A Tirade on the Relative Left and Modernity

Let’s get one thing clear about the ‘left’. They aren’t. There are, generally, two forces determining the relativity of the ‘left’. One, the contemporary position of the ‘right’, and, two, the overarching geopolitical framework wherein it does its very best to carry on whatever traditions that it is allowed to by the ‘right’. It is in this sense that the ‘left’ can, generally, be referred to as the ‘relative left’.

For all those whom are critical of the ‘left’, remember this, the ‘right’ that you support is one of the achievements of the ‘left’. Wresting power from the patricians, the monarchy, the colonialists, the neither ‘Holy’ nor ‘Roman’ empire, the act of supremacy, the Magna Carta, were left in spirit, but right in perspective. What I mean by ‘right in perspective’ is that whenever power is usurped from the last tyrant-that-be, the principle of relative relief [author’s term], amongst others, comes into play – that is, breathing a little better because the garrote has been relaxed as opposed to being taken off. With this comes the desire to maintain the status quo as it seems much better than the past. This is when the ‘left’ swings ‘right’ and turn into modernists.

Laws are enacted, party hats are passed around, and then a culture of compensation, recuperation, and thereafter, expression, coagulates and ossifies the present tense as worthy of replication in the appreciation of the here-and-now for the morrow-and-thereafter. This is the ‘modernisation’ that comes in the wake of every singular relief-inducing twist of the tourniquet. How else did Labour become ‘New Labour’? Modernisation is not an event that takes place in a linear progression of history, but an event that occurs every so often whenever we move from one political epoch to the next. Hence, we can appreciate, for instance, the Act of Supremacy as heralding one ‘modern’ period, and which thus makes Henry VIII a ‘lefty’. Even the bourgeoisie who overthrew the feudal scheme of things were ‘lefties’ whom wrested power from the last exclusive locality. But, as I had stated, every movement from one political epoch to the next harbingers a ‘modern’ period. And people thinking that they are living in modern times is that which tends to perpetuate the maintenance of the last left movement forward.

So what about the remnants of the left whom have yet to be bought into ‘modernity’? Well, we can’t really call them the ‘left’ either. From the moment ‘modernisation’ begins to erect wonders to itself, the ‘relatively real left’ takes on a siege mentality and begins to do its utmost within constrained condition, not to get rid of the said constrained conditions, but to bring as much of what it can within said constrained conditions. For instance, seeking greater welfare, rights, amongst other things within a nation is an instance of the ‘relatively real left’. They are working within the geopolitical nation-based status quo.

That is why, whilst the left is willing to take up arms when their nation is attacked by forces without, they cannot but afford others whom are assailed upon by their own nation anything but raised brows, placards and ‘Oi!s’. At times like these, the true left can take on wholly fearsome characters like that of the thankfully non-ubiquitous ‘terrorist’. For instance, the ‘terrorist’, without his own appreciation of his condition, is actually a ‘lefty’ who appreciates the value of humanity despite the illusory borders of the ‘modern’ nation-state. Of course s/he does not realise this her/imself But the existence of the scent of a flower is not dependent of its awareness of it is it? And environmentalists also necessarily occupy the true left for they are globally empathetic, and seek to address the ‘modernists’, or the ‘modern left’s’ oversights in constructing a modern machinery that is focused on national human interests – albeit class-biased. So, on the one hand, the ‘terrorist’ serves as a reminder of the value of empathy despite borders, and the environmentalists direct our attention of the value of sentience despite humanity. Thankfully, the left has caught on the meaning of the latter, but has yet to truly come to grips with the meaning of the former for their absorption in attempting to make the best out of a modernist-defined bad situation.

When I looked at clause 4 of the Labour party, and appreciated how this had mutated into doublespeak when Blair stuck his finger into it, I couldn’t help but appreciate the main impediment in the way of the left. As the stranglehold of exploitation is released ever so slightly with changes in political epochs, not only can there be a greater relief enjoyed, but the larynx can also devolve into a state that it requires not greater relief. That is the highpoint of the periodic foot-binding modernisms that has afflicted human history. The clearest example of such degeneration can be perceived in ‘modern’ times in the emerging ‘(east) asian democracies’ (aka, ‘Confucian’ ‘civilisations’) that deem human rights, democracy, freedom of speech, demonstrations, amongst others as ‘western’ frivolities emerging from a wholly dispensable western chaotic ‘faith’. They present the west a valuable lesson on how progress can be paradoxically paired with gross human degeneration.

In efforts to prevent such a malaise from afflicting the west, which is fast becoming a flickering candle-powered beacon of civilisation in the face of the Hun, or more aptly, Han of the East, we on the left need to engage in a major rethink on how we might be contributing to civilisation’s march toward devolution by not truly recognising the dichotomies that exist between the ‘modern left’, the ‘relatively real left’ and the ‘true left’. We might find, upon a most certainly discomforting critical introspection, that all we are doing is attempting to bail out the water in the works of the ‘modern left’ and which might just contribute to its perpetuation and the relegation of the ‘true left’ to periphery of civilisation. It is this weakness that can lead to the west becoming nothing more than ‘west’ in direction, but an ‘asian democracy’ in perspective.