The left in times of world wars

The left in times of world wars

The liberal order we knew is collapsing, and our era increasingly resembles that of the nineteenth century: there is a mixture of global markets and local cultures, socialist aspirations are growing alongside fascist movements, and Giorgia Meloni is going viral on the Internet with videos in which he claims a deconstructed idea. Totally about Homeland, God and family. As Boris Groys explains, this society is very similar to the society described by Lenin in the book Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, which we would better translate into Catalan. Perhaps the most telling continuity is found in a cultural climate that believes in identities more than in universalism: just as many societies in the second half of the nineteenth century were dominated by a discourse about a “national psychology” that claimed to have incompatible values, today identities are joining Patriotism and many other identities, such as race or gender, reproduce the same power struggle between good and bad groups. Now, as before, the increasingly fierce sense of chaos and competition between these groups leads to a dilemma between protection and revolution.

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Warlike European elections are coming, and everywhere we are told that the right will sweep. It is not an inevitable end: wars break out when they break out, and rather than fundamentally favoring one family over another, it works to better see what discourses are being made and where they are headed. It is especially clear if we compare wars. The situation in Palestine has led to a clear distinction: the right is with Israel, and the left is with Palestine. Instead, the war in Ukraine has highlighted many schizoids: in defense of European liberal democracy, the right that worships Putin’s patriarchal, religious and authoritarian figure has found itself divided at heart, and the left that hates imperialism and NATO has also found itself divided at heart. . .

I would argue that all of these tensions are best understood in light of the virtues and vices of the postcolonial outlook, an ideology that has become dominant in recent years among the left. The key here was the shift from economic criticism to cultural self-criticism. The hegemony of the West and the ravages of colonialism have well illustrated the roots of the vast majority of the world’s inequality and injustice in the second half of the twentieth century. The idea was to emphasize the experience of oppressed peoples and promote their liberation. This self-criticism was accompanied by a positive belief that the liberation movements of the occupied peoples would not revolt in any way, but rather would establish just and equal systems like those that the Western left dreamed of at home.

This speech by a political leader might provide a good summary of the state of mind: “The situation in the world is changing dynamically and the contours of a multipolar world order are taking shape. An increasing number of countries and peoples are choosing a path of change.” Free development and sovereignty on the basis of its own identity, traditions and values, and these objective processes are opposed to the Western global elites who create chaos, provoke new and old conflicts and implement the so-called policy of containment, and in fact they amount to. To undermine any sovereign development alternative.” The irony is that these words were spoken by Vladimir Putin after launching the invasion of Ukraine on August 16, 2022, and that similar phrases can be found in Hamas’s propaganda against the Israeli occupation.

The problem is that Putin and Hamas do not resemble the national liberation movements that anti-colonial theory hoped to emerge. It is very easy, with a somewhat cold head, to see the cynicism of these regimes that attempt to turn Western postcolonialism against itself. When Putin and Hamas resort to cultural identity, they use it as an essential excuse to justify the oppression of minorities and contradict the solidarity among the oppressed that characterizes the left. When they demand the right to sovereign development, they are denying the sovereignty of Ukraine and Israel as well.

The problem for the left is that the decline of the West that it has fought for for so long is happening, but in ways that do not match what it predicted. What is emerging now is not an international coalition of all the damned on earth to establish lasting peace and social justice, but rather highly reactionary national regimes linked to dictatorships and imperial domains such as China or the Gulf monarchies. In the face of this, the European right puts forward the old idea of ​​declining identity and preparing for war. Now, as always, the left can only respond through a solidarity project capable of criticizing the injustices committed in the name of these identities in rational and universal terms. A good start would be to apply the same critical criteria to all ongoing identities and conflicts on the planet, which are just as divided and capable of betraying themselves as Western identity.

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