A conversation starter for a recent discussion on Socialist Narratives at our Labour Party branch meeting

Imagine, on the days life is an uphill battle, on your most disconnected days, when you’re not quite yourself, when nothing is right… imagine that your feelings of unease are caused by an elusive figure, a trickster god, a humourless, drudgery-embracing counterpart of Loki, Loki without blood or a smile… and that this evil sprite was the one confusing you, jumbling up our stories, taking your voice, distracting you, showing him distorted mirrors, whispering to us divisively, blinding us with flashes of gold, turning the world into things and numbers, rushing you , making us miss lunch, put in unpaid time, as your relationships suffer… and this trickster spins us and you round and round… until we see each other, and ourselves, as products, goods on a conveyor belt, commodities… and, as numbers, as prices…

People on conveyor belt and menacing grappling hook
Image: https://www.crystalgraphics.com

We might try to cure ourselves with “retail therapy” but goods defined by the value we paid for them can’t make us richer and they certainly don’t make us feel more human.

We put on the TV but we can’t trust what we see or hear. We pick up a newspaper but…Our bloodless Loki is in everything… Worse, we have been told that any explanation of this topsy turvy world is fiction. It’s all a kaleidoscope of views. We are free to believe everything and nothing.

Post-Modernism word cloud
Image: https://literariness.wordpress.com

Post-Modernism has its positives. Yet it is borne of the trickster-god. Understanding of the *world* is possible. I have, after all, just been describing something universal, and it’s a Socialist concept. Alienation. Being disconnected from the fruits of our labour, and from other people (who become themselves products), living in a world where value is constantly reduced to prices, where money overrides other values, it’s easy to forget about the universal and the unifying. Common narratives can get replaced with a hyperskepticism, the belief that nothing can be known, a false world of speculation, where shadowy elites make knowledge anyone’s guess because they, it is said, “control and have hidden the truth itself”. These leaps to false flags and crisis actors are succumbing to alienation. It is not the elites who obscure truth itself. What obscures the knowable is the economic processes of a system built on the accumulation of capital, the gathering of gold.

Impressionistic picture of barely human people in office clothes with supermarket trollies
Image: https://economicsociology.com
We do not have to flail in the dark. Right wingers refuse to consider that the capitalistic motive of gun sales, the fascism of extreme libertarianism, and alienation heated by an impossible meritocratic Dream *inevitably* drive individuals to mass shootings in America. Infowars want these big events to be the unverifiable convoluted machinations of shadowy figures or to not even have happened. It’s all part of the denial of the dehumanising effects of Capitalism. Let me suggest that Socialist concepts like alienation can provide a unifying, clear eyed alternative to hyperskepticism and wild speculation. We can diagnose the malaise and recognise the solution: Economic control by the many not the few.