imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Danger of Right-Wing Populism

by Workers Action Friday, Jan. 02, 2009 at 6:24 PM

A strange trend is appearing in the political realm of the Left. Self-proclaimed political conservatives — many current or former members of the Republican Party — are being given considerable room in Left publications, for example in Counterpunch and BuzzFlash. At first it seemed accidental, with only sporadic occurrences. Now these “renegade” right-wingers enjoy ample room in spaces formally reserved for “lefties only.” How is this to be explained?



If you ask a self-proclaimed progressive why he or she admires a particular conservative pundit, you’ll most likely receive a list of “progressive” positions:

* Against the Iraq War

* Against free-trade (especially NAFTA)

* Against Globalization

* Against the bank bailouts

* Against the Federal Reserve

* Against restrictions on civil liberties

At first glance, then, members of the Left feel obliged to open their arms to these strange bedfellows, who feel more like first cousins than traditional enemies. If, however, one looks under their gleaming progressive garments, an unreformed wolf emerges.

Who are the wolves in question?

A short list may include: Ron Paul, Craig Paul Roberts, and Pat Buchanan.

A quick biography of each person is necessary to put their politics in the correct context, especially since none of the three have renounced their political past.

Ron Paul is a long time Republican congressmen in the House of Representatives, while at the same time being a self-professed Libertarian — the party in which he ran for president in 1988. Paul is extremely religious, strongly anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, and incredibly anti-immigration (he regularly refers to immigrant workers as “the illegals”). Paul once famously stated “that 95 percent of the black males in Washington, DC are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." In ’92, Paul was an advisor for Pat Buchanan’s Republican Presidential campaign and more recently ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. Paul became a true name brand when, in 2003, he voted against the Iraq War Resolution.

Craig Paul Roberts is primarily an economist, and in that capacity was chosen to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan. While in this position, he played a critical role in implementing the 1981 Tax Act, which was the first of two tax cuts — under Reagan — for the super rich to the tune of a 42% reduction, while overall taxes for the lowest tax bracket were raised 1%. Roberts has only fond memories of the Reagan administration. Roberts too has Libertarian leanings and has served as a “Distinguished Fellow” for the Cato institute, a right-wing think-tank. He has been a severe critic of President Bush, which gives him credentials with liberals. His syndicated column circulates widely over the internet.

Pat Buchanan is an old school Republican having gained notoriety for being a close advisor and speechwriter for Nixon. During the Reagan years he served as the White House Communications Director, where his principal task was to garner support for the US-backed military intervention in Nicaragua. Buchanan is a proud co-founder of the infamous “culture war” rhetoric of the right-wing, which primarily pits white US Christians against anyone else, especially immigrants, homosexuals, Muslims, and “Zionists." For this, Buchanan has earned the praise and influenced the ideas not only of Christian fundamentalists, but white nationalist groups (Nazis), who regularly post links to him — as well as to Ron Paul — on their websites. Like Paul, Buchanan has solid links to the ultra-right, theocratic Constitution Party. Buchanan, like the above two, has earned praise from liberals for being against the Iraq war, while being staunchly anti-“neoconservative” — all three refer to themselves as “real” Conservatives.

The right-wing populist formula is a simple one, and the above three — and to a lesser degree CNN anchorman Lou Dobbs and billionaire Ross Perot — have mastered it.

As Wikipedia states: “The strategy of right-wing populism relies on a combination of ethno-nationalism with anti-elitist (populist) rhetoric and a radical critique of existing political institutions.”

The question remains: how does the strategy of right-wing populism interconnect with the above list of “progressive” political positions?

The most crucial link between the two is the concept of nationalism. Nationalism applied to economics has serious implications. In practice, economic nationalism equals protectionism: placing taxes on goods entering the US or subsidizing US corporations for better market performance. If one is against globalization and free-trade, while staying within a capitalistic framework, protectionism (nationalism) becomes the only real alternative.

But protectionism comes with a price. Not only the inevitably higher prices of inflation, but subservience to corporations within the US national borders. If a large US corporation is a poor competitor on the global market, its owners quickly become rabid advocates of protectionism. Likewise, if a worker advocates protectionism, whether consciously or not (such as some argue in favor of the idea of "fair trade"”), they are essentially aligning themselves with the fate of “their” native corporations versus “foreign” ones. The worker is thus left without an independent political perspective, and is apt to view foreign workers as opponents, the same as US corporations view their foreign competitors.

Nothing pleases the billionaire shareholder more than hearing that union officials are working together with management towards better “market competitiveness." This strategy of owner/worker cooperation has been proven decidedly bankrupt for workers, who are blamed for the uncompetitiveness of “their” corporation, and thus punished with wage and benefit cuts, as is happening currently with GM workers, as well as with many others.

It must also be emphasized that, under capitalism, putting up trade barriers is a serious international matter. The countries whose goods are being excluded likewise put up trade barriers in retaliation, and goods and raw materials that were once freely traded (relatively) on the world market must be attained through other means. This complete breakdown in international relations, itself beginning with the breakdown of the world economy, logically leads in the direction of war. The right-wing populist clearly understands this, but is driven to economic protectionism not by choice but by the corporate interests that he ultimately represents.

Why does right-wing populism emerge at all?

In normal times, when capitalism is functioning without crisis, there is little room for the far right. When capitalism does enter crisis, the political parties subservient to corporate interests evolve accordingly. This is why both the Democrats and Republicans have been veering to the right for decades; it represents the deterioration of American capitalism’s global position, which is related to the inability of US corporations to maintain their past rates of profit. When an economic crisis intensifies, as it is now, not only does the ruling class require a new political path, but a new vehicle too.

