Left-liberal discourse: theory and practice of betrayal

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Law, UrB RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Yekaterinburg
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya

Abstract. The article focuses on a critical analysis of the main provisions of B. Yu. Kagarlitskiy's new book "Between Class and Discourse. How Left Intellectuals Serve Capitalism." Despite the era of crisis that neo-liberal version of global capitalism entered, left-liberal intellectuals could not provide an adequate response to new challenges. Instead of justifying and implementing class policies aimed at protecting the interests of workers, they adopted a postmodern "discourse" of identity, multiculturalism, and political correctness. This discourse contributes to the implementation of the "fragmentation policy" and is objectively one of the tools of neoliberal social policy. B. Kagarlitskiy convincingly demonstrates relationship between this discourse and neoliberal policy of transformation of the state of general welfare, which contributes to the rejection of universalism of social policy in favor of targeted social assistance and clientelism. All this allows the author to draw a conclusion about the treachery of left-liberal intellectuals. Major attention of the book is on the changes taking place in economy and social structure of modern societies that contribute to the destruction of previous classes and the formation of new social groups. Presently these transformations find their political expression in the growth of left and right-populist parties and movements. The left, developing their strategy, must interact carefully and critically with these new political forces. At the same time, not all of the author's conclusions look indisputable. Is it possible, as follows from B. Kagarlitskiy arguments, to compose a new progressive "historical bloc" from the decaying classes? Is it right to speak of the "treachery of intellectuals", if their "discourse" is an organic consequence of their social being? This review draws attention to the problematic nature of these and some other answers that the book author has provided for his own questions

Keywordsclass, discourse, left, populism, treachery of intellectuals
Publication date22.08.2018
Number of characters21031
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