The Left Has a Great Story to Share About Alternatives to Capitalism—But Sucks at Telling It

Yves here. The failure of what is now the left, and what was once the middle of the road pro-New Deal consensus to retain the imagination and support of mainstream opinion is a big topic if treated thoroughly. A couple of points to add. One is that presenting democratic socialism as an alternative to capitalism in the US easily opens proponents up to being charged with communism, long a very very bad place to be in American politics. IMHO, it’s less threatening to point out that there are many flavors of capitalism, and historically many have been more worker/general public friendly than what we have now.

A related issue is that in the heyday of the New Deal consensus, it seemed inconceivable that it could be reversed. Recall the text of a famous letter by then President Eisenhower to his brother:

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things…. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

Well, it turned out those stupid people got together, and organized an open ended campaign to change the values of the US, and put a lot of money and Madison Avenue mojo behind it. The proponents of policies that seek to improve the living standard of ordinary people, create better social safety nets, and provide for a better commons, seem to find it incomprehensible that clever marketing and phrase-making (“entitlement” is one of many many examples) can make these ideas somehow sound like picking their pockets.

By C.J. Polychroniou, a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in numerous universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His latest books are The Precipice: Neoliberalism, the Pandemic and the Urgent Need for Social Change (A collection of interviews with Noam Chomsky; Haymarket Books, 2021), and Economics and the Left: Interviews with Progressive Economists (Verso, 2021). Originally published at Common Dreams

If we are to expect the frustrated and badly battered working-class people to turn their backs on the false promises of the far right and join instead the struggle for a more humane order based on socialist ideals and values, we need to take winning hearts and minds much more seriously.

For radical socialists, one of the most frustrating political experiences in the post-Cold War era is witnessing the dramatic deterioration of socio-economic conditions throughout the developed world and, at the same time, the failure of the Left narrative to convince the citizenry about the root causes of the problems at hand and that alternative socio-economic arrangements are in turn urgently needed. This is a paradox that open-minded radical socialists should not be hesitant to confront. A critical examination of the failure of the Left narrative to make inroads with the laboring classes in contemporary capitalist society is a must if the political pendulum is to swing back from conservative control.

The Left has always offered solid critiques about the state of capitalism. Armed with a class-driven perspective (“the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”) which has become increasingly complemented by a multi-level analysis that also brings into play the role of race, gender, culture and ethnicity, the Left narrative about the nature of the problems facing contemporary capitalist societies has no equal among politico-economic discourses. It explains economic inequality on the basis of the dynamics of a profit-driven system geared toward serving almost exclusively the interests of the dominant classes instead of treating it as an outcome of individual failures (the right-wing version of economic inequality); understands racism as a force of its own, instead of trying to sweep it under the carpet as the Right does, but also recognizes that it’s continuation in present-day society is a consequence of specific institutional arrangements and both implicit and explicit biases; and advocates a succession of policies that aim toward the attainment of the common good instead of catering to the needs and interests of a tiny coterie of corporate and financial elites as conservative policies tend to do.

The Left narrative is intellectually rigorous but also couched in deeply humanistic terms. Since the French Revolution, the Left worldview has always been one that values the common good over narrowly defined private interests, progress over tradition, democracy over authoritarian rule. As such, it favors cooperation over competition, solidarity over rugged individualism, and science over religion and superstition. It is of little surprise, therefore, that the world’s greatest intellectuals, artists and writers in the modern age — from Victor Hugo to Arturo Toscanini and from Pablo Picasso to Jean Paul Sartre — have been to the left of the political spectrum. Indeed, in a continent where ideas have always been taken very seriously, one of the great grievances among 20th century European conservatives was over the fact that so few artists and intellectuals were to be found to the right of the ideological spectrum.

Nonetheless, no matter how intellectually and morally powerful it may have been, the Left narrative about the brutal realities of the capitalist system and the alternative values that should be guiding societal development was never the dominant political paradigm. The forces of reaction have always been a formidable opponent, relying both on the ideological and repressive apparatuses of the state to block radical change initiatives. From the brutal suppression of the Paris Commune by French and Prussian troops during the “Bloody Week” (21-28 May 1871), where some 30,000 Communards were killed, to the role of the CIA in promoting anticommunism in Europe in the period immediately following the Second World War to today’s strategic co-optation of once radical groups into mainstream political forces (the German Green Party, Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain, to name just a few), the powers that be have almost always found ways to create barriers to radical social transformation.

The Left narrative has also been undermined by the experience of “actually existing socialism.” Socialism, as practiced in the former Soviet Union and its satellite states, was undemocratic and had little tolerance for individual liberties and freedoms. The political system in place actually sabotaged the social, cultural, and economic achievements of “actually existing socialism,” which were in fact quite extensive, and it was a key factor in people turning away from embracing socialism as an alternative socio-economic order.

Formed in the periphery of the global capitalist system, where neither economic nor political development had yet to reach capitalist maturity (Russia was largely an agrarian society that had never before experienced democracy when the Bolsheviks took power in 1917), the type of socialism introduced functioned on the basis of the centralization of economic resources and institutions in the hands of the state and on single party governance. Workers had no say in economic decisions even though they were touted as co-owners of the means of production. This form of system became entrenched in the “motherland” of socialism after Stalin became an autocrat (1929-1953) and remained pretty much intact even during the so-called liberalization period that was ushered in by Nikita Khruschev (1956-1964), while even less changed under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982). In the land of “actually existing socialism,” the rulers possessed no wealth and had no private property of their own but made all the decisions for the rest of society. The USSR was at best a “deformed workers’ state.”

Still, socialist and communist parties in the western world were quite popular with the masses both during the interwar years and for much of the postwar period. Communist parties carried a great deal of influence in trade unions and student movements and socialist parties were in power in numerous European countries after World War II. Indeed, the future did seem to belong to the Left.

