Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Joseph Stalin

4 Reasons Why the European Left Has to Stick Up For Immigrants and the EU

Last week we talked about British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s cunning plan to allow Brexit to go forward in the hope that he and his party might take power in 2020 or 2025 and use restored national powers to move Britain sharply to the left. It’s politically tempting for some on the left to return to the nation state–many working class people in many countries want to see tighter controls on immigration and a renewed emphasis on national sovereignty, and if the left triangulates on these issues it might make itself more competitive with these voters in the short term. Some on the left now believe that international institutions are irredeemably neoliberal, that there’s no prospect of regional or global cooperation to restore the tougher tax, wage, and regulatory policies of the post-war era. Right nationalists are doing well, and the fight between nationalists and internationalists seems to be one the internationalists are likely to lose. So why chain ourselves to creaking neoliberal institutions like the European Union? Surely this is an albatross the left can do without, right? This all may sound plausible, but it’s a big mistake.

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You Say You Want a Revolution, but What Kind?

So in light of recent writings about Russell Brand and Robert Webb, I’ve been thinking about the concept of revolution and the connotations it carries in our society. For the average person, I imagine the word “revolution” brings to mind first and foremost the kind of comprehensive, totalizing socio-economic and political change associated with Marxism. As a result, otherwise left-leaning people tend to harbor a deep skepticism about changes that go beyond which political party is in power or the enacting or repealing of various peripheral policies and laws. However, upon further reflection, I don’t think that all revolutions fit this stereotype. Indeed, the exclusive association of the term “revolution” with the conception of revolution used by Marxists is a significant obstacle to necessary, big-picture change.

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Oversimplifications: “Obama is a Socialist”

How many times have we heard this one? “Obama is a socialist”, they say, “he’s just like [insert Communist boogie man here]”. There’s an obvious thing being missed by the right when they call Obama a socialist, and that’s that there are endless variations on socialism. So that brings us to our question for today–if Obama is a socialist, what kind of socialist would he be, and who should the right be comparing him to?

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