I continue to be annoyed that “Left”, like “Liberal”, is used so loosely. It means next to nothing.
Nationalism and celebration of national power is a Right Wing, fascistic constant, as is promotion of race hierarchy; the celebration of pure consumption in front of an audience of poverty; the exploitation of the weak or disadvantaged; the creation of “solutions” to supposed and unprecedented “problems”; and the pointed identification of and focus on “weird” or “dirty” people as the source of societal problems.
I think these have always been the goal and method of Right Wing thought. What differs from one year to the next is the quantity: the degree to which this happens, how many actions such Conservatively-minded people get away with while yet unopposed, the amount of material damage done to public institutions. Such Conservative ways of interacting in societies, such profiting, dominating, and aggregating of power, never changes qualitatively.
In contrast, “Leftism” isn’t a single static position, like Right Wing, which largely never changes. It is not the yin to a yang or a mirror-image political philosophy. It is, in fact, characterized by opposition, first, (so I guess I can see the misunderstanding) and self-defined according to the degree of effective opposition to resident power structures and against the perpetual “Right” status quo. But, many fronts of opposition exist, so many Leftisms.
All these Leftisms differ from monolithic “Liberalism”, which is a moral response to ––and attempt to live within–– Right Wing conditions. If a mirror image to Conservatism exists, it is Liberalsim, not Leftism.
Unfortunately, many of the self-identified “Left” in America seems concerned with issues of doctrinal consistencies, of Right Wing celebrations and displays of greed, of shows of power by the powerful, and inordinately focused on the many hypocrisies that always exist in Conservatism. This misidentified “Left” is, I would argue, nothing more than a mirrored response to the desire to live with fascism. It is Liberalism. To the degree that an otherwise morally- and liberally-minded person can perceive of harm caused by participation in power structures, to the degree to which this person can be convinced to oppose those structures, the archetypal “Liberal” might yet follow along in the footsteps where a now incoherent Left begins to demonstrate something like coherency.
Ultimately, I’m talking about power. The Left (so-called) has no power and, I argue, even if it did, even if the people involved in all of the various and separate movements could even begin to unite into a kind of coalition (a party?), they don’t now seem particularly likely to exert any force of power on certain individuals and organizations. Buildings will need to be permanently occupied. Individuals who’ve openly exploited entire nations full of people will have to be cut off from any access to their inordinate wealth and thus from the power that comes by possessing that wealth.
At the end of a particularly divisive election in the United States, and now, beginning 2017, the label persists, but a growing number of people recognize that so-called “Leftism” is a near complete mess having no relevance or effective response to growing fascism.
Active supporters of fascism, not unsurprisingly, continue to hold up the image of the Leftist as but one of several poisons in society. These scapegoated targets, per the typical methods of fascism, are held up as the many causes for their own manufactured, exaggerated, or mischaracterized problems and toward the further dominance and solidification of power.
The many and separate, private, weak Leftisms will need to unite toward making the cause of opposition not a mere moral force, but a material force.