June 15th, 2017

Liberal Member of Parliament and leader of the Great Britain’s Liberal Party, Jeremy Corbyn very nearly defeated Tory Prime Minister Theresa May in a snap election held there a week ago, and in doing so garnered 40 percent of the vote—the largest percentage of votes for Labor in years—giving we former colonials a glimpse of how our own recent election might have gone if the Democratic National Committee hadn’t patted the party on the head and said that they knew what was best and that was running to the center for the win.

Well, we know how that worked. Matt Taibbi, examining the British election and what it means for American politics in Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism> for Rolling Stone, writes:

The idea that people who want expanded health care, reduced income inequality, fewer wars and more public services are “unrealistic” springs from an old deception in our politics.

For decades pundits and pols have been telling progressive voters they don’t have the juice to make real demands, and must make alliances with more “moderate” and presumably more numerous “centrists” in order to avoid becoming the subjects of right-wing monsters like Reagan/Bush/Bush/Trump.

Voters for decades were conned into thinking they were noisome minorities whose best path to influence is to make peace with the mightier “center,” which inevitably turns out to support military interventionism, fewer taxes for the rich, corporate deregulation and a ban on unrealistic “giveaway” proposals like free higher education. Those are the realistic, moderate, popular ideas, we’re told.

But it’s a Wizard of Oz trick, just like American politics in general.

So, what is behind the curtain?

[W]ealthy donors, surrounded by a protective ring of for-sale major-party politicians (read: employees) whose job it is to castigate too-demanding voters and preach realism.

Those pols do so with the aid of a bund of dependably alarmist sycophants in the commercial media, most of whom, whether they know it or not, technically inhabit the low end of the 1 percent and tend to be amazed that people out there are pissed off about stuff.

And pissed off we are.


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