The Left And The Popular Movements In The West Fail To Succeed Because They Cant Create Communities — And The Liberals Even Worse

Oz Zeren
11 min readFeb 28, 2024

And that’s why they fail against the reactionary movements

(Community forum on Black America, photo by Tony Webster)
Organizing like this won’t be enough.

We are witnessing various Western countries — mainly Anglo-American ones — fall into reactionaryism. While there are sizable segments that speak against this societal collapse and regression, the reactionary movements seem to be more powerful, persistent, focused, and with momentum. Things being how they are, various countries will end up with reactionary administrations, and even worse — with coherent, organized, tightly-knit reactionary movements taking control of their entire society for posterity.

Some, especially liberals, think that they can ‘vote away’ this impending danger, some even go to the extent of saying that ‘If we can beat them this time, this will be over’, as if an election defeat for Donald Trump or another reactionary leader will make the social movements and segments that put them on the election ballots will go away. And, some think that prosecuting the visible leadership like in the case of Trump, and preventing them from participating in the election will ‘make it go away’ in the same fashion, as if another, even more extremist leader will not just pick up the mantle and get backed to power by the organized, coherent reactionary movements — who would be probably a stand-in for Donald Trump, who would be really calling the shots anyway.

The reactionary movements show consistent, intensifying strength and momentum. Whereas those who oppose them can’t prevent their rise and they don’t even know how to do it.

But Why Reactionary Movements Are So Powerful?

The reactionary movements and groups are powerful and their numbers keep increasing because they provide a whole societal package to their members.

If you are born into these segments or you join these segments, you enter a complete society within the society that is economically, socially, and politically self-sufficient and consistent. You can find a job in a conservative/reactionary company or business, make a living, and raise children. You can create a business and make a living by selling to conservatives/reactionaries. You will immediately have a social circle and gain access to a community that will help each other in solidarity, organize for various causes, and follow them to fruition over many years. They buy from conservative businesses, find jobs for each other or their children, and integrate newly arrived community members. They help those in their community with even small things ranging from babysitting each others’ children to taking care of those who need it.

Even if you move to another city, you will immediately join the local conservative/reactionary community that is similar to the one in your hometown, and you will keep all the social, economic, and political benefits. The members of this society within society have a shared identity, social solidarity, and common goals and they consciously prioritize their group over all the others in the society and try to further it.

This makes them very attractive to the majority of the population that is plagued by the evils of late stage capitalism, working multiple jobs but struggling to feed their children, not being able to even afford rent, leaving aside actually buying a house, not having more than $500 in their bank account in the case of an emergency and being at the mercy of the rapacious, murderous private healthcare system.

Not only do these reactionary societies within the society provide them with economic relief and solidarity, but also they give them a feeling of belonging, purpose, and social inclusion. This makes defending the sub-society they live in and achieving its goals all the more important for those who belong to these segments.

What Is The Left Doing In The Meantime?

Talking about the real left, of course, not the liberals in the US who seem to have started to call themselves ‘left’ while not having any left-wing economic policy or talking points.

The mentality of the real left in the face of this onslaught is more or less the same mentality that it had for the last ~200 years:

Disorganized or semi-organized efforts are made to push for a major change in society, or even for an unlikely revolution, after which a format that will be for the benefit of the people will be put into practice and things will be all right. And even if things don’t become rosy immediately, at least they will start visibly going in the right direction, making sure that everything gets better in a short amount of time.

All left-wing groups, movements, and organizations separately push for change in different directions in a more or less isolated fashion, without coordinating society-wide to achieve common goals. All of them keep operating within the limits and confines that the capitalist system inflicts on them, which greatly reduces their impact, mostly limiting it to raising awareness about the ills of the system and how a better society is possible instead of the one that exists now.

Even worse is how even that impact is nullified by the system:

What happens to someone who wakes up to the ills of the system and agrees that a better world is possible thanks to the advocacy of left-wing groups?

