When I first read this Quora answer (not by me, see below), I thought it made a good argument but wanted to push back.
Wasn't it ignoring the fact that many people attracted to the FarRight are not inherently bad, but just misguided and looking for a radical politics and finding the wrong influences? A radical left-politics has to work with and through the working-class. And lead people back from the temptations of the far-right.
Otherwise it does just become the "smug middle-class liberalism" caricature that is leveled at it.
I still think my push-back has validity, but watching people like JimmyDore increasingly flirting with right-wing talking points and conspiracy theories. And even GlennGreenwald saying some strange things on FoxNews has made me rethink.
I still have a lot of respect for both Dore, and especially for Greenwald. Both I believe are very principled LeftWing operators. Who are critical of mainstream centre-left for good reasons. But now I think I do see them "holding their noses" / implicitly giving a pass to bad right-wing thinking, when they are in the company of right-wingers. Yes, they are going on right-wing TV to make a case. But they are having to ramp up their anti-liberal rhetoric in order to ingratiate themselves with those audiences.
And I wonder how much they are following the arc that Harold describes in his Quora answer, quoted below. CategoryCopyrightRisk
There seem to be people in Glenn Greenwald, Krystal Ball, Jimmy Dore spectrum proposing a Left-Right populist alliance. I am highly suspicious of this as a concept. The questions are am I getting them wrong? And am I wrong to be suspicious?
A left-right populist alliance is a monumentally terrible idea.
The general idea of the “left-right” populist alliance is an old one, and is also frequently called a “red-brown alliance.” These have been tried in the past. What inevitably happens is that the left component compromises everything it ostensibly believes in, the movement just becomes straight fascist, and while socialism definitely does not result, the murder of socialists does.
The people who believe that red-brown alliances are a good idea point to both socialism and fascism as being revolutionary in nature, and that both recognize the colossal rot present in, for example, neoliberal society, requiring gigantic systemic overhaul. However, socialists and fascists have wildly different reasons for believing this overhaul is necessary and what the end result of revolutionary change should be. It’s sort of like going to the mall when you want to purchase cheap earrings and your companion wants to detonate a pipe bomb in the Claire’s — these are mutually exclusive goals, and while they both require going to the mall, only one person is going to end this trip happy.
In general, there are two arguments the socialist half of the proposed red-brown alliance make:
- The fash are just wrong about why we need revolution, so we just need to change their minds about this one thing and they’ll be alright.
- The fash are dipshits who we can exploit to get what we want and then drop like a hot potato.
The first argument is asinine, because it assumes that the core premise of the fash is revolution. It isn’t, the core premises are inequality and exploitation, which, um, completely antithetical to socialism. The first argument therefore is argument that mistakes tactics (or, worse yet, aesthetics) for core belief, and therefore is doomed to failure.
The second argument is even worse, because socialism as an ideology is anti-exploitation, and that second argument is “well, we can exploit the shit out of these people and it’ll all turn out fine.” The first argument is pathetically misinformed as to the core values of the socialists’ nominal allies, but the second argument is in favor of chucking the socialists’ own core values.
On the other side of things, the fash know that the socialists involved are a bunch of useful idiots who can be exploited for their idiocy, and then either ignored or executed after the fash get what they want out of the socialists.
And that’s just the end state. On the way there, in order to make the alliance palatable to the fash, the socialists are going to have to look the other way on quite a bit of the fash’s bigotry. The socialists cannot call it out every time, because otherwise the fash will up and leave, because the bigotry is the point for them. So the environment is going to get rather hostile for various groups, probably including (but not limited to) LGBT+ people, people with disabilities, Jews, ethnic minorities, you get the idea.
The red-brown alliance holds nothing remotely worthwhile to a socialist, and can only end in the destruction of a socialist dream. This has been borne out time and time again in history: you cannot cut a deal with the fash, and you cannot exploit them — all that will happen is that you will either become the fash or sign your own death warrant. The red-brown alliance is a terrible idea, and those colors go together just as well politically as they do in a toilet bowl.
Jimmy Dore arguing that he's not against COVID vaccines, but he's against COVID vaccine mandates as a conspiracy by "BigPharma". A perfectly valid position. But he used completely individualist arguments to defend it: that vaccines were a way for an individual "to protect yourself if you want to".
In other words, no recognition of public health as a collective responsibility or that it is affected by externalities of individual choice. Or that institutions like the CDC can serve the public good. No his perspective is that they are wholly corrupt and bought by Big Pharma, and that health is an individual / individualistic concern.
Does he think the same about single payer healthcare? Theoretically not. But if he doesn't think you should have to get vaxxed to protect others, why does he think you should have to pay tax to protect others?
I'm not saying he's "right wing" to come to the conclusion he did. But I'm saying he used completely right-wing reasoning and ignored what I would consider the essence of left-wing reasoning. (See also VaccineMandatesAsWedgeIssue)
After HamasAttackOnIsrael2023 there is plenty of evidence of people from the left whose sympathy for Palestinians and hostility to Israel has become perverted into support for Arab Nationalism (TheLeftAndArabNationalism) with way too little qualification.