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The Red-Brown front – Spiked – defends Boris Johnson.

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Plebeian Cadres of the Red-Brown Front.

There is a new guru on the left.

Let’s call him  the Heg.

He has direct line of communication to the nether spheres where the red-brown front does its pondering.

Heg busy defending internationalist good sense in the Western borderlands, has many a string to his bow.

In a prescient post Heg, predicted that Brendan O’Neill would chew the carpet and start spitting nails against the female Greenpeace activist assaulted by Mark Field.

In last night’s scuffle between Conservative MP Mark Field and a Greenpeace protester, which of them was really behaving in an entitled manner?

We can guess the answer:

it wasn’t Field who displayed colossal levels of entitlement last night — it was the protesters. It was these increasingly smug and disruptive climate activists who behaved in a morally arrogant fashion.

The moral arrogance of the Mansion House climate protestors

Today, well, let’s say this from Brendan O’Neill today was amply predicted by the Man they call Mystic Heg.

The hacking of Boris Johnson’s home

The Guardian’s invasion of Boris’s privacy is a new low for broadsheet journalism.

Brendan O’Neill, ex-Revolutionary Communist Party.

The chattering classes are lapping it up. These are the kind of people who look down their noses at tabloid-reading plebs who like to hear about the private lives of celebs. Yet now they priggishly pore over the hacked conversation of a politician and his girlfriend and hold it up as proof of what foul or tragic people they are. The worst aspect is the naked sexism they’re displaying towards Ms Symonds. They decree, in their infinite wisdom, that she is a victim and should get the hell out.

The great man concludes, with this,

I hope they will agree that if the liberal broadsheets develop a habit of listening through the walls of private citizens’ homes, then both the right to a private life and the standards of journalism in this country will suffer badly.

On the background of this national populist current see:

Here

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Tory Party News.

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See the source image

Tory Party Minister

here

Something else happened in the Tory party yesterday now what was it?

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 21, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Boris Johnson, the “Trumpification of British Politics” and the Left.

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Our Ruling Class.

Talleyrand – Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754  – 1838) – was the most famous European statesman of his day.

His house. the Hôtel de Talleyrand, was celebrated,

Into this palace, as a spider into its web, he enticed and captured, one by one, heroes, thinkers, conquerors, princes, emperors, Bonaparte, Sieyès, Mme de Stael, Chateaubriand, Benjamin Constant, Alexandre de Russie, Guillaume de Prusse, François d’Autriche, Louis XVIII, Louis Philippe, and all the gilded glittering flies which buzz through the history of these past forty years. All this glittering swarm, fascinated by the penetrating eye of this man, passed in turn under this gloomy entrance bearing on it the inscription: Hôtel Talleyrand.

In the collection of writings from which this comes Victor Hugo described the death of the man who became a by-word by cynical diplomacy.

In Choses Vues the author of Les Misérables  describes his embalming, in the ancient Egyptian style.

The corpse lay in an empty chamber when a valet walked in.

He found that they had left the brain on the side-table.

The servant picked it up, and finding no other way of disposing of it, threw it into the outside sewer.

It is said that people have been looking for someone with Tallyrand’s cerebrum ever since.

Many would say that dealing Boris Johnson would be hard even for the most experienced politician.

El Pais says that “La única persona capaz de derrotar a Boris Johnson —y ya hay precedentes— sería el propio Boris Johnson.” (“the only person capable of defeating Boris Johnson – and there are precedents – is Boris Johnson himself”)

The European Press is full of such scorn for the man Le Monde calls a “buffoon” (while politely asking him to stop being one):

Le Monde, in an excoriating editorial, said Johnson had shown himself to be “a stranger to logic and convictions” in a career rich in “deceits, blunders and failures”. In the run-up to the 2016 referendum he “told lies on the side of a bus, promised the UK could have its cake and eat it, and compared the EU to the Third Reich,” it said.

As foreign secretary he “made his country an object of ridicule around the world with his amateurism, flippancy and ignorance”, France’s newspaper of record continued. Rivalling Nigel Farage for populism, Johnson’s “jingoistic rhetoric” promised Britons an unrealistic “glorious global future”.