He wakes up the next morning, goes to the job that he has to work under the capitalist system, overworks to be able to feed his children and afford rent, has to live with crippling debt and all suffer the other ills of the capitalist system.

The most he can do would be to maybe join a political party or movement. Even if he does so, his contribution to it would be scarce as the system leaves little time and energy for him after his daily struggle for survival for him to be able to engage in political organization or activism.

There isn’t a local community of left-wing people that he can join. There isn’t such a community that will help him with finding a job, and a place to rent, and will offer him products and services at better prices. There isn’t such a community that will accept him into a self-sufficient, left-wing economic bubble. There isn’t such a community that will help him with his life issues in neighborly or class solidarity. There will not be people organizing to gather funds from the community members to help him in his hour of need.

While the left is all for the commons and the community in idea, the practice is still ‘every man for himself’.

As you see, while these are ideologically the left’s domain, ironically it is the conservative/reactionary movements that actually provide their members with a community, a commons, and solidarity. What’s even more ironic is that the conservative segments who talk a lot about ‘individuality’ are providing most of these left-wing amenities to their members in places like the US.

The only choice of the person who wakes up to the ills of the capitalist system and becomes a left-wing person in the current left-wing paradigm is to support the left-wing movements from a distance and wait with hope for the eventual change/revolution that is always some years away while fighting for survival every day.

You can easily see which option is much more sensible and easy for the majority: The conservative/reactionary movement immediately admits you into an already existing conservative society-within-society and gives you relief from the system in many ways ranging from monetary to social to emotional. Whereas the current left-wing paradigm leaves you to fight for your survival and wait for the eventual change like a religious believer.

The conservative/reactionary movement provides its members with an already-existing microcosm of the society that they push for, whereas the left-wing movement only provides them with a hope that things will change in the future.

Only movements like Liberation Theology in South America break this paradigm. These movements create consistent, organized, and universal communities with solidarity and provide their members with a microcosm of the society they want to establish. These communities are built on shared ethnic, social, and ideological values and left-wing ideas. When religion is used as a common trait to unify the community, it is also interpreted from a left-wing perspective, like in the case of Liberation Theology. As a result, they create self-sustaining microcosms of the future society they want to establish. And, as more people see how well these micro-societies function, they keep joining these communities, eventually making the left-wing movements reach critical mass and change their society by taking the power back from their foreign-backed capitalist elites as we have seen in many South American countries.

But no such paradigm exists in the West, especially the Anglo-American West. The left still lacks community identity and practices and pushes for future change instead of readily starting to build the future society as a microcosm that exists inside the current society.

While The Left Fails Like This, The Liberals Are Far Worse

The liberal segment shows some concern for the suffering of the poor majority, but it involves itself with mostly non-economic social issues and liberal causes.

Their position is one of ‘being open to’ and ‘realizing the necessity of some reforms needing to be done sometime in the indefinite future’ to address the suffering of the majority. They make non-economic social issues their main talking points and concern themselves mostly with them. To top that, the actual economic reforms that they are willing to support are nowhere near anything that would address the fundamental problems of the system, inequality, and late-stage capitalism’s savagery. While some of them are ‘open to’ more ‘radical’ reforms that could address the fundamentals of the system thanks to left-wing segments’ advocacy, they are pretty content with letting the liberal capitalist leaders thwart those reforms for corporate profit and replace them with ineffectual token efforts, or outright do nothing while not even paying lip service — as long as these leaders just pay similar lip service to social causes even if they do nothing to address those either.

