Behind the Mask of the ‘Moderates’

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This is another great piece by Chris Hedges addressing the same issue as did Yanis Varoufakis in my post

The underlying theme here is that nothing significant in terms of fundamental change to our world will come from following and supporting those Hedges calls ‘moderates‘.

Trudeau excels, like Obama, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in empty symbolism. These “moderates” spew progressive and inclusive rhetoric while facilitating social inequality, a loss of rights and the degradation of the environment by global corporations. They are actors in skillfully crafted corporate advertisements.

These moderate politicians all espouse the same messaging, what Yascha Mounk called “undemocratic liberalism”, by which is meant rights without democracy. By being unable, or more likely unwilling, to seriously challenge the corporate elite’s interests in global capitalism, these leaders mask such failure with advocacy for issues like multiculturalism and identity politics as if these constitute the most pressing problems facing the vast working classes of the world.

The focus on multiculturalism and identity politics is anti-politics. It is accompanied by sterile reforms—such as more professionalized policing—that never challenge the underlying structures of corporate power, which has turned the workers of deindustrialized communities into surplus or redundant labor. We no longer seek to eradicate poverty; instead we applaud ourselves for not stigmatizing the poor.

The more these politicians and their ilk purport to be defenders for, and advocates of, liberal ideals, the more they contribute to the discrediting of real ‘progressives’ like Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbin. A good friend of mine who is a self-professed Democrat, stated repeatedly during the Democratic primary race that although he liked certain elements of Sander’s platform, deemed it was “not the right time” for them. I assumed he meant that the American people were nowhere near ready to embrace a ‘democratic socialist’ as their next President. What he and so many others failed to realize was that sticking with a paragon of the liberal establishment, Hillary Clinton, was a non-starter for many of those working class voters who felt they had decades of promises unfulfilled and a palpable sense of abandonment by these same so-called champions. The subsequent results of the American Presidential election, just like the Brexit vote in the UK, stunned such leaders and supporters into an excruciatingly painful examination to account for their failure. What is sorely lacking from this analysis however is a high intensity spotlight aimed directly at themselves as significant contributors for these calamitous results.

When the public rejects feckless politicians it also rejects the supposed values they represent. Fascism rises out of failed democracies where elites mouth the feel-your-pain language of liberalism while selling out the public.

Either complicitous with, or completely ineffectual in opposition to, global corporate capitalism and its interests these ‘moderates’ as Hedges calls them

They offer no real solutions to the assault by corporate capitalism and to growing social inequality. They preach fatuous bromides, like Candide, about “the best of all possible worlds” while ignoring the disasters and suffering around them. They call for tolerance and civility while empowering corporate machinery that creates an intolerant and uncivil society.

Hedges ends his article with a clarion call for building mass movements of resistance by firstly defying these ‘moderates’. There is no clear answer as to who or what are these mass movements, nor just how long it is before they are formed, and more importantly perhaps, just how long it might take to radically change the world. It is clear however that the alternative to this action is to

be frog-marched into a corporate dystopia ruled by narcissists, generals, racists, conspiracy theorists, misogynists, con artists, xenophobes and bigots. The “moderates” are as dangerous as the protofascists.

If you think that things cannot possibly be as bad as Hedges claims, ask yourself if the world and your place within it is getting better or worse. Resistance is never futile.

Photo by PropagandaTimes

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