X Close

Twilight of the American Left The dissident 'post-Left' mocks the Democrats' progressive agenda

Post-leftists are defined by their hostility to the Left (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Post-leftists are defined by their hostility to the Left (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)


August 23, 2021   6 mins

“The most vulgar, simplistic view of the Left — that dissolves all the supposed distinctions between centrists, liberals, leftists, socialists, communists into one homogenous Democratic blob — happens to be correct.” So writes Benedict Cryptofash, an anonymous Twitter user and self-described “anti-leftist” whose other theoretical contributions include “the Left and Right are fake and gay” and “only libtards care about policy”.

Despite appearences, Cryptofash — his pseudonym mocks the tendency of online leftists to accuse their critics of “cryptofascism” — is not your typical Right-wing internet troll. He’s a Marxist who regards “leftism” as the ideology of bourgeois supremacy, the twenty-first-century equivalent of the classical liberalism that Karl Marx spent his mature years attempting to demolish. “My critique focuses on the Left,” Cryptofash writes in one of his periodic straight tweets, “not because they are worse than the Right, but because they are better than the right at precluding proletarian class consciousness.”

Cryptofash is one of the more visible members of a political tendency known as the “post-Left”, the latest in the endless stream of new and strange ideologies thrown up by social media. Although professing commitment to traditionally Left-wing goals such as anti-capitalism, the post-leftists are defined mostly by their aggressive hostility to both the Democratic Party and the radical Left — including the Democratic Socialists of America and the academic-literary Left of magazines such as Jacobin, n+1 and Dissent.

Aside from Cryptofash, other leading lights include What’s Left? co-hosts Aimee Terese and Oliver Bateman, editor of The Bellows Edwin Aponte, the Irish writer Angela Nagle and a coterie of pseudonymous Twitter accounts, such as @ghostofchristo1. Red Scare co-hosts Anna Khachiyan and Dasha Nekrasova might be considered fellow travellers.

The core assertion of the post-Left is relatively simple: The real ruling class in America is the progressive oligarchy represented politically by the Democratic Party. The Democrats are the party of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the Ivy League, the media, the upper layers of the national security state and federal bureaucracy, and of highly educated professionals in general. The Republicans, however loathsome, are largely a distraction — a tenuous alliance between a minority faction of the ruling class and petit bourgeois.

Effectively incapable of governing outside the bounds set by the Democrats and Democrat-aligned media, corporations, NGOs and government bureaucracies, the GOP’s real function is to serve as a sort of ideological bogeyman. By positioning itself as the last line of defence against phantasmic threats of “fascism” and “white nationalism” coming from the Right, the ruling class is able to legitimise its own power and conceal the domination on which that power rests.

Leftists, in this telling — whether Ivy League professors or Antifa militants on the streets of Portland — are thus little more than the unwitting dupes of the ruling class. However much they profess to hate the Democratic Party, they are, in practice, its running-dog lackeys. They support the party electorally, harass and cancel its designated enemies and enforce pro-Democrat ideology in the media, academia and the workplace. Crucially, they also help maintain the permanent state of moral emergency that serves as a pretext for the expansion of ruling class power, whether in the form of the increasingly direct control that tech monopolies wield over political discourse or the pursuit of Covid policies that transfer wealth upward and subject workers to a dystopian regime of medical surveillance.

At the core of this diagnosis is the idea that “identity politics”, “antiracism”, “intersectionality” and other pillars of the progressive culture war are mystifications whose function is to demoralise and divide the proletariat.

Similar criticisms have been made by Left-wing writers such as Adolph Reed and Walter Benn Michaels, but whereas these “class-first” leftists tend to regard “identitarianism” as a liberal deviation from authentic leftism, the post-leftists regard the idea that there still is a radical Left meaningfully distinct from the Democrats as meaningless. And because post-leftists see the Democrats, and by extension the Left, as their primary enemy, they have no problem engaging and even entering into provisional alliances with the populist Right, especially on cultural issues. Hence the right-wing memes.

Of course, the post-leftists operate at varying levels of coherence and theoretical sophistication, and most of them have produced far more in the way of podcasts and tweets than sustained considerations of political theory. (Cynically, one might say they are less of a “tendency” than a Twitter clique centered around Aimee Terese.) But it would be a mistake to dismiss it altogether on those grounds — the Dirtbag Left’s Chapo Trap House podcast, after all, has played an outsized role in the revival of millennial socialism, and it is always difficult to predict which of today’s shitposters will be setting the tone of the culture five years from now.

