By Caleb T. Maupin
Below a survey of various schools of political thought in the United States, including mainstream politics, the right-wing, and the left-wing. It should be helpful for those who are new to politics. It can help them identify where people are coming from, and what their views are, and how they fit into current dialogue and atmosphere.
Neo-Conservatism – Neo-Conservatism is the ideology that until recently dominated the Republican Party. It has its origins in the age of Barry Goldwater, and Richard Nixon, who sought to win control of the south from the “Dixiecrats” to the Republicans. Neo-Conservatism found its way to power under George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.
Unlike other brands of Conservatism, Neo-Conservatism focuses on social issues and patriotism, avoiding economics at all costs. Neo-Conservatism discovered that issues like prayer and bible reading in public school, Gay marriage, outlawing flag burning, and “supporting the troops” were much for effective for winning power for conservatives than economic issues.
Neo-Cons also have stepped away from the conservative position of “no government involvement.” Neo-Cons have mastered the art of “corporatism”, which is the practice of establishing government funded, and government protected, private capitalist institutions.
The Federal Reserve, New York City’s Metropolitan Transporation Authority (MTA), and other entities are technically private corporations. As a result they have share-holders who make profits, and are very limited in their regulation. However, the government pays the bills with taxpayer dollars.
Private police forces contracted by the government like “Blackwater” also fit into the new economic practice of semi-public and semi-private institutions, championed by Neo-Conservatism.
Neo-Conservatives, unlike their ancestors in the “Old Right” do not consider invading foreign countries and engaging in militarism to be “welfare” or “unnecessary spending.” Neo-Conservatives are staunchly in favor of foreign intervention and aggression, and are happy to use the images of the flag, religion, etc. to justify it.
Since George W. Bush’s term ended in mass unpopularity and economic downfall, the Republican Party has backed away from Neo-Conservative rhetoric.
Modern Liberalism – Modern Liberalism conquered the Democratic Party in the mid-1980s, led by Bill Clinton and his “Democratic Leadership Council” (DLC).
Liberals tend to speak about the need for “cooperation” between all forces in society. Liberals tend to also tend to emphasize “thinking” “reason” and other enlightenment concepts. They speak about “cooperation for the good of the country”, and the need to “listen to everyone’s concerns.”
On economic issues, Liberals tend to mouth “understanding” about the need to “abolish unnecessary government bureaucracy”, but also advocate more government intervention into “necessary areas.”
The most lasting contribution of liberals to the “national dialogue” is the concept of “Humanitarian Intervention.” Liberals have created the idea that “America” has a duty to “help those who are suffering” under “oppressive regimes” with Bombs, Cruise Missiles, Ground Troops, and bombs.
The operations of Obama in Libya and Clinton in Serbia are prime example of model liberal interventionism. Liberals invade third world regimes that oppose the U.S. and its economic policies, not with justifications of “terrorism” or “weapons of mass destruction” but simply because of some odd sense of moral outrage.
Often use of the United Nations is involved. Liberals, interestingly, tend to focus on hatred for China more than any other strand of political ideology. China, to them, is the symbol of all that is evil. No matter what corner of the world, wherever Chinese influence exists, liberals find themselves whipping up “moral outrage” and calling for foreign troops. Clinton even made a point of bombing the Chinese embassy in Serbia.
Modern liberals support cutting social programs, but will do so “smarter” than their rightist opponents.
Paleo-Conservatism – This is the ideology which is now coming out the mouths of leading Republicans, due to the unpopularity of Neo-Conservatism. It emphasizes “small government” and “individual liberties.” It holds up a romantic image of Jefferson’s “Yoman”, who have kids, their own family farm, a Bible, and a hatred for all who would intervene in this romantic mental portrait.
Paleo-Conservatism focuses almost exclusively on economic issues. According to them, taxes are evil, they are “theft” and “wealth redistribution.” Paleo-Conservatives also tend to preach a fear of “globalism.” Paleo-conservatives oppose the IMF, NAFTA, and all foreign trade.
They also preach open hatred for immigrants.
At the same time, the Paleo-Conservative is convinced that U.S. foreign policy is “global welfare.” They are convinced that U.S. leaders care more about the people they are bombing and pillaging, than “good Americans.” On this ground, they oppose wars.
Paleo-Conservatives seek a rural, Christian, isolated, racially segregated, society of small business owners. They are much like the America First Committee which opposed Roosevelt.
They are “the Old Right” of Christian Nationalism and the Free Market.
Progressivism - Progressivism is the ideology of the overwhelming majority of the Democratic Party’s voters and rank and file. It is the ideology that says corporations have too much power and need to be regulated, the Black liberation movement and the struggles of women and LGBT people are legitimate social movements that are “worth listening to”, and that the U.S. needs to be more like Europe in “taking care of its people.”
