Leftists, Liberals-and Losers? by ProQuest


Social movements use an "us" vs. "them" framework to mobilize opposition to existing power arrangements. However, any framing of "them" that uses categories from which individuals cannot escape - social class of origin, race, gender or sexual orientation - is a mistake that creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and overlooks the possibility that people can change their minds.Since a cross-class coalition is necessary to assemble a majorityNfor an egalitarian economic program in the 21st century, it is better to begin with a political framing of the "us" vs. "them" issue that does not define one class or another as the enemy. Instead, the opposition should be all those who favor pro- corporate policies and fight against the program of the liberal-left alliance. If the conflict is framed in this way, a liberal-left alliance has a chance to win over the moderates, neutrals and independents who currently identify with corporate capitalists. It might even attract dissident members of the capitalist class who transcend their class interests, and in the process help legitimize the movement to those in the middle who are hesitant to climb on board.Based on the past liberal emphasis on the importance of private property and minimal government interference in the workings of the economy, taming the market in a major way through government intervention, along with public ownership of some enterprises, might be difficult for many liberals to accept. However, as the liberal sociologist Douglas Massey forcefully argued in The Return of the "L" Word (2005), markets should be very heavily "policed" by government. His argument is noteworthy because it suggests a narrowing of the gap between leftists and liberals when it comes to creating a more egalitarian economy through government intervention. Moreover, many modernday liberals agree to a mix of ownership forms as long as there are clear protections for private property.

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