Author Archives : Hanzi Freinacht


What is the Alt-Left about? 11

Never before has the Left – in all its different forms – been losing on so many fronts as it is today. Accordingly a new Left is rising from the ashes of the old. I have chosen to label it the Alt-Left, but history may very well decide to go with another term. The important thing is that the Left is destined for radical transformations in light of the many changes the world is currently going through and the major transition towards a global information society.

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This is the first in a series of blog posts were I’ll attempt to provide a rough outline of the positions of this emerging Alt-Left. Of course, all of the items are up for discussion and most points are likely to be derided by traditional left-wingers as “centrism” or “liberalism”. But the Alt-Left is not centrist, and even, to some extent, it is anti-liberal. It should not be confounded with the Democrats in the US or Social Democrats in Europe. As you’ll see, the positions

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What’s Wrong with the Left? 20

It’s a good question, isn’t it? Because, with all due respect, the Left doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere. It’s losing big time at the moment, so something must be wrong with it, right? Accordingly one finds a lot of answers out there.

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“it’s not because the world is evil that the Left doesn’t succeed; it’s because it suffers from a lacking analysis of how the world actually works.”

A common and widely proclaimed notion is that the reasons for the Left’s decline is that it isn’t left enough and that it has given up on its core values. The idea here is that going further left, stressing even more state control, combating conservative values even more zealously, would all of a sudden fix the economy and convince more conservatively inclined voters to choose the Left rather than the Right. But lack of ideological purity is not the culprit; the failure to address current issues in an adequate manner is.

Often it’s also heard by the representatives of Left parties and other groups that they have failed at communicating their message more efficiently. But seriously, is it just that we have a communication problem here?


Welcome to the Postmodern 1930s 1

The times are a-changin’. And often we find recourse to previous times to understand ongoing events. The confusing and volatile conditions of the present have been compared to the turbulent times of the first half of the 20th century, in particular the period between the two world wars. This comparison has its merits, but it’s not without dangers of becoming too anachronistic if our allegories are taken too literally and if we fail to include a sound analysis of the present. It’s important to keep in mind that we’re living in a vastly different world than our close ancestors a century ago. So even if some of the mechanisms and patterns seem to be similar, the outcomes are likely to be very different.

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As mentioned in my previous post we seem to be in the middle of a major transition in history, just like the one the world was going through between the two world wars. Back then it was the transition to a fully modern industrial society, which resulted in major political, economic as well as existential crises. Today we are in the middle of a transition to a global information society, an increasingly postmodern

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Are we Living in a Postmodern Equivalent of the 1930s? 2

With the US election of president Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum in the UK it has hardly escaped anyone attention that we’re living in interesting times. Very interesting indeed. The rise of authoritarian strongmen in countries like Russia and Turkey, the emergence of new great powers on the global scene, and the decline of others, and the precarious economic and political conditions around the world – all of these things further add to the excitement.

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“history does seem to generate stubborn patterns that show up again and again when certain conditions are present.”

But haven’t we seen this before, some might ask? In recent years many have compared our times with earlier epochs. Are we approaching a new 1914? Or is it perhaps more accurate to make comparisons with the 1930s? After all, the stable and predictable world order that followed the Second World War seems to be nearing its end. Another chaotic period to decide the future order of the planet appears to be what we can expect to live in for the foreseeable future. That does sound like an echo of the turbulent first half of the 20th century.

The growing protectionism in


5 Things that Make You Alt-Left 10

So you consider yourself a Leftie? Or perhaps you just want to educate yourself, getting up to par with your worst adversaries ever to come out of the Hell of progressive thought and action? In any case, you’re more than welcome to enjoy this brief presentation of what makes someone Alt-Left. For a shorter introduction to the Alt-Left read this page.

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If you on a general level agree with the old established Left and happily vote for any of the socialist or social democratic parties or their liberal equivalents in the US (yes, that includes Bernie Sanders) then you’re probably not Alt-Left. If you instead see the political identity based movements in all their diverse glory, whether that’s feminism, multiculturalism and what not as the only way forward, then you’re probably not Alt-Left either. If you self-identify as Alt-Left but merely repackage the same old thoughts that have been available for the past 30 years or more, then you’re per definition not Alt-Left. But if you find that the following describes your opinions and way of thought, then you’re probably Alt-Left. Here goes:

“Your solution is thus not to abolish, but to outcompete, capitalism”…

Alt-Left

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The Limits of Economic Inquiry

“To know what is useful to a dog, one must study dog-nature. This nature itself cannot be deduced from the principle of utility. Applying this to Man, he that would criticize all human acts, movements, relations etc., by the principle of utility, must first deal with human nature in general, and then with human nature as modified in each historical epoch. Bentham makes short work of it. With the driest naïveté, he takes the modern shopkeeper, especially the English shopkeeper, as the normal man.” – Karl Marx in Capital

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“The concern is not to suppress economic thought as we know it, but to expand it.”