All this changed for the worse with the collapse of “actually existing socialism” and the end of the Cold War. Instead of feeling liberated by the collapse of authoritarian state-socialism, the western Left felt a loss of identity and entered a long period of intellectual confusion and political paralysis. Many of its intellectuals abandoned their long-held ideas about socialism and communism and turned instead to mainstream political discourses, while others fell into depression and retreated altogether from political and ideological struggles. Subsequently, postmodern philosophers emerged on the scene who not only challenged the ideals of socialism but, in one of the vilest interventions in the history of intellectual discourse, identified socialism and communism with the crimes of Stalinism. The works of Marx were either ignored or completely distorted. By the mid-1990s, the intellectual paradigm shifted from Marxism and socialism to postmodernism. Media outlets to the very left of the political spectrum saw their readership decline in substantial numbers, and communist parties fell out of favor with intellectuals, workers, and students alike. By the early 2000s, most western communist parties ended up in the dustbin of history while trade unions lost entirely their political character and turned ever more toward economism. The end result was that the vision of socialism suffered a tremendous blow and the Left narrative about capitalism became quite marginalized, having little impact on the laboring populations that were experiencing declining standards of living, growing economic insecurity, and a shrinking social state under the auspices of neoliberalism.

And this is where things still stand today. Socialism remains in deep crisis in the developed world, with the only exception being the United States, the only country in the developed world that doesn’t even have a left-wing political party.

Indeed, in the metropolis of the neoliberal capitalist universe, socialism is enjoying considerable popular support, especially among the youth. For the first time, socialism in the U.S. has ceased being a taboo. Yet, one could argue that some of the political figures most responsible for the rebirth of socialism in the United States (such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders) are not socialists per se and that their fight is on behalf of a light version of European social democracy.

To stress this point further, the progressive struggle in the U.S. is over a series of selected economic and social issues (universal healthcare, student debt elimination, unionization, and defending social security and Medicare) when Europe’s postwar left-wing movements and parties, especially from the 1950s through the mid-1980s, were aiming for nothing less than the radical transformation of the entire capitalist system. Social rights such as free higher education and free healthcare had already been realized in western European countries, thus making the struggle for socialism not issue-oriented but a holistic project. For example, demands for the socialization of the means of production were on top of the political agenda of all radical left parties and organizations in western Europe. The French communist party did not shy away from labelling the socialist revolution and the “dictatorship of the proletariat” as its key strategic objectives. Yet, indicative of how sour things have gone for the socialist project since the end of the Cold War, popular forces in many European countries find themselves today fighting for the mere protection of basic social rights as the wrecking ball of neoliberalism is in full swing, seeking to destroy the last vestiges of the social state.

The Left narrative is failing to convince the bulk of the citizenry in today’s western world not because the analyses advanced about the consequences of neoliberal capitalism are incorrect but because the vision of socialism itself rarely enters the equation. Leftist intellectuals shy away from making a case for socialism. Critiques of neoliberal capitalism are not in themselves a case for the radical transformation of capitalism and its eventual replacement with a socialist socio-economic order. Critiques of neoliberal capitalism without the ideological underpinnings of a socialist vision ingrained into the analysis suggest that there is no alternative to capitalism, only a better version of capitalism. And today’s Left narrative is overwhelmed with critiques of neoliberal capitalism, which are of course very much needed, but remain largely silent about the question of a future beyond capitalism.

If we are to expect the frustrated and badly battered working-class people to turn their backs on the false promises of the far right and join instead the struggle for a more humane order based on socialist ideals and values, then the ideological battle for the minds and hearts of the laboring populations must be resumed. The vision of socialism must return in full force to the public arena. Ideological belief systems matter in politics. They are what motivates people into political action.

There are, however, also systemic factors responsible for the failure of the Left narrative to convince the laboring population in the developed countries. On the one hand, the ideological apparatuses of late capitalism have elevated the art of political apathy to such great heights that they have succeeded in making an increasingly large segment of the citizenry feel totally helpless about the possibility of making a meaningful change through participation in political struggles. At the same time, they are creating the illusion that success and failure are a matter of character, and that self-realization can be attained based on the pursuit of purely self-centered activities rather than through engagement with other human beings in common struggles for a better future for all. Whether it is the entertainment industry or marketing strategies for consumers, the prevailing mode of reference is the “self,” the individual as an isolated unit with “unique” experiences. Social injustices are virtually never brought into light by the system’s ideological apparatuses, including public education which acts under capitalism as a mechanism for creating social consensus around mainstream values and beliefs. The corporatization of higher education, with its overwhelming emphasis on market skills instead of critical pedagogy for the betterment of society and the enhancement of the democratic ethos, has also contributed immensely to the politics of apolitical culture.

On the other hand, the political agencies and the cultural institutions that are needed for the enhancement of working-class consciousness and for activating the Left narrative into action have been extensively weakened and, in some cases, even become extinct. As stated earlier, communist parties in western Europe are mostly gone while their socialist counterparts have moved so far to the right that they are now virtually indistinguishable from Christian Democratic and conservative parties in general. As for today’s radical left parties, they are anything but radical and reflect the ideological confusion that is the hallmark of multiculturalism and the politics of identity. In sum, the working classes in the developed world find themselves today without mass-based political parties that represent the interests of labor. Little wonder then why working-class people are drawn to the far-right as the leaders of those parties claim to be fighting for the primacy of workers’ interests.

Until a few decades ago, the working-class people throughout the developed world could not only rely on mass parties representing specifically their own interests but also had their own cultural institutions whose mission was to foster ideological awareness and forge proletarian culture. Socialist and communist newspapers made an immense contribution to working-class consciousness and raised the level of radicalism. Trade unions performed an equally important role by organizing various educational and social activities that enhanced solidarity. With the collapse of “actually existing socialism” and the onset of a socialist crisis, all working-class institutions experienced a dramatic fallout. In Italy, l’Unità, which had been founded by Antonio Gramsci and was the official newspaper of the Italian Communist Party, went under. In France, the venerable L’Humanité has been struggling for years with financial woes and low circulation. As for workers’ clubs, they are a thing of the past.

In conclusion, the Left narrative, no matter how accurate and intellectually powerful it may be, cannot expect to catch the imagination of the citizenry without including a vision for a real alternative future. Moreover, working-class cultural institutions need to be reinstituted for the enhancement of class consciousness and authentic socialist parties need to be rediscovered for the Left narrative to become politically effective. Social movements are important, but their actions rarely have lasting effects. Only political parties can succeed in forging the Left narrative into the policy agenda and turn it into a programmatic plan for radical social change. Understandably enough, this is quite a tall order, but the Left needs to win once again the hearts and minds of the laboring classes. But it needs the necessary political agencies and cultural instruments to do so. It cannot accomplish it on intellectual grounds alone, especially with the politics of identity acting as a spearhead for social transformation. The Communist Manifesto would have remained just a mere political document if it wasn’t for the existence of radical political parties across the globe to embrace it as their guide and vision for the emancipation of the working class from the yoke of capital.