His threat to withhold the €39bn Brexit divorce settlement would have “incalculable consequences”, damaging the international credibility of a country priding itself on being a champion of the rule of law, Le Monde said. And for the EU a Johnson premiership would mean “a mini-Trump across the Channel, dedicated to its sabotage”. Britain would become “a hostile principality, built on social, fiscal and environmental deregulation.”

Amongst the articles cited by the Guardian this stands out (Corriere della Sera)

Lord Chris Pattern says that Johnson is part of the ” una “trumpificazione” della nostra politica., the Trumpification of our politics.

He is equally,

Trump’s poodle: a liar who does not pay attention to the detail of reality, tells people what they want to hear and relies on their ignorance”.

Patten said Johnson exemplified the “collapse of rationality, of the relationship between the facts and what we believe” in present-day politics. “What he is offering is impossible.

All this looks as if it implies some serious thinking about changing Labour’s strategy.

A bounder in his own bailiwick is going to be hard to dislodge.

The Trumpification of British politics has begun; it does not look if a hasty declaration of an “insurgency” against Johnson is going to thwart it.

To begin with there is the impact of start-up political business, The Brexit Party. Helped by the ‘red-brown’ front, not to mention the support of former leftists, it has become a political player, and how to fight it. The Brexit Party is part of a broader trend towards national populism, which has helped dislodge the left from its historic bases of support in Italy and France. Left-wing populisms – in France and Spain – have been unable to counter the nationalist call to fight ‘oligarchies’ and ‘elites’ on behalf of the Nation.

The Brexit Party is not about to vanish:

Is an appeal to our own ‘identity politics’ of the people, the left-behind, the self-identifying native working class better than trying to build alliances on universal, internationalist,  fights for rights and interests?

Then there Johnson’s strategy: will Farage assist the disintegration of the Tory party, or will the Brexit Party pave the way for his victory as part of a new “great moving right show” that can resonate  deeply into the country’s electorate and culture ? Johnson hopes to rebuild the electoral support that got May- just –  elected and to extent it. How can an alternative be created from shards from the same ideology, which, the experience of European left populism indicates, is a sure way to strengthen the carnival of reaction, not to challenge it?

All these issues boil down to one: the Brexit project. Will Labour let Johnson pursue the goal – however much he twists and turns over the details – of a Hard Right Brexit, the only actually existing Brexit.

Apparently the Lexit left has the answer: it needs to back their version of Brexit.

The Morning Star editorialises.

..the trade union movement and the left has to make a decisions it to remain stuck in an increasingly sterile and immobilising debate for and against the EU? Or is it to shift the ground to the kind of withdrawal from the EU that must be secured to protect working people and to advance a progressive agenda that can beat the Tories?

Only class politics can defeat Johnson in Labour’s working-class heartlands. The dangers of not preparing are too serious to be contemplated.

The beginnings of a different approach are there, and have strong support on the left.

This is an excellent reply to such views:

Labour must re-energise the Corbyn project by opposing Brexit

witnessing the party’s continued ambiguity and evasion, many of the members who resolutely defended Corbyn as leader in the face of an establishment onslaught are asking themselves whether the values of straight-talking honest politics only apply if you agree with the leader. Going into a general election with the current policy on Brexit would be disastrous. By bringing its policy back into line with the democratic will of its members, and anchoring its support for Remain in a programme of cross-border resistance, Labour can clearly differentiate itself from the pro-business globalism of the Lib Dems and the utopian optimism of the Greens to win back disillusioned supporters.

With a vision aimed at defending the interests of all workers, British or not, Labour can win here and lead a Europe-wide offensive against capitalist exploitation. Co-ordinating this cross-border coalition will require conferences and organising events attracting activists with shared goals from across Europe. Labour can be the force to convene such events on a mass scale, to begin the fight for a democratic, socialist Europe.

Labour and National Populism After the Peterborough By-Election.

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Brexit Politics (Cold War Steve).

