you heard about Lessig?

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        rickdg Link Parent
        No, I did now. Have we seen the last of him?

        No, I did now. Have we seen the last of him?

        1 vote
        1. Eva Link Parent
          He's still incredibly active, and has been long-before his Presidential run (which the DNC email-leak proved was rigged against him, anyway). I don't think we'll ever see the last of him. At least...

          He's still incredibly active, and has been long-before his Presidential run (which the DNC email-leak proved was rigged against him, anyway). I don't think we'll ever see the last of him. At least not until he's six feet under.

          2 votes
  15. steve Link
    I was listening to an older Joe Rogan podcast earlier this week with professor Gad Saad who is a Behaviour Evolutionary Professor from Concordia University. This is the key part:...

    I was listening to an older Joe Rogan podcast earlier this week with professor Gad Saad who is a Behaviour Evolutionary Professor from Concordia University.

    This is the key part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-yvizK-kPM
    and this is the full podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAalq9lrjQA

    Essentially, the Professor stated that some extreme right-wing/religious zealot denies evolution which is obviously wrong. But extreme left-wing people tend to "alter" some basic evolution trait.

    2 votes
  16. NeonHippy Link
    One characteristic of the left that I disagree with is trying to be accepting of everything & everybody. It simply is not possible to do this. That's why I am more of a Centrist.

    One characteristic of the left that I disagree with is trying to be accepting of everything & everybody. It simply is not possible to do this. That's why I am more of a Centrist.