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  1. BeliTsari

    CommonDreams epitomizes Ivy League, petit bourgeois NEPO/ creative class, ‘splaining how we ended up with two apparently sane lefty presidential candidates, nobody’s expecting to get more than 2%, from half the eligible voters who still go through the charade of LOTEing for sneeringly reactionary United Democracy/ Lincoln Project kleptocrats? We watched formerly Socialist™ EU nations feed vulnerable working class elders to COVID & go along with Biden’s Neocon fracking cabal, picking WAR, kinda sacrificing a generation of Ukrainians & blowing up EU industry’s gas supply to save “our” party’s “bridge fuel” Ponzi scheme. While exposing Schumer & Debbie’s discarded rust-belt, blue collar survivors to train wrecks, PASC-indentured gig-serfdom & cascading inflationary… never MIND!

    DNC’s didactic victim-blaming is about to unleash MAGA Nazi cops on Blacks & refugees, as complicit Unions fed us to re-re-reinfection at work & exponential debt, eviction, foreclosure & excess mortality of loved-ones at home; most of which, rendered INVISIBLE to PMC/ yuppies, by media busy selling Likud genocide, trade wars & militarized police & rampant surveillance to combat strikes, silence dissent, crush strikes. Lots of us can’t AFFORD to bail & have no idea where we’d run to, that wouldn’t be worse?

    1. JonnyJames

      I hear you. Record numbers of US dwellers are moving out. For example, there are gringo communities in Mexico where they don’t bother to learn Spanish, have a local English-language newspaper, English-speaking businesses etc (eg. San Miguel de Allende) While it is far cheaper to live in Mexico (especially health care, dental) the gringos have driven up real estate prices in certain local areas.

      If you know some basic Spanish and are willing to learn, Mexico or other Latin American countries might be a good option. As long as you choose an area that’s not in a gringo community, the real estate prices can be very affordable I hear. I have lived abroad before, and we may well leave the US again.

      1. BeliTsari

        I’d grown up reading about Weimar era Europe. When Trump got in, boss offered several LONG term, overseas gigs. A dear friend teaches Spanish, but hesitates to move to Costa Rica, due to ofay boomers (she’s Black & can easily pass as a local). My Askenazi partner’s sister left Israel, days before Oct 7 & we’d ALL been expecting Gaza?) I work with Mexican nationals & they’re kinda nervous about hanging around with gringos, anymore. Heck, I’m GLAD I was hesitant to move to CA & OR, right as the fires hit or PA as Biden was installing to increase fracking & cracking! I’d tried Cologne, but… they’re CRAZIER every day? ANYBODY have any opinions about SE Asia?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You need to check the visa situation. That limits options. Malaysia had been high on my list but they made a huge change in visa rules, basically jacked up income requirements 4x on what had been a very popular visa and did not grandfather it either. Many who had that visa had bought property.

          Thailand is going through a big change in tax rules. It had been a tax haven of sorts. Probably no more. It is cheap here but ex the diplo (and perhaps medical) communities, where you can find a lot of Thais that are pretty fluent in English, the Thais and expots don’t mix. Thai is a very difficult language and I have run into only one expat so far who speaks it and then only at a “pretty good” level and still hangs with expats. In the bigger cities, enough Thais have passable English so expats can navigate. Bangkok has big global warming exposure (impact of sea level rise) so that could be a very big negative in 10 years.

          Vietnam is supposed to be nice to visit but I have no idea about living there. I have heard Cambodia is still scarred from the Pol Pot days but have no idea again about visas or living there as an expat.

          1. BeliTsari

            Thank you, so much! My five Thai & two Vietnamese coworkers are USAF brats, OR stuck here for work (so all they keep saying is A) get a long term (oil country) gig in Malaysia, Ireland, or B) you’re an OLD hillbilly, just hunker down & go back to the Appalachians (away from Frackistan, basically channel Daniel Boone & Candide!) We constantly consider, AGW, seriously (NOAA & Weather Channel folks all retire around State College, PA). We needs us some museums, theater, concerts & knish!

              1. BeliTsari

                It’s ALL theater & Thailand has to be one of the planet’s GREAT museums? Baroque & knish, I’ve learned to improvise, here?

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  There is very little in the way of Thai live performance. There are lots of musicians in bars that perform for farangs. And as I indicated the Thais do not mix with the farnags. Thailand also has hardly any public parks. Malls are their public spaces.

  2. funemployed

    This article is a perfect example of the communication failure it is criticizing. Nothing is defined remotely concretely. There is no agency. There is no agenda except for “the left” to do better at…narrative? Even the history is presented as a bunch of stuff that just kinda happened because…”the left” just spontaneously got sad and lame?

    1. Lydia Maria Child

      Ha, yeah I kinda got the same impression. The author isn’t wrong, though.

      That said, after the first paragraph or two, I was expected an “el switcheroo” trick, where the author then writes that those first few paragraphs were an example of what he was talking about, at large. But that didn’t happen. Ironic, and also iconic of the state of things today.

      Richard Wolfe and others don’t share that problem, so maybe he should study others and not rehash the known knowns on “the left”, before writing anything else?

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      At the end, the author says to start Leftist Political Parties.

      Here in Louisiana, I’d say that’s a good start!

    3. Grumpy Engineer

      I dunno. I think the statement that “today’s Left narrative is overwhelmed with critiques of neoliberal capitalism, which are of course very much needed, but remain largely silent about the question of a future beyond capitalism” was pretty astute.

      Because that’s what today’s socialists need to do. They need to describe in detail what their vision of socialism looks like. Because in the absence of details, people will tend to pull out their history books and look for examples of “actually existing socialism” in the past. And when they find stuff like Joseph Stalin’s “agricultural collectivism”, Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” and “Cultural Revolution”, and Pol Pot’s “agrarian socialism”, the vast majority of them will (quite rightly) run screaming.

      It’s not good enough to simply state that “things suck today”. People already know that. But what would socialists do differently, both from today’s capitalists and many of yesterday’s “socialists”? A clear vision needs to be presented, and it needs to be detailed enough that people would really understand how it would work.

      Of course, if Polychroniou had actually presented some details himself, that would have been even better.

  3. SpatialFix

    A bit of oil money to grease the wheels wouldn’t hurt. But, billionaires don’t really want to signal-boost ideas that might get in the way of billionaires.

