The emerging ‘anti-capitalist’ right….
One of the things that has made the political right more successful over the preceding several decades now is its political dynamism. Unlike the left, which often makes a positive virtue out of atrophy, the right is often quicker to recognise changing circumstances and adapt accordingly. It is in this regard that we should understand the increasing use of ostensibly ‘anti-capitalist’ rhetoric by an increasing number of right-wing commentators. Something is wrong, they tell us, the left, rightly recognise that, they recognise that wealth is unevenly distributed and this leads to the ‘irresponsibility’ of the rich and powerful. In saying this they are only responsing to the current global of travails of the world economy and the crisis of confidence this is rightly causing in capitalism. Of course, we know they want to reform capitalism to make it better but it is still a significant development.
It reflects a wider social reality, the massive attack on not just societies poorest and most vulnerable but the increasing cannibalisation of the middle classes by capitalism. Prices and costs are rising but its incomes are not, at least not enough to cover the rising costs, and its being drowned in debt. Meanwhile, its sons and daughters are being saddled with a mountain of debt just for attending university.
This threatens the traditional sociological solidarity between the middle classes and the 1 or 2% who hoard all the wealth and represent the controlling interests in society. Part of the glue that bound this union together was tempting prospect for the middle classes that one day, they could join this elite club. Tuition fees is a practical example of how that ambition is now being denied. Worse still, most middle class people know its far more likely they will be driven down into the gutter to maintain the profits of societies elite. This is proving a futile breeding ground for fear and loathing of people like ‘fat-cat bankers’ even in the heart of leafy middle class suburbia and, dont even get them started on a political class whose leading representatives are now so blatantly obvious representatives of the same social elite that is bleeding them dry.
So, when Telegraph column writers inveigh against this social elite they are only expressing the frustration and anger of this sector. Capitalism has failed all but the this elite and many on the right now recognise that and realise something must be done. The foundations are being laid for a powerful alliance between the middle-classes and an atomised and beaten working class that will attack capitalism from the right. In doing so, it will also likely use tools such as extreme nationalism and may even seek the curtailment of Parliamentary democracy. So, what can the left do? Well the left needs to, in short, wake up and get with the program, junk its outdated and slavish adherence to theory that hasnt been renewed for close to a 100 years now. It probably also has to engage with this development but by developing an indepedant programme of demands, one that can create the same union of all the democratic classes, yes, the middle class are a democratic class, around a set od demands that promote extended democracy and social justice.