For one thing, the post-Left channels powerful currents of Marxist and post-Marxist critique that have been downplayed or forgotten during the “Great Awokening” and the recent socialist renaissance: from Amadeo Bordiga’s communist hostility to “anti-fascist” collaboration with the bourgeoisie to Christopher Lasch’s early writings about the medical-therapeutic state as a tool of class domination.

But perhaps the most obvious spiritual predecessor to the post-Left is the Italian-American philosopher Paul Piccone, the founder and long-time editor of the critical theory journal Telos and another Marxist who eventually left the Left only to find himself in a strange alliance with the Right.

Piccone began his career as a disciple of Herbert Marcuse and proponent of his theory of “one-dimensionality”, which held that capitalism had advanced to such a degree in the West as to effectively abolish all opposition to itself. With the proletariat co-opted by consumerism, radicals, in Marcuse’s view, should instead look for resistance from racial minorities and other outcasts who had yet to be integrated into the system.

But by the late 1970s, Piccone, reacting to the failures of the New Left, had broken with Marcuse. He began to argue that the new social movements that Marcuse had perceived as expressions of anti-system negativity had in fact been forms of what Piccone dubbed “artificial negativity” — pseudo-radical protest movements generated by the system itself.

Piccone agreed with Marcuse that by the mid-20th century, capitalism had triumphed over all internal resistance. But he believed that because the system required such resistance in order to periodically restructure itself and avoid stagnation, it had begun to manufacture its own controlled opposition. He interpreted the initial Civil Rights movement, for instance, as a product of the system’s need to “rationalise” the segregated labour market of the South, after which it seamlessly transitioned to promoting black nationalism in an “attempt to artificially reconstitute an otherness which had long since been effectively destroyed”. The allegedly radical protest movement against the Vietnam War had, similarly, merely allowed an evolving US capitalist class to abandon an imperial quagmire that had become obsolete.

Indeed, Piccone grew so pessimistic about the “artificial” nature of Western leftism that he spent much of the rest of his career seeking out extant pockets of, and resources for cultivating, “organic negativity” — his term for social practices and political formations that genuinely stood outside the logic of the system. Some of these he found on the far-Right, in the regionalism of the Italian Lega Nord, the anti-liberal political theory of Carl Schmitt, the paleoconservatism of Paul Gottfried and Samuel Francis, and the right-wing “identitarianism” of Alain de Benoist. Such explorations, or flirtations, were justifiable because, in Piccone’s view, nearly all of what passed for radicalism in the mature societies of the West was pseudo-radicalism that ultimately served capitalist interests. 

Although Piccone could be more than a bit conspiratorial, it is not hard to see how his “artificial negativity” thesis could be applied to a great deal of the officially sanctioned cultural radicalism of today, which may help to explain why ideas similar to his are beginning to resurface. One can also point to the experience of leftists during the Trump years who found themselves corralled into an anti-Trump popular front that had them allying with not only centrist Democrats but also Never-Trump Republicans, including many of the architects of the Iraq War.

Bordiga had famously argued against this sort of broad-based “anti-fascism”, which he warned would “breathe life into that great poisonous monster, a great bloc comprising every form of capitalist exploitation, along with all of its beneficiaries”, and this is indeed what happened — socialists such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, initially popular for their opposition to the “corporate” establishment of the Democrats, ultimately fell in line behind the party’s leadership and urged their followers to do the same.

The Trump years also revealed something about the nature of power in the United States that, once seen, is difficult to unsee. For all the warnings that Trump would turn out to be Hitler, he in practice turned out to be more like Berlusconi — a vulgar entertainer with a sordid personal life who in most respects ended up governing like a normal politician.

What happened on the other side of the aisle was more subtle but also, in the long run, more sinister. We saw the national media collaborating with shadowy intelligence agents and researchers to launder a conspiracy theory about Russian collusion and, later, employ the same playbook to block Trump’s planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. We saw constant media-generated and wealthy NGO-funded campaigns against racism and sexism welded to the electoral priorities of the Democrats. We saw “Critical Race Theory”, a crude ideological rationalisation of the Democrats’ coalitional logic, elevated to the level of quasi-official religion. We saw Twitter suspending The New York Post for publishing embarrassing information about Joe Biden’s son in the run-up to the election and payments processors such as PayPal partnering with progressive NGOs to monitor their customers and report “extremists” to law enforcement.

