It’s likely that much of the western left—infected by liberalism and obsessed with identity politics and political correctness—will mark the centenary of the October revolution this year with a smirk and say “nothing to do with us, mate” and get on with writing their love letters to Hillary Clinton. But there are, I believe, important lessons to be learnt from the strategy employed by Lenin in 1917—and the left dismisses them at its peril.
As was the case one hundred years ago, a corrupt, arrogant, and hideously out-of-touch establishment lies teetering on the brink. As was the case one hundred years ago, the gap between rich and poor is truly staggering. Only last January, Oxfam revealed that half of the world’s wealth is owned by just 62 people. Yes, that‘s right—62.
But unlike 100 years ago, it’s the populist right—and not the left—that’s making all the headway. Instead of embracing working-class populism and positioning themselves at the forefront of anti-establishment protests as Lenin and the Bolsheviks did in 1917, the liberal-dominated Western left of today seems scared of proletarian rebelliousness, and has instead sided on issue after issue with the neo-liberal militarist establishment.
We see this in the liberal-left’s attachment to parliamentarianism, and the failure to promote more democratic ways of organizing society e.g. the greater use of referenda, the introduction of workers’ councils and peoples’ assemblies and elected people’s courts (interestingly the attachment to Parliamentarianism didn’t seem to apply to Ukraine in 2014 when many “liberal-leftists” in the West supported the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government).
We also see it in the way that “bread-and-butter issues” which affect the everyday lives of ordinary people are largely ignored with the focus instead on fighting culture wars and promoting wars of “liberal intervention” in the Middle East, which only benefit elite interests.
Clark, Neil. “1917 and its lessons for 2017: Learning from Lenin“