This is more due to the sizable percentages of the liberal segment benefiting from the existing system, working in white-collar jobs or at least getting by reasonably by working in a job that the existing system provides them. While there are many poor, struggling segments among the liberals, these poorer segments’ perceptions and priorities are shaped by the loud advocacy and politicking of the wealthier liberal segments who incessantly push social issues to the detriment of the economic ones. In most cases, consciously: A lot of liberal agenda-setting figures are employed by or have investment/stakes in major corporations whose interests conflict with the interests of the majority, ranging from media corporations to finance corporations and they push the interests of their employer as opposed to the interests of the people. The poorer liberal segments lose sight of the more fundamental issues that affect their society as a result of this propaganda cacophony whose sole purpose is distracting them by using non-economic issues so that they will not get ideas about voting for politicians and policies which may do so much as merely make those corporations pay the taxes they already owe, leaving aside increasing their taxes and curbing their power. Economic democracy is nowhere near the agenda, of course, as the proponents of this propaganda cacophony would rather prefer to have the entire society regress to 200 years ago in the hands of the reactionaries to avoid any democratization of the economy that could give more power to the people and curb the control and privileges of the corporations.

This environment totally curbs any awareness of and any discourse for bettering the lives of the majority as it was intended to do: Anyone from the majority who brings up the major economic issues that affect them and suggests that maybe these issues should be addressed first is shouted down, belittled, and even vilified in defense of the social/identity issues that liberal figures and their vocal supporters see as being more important. Parents who juggle multiple jobs but still can’t afford rent or enough food for their children are screamed down by those who assert that their social or identity issues are more important.

So, leaving aside only failing to provide an already working prototype of the society that they fight for like the left fails to do, the liberals alienate the disaffected and even literally push them into the arms of the conservative/reactionary movements. Then they are appalled when the support for these reactionary movements increases and their supporters harden and become more determined. How could this even be possible — are these people stupid?

It’s debatable whether a change in discourse from non-economic ones to economic ones would have any effect at this point too: Some lip service was paid to such issues in the last election, but the administration did absolutely nothing to address them even as they started three different wars as the inflation skyrocketed and food prices shot up to the highest level in the last 30 years. Even worse, the Biden administration’s Fed chair is pushing the interest rates up to increase inflation to get wages down. At this point, the disaffected masses are very unlikely to believe any promise that comes out of the mouths of a party whose president promised that “nothing” would change but made everything far worse for the majority economically.

It’s further debatable whether any actual change in course would do any good if the liberal establishment woke up to the impending disaster thanks to a miracle and started doing something: 40 years of neoliberal capitalist profiteering has savaged the society and caused the rise of such reactionary/conservative social movements. The downward trend would have a 40-year head start on any reform that is made, leaving aside that the effects of any reform would be visible in a few years, way too late for this election and actually, even the one after that, even if the Democrats won this one.

This Makes It All The More Important For The Left To Create Prototype Left-Wing Societies, Working Microcosms Of The Future Left Society

The left, because as can be understood from the above, the liberals are out-of-touch and unreliable to the point of ineffectuality.

So, the left must create functional communities that can provide their members with economic, social, and psychological support. These societies should provide their members with the means to live according to left-wing principles. A common identity that is built on the pursuit of common goals that are agreeable to all must be created, and consciously shared and propagated by everyone. Creating a set of common goals shouldn’t be too difficult a task in this environment of capitalist collapse that affects everyone.

The people must not have to choose between the savageries of late-stage capitalism and joining reactionary/conservative movements. They must be able to join these left-wing social movements and these movements must be able to protect their members from the savagery of capitalist collapse as well as provide them the basis for a left-wing society. From their economic practices to their social practices, from their politics to their solidarity, these left-wing micro-societies must put into practice what the left advocates, and make it possible for the people to live according to these practices. Being left-wing must be a unifying identity and practice that unites everyone on the left, instead of being intellectual adherence to left-wing principles while existing in, and acting as an individualist member of the capitalist system.

The best way to change society is to provide the people with working, usable examples of the desired society that allow the people to readily transition from the old society into the new one by becoming early adopters of the nascent society.

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Oz Zeren

Writing for a better future. I work in Tech. I like Philosophy, History, Computers, Gaming, the Internet. I’m excited about the Creator Economy, Web 3.0, DAOs.