This ideology stops shorts of questioning capitalism or imperialism, and often will seek credibility in doing all it all it can to denounce Communism and Socialism. Unlike liberalism, Progressivism openly sees the rich as the basis of the problem, and want a government that “stands up for the little guy.”
Progressivism is pro-Choice, pro-LGBT, but sadly, Pro-Capitalism and Pro-Imperialism. Progressivism sees the policies of modern times as “misguided” and “needing radical change.” But this change will come by convincing people with a good discussions, and will be sure not to “through the baby out with the bathwater”, by preserving “our constitutional liberties” and “our noble traditions.”
It is a more moderate variant of La Follete’s and William Jennings Bryan’s “Populism” of ages past.
THE IDEOLOGICAL RIGHT WING
The “Libertarian” Fringe – This is a movement of figures associated with the Reason Foundation, the Tea Party, and the Ayn Rand Institute. Each member is filled with a huge level of rage that society is not “free enough” to allow him/her to walk over the rest of humanity with the boot crushing supremacy somehow hidden deep within them. To this element, there is a brutal hatred for police brutality, but it is equal with the same kind of hatred for any person who has ever received any form of government assistance. There is a desire for legalizing drugs, homosexuality, and other civil liberties.
This section of the ideological right often devotes itself to highlighting issues championed by the left such as Anti-War, Anti-Police Brutality, and LGBT Rights in order to “rescue minds from Communism.”
The libertarian fringe tends to recruit from socially isolated individuals, who lack contact with other human beings, so naturally find any idea of solidarity to be unconvincing.
The libertarian fringe grows among unemployed youth who find themselves falling from the “middle class” of their parents. Who can they blame but themselves, according to the capitalist ideology they have always been taught of “work hard and succeed?”
Libertarianism offers them the excuse that “big government” has stamped out their hope of standing up and conquering the world. It allows them to pretend they are Harry Potter or one of the X-Men, while they fall into a life of “permanent teenagers” who will never be able to afford to leave their parents house, and despite college degrees and clear skills, are facing a future of degrading and low-paying “Mcjobs.”
The White Supremacists – This is the element of the ideological right-wing which is essentially a one trick pony. Their line is “We’re Racist and Proud of It.” Other sections of the right-wing will attempts to conceal their racism, and will whine about how “accusations of racism” are used to silence them.
This section of the right-wing is openly racist. They use words like “White Nationalist” or “White Seperatist” or “White Preservationist” in order to describe themselves.
Their rhetoric includes words like “Christianity”, and “Western Civilization”, but they are all linked to “White Skin.”
This group is extremely anti-Semitic, and almost always makes a point of excluding “the Jews” from their definition of “whiteness.”
They make very pathetic attempts to recruit among the left, by showing up at Pro-Palestine rallies, only to get punched and escorted out.
In their minds all talk of “racial equality” is code for “Communism.” All talk of “tolerance” is code for “Jewish dictatorship.”
This group has little to say about economics. To them it’s a global, gentic, fight between Jews and their “dark skinned allies”, and themselves. They often like to imagine that they are reincarnations of Norse gods, or Hitler himself.
These fools also like to deny the holocaust. They tend to obsess over Jew Hatred, as if trying to separate themselves from other more run of the mill racists whose open anti-Semitism has decreased over the years.
The Conspiracists –
Have you seen the Black Helicopters? Did you hear that inoculation vaccines are actually mind control? Space aliens are among us! 9-11 was a plot by the Free Masons and the Illuminati!
This is the crowd that says all of the above and more.
The future is hopeless. The conspiracies are just too many!
Who are the conspiracists? Well, they aren’t good independent small business owners or small yoman farmers of Jeffersons writings! They are “the corporations.” They are “Communists.” They are “Nazis.” They are “the global elite.” They are “those who hate freedom.”
They are “a secret race of lizard people.” They are “aliens.” They are “Satan’s forces on earth.”
Whoever they are, they are all powerful. The only hope for protecting yourself is to isolate yourself, hide, and duck, and cover.
While your at it, buy a pack of $20 apples which aren’t sprayed with “mind control” pesticides. Take out a mortgage on your house to build a fallout shelter for when the great “purge of humanity” begins.
Panic! Panic! Panic! Panic!
Spend money amidst your despair, so you can rise to a be a king, while your ignorant neighbors with less extreme politics will be beat on your door begging to be let in to your fall out shelter.
The "Christian Right"– This section of the ideological right-wing does not think in terms of politics. Words like “left-wing” and “right-wing” are foreign to them. They do not think about politics in terms of politics. They think about politics in terms of religion.
For example, the job of those who control education is to “save the souls of children.” Is this in public schools or private schools? Who cares.
What is the cause of terrorism? “People in other countries haven’t embraced Jesus.”
What is the cause of corruption in the government? “Our leaders have stepped away from the moral teachings of the Bible.”
