I’m a firm believer in that if you don’t define yourself then your enemies will do it for you, and that could mean the difference between life and death, literally. In politics especially, if you don’t take the time to think about and define who you are, then how can you definitively say who you are not?
This may not matter to some leftists—in fact, many leftists might prefer a “no labels” approach—but unfortunately it does matter to those who don’t know us, and to those who wish to know how we are different from centrists, and most definitely how we are different from the Alt-Right.
Recently, data scientist, engineer and social justice activist Emily Gorcenski made a very prudent if not strategically keen observation:
And she is correct. You can disagree with me on everything but this: if the left doesn’t get its shit together, particularly in terms of the media and public relations, Trump and fascism are going to win out in the end. But the question is how the media is supposed to speak for or about us if we can’t even do so ourselves from any particular vantage point or agreed upon truth.
Well, I’ve an idea about this. While I know many leftists are loathe to be reduced to an arbitrary binary political spectrum, myself included, in terms of PR it works in our favor to do so, for now. We’ll start super basic:
Wikipedia (yeah, I know… but hear me out) has an entry for “far left” that more or less defines what we are at this point. It’s not too specific, but specific enough that it distinguishes us from centrist Democrats and the Alt-Right, which will help with our PR and also with showing potential recruits an alternative to the two-party system. (Because as many of you know, we are most distinctly NOT a political party, intentionally so. Such would be antithetical to leftist political theory. Obviously, the focus of leftism is on local autonomy.) The only tweak I’d make is changing “far left” to “Alt-Left”.
Why? For one, it’s symbolic and signifies we of the Alt-Left stand in direct opposition to the fascism and racism of the Alt-Right. And two, it just sounds catchier, in my opinion. Anyway, so that’s that. And now, here’s how Wikipedia defines far left (Alt-Left):
“Far-left politics are politics further to the left of the left political spectrum than the standard political left.
“There are different definitions of the far-left. In certain instances, the term far-left or radical left has been associated with forms of anarchism, autonism, and groups that advocate for revolutionary and anti-globalisation have been characterized as far-left.
“Extremist far-left politics can involve [direct action] and the formation of far-left militant organizations meant to abolish capitalist systems and the upper ruling class. Far-left [activism] consists of groups that attempt to realize their radical ideals and bring about change through [direct action] rather than established political processes.”
That part basically sums it all up, but the important part is the entry goes on to explain what is most integral to our survival, and that is what we are NOT:
“To distinguish the far-left from the moderate left, March and Mudde identify three useful criteria:
*Firstly, the far-left rejects the underlying socio-economic structure of contemporary capitalism.
*Secondly, they advocate alternative economic and power structures which involve the redistribution of resources from political elites.
*Thirdly, they are internationalists, seeing a causality between imperialism and globalism and regional socio-economic issues.
Anyway, that’s it. Just a thought that crossed my mind this morning. I ain’t no damn body, save for someone who is staunchly anti-racist, anti-fascist and tired of seeing the left fail so goddamn always. “United we stand, divided we fall”, right? Enjoy your 4th.