Sep 28, 2009

The past and future of the Left

The 'Left' that has emerged as victorious is one whose ambitions are defined and delimited by the political culture of capitalism. So what's actually left? asks Guy Rundle.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Part two of Guy Rundle’s musing on the state of the modern Left. It’s long, so we’ve linked it to our website. (Read the first part here)

Years ago, I remember seeing a Hinze cartoon in the study of a friend, a Left Labor activist. It showed an inner city 90s teenager — opshop clothes, funny haircut — with a placard “no third runway” about to go off to a demo. “Coming to the airport protest Dad?” she said to an aging figure hunched over a chunky 90s computer. “No thanks, I’ve got to write another article on the death of the left,” said the harried, bearded figure.

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24 thoughts on “The past and future of the Left

  1. Michael Beggs

    Great piece, Guy.

    Re: Sraffa – another claim to sub-fame was his supply of books, magazines, pens and paper to his old comrade Antonio Gramsci in prison, as well as maintaining a scholarly correspondence and helping the campaign for his release. Incidentally, Sraffa himself did not intend ‘The Production of Commodities…’ as an attack on Marxian value theory, only on neoclassical general equilibrium theory. It was not intended as a constructive theory at all; it is not dynamic, does not deal with money or effective demand or have anything to say about disequilibrium.


  2. Dan


    Rundle – allow me to express my undying gratitude for that behemoth. You should think about pulling all of this into book ala DTTC. Although who to cross out (keynes?) and who to have the cigar (keen?) is a dilemma worth drinking on.

  3. Peter Jones

    Re: Sraffa again

    Andrew Kliman’s “Reclaiming Marx’s ‘Capital’: A Refutation of the Myth of Inconsistency” demolishes Sraffa’s critique of Marx’s labour theory of value and is highly accessible to a lay audience. Shame it wasn’t published until 2007, and it’s also a shame Rundle hasn’t read it.

  4. Simon Wilkins

    Wow! This effort reads like how to go from a Leftie to survivalist in 5,000 words. Too bad the internet and all the infrastructure that would prove Guy wrote this won’t be around if he is right…does that count as irony?

  5. archibald

    Just a note on an error in the posted text – the end of the para on China is missing. It stops at: “Once that slows, the”

    Otherwise, thanks Guy. Very interesting.

  6. Daniel

    “Its current social contract between city and country is that city people will get very rich, and offer country people the chance to make better money than back-breaking subsistence farming, with the prospect of intergenerational betterment. Once that slows, the”


  7. bird7755

    If that is what you think, then did you not miss guy’s point? – of course, the internet will be around its just that we will have formed a very different society……

  8. paddy

    Hell Guy, between you and that astronaut dog…..
    My Crikey subscription seems like a bloody good bargain!!!

    Stirling stuff today and I can’t wait for the third instalment .

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