“When in a crisis” wrote Stuart Hall in 1979, “the traditional alignments are disrupted, it is possible, on the very ground of this break, to construct the people into a populist political subject with, not against the power bloc; in alliance with new political forces in a great national crusade to make Britain ‘Great’ once again.” (1)

In this,  The Great Moving Right Show, Hall foresaw the way in which the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher was able to bring together voters behind an “authoritarian populism” that played in the difficulties of Labour’s social democratic collectivist heritage. The details of radical free-market policies mattered less than law and order; the “nation” and “our people” appealed to the large racist constituency that had been given a voice by Enoch Powell and was visible in the street marches of the National Front; ‘popular morality” embraced her call for hard work and getting the state “off our backs”.

The Peterborough by-election was marked by the presence of a new army in that Holy War for British Greatness, the Brexit Party. As Alan Wager says, “for the first time since the introduction of universal suffrage, Peterborough is no longer a Labour or Conservative contest. Instead, an insurgent party just eight weeks old – the Brexit Party – came a close second, campaigning ostensibly on the single-issue basis they will “bring democracy back”. Farage, he continues, fills a vacuum. His defeat, acknowledged, if at all, with ill-grace, was not a decisive blow. The new start-up business/Party, “mixing together democracy and leaving the EU without any withdrawal agreement, clearly hits the electoral sweet-spot of the current moment “ Their impact on the Conservative Party leadership contest, and the potential boost to the No Deal Boris Johnson, is considerable. (2)

Farage’s own stunt – clearly planned in anticipation of victory – still went ahead:

 

This indicates, those inspired by one side of Hall’s articles argue, the left needs its own “national popular” language to counter the national populists of the Brexit Party and the Tory European Reform Group. Calls for class struggle, or mass protests, the “real struggle”, have been launched, largely to deaf ears. There were a couple of thousand People’s Assembly demonstrators in January. They might have sparked some sympathy if they had not finished the day with pointless fisticuffs between their high vis clothed supporters and far rightists in yellow jackets over who were the “real” Gilets Jaunes. The “floating signifier” of the People against the “elite”, the “power bloc” could be harnessed by the left and filled with democratic content. National Sovereignty could be the key to fighting ‘neoliberalism’, largely, it appears, an enemy located in the European Union.

National Therapy Culture.

“The Language of emotionalism pervades popular culture, the world of politics, the workplace, schools and universities and everyday life” began Frank Furedi in Therapy Culture. (2004) Today the ‘red-brown’ Brexit Party supporter is one of many who celebrate the national “Self”. Far from a bold assertion of self-affirmation and independence the Brexit crusaders wallow in victimhood and narcissism. Identity politics, of the ‘real’ working class, the ‘real’ British, the English has flourished. The quiet decency of love for people, culture and things dear has been replaced by cries of Treason, and Betrayal. (3)

The Brexit Party is an Encounter Group for this constituency. Perhaps it’s to ease their pain with palliatives like turning against the hard Brexit free market pain pain by proposing “John Lewis-style” – boss run – social ownership by companies part-owned by the workers in British Steel.

Socialist Resistance predicted a Carnival of Reaction after a Referendum Leave vote. It is still taking place. This time the moving right show is leading a simulacrum of Greatness, subordinate to a new American assertion of autonomous, unilateral, action. Those who pinned their hopes on a popular pro-Brexit revolt “from below”, paralleling the French Gilets Jaunes. But such signs of the vanquished standing up in the line of a “democratic and social revolution” seen in the rose tinted spectacles of the French journalist Edwy Plenel, has not appeared. They will not appear. (4)

Left Brexiters at an Impasse.

The disillusion of left Brexit supporters has yet to unfold. Larry Elliott, is a supporter of the ‘red brown’ Full Brexit grouping, which brings together Brexit Party backers the Communist Party of Britain, Labour Leave, some Counterfire supporters, and the anti-cosmopolitan Blue Labour. Elliott defends Jeremy Corbyn’s “Euroscepticism”, and places anti-EU politics on the left, ignoring long-standing radical socialists who have had a more favourable “transform and remain” stand for some decades. Those who recoil from National Populism and advocate this view turn a blind eye to Europe with a “a currency that doesn’t work, an economy that doesn’t work and a political process that doesn’t work.” Elliot is reluctant to describe in detail the socialist potential offered by a Brexit Britain, one carried out by the only available vehicle the Conservative government, negotiating with the WTO and Donald Trump,.