In the 1980’s, when Japanese and European corporations successfully “caught up” with many US companies, Pat Buchanan prophetically remarked that “there was a political vacuum to the right of Reagan."

Buchanan and the other right-wing populists strove to fill that gap. Foreseeing that the so-called neo-conservative movement in the Republican Party was headed for utter failure (because of losing two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), the right-wing populists began a campaign of radical rhetoric, denouncing everything within the existing two-party system. They are not against wars in general — since they happily supported the war in Afghanistan — but against, as Obama put it, “dumb wars." As the economic crisis deepens, the rhetoric of the ultra-right will continue to radicalize likewise.

This anti-government speechifying can resonate in the ears of many workers, since they have a valid deep-seated suspicion of the two-party system, not to mention the many other institutions the rich use to rule over the

majority — the Federal Reserve, CIA, electoral college, the judicial system, the police, etc.

And while the far right says they are against most government institutions, they are primarily against business regulation, public education, the social safety net, and against whatever else that reduces the profits of the corporations they serve. And this is where the different groups of the far right — Libertarians, Constitution Party, “real” conservatives, etc. — sing a hymn together in perfect harmony.

They loudly condemn government to the masses, while quietly idealizing both the market economy and “private property” to their corporate backers. Private property is, to them, not the home you live in, but the giant corporation owned by an individual or small group. In their idealized society, there would be no limit to the mega-employers greed for profits: no minimum wage, no social security, no workers' protection, no social safety net, etc. The majority of people would naturally rebel against this, requiring the "free-market" idolaters to quickly reestablish all the old, “repressive” institutions.

Since the right-wing has ultimately the interests of the rich in mind, they must resort to radical rhetoric to secure a mass base, while distracting their followers away from the source of their seething anger - capitalism. This is the same reason that they pander not only to religion, but also to ignorant racists by focusing on immigration, condemning both homosexuality and Islam, while ranting against "multiculturalism."

Unfortunately, the radical rhetoric has fooled a great many workers into supporting the cause of the right-wing populist. This rhetoric, combined with the poor education many schools and unions provide — since the union bureaucrat benefits from the status quo — not to mention the limited perspective of most progressive organizations, makes large sections of the working class especially vulnerable to these radical appearing ideas.

The need, therefore, to be able to distinguish between the political essence of Left versus Right is fast becoming critical. As the recession deepens, the far Right will use their rhetoric and large donors to gather strength. Unmasking their “progressive” positions for what they are is paramount if their true role in support of their capitalist masters is to be exposed. No alliances can be made with this dangerous group.

Below the progressive phrases of the ultra right lie class interests, and explaining the fundamentally opposed relationship between worker and owner is crucial if we are to prevent their ideas from developing a mass base capable of being transformed into fascist reaction.

Workers should not adopt the ideology of their employers. We need one that is radically different in essence, not only in appearance. Luckily, such a perspective already exists, and is ultimately the only path that strikes at the root of capitalism — socialism. Workers do not need owners, managers, or bureaucrats; we are capable of running society ourselves.
Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Zeitgeist movie, Alex Jones, etc. mous Saturday, Jan. 03, 2009 at 5:34 PM
also, there is conservative progressivism mous Saturday, Jan. 03, 2009 at 5:52 PM
?R? what? Sunday, Jan. 04, 2009 at 4:08 AM
not just the Fed mous Monday, Jan. 05, 2009 at 9:14 AM
tweet! Tweeter Monday, Jan. 05, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Local News

Why Should California Choose De Leon Over Feinstein? O10 9:55PM

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Politoscope plurivalent O17 6:59AM

Paraphysique du microcosme macrocosme O15 6:44AM

September 2018 Honduras coup update O15 3:31AM

The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US O14 7:34AM

The Nation Unites Against Brian Kemp, Most Racist Secretary of State in US O14 7:23AM

Paraphysique de l'ubérisation O13 7:56AM

22 Ways Trump Has Increased US Deficit By 4 to 5 Trillion Dollars O12 10:34PM

Debunking Some Anti-Prop 10 Propaganda O12 6:56AM

Plus d'hôpitaux, à bas les aéros O12 6:38AM

When Banana Ruled (documentary) O11 3:00AM

Outstanding Report By RAMOLA D &Dr.Tomo Shibata O10 9:17PM

Dark Clouds Gather on Horizon for Financial System, Warns International Monetary Fund O10 1:51PM

Fbi pure evil & immorality O10 5:39AM

Reality Check: Palestinian-Israeli Coexistence is a Big Lie O09 7:40PM

Voiceless Animals: 2018 Candidates They Oppose O09 7:01PM

IMF Lowers Global Growth Projections and Raises Concerns of Financial Crisis O09 3:27PM

Canitie, l'inhumanité vieillit O09 7:13AM

L'anarchie en quelques exemples O07 6:50AM

100 Ways GOP Have Stolen Elections Since 1876 O06 12:03AM

Proximospective de l'univocité réifiée O05 6:27AM

“Kava-no!!!” O04 6:42PM

Trump & Palestine vs. Genesis, Rashi & The Land of Israel O03 6:29PM

The Criminality of the Elites O03 11:35AM

Business de l'inhumanitaire O03 7:51AM

Marriage Rape/Date Rape Highest Rapes O02 2:59PM

Women I Know Get Raped - Too Many Times To Count! O02 2:55PM

Women In USA Have Stockholm Syndrom O02 2:50PM

Shooting Drill's Are Political Actual Shootings O02 2:47PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy