Open Democracy on Can We Talk About This/You Can’t Read This Book

Do you feel morally superior to the Taliban?”. The actor, channeling Martin Amis, wants a show of hands.
Slowly, a few hands go up, including mine. “Only about a fifth of you”.

Carry on reading

One thought on “Open Democracy on Can We Talk About This/You Can’t Read This Book

  1. Kim, I’m certainly not clamniig to have the answer here, but a starting point would be to start unashamedly talking about interests. And I presume that on the Left we’ll want to talk about the interests of ordinary people rather than elites.So when (for example) the need to get beyond adversarial politics and find consensus is raised, we should be saying: consensus for who? In the 1980s we had undisguised consensus on economic rationalism, a consensus that was aggressively fought for by the ALP and key left-wing trade union leaders in the form of the Accord. Yet judging whether the policy was a good thing must surely go beyond the fact that an argument was waged and won. The current calls for a consensual approach should also be interrogated.Beyond that critique, the alternative would be to propose changes that could build a constituency for economic-political-social changes in the interests of ordinary people. Of course to do so we would more directly have to challenge the elites (and that may well require popular mobilisation, because 150 MPs alone don’t have the social weight to oppose elite power).Or on transparency we could demand transparent reporting of corporate welfare versus collective public provision.I think where the Left is too tentative is in unabashedly posing class (or subaltern social group ) interests as if such a debate is off-limits and everything has to be posed in a neutral, universalist language. You can see this in the Greens, IMHO, and it ends in arguments like those Adam Bandt put in his recent Wheeler Centre speech that imply neoliberalism is a bad policy decision but don’t locate it in social power relations.

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