Lefties Need To Stop Being Shy About Working With The Anti-Establishment Right
Caitlin Johnstone

Your message seems fairly simple… if you agree on something, work with those people who agree, even if they’re generally distasteful?

This is, of course, what indistinguishability actually means in politics… where you can’t tell what party came up with a policy any more because they steal each other’s and even simultaneously “flip flop” to hold each others’ old positions.

You can’t have it both ways. If the centre/establishment you so demonise is indistinguishable, it is because they do what you suggest the radicals/extremes do. Hence, you ultimately suggest a re-centring of American politics and the formation of a different brand of establishment (“normalised”) politics and political methodology.

Or, in point of fact, the Republicans and Democrats aren’t indistinguishable and your wider thesis needs reconsidering. I suggest starting with your intense interest in who your ideological brethren¹ are (i.e. the ubiquitous use of lefties above) and the arbitrary exclusion of working with the establishment even though they are exactly as distasteful to you as the extremists on the other end of the spectrum.

As it happens, that is actually an inclusive or. It is both true sharing policies is the crux of indistinguishability and that Republicans and Democrats look very different. You see, in America, policy sharing is antithesis and while it is distasteful elsewhere (the cause of simultaneous flip flopping) it actually does happen. And the result is indistinguishability.² Hence, British Labour’s recent electoral surprise is explained as actually offering a different platform and no-one expects NZ’s Labour to do the same on account of (a) continuing in its “Not John Key” mire (despite the retirement of said politician) and (b) generally supporting contra-left positions (i.e. those inconsistent with even a very vague idea of centre-left or left-wing).

Now, I am not saying you’re wrong about your conclusion, it is a good thing to achieve what you think is right, but the rest does matter when it comes to how you think the world will look if you manage to win.

Edit… it appears you’re Australian. Even better. Your writing, possibly by design, in indistinguishable from that of many Americans. Whether we talk in terms of spelling or the delusional love of the so-called “founding fathers” (who, if they were alive today, would be laughed into irrelevancy on account of having a poor understanding of the modern, industrial… or even post-industrial, world and its demands) you seem so samey I assumed you were American. What makes your work indistinguishable is not a gut feeling or, even, shared repetitions (such as how I use “or, even” constructions) but substantive similarity. All the evidence I have seen⁴ suggests that you pull your arguments from exactly the same mentality (George the tyrant tropes, obsessive concern with American politics etc.).⁵

¹ In general, hypocrisy is not a valid critique but the arbitrary exclusion rather makes me think there is something deeply problematic with how you condemn “vanity politics”.

² While you might question why Obamacare is so roundly criticised (vanity politics seems entirely the cause), that you can continually find policy positions where party platforms are consistently distinct and disagreement is even superficially about policy is remarkable. (No, not even immigration has an even vaguely left/right divide in NZ: suddenly³ everybody hates it.)

³ By which I mean, late 2015. No-one used to care or cared about emigration (the Brain Drain… to Australia mostly).

⁴ Now, I have seen only a selection of your works but they are consistently similar.

⁵ Incidentally, this would be called an argument. I have said what it is that I think indistiguishability means and shown relevant evidence. We might contrast your habit of writing a characterisation/providing a link and then presuming its truth throughout. I feel as though my earlier qualifier was substantially too naive now I’ve read some more of your posts.