That the Labour leader has done a good job in keeping Leavers and Remainers under the same tent – a “marriage counsellor” – seems to be the “line” in some quarters. The idea that Labour needs its “herbivores” – middle class liberals – as well as is sturdy working class supporters may well be true. Stuart Hall talked of Thatcherism speaking out for those with negative experience of the corporate institutions of the social democratic consensus. Labour, it hardly needs saying, can draw on the lived experience of neoliberalism, austerity and the coercive bureaucracy of the shrunken welfare state.

But Brexit remains at the centre of everything. There is indeed a “significant minority”, with or without the romance of labour movement history, of Labour supporters who backed Brexit. But this claim covers something that needs thinking about. Efforts by Left populists to “federate” the “people” against the “oligarchy” have been set back in the European elections as Podemos and La France insoumise lost a lot of votes. It is even less likely that Labour can win support as an “insurgent” party against Europe and against those opposing National Populism and Brexit. 

This may help clarify Labour’s position,

It is commonly assumed that Leave supporters want to leave the EU — regardless of the type of Brexit — more than Remain supporters want to remain. But a new YouGov survey of over 1,600 British citizens carried out by academic researchers shows it is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. 

While 33 per cent of the country now want a no-deal Brexit, 42 per cent say it is their least-favourite outcome. Our survey also shows that support for the Brexit Party is higher among financially comfortable voters — adding to previous research showing that support for no-deal is also higher in that group.

The gap between Remainers’ attitude to leaving and leavers’ attitude to Remaining holds true across supporters of all the political parties. Even Brexit Party voters are not all vehemently attached to leaving at any cost. Only 50 per cent prefer their lowest-ranked Leave option to Remaining.

Meanwhile, among people who voted Labour in 2017, 72 per cent of Remainers would mind “a lot” about leaving the EU, whereas only 25 per cent of Labour Leavers mind “a lot” about Remaining.

Everything you think you know about Leavers and Remainers is wrong.  Christabel Copper and Christina Pagel.

Not that these considerations will affect the Boycott Labour in the European Elections editors of the Communist Party of Britain’s Morning star.

They are still rattling out the same old tune,

 Labour’s chances of forming the next government rest on finding a principled basis for uniting the labour movement with and within the party that best represents its diversity.

The only credible basis for such unity lies in convincing a decisive majority of voters, most particularly Labour’s core constituency of skilled and lesser skilled workers, that Corbyn meant it when he said Labour would respect the referendum result.

That is….back the part of that diversity which alone, and against everything, supports Brexit….

There is only one Brexit on offer and this is the Man who would like to carry it out:

Matthew Parris.

*********

  1. Page 49. The Hard Road to Renewal Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left, Stuart Hall. Verso. 1988.
  2. Peterborough: Labours squeaky victory and the vacuum on the right. Alan Wager.
  3. Therapy Culture. Routledge 2004. The Minimal Self. Christopher Lasch. Picador. 1984.
  4. La Victoire des vaincus. À Proposes des gilets jaunes. Edwy Plenel. La Découverte. 2019.
  5. Jeremy Corbyn is right: Labour needs both its leavers and its remainers. 

National Populism: Trump to Boost Farage as Brexit Party Support Surges.

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What do want? “Smash the System”! 

These figures predict the beginning of a political earthquake.

One might say that such a tectonic shift in support cannot happen.

There are good grounds for scepticism.

But…

Fast backwards to France a couple of years ago.

Since the French elections of 2017 the victory of President Macron and its aftermath have seen the traditional parties of left and right nearly wiped off the map.

The first round of the Presidential contest saw the former ruling Parti Socialiste get 6,36% for its candidate, Benoît Hamon. For the traditional right,

François Fillon scored a respectable 20,01%. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, for the “movement” or “point de ralliement” la France insoumise, got 19,58%. The context went into the second round with a duel between Emmanuel Macron and   Marine Le Pen, which ended in Macron’s victory at 66,1% over the far-right Le Len getting 33,9%.

In the legislative elections held afterwards Macron’s party and allies won 348 seats. The left (Socialists, Communists and La France insoumise) was reduced to 44 deputies.

