Can the Greens and Libertarians strike a “Grand Bargain of The Radical Fringe”?

How far apart are the programmatic differences between the Libertarian Party, typically characterized as far Right, and the Green Party, typically characterized as far Left? Could these two parties, the largest formation of what we could call the radical fringe of American politics overcome their philosophical differences and present a united front against the Washington consensus by creating a unified platform?

With the overwhelming majority of the voting population in this election cycle clearly expressing a distaste for the nominees of either of the two major parties, but lacking any realistic alternative to them, this is a question those who see in electoral politics a means for radical change just might want to consider. The closest thing advocates of radical political change have to an alternative to the two fascist parties are radical fringe parties, Libertarians and Greens, who alone have been unable to break through the clutter of lesser-evilism.

To be sure, I do not want to overstate the extent to which these two parties break with the conceptual political framework of existing fascist parties: to put these two parties in some perspective, in comparison to the Marxist and anarchist varieties of communism, the Libertarians don’t go so far as to call for the complete abolition of the existing state; while the Greens don’t go so far as to demand the complete abolition of private property. Both parties implicitly or explicitly accept the continuation of these fundamental categories of bourgeois society. The Greens and Libertarians are radical in relation to the two big fascist parties, but fall well short of a complete break with the assumptions of those parties — they compose a radical fringe of bourgeois politics, not its abolition.

Still within the limits of bourgeois politics, can these parties together accomplish what neither of them has been able to accomplish on their own — break through the clutter of two party politics?

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Game Theory and Clinton’s Lesson for The Left

In October of 2013, Hillary Clinton gave an interesting talk to Goldman Sachs investors on the global political situation. This talk has since come out in the recent Wikileaks publication — the so-called Podesta emails. Very little so far has been written on that talk, but never to be one to let a capitalist political crisis go to waste, I thought it might be interesting to see what Clinton said in those talks.

I think the reason the talk, although widely anticipated, has received less attention than expected is that people may have been expecting some sort of gotcha moment, where Clinton revealed her secret ties to the illuminati or something. It turns out the talk was mostly what we might think of as a pre-campaign town hall with an exclusive group of finance capitalists; filled with the sort of self-promoting one would expect from any presidential hopeful.

The talk, however, is not simply boilerplate by a person putting together a run for the presidency. Clinton is discussing a recent government shutdown provoked by Ted Cruz in a failed attempt to get rid of Obamacare. She shows why this attempt might have failed and why Cruz overplayed his hand in his own bid to become president. As such, it contains some lessons for radicals who still hold out hope for a political path to the end of capitalism.

If Clinton is correct the Cruz shutdown threatened the most important advantage the US has enjoyed since 1971 and the collapse of Bretton Woods: the world reserve currency status of the dollar.

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Mapping the coming split on the radical Left

This paper by Dominic Heilig, Mapping the Left in Europe, has really got me thinking we may be watching the final disintegration of working class political parties. If you follow all the splits in the working class movement since the 1st International, as Heilig suggests, it soon becomes obvious the working class movement is not recombining on a new basis after each split, but only splintering further. The anarchists/Marxist split, the splits within social-democracy that produced the third International, the split within post-WWI communist parties beginning in the 1950s, etc., seems only to deepen the fragmentation of the working class movement; leaving it still less capable of effectively employing political power to emancipate itself from wage labor.

Heilig’s argument in this essay suggests the European Left is about to undergo still another disastrous split in the wake of the SYRIZA catastrophe.

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Does UBI cause inflation? A reply to Scott Santens

I recently had a conversation with Scott Santens who referred me to his article on universal basic income and the question of whether it causes inflation. This reply represents a change in tack. I am replying to Santens argument not in the spirit of refuting it, but with the hope the advocates of UBI will strengthen their argument by removing some of its fallacious reasoning.

Personally, I don’t think UBI can ever work, but people on the Left seem wedded to the idea. I offer this response to Santens in hope that should UBI ever comes to pass, its supporters will be able to tell a useful version of the program from the nightmare many on the right are now proposing.


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