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Thread: The Center Blows Itself Up: Care and Spite in the ‘Brexit Election’

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  1. #1
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    Default The Center Blows Itself Up: Care and Spite in the ‘Brexit Election’

    Very interesting stuff about care vs. administrator class politics by David Graeber:

    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/0...exit-election/

    And with a very accurate assessment of centrism in the 2019 election:

    If the results of the 2019 election mean anything, they reveal an overwhelming rejection of centrism. Particularly instructive here are the fates of the rebels who broke from Corbyn’s Labour to form Change UK, including Chuka Umunna, who was widely billed as Britain’s future answer to Barack Obama. On realizing that there was virtually no support for another centrist party, they ultimately joined the Lib Dems. Though the Lib Dems did increase their share of the overall vote (slightly), doing so largely served to knock out their ostensible Remainer Labour allies in close races. Not one of the defectors managed to win a seat.

    Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem candidate for prime minister, who had somehow convinced herself it would be a winning formula for the Lib Dems to run as a single-issue anti-Brexit party while also making clear that under no conditions would they ever form an alliance with Corbyn’s Labour, failed to win her own district and is no longer an MP. Labour lost fifty-four seats to the Tories—fifty-two of them in Leave-voting districts. But, as James Schneider, Corbyn’s director of strategic communications, confirmed when I showed him a draft of this piece, only three (Dennis Skinner, Laura Pidcock, and Laura Smith) were from the radical left of the party. Dozens of “moderates” had, effectively, blown themselves up.

    The same, incidentally, is true for the Tories: not one of the twenty-one purged Remainers who ran for their old seats as independents returned to Parliament.

    The center of British politics has become a smoldering pit. The country is now being governed by a hard-right government placed in power by its oldest citizens, in the face of the active hatred of its increasingly socialist-inclined youth.

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    Then, of course, the “anti-Semitism crisis” picked up again.
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    yes, of course that's the most important bit in the entire piece


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    I am wary of the current situation being billed as a generational conflict. As Graeber says, it is much more about property ownership, which does have a generatonal aspect but also a class and geographical one.

    I don't buy his thesis that the media treated the election as a referendum on Corbyn. It was explicitly named, all over, as "The Brexit Election" and Corbyn completely fucked that up.

    He is right about the Overton window and what people thought was possible. That was crushingly disappointing for me too, as a Labour sceptic.

    Over the last few years, the British public has been given the choice of:

    1. The status quo
    2. A new vision of a 21st society based on Keynes, investment in public services and mild social-democracy.
    3. The quasi-mystical vision of a UK free from the stranglehold of the EU.

    They have now chosen the 3rd option on two occasions.

    I got bored after this bit and stopped reading. I will say though that there was both an anti-semitism crisis and an "anti-semitism crisis". Neither of these is good or has been dealt with well by either the Labour party or the media.

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    It is midly amusing that the LibDems had an even worse election than Labour though.

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    Anyone who wasn't crushingly disappointed pulverised pierced to the quick by this election I simply don't want to know and people who are inclined to crow about it I want dead. This is why I have to shun dissensus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by subvert47 View Post
    yes, of course that's the most important bit in the entire piece

    It's one of several parts that illustrate perfectly the fact that the Left will continue to be an electoral irrelevancy for as long as it can't admit that it made serious mistakes over the last five years, continues to jab the finger of blame at centrists, "Remainiacs", the dreaded "MSM" (which now apparently includes every publication from the Sun to the New Statesman!) and shrill whiny Jews, and refuses to take some share of responsibility for Labour's recent humiliation.

    Shame, because it's otherwise a reasonable article about the curse of managerialism and the cult of administration. (I say that as someone who had a particularly obnoxious run-in with HR recently, after the birth of my son.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    It's one of several parts that illustrate perfectly the fact that the Left will continue to be an electoral irrelevancy for as long as it can't admit that it made serious mistakes over the last five years, continues to jab the finger of blame at centrists, "Remainiacs", the dreaded "MSM" (which now apparently includes every publication from the Sun to the New Statesman!) and shrill whiny Jews, and refuses to take some share of responsibility for Labour's recent humiliation.

    Shame, because it's otherwise a reasonable article about the curse of managerialism and the cult of administration. (I say that as someone who had a particularly obnoxious run-in with HR recently, after the birth of my son.)
    Is Graeber even a Labour supporter though? I genuinely don't know but last time I checked he was an anarchist lecturer or something.

    It's easy to paint all this stuff as being the left tearing itself apart and blaming each other but there has been some quite decent self-reflection going on over the last few weeks as far as I can tell as a complete outsider. Jeremy Gilbert's piece on the end of Labourism, for example.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    Is Graeber even a Labour supporter though? I genuinely don't know but last time I checked he was an anarchist lecturer or something.
    He's an anarchist anthropologist (he wrote, in fact, a book called Toward Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology that I read many years back). More recently he's written mainly on managerialism, bureaucracy ("bullshit jobs"), etc. He's currently a prof @ the LSE but I doubt he can vote in British elections, and he definitely wouldn't support Labour in anything other than a tactical sense.

    The hypothesis of carer-managerial internal divide in centrism is interesting, and however accurate it is (idk) certainly highlights the incredibly ruinous long-term effects of Labour, Democrats, etc effectively abandoning working-class people and issues. And that certainly has much to do in a structural sense with those parties' shocking inability to contest Trump, Brexit/Johnson, etc. Otoh, idk if it's really the kind of granular/tactical post-election autopsy people here (seem) more interested in.

    Tho, I guess the point is if you're structurally fucked the rest doesn't matter

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