This is the result of this year’s European elections which saw, in France, the left further reduced (only the Socialists, PS, and La France insoumise LFI won seats) the ‘neither right nor left’ Greens (EELV) win MEPs, and the traditional right (Les Républicains, LR)  also lose heavily. The results were again dominated by Macron’s party and Le Pen’s rally (RN).

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "élections européennes France 2019 resultat en image"

Some  features stand out.

The first is the marginalisation of a splintered left.

If people have been “freed” from the slavery of their traditional allegiances,  in  Christophe Guilluy’s words, “Le grand marronnage des classes populaires” (Le Crépuscule de la France d’en haut, 2018) their new home is not in any renewed democratic politics.

Far from creative grass roots politics, or a new kind of left, we had the success of Macron’s ‘start up’ Business party.

This is its internal structure, “La République En Marche! considers every person who submits identification information (date of birth, email, full address and telephone, number) and adheres to the party’s charter to be an adherent.” The English Wikipedia entry neglects to go further into how LRM  operates, “les décisions viennent d’en haut, il y a une commission d’investiture sans que les militants ne votent…”,   Decisions come from above, there is a commission of investiture (selection of candidates) without activists voting. (see Structure )

It is a “movement”, like Mélenchon’s La France insoumise, run top down by a coterie of professionals in communication and in liaison with the Parliamentary group  around the Leader (with all the authority in this case of the President)  with no internal democratic decision making, only online “consultations”.

The Third is that if the “gilets Jaunes”, whose main rallying call has been for Macron to Resign, have not created an alternative out of their “assemblies”, or one that is invisible to anybody but their more gushing admirers, from the UK’s National Populists of left and right, and some romantic leftists.

I the European elections it was the Rassemblement national (RN), ex Front national (FN) who came first. This party has a tiny, 38 000 official membership. It has a structure, said originally to be inspired by the French Communist Party, of a an executive bureau, a political bureau and a central committee, now know (since 2018) as the ‘national council.”

Is that the kind of political melt-down we are facing in the UK.

Richard Seymour, in no less an organ than the New York Times observes.

.Long underestimated, Mr. Farage has done more than any politician in a generation to yank British politics to the hard, nationalist right. He is one of the most effective and dangerous demagogues Britain has ever seen.

Seymour notes the most relevant aspect of the Brexit Party’s model, which has been widely commented on:

Farage has spotted an opportunity: a new political model, inspired by the Five Star Movement in Italy. A “digital platform” that harnesses the free labor of its “users,” allowing them “participation” through content-sharing and online polls, rather than rights. Parliamentary democracy is slow at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. Such platforms, however, introduce volatility to the system. Dropping UKIP, a traditional membership party, he launched something like a venture capitalist start-up, with crowdfunders rather than members, and a chief executive rather than a leader.

Unlike older party models, it doesn’t invest in lasting infrastructure. It is nimble-footed, expert at gaming social media — the stock market of attention. It won the battle for clicks, and made a killing in this election. Such online frenzies are akin to destabilizing flows of hot money, forcing legacy parties to adapt or die. But when Parliament is so weak, its legitimacy so tenuous, they can look like democratic upsurge.

If the poll today there is more than a “online frenzy” happening.

The M5S,  Movimento 5 Stelle may or may not be a “model” for some.  I doubt if Macron or Mélenchon’ would see it that way and Podemos, while partially inspired, has at least some democratic framework.

Most significantly M5S, with an unstable record of support (32,7% of the vote in 2017 Parliamentary elections, 17,1% in this year’s European elections, in coalition with the far-right Lega, has, with its deputy PM   Luigi Di Maio paved the way for the hold on power of his fellow deputy PM,  the National Populist Matteo Salvini.

Yet the issue of Democracy apparently remains at the centre of the Brexit Party’s claim to Speak for the People, for National Sovereignty, and for a Hard Brexit.

Usefully highlighting the core of the operation Seymour does see off this self-serving claim by Claire Fox:

She heralds this ” “start of a new politics”

In Spiked the former RCP activists continues: Claire Fox on what’s next for the Brexit Party and her journey from Marxist to MEP.

when I was in the RCP many moons ago – and the past really is a different country – I was always a democrat, a supporter of liberty, agency and sovereignty, so I don’t think I’ve travelled that far.