In short, we saw the consolidation of a near-unified ruling class bloc explicitly aligned with the Democratic Party against the potential disruption of Trump. This development has already created a host of strange new political alliances. If it holds, we should not be surprised if more than a few anti-capitalist radicals begin to reassess who their real enemies are.


Park MacDougald is Deputy Literary Editor for Tablet

hpmacd

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

93 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dan Gleeballs
Dan Gleeballs
2 years ago

Argument and endless schisms seem to characterize the left – Judean People’s Front etc. I’ve wondered if that might even go some way to explain the general leftist infatuation with Islam – that same trade-union, strident speaking style can be discerned in both groups.

My people though – we tend to dislike bullies, prefer a small state and distrust those who seem to enjoy politics more than is healthy.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dan Gleeballs
Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Gleeballs

“F**k off! We’re the People’s Front of Judea!” Too right. The political left spends more time fighting amongst its factions than engaging with its avowed opponents – et sic semper. Orwell found that out the hard way, too, and for pointing out the inconsistency, was slandered and cast into the outer darkness.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

Another group of overeducated wasters dreaming of a pet proletariat.

So they have great ideas about how to destroy capitalism or redistribute wealth but no idea how to create it and no inclination to do the work.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago

On the other hand you can learn from them. If you are anti woke then you can’t be 100% pro capitalist these days.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

The great lack in this excellent article is it skips over the ‘Post Modernism’, which is the actual driving philosophy of our pathological Lefty self harm. Post Modernism reduces all existence to power struggle. CRT being the perfect example, where all the world is reduced to the Oppression by the White Patriarchy, and the oppressed, being every one else. That P.M. is absurd if you have some real education does not matter as it is what the Education System has adopted as the universal truth, and so all university graduates are members of this sick and perverted cult, and go out into industry and gov and education and spread their philosophical perversions.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

OK, the market economy has many virtues, but do you therefore support undoubtedly capitalist Big Tech, their alliance with the identitarian ‘Left’ and its increasing control over political discourse?

Lee C
Lee C
2 years ago

Trump’s personal life isn’t “sordid”. It’s quite normal for a billionaire to have had three wives. None of the sexual abuse allegations has been proven. One thing that is real is Trump’s love for his children & theirs for him. Can’t fake it.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Lee C

Having multiple wives and multiple affairs would be classed as a fairly sordid personal life to most people. Whilst I accept that it is common amongst the exceedingly wealthy, and most people largely don’t care what people get up to in their personal lives (Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods come to mind), it doesn’t mean that it can’t be mentioned

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What world are you living in? Trump’s children were born in wedlock and can name their father. Frankly, this sort of personal morality attracts far more scorn at the country club than on any housing estate.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

What has the children knowing who their father got anything to do with my comment? The fact he has multiple children from multiple women, multiple broken marriages from multiple affairs means the author is quite justified as describing his personal life as somewhat sordid.
I highly doubt most people care what the rich and famous get up to in their personal lives, but I do wonder why people such as yourself get so defensive over anything involving Trump, even innocuous comments such as the one in the article

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I suspect the issue is that as it’s not a genuine differentiator between parties, to bring it up selectively therefore just looks like gratuitous (and partisan) mudslinging.
Among the US presidents of the last 60 years one could say that Democrats have been more likely to be lechers, because Kennedy and Clinton – two out of five – clearly were, whereas no Republican President (of 6) has used his position to facilitate leching.
Among UK premiers over the same period, the only one who definitely indiscresced in public office was Major. In both the US and UK cases there are plenty of counter examples to any examples, and anyway the sample is too small to mean anything.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jon Redman
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Agreed it is often used by their opponents as a line of attack, but as seen by Trump, Clinton, Burlasconi, Boris etc the voting public generally don’t care that their leaders are a bit of a cad

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There is also the fact that, as with the left’s constant shrieking that Boris is a “liar” or a “racist”, any level-headed person will shrug, think “Blair” or “Abbott” or “Sturgeon”, and simply ignore it.
Ultimately I think this type of attack is counter-productive, because all that those who make it succeed in conveying is the amount of hatred they harbour. The idea that you can win support to your cause through hatred is pretty eccentric; for the most part, to do so just makes the shouter look like a rather nasty loony.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If these men lie to their wives who they claim to love, they will definitely lie to me who they have never met. What ever the policies, I would not vote for a liar because I am not able to tell when they are telling a lie and when they are telling the truth.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Boris? At least Trump did not hand over half the Governing of UK to his woman. There has never been a greater example of Pu** y Whipped Male than the cowardly, foolish, sleazy Boris – and so all the nation has to also live under this ridiculous woman’s power.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I don’t believe I mentioned Boris Johnson in the comment you replied to

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

sorry for thumb down typo. I was going to say I agree Carrie may have a lot of influence but sadly she represents the majority of young people – some of whom will be in power one day.

