Robin Yassin-Kassab

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Three Political Principles

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Marine Le Pen leads France’s rebranded National Front (now it’s called ‘National Rally’), a far right-populist party rooted in fascist ideology. Here is her line on Ukraine: An embargo on Russian fuel would hurt French consumers. Sending weapons to Ukraine would lead to escalation. We need a rapprochement between Russia and the West.

Jeremy Corbyn is the leftist ex-leader of Britain’s Labour Party. He led Labour to its worst defeat since the 1930s and is no longer a Labour MP, but still leads the Stop the War Coalition and represents the perspective of quite a few British leftists. Here is his line on Ukraine: Sanctions on Russia won’t help. We shouldn’t arm Ukraine because it will lead to a long proxy war. We need a new security arrangement between Russia and the West.

Meanwhile, here is the latest directive from Noam Chomsky, the font of the ideology that calls itself ‘anti-imperialism’: Surrender to imperialism. It’s like a hurricane. It’s stupid to resist.

It’s problematic that political positions presented as opposites are so often identical (the hard left and the hard right meet on many other issues, from Syria to membership of the EU). It’s worse than deceptive that supposed anti-imperialists are actually pro-imperialist. This kind of politics robs language of its meaning as efficiently as Kremlin propaganda. People are deeply confused as a result. Young people with progressive urges end up following deeply reactionary leaders or advocating deeply reactionary programmes.

Archaic terms like ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ usually no longer illuminate. The problem is made much worse by the shallow self-advertisement encouraged by social media and by a postmodernity which favours signs over reality. So much of our politics, from Tariq Ali to Jacob Rees-Mogg, is a form of roleplaying, a recycling of old images.

It’s way past time to ditch the archaic labels and to start again from basic principles. I’ve quickly drawn up three principles which fit my politics. I would advise everyone else to think about their own principles and then, rather than practising loyalty to a leader, party or label, to work out who else you can work with, and in which contexts.

Here are my principles:

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

April 24, 2022 at 10:05 am

Posted in politics