Razkol med delavskim razredom in intelektualno levico ter alternative

Kot piše Bo Rothstein, je 150-letne ljubezni med delavskim razredom in intelektualno levico neminovno koncec. Ne bi si mogli biti bolj narazen. Prvi so bili vedno za protekcionizem, za zaščito pred migracijami, celo ksenofobični, medtem ko je druga internacionalizirana, free-traderska, multikulturna in zaščitniška do manjšin. Danes inherentne interese delavskega razreda nagovarja skrajna, ksenofobna desnica.

Toda je bilo kdaj drugače? Je bilo v Marxovih časih drugače? Je bilo drugače v času vzpona fašizma in nacizma? Ne. In prav tem je poanta. V “dobrih časih”, ko delavskemu razredu kapital dodeli dovolj visoke plače, da se da z njimi preživeti, bodo “modri ovratniki” glasovali za levico, tudi če je intelektualna, saj jim ta (kljub multikulturni, intelektualni in free-traderski “navlaki”) omogoča socialno zaščito. Ko pa kapital, sploh če deluje globalno, “modre ovratnike” preveč stisne in jih spravi v eksistenčne težave, se ti obrnejo po zaščito skrajni, ksenofobni desnici. Ta kot mrhovinar čaka na svoj plen in kot alternativo ponudi zapiranje meja (pred tokovi tujega blaga, kapitala in ljudi), nacionalno homogenizacijo ter v skrajni fazi agresijo navzven.

In tukaj se zastavlja vprašanje krivde. So krivi “intelektualno nevedni” in celo reakcionarni “modri ovratniki”, ki si zgolj želijo pogojev za preživetje sebe in svojih družin, ali je kriva intelektualna levica, ki v svojih visokih intelektualnih, multikulturnih idealih pozabi spremljati, kako živi spodnja polovica prebivalstva? Ali drugače rečeno, modrim ovratnikom visoki ideali voditeljev nič ne pomagajo, če ne morejo nahraniti svojih otrok in če ne vedo, kako jih bodo “spravili do kruha”.

Kar se mene tiče, je odgovor dokaj preprost. Prebivalcem vsake države, vsem, je treba omogočiti, da lahko z normalnim delom preživijo sebe in omogočijo perspektivo svojim otrokom, tudi za ceno manj proste trgovine in manj prostih tokov kapitala in ljudi. Že iz povsem etičnega vidika, iz pragmatičnega pa nasploh. Kajti alternativa so socialni nemiri, revolucije in mednarodni oboroženi konflikti, ki imajo v rokah skrajne desnice že v štartu natanko te cilje: manj proste trgovine in manj prostih tokov kapitala in ljudi. In ki jih nato tudi dosežejo ob bistveno višji ceni za vse.

Preprosto rečeno in aplicirano na sedanje ZDA: Zame je alternativa Bernie Sanders in ne Hillary Clinton, sicer dobite Donalda Trumpa. Podobne vzporednice lahko dobite v predvolilni Franciji. Lahko pa greste seveda nazaj na Hitlerjev vzpon. Hudič je, ker je intelektualni levici, kljub vsemu intelektu, to pretežko dojeti, ko je še čas.

Tudi Rothstein, se zdi, ima nekoliko težav z razumevanjem tega, ko pravi, da bi intelektualna levica v sodobni družbi morala najti druge zaveznike (namesto “reakcionarnega” delavskega in kmečkega razreda). Morala bi najti drugačne načine sodelovanja, denimo v soupravljanju. Toda, kako je to skladno s sodobnim trendom flesibilizacije  in naraščanja prekernih oblik zaposlitve (denimo v turizmu in trgovini, ki temeljita na “fleksibilnosti” zaposlenih na minimalni plači) ter oblik “sharinga” (Uber, Airbnb) kjer gre “soupravljanje” kapitala v nasprotno skrajnost – da si mora zaposleni svoja osnovna sredstva (kapital) zagotoviti sam?