Dawn McD
Dawn McD
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Tiger Woods is uniquely fascinating, the Golden Prodigy of golf who could do no wrong, until his wife went after him with a golf club and we found out he had a girlfriend in every port. How much was he getting off on getting away with his secret, that his public persona and reputation were completely false? I don’t know exactly what kind of twisted psychology was at play here, but I do remember that it was that moment, when the real Tiger Woods was exposed to public view, that he started to lose golf tournaments. He thrived on the power of pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, and when that was taken away it took something important away from him that affected his work.

Mary Thomas
Mary Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Lee C

It’s quite normal for a normal person nowadays to have had three wives! I became a third wife at 65 and I refuse to accept the epithet “sordid”. Life deals you circumstances and you deal with them as well as you can.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

I thought the final three paragraphs in which Trump vs the progressives were described was quite instructive. Gratuitously nasty, divisive and clumsy as Trump can be, he is the lesser of the evils.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 years ago

Amen: odd though it is to contemplate (sad, really). The bottom of the barrel must be wearing through by now – and I’m trying not to contemplate what’s likely to be visited upon us next.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

The USA needs a more likeable person with Trump policies. This person must be strong and probably a maverick too 🙂

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

The policies he suggested were all fairly sensible, it’s just a shame that A: The man isn’t a likeable person and comes across as a fool, and B: the US system is so partisan that nothing ever actually gets done, just continuously blocked by the opposition

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Donald John only comes across as a fool to the mentally challenged. This fool understands his MO, it worked in one election and he was cheated out of the second.
People thirst for inspiration, something tangible to believe in and DJ exudes that quality.
As an ex-commie in his latter years this fool knows that the “left” is a comfortable swamp on a par with our wonderful NHS, and the only thing that matters is humanity’s ability to struggle, to feel, to win victory against all the odds.
To be alive!

Last edited 2 years ago by Alex Tickell
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

I have been to Trump Rallies and he is Magnetic – over an hour of unscripted talk, all which is a map of MAGA, of the nation returning to being run for Constitutional rights and responcibilities – and all the world playing fair or having to deal with USA full resistance.

The creepy Biden is all the opposite with each American also being told he is either unfair, or is being treated unfairly. SICK Party.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

One of my fairly vanilla comments was flagged for moderation by someone on this site. I have suggested to Unherd that they start to monitor people who are doing this.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago


. and strongly request a reason to be given for that “flagging”

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

It needed a crass maverick to break through like Trump did. It’s possible that a more likeable person would’ve been too thin-skinned.
He simply ignored the “commentariat” when they DESTROYED him ( we were told repeatedly) in the 2016 campaign and the commentariat had assured us that the chosen candidate Hillary’s election was a fait accompli.
I wouldn’t be surprised that the arrogance and smugness of that assumption alone cost Hillary critical votes.

Last edited 2 years ago by Brendan O'Leary
Dawn McD
Dawn McD
2 years ago

All of my Democrat friends love to affix blame for Hillary’s losses (James Comey is my personal favorite scapegoat), but two Clinton moments stand out in my memory. When she made the “deplorables” comment I couldn’t believe she actually said that out loud. Nail in the coffin of her campaign, I thought at the time, but it also reminded me of a moment during the 2008 primary debates when she was photographed on stage sanding next to Obama when they first walked out. The expression on her face was a contemptuous side-eye at Obama that shouted “why is this pipsqueak even allowed to be here when everyone knows that I’m the candidate.”
My enduring memory of Hillary will be her sense of entitlement, that it was her turn and that everyone had better just get out of the way. Eight years after Al Gore had shown up on the stage with his white board and his pointer, I thought “oh here we go again.”