Introduction: Expanding the realm of the economic

In social science a perpetual question of legitimacy is the definition and delimitation of the economic. What is ‘economic’ fundamentally defines with what we, collectively as well as individually, can economize, within which frames we can meaningfully make trade-offs. In an acclaimed economics text-book trade-offs are said to be made concerning: 1. which goods/services to produce, 2. how to produce, and 3. who receives goods/services (Perloff, 2004: p 2). Some domains of our existence are however generally considered to be beyond economic inquiry, and


Revolutions of Cultural Capital 3

The world hardly noticed when the Danish party The Alternative snuck their way into parliament with almost 5% of the votes, less than two years after its founding was announced. And why should the world notice such menial, peripheral affairs in the quiet corners of the world? Because this event reveals a certain greater cultural pattern that come to affect the world at large. What we see is the tendency for cultural capital to organize and out-compete financial capital.

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“Economic capital, in this case, ‘trickles down’ through sexual and social capital. Exchanges take place. Society stratifies into male power, female beauty and side-kick friends.”

You may be familiar with the idea that there are different forms of capital in society.

Karl Marx argued that the logic of economic capital is what drives modern society and explains large parts of its social and political relations. Pierre Bourdieu argued that in modern French society, there is not only economic capital, but also cultural capital. The hommes de lettres, the cultural elite, were powerful and had their own ways of expanding their form of capital. Bourdieu also added social capital to the model – how well connected

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Secular Karma, Spiritual Reason 2

Is there such a thing as Karmic law? What goes around comes around, huh? Or does it? Everybody gets what they deserve in the end. Or do they? Or how about this one: Does being a good person ultimately count for more than being powerful and successful? Is the world a fair place, a cosmic order of morality? Are there rewards inherent in kindness and morality – and are our sins and evils really pregnant with punishment? Or is the world fundamentally devoid of moral meaning; a perfectly dead, pristine multidimensional, self-organizing hypercomplexity of indifference?

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“I offer you spiritual reason. If reason’s your game.”

The answers to these questions are, in order of appearance: yes, there is a such a thing as Karmic law; no, nobody gets what they deserve because we always deserve something infinitely better; no, power precedes morality, so being powerful and successful counts for more than being good (and this is so by mathematical necessity); yes, kindness and morality have inherent rewards (and sins have automatic punishments); yes, the world is a cosmic order of morality; no the world is not indifferent – its fundamental principle is love which is the same


Concerning the Complexities of Political Opinion – A Five Dimensional Model

There are reasons for political opinions, different orders of causation. People hold opinions because. These different orders constitute separate but interconnected logics of causation that can all be, and have been, studied as their own separate fields of inquiry. These different kinds of because can be described and related to one another. I propose here to present a list of these different orders and some of their most important interrelations, as far as my theorizing can take me at this point.

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“Quite simply: from what opinion will people gain the most in terms of their social identity? Adopting what political opinion will best serve my image, fit my style, help my career, get me laid, and get me into fewer awkward situations?”

At each order, or level, distinctions are made, opinions formed. But the different kinds of distinctions are made for different reasons. Here is the general outline of the five orders:

1st order: Opinion as identity cost-benefit calculation

2nd order: Opinion as (perceived) interest

3rd order: Opinion as perspective from a social position

4th order: Opinion as ideology (ontological horizon)

5th order: Opinion as cognitive ability (stage of development)

Let’s go through them one by

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Another Kind of Freedom 1

Political freedom is a scale from seven to one, where seven is North Korea and one is the US, France or Sweden. At least according to the Washington based NGO Freedom House (www.freedomhouse.org). Here’s the deal: There is one score for political rights and one for civil liberties. And when a country gets to one in both scores – it is free. But is that all there is to it? Is that the endpoint of human freedom?

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“Nothing can be alive or created or sustained without the use of power. A human body consists of organic matter under violent control: killed, chewed, swallowed, digested, broken down and reorganized.”

Ah, freedom.

Freedom, yeah.

The research, monitoring and lobbying undertaken by this kind of NGO:s are exceedingly important. No doubt about it. Democracy is better than dictatorship. Upholding human rights is better than violating human rights. Freedom of speech is really, really important for the individuation and integration processes that constitute the flowering of life and the release from suffering and degradation.

Looks Like We’ve Hit a Plateau!

But of course, human rights aren’t ontologically grounded realties like laws of nature. They are social constructs, deals


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