Friday, July 20, 2007


Bauman's left

This piece by Zygmunt Bauman is food for thought. He refers to:

two assumptions essential for a specifically left perception of the human condition and its prospects and untapped possibilities. These assumptions are the basis for a self-assertive left, which, instead of apologising for its opposition to the mainstream, strives to create, protect, and be tested against values which it regards as non-negotiable. This way of grasping the defining features of the left is one that realises the left's ubiquitous and steadfast presence in modern forms of life, and understands that its frequently alleged demise always turns out to be no more than a relatively brief period of hibernation and/or recuperation.

The first assumption is that it is the duty of the community to insure its individual members against individual misfortune. And the second is that, just as the carrying capacity of a bridge is measured by the strength of its weakest support, so the quality of a society should be measured by the quality of life of its weakest members. These two constant and non-negotiable assumptions set the left on a perpetual collision course with the realities of the human condition under the rule of capitalism; they necessarily lead to charges against the capitalist order, with its twin sins of wastefulness and immorality, manifested in social injustice. [My emphasis - DC]

Via Norm, some weeks back.

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