These forces are happily involved in the social and community aspects of Christianity, often to the point of a semi-addiction. They will vote for the candidate who makes them feel the most churchy. They will picket abortion clinics and oppose gay marriage.
But to them its not about politics. Like everything else in their lives, its about religion.
Some are former hippies, and talk with the same tone of voice about "the love of Jesus Christ..." in the way 60s drugged college kids spoke of "commitment to peace."
THE IDEOLOGICAL LEFT
Right Social-Democracy - These are the forces which admit that Karl Marx was right about a lot of things. They are outraged by the horrors of the present, and they link them to capitalism.
They seek to put his ideas into practice. They way to do that is to be as secretive as possible about their belief in Marxism being correct. They join “progressive organizations” like Trade Unions, Environmentalist Lobby Groups, and the local Democratic Party.
They seek to build alliances with “progressive forces” and gradually pull them more radical positions. Within these “alliance” they don’t rock the boat, or say anything hostile about the leaders of the “progressive” cause. They measure their successes in terms of the number of elected officials with whom they have shaken hands, and the number of “progressive businesses” who offer their pet cause of choice funding.
These forces operate NGOs and million dollar foundations. Their greatest fear is losing this, so they must, at all costs, keep “the left” silent, so the money for “the revolution” keeps pouring in.
These forces openly admit socialism is but a far off dream, and its generations away from coming.
They have resigned to a “normal life” that includes occasional petition campaigns and building a coalition to “defeat the ultra-right.”
To them, the words of German Social Democrat Bernstein are truer than ever: “The movement is everything, the aim is nothing.”
Left Social Democracy – These forces are openly supporters of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky. Sometimes they are even “Anarchists.” To them the most important thing to do is have huge political rallies.
In their minds, the Vietnam War was ended by massive single issue marches in which no one was arrested. The same with the civil rights and organized labor movements.
Their goal is “build the left” and “build left consciousness.” They want to have more big rallies, with prominent speakers.
They are hostile to having rallies that include more than a single issue. They are also hostile to rallies that involving “civil disobedience” or “breaking the law.”
These are the “movementarians.” Their goal is a big huge coalition of peaceful protestors around a single issue at all costs.
Some of them talk of forming a “Labor Party” or a “Socialist Party” to run in elections. Many participate in the Green Party or vote for the Socialist Party, USA.
Despite being more public about Socialism, and being critical of the Democrats, the idea still stands “The Movement is everything, the aim is nothing.”
They protest a lot, and are comfortable with that. They are critical of the Democrats. They have their own academic circles, newsletters, and clubs to discuss the future ideal world.
They bear “moral witness” to the crimes of capitalism. They recruit countless college students into their ranks. They go to obscure artistic movies. They have all read thousands and thousands of books.
Impossibilism – These are the elements on the left who have withdrawn from the class struggle entirely. Their actions consist of printing books, pamphlets, and newspapers, which lay out their very specific interpretation of the teachings of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, or whoever.
They only attend demonstrations in order to spread their views, sell their newspaper, and recruit from people who follishly think attending protests if worthy of their time, when only “revolution” is the answer. They seek to “differentiate” themselves, by having their newspapers, books, and pamphlets large devoted to attacking other sections of the left.
They alone are right, and everyone else is wrong. Each member of their organization is educated about exactly what every other group is wrong, and will tell you in detail.
They exist as isolated, angry, and ideologically “correct”. Every time a victory is won as a result of protests, it is in reality “just a plot” by the powers that be to “trick” people into not waging an armed revolution.
To them there is nothing more treasonous than being involved in planning rallies, meeting with other organizations, or attempting to do anything but “differentiate” themselves from their enemy, everyone else.
Marxism-Leninism – Marxism-Leninism is the section of the ideological left devoted to building a movement, but a movement from below, against the capitalist class, encompassing the entire working class.
Marxist-Leninists find themselves inside of mass organizations and protest movements. They seek positions of leadership, and when they have them, they push protests away from the “single issue” view. Marxist-Leninists seek to create a “center of resistance” that can lead to creating “dual power.”
An anti-war march can be an opportunity to bring people opposed to the war, to understand how Mumia Abu Jamal is a target of the same system that bombs Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
Marxist-Leninist want every rally to move toward becoming a rally for the entire class, against the system.
Marxist-Leninists also openly talk about Socialism. To them socialism is when the broad, strong, popular organizations they create, seize control of the state and the economy. Marxist-Leninists are with the peoples movements, pushing them forward toward solidarity and revolution.
They are strategic in the planning of how to do so, because they fight to win. To them, the goal is victory for the working class over their oppressors, and everything is strategically coordinated toward meeting that goal.
The building of worker’s organizations, popular mass movements, mass consciousness, and political independence are all part forge the social earthquake that will bring the system down, and place the people of the world in command.