I've wandered into these waters myself, on occasion. Sort of. But only in a somewhat general sense. So some clarity then. What follows is an abbreviated outline of what I call "My own Alt-Left Manifesto. With Blackjack and Hookers." A treatise on Postmodern Political Economy .
- Since the end of WWII, the American left has been primarily concerned with anti-racism, while the American right has been primarily concerned with anti-communism. While there are other concerns in both cases, those ones dominate.
- Both sides have therefore been successful. Not totally successful, but more or less so. The left has seen the passage of civil rights laws, affirmative action, an anti-racist consensus among the general public and even elected a black man for two consecutive terms in the oval office. The right has seen the dissolution of the USSR, market reforms in China, and a retreat of ideological socialism in most parts of the world.
- Despite, or possibly because of this success, both sides of the US political spectrum have vocal factions that are more rather than less strident and fanatical, such as the paleo-cons and the Tea Party on the right and Black Lives Matter and the social justice warriors on the left.
- What typifies these strident ideologues is epistemic closure - the ideologies are marked by obsessive preoccupation with issues that are of little relevance to others (microaggressions, democrats coming to take everybody's guns away, safe spaces, tax revolt etc) refuse dialogue and negotiation and are impervious to persuasion. All liberals are America hating cultural Marxists, all white males are racist and sexist, and so on.
- Epistemic closure and overall ideological excess has been enabled by the rise and spread of postmodern philosophy and thought: first in academia and subsequently throughout popular culture. Postmodernism isn't an easy thing to pin down, but critical to it is a rejection of philosophical objectivism on all levels. Postmodernists would not only claim that morality is subjective, but also that very axiomatic concepts: the nature of basic perception of reality and the foundations of thought, are socially constructed. The resulting denial of a common reality and a common set of moral and philosophical principles binding to all has caused increased political and social fragmentation and divisiveness.
- Alternative politics have arisen out of frustration with the above and with how tepid and unresponsive mainstream centrist politics is. Alternative politics have been further enabled by the enhanced reach and networking capability of social media.
- In response to the race-obsessed left, the Alternative Right is marked by "race realism", white nationalism and a narrative of white victimhood at the hands of a militant left enabled by a weak state, corporate power and obliviousness on part of a mainstream right too preoccupied with wealth accumulation to be at all concerned with preservation of European cultural and racial heritage.
- In keeping with the above, in response to the wealth and property obsessed right, the Alternative Left is marked by "class realism," working and middle class solidarity and a narrative of class war waged by a greedy right enabled by a weak state, corporate power and obliviousness on part of a mainstream left too preoccupied with identity politics to be at all concerned with the welfare of working and middle class people.
- "Class Realism" is defined as acknowledging the reality of class, in the historical materialist sense of the term. Meaning that class is marked by relations of production - some people make their living entirely off ownership of capital through rent, interest, dividends and so on, while others make their living only by selling their own labor power, while still others are some combination of the two, with wildly varying income levels all around. Class is best seen then in terms of income, net worth and relations of production.
- Class realism acknowledges that at least since the elections of Ronald Reagan in America and Margaret Thatcher in the UK, western governments have been waging active class war against their own working classes. This is chiefly marked by the exporting of jobs, importing of mass surplus labor, attacking the unions, deregulation, privatization, and the enabling of large amounts of private and public debt.
- While the right wing has been the main driver in this class warfare, it has been enabled by a regressive left that has displayed neutrality on class and economic issues and defines oppression and marginalization instead in terms of culture and identity, causing socially destructive racial and sexual strife and enabling the right's class warfare.
Manifesto of the Alt Left
- The alt left shall strive to be principled but not dogmatic. Its primary purpose should be able to passionately and philosophically advocate on behalf of the material needs and interests of the working and middle classes, in favor of policies that materially benefit the broader portion of the population and defend them against rentier policies and economics that would only benefit the few.
- The alt left shall remain committed to full employment and worker's rights at all times.
- The alt left recognizes and opposes all forms bigotry as being socially divisive and undermining working class consciousness and solidarity. But the alt-left does not recognize any form of systemic racial or sexual oppression as taking place in the western world, and rejects the self serving regressive left dogmas of privilege theory and "power plus prejudice."
- The alt left recognizes no preferred racial, sexual, gender, ethnic or religious categories, and shall not hinder or oppose free expression thereof or free identification with any of them, subject of course to the laws that govern us all.
- The alt left shall value rationality, reason, free thought and other enlightenment humanist values. The alt left should eschew dogmatism, fanaticism and be no place for the "true believer." Conversely, the alt-left should be skeptical of postmodernism and its doctrines of extreme cultural relativism and social constructionism. Romanticism and religion are important aspects of human nature whose free expression in the private realm should be protected, but are poor guides to governance and public policy.
- The alt left is therefore civilly and culturally libertarian. The alt left fights for rights, not feelings. Censorship and penalizing of "offensive" speech is dangerous in light of the fact that what is deemed offensive is subjective. The alt-left recognizes no special prerogatives (such as past or present marginalized status) on part of any segment of society to censor or penalize expression it deems offensive.
- The Alt Left is gravely concerned about ideological capture of higher education, social media and mass media, and the abuse of organizational structures of these institutions by managerial personnel acting as ideological gatekeepers. This should be a matter of public concern and corrective measures sought out and taken.
- The alt left believes that questions of human biodiversity across racial and gender lines is a matter best left to scientists rather than politicians, and should no way alter our commitment to the above listed principles.
- The alt left believes that intervention in the affairs of other nations does much more harm than good the vast majority of the time.
- The alt left recognizes that fossil fuels will not last forever and that their ongoing use contributes to climate change, pollution and habitat degradation. It would well behoove us to research and convert to renewable and clean sources of energy sooner rather than later.