Populism, the Hate/Victim dialectic and why the Left need to insult us.

Even the BBC are at it now. Populism is the new racism. It is the new buzzword. Everything we don’t like is now ‘populist’. David Cameron is blaming his own political demise on populism and everyone else thinks its just fine as an explanation for the electorate not doing as they were told. So now 17.4 million voters who have almost got used to being described as thick, racist, uneducated, old, poor, white etc are now having to cope with a new insult whose repeated misuse implies that we are all just a bloodthirsty rabble. I explained here why populism is almost exactly synonymous with democracy and not something altogether nastier. But a further question is begged: Why do the Left have to resort to continual insults in order to further their political aims? The answer to this problem goes back into the depths of Marxist history and runs something like the following:

The Marxist theory of dialectics is a bastardised re-statement of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’, but applied to economics and politics. According to the theory of Marxist dialectics, there is an original state – a Thesis – and its opposite, the Antithesis. When reaction between these two states is completed, a higher state is reached – that of Synthesis. As humanity and politics evolves, this Synthesis then becomes a new Thesis which finds its match in a new Antithesis, and so on. So, according to Marxist theory, the story goes something like this: a socio-economic condition, say Feudalism (the Thesis), is matched by the conditions of the feudal slaves and serfs (the Antithesis). When revolution occurred between these two as it did during the French Revolution, then the resultant Synthesis produced Capitalism. Likewise, when Capitalism becomes the new thesis, it is matched by the Proletarian antithesis. When revolution between these two occurs, we get Communism. Communism is deemed to be the highest state of political and economic achievement and further evolution cannot occur.

Note that there some common characteristics pertaining at each stage of this progression. The first is that there must be revolution (preferably a bloody one) between the thesis and antithesis before the synthesis can be achieved. The second is the unstated, but implied need for an educated middle class elite to act as the guiding hand to direct the antithesis stage into the synthesis. It must be remembered that Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao and all the rest were highly educated middle class intellectuals. A third common factor is that in each case, society must be divided into two antagonistic groupings in order that the revolution is effected. The final characteristic is that the thesis in each case becomes an object of opprobrium and hatred, whilst the antithesis deserves our sympathy. In other words, society is divided along the lines dictated by the élite.

It is easier to think of the two groups in a divided society divided in this way as a ‘Hate’ group and a ‘Victim’ group – instead of ‘Thesis’ and ‘Antithesis’. The labelling of each group is essential in order to differentiate ‘Them’ from ‘Us’. For example, in the turmoil of revolutionary Russia in August 1919, there were leftist political groupings such  as the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, as well as the Bolsheviks of Lenin. In an article in Pravda, Lenin accused these groups of being “accomplices and foot-servants of the Whites, the landlords and the capitalists”[1]. Note that two whole groups of people – nominally allies of the Bolsheviks – were routinely labelled as allies of actual enemies of the Revolution who had already earned themselves a place in the ‘Hate’ lexicon of Bolshevism. Having thus categorised these Socialist groups as a threat, this extract from a Cheka (Bolshevik Secret Police) internal memo dated 1st July 1919 shows the next steps:

Instead of merely outlawing these parties, which would simply force them underground and make them even more difficult to control, it seems preferable to grant them a sort of semi-legal status. In this way we can have them at hand, and whenever we need to, we can simply pluck out troublemakers, renegades, or the informers that we need….As far as these anti-Soviet parties are concerned, we must make use of the present war situation to blame crimes on their members, such as “counter-revolutionary activities”, “high treason”, “illegal action behind the lines,” “spying for interventionist foreign powers” etc. [2]

This categorisation was constantly used in order to control and ultimately eliminate whole groups of people. Dividing society in this way, whipping up up hatred against one group or another made it easier for the Bolsheviks to gain acquiescence from the remainder of society to commit the mass murder of the first fifty years of Soviet Communism – roughly 20 million (although estimates vary). Categorisation and societal division was a process which led inevitably to wholesale slaughter or imprisonment in gulags. This in turn terrorised the whole population and gave justification for even greater excesses.


Photographs: Soviet executions of Russians (dates unknown). Images from Wikipedia. The Left do not do this sort of thing anymore in the West. But the process of getting to this point is still the same.

In our modern society, such slaughter is illegal and in any case is deemed counterproductive by the modern day Socialist. Nearly all societies throughout the world are much better informed than they have ever been before. The internet has ensured that governmental excesses are generally well broadcast and so the sheer brutality of previous regimes has become, for the most part, a thing of the past. The obvious exception to this is North Korea which has succeeded in keeping its population largely ignorant of the outside world. The other exception is ISIS or Da’esh which actually wants news of its excesses to reach the outside world in order to spread terror.

This leaves us with the modern, western Left which nevertheless uses the same basic principles to divide society and thus create conditions whereby the Leftist élite are able to occupy the moral high ground, point the finger at their enemies and so (they hope) rally the rest of society around them in order to bring about whatever revolutionary vision is in their minds. Where before the victim group was ‘the worker’ or ‘the masses’ or ‘the proletariat’, this has had to be modernised into a variety of victim groups such as the LGBT community, ethnic and racial groups, women, the poor, the disabled and so on. Once again, these ‘vulnerable’ groups are given the dubious pleasures of special protection from the Left, so that another identifiable sub-section of society can be stigmatised as the Hate group. The Tories, people who voted Leave, bankers, ‘the 1%’, racists, Islamophobes, sexists, white van drivers, people you wouldn’t want to invite to an Islington dinner party, and so on, are all popular groups for provoking the ire of the Left. In fact, pretty well anyone who is unfortunate to have made a distinction between one person and another, will find themselves attracting the opprobrium of the Left. In generating this societal division, the Left insert themselves into positions of power and/or influence, from whence they begin to a) earn money at taxpayers’ expense; b) manipulate events to their own satisfaction.

So the whole thing is a very simple process. Those who obstruct the path of the Left are placed into a Hate category. A Victim group is sought and then exploited by using inflammatory language against the Hate group. This drives a wedge into society. Into the divisions thus created, drops the middle class Leftist élite who utilise this lacuna as a means of gaining power. It does not need very many Leftists to carry out this process, especially in this age of social media. What matters is that a huge number of (often unwitting) fellow travellers latch on to the idea and use it in public discourse. David Cameron is a particularly good example of a useful fool in this respect. It is also necessary to point out that the two groups do not have to be antagonistic towards each other in the first instance. What is important, for the Leftists, is that the two groups are identifiable as different. The process of division deliberately foments, or even manufactures grievances which are then used to open the gap.

It is the oldest rule of warfare of them all: Divide your enemies and then conquer them.


[1] and [2]: Courtois S, Werth N, Panné J-L, Paczkowski A, Bartošek K, Margolin J-L; (1999): The Black Book of Communism – Crimes, Terror, Repression. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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