MANEL MANCHÓN 03/14/2021 00:00 h.
Alejo Shapire, journalist, author of ‘The progressive betrayal’ / CG
Schapire points out that we are “in an Olympics of victimization”
Alejo Schapire (Buenos Aires, 1973) is willing to undress the alternative left, which has imposed a language that acts as a corset in the political debate. He has just published The Progressive Betrayal (Peninsula), a book in which he exposes how the left that is born from university laboratories focuses on minorities of all kinds to captivate a type of electorate that feels victimized. “We are in an Olympics of victimization,” he says. Schapire is a journalist, specializing in culture and foreign policy, and works for French public radio. In this interview with Crónica Global, he assures that this alternative left is completely disconnected from the world of work, from the private sector: “The alternative left like Podemos has always lived off the state.”
— Question: Has the left begun to be seen as an elitist political force that defends what is politically correct, causes far from its traditional voters?
—Answer: From the beginning, since the time of Lenin, the so-called revolutionaries have emerged from the bourgeoisie. It is a constant. What has happened, however, is that the leftist electorate has changed. For decades the left had concentrated on the class struggle, on dialectical materialism. The subject was the proletariat, in the factories, and the peasant in the countryside. They were the really downtrodden. But starting in the 1980s, with the success of individual values, starting with Thatcher and Reagan, and with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the left is no longer an alternative. Its failure in the management of the economy, which was at the heart of its project, is shown and the left retreats into the universities. It stops dealing with the worker and focuses on ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. These working people are left in the hands of the extreme right, as we have seen in the United States with Trump, or in France with Marine Le Pen. And the new voters of the left become the winners of globalization, urban youth, and minorities, left as a captive electorate. A black man, for example, who is not a democrat, is frowned upon.
— Q: You place this change in the eighties, but it already occurs with the French May, if we take Tony Judt as a reference, who criticizes that commitment to individual values by the French students of ’68.
–A: Yes, there are clearly elements in that direction. The individual stops to be central. And it has to do with the collapse of the collectivist project, with the knowledge of the Gulag and with the Prague spring. This has a correlation on the left, when the wall collapses. The left loses its firepower. And what bothers it is the United States Empire and little Satan will be Israel. There is an alliance against nature with Islamic fundamentalism, with Iran, because it is going against the United States. There is an alliance with macho and homophobic theocracies, just against the values it claims to defend.
—Q: Actually, isn’t it that the social democratic project, which was developed after World War II, dies of success, because it can no longer advance in the socio-economic field?
— A: Yes, I think so, the crisis of social democracy has to do with its success, with reaching a consensus on the fundamental role of the market and the functions of the State. A consensus that is not explicit, but that does leave a void occupied by the identity layer. From the promise of universalist emancipation to identity. It is concentrated against imperialism, even if it is, as I said, with alliances with homophobic theocracies.
–Q: Now, however, and as a result of globalization, which has led to a defeat of the middle classes in the West, it would be time for a left concentrated on the socio-economic axis.
–A: Well, that’s what Trump has collected, with his protectionist discourse, with a rhetorical war against China, which the Democrats themselves have valued. The Social Democracy did not want to give in, because its defenders were the main beneficiaries of this globalization: young people who travel, who have the best technologies, all the honeys of globalization. And there was a white working class, which has expressed itself, in the United States, in France, with the yellow vests, or in Spain, with Vox, which does not see its economic concerns reflected and does not recognize its own territory. They are told how to speak, how to write, they are put on a corset, they are blamed. They are told that they are the executioners of the world, when they live unemployed and in an environment in which they have lost the compass.