Red, Red Rose

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So, Corbyn & Labour knock the wind out of May & the Tories’ cynical play to gain more power in Parliament.

Good.

This is nothing but good news.  It only falls short of great news because his gain wasn’t an outright victory and thus even bigger and more decisive, but considering how arrogant May & Co. were about gaining more seats in a snap election just six weeks ago, the fact he & Labour did as well as they did is just a beautiful thing.  May is done.  She will probably be replaced by Boris Johnson before the summer is out and the smart people are saying another election is likely before the end of the year in which Corbyn is likely to become PM.

Wow.

Corbyn is far to the left of Bernie Sanders, so I know such a sea change is not realistic in American politics, but it does give us something aspirational.  If Corbyn can do it, maybe we can too.  The problem in America, as I see it, is that our two-party system more or less renders the opposition irrelevant once victory is attained, a result of our first-past-the-post (FPTP) system broadly applied.  Nothing in the overall structure of our government requires the victor to represent the losers, except precedent and tradition, which the current goon squad in the White House and in Congress (particularly the Senate, lookin’ at you McConnell) has rendered quaint and naive.

Rephrased: Parliament, being proportional, requires coalitions to functions.  Our two-party system mimics the hard micro results of FPTP voting in a broad macro way that makes coalitions of overlapping but still distinct and different interests inside of government functionally impossible, which forces coalition-building to happen outside of government instead, inside the parties, (of which we are only allowed to have two), and the parties are an extra-governmental entity that has no constitutional sanction, and that makes them private institutions and that makes the coalitions and the relative power of their constituencies subject to the whims and prejudices of the party poo-bahs.  The Clinton Machine is currently arguing precisely that against some dead-ender Berners who are seeking redress in the courts for the abominable way Hillary’s in-house goon squad kept their thumb on the scales during the primaries.

The way Trump & Co. smashed the party power on the other side and brought them to heel, in a manner of speaking, stands as proof that change to our ossified political parties is possible.  As an agent of chaos, he is a mighty force and perhaps someday history will judge him a little less harshly should we survive the monstrous man himself and his atrocious constituency.   We lefties just have no hope of emulating what they did to the GOP, nor should we want to.

Nor can we emulate what Corbyn has done in the UK.  But we can take inspiration from it.  And, in so doing, I really do wonder about symbols.  I like the fact that the UK parties have such clear symbolism in colors and logos.  Apart from the organizational nerd part of my brain, I also think such things give cohesion to any sense of belonging, like how a sports team having colors gives the fans something to cheer and deck themselves out as a visible, outward signs of allegience, giving everyone a sense of belonging.

That said, I like that Labour owns the color red, like proper leftists.  They own it proudly.  I think, to no small extent in America, our red/blue confusion adds to the discord because, historically and intellectually, it divides us from the larger connections to ideas and fellow-travelers in other countries.  Blue is the color of tradition and power.  Police are blue.  Blue is the color of the Tories, which when applied to the American Democrats, actually makes a little bit of sense in the Tony Blair/New Labour/Clintonian/New Democrat/DLC/Third-Way sellout sort of way.

The American Left should reclaim the color red and do it with no shame whatsoever.

My two cents.

Two red cents

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