I somehow felt that if I could do anything to rescue the democratic potential of the 2016 vote, then I would. So in that sense, it has been a journey. But the journey was not so much from revolutionary communism to standing next to Farage, but from commenting on events to taking on that responsibility.

Her Boss continued in this vein.

The Brexit Surge

Engaging the ignored masses, tapping their democratic insights, genuinely drawing their convictions and concerns and beliefs into the heart of the political sphere – this is now the key task of everyone who is committed to the idea of Brexit, democracy and radical political change in this country.

Brendan O’Neill

But…..if you’re not democratic inside your ‘party’, if you leave things to the Farage coterie, how can you be democratic in the country?

Seymour concludes,

The quintessential City trader and apostle of cutthroat competition, he is exploiting our democratic crisis to remake politics in his own image.

Shift forward to today’s headlines.

Image result for Nigel Farage and Donald Trump newspaper front page

Is the Brexit Party also fascist?

For the moment we take this into account:

Mr Brexit Comes to London to decide on future UK PM, backs Farage, and has already insulted Meghan Markle.

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Nigel Farage Donald Trump

 

Mr Brexit Comes to London.

Trump is coming to visit Britain to Back Brexit.

He has already insulted one of the most liked people in Britain.

Trump calls Duchess of Sussex ‘nasty’

Guardian.

During the state visit, the president, his wife Melania, and his four adult children are expected to meet Prince Harry as well as Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Meghan is expected to stay home with Archie.

Trump referred to the American-born Duchess of Sussex as “nasty” over comments she made in 2016 threatening to move to Canada if Trump won the presidency.

“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” he said when informed of her criticism. The former Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in 2018 and gave birth to their first child, Archie, in May.

He has decided on who will be the next P.M.

In 2016 he said this.

Image result for mr brexit trump

 

Now there is this:

 

It may seem odd that some of pro-Brexit left are hostile to this radical critic of members of the Royal Family, who backs the “Fuck Business” Boris, and who is doing all he can to make Brexit happen.

But internationalists are clear: Piss off Trump!

 

Here

National Populist Farage’s “Real target is Britain’s ‘failed’ democracy, not Brexit.”

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National Populist Egocrat. 

Sky reporter Lewis Goodall has been one of the most perceptive writers about Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party.

His article in the Observer today is a must-read.

Nigel Farage’s real target is Britain’s ‘failed’ democracy, not Brexit

Ukip was deeply and recognisably British. The half-colonels; the angry golf-playing uncles; the rankling over “elf and safety” and political correctness. Its pound-sign logo was almost quaint: It was a Britain Orwell would have recognised. Ideologically, too, its Euroscepticism mined a deep vein in British politics, tracing back to our entry in 1973, if not before.

But,

Politics has moved on – and so has Farage.

Brexit now isn’t even his principal concern, its failure the mere embodiment of a wider malaise. Instead, the collapse of the Brexit process is proof of his new analysis: that British democracy does not work and does not even exist. Worse, that every organ of the state and political life, be it the parties, the media, the courts – parliamentary democracy itself – are malign and work against the interests of “the people”. Never before have we had a major political force that operates with that basic reflex.

Goodhall concludes,

For Brexit party success will surely change the alchemy of the Tory makeup. Indeed, it already has, setting the seal on the end of Theresa May’s premiership and ensuring the all-but-certain election of a no-dealer in her stead. Far from a Conservative turn to the kind of broad, centrist Christian democracy to which Theresa May once aspired, her party may follow the Republicans in becoming a hard-edged populist movement. In an age where “one-nation” seems impossible and where we are at least two, Farage and his success will force them to choose. Out of fear, they will choose him

 

Goodhall clearly has his finger on one essential aspect of National Populism.

With a belief that the “elite” is working against the “people” it splits the world into the camp of implacable  enemies and the real “folks” (as Farage, speaking American says).

This is anti-pluralism.

The Sky journalist notes,

Being at those rallies, it struck me how many of my friends would listen to what they heard on the stage and the sentiment of those in the crowd and feel complete loathing and fear, at the same time as those around me cheered with joy and expectation. We no longer just disagree with each other, we don’t even begin to understand how our fellow citizens think.

