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Quora Answer : What are your thoughts of the UK's Department for Education categorizing anti-capitalism as an "extreme political stance" and opposition of freedom of speech and banning it from school? How would you define "anti-capitalism"?

Sep 29

Britain, on the whole, doesn't have a strong "red-baiting" culture.

Brits tend to make fun of their leftists rather than hate on them.

You could see with Jeremy Corbyn that initially, red-baiting didn't really work on him. People didn't care. And when they understood what Corbyn's socialism meant, in practice, they tended to support it. People who thought Corbyn's socialist policies were dangerously wrong were people who tended to hold a distorted view of them.

But after a very concerted campaign of character assassination, especially the accusations of anti-Semitism, by the election of last year, you were starting to hear more concerted anti-red discourse appearing.

Obviously in Britain, it's nothing like as extreme as in the US or Brazil, where it's more or less acceptable for public figures to claim that almost anything (up to an including the torture and murder of leftists) is fair game to protect against the terrible danger of leftists gaining power. (They'll just scream "Holodomor" at you as justification.)

Johnson, isn't an extreme right-winger. But he's sold his soul and joined the international network of extreme-right populists like Trump and Bolsonaro and their backers to gain power.

And now that it's clear that the UK is susceptible to right-populist propaganda, of the Brexit, COVID denialism and even Q-Anon, varieties, why not open-up a red-baiting culture-war front and see how much energy that can buy him?

It costs Boris very little to run this up the flag-pole and see who salutes. Anyone liable to be outraged wasn't going to vote for him anyway. And there might be rightists sufficiently energised by it to bring him more support.

Especially now that Keir Starmer is neck and neck with Boris in terms of approval ratings. Boris is going to ramp up the red-baiting against Labour to counter it.

Boris can't stand on his COVID record. It's dire. He can't stand on the economy. Brexit has fucked it. So he'll do the standard right-populist trick of demonizing his opponents and claiming that they are evil enemies of civilization.

That is what this is about.

PS : a plea to all my friends on the left who hated Corbyn and love Starmer (or love the "return to sanity" that they think Starmer represents). The hatred against Corbyn was never Corbyn's "fault". Neither his fault for being a bad person. (He wasn't. He's a moral giant compared to Boris and the current government.) Nor a "compromised" person. (Everyone's washing has some dirt in it if you dig deep enough.) Nor was it his fault for "being bad at managing the media." (As though somehow there's a magic lever that politicians can pull to control what gets said on the interwebs.) The negative view of Corbyn was a product of a concerted campaign of character assassination and de-legitimization by the right-wing spin machine.

Don't be naive about this. That machine is now coming for Starmer and Starmer's Labour. And he isn't going to buy it off by making a few concessions. The more concessions he makes to the right, the more this will empower the right and embolden their attacks. Concessions to the fascists will never be enough to satisfy their demands. Brexit should have taught us that.

The next step after saying you can't teach anti-capitalism in the classroom will be witch-hunts against "Commie teachers" who are accused of doing it. A "red scare" will be used to attack every public servant who supports Labour. (Or Extinction Rebellion or Greenpeace or higher taxes etc. or who opposes the bonfire of rights and protections that will be made on the altar of an American trade-deal)

So get ready. And get ready to defend Starmer against this right-wing spin machine. It's coming. And if you don't stand by Starmer and defend him to the hilt, if you allow it to divide and demoralize Labour, it will destroy him as it did Corbyn.

PPS : Responding to the last part of the question. I'm an anti-capitalist. I define "anti-capitalism" as wanting to end capitalism as an economic system and to replace it with a better system.