Why the Left lost the battle of Globalization

Perry Anderson in an interview by Harry Keisler (see video)

Harry Keisler: One of the concerns in your Elberg Lecture is that internationalism, which we’ve talked about as being a guiding theme in the way you’ve looked at problems, is now the perspective of international capitalism. Whereas the opposition, the protests, tend not to have the same capacity to think and act globally.

Perry Anderson: For the century between, shall we say, the 1840s and the 1940s, the capacity to transcend one’s own national limitations and national interests for a much wider set of interests, and to translate this transcendence into actually organized actions, belonged on the whole to the labor movement and to the left. The capacity didn’t belong to businessmen, capitalists, and so on. Since the 1950s, that has very dramatically changed. We have seen in the postwar order a higher degree of coordination, the ability to make a more than national viewpoint on the interests of the system, for the interest of the system, on the part of the privileged. Whereas, those who are less privileged are more and more confined to a local region and at best a national framework of action, and that’s partly to do with the destruction in some of the traditions of the Communist International, and the withering away of many of the traditions of the alternative Socialist International as well.


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