  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    Many thanks to C.J. Polychroniou for this excellent diagnosis. I happen to be reading La Ragazza del Secolo Scorso by the estimable Rossana Rossanada. I see that there was a translation into English called The Comrade from Milan, which may be at some used bookstores, somewhere.

    The first problem for the U.S. left is to get over the idea that talking about the left and calling oneself a leftist is some problem. Yes, the right will go all McCarthy, but then, we also witnessed Wasserman Schulz, Garcia, and non-voting Epstein-adjacent Plunkett going all McCarthy on Matt Taibbi. The problem for the U.S. left is admitting that liberals are not “allies” and the the U.S. Republican Party has to be countered directly, not by snark. After one’s Eat the Rich gown, then what?

    Having written that, I will note that progressive saviours like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez either have to tell us that they are leftists or blend into the flock of Plunketts. Bernie’s current warmongering indicates that he is not a leftist at all. AOC is flailing.

    Further, people on the left have to get over the “right and left don’t matter anymore” argument, which is very much in the Anglosphere and less so in places like Italy. Really? The right is very much sure that rightwing policies (minimal government, avoidance of taxation, hierarchy, maintenance of institutions, no matter how discriminatory) still matters. Where is the left?

    One of the reasons I mentioned Rossanda is that her writing (and even in the interview I link to) describes how the Italian Communist Party was a kind of humanism. It tried to get into the factories, sponsor meetings, encourage culture, meet basic needs, and publish ideas. In the U.S. of A., the left has given up any hope of such influence.

    Yes, the Italian Communist Party could be rigid and even rather severe, but its pressure produced much real change for Italy. Relying on Bernie to call Hillary on the cell phone and get Medicare for All isn’t a project that the U.S. left should involve itself in. Let the left be the left.

    1. Jams O'Donnell

      Yes. “being charged with communism, long a very very bad place to be in American politics”.

      The US establishment spent a long time and a lot of money to make this so, but knuckling down and co-operating in this smear by rejecting the label merely helps them along. Until the words ‘communism’, ‘socialism’, ‘anarchism’ etc are recognised merely as descriptive words rather than swearwords or insults, the US isn’t going to make much progress leftwards among the mass of citizens. The association of the ‘Democratic’ (capitalist and Liberal) Party and associated causes has also to be divorced from the word ‘left’, as they are intellectually completely opposed movements.

  5. TomDority

    A big part of the problem is the huge amount of money in politics that basically excludes from participation, the great number without means (dollars). Also the huge amount of money to get an higher education basically excludes from participation, the great number without means (dollars). Also, the huge amount of money to finance the consolidation of the media and it’s quest for market share has devolved news into reporting on anything sensational and identity instead of real kitchen table issues.
    The dominance of the financial Capitalist sector by imposing huge amounts of money in the form of debt upon the productive Capitalist economy for which most live has basically excludes from participation, the great number without means
    As written back in the 1920’s by an unknown
    “It is not the wickedness of predatory wealth, but the weakness of progressive economics which keeps special privilege in the saddle in the United States.”
    Where today, predatory wealth has indeed captured the body politic and was aided by the financial capitalist being enlisted in the war on terrorism and any other war wanted through the campaigns of fear and legislation

    1. BeliTsari

      EXACERBATED, increasingly by Canary Mission, ALL media & Liberal, Prop’RNot acceptable blog-aggregators firing, black-listing, cancelling, arresting and or droning journalists; incarcerating/ SILENCING whistleblowers & Google SEOing labor, independent substantiative sources down it’s memory hole? Go back & check out “citizen journalists” reporting on East Palestine NS, derailment burn-off, XTO Energy’s Schnegg gas well near Captina Creek exploded at Powhatan Point (releasing more methane than whole EU nations do in a year) two (brand new) large diameter pipeline explosions & Shell’s leaky-ass, uninspected ethane gathering system/ cracking plant & fracked reservoir. All, as Fettermann does a 180° & great Black, female representatives are crushed by United Democracy Project…

  6. Alice X

    As there are many flavors of capitalism, there are flavors of communism, though historically they have fallen to Lenin’s version, which, to me wasn’t even communism.

  7. carolina concerned

    “Only political parties can succeed in forging the Left narrative into the policy agenda and turn it into a programmatic plan for radical social change.”

    I believe you failed to mention the fundamental issue driving the situation you have described well. In 2020, according to a NY Times article, the presidential race cost 14 billion dollars. Our political leaders had to raise that money from somewhere, and we all know what that means. Included in that scenario is that political actors that raise that money are exposed to and corrupted by the system. That has a structural effect on the system and the political actors that means the actors are unlikely to be susceptible to, and probably hostile to, the Left narrative.

    There is no long term hope for a change in the system if our election system is not revolutionized with some form of public funding included and mandated. This will require beginning with a revolutionary change in the supreme court system.

    1. Susan the other

      Our politics is a popularity contest without a political-economic platform. It’s very Miss America, complete with plastic surgery and false eyelashes. Instead of spending billions of dollars to convince voters of their competence, politicians should start from the grass roots by doing surveys and referendums continuously to see which way the wind is blowing and then instead of setting sail on an ocean of bullshit they could all address specific social problems without spending obscene billions on an absurd spectacle. Of course, our tradition of band standing has always been a feature designed to avoid the issues altogether. Serious politics would destroy this sacred democratic freedom to lie your way into office.

      1. Oh

        The good for nothing politicians running for office never tell us what they’re going to do. They spend time telling us what the opposition candidate will do. The two candidates bad mouth each other during their campaigns.

      2. Valerie Now in Australia

        Couldn’t agree more. But if there is any time to be voting Third Party – it is now. At least, the Third Party candidates are speaking about the issues.

  8. Rob Urie

    Thanks to the author for this effort.

    The ‘competition in the marketplace of ideas’ frame that the author uses comes from US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and was revived by the American right circa 1982 to sell neo-liberalism as a form of liberty.

    In contrast, Marxists, via both Gramsci and Lenin, tied the processes of social definition to power.

    A recent article, I believe in the New York Times, lamented that ‘billionaires’ were losing their shirts on their media purchases. Dead right-wing propagandist Rush Limbaugh was rumored to have cost his benefactors millions and never, ever, turned a profit for them.

    Why would erstwhile capitalists continue to lose money on media purchases? Because it magnifies their political influence.

    Further, the Marxist argument isn’t that people will be talked into left-wing ideas. It is that class difference produces antagonism between the classes via the relationship of exploiter to exploited.

    Gramsci broadened this idea into a theory of hegemony, where the ideology of the ruling class disseminates through the ranks.

    Thorstein Veblen expressed a similar theory through Theory of the Leisure Class where class aspiration is informed by the possibility, no matter how improbable, that ‘we all’ have the same chance to exploit others rather than to be exploited.

    The intent isn’t to criticize the piece, but to suggest that the liberal frame utilized here is one way of seeing the world, but there are multiple other ways of doing so.

    The future is unwritten.

    Thanks again for the effort.

  9. Gus70

    In the US much more would be accomplished with changes in terminology/vocabulary. Right or wrong, the terms socialism, communism, left, working class, etc., have been illdefined. Although socialist policies, ie: social security, national healthcare, are overwhelminghly popular, communism and socialism are seen as evil and anathema to American individuality. The term “left” now is is reserved for intellectuals and “crazies” and the working class is viewed as industrial workers rather than all wage earners.

    Terminology can create fragmentation which is the opposite of the needed understanding of the commonality of interests required to move to socialism. The wrong words elicit negative reflexive responses which stifle the needed understanding. If you use the wrong words people won’t listen.

  10. Messeger

    All of this analyzing misses the main problem- getting people to listen. The wrong terms illicit negative responses. Term like socialism, communism, the left, etc., are mere labels used by leftists to categorize their messages. The wrong labels can cause people to reflexively reject the message, shutting down discourse. Labels also create fragmentation of the population, the opposite of the desired recognition of the common interests of all.
    Terms like “equality” are popular among most people. They respond positively. They listen. Commonality of interests is recognized. It’s social.
    The message won’t get through if people don’t listen.

  11. Terry Flynn

    I wish I had paid more attention to the “old school SNP-supporting” left-wing phenomenally intelligent Professor of British Economic History who was my Director of Studies when I studied at Cambridge in the mid 1990s. He was exiting the “university teaching role” and just doing college supervisions. For USians, Cambridge and Oxford are effectively Federal institutions where teaching and exams are done centrally whilst individual(ish) tuition is done at the “state” (College) level.

    He taught us the “book” during 55 minutes of a supervision. Then would (though I largely missed it at the time) seemingly ramble on for 5 minutes about “non-exam stuff” which was a subtle attempt to alert us that the “neoclassical synthesis” etc was garbage and we really needed to go learn why the third factor of production – land – got subsumed into capital.

    Years later when I was giving a guest lecture at the med stats dept of the Uni I visited him and thanked him. It’s just unfortunate that it took so long to unlearn the complete rubbish I was taught as part of the Cambridge Economics course and had to regurgitate in exams. Not that “the left” should necessarily laser focus on Georgism etc but once you learn how it should fit in to things and what political machinations went on to suppress it in the USA and UK you can’t help but get cynical about the left’s ability to present a coherent counter-attack. After all, if Adam Smith thought Land Value Taxation was efficient and “the left” (for some value of left) thinks it is equitable, why haven’t we at least talked about it more?

    1. Johnny Conspiranoid

      “what political machinations went on to suppress it in the USA and UK you can’t help but get cynical about the left’s ability to present a coherent counter-attack.”
      Massive efforts to neutralise anti-capitalist/imperialist forces are a constant feature of capitalism. Propaganda can’t be effective unless it can be disguised as something else and control of political parties and other movements through infiltration requires secrecy. So they require conspiracy. Countering such strategies would require you to be a conspiracy theorist and imperialist elements would make great efforts through propaganda and institutional capture to discourage that.

  12. Mikel

    Think of these words: “more” and “extra.”

    They have an appeal.

    Socialism and communism have been successfully framed as austerity. Framed as what one has to give up.
    Capitalism is a framed as a way to get “more” and “extra.”

    The way something is framed doesn’t make it true, but it’s the confines that have to be addressed and/or broken out of.

    Maybe breaking it down to that simple idea shows where the narratives have gone off track or where the narrative battle rests.

    1. Mikel

      And I want to add this in a world where establishments are leveraging technology for social control and social engineering:

      Any ideology, system, culture, etc that just recognized people have personal boundaries and respects those boundaries would have appeal.

    2. jm

      It doesn’t get any more simple than Fire Department = Socialism. I have never understood why this example is not regularly used to enlighten people to the potential benefits of socialism. People love their firefighters.

      For me it keeps coming back to lambert’s “concrete material benefits” and if we can afford the Fire Department why can’t we afford other social goods without someone greedy making a profit.

      1. Mikel

        I like to say people have no objections to socialism, they object to who they have to be socialists with. And the “othering” of people remains a big hurdle.

      2. yan

        Fully agree. And I remember a draconian conservatism story back in the aughts about a guy who was delinquent on his taxes and the fire department said sorry, we’re not coming to put out your house fire, and it was allowed to burn down.

  13. junez

    The author mentions suppression, but omits some critical recent examples. This seems to me one of the most important barriers to Left action–in the U.S. itself, crushing unions and their allies during the McCarthy period, and destroying other radical shoots–Occupy Wall St and Sanders’ campaigns. Perhaps the two worst international actions were support of Yeltsin and his wreckers over Gorbachev and his “socialism with a human face,” and the destruction of Chilean socialism–not only democratic, but technologically innovative. Chile would have been inspiring to other poor countries, a major reason for destroying it. Who is confident that more effective Left politics would escape this?

  14. Partyless poster

    I think, as many have already mentioned, that the words themselves have lost so much meaning, (people actually thinking the democrats are left!)
    But also Americans will never admit how incredibly propagandized they are. There are many who see government as the problem with everything and think the “free market” will solve all ills. If something doesn’t work (like the american health care system)
    Its always because government never business.
    Even when they know that you can buy politicians they still think that pol is the problem and not the monied interests bribing them.
    I think the best approach might be to get people thinking about why things are getting steadily worse as the center of politics has moved farther to the right, that in itself SHOULD be proof that those policies don’t work.

