Monday, September 17, 2018

Another world is needed, another left is wanted

This is something as peculiar as a magazine subscription to Socialist Worker, a Canadian left-wing radical magazine. SW is published by the International Socialists. The Canadian IS are affiliated with the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Britain, but not with the International Socialist Organization (ISO) in the United States. Somewhat confusingly, all three groups publish magazines called Socialist Worker!

After browsing back issues of Canadian SW available on the web, I admit that I don't identify with the politics of the IS. They are not wrong when warning about climate change or calling for gender equality and Native rights. However, the political context is a hybrid of dogmatic Marxism and “identity politics” á la the American campus left. The IS are infatuated with Black Lives Matter, Queer subculture, Refugees Welcome, “Palestine solidarity” and – surprise – Bernie Sanders. Worries about Islamophobia, opposition to great power intervention in Syria, and constant attacks on Justin Trudeau for not being left-liberal enough (sic) are other staples of SW back issues. This is sprinkled by occasional references to Leon Trotsky, Clara Zetkin and other icons of more classical Marxism.

The magazine feels utopian and demented at the same time. Overall, it's surprisingly “soft” for an ostensibly revolutionary publication. With the world teetering on the brink of apocalypse, the IS sounds like a bunch of BAU leftists going through the motions of protesting the latest boring bill from the Canadian Parliament, and their soft rhetoric is presumably tailored to that of campus “safe spaces”.

Still, I suppose it could have been worse. Apparently, some of IS' competitors on the left are even more politically senile, arguing that Donald Trump is a “fascist” since he appeals “to a mythical past in which America was Great” which sounds “an awful lot like Mussolini's appeal to the greatness of the Roman Empire”. Ouch! The IS kindly informs its unnamed opponents on the left that Trump is closer to Berlusconi than Mussolini, and that the capitalist class will rule through him much as it would if Hillary Clinton were to be elected. So the alternative to seeing The Donald as a budding Nazi asset is to see him as a run-of-the-mill Republican with a slightly more colorful rhetoric? Canada and the United States are so close, and yet so far apart!

Not really recommended, but thanks for reminding me why I don't support the far left…

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