“On the barricades” s02e15: Grotesque stagnancy on the Left

The working class is on the move but the activists look the other way

In this episode of “On the barricades,” Maria Cernat and Boyan Stanislavski discuss the departure of the Eastern European Left from its core values and orientation towards the working class and how it has strangely fallen into all kinds of increasingly-weird woke-liberal meanders.

The current situation in Romania is a great example of this. The social mobilizations that have taken place over the last couple of weeks are a lab-clean example of the working class moving to defend itself from the nearly-libertarian policies of the ruling right-wing. It started with student protests. Now, we can observe a series of wildcat strikes and occupations in coal and uranium mines. Furthermore, the workers in the company running the Bucharest subway trains have recently staged a one-day stoppage that paralyzed the city and ignited an immense discussion in Romanian society. But the Left is nowhere near to be found. No attempts were made to intervene in the growing movement, the only spontaneous class-based fight in recent decades. What seems to be the problem?

The Polish Left seems to be in slightly better shape. It has parliamentary representation and has been hovering around 9% in the polls for the last half-year. It could certainly grow, but does it actually want to? The intuition of the left’s activists and sympathizers is somewhat twisted, mostly due to the right-wing idea of staging a spectacular war of symbols in the public sphere instead of actually discussing and implementing rational policies. Why is the Left buying into this so-called “strategy?” Why can’t the leaders of these various organizations offer anything inspiring and new? Is the Left lacking in ideology to such a paralyzing extent?

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