Tuesday, January 08, 2013

What's wrong with the left blogs ?

Is it just me, or are the Left blogs terribly stale these days ? You'd think that the Coalition would energise them no end - it's certainly energised me. You'd expect it to be the hideous Righties who are a tad muted, but my favourites there are still banging away at the same targets - they seem much more aware than the Left bloggers that there's not a huge amount to choose between this Administration and the last one.

I guess on the Left the Norms and the Harry's of this world are still banging away* at the same targets, too. Call me a parochial old Hector, but at a time when the UK is deep in the doo-doo (pdf), only likely to get deeper, and my kids will be leaving college to compete with half the globe for that £7 an hour call-centre job, the latest from Iran or Syria just doesn't engage me as it may once have.

"The knee is nearer than the shin" as the Greeks put it.

The far left - the Andy Newmans and the Lenins - seem - especially in Lenin's case ('my suggestion is that as an analytic, patriarchy must be treated as one type of the more general phenomena of gender projects which in certain conjunctures form gender formations') - so detached from working people's everyday experience as to be operating in a different universe - the universe of the political class, a place where ordinary people don't go. To a great extent that can be said to apply to the Decents, the Oslers and the Shiraz Socialists, too. What happened to some T&G activist 40 years ago isn't a lesson for anyone now, because "all is changed, utterly".

Are there in fact a lot of good new Left blogs out there, and I'm just out of touch ? Or is the Left pretty damn moribund ?

Just take a look at this "left" blog's "about us" page. FFS !  What a horny-handed bunch of toilers we've got here ! Up The Workers !



(On an unrelated note, Praise The Lord ! More rejoicing in heaven etc etc). 
  
One other thing. Harry's Place and Lenin's Gulag don't have a lot in common - but they both now use that appalling "Disqus" comment software, as seen at the Telegraph. Can anyone tell me why any blogger should want to use that stuff? What's its appeal?


* I must be fair. Banging isn't really Norm's style. Calm is more his thing.

16 comments:

BenSix said...

I see Though Coward's Flinch as the broadsheet and Tom Pride as the tabloid. The latter has grown very popular without attention from the in-crowd. I think they are worried that he is the sort of guy who will be sued. And they could be right.

BenSix said...

I hate gratuitous apostrophes.

An explanation for the decline of leftyblogging, by the way, might be found in the rise of Twitter. Partly as a lot of people restrict themselves to it and partly as it makes them more invested in squabbles and pseudo-controversies that no one outside of social media gives a damn about.

Ryan said...

I feel that the decline of the lefty blog is simply a reflection of the decline of the left in general.

The fact is that nobody under the age of 60 believes in "the Left" anymore. Of course "left wing" really only means "supporter of the poor" but in the UK it is used specifically (and quite wrongly) to refer to Marx-inspired socialism. Tony Blair was under 60 and quite clearly didn't believe in "The Left" in any meaningful sense. Gordon Brown was a young firebrand of the Left - but he's over 60. Whenever I see someone buying a copy of the Guardian with their own money, they are pensioners. Guardian subscribers aren't cancelling their subscriptions in disgust - they're simply dropping dead!

Polly Toynbee is 66. Dennis Skinner is 80! Kinnock is 70. David "nuclear free sheffield" Blunket is 65. Ken "Looney Left" Livingstone is 67. Derek Hatton is 64 (and now working as an international property developer - just how capitalist can you get!). Germain Greer is 73. Alan Rusbridger may look young - but he's 59.

These are just a few of "The Left" as we once knew it. They are the ones that came into my head at random. You will notice they were all born in a relatively short period, reaching adulthood in the 50s at the height of the Cold War. These people are not yet retiring - they use their positions in society to continue to influence it, but the reality is they are a generation or more behind the bulk of the population.

"The Left" is not in decline. It is simply dying, quite literally, in front of our eyes.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of youngsters on the left like Penny Red.

The difference is that previous generations had some kind of positive vision in mind whereas nowadays the left is driven by a nihilistic dislike of the west in general.

JuliaM said...

"Of course "left wing" really only means "supporter of the poor"..."

Really? How patronising. I suppose 'right wing' means the opposite, to you?

God knows, the left MUST love the poor, they seem to want to ensure an unending supply of 'em!

DJ said...

Heh. I was thinking that just the other day about Andy Burham's Frostophobia.

Say what you like about the NHS but creating it was a big thing. Now the Labour Party Big Idea is cereal killing.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs would be so proud!

Anonymous said...

Is there a need for left blogs when the center has become crypto marxist?

In short the culture/identity/race axis has replaced class as the primary narrative mode.

consumerism is no longer an issue let alone an ism. Ulrike Meinhofs Konsumerterror has come to pass,being unable to consume is the indignity of Capital.

How can Keynes be relevant in a globalised economy?

How does Parliamentarian Democracy stay relevant with an ill educated electorate, agenda driven media and commissar class at the helm?

I believe that all fundamental future change will be crisis led and not due to proactive change.

The unexamined life not worth living etc etc. Gay marriage is a non issue on demography alone and yet exemplifies all the points I have attempted to raise in the above.

The left are consumed with fairness and seek to change the world,whilst not realising that the world ultimately changes you.

Anonymous said...

I thought' Capitalist Realism' by Mark Fisher was at least contemporary in the best kind of way. Capitalist Realism is about how people in general can no longer imagine a future different from the one we have now. Which is interesting.

Anonymous said...

"The political terms Left and Right were coined during the French Revolution (1789–1799), referring to the seating arrangement in the Estates General: those who sat on the left generally opposed the monarchy and supported the revolution, including the creation of a republic and secularization,[5] while those on the right were supportive of the traditional institutions of the Old Regime."


The problem is the terms have been used for so many different things since they have no real meaning at all. They should be abandoned because any meaning they have is relative to the person using them and understood differently by the person hearing them.

Anonymous said...

"Plenty of youngsters on the left like Penny Red."

Kind of sums it up really. Penny Red is a total lightweight. She's more interested in colouring her hair than real politics. If she's the best the left can summon up these days then it really is all over.

Syonist said...

As no comments on the other thread... Not Roma this time

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jan/14/big-issue-murders-birmingham-court

staybryte said...

On the MONA theme.....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9655408/Britons-charged-in-Cyprus-over-murder-of-British-soldier.html

Three "Britons" charged.

Jim Denham said...

Your scathing comments are noted over here at Shirazland, comrade. I don't even, necessarily disagree with everything you've written on this subject. But I do think that what happened to "some T&G activist forty years ago" is worth noting. Even if you think there are no political lessons to be leant from the Pentonville Five (and I'd disagree), Vic Turner and the others at least deserve to be remembered.

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scathing feedback are mentioned over here at Shirazland, fellow. I don't even, actually don't agree with everything you've published on this topic. But I do think that what occurred to "some T&G capitalist 40 decades ago" is important to note. Even if you think there are no governmental training to be leant from the Pentonville Five (and I'd disagree), Vic Turner and the others at least are entitled to to be kept in mind.

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I believed Naturalist Realism' by Indicate Fisher was at least modern in the best type of way. Naturalist Authenticity is about how many individuals can no more think about a upcoming different from the one we have now. Which is exciting.