  15. Susan the other

    Has there ever been a political party dedicated to a broad coalition of human-social-environmental goals? Maybe ten thousand years ago. But not since profit emerged as an unanchored concept. Followed by all our other inventions of rationalized language. Democracy, identity, economism, transactionism, humanism, environmentalism, etc. Not to overlook Dimitry Orlov’s “extinct, extincter, extinctist,” we could just say extinctism. I’m still wondering which rocky cliff capitalism is hanging onto in a post industrial world. And where will profit survive in a post financial world? I hope we are witnessing the ignominious end to all our disaster consumerism as we watch in real-time its pathetic crusade: “prosperity guardian.” I wonder why oil was never rationalized into “petroleumism.” Or water into waterism or air to airism. Holy Euphemism.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      “Environmental” is very new as a demand, and basically started with the bad LA air pollution of the 1960s. So I don’t think it makes any sense to include respect for the environment as a political demand. Most until recently would have accepted resource exploitation as necessary if the poors were to have a better lot.

      1. Ellen Anderson

        I think that is precisely why the left is failing. Waste based industrial capitalism has trashed the earth. The most fundamental demand should be “environmentalism.” Traditional Marxism views scarcity as artificial and back then it did appear that our resources were infinite and that “red plenty” should be the goal. If Marx were alive today he would ask us to consider our actual material conditions and adjust the means of production accordingly. To do that you would have to tell people that they can’t drive their carz. Good luck with that! But, in fact, they aren’t going to be able to drive their carz.

  16. Chris Cosmos

    Why has the left failed in the USA? Simple answer is that increasing numbers of us understand that the Democratic Party (DP) has sold itself to the billionaire class and even on the Democratic Party “left” it is not, in my opinion, a leftist movement. It rejects social democracy in favor of a militaristic Imperial State that is bent on world conquest. The DP favors censorship and repressive measures as well as the most clearly poisonous movement–identity politics that goes against the old leftist principles of solidarity. I witnessed its development and was as much a part of leftist repression as COINTELPRO was back in the day.

    There is no mainstream left in the USA and Sanders and AOC are, at best, traitors to leftist principles. The problem I have today with socialism and even social democracy is that the State is too systemically corrupt to be in charge of a system that puts common people at least on par with the rich. At the present time, as a veteran of the Washington scene I can assure you that you cannot trust the government to do anything except, perhaps, run a relatively honest census. So I have to oppose even democratic socialist programs. I can go into detail but won’t except repeat the Morris Berman’s notion of the US as a “hustler” culture.

  17. Ando Arike

    The 1971 Powell memo’s ideological call-to-arms against the left-populist liberation and antiwar movements of the era launched a hugely successful corporate P.R. effort to purge public discourse in the U.S. of any concepts associated with “class struggle” or “labor exploitation” or “wage slavery,” replacing these with a modern version of Social Darwinism in which the individual “homo economicus” is solely responsible for his/her/their fate in the struggle for survival. Americans, in effect, lost the language to describe their economic oppression — the Reagan-era “Newspeak” dictionary turned the vocabulary of class struggle into a “thoughtcrime.” What remained of leftist activism, now ensconced in the corporatized University, shifted its vocabulary to identity politics and critiques of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, even classism (shorn of revolutionary implications.) The dismantling of the New Deal could now proceed apace, unimpeded by either party.

    Today, in a brilliant stroke, the U.S. right-wing habitually identifies corporatist politicos like Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi as “the Left” — or worse, the “cultural Marxist Left” — scoring a huge ideological victory by turning the historical vocabulary of class struggle into nonsense. It’s perhaps time that real leftists begin avoiding the word like the plague, and replacing “socialism” with a phrase like “economic democracy.” The Left really does need to offer a better story about the future, as C.J. Polychroniou argues, before the GOP and Heritage Foundation and ALEC turn the U.S. into a neo-fascist theocracy. The new story should be about worker-coops, a 24-hour work-week, downsizing oligarchic corporations, dethroning billionaire plutocrats, and ending the link between capitalism and imperialist war. What’s so funny ’bout peace, love ,and understanding?

  18. JonnyJames

    In addition to the many aspects of this complex issue, we have the basic, underlying questions that need to be answered:. Can we consider the US a functioning democracy?

    Some, like me, say absolutely not. Much has been written about this and even Jimmy Carter called the US “an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery” in 2015.

    Michael Hudson, Richard Wolff, Sheldon Wolin (not to mention the Noam Chomsky of years ago), have all written and spoke about the lack of democracy. Many have written about the formalization of oligarchy after the Citizens United decision as well.

    To be crude: since the US is an oligarchy, there is no way to “vote” against their interests, despite the public relations Elections Inc.. How can “the left”, left libertarians, anarcho-socialists or anyone else have an effect on policy? The short answer: it is impossible.

    What can be done? Should we continue to “vote” for right-wing, authoritarian sociopaths and expect a different result? Maybe we should picket the polls on “election day” and protest with a list of specific demands instead?

    1. carolina concerned

      “What can be done?”

      We must begin as a country to recognize that the US is not a “functioning democracy.” Our political system is broken. Trump has proven that the constitution is obsolete. Thanks Trump and MAGA voters.

      We must begin to establish a third or fourth political party. Although, even the simple classic Animal Farm tells us a third and fourth party will likely become like our current mess.

      I suggest that we work to take the legislative vote away from elected politicians and return to the law making vote to American citizens. This can be done in the 21st century with remote voting by designated citizens with 6 month terms of service as voters. This is just an initial suggestion and would require a much more detailed design. Hopefully, this would allow a frequent turnover of voters and would discourage most corruption. It would, of course, require diligent monitoring and regulation.

    2. Societal Illusions

      this! and many insights shared above:

      it certainly seems the sense that both the left and the right miss (aka have no interest in) the fundamental human needs of the general populace.

      Capitalism (guessing the right?) as a system meets some individual needs, but not others. Socialism (perhaps left?) meets some group or collective needs, but not others. Both imply a small entitled group who feeds off the rest.

      Libertarianism seems ideal if humans collectively were capable of self-governing; but clearly we are not. That and the apparent and regular utopian reality of “can’t get there from here.”

      The American Experiment has failed after a promising start. Perhaps a new attempt at it will have a chance to win hearts and minds as currently none are apparent.

  19. Lefty Godot

    How is the left’s narrative to be communicated widely to working people (or, more fundamentally, to anyone outside the high value asset owning and investing class)? The “organizing” that the left loves to talk about rarely happens beyond very localized pockets of people suffering some particular outrage, and it’s easy for larger, well-endowed reactionary forces to either limit such efforts to isolated areas or snuff them out entirely. Even with a more inspired narrative, the left is going nowhere without a means to get a critical mass of people listening to that narrative (and hopefully propagating it to others). Underground papers didn’t get it done, college radio stations were insufficient, and random collections of opinionated internet sites aren’t working either. Something else is needed, but what?

