What is Alt-Left?

Basically, the Alt-Left doesn’t believe that you can tear down the existing order to find gold glittering underneath. Instead you must engineer better social, economic and political processes that — over time, and on average — lead to dramatically different results. — Hanzi Freinacht

This new narrative needs to be beyond market fundamentalism and nation states, beyond left and right and even beyond political parties. — Silke Helfrich

If Alt-Right equates to Fascism, what is Alt-Left?

If Alt-Right equates to Fascism. Does that then imply Alt-Left equates to Stalin- ism, Trotsky-ism?

If nothing else illustrates Alt-Left a dumb choice of name.

Alt-Left is a series of essays by Hanzi Freinacht.

The analysis is flawed as most of the suggestions, but at least he is promoting a discussion.

According to Wayne B Lewis a discussion that seems to have agitated a few on Bernie Sanders forums.

I’ve gotten a lot of angry responses in Sanders groups on these posts …not sure why such snap anger mostly by people who have clearly not read the posts critically.

He was then blocked.

Democrats handed to Trump the election, rusting steel mills, crumbling factories, an electorate taken for granted, financed by the banks, big business, big oil.

A story that is repeated across Europe.

There is a need for a radical alternative.

Left v Right became meaningless years ago. The only surprise is people still view the world through this distorting prism.

The working class, the proletariat, has all but disappeared, and soon will, when replaced by robots.

Margaret Thatcher recognised this in the 1980s, when she sold them social houses at knockdown prices. Overnight they became home owners, the new middle class, and voted Tory.

That is the problem Old Labour has with their pitch to a working class that no longer exists, and as a result, their share of the vote is shrinking. As we saw in two recent elections, where they lost one seat and narrowly held the other.

Not the fault of the leader, a long term trend.

Political parties are 19th century anachronisms, self serving entities, self-serving careerist politicians, offering a fake choice to the electorate, the choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the electorate reduced to ballot fodder.

There is no role for political parties at local level.

At local level we have to follow the example of Spain, of Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, and Frome in Somerset with their Flatpack Democracy Revolution, where local citizens have seized control of their local Town Halls, then opened up to public participation, then networked.

We also have to realise as they have in Barcelona, seizing control of the Town Hall is only one step, necessary but not sufficient. We also have to change the way the town functions, that it is orientated to people and the environment, the focus on small businesses and open coops. It builds resilience into the system, able to survive shocks. In other words treat the city as an Urban Commons.

Ahora Madrid has created a software platform for public participation, Decide Madrid. They could have placed a contract with a software consultancy, paid a million euros or more. Instead, they developed as Open Source Software, all could participate in its development, it was then available for other cities to use.

Decide Madrid, public participation on-line. And those who are not able, visit a local Town Hall office.

In Barcelona, they realised it did not start from seizing the Town hall, it started with grassroots community groups.

Also in Barcelona and Catalonia, a long tradition of coops.

In Ecuador, FLOK Society, a plan to transition to a mature Peer to Peer Economy, to “fundamentally re-imagine Ecuador”, based on the principles of open networks, peer production and a commons of knowledge, creating an open platform for open technology-focused policy making, enabled by a combination of open technical infrastructures and democratic decision making.

I have long argued the emphasis on jobs is wrong. Someone out of work may be contributing more to society, than someone in a job that is damaging society. And not in formal paid work does not mean they have idle hands.

What drives this is age old misconception is that idle hands leads to the Devil’s work.

Do we want jobs where groundwater is being polluted by open cast mining?

Do we want jobs where people are churning out worthless consumer junk, together with parallel bullshit jobs where people are employed to con other people they must consume this worthless consumer junk, their lives are meaningless if they do not?

Do we really need someone who spends all day making nuisance phone calls to sell us something we do not want, that damages the planet?

Is it good when more cars are sold, when consumer spending increases, buying more junk that then ends up as non-recyclable rubbish? And when this spending is financed by debt not earnt income?

Do we want jobs where we have serfs working for apps, eg Uber and Deliveroo?

Do we want jobs where people are working in precarious employment, often at less than the minimum wage, soul destroying, mindless McShit jobs?

The only reason people are in these jobs, as discussed in Sacred Economics, forced to work for a living, not doing what they really wish to do.

The majority of people are in jobs they hate and yet at the same time they are in daily fear of losing their jobs.

Sports Direct and other companies, the working conditions are that of a prison.

And it is all seen as great as GDP is rising, a completely worthless indicator of anything. Once a basic standard of living has been achieved rising GDP translates to worsening quality of life. Nor does it show who is sharing the national cake, which increasingly is skewed towards the rich grabbing ever larger share, leaving the 99% with the crumbs, which rarely fall off the rich man’s table.

In other words creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs, without questioning why, what are we actually achieving?

And the main reason for the job creation, is in order they have the money to consume the junk the worthless jobs are churning out.

If it was concern for the lives of the people, it would be how can we meaningfully occupy their lives?

And all somewhat academic, when many of these jobs are going to be replaced by robots. The crunch will come when nearly half of all jobs are replaced by robots.

This we should welcome, unless we wish to see people engaged in precarious soul destroying McShit jobs, just so we can say they have work.

Are they to starve? Are they to be bastardised at Job Centres for not searching for non-existent work?

We need, not a Basic Income, but a Universal Dividend as proposed by Yanis Varoufaikis and DiEM25.

We need a Green New Deal, as proposed by Yanis Varoufaikis and DiEM25, to invest in an infrastructure that will create a better low carbon world.

Addressing climate change has to form a central role of any progressive alternative.

The Leap Manifesto, drawn up for Canada, provides an excellent example.

As do the ideas presented by Yanis Varoufakis and John McDonnell at Beyond Austerity.

We should put out of business companies like Uber and Deliveroo, serfs working for an app, a return to medieval feudalism.

For the future, collaborate commons, open coops.

The collaborative commons are a direct threat to the neo-liberal agenda, people able to cooperatively satisfy their own needs, create a common wealth, no requirement for formal paid employment.

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