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Don't Mourn the Collapse of the Political Center


In the current issue of Salvage magazine—a UK-based socialist journal of politics and culture—the editors survey the wreckage of contemporary global politics and find, surprisingly, a glimmer of hope. They argue that the failure of neoliberal centrism and the concomitant political polarization has led to a revival of radical leftist organizing, from the UK to the US, France, and beyond. It is this organizing, and not the bland centrism of figures like Obama and Tony Blair, that holds out the only hope of combating the resurgent fascist right. Read an excerpt from the editorial below, or the full text here.

As sketched here, this alternative model is, of course, highly general and speculative. But we have reached a point where it is a task of the left, including the far and extra-parliamentary left, to attempt to flesh out such proposals. Our politics will and must remain based on a fundamental No to the totality that Trotsky calls the ‘social lie’. But we must go further. Even in so traditionally fallow a ground as the US, one of the few good things to emerge out of the Trumpocene has been a startling increase in political debate, activism and action, including at the grassroots.

Not of course, that all such mobilisation is on our side. At a most ugly level, the confidence of the fascist right – their new utopianism – has reached levels not seen in a political lifetime, culminating in the shocking mass march, confrontations, beatings and murder in Charlottesville. The level of this danger is obvious, clear and present. That the US far right is currently tearing itself apart with post-Charlottesville infighting is a small comfort, if not one that we can count on to continue; the militant response of activists on the ground is far greater…

All of this is a transformative first step. Any solutions to these problems, any triumphs, will not, of course, mean the defeat of capitalism. Which is precisely why, to a return to a recurrent Salvage theme, it is so crucial that the revolutionary Left, the Left committed to moving beyond the wage and value forms, must take on the hard task of this thinking for the immediate term. We strive to reform the system and to push beyond it, and positions designed for such a project demand specifics and subtleties: it is in the delineation of such that we hope Salvage can play a part. Unlike even the most sincere and radical reformist who sees no such prospect, we fight for policies not only to ameliorate the day-to-day for workers and the oppressed, but with an eye to the rupture without which emancipation will not come.

Image: Jeremy Corbyn at a campaign rally in Liverpool, June 2017.