DID Bernie Sanders lose more than the Democrat Presidential nomination? Did he also lose the battle for the Left?
In this fascinating article (link below), Ross Douthat shows that Sanders’s attempt to rejuvenate the old class war and recover a language of class struggle ‘that disentangled liberal politics from faculty-lounge elitism and neoliberal economics’ backfired on two counts. It lost him the Presidential nomination and it lost him his battle for the Left.
The more Sanders supporters tugged him in the direction of the cultural Left, Douthat argues, the easier it was for Joe Biden to win the blue-collar vote. But the new rallying cry and insurgency ‘intersectional vision’ of a Left-wing politics – of racial justice and defunding the police – never came naturally to the veteran socialist Sanders. Instead of finding its nemeses in corporate suites, ‘the intersectional revolution finds them on antique pedestals and atop the cultural establishment.’
More Mao than Marx, the movement he describes is obsessed with cultural power rather than with economic transformation and equality. And the corporations and the institutions are bowing to this. He cites one academic as marvelling at the way they have come onside: ‘You basically have a moment where every corporation worth its salt is saying something about structural racism and anti-blackness.’
It left me wondering about the speed with which the rest of establishment is climbing aboard this bandwagon. Will its virtue-signalling endorsement be sufficient to save their bacon in the long run; should this revolution gain momentum it may be another matter. Likewise Keir Starmer’s ‘taking the knee’ tweet: ‘We kneel with all those opposing anti-Black racism #BlackLivesMatter’. He could not have made it clearer where he’s positioning Labour under his leadership. Good bye class struggle and hello cultural revolution. Unlike Sanders he’s already won the leadership. But for an election it’s a risky strategy.
It is a thought provoking article, well worth a read and not behind a paywall. You can read it here.