September 24, 2004


A thought provoking tidbit for people who think that 'if it just gets bad enough, people will wake up.'

The political context of Stuart Hall’s brilliant 1983 lecture, “The Toad in the Garden: Thatcherism among the Theorists,” was the British Left’s failure to anticipate or understand Thatcherism’s appeal for the very people it was screwing; Hall was writing at a time when unemployment in the UK had reached three million, even after analysts had predicted mass uprisings and riots once the number of unemployed reached two million. In the following passage, Hall offers one of his most stinging rebukes to neo-Leninist Leftists who think that the masses will flock to their cause once the “objective conditions” of their society are sufficiently draconian. Adapt to your local circumstances as you see fit-- and pass the word along to anyone you know who still thinks that all we need is another four years of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Ashcroft-Wolfowitz-Rove in order for tens of millions of Americans to see the virtues of Green/Socialist/Anti-Imperialist/Vegan/Whatever politics...

He promises to develop that theme further, and begins to do so with a series of posts dissecting What's The Matter With Kansas. My favorite so far is an essay on why the left should not be in the business of stamping out vulgarity:

...Remember, when we lefties think about vulgarity, we think about the reification of human life, the reduction of every human interaction to the cash nexus; but when the cultural right thinks about vulgarity, it thinks about Six Feet Under, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Harry Potter. (And don’t imagine for a moment that the six-temptations-of-potter can be ascribed simply to corporations trying to make money!) ...

We'll be watching for the continuing series.

Posted by natasha at September 24, 2004 05:36 AM | Recommended Reading | Technorati links |

There was a similar strain of thought here in the US during the mid-90's after the GOP's Contract with America changed the balance of Congress.

The Left in the 80's got bogged down with various esoteric pursuits such as Central America and the proto-pc movement. The Contract for America was more sucessful because it said simple - vote for us and in six months we'll lower your taxes by about $400.

The Left, especially the ones who came of age in the 60's, really don't get that the average voter only asks one question, "What's in it for me?"

Seattle's large population of idelogical Lefties makes conventional pragmatic liberals and election pragmatists such as my wife and myself come off like the poster children for the Young Republicans.

Get elected first - then go to work. My grandmother the ward healer taught me that one. She went with me the first time I voted too. I think I was 13.

Posted by: pops at September 24, 2004 07:12 AM