Fredrick Urbanelli
Fredrick Urbanelli
2 years ago

Or maybe a person with the same policies who actually speaks English. As Philip Roth pointed out, Trump speaks “Jerklish”. Were he a little more articulate, he’d have had much more support. Trump’s greatest asset was one that most people would consider a handicap in a politician: he brought out the worst in people. Especially in his opponents. Trump systematically exposed the Democratic party for the corrupt and incoherent impostors that they are, and did it in only four years. He should get a lot of credit for that. And for saving the country from Hillary, he deserves a place in the American Pantheon of Unwitting Genius.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago

Trump was attempting to speak to the deplorables rather than those that look down on them.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Wish I could give you 100 uptics Karl.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

As a Deplorable I approve this message.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

I agree. He appears almost inarticulate at times. “Very tremendous”. Just a little tweaking and he could have appealed to far more people.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

Far more people on the coasts who were never gonna vote for him anyway. Of course they would prefer a polite, well-spoken … loser.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Phillip Roth is a creep though, so he would say that.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago

See Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

Ron DeSantis comes to mind.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Fantastic article, worth the subscription alone. Then some amazing Links – 7th paragraph down click the ‘Transfer Wealth’ Link – you will never see a covid mask the same again, it also is the most worthwhile read in a very long time.

I loved all the genera and sub-genera of the wacko-Post Marxist radicals to the top level of the Mega wealthy and powerful ‘Liberal/Left’. And it all is exactly as I always say – Political Left is ALWAYS about money re-distribution, from the workers to the Elites though. Just like St* lin, but sneakier.

As a Chinese University professor explained to me several decades ago – Good economic times are when the wealthy are planting their little potatoes in the good ground – and the recession is when they harvest their crop, and the workers have their savings harvested, and so the cycle turns endlessly.

This Trillions of $ of Covid spending is all going into the pockets of the mega-Wealthy, and what is sad is they are so greedy they are also going to harvest all your savings too. Here is how it works, the Lefty ‘Fiat Money’ scam.

1) during this ‘disaster’ the Left gives vast amounts of $ to the poor, workers, and middle class, getting the money by Central Bank Debt, which the Treasury then monetizes into $ Bills, and they are sent out…. (This case the whole covid debt it is about 10$ Trillion when said and done, about 3 years worth of the entire USA tax revenue)
2) This $ is mostly squandered, wasted, and stolen, but much gets into the hands of one of the targets – the consumers. Now they have vastly more cash, but produced even less stuff because Lockdown. Prices rise by inflation as MUCH more $ chase a reduced amount of goods and services.

3) The ridiculous amount of debt can never be serviced unless interest is kept at Zero, and so it is. (The US Fed buys 120$ Billion of bonds and mortgage backed securities a Month! To keep interest zero, and to keep the market from crashing, so more debt….this is the dreaded QE with no end)

4) Zero interest and 5.4% Official inflation (maybe as much as 9% according to some) The 10 year Treasury Bond pays about 1.3%. Your savings and pension are losing at least 4.1% in value a year, this is called a Negative Real Interest Rate. Your real income is shrinking, costs rising, and savings melting, pay shrinking. To not be wrecked you Must move your savings to RISKY stock market, which may soon crash by 30% – 60%, and you be toast. (Inflation is a stealth tax on everyone as it pays off the National Debt by taking your purchasing ability, ‘Savings’ and Income, to reduce the debt by devaluing the currency) (except those wealthy enough to own ‘Appreciating Assets’ which the wealthy do.)

5) The wealthy borrow like mad at this amazingly low interest. Say 2.%, borrow Billions, and inflation is eating away the principal, it is a positive tax to them, plus what ever income they get off the investment, they get seriously more wealthy.

Cool – they gave out debt based $ to the people to redistribute wealth because of Covid. These vastly increased $ chased the same amount of stuff (no increase of stuff produced) so inflation went crazy. This depreciates the currency (Inflation), and thus plunders your savings and income. This inflation pays off the National debt they created to give out the free $, and it pays off the vast amount of debt the wealthy borrowed to buy everything. (Money is everywhere, Trillions and Trillions, waiting for any wealthy person to borrow it at almost no interest to buy ‘Real Assets’ – you cannot, but they can. Unless you get a fixed interest mortgage, but that is the only way – unless prices crash, or deflation sets in once the wealthy have all the $, which is inevitable, and then you lose the house)

Redistribution of Wealth – done by the Left, For Social Justice. Only the money was ‘Redistributed’ From the workers to the Wealthy by the stealth tax of inflation – and by keeping interest rates zero – you had NO where to hide your money from that insidious inflation tax (except the stock market, which is more overpriced than it ever has been in history – and when it crashes, then your money goes to the wealthy again. Cool, isn’t it?

No wonder even the thinking Left hate themselves, they are more rapacious than the Right ever were. This is why the MSM, Billionaire Techies, Entertainment, Finance, Politicos, and Bankers are Lefty SJW – they get to take all the money.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Back on the money again, I see. It is an important topic as my pocked is being picked. Someday there needs to be a series of articles about how we, worldwide, are having our pockets picked whilst the well off improve their assets. When will governments return to rational policies?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

I wrote it for fun to show how borrowing to ‘Redistribute’ wealth, or to just hand out money, will end up causing greater poverty in an ironic manner. (although I believe it is intentional, to harvest our savings)

My savings became the issue as I had them in a IRA which was paying nothing (my Individual Retirement Account – which I contribute to ever year, being self employed.)

Once inflation began this year the ‘savings’ are shrinking in value fast – and I am too afraid of the stock market, so am screwed.

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Bitcoin? XRP? Gold

J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Someday there needs to be a series of articles about how we, worldwide, are having our pockets picked whilst the well off improve their assets.
I, and a couple of others, spent several months commenting that Unherd should run more economic articles. They eventually ran a couple (I’m not suggesting it was in response to our suggestion) and, judging by the limited response in the comments section, I don’t think they attracted much attention.
My impression is most Unherd readers are not much interested in economics even though it might easily become the defining issue of the coming decade, more so than the culture wars.

Last edited 2 years ago by J Bryant
Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

So, basically, the “post left” is actually just another bunch of leftists telling us that those other guys aren’t REALLY of the left?

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
2 years ago

That’s what I thought. It also occurs to me that if a group of Leftists has detached itself from “Woke” then it may well be because the loathsome ship is sinking and the rats are starting to leave. Let’s hope so.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

I found the article heavy going and much like reading the plot summary on the inside flap of a fantasy novel, with all its gibberish about “the Dirtbag Left’s Chapo Trap House podcast” and “resources for cultivating, “organic negativity” — his term for social practices and political formations that genuinely stood outside the logic of the system”. Who cares? But broadly I didn’t see anything new here other than “bit of left hates other bit of left shock”. To the left there is only one permissible opinion. If you don’t hold it, you’re a fascist. This means that every smithereen of the left hates everyone else, including other smithereens of the left.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I am glad I wan’t the only one who found the leftist word salad hard going.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

It was a great article. The Point is philosophy. The Marxist Left of the past is being taken by the Nihilist, Existentialist, Anarchist, Post Modernist, Critical Thinking’, schools of thought. The old days of Socialist Morality:

“The proletariat has nothing to lose but its chains”
“The people of the world will be one fist against fascism and imperialism. We will unite, we will fight, we will win.”

Are over -it is now more about if Morality can even exist (it can’t according to modern critical theory), that as all existence can only be known by words as an external ‘reality’ is unknowable so all is discussion – and that all discussion is merely power, and therefore all which can be known is power and the hierarchy of power – thus some have power and of must – use it to subjugate those with less power. Reality is oppressed and oppressors, and that is all it can be.

Anyway, this is Post Modernism (Modern thought, the last 500 years of science and reason – is wrong, is now Post as we moved past it – as Reality cannot be known, so all we have are words, and words are power as we use them to win discussion over other persons words – Foucault and Derrida.) insane crap has 100% taken over the Liberal Arts at all Universities – and thus are destroying the West, it is our great suicide note.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I entirely agree Sanford.

Sarah H
Sarah H
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Thankyou for sharing.

Mark S
Mark S
2 years ago

it can be ridiculed but like all Marxist critiques , some really good analysis of the “progressive bourgeouis” and the Trump years. Trump shone a light on the pretensions of our ruling classes and showed how they all can act in concert. Normally the left and the intelligence agencies aren’t supposed to be partners. It cannot be unseen
And the best they could come up with was this bs
 â€œidentity politics”, “antiracism”, “intersectionality” and other pillars of the progressive culture war

Last edited 2 years ago by Mark S
Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago

Very good work. I wonder if those anti-capitalists have invested too much to change direction. If not, the left’s civil war could be exquisite.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
2 years ago

The Democrat Establishment promoted identity politics as a response to the Occupy Wall Street movement. They wanted to draw attention away from the bailouts of the banksters and how Black Jesus’ 2008 campaign had been financed by Wall Street. Allowing a few Blacks and Latinos like Obama himself and AOC to enter the Magic Circle was a small price to pay for maintaining economic inequality in the US.
No doubt AOC will be well rewarded over coming decades. (Pelosi is rumoured to be worth $100m and counting as US politicians are allowed to inside trade using their knowledge of likely future legislation). AOC and the ‘Squad’ occupy the political ground which might otherwise be occupied by a genuine opposition to the two parties. The Squad hold the balance of power in US politics and could block the mainstream Democrat agenda. Instead of using this leverage and demanding a price for their party loyalty, they oppose holding votes on universal medical care and raising the minimum wage.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 years ago

The ‘progressive left’ now is the ruling class. Identity politics has taken over from class politics and the working class has been excluded. The job of the true Left should be to champion the working class and support reindustrialisation, secure properly paid jobs, the dignity of labour and worker representation. If the Left doesn’t do this, the populist Right will and the middle class ‘progressive left’, obsessed with ideology and pronouns, will only have itself to blame.

