Saturday, 11 January 2014

Rethinking the Left and Right Wing Dichotomy

In many ways Autonomous England could be seen as both the Left Wing of the English movement or the pro-English voice of the political Left. However, whilst the Right may see us as a bunch of Lefties, the Left fears we've fallen into a Right Wing trap. Clearly then we don't fit into either pigeon-hole. Perhaps politics and social philosophy is not so black and white... or red and blue... and there is commmon ground to be found across this spectrum.

This Left/Right dichotomy dates back to the French Rev­o­lu­tion when mem­bers of the Gen­eral Assem­bly clam­ber­ing most for change and rad­i­cal action sat to left of the cham­ber while those who urged cau­tion sat to the right. Since then, this dual­ity has become part of the stan­dard tax­on­omy for nearly every polit­i­cal move­ment.

The more complex our world has become, the more issues we have to deal with and the more decisions we have to make. Is it reasonable to suppose that if we advocate change or caution on one issue we will make the same choice on every issue? To say one is in favour of 'change' or 'caution' in a general sense is meaningless. Then, of course, there are many other intersecting axis on which to measure our political convictions: libertarian/authoritarian or centralist/decentralist for example.

Many on the 'Right' object to the 'Left' on the basis of Soviet Communism's authoritarian character and extreme centralism. They will quite rightly remind us of the human rights abuses, the failures of central planning and generally colourless life under that particular system but will spuriously use these facts against some very different political positions which are conventionally classified as 'Left Wing'. These abuses apply to Blair's 'New Labour' project as much as it does to the USSR. Many who consider themselves on the 'Left' reject both these systems and ideologies on the same basis as those on the 'Right', i.e. that they are counter to human freedom.

On the other hand, the 'Right' is associated by the 'Left' with an intolerance of difference. Difference is a psychological threat to a mindset that values tradition above all else. Too much resistance to change can lead to stagnation and can be just as ideological and illogical as "change for change's sake". It can also be used to defend all sorts of existing systems of oppression on the basis that they have "always been this way". However, conservation (i.e. caution / small 'c' conservativism) of both culture and the environment can be a very valuable counter to the rampant excesses of big business, government and technology.

People from both sides of the political spectrum may favour a more participatory system of democracy.
Decentralisation, which is the process of redistributing or dispersing functions and powers away from a central location or authority, is a concept favoured by both the libertarian Right and the libertarian Left. Localism and politics of 'smallness' is something dear to the hearts of both traditionalists and anarchists.

We would argue against the idea that nationhood --that is, a cultural affinity which extends beyond the parochial and individual but counter to globalisation-- is a solely Right Wing concept. We also reject an exclusionary ethnic model of nationality, which is illogical as it is contrary to existing fact and history. Communities, national and local, have assimilated newcomers at a manageable level as long as society has existed. Nationhood, therefore, is above all civic, social and cultural.

We differ radically from the libertarian 'Right' as well as the neoliberal 'Centre' consensus (Lib-Lab-Con) in believing that a participatory economics is essential for true liberty and democracy. Everyone speaks of 'democracy' and 'freedom' but we ask "for whom?". The health of a people can not be measured by the wealth of the richest individuals. We demand fairness and an economy which works for the majority and not just the few: a social economy administered by the people.

Ultimately, we must be free to make choices about what we wish to preserve and what we wish to change, irrespective of received wisdom and existing political dogma.


  1. I tend to agree, (being a 'right winger') that many topics to do with politics both nationally and internationally are transcendent of the Right Vs Left mentality. When it comes to things like the economy, there are a lot the far-right and far-left agree on in fact.

    However it's generally only the left who strive to completely silence the other camp. I've never known any right-winger to say that they shouldn't be entitled to their opinion. This is where the problem lies, and this is what is dangerous. The 'left' don't want the right to have a platform because they know they make sense to a large percentage of the population.

    Ironically, its the 'left' who are fascist's.

    1. Thanks for commenting.

      I consider myself more of a 'left-winger' but I am not out to silence anyone and I strongly believe that sensible debate and the transcending of false political divides is essential for the overthrowing of the establishment by the people. I hear what you are saying and I am equally dismayed when the Left seek to censor rather than engage in critical debate. However, I disagree that the Left has a monopoly on censorship. We only have to look at the of those in power (both 'Right' or 'Left') or of the behavior of some 'far-right' groups like Britain First.

      All the best.

  2. English Revolutionaries, join us at the Guild Socialist League