A Brief Reflection on the Hard Left

In Ireland, the story of the Euro elections has been of the collapse of the centre-left Labour Party. But Richard McAleavey's questioning of the use of the term 'hard left' is relevant to coverage of radical politics across the continent.

hard_leftWhy use the term ‘hard-left’ to describe candidates to the left of the Labour Party?

What is ‘hard’ about these candidates, by contrast with political parties who oversee draconian cutbacks to expenditure in health and education and social services, or parties who set the police on social welfare claimants whilst releasing fraudulent figures on fraud, or parties who normalise forced and unpaid labour in order to keep unemployment high and wages low? Such parties do all of the above, then tell us it’s all for our own good and puff out their chests telling us how brave they are, and how they saved the State.

How hard must the candidates to the left of Labour be, then, when the softest part of the Labour Party — in keeping with all the other parties of the political establishment — is its teeth?

I suggest that ‘hard-left’ has little to do with hard facts of political analysis, and a great deal more to do with the hard propaganda of the extremist centre.

If it is only ‘hard men’ who stand opposed to the structural violence of austerity, then the impression is created that any political alternative that emphasises democracy and protection of public services will prove more violent and more destructive of the social fabric.

So, in ‘hard-left’, we see how conservative discourse — whatever you do, it’ll only make things worse — shapes what we think, and seeks our acquiescence, by presenting itself as objective fact.

Reposted from Cunning Hired Knaves

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