RX for the Left

by ALLAN H. KEITH

The belief that the political Left in the U.S. is in an extraordinarily anemic condition is a view shared by many.

This opinion is exemplified by Jeffrey St. Clair’s recent essay on CounterPunch titled “The Silent Death of the American Left.

Assuming that this viewpoint is correct, the question becomes — What can be done to resurrect the Left?

It is clear that the old, traditional approaches are insufficient to persuade large numbers of people to join the progressive movement.

Some of the traditional arguments used by the Left have been:

Big business is vastly too powerful, treats workers and the public atrociously and makes outlandishly high profits.

This ubiquitous exploitation is all too real and must continue to be spotlighted by the Left.

However, the public must be told this cold, hard reality —

That a moderate form of democratic socialism will be necessary, not just to improve the life of people who have to work for a living, but will become essential to the economic survival of the 99 percent.

Very real and extremely powerful Beasts threaten the economic survival of the 99 percent.

These include:

Globalization, Deindustrialization, Deunionization, Mechanization, Automation (Robotization), combined with Overpopulation, all of which endanger any ability of capitalist societies to create enough living-wage jobs for their populations.

And this list doesn’t include the other modern demons, such as climate change and serious environmental issues and civil liberties issues, as well as the ongoing, concerted effort to destroy the vital safety net.

The democratic socialist alternative must include robust government action and involvement.

However, it must also emphasize non-governmental, collective ownership mechanisms, such as voluntary cooparatives (both large and small), worker ownership of some businesses, as well as other forms of participatory economics.

Also, in the past the Left has made the mistake of placing near-total emphasis on economics and material well-being, with little or no mention of moral, ethical or spiritual issues, such as the little -mentioned issue of inheritance.

We have enormous estates, sometimes worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, that are inherited by people who in many cases have earned not even one dime of the estate.

Significant numbers of young people are handed trust funds which allow them to spend not even a single day of their lives having to deal with real work.

And adding insult to injury, many conservatives want to reduce taxes on the wealthy as well as totally eliminate the tax on large inheritances.

Only a reinvigorated left can successfully resolve issues like these and offer real hope for a viable future.

However, that can happen only if the Left is reborn and that can happen only if the Left radically modifies its approach and its message.

The citizenry must be told that the consequences of inaction might be much worse than simply being exploited by a powerful wealthy class.

Allan H. Keith is the author of “Socialism for Survival,” which was written in 1992 and which can be read free of charge on Google Books.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman