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Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

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+1 vote
Are these terms useful in defining one's political framework or is this a false dichotomy that should be discarded?
Those we view as 'pitiful' (though i be devoid of pity itself); and those we just laugh out loud at.

I leave it as an exercise to the reader, to decide which is which.
cb,: indeed, and it depends on the day, time of day, and what each wing is up to.
the bird wouldn't fly without both wings...
...beating downwards to get on high.

2 Answers

+1 vote
I'm sure there's real differences between the left and the right. The problem is that politics (and not even just in America) gets reduced to this single one-dimensional spectrum. All of our beliefs about ourselves and each other and society are supposed to fit us in somewhere along this line. And any beliefs that don't fit well into this one-dimensional view tend to get discarded so that the primacy of the left-right can be maintained.

There's been a whole lot of political theory put into expanding this single dimension into say two or three dimensional maps of people's beliefs. So like economics can be on one dimension, social norms on another, and maybe an axis from authoritarianism to anarchy would be a third. That's cool, I guess, but it really still suffers from the exact same problem.

I believe most anarchists would reject the whole concept of mapping people's beliefs into a static space. Or if it must be done, there must be an infinite number of dimensions given equal weight in the analysis. It's a hyperdimensional map that puts us sometimes close to each other in some respects, but other times at opposite ends in other cases. This is what makes representative democracy an impossibility and life endlessly fascinating.
by (560 points)
what do you consider as "real differences"?
S-fish:  well done.  Rejection of false dichotomies (or whatever that is).
I think this is something most of us (myself in particular) have trouble discarding initially.  Not surprising really, since it has been one of the core ideas of this civilisation for several thousand years at least, and we are very much products of that cognitive conditioning (we fight it everyday, but can never escape it - yet.)
Man/nature, civilised/savage, christian/heathen, salved/damned, spiritual/material, ..., left/right, up/down, in/out (of fashion); etc, etc, etc...  Challenging these bullshit either/ors is one really good way of breaking out of our habits and conditionings, and glaring at the world with a critical eye.  Well done.
I think this is a good starter:

edited to make a comment
+2 votes
I think its based on the capital/labor split.

Right: Benefits for capital
Left: Benefits for labor

It gets more complicated in the US and settler societies (and then everywhere else because the oppression created here is globalized everywhere).

The rebirth of the left in the 1960s was during a time when there wasn't a conscious working class that valued solidarity and struggle, but instead one that was mostly patriotic and still seduced by the temporary benefits of Fordist compromise. The New Left subsequently assigned the primacy of the working class to other marginalized groups: people of color, women, lgbt*q people, and those struggling in the third world. Those within the New Left that were privileged, often middle-class students, were guilt-stricken and unable to articulate their own reasons for being opposed to the system except for moralistic ones, ones where there was a true and obvious victim besides themselves.

So now you have a left that uncritically supports nationalist elites in the name of anti-imperialism, is virtually frozen from meaningful action due to privilege politics, and becomes rabidly enthusiastic over the slightest appearance of class-based struggle, even when it's by class traitors like the SEIU.

All of the above could be totally false; I didn’t study the history that much. Also: I’m not saying that those non-WC struggles aren’t worthwhile. In my mind this narrative just seems to be the way things unfolded.

EDIT: Misplaced the asterisk in LGBT*Q
by (4.0k points)
edited by
unfortunately, both "sides" believe in a continually expanding money system based on debt and interest, leaving them effectively in cahoots, despite the difference in how they think it should be distributed (as you outlined).
Absolutely. The pro-working class stance almost more naturally leans towards reformism if anything.

It takes a leap into the unknown to get to the ultra-left/anarchist mantra that "the working class wins by negating itself as a class and rejecting its role of performing work."
i really like that last line you wrote...thanks...the idea of leaping into the unknown feels uplifting to me, and i often wish more people felt the same way.