Lefties Need To Stop Being Shy About Working With The Anti-Establishment Right

Caitlin Johnstone
6 min readJul 9, 2017

This article has been edited for added clarity due to bad-faith distortions which have been made about it since its publication. You can read the original here. For information on the idiotic smear campaign which was inflicted upon me as a result of this article, see here, here, and here.

Whenever an Antifa-minded lefty gets all huffy about my having used a conservative source in one of my arguments, I simply take that as their way of informing me that they’re more interested in vanity politics than in actually getting anything done. I see these more-lefty-than-you, “reject everything to the right of Marx” lefties as functionally identical to Clintonists, because they’re plugged in to the exact same corporate media-fueled divisiveness that’s going to get us all killed. If spitting on everything that doesn’t perfectly align with your exact personal ideology is more important to you than overthrowing the unelected power establishment that’s shoving us toward a world war with a nuclear superpower, your entire worldview is garbage.

The true left does not have the numbers to defeat the omnicidal, ecocidal oligarchy that’s threatening to push our species into the company of the dinosaurs. Not even close. The 2016 election cycle woke a lot of people up to the corruption of the elites and its fallout made the deep state into a household term, but most Americans more or less ended up falling in along the same partisan lines as always and remain there to this day. If you think you can leftist your way out of this mess, you are wrong, because that isn’t where the political momentum is moving right now. It’s true that socialism has more public support in America than it has had in decades, but so do anti-establishment right factions like libertarianism, nationalism, anarcho-capitalism, and paleo-conservatism. The political energy isn’t trending left, it’s trending away from the center.

And of course it is. What passes for the “center” in American politics today is two increasingly indistinguishable political parties which both aggressively push for exploitative neoliberal policies at home and bloodthirsty neoconservative policies abroad, so people are scrambling away from it toward whatever’s the nearest emergency exit. Even if they haven’t done enough research to clearly articulate why they feel the way they feel, they know they’re being screwed over and they know they’re sick of the fake pundits and politicians on TV who are clearly lying to them.

Both Republican and Democratic think tanks have been acutely aware of this trend for some time now, and, since their loyalty to the power establishment forbids them from simply changing their approach to policy, they’ve been hard at work trying to rope the anti-establishment movements on both ends back into the fold. Many Sanders voters have been lulled into backing the Democratic party’s platform-free Russophobic gibberish with the help of Sanders himself, to the point where whenever anyone initiates a debate with the phrase “I voted for Bernie” you can be 100 percent certain that they’re about to parrot an establishment-friendly line they were taught by the corporate media propaganda machine.

The think tanks are also acutely aware that there is still a lot of stigma attached to the notion of collaborating with the other side of the ideological spectrum, and they exploit this to no end. Interest in the phrase “horseshoe theory”, for example, reached an all-time high this year as establishment pundits used that concept to try and shame the anti-establishment left back into the fold by proclaiming that leftists are becoming the same as the cartoonish racist caricatures they’ve been trained to believe Trump supporters are. My own work gets criticized by establishment loyalists in this way on a daily basis; they point to the fact that I oppose things like US interventionism in Syria and the establishment narrative about Russia and then use the fact that the anti-establishment right opposes these things as well to imply that this makes me identical to the most vitriolic white supremacists of the alt-right.

I am writing this article today to say that this tactic doesn’t work on me, and it shouldn’t work on you either. We lefties need to attack the establishment at every turn and circulate awareness of what’s really happening in the world, and when this means collaborating with the right wing, we should do it. The media war has reached its hottest point ever, for example, and we should be unapologetically teaming up with everyone who hates CNN to kick it while it’s down. Getting sidetracked by ideological vanity politics just because the other groups don’t share our views on fiscal policy can spoil a perfect opportunity to strike a fight-changing blow to the propaganda machine when it’s at its most vulnerable.

To be clear, I am not saying it’s a good idea to collaborate with Nazis, fascists, or the “alt-right”, i.e. groups that are interested in creating a white ethnostate. As I said, libertarianism, nationalism, anarcho-capitalism and paleo-conservatism are not premised in racist ideology and do have elements which can be worked with.

I am also not saying that we should “unite” or “align with” any faction of the right on any ongoing basis, or as a collective. I’m simply saying that as individuals, we should be willing to cross echo chamber walls on specific issues where it is useful and only to the extent that it is useful.

You can trust yourself to know who is safe to interact with and who isn’t. When I noticed a notification on Medium saying I’d been followed by Richard B. Spencer I blocked him immediately, for example. I don’t doubt that Spencer was curious about my lefty anti-establishment perspective in the very spirit of collaboration that I’m talking about here, but I want nothing to do with him. You can trust yourself to know who to collaborate with and in what areas; this notion that you cannot safely collaborate with the right is based on the false premise that we’re all too stupid and inept to make distinctions.

This ability to collaborate with confidence and agility against the enemy of humanity is our best shot at turning this fight around. Divide-and-conquer has been a tried and true tactic of imperialists around the world for many centuries, but the internet has given us an unprecedented ability to cross lines, network and share information with people we normally wouldn’t speak to. Don’t let them shame you away from sharing a good argument or forming a useful partnership with someone just because they’re on another part of the ideological spectrum. We are at war, we are at risk of an extinction-level catastrophe caused by the deep state’s insane power grabs, and we simply do not have the luxury of partisanship and vanity politics right now. Collaborate, and collaborate shamelessly. They’re trying to divide us because they’re terrified of what will happen when we unite.

Information on the fall-out from this article and the smear campaign which came about as a result:

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