Here is the piece in the original Polish, and here is the English version for those of my readers too dumb to read Polish.
RACIAL REALISM, WHICH LEFT CENTRIST IN CULTURAL MATTERS
Columnist “Respublica Nowa”.
Social Philosophy and Innovation.
March 13, 2017
Two marginal racist bloggers from the US received Laurka in the the pages of a leftwing magazine.
Beautifully we differ on the left. Each of the left-wing circles reaches a different audience and offers a slightly different overview of the situation. So let’s rise above not very transparent for outsiders divisions, often rooted in long-standing conflicts personnel, and track the full range of left-wing press – from the liberal center-left to the environment very radical. Niezgoda is natural, and sometimes creative ferment. Sometimes, however, there is disappointment over a hard move to the agenda.
Niezgoda is natural, and sometimes creative ferment. Sometimes, however, there is disappointment over a hard move to the agenda.
It got off to an interesting start:
Homegrown Leftists Criticize the Vistula Backwater for Failing to See the Latest Leftwing Trends from the Homeland of the World’s Creative Class
begins an article about the “Alt Left” written by Dr. Hab. Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz which appeared in New Citizen, a Polish leftwing social justice magazine. I regard foreign influences as inevitable and often useful, so naturally I was interested in this new leftwing movement outside the mainstream which has so far escaped my attention.
After today often encountered failure characteristics “Hipster-Left”, focused on easy wojenkach culture, the author writes about the new collective actor on the political scene, “The Alt Right – a rebirth of the “Old Hard Right” – ethnopolitical, traditionalist, populist – in a new postmodern form. A sort of return to the roots. And the Alt Right managed to overcome the Mainstream Left on its own home turf: to win the support or the workers by emphasizing economics and de-emphasizing cultural issues. Think a somewhat obsolete Thomas Frank.
A flashing red light at this point heralds a warning. Did Donald Trump really gain the support of part of the White working class through the efforts of the teenage racist trolls under the leadership of Richard Spencer – the elegant (at least when not performing a Seig Heil), erudite, and informal leader of the Alt Right?
You are probably thinking of the Centrist Democrats so disliked by Tomasiewicz. It seems however that the notion that the anti-elitist mood of working class Trump voters (many of whom supported Obama in the past) was powered by the notions of the Alt Right leader Spencer is not only factually questionable but also overly bleak in that it elides the appeal of Trump to a section of the electorate steeped in US nationalism. Or perhaps this is just a problem of the Old Left?
Some believe that the challenge posed by the Alt Right requires a symmetrical response: the creation of an alternative to the Mainstream Left emphasizing the forgotten foundations of Leftism, such as the primacy of economics over culture, the relationship of the base to the superstructure, and a return to the Marxian thesis that ‘existence shapes consciousness.’
Next there is a quote from a manifesto from “Alternative Left” writer Robert Lindsay proclaiming,
We will be leftwing on economic matters […] but rather Centrist in the sphere of culture.
Tomasiewicz later cites another vague point in Lindsay’s manifesto of the Alternative Left. This vision paints a picture of the Social Democratic movement distanced from the alleged excesses of Cultural Left, materialistic in the old style, although “small and diverse” – which, although it should not be imitated in the dark (we as Poles have common sense), nevertheless deserves our at least with fingers crossed.
So what’s wrong with this picture? More than you’d expect. The author refers to two online sources for information about the Alt Left, and clicking on either of them reveals some rather disturbing content. The Altleft.com site notes at the top of the page that it is The Left Wing of the Alt Right. Nothing dziwnegi therefore that it is enough time to go through the lengthy scraps to find the few real gems. In the text quoted by Tomasiewicz, we find this passage:
Though I disagree with him on some ideological points…It just so happens that I support Richard Spencer and repeatedly defended him when some oversensitive (and often sanctimonious) factions or some prominent individuals of the AltRight unsuccessfully tried to sacrifice him to improve the image of the movement.
In another text by the author of the site (who goes by the pseudonym “Rabbit”) in response to an appeal to downplay the racial aspect of the Alternative Left brand, he said:
The Alt Left always been about race realism and gender realism. This is the whole fucking nail on the head!
What is race realism? It’s the familiar old and frightening idea that believes in biological differences between “races” of people, eg. in terms of IQ, which it stipulates as very important for races to gain social or political significance. AltLeft.com openly promotes White Nationalism, and at the same time is quite honest, which clearly shows in the title of one of his posts talking about the “unreality” of nonracist “race realism”. The post notes the hypocrisy of the supposedly nonracist race realists and asks a rhetorical question:
“What’s wrong with hatred anyway?”