  20. digi_owl

    A major problem with using USSR as a litmus test for socialism is that the system was under siege pretty much from the word go. USA even had troops on Russian soil fighting the Bolsheviks early on.

    Also, the left-right divide is increasingly showing it age. It barely made sense back when it was coined based on how people were seated in the room in France, with traditionalists defending the king to the right.

    Most of the “left” are maybe so on non-material social issues, but none of them are likely to question the capitalist system any time soon.

    What i find interesting is the rise of “left-nationalist” thinking, that place the material needs of the nation and its people ahead of some globalist elite agenda. Culturally conservative, while materially communal.

  21. Gil Schaeffer

    I want a democratic constitution in the US. Let’s start with that. This article and the left in the US in general forget (or have never known) that the principal strategic goal of left and labor parties in the US and Europe before the Bolshevik Revolution was to “win the battle for democracy,” as Marx put it in the Communist Manifesto. My alternative vision for the US is getting rid of the Senate, the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review, and the President’s veto and war making powers. “Socialism” would follow naturally if we had democracy.

  22. deplorado

    I’m sorry, I think the author forgot to include the actual “great story” the Left has to tell.
    What is the great story? He denies it himself by saying the USSR was a “deformed worker’s state”.

  23. Starry Gordon

    Most of this seems to be about talk, as If the Left talked better it would have a better fate. For instance, “All of this analyzing misses the main problem- getting people to listen.” I think if you want people to listen you should start by listening yourselves. If you’re clever you can still dominate or lead or whatever it is you want to do by listening cleverly, the way a good shrink or con artist does. And, who knows, you might learn something.

    And to get beyond talk you need a program of material action. An activist once told me, “Don’t tell people what you are. Tell them what you want to do. Let them do the name-calling.” Usually you will also need to hook this up with actually doing something along the lines of what you’re talking about.

  24. Willow

    Japanese communist party seems to be keeping its head above the water and may gain strength given Japan’s current economic and political problems. It has been commented that Japan’s post-war economic success was due to a socialist political economy dressed up as a democracy. i.e. Japan’s public service were the true leaders and politicians just fronts. Only when Japan moved to a Western form of democratic political economy lead by politicians did the wheels start to fall off and major economic missteps started.

  25. WillD

    The left always had good stories, in all their different flavours, but didn’t do a good job of telling them, and didn’t do a good job of implementing them.

    As essentially and importantly people-centric, and people-friendly systems of economics and government, they were unable to strike a happy balance with the less tolerant, greedier people who didn’t share their social views who wanted to exploit and profit unfairly.

    The ambitious, greedier, and dare-I-say less principled and dishonest people won by ‘persuading’ (conning) the majority into believing that they had their best interests at heart when of course, they didn’t. They lied and used all sorts of tricks to manipulate people and governments.

    The real left will only re-emerge when sufficient people wake up to the harsh and bitter realities of today and take action.

  26. spud

    what passes for the left since 1993 is pretty pathetic. i watched one after one left wing consumer and environmental groups after another, sign off on bill clintons fascist free trade, deregulation, privatization, slashing of the social contract, tax cuts for rich parasites and jim crow laws. almost every one of them folded, and since bill clinton, have electorally backed the nafta democrats.

    i regularly argue with the so-called left over sovereignty and nationalism. they are completely duped that free trade helps the poor, and we can tax and regulate the rich.

    but that is not the case, once you lose sovereignty, you now create a world wide oligarchy that turns your government into servants of the obscene rich. i point out the WEF, and the W.T.O., i get completely ignored and they bring up nonsense like a wealth tax. totally ignoring what protectionism is in reality, capital controls and tariffs which are a tax on the rich. they just pooh pooh it, or ignore it.

    i argue all of the time that the immigrant problem is caused by free trade, as soon as the ink was dried on nafta, we got flooded by desperate people that had to immigrate, or starve.

    the duped left than says we must accept these people and help them. my response is they are driving down the wages almost all americans, and if we got rid of free trade, they most likely would go home, because they really never wanted to leave in the first place.

    the left then brings up the new deal, i bring up smoot-hawley. i do not think the new deal would have worked without smoot-hawley. the new central European fascist nations besides the british and the french, would have flooded america with subsidized cheap stuff, over whelming america production, the left pooh poohs that, and is now obsessed with industrial policy, which they have no clue what that entails.

    i think FDR and Truman understood this well.

    “FDR declared a war on Wall Street on several levels, beginning with his support of the Pecorra Commission which sent thousands of bankers to prison, and exposed the criminal activities of the top tier of Wall Street’s power structure who manipulated the depression, buying political offices and pushing fascism. Ferdinand Pecorra who ran the commission called out the deep state when he said “this small group of highly placed financiers, controlling the very springs of economic activity, holds more real power than any similar group in the United States.””

    “One of the most controversial policies for which FDR is demonized today was his abolishment of the gold standard.

    FDR imposed protective tariffs to favor agro-industrial recovery on all fronts ending years of rapacious free trade.”

    “Had the policy advocated by Mr Clay, as embodied in the tariff of 1842, been maintained, there could have been no secession, and for the reason that the southern mineral region would long since have obtained control of the planting one. If now maintained – if measures be now adopted for enabling the people of the hill country to profit of our present tariff – and if capitalists can have such assurances of its permanence as is required for securing the creation of mills and furnaces, and the opening of mines — we may retrace our steps and thus secure the permanent maintenance of the Union. If, on the contrary, our people left in doubt as to the purposes of the Administration, are compelled at each succeeding session of Congress to fight for life, and if, finally, the British free trade system be readopted – the Union must, before the lapse of may years, be rent into numerous fragments, mere instruments in the hands of foreign powers. From this, there can be no escape.”

    Truman vetoed Gatt three times i think, i cannot find the data no more, but he did it to try too stop the creation of the W.T.O., which is fascism.

    IKE said he would not deviate from his predecessors trade policy.

    today the left embraces the E.U. which is built upon the fascist dreams of the 1930’s.

    the left embraces the TPP, and despised trumps tariffs.

    no wonder the people no longer consider the left.

