A perpetual irritation to me is that the “dialogue” about left and right politics always comes down to communists vs. nationalists. Never mind that both are ideologies are quite unpopular, and that most people accused of being either are actually just “more left” or “more right” than their parties center, while being fundamentally ignorant of the history and theory of these movements. The biggest irritation we face is that the people communicating with each other chiefly via ideological slur have more in common with one another than the centers of their respective parties.
Gentlemen, your problem is not each other; your problem is the corporate-owned, hoodwinked, and/or cucked (pick your descriptor!) center of your party. The extremists of both sides share more concerns with each other than their own parties, which largely agree at the center.
Let’s look at the 2016 election, shall we? Both parties suffered populist uprisings from candidates that energized their voters with unorthodox platforms. One of those candidates won his primary because the party leaders were unsuccessful at rigging the election. He then went on to win the general election.
However, Donald Trump has been a largely ineffective President, as I expected, because the mainstream of his party in Congress hate him. Yet let’s look at the issues that united Bernie Bros and Trumpkins.
1. Both the far left and far right are suspicious of free trade. Keep in mind that one of Trump’s few accomplishments was killing the TPP (which he’s now talking about wanting back in on), which I mostly heard leftists bitching about before Trump made trade an issue. Opposition to NAFTA used to come from the unions.
2. Both paleoconservatives (and most far-right sorts) and the far left tend to be opposed to military adventurism. It wasn’t nationalists and it wasn’t communists that got us bombing however many fucking countries we currently are. No, it was the Washington consensus that encompasses both parties. Trump opposed “stupid wars” in the Middle East, and has now lobbed cruise missiles at Syria TWICE, even if he has barely held back on Iran.
3. While immigration at first appears to be a case of an ideological divide, leftists have long historically opposed immigration for environmental, feminist, quality of life, economic, and worker’s rights reasons. The leaders of both parties who sign off on mass immigration aren’t doing it for humanitarian reasons; they’re doing it for corporate ones. As distasteful as I know it might be to join a “nationalist” in opposing immigration, because they oppose it for the “wrong” reasons, the policy of controlling borders is not intrinsically racist. Nobody ever seems to think about how black people in America are disproportionately impacted by having to compete with cheap labor from foreign lands.
4. Both the extremes tend to be disdainful of capitalism, to differing degrees; right-wingers don’t like the profit motive coming before the national interest or eroding tradition, and left-wingers are more opposed to capitalism in and of itself. This is enough to begin a working partnership! Liberals, is the impulse to “buy local” not in and of itself a laudable form of tribalism?
5. Furthermore, both extremes tend to oppose crony capitalism. It wasn’t the libertarians and nationalists pushing to “save the banks” that had fucked our economy; it was the mainstream Democrats and Republicans. Both the common law and Marxist theory have centuries of intellectual history that support breaking up monopolies.
6. Both extremist factions are suspicious of the state. I hear constant talk about the need for revolution from both sides. Most revolutions I know of involved guns. Leftists, do you want the disempowered, the poor, people of color, and everyone else who has discriminated against to be deprived of guns and therefore castrated in terms of being able to stand up to our corporate-owned government?
This is enough for us to begin closing the horseshoe gap. It is clear that the proper enemy for all Americans is the kleptocracies of Western governments. These governments, the rich men that own them, and the media that they also own, want us all fighting in the streets. It justifies an ever-greater police state and feeling of alarm, and it keeps us divided against our common enemy: the Washington Consensus, which brought nothing but “free” trade, consolidation of wealth into the hands of a few, and perpetual war in an ever-expanding list of countries in the name of “democracy.”
Let us realign both extremes to create a productive partnership once and for all. Let us redirect our hate into a mutually profitable direction: a direction against the war-mongers, the profiteers, the globalists, the influence-peddlers, and the conspiracy against the public. Embrace your hate, but lock arms with those you’ve been told to hate.
Ben Bishop is a writer in New Orleans who enjoys bodybuilding, experimental music, occultism, and obscure political theories.