Friday 16 June 2023

Facing West

I always had doubts about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. People were blinded by ethnic and generational sentimentality. They know better now.

Much more disappointing is Cornel West's decision to go Green. I understand the ballot access problem in the United States, but Greens are or have been in government in 11 European countries and in New Zealand. They are currently in office there and in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Montenegro.

It is not a happy tale. The Greens are in coalition with neoliberals and neoconservatives in every case. In Germany, they are major drivers of Boris Johnson's war in Ukraine. In Ireland, they are keeping both halves of the old duopoly in office while it formalised an end to the pretence that Ireland was not a member of NATO. And so on. The Greens are crucial to the collapsing, privatising, austerity-imposing, warmongering, liberty-destroying devolved administration in Scotland.

Everything that the Court Left did not like about the People's Party was what was good about it, and either made it a good fit for West, or, occasionally, a useful corrective to his previous positions. He knows the dangers of anti-industrial Malthusianism. If "there are too many people in the world", then he knows which people are meant by that. But I suppose that he does have to do what he has to do. 

If that ended in a Trump restoration, then not only could worse things happen, but worse things are happening right now. The Kennedy and West candidacies are not expressions of vanity or narcissism. That is the desire to remain President of the United States until the age of 86. After four years of Joe Biden, then Donald Trump would beat him even, and perhaps especially, from a prison cell, and would in fact make a better President either than the ailing Biden or than Kamala Harris. Mike Pence could well beat Biden. Even Ron DeSantis would stand a good chance of doing so. Kennedy, or West, or Marianne Williamson, is not the Republican decoy candidate. That is Biden.

As for the presenting issue of Kennedy's downfall, American Jews tend to hold views that would render them ineligible for membership of the British Labour Party. Kennedy is pointlessly seeking to appeal to a constituency that is in any case closed to him, the relatively numerous American adherents of a nineteenth-century innovation called Dispensationalism, which is mostly based on a work of pseudo-scholarship called the Scofield Reference Bible, and which has wound up regarding Zionism as some sort of fulfilment of Biblical prophecy, although with a very, very, very unhappy ending for the Jews.

In the writings of John Nelson Darby, Dispensationalism is really of Irish origin, but it has never taken much hold outside the United States, it is held by an admittedly large minority of white Evangelicals even there, and that constituency is out of bounds to the Democratic Party at least at Presidential level, indeed almost entirely these days.

On West, see  herehere and here. A Presidential candidate who sat on the Board of Academic Advisors of the Classic Learning Test while saying that the reason why he was not a Marxist was that dialectical materialism was incompatible with incarnational theology? I am more than a little in line with such a candidacy, although of course I contend that that incarnational theology cannot be separated from fidelity to the Petrine Office, and that it is the implications of this that are far more radical than anything that Marxism could ever formulate, much less deliver. I can but faintly echo West's roaring critique of cancel culture, not that some of us have ever not been cancelled, and of identity politics by reference to class politics.

Over several decades, West has also made one's attitude to the treatment of the Palestinians black America's litmus test of one's attitude to the specific phenomenon of white violence anywhere in the world against People of Colour, BAME people, BIPOC people, politically black people, call us what you will. Seen through the lens of the theological critique of capitalism and of its imperialism, of course. To black America, that is now a dealbreaker. Williamson has found that. Kennedy has found that. Biden may not find that, but the next liberal anointee will. And it all goes back to West. No matter what his electoral performance, then like Ralph Nader who practically founded first consumerism and then modern environmentalism, or Pat Buchanan who practically founded American conservative populism, West has already been more influential than almost anyone who has ever or will ever become the President of the United States.

Not only in his own country. Britain is now globally noted for its superdiversity, a so far unique combination of having people from every inhabited territory on earth, of having some level of ethnic diversity down to every neighbourhood and village, and of having a huge and exponentially increasing mixed-race population in the society that accepted mixed-race people and couples more than anywhere else.

To black Britain, it will soon be, if it is not already, a dealbreaker that one's attitude to the treatment of the Palestinians was the litmus test of one's attitude to the specific phenomenon of white violence anywhere in the world against People of Colour, BAME people, BIPOC people, politically black people, call us what you will. Seen through the lens of the theological critique of capitalism and of its imperialism, of course. Once we had explained that dialectical materialism was incompatible with the incarnational theology, the implications of which were far more radical than anything that Marxism could ever formulate, much less deliver. And such is superdiversity that black Britain simply is Britain. In lining up with the world's archetypal perpetrator of white violence, as such, then Keir Starmer is digging his own political grave.

And when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. Bookmark that prediction about black Britain and the Palestinian issue.