I'm typing about the recent mid-term USA elections because I think that what happened there is relevant for what's happening to leftists everywhere, including here in Toronto where right-wing populist Rob Ford defeated cynical liberal opportunist George Smitherman.
Here's Cathie From Canada before the election with a list of the accomplishments of the Obama-led Democratic majority. The thing is, I've never heard of a lot of these bills, and that's probably because all the big stuff (pro-insurance industry health care reform, hideous assaults on human rights, escalation of the war in Afghanistan, abandoning pro-union legislation, sidelining Elizabeth Warren, failing to regulate Wall Street, failure to help US-Americans to stay in their homes, siding with BP against the Gulf Coast, extending "don't ask, don't tell,") has drowned out these piecemeal, minor actions.
The conclusions to draw from the right-wing "victory" is that it isn't really a victory for them at all. They won because the centre and most people left of it, stayed home, rather than become active participants in their own abuse. Furthermore, the extreme right-wing lost, and helped to split the vote to enable the Democrats to keep the Senate.
But the reality is that progressives won. I disagree with the Pollyanna mentality of that article (the author imagines that Obama will now be able to work with his more solidly progressive legislative colleagues to truly fight for ordinary US-Americans and blah, blah, blah) but I do think the facts at hand represent the main point: That progressive Democrats stayed strong, and Rahm Emmanuel's "Blue-Dogs" failed miserably.
The sad fact is that Obama appears to be taking this minor drubbing entirely the wrong way and intends to veer even further rightward to appease the Repug majority, and, more importantly, his Wall Street masters.
I'll have more to say as to why the genuine left needs a better narrative and needs to distance itself from the "Third Way" drivel that prevailed in the 1990s and lingers on today. We have to understand some simple truths that reinforce our policy strengths and which will resonate with voters so that they don't have merely the incoherent, contradictory bullshit that spews from the mouths of the likes of Rob Ford or Jim Flaherty. Because working-class voters want economic stability more than anything and the helluvit is that we can give them that and more if we only have faith in ourselves and ditch the propaganda of the hegemonic cheerleaders of torture, war, and financial chaos.