The more than 150-year-old alliance between the industrial working class and what one might call the intellectual-cultural Left is over. The recent election results suggest that these two now have almost completely different views on key social and political issues. In general, the traditional working class favours protectionism, the re-establishment of a type of work that the development of technology inexorably has rendered outdated and production over environmental concerns; it is also a significant part of the basis for the recent surge in anti-immigrant and even xenophobic views. Support from the traditional working class for strengthening ethnic or sexual minorities’ rights is also pretty low. The intellectual-cultural Left is the exact opposite: these people are internationalists, free traders, environmentalists and strongly focused on supporting various minority groups’ rights via identity politics. And this group is positively disposed towards immigration and multiculturalism. It is nowadays difficult to imagine a leftist intellectual like Olof Palme inspiring the industrial masses. Instead, it is Trump’s, Marine Le Pen’s and Nigel Farage’s nationalist and xenophobic messages that are gaining a hearing. In December 2015, a Swedish opinion poll showed that the nationalist and xenophobic Sweden Democrats party had greater support among blue-collar union members than any other party, including the Social Democrats.

This also means that one of the dominant theories about what would be the driving force behind the rise of a new socio-economic system must be abandoned. The classic Marxist idea that the working class would be the historical engine of a fundamentally new socio-economic form of production has simply come to nothing. None of the traditional industrial workers’ unions or any of the Social Democratic parties in Europe has produced a vision of what this new model would look like. In Sweden, after the defeat of wage-earner funds policy in the early 1990s, the labour movement put a ban on even discussing these things. The toothless law on co-determination became the endpoint for the Swedish labour movement. If there a political will of the working class today, it is for the most part pointing backwards.

Well, we should not be that surprised. When a group of union leaders in London in 1864 urged Karl Marx to help them form the First Workers’ International, they did not envision any particularly radical socialist future. One of their main demands was instead to stop the British employers’ import of cheap French labour which was used to drive down their wages. With Brexit, and not least the British Labour party’s surprise u-turn in deciding to no longer demand full access to the single market and its basic idea of free movement of labour, the circle has been completed.

How was this fundamental mistake – to designate the industrial working class as the engine of historical change – possible? From a Marxist perspective, it is easy to see. During the era of slavery, the slaves sometimes managed to organize revolts against the slave-owners. But it was not the slaves as a social class that created the new feudal society. Similarly, under feudalism, the peasants could sometimes negotiate tough demands against the aristocracy and they also managed to organize large scale uprisings and revolts. But it was not the peasants as a social class that created the new social order we know as market capitalism. This, again, required a new social class standing outside the then current major contradiction in society, namely the bourgeoisie. From this we should learn that in every system production, the subordinate social class can certainly organize, make demands and fight for its rights. But history also shows that the subordinate class can only negotiate about the conditions within the existing system of production, not propel something fundamentally new. In other words, the subordinate class can fight about how to divide the existing pie but it cannot bake a new type of cake.

Vir: Bo Rothstein, Social Europe

One response

  1. Če intelektualna levica pomeni (buržoazne) liberalce, ki v svoji levi verziji zagovarjajo blage redistributivne ukrepe, potem ta razkol z delavskim razredom ni nič novega. Trdi krizni kapitalizem v katerem živimo je namreč premočan, da bi mu taka blaga politična usmeritev prišla do živega. In delavski razred ni tako neumen, da tega ne bi videl.

    Če intelektualna levica pomeni bolj radikalno levo usmerjene intelektualce, pa se moramo vprašati kaj se s tovrstnim družbeno političnim mišljenjem dogaja, zlasti zadnjih nekaj desetletij. Zakaj ni bolj razširjeno in bolj uspešno? V zadnjih nekaj letih sicer je, a bistveno premalo.

    Nacionalizem je tisto nekaj kar je enostavno bolj “prvinsko”, bolj preprosto in primitivno, saj temelji na strahu, zapiranju vase in na absurdni selekciji. A tisto kar je primitivno je že po definiciji nekaj lažjega, manj zahtevnega, zato zmaguje. Nikamor sicer ne vodi, a na tem zdajle smo.

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