On the French Socialist Party and rebuilding the French left

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“ It is difficult to say what the PS is today. Its figures, its staff, its members are not one single entity. Part of it has gone off toward Macron and En Marche. And it is also important to be clearly aware that the reason it got 6 percent was that it embodied defeat and had no prospect of winning after the Hollande years. There was a very strong sense of disillusionment (…) The Parti socialiste is no longer the leading force on the Left, but the Left is not yet in good shape. What really interests me is how we can accomplish the challenging task of rebuilding the Left. That means a Left that concerns itself with the March for Dignity and Justice, a Left that makes feminism relevant for our own time, and a Left that can bring the popular classes back onto the political terrain ”

Elsa Faucillon, ‘The Left Under Macron’, Jacobin Magazine

 

On the universal basic income weaknesses

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“ In their incendiary book Inventing the Future, the authors Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek argue for UBI but link it to three other demands: collectively controlled automation, a reduction in the working week, and a diminution of the work ethic. Williams and Srnicek believe that without these other provisions, UBI could essentially act as an excuse to get rid of the welfare state. What’s needed is not the arbitrary adoption of UBI, but an entirely different conversation about what a welfare state is for. As David Lammy MP said, after the Grenfell Tower disaster: ‘This is about whether the welfare state is just about schools and hospitals or whether it is about a safety net.’ The conversation, in light of UBI, could go even further: it’s possible for the welfare state not just to act as a safety net, but as a tool for all of us to do less work and spend more time with our loved ones, pursuing personal interests or engaging in our communities ”

Ellie Mae O’Hagan, ‘Love the idea of a universal basic income? Be careful what you wish for’, The Guardian

On who the Italian Left should take inspiration from

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“ What model of the European left should inspire the Italian left? Should it be the English Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn or the French President Emmanuel Macron? The answer, in fact, is already contained in the question. If it’s the left we’re talking about, the model can hardly be Macron and for a simple reason: Macron is not a leftist ”

Davide De Luca, ‘Why Macron is not a leftist’, Il Post

On the distribution of political violent acts over the political spectrum

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“ The Anti-Defamation League recently reported that right-wing extremists have plotted at least 150 terrorist acts in the United States over the last twenty-five years, killing or injuring more than eight hundred people. An earlier ADL report found right-wing extremists were responsible for 74 percent of the 372 people killed in domestic terror attacks between 2007 and 2016 (…) Conservatives — and, it now appears, the mainstream press — love to complain about the ‘intolerant Left.’ But only one side of the political spectrum has been engaged in consistent, sustained, politically motivated violence for the last two decades ”

Branko Marcetic, ‘Whose Violence?’, Jacobin Magazine

On the divergent views within the Podemos movement

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“ The calculation of the Errejonistas is that after forty years of neoliberalism, it is unrealistic in our atomized societies to expect a high degree of popular mobilization or sustained political commitment. In contrast, the radical municipalistas on the council (and to large extent, the Pablistas at Podemos’ national level) are betting on a new wave of social struggle developing durable forms of popular association capable of challenging the power of the Spanish oligarchy ”

Eoghan Gilmartin, ‘Governing Madrid’, Jacobin Magazine

 

On the Blairist ‘pragmatic’ approach and Blair’s refusal to endorse Corbyn

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“ Tony Blair, the former Labour prime minister and famous Third Way pragmatist whose core philosophy was that the Labour party had to reflexively compromise on its ideals, was similarly unenthused about Corbyn. He refused to endorse Corbyn prior to the election, said that Labour was not providing a competitive opposition that was a threat to the Tories, and had earlier accused Corbyn of reducing the party to a ‘fringe protest movement.’ (To be fair, Blair’s refusal to follow his own philosophy and be pragmatic and endorse a Labour leader who he didn’t entirely agree with was undoubtedly a good thing: he’s a warmonger, as well as being widely disliked by the British public) ”

Branko Marcetic, ‘Corbyn. Is. Dumbledore’, Jacobin Magazine

 

On the mainstream dislike of old-style socialism and the collapse of centrism in the UK

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“ The Guardian is a big influence, and it has to be said that both its comment writers and its news editorial stance have been about as pro-Corbyn as the New York Times was pro–Bernie Sanders — that is, not at all. And for the same reasons. These are the liberal elitists. It’s people who don’t like old-style socialism. All the identity politics around Corbyn, they’re different than the ones around Sanders, but they were there. Lots of mainstream feminists don’t like Corbyn. In the end, Corbyn has proved you can run a traditional left campaign and energize young people. The other possibility is so dire — a right-wing Conservative and racist UKIP alliance government. The Guardian, which I write for, has had this hope that some centrist party would emerge, a bit like Emmanuel Macron in Paris, or like the Clintonite Democrats. But that kind of politics has collapsed in Britain, and the Liberal Democrats, who are the small third party here, just have really not done anything ”

Paul Mason, ‘The Movement in Corbyn’s Wake’, Jacobin Magazine