  27. yan

    We went through this whole discussion in the early aughts during Bush/Cheney. Main guy was George Lakoff, cognitive linguistics, framing, the book Don’t Think of an Elephant. For example the neolib term “tax relief” frames taxes as an affliction that we need to be relieved of, rather than an investment in things that give us freedoms – roads, schools, hospitals. I was all with our need to establish a solid framing infrastructure for the left, but was baffled at how no one seemed to get it, and discussions tended to devolve into petty squabbles about coercion and propaganda. The whole thing fizzled out partway into the Obama first term. Not sure what happened. Hard not to feel that we could/should have been working on this for the last two decades. The left might be in a much stronger place now.

    1. spud

      now here is why the left just does not get it. this was said by a oligarch, who now has world wide reach thanks to bill clintons free trade and deregulation. of course he knows this is the case, but he is using it to get voters lined up behind fake populists.

      without the ability to cross state lines, let alone national ones, this creep was penned in to some degree.

      if we do not reverse bill clintons and the neo-liberal disastrous polices, no amount of talking about the left will do one spit of good.

      because the deplorable knows who did what to whom, and why.

      JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon says America has failed its bottom 30%—and should stop sneering at Trump’s MAGA supporters: ‘What the hell have we done as a nation?’
      Chloe Taylor
      Thu, November 30, 2023, 6:53 AM CST·5 min read

      “We should stop talking about ultra-MAGA,” he insisted. “I think you’re insulting a large group of people, and making this assumption, scapegoating—which the press is pretty good at, too—that these people believe in Trump’s family values and are supporting the personal person. I don’t think that’s true.”

      A lot of the support for Trump’s so-called MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) campaign, Dimon argued, came from specific things he had called out or achieved during his presidency.

      “I think what [supporters are] looking at is the economy was pretty good—the Black community had the lowest unemployment rate ever in his last year,” he said. “He wasn’t wrong about China. He wasn’t wrong about NATO. He was wrong about the misuse of the military. So that’s why—they’re looking at that.”

      and we are still waiting, ask a deplorable about nafta once. this was 2019, and even today, the deplorable are more out raged than ever from free trade. they know its driving up prices, and still lowering wages.

      so if you are gonna tell the deplorable a long long story about how the left will benefit them, and completely over look what the left has embraced, and refuse to talk about, in fact, refuse to even acknowledge what they were part and parcel of, and say that the reform we need, is to reverse those polices, do a FDR and Truman commissions to get to the bottom of this, and it worked for them and the left.

      instead of history lessons which will do no good. and the polices the left wants to implement will do no good, because of the oligarchs everywhere have global reach.

      how you gonna stop oligarchs from other countries that call the shots here to. with free trade, you can’t.

      only one way to stop that, and the left refuses to discuss this.

      in fact, it lets frauds like diamond and trump steal the show.

  28. Amfortas the Hippie

    way, way late to this part(yesterday was a painday, and i hibernated)

    i think my feed store parking lot experiences during the 2015-2016 presnit campagne are germane.
    the rednecks loading my feed and hay and such into my truck(i always help, btw) would see my bernie sticker…look askance at me…and say “idnt he soshulizt?!”
    i’d say,” please define that term”
    they couldnt…to a man.
    various parroting of the smears and idiocy theyve been programmed with for 100+ years.
    depending on their age…i’d mention social security, medicare, that disability thing their hurt-on-job brother gets…or even the socialist highway they drove to work on…not to mention the local school, which is the largest employer in the county(#2 is city, #3 is county,lol)
    then i’d wax poetic about the New Deal…parity pricing for agriculture…and on and on.
    all of this came forth over several visits…and with maybe 9 guys…
    so its evangelism that we need.
    i dont use the bad words(socialism, communism, etc)…unless they go there first.
    when folks ask what party i vote for…i say “i remain unrepresented”
    when they ask for my political beliefs:”im a libertarian socialist”
    like Koans, these replies serve to shock their minds…sometimes forcing a crack, that has been formed by the numerous contradictions in The Narrative, to open a bit wider.
    socratic method is preferred…asking questions, leading them around to question what they think is truth.
    its effective…and doesnt require electricity or connectivity to large, prioprietary networks….but it is very, very slow.
    and, prior to the period between 2008 and 2015, speaking that way would be a fine and efficient method for getting my ass kicked…and in fact had accomplished just that on several occasions.
    so it is not without risk.

  29. John Anthony La Pietra

    If people here who are US-based want a stronger left party, I’m making time to come here again (trying to be more regular) and tell you: you have at least a vehicle for helping build one — the Green Party of the United States.

    I can hear some virtual guffaws already . . . but please stop and think.

    GPUS has better issue positions in its platform and its public statements than some other national Green Parties whose positions have been rightly taken to task here. Come check us out, and see how we work to take Green values in better directions.

    GPUS has ballot access already in a number of states (including my own Michigan, where we’ve been on the ballot since 2000). And it’s engaged in another biennial/quadrennial drive to get on more, and run more candidates. Yes, candidates — at all levels — even though in many states, laws require us to nominate candidates at the top level to get and stay on the ballot without yet another time-, money-, and energy-consuming petition drive. See this page for election information, including our database of candidates and officeholders since 1985.

    (If you don’t know whether Greens have ballot access for this year yet where you are, you can start by looking here:

    That page also has links to state Green Party presences online.)

    I don’t claim that GPUS is perfect. Far from it. If nothing else, it has me in it, and I know I’m not perfect. And I sympathize with the occasional points of view expressed here that Greens in the US are not what readers want in a party. So come take a close-up look, and figure out how you can help make it more like what you want. GPUS needs to get better, and stronger — locally and nationally — and I believe people from the commentariat could be part of helping to make it stronger.

    IMO, GPUS is the strongest starting point for a left party that the US has. And with more honest and informed people (of the kind I’ve come to find and expect here at NC) helping to overcome structural disadvantages — including the disadvantages of having to maintain the structures required to be able to jump through the hoops put up by the R & D folks — it can become . . . what’s the proper phrase? . . . oh, yes: “a more perfect union”.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      And two points perhaps of particular interest to folks here:

      * GPUS is tending and trending toward ecosocialism more than toward ecocapitalism.

      * And the debate over monetary policy in GPUS is not between MMT and (for lack of another shorter term) “Chicago-style” capitalism, but between MMT and monetary reform along the lines of the NEED Act proposed by Dennis Kucinich in the early 2010s.

      And the latter is what’s in our platform. See also the homepages of our Banking and Monetary Reform Committee and Greens for Monetary Reform.

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