Jim Cox
Jim Cox
2 years ago

The ruling class has established a two tier justice system which is extremely noticeable and deeply resented by at least half of Americans. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, to quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The imbecilic withdrawal from Afghanistan will propel working class resentment to new levels, which will have political repercussions.
Established progressive elites may be surprised.

Sallie R
Sallie R
2 years ago
Reply to  Jim Cox

Hi. I’m curious about your statement how “the withdrawal from Afghanistan will propel working class resentment to new levels.” I don’t follow. Can you enlighten me? Thanks.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Sallie R

An example of what Jim Cox is referring to is in this article from the NY Post: https://nypost.com/2021/08/27/armys-top-enlisted-member-slammed-for-diversity-message-amid-kabul-attack/

John McGibbon
John McGibbon
2 years ago

I believe it’s the habit of the left to describe bullsh#t politics using fancy language, obscure cultural references and theories no one has heard of, rather than just simply say “left wing nutters squabble over nonsense’.
It always has been and always will be.

Richard Barnes
Richard Barnes
2 years ago

I’m sure there are some senior common rooms where people can be found who enjoy this “how many Marxist angels can dance on the head of a pin” type of discussion, but it does seem somewhat divorced from the mass of everyday lives.

John McGibbon
John McGibbon
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Barnes

I always think that when the BBC news and current affairs programmes lead with correspondents and commentators frothing over some trivial gossip in SW1, but in the meantime people can’t get to see GPs, kids aren’t being educated, national debt is going through the roof and we are going to be lumbered with massive personal bills for home heating, transport, etc without legislators being honest about the cost for normal working families.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  John McGibbon

Yes, it does seem that the left and their client media are obsessed with the minutiae of party politics, whereas the centre and right, almost by definition, just want to get on with their lives, vote for the least-worst on polling day, then lump it whatever the result.

Sarah H
Sarah H
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Barnes

It’s divorced from everyday lives til the tanks come down the street.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Barnes

If it is divorced from every day lives they have won – which likely they have as people are just sheep and only concerned on how good the pasture is, and if it may rain, and on the Rut. baaaa

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

It’s not unusual in clannish societies to use a middle name or maternal surname to differentiate themselves from similarly-named others. This tendency came to America from Scotland via Ulster, thus, especially to Appalachia and the Bible Belt in the form of the “Scots-Irish” as Ulster Scots emigrants were known there.
In previous generations, and maybe in this, he might’ve been a James Park MacDougald, simply known as Park to differentiate from the other James MacDougalds in the village.
Maybe he’s descended from Mungo Park.
Of course the tendency has long since been appropriated by other cultural strands, so maybe he’s not from that background at all.
Or maybe he was christened Caravan Park MacDougald in honour of his place of conception. Stranger things have happened.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago

In the US he would have to have been Trailer Park MacDougald

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

I was trying to be classy.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
2 years ago

Quite correct Brendan, and quite often they differentiate by the use of two “Christian” names as in Donald-John Trump, who’s mother originated from the Gaelic Isle of Lewis

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Indeed. Her first language was Gaelic, English her second.
Some say English doesn’t seem like her son’s first language either.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
2 years ago

Don’t know about that, but as a Scot I see the MacLeod genes in the 45th president of the US.

Saul D
Saul D
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
2 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Exactly so Saul! even to the set of the mouth and the knowing windows to the soul.

alan mahon
alan mahon
2 years ago

An excellent piece, and just the sort of writing that Unherd is for.
Wokism seems to act as an anti-leftist ideology in the sense that it serves the interests of richest people in the world by moving the conversation away from economics and towards identiy.
Driven by this move away from economic issues, the rich and poor have exchanged parties with each other in both the UK and the USA.
These are the most historically significant phenomena of our times.Yet it is rare to find an intelligent writer talking about them.
Keep it up.