What of the second author of the Alternative Left manifesto commented on by Tomasiewicz? Robert Lindsay is a prolific blogger who refers to himself as a “liberal race realist” (the title of his previous ideological project), who rejects Political Correctness and “Cultural Marxism” and in their stead proposes “positive White identity” and masculinity for men (to fight Gender Feminism and Radical Feminism).
Once again though – it is not difficult to see where Lindsay is really coming from. Although in the manifesto quoted by Tomasiewicz, Lindsay rejects “racist fascism”, it begins with an attack on the Black Lives Matter movement and ridicules people who talk about White privilege or have an “obsession about structural racism.”
According to Lindsay, to belong to Alt Left, one should accept “racial realism”, which is the three pillars of Alt Left ideology – the other two are leftwing views on economics, to which Lindsay moreover dedicates little space, and a special form of moral libertinism who boils down to formally supporting the basic rights of minorities combined with a gut hatred against the movements that are fighting for those very rights.
Lindsay seems to be less directly hateful – and more eccentric – than Rabbit, but his journalism nevertheless includes discussions about the abominations of gay sexual practices, alleged reasons why women cannot lead Western civilization, and complaints about aggressive and obnoxious “Jewy Jews” who are themselves responsible for anti-Semitism.
As for the Alt Left, this is all we need to know about it right here. Tomasiewicz refers only to Lindsay and the author of a blog about the “Left Wing of Alt Right” because that’s all there is to the “Alternative Left.” Otherwise, the concept still appears occasionally as a rhetorical device in journalism, primarily as an insult. So the entirety of this new and noteworthy movement is a small group of readers of two marginal blogs that are attempting to enrich the standard White Nationalism of the AltRight with an aversion to neoliberalism and a promotion of anti-feminist libertarianism (the latter being merely a rejecting the traditionally conservative views of women).
LEFT PRIEST JOHN
The detailed reasons why this leftwing website published a fictitious Laurka for a couple of some marginal racists in the chronicle New Citizen are not something that should concern readers. Suffice to say that it is difficult to believe in the sincerity of the author, who was after all the one who first discovered the quoted texts of these bloggers. Why did he go out of his way to ferret out these marginal bloggers? Nevertheless, I do not think however that one could accuse the editor-in-chief of tolerance for “race realism,” nor is the readership enthusiastic about this concept.
The case recalls to me deeper concerns regularly buzzing discussing some Polish Left intellectuals dislike for the “Left of manners.” Often it is not so much about the same demands as to their alleged incompatibility of the conservative expectations of the people, of the people, by which after all had left in this whole walk. These charges are often simply unfair – when Manifa passed under the banner of radical równościowymi also in the economic sphere, this did not prevent duplication of repeated years of lies about the concentration of the whole feminist movement solely on the alleged “obyczajówce.”
For this often based on fantasies – Maciej Gdula in Political Critique accurately dismantling the idea of conservatism of the people, shared by anti-elitist liberals as well as a current anti-elitist Left. A plea to leave the Left only about the workers and to reject helping different minorities seems particularly unfair when he turns attention to the development in recent years of leftwing movements and characters (like Total in Poland or Bernie Sanders in the US), fully and harmoniously integrating “cultural issues” and “economics”.
The spectacular defeat as a positive reception of the text of the “Alternative Left” brings to light another problem. This article published in the New Citizen is the modern equivalent of the medieval legend about the state ruled by Father John, a Christian enclave which was kept somewhere in the distant Orient.
This is reflected in anecdotes written by various intellectuals, otherwise as different as Remigiusz Okraska, Stephen Twardoch and David Wildstein, that the notion of the good old people who do not care about newfangled oddities is every year moving further from reality.
The text Tomasiewicz, in which the role of Father John played the companion Richard Spencer, stands out as an apology for some particularly nasty and in the Polish context completely unacceptable notions (perhaps even ONR does not admit openly to the biological racism). We have only to barely scrape the surface of almost any “morally Centrist” manifesto’s concern for ordinary people to see the usual hatred and disgust for the selected disadvantaged groups – sometimes consciously, often probably not. In this situation, to put on a mask of folk naiveté seems to be at best frivolous and at worst insincere and wicked, which did not approve of even calling yet to openly present their views of Rabbit of AltLeft.com.