This chimes with the analysis offered by Jan-Werner Müller in What Is Populism? (2016).

He argued that “only some of the people are really the people” and at populism’s core is a rejection of pluralism. Populists will always claim that they and they alone represent the people and their true interests. 

Not only liberals should be concerned.

Democratic socialism is the expression of a plurality of interests, against different forms of oppression and exploitation, brought together in a common purpose for socialist objectives.

Its origins lie in institutions, like the labour movement, which were built by people themselves. In this century left wing and radical campaigns and trade unions are also the created  and runby the membership democratically. The political parties of the democratic socialist left, unlike Stalinist parties, and despite a tendency to their own “oligarchical” structures, are in principle based on member-wide democracy. A wide spectrum of views, social democratic, ‘revisionism’, types of democratic socialism, various forms of democratic Marxism, are part of this movement.

The democratic basis of politics lies on different versions of this belief, put forward his later writings by the Socialisme ou Barbarie  thinker, Claude Lefort,

For Lefort democracy is the system characterized by the institutionalization of conflict within society, the division of social body; it recognizes and even considers legitimate the existence of divergent interests, conflicting opinions, visions of the world that are opposed and even incompatible. Lefort’s vision makes the disappearance of the leader as a political body – the putting to death of the king, as Kantorowicz calls it – the founding moment of democracy because it makes the seat of power, hitherto occupied by an eternal substance transcending the mere physical existence of monarchs, into an “empty space” where groups with shared interests and opinions can succeed each other, but only for a time and at the will of elections. Power is no longer tied to any specific programme, goal, or proposal; it is nothing but a collection of instruments put temporarily at the disposal of those who win a majority. “In Lefort’s invented and inventive democracy,” writes Dominique Colas, “power comes from the people and belongs to no one.

Farage and the National Populists  wish to monopolise the political space and make this “power” belong to their “people”.

They, the embodiment of the ‘real’ people, that is those who voted for Brexit, the “somewhere” people, the genuine salt of the earth types with roots, in the land and memory of the country and the ancestors of the nation.

Above all the National Populists equally deny the ” uncertainty” of politics and wish to impose their, ‘real’ majority views on the state and the inhabitants of a country.

Many of the present day populist parties, using as David Runciman (How Democracy Ends. 2018)  and many others note, new communication technology, have formed ‘parties’ and movements as business start-ups, run by the leadership, and typically one ‘charismatic’ figure.

They claim to stand for the real People against the Oligarchy –  the elites – and “globalism”.

In some respects Farage resembles what Lefort called an “egocrat” in the totalitarian mould (Un Homme en trop. Essai sur l’archipel du goulag de Soljénitsyne. New Edition. 2015).

His wishes run through the party organs.

Clearly the age of Stalinist, Fascist and Nazi “total” terror is ended and it would be seriously wrong to compare the Brexit Party to these “conspiracies in broad daylight” with their Gulag, Camps and mass murder.

Müller predicted that “..with their basic commitment to the idea that only they represented the people”. Once installed in office, “they will engage in occupying the state mass clientelism and corruption, and the suppression of anything like a critical civil society. (What Is Populism? Page 102)

The Brexit Party is, above all, a vehicle for the demand to end the complexity of politics and to impose the figure of its leader in the “empty space”, the seat of power than anybody and nobody can occupy in democratic institutions – the Sovereign. It wishes to make social life ‘transparent’ contest between itself and its targets, the EU and the non-people.

Nothing can be gained by ‘listening’ to the demands of the political forces of the Brexit Party.

The attempt by ‘left populists’ to speak to this audience in the hope that they can give a voice to some of the ‘democratic’ aspects of their demands in unable to grapple with the way that the thrust of National Populism is against democratic pluralism.

In many respects they are more of a danger than the ‘dark enlightenment‘  of the far right that seeks a new form of openly anti-democratic politics.

National Populists are, to cite Chantal Mouffe in her use of Carl Schmitt , “the enemy” (The Return of the Political. Chantal Mouffe. 2005). 

This has already been Farage’s impact in the UK this month.

Brexit Party’s rise forced dithering Tory MPs to ditch Theresa May.

One expects more when the European election results are announced this evening.