Alan T
Alan T
2 years ago

This lot are mainly right. That this is the twilight of the American left might be a tad optimistic.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago

an academic’s version of Hollywood gossip” – quite lovely! I take it as the left eating it’s own which is a normal condition. Glad that sense gets a certain degree of trivial rigor applied.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Some of this was hard to follow but the essence is clear. The Left still thinks it is a radical counter cultural movement but the wheel has turned and it has become the establishment, with all that entails.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

No, the opposite – the new left is completely removed from all historical morality and tradition and culture, it is off in some nightmare dystopian alternate reality called Post Modernism. Modernism being the last 500 years, science and the Enlightenment – and now is Post that. The Left is no longer ‘Rational’ but post-rational, where anything goes as reality is destroyed. Read on critical theory and Post Modernism, these are where Marxism has gone – it is an insane pathology, not old school Marx. It has also ‘Captured’ the entire MSM, Education industry, Entertainment industry, Tech/Social Media, Political parties of the Left, and the young.

It is pure evil, it is Satanism to use an old word. It is the enemy of Mankind.

Cobi Rudo
Cobi Rudo
2 years ago

Great piece but it’s cope to think that the post-left doesn’t believe the Dems to be the best vehicle for redistribution and other conventionally left policies. Red Scare, e.g., have to be of the “left” in name only to get away with their brand of humour and also not get sucked into the Fox vortex.

Ian Cooper
Ian Cooper
2 years ago

I thought this quite a helpful and well written article which confirms that the left despite their social justice rhetoric have been co-opted by liberal capitalism, in fact they just do its public relations. The question for me is not what does mean for the left but what does it mean for the radical right who oppose globalism, want to renew their country and the family, and want make a fairer and more attractive society. Might here be some co-operation?

Paul Ansell
Paul Ansell
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Cooper

Possibly we need to adjust the definition of Right wing / Left wing……as has been said already , the Right wing are seemingly the new counter-culture……

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Cooper

What Radical Right? You could fit them all into a football stadium.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

This is like the groups post French Revolution, each a small and technical difference to us maybe – but the guillotine did not care who was fed into it as they used it to settle their ideological differences. These ideological things matter greatly to the radical. We should be paying attention.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago

I am glad I am not the only one who found this piece (which manages to be both tedious and quirky) and pretty meaningless. I am not more worried about the future of the American Left (a pretty complex beast anyway) than before

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
2 years ago

Thank you, Park, for your report.

Sarah H
Sarah H
2 years ago

This is why I love Unherd. Fresh perspectives. New names to go chasing. A discovery that the confused thoughts one is thinking have already been expounded by some heterodox intellects. Thanks guys. x

Paul Ansell
Paul Ansell
2 years ago

Interesting ideas being floated here …..it reminds me of the old Middle Eastern saying , “The enemy of my enemy is my friend..” and so it is that groups who should have nothing in common find themselves in a tenuous alliance, which often lasts just so long as the common enemy remains…..ie Donald Trump…
The last two paragraphs say it all…..
Would it not be great if we could have a party that can forego Pronouns and re-connect with the Working man and woman instead of these “Left -wing metrosexuals” who believe they alone have the right to govern…..

Paul Ansell
Paul Ansell
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Ansell

Disappointing that you equate clear thinking folk with Bar room bores……..

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago

“Leftists, in this telling — whether Ivy League professors or Antifa militants on the streets of Portland — are thus little more than the unwitting dupes of the ruling class. However much they profess to hate the Democratic Party, they are, in practice, its running-dog lackeys.” Correct.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
2 years ago

Sour grapes?

Matthew Povey
Matthew Povey
2 years ago

Whenever I see the word twilight in a headline, I read Twiglet. Which makes them seem rather odd.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

A lot of words to convey the idea of the Judean People’s Front. What have the Left ever done for us? No aquaducts, roads, wine…like their mid 19th Century stateless inspiration, who did nothing useful either.

Alan Groff
Alan Groff
2 years ago

Only the fool with blogpost knows himself to be wise and Mr. Kant labored decades hearing nothing but the sound of his own voice. 

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago

At last I’ve found myself a label – although I’m possibly post-right as well. Either way, I think they’ve nailed it

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago

At last I’ve found myself a label – although I’m possibly post-right as well. Either way, I think they’ve nailed it

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
2 years ago

‘Of course, the post-leftists operate at varying levels of coherence and theoretical sophistication.’ Their analysis of what is really going on in the US is far more insightful and persuasive than most of those that appear in mainstream magazines and newspapers. It also has the benefit of being supported by all the existing evidence.