Here are 12 ways to recognize right-wing platforms and the ideology that is behind them.
1. The right-wing avoids seeing the capitalist class at all – let alone criticizing its reign as the class that took over from Kings and Queens. The right-wing positively hides the capitalist class from the narrative altogether. So, its typical story is “Cops and Robbers”, where the rich people that are being robbed are absent. They are not in the moral equation at all. The entire story is between a class of hired men, the cops, who we are supposed to forget actually work in the interests by-and-large of the capitalist class, and robbers, who defy the rules of ownership imposed by the capitalist rulers. (This contrasts with, say, the Robin Hood narrative, which, by being about Robin stealing from the rich to give to the poor recognizes the existence of both classes in the narrative. A good thing, the story says. Bank robber films, too, recognize that there is a class with huge stocks and other people with very little, so bank robbers are heroes.)
2. The right-wing avoids seeing the colonialist or imperialist class at all, let alone situating blame on it for the destruction, displacement, and genocide it perpetrated. So, its flagship narrative is “Cowboys and Indians”, whereby the colonial class that is in reality doing the land-grab from the Amer-Indians, is absent. Instead we have the poorest and lowest, and probably most unwashed, people in the working class, who are portrayed in the front line stealing land by their brave exploits against “herds” of supposedly ruthless people who must be annihilated. But on whose behalf do the cowboys act? Will they get to own the land? The films just gloss over this essential part of the narrative.
3. The right-wing continues capitalism’s biggest ideological con-trick: to conflate two very different types of “things” into one, “private property” i.e. they treat a huge farm, a massive factory, a big bank and “futures” sold on the stock exchange, on the one hand, and your toothbrush, your mobile phone, your shoes-and-socks, on the other, as the same thing. Watch out for this one: it’s ubiquitous.
4. The right-wing recognizes, when it is forced to, that there are problems with capitalism. And it immediately, instinctively, blames the victim. Again, its aim is to mask, to hide, to veil, the corporations that are, in fact, responsible for so many of the ills of society. The right-wing:
a) Blames victims of oppression/exploitation/war e.g. “foreigners”, “immigrants”, a minority community, women who have abortions, who somehow become the target of the right wing, who become self-righteous even as they act unspeakably towards other human beings.
b) Blames not the capitalist corporations, but some descriptive category “Mexicans”, “Muslims”, “Jewish people”, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Buddhists, in short people of a different race, tribe, community, religion, gay people, women who have had an abortion – most of whom are victims. The victims are turned into aggressors in right-wing rhetoric, everything from rapists, to terrorists, to thieves, murderers to perverts bringing down the wrath of god. Yes, God is not to be blamed for his wrath either. It’s women and gay men to blame.
c) “the elite” e.g. ideologues in the USA like Rush Limbaugh says there are four corners of deception: “government, academia, science, media”. Again, he and others like him, do not blame the capitalists, as a class, nor their corporations. But, they blame the government (including the bit that is democratically elected), academics (especially no doubt those that use knowledge to question the existing system when it causes poverty, suffering, war, inequality, repression), science (this no doubt attacks the environmental scientists, who prove global warming is caused by industrial capitalism, or evolutionary biologists, archaeologists, palaeontologists, who have evidence that the world is older than the 3,000 – 4,000 the Christian right in the US give it, and equally importantly, that for 99% of our time as humans on the planet, there was no inequality, nor war, nor patriarchy), and the media (which for all its structural problems and for all its often hidden agendas is what brings to the public some of the truths that the corporations are hiding from us).
5. The right wing, when it looks for solutions, relies upon repression, or its milder form, State regulation, new tougher laws against people, draconian sentencing in the courts, hanging, more prison guards, more policemen, a bigger army, more and bigger bombs, more surveillance by the State and by companies. The right-wing declares war on drugs, war on poverty, war on terrorism. War is their watchword. Not peace. Not freedom. The right wing does not look to giving people enough liberty to resolve problems themselves. It does not believe in the time-tested control by society – by aunts and neighbours and kind strangers – if only people were free to act, empowered to act. Freedom – to those on the right wing – essentially means freedom for a capitalist to exploit others, freedom for capitalist corporations to ruin the planet in their quest for profit. This is what 19th Century liberalism meant, and what neo-liberalism means. The only freedom the right wing wants for ordinary people is the freedom to do things like chew gum or own a gun, to buy this or that deodorant, and to leave one slave-driver for another.
6. The right-wing continually attacks the institution of political parties. They are all “the swamp”, “corrupt”, “dirty”. In reality, just because some or even all mainstream ones are, does not mean that all are, nor that they will forever be. The right wing knows that the only thing that will one day have a role in overthrowing capitalist impunity is mass mobilization in a democratically-run political party.
7. Right wing parties’ program (they do have parties, even though these are so filthy) typically wants both a strong state and a “small” state:
- The right says the state must control the borders. No free movement for working people.
- The right says the state must enforce trespass rules. Again, no free movement.
- The right says the state must control political parties. It is not just up to you to vote them out, or recall elected people by petition. They want parties to be more “regulated”.
- The right says the state must control women’s bodies. Women cannot have abortions when they believe they must.
- The right says the state must define what sexual orientation is legal, or even moral. Marriage, the right maintains, is between two people of different sexes, and the State must enforce this.
- The right says the state must build prisons, and fill them, deprive people of their freedom, even execute some, deprive them of their lives.
- The right says the state must manufacture arms and use them - demolish, kill, maim.
- The right says the state must give tenders and contracts to capitalists.
All this, and yet the right wing says it is against state control. But they are devious.
The right wing simultaneously wants a “small” state. By this they mean, the State must not assure social security for those in need, free health care for all, good education for all children, or even jobs for all! The state is there in order to guarantee freedom for big business and big finance.
8. A big part of right-wing programs today is dedicated to internal “Rules” of the party. Instead of the program looking at substantive issues, like:
- Who should decide on and control how productive land is used, nation-wide
- Who should decide on and control the use made of capital (i.e. what was produced by previous working people).
- Housing for all
- Health services for all
- Jobs for all
- Food security for all nations and all families.
9.The right wing puts emphasis on bureaucratic processes:
- A law to control party expenses – never freedom for people to put order in their parties.
- A law to limit mandates (as the bourgeoisie worked for Presidential elections in the USA, when FDR had 4 terms, and was responsible for social security, and job creation by the federal government), never rely on the people to vote someone out.
10. The right-wing demands a strong, even all-powerful leader. The right wing does not want to strengthen the role of the elected representatives of the people, relative to the executive, nor to strengthen the role of electors, themselves – through, say, the right to recall an elected member by petition.
11. The right-wing sees a “leader” in a particular way – someone above, who imposes his will by manipulation, at best, and by force, if necessary. For the left, leadership is something more local, and ideally a party federates “local leaders” – people who are leaders in their neighbourhoods and on their work-sites.
12. The right wing has an imaginary historical narrative based on only 6,000 of our 250,000 to 3 million-year history as humans. They argue that inequality is inevitable, because supposedly it always existed. War likewise. Male domination likewise. Social classes likewise. Inequality is not only inevitable, they argue, but it is good because it is supposedly natural. People are, the right wing believes, inherently lazy – except for themselves, they who speak for the capitalist class. So, because we are all lazy, you need to whip us to work. They actual whip is illegal. So, today, they just starve you and your children instead – if you don’t work. This 12th plank of the right-wing platform explains many of its other eleven planks.
by Lindsey Collen (based on a speech in Kreol to LALIT party members), February, 2019.