Without a strategy, you become part of someone else’s strategy. I think this is a pretty apt description of what has happened to the broader Left for the past 30 years. The neo-liberal Right has had a very clear strategy – restructuring the State so that it serves entrenched corporate interests. Whereas some sections of the broader Left have maintained their ideological purity but been pushed to the margins, and other sections have been reduced to campaigning furiously for the guys that at least claim to be implementing neo-liberal policy either at a slower pace or with a human face.
With this in mind, have a watch of Slavoj Žižek’s video (stick through to the end for the strategic tie in):
For me, the nugget of wisdom comes at the end after you unwrap the provocative outer layers. Žižek is saying think about campaigning on an issue that comes within the everyday experience of people (in this instance health care), once you’ve worked it out; act. The challenge is making sure it gives people a chance to witness a concrete example of socialist values in action.
If you’ve just been consuming mainstream Australian media, then you’ve probably missed this strategic pattern playing out across the globe. In both Chile and Quebec there have been sustained mass campaigns in support of free universal education (compare this with Australia’s latest craptastic play; Waiting for Gonski). While the mining strikes in Asturias, Spain and South Africa have spread beyond their industrial confines to spark a wider discourse about austerity, equality and shared prosperity.
Pick the issue that matters and go hard. That forces politicians to get on board or get run over. And if you go hard at the right issue or thread then the whole knot of elite control can be unpicked.
In Australia, we’ve got no excuses. With needless austerity measures being pushed through, under-taxed obnoxious billionaires, one of the globe’s highest rates of job insecurity (our regulations by the way trail even developing countries), mineral wealth the envy of the world and an education system that favours the rich we’ve got no shortage of starting points.
People are angry, so let’s get stuck in people.