The right, adaption & the primary contradictions

Before (perhaps instead) of completing what was supposed to be a two-post commentary on the result of the general election in the UK, I felt it important to elaborate on something I mentioned in the first post.

Having finally got around to reading Stuart Hall’s “The Great Moving Right Show”, I was struck by how well it integrated into my point about the need to understand the primary contradiction(s) at play during the election.

its popular success in neutralizing the contradiction between people and the state/power bloc and winning popular interpellations so decisively for the Right. In short, the nature of its populism. But now it must be added that this is no rhetorical device or trick, for this populism is operating on genuine contradictions, and it has a rational and material core. Its success and effectivity does not lie in its capacity to dupe unsuspecting folk but in the way it addresses real problems, real and lived experiences, real contradictions—and yet is able to represent them within a logic of discourse which pulls them systematically into line with policies and class strategies of the Right.

This passage pairs very well wiith what I wrote in my earlier blog post.

Brexit while on the surface is a reactionary movement is, in fact, quite the opposite. It is a revolutionary movement that seeks to reject the prevailing neoliberal order by going back to the future.

Coincidentally, while reading the Hall essay, I also came across this report Shapeshifters: the evolving politics of modern Conservatism. This makes many of the same points regarding how the Right adapts. Regarding Brexit and the election specifically, I thought this was well-stated:

The reframing also involved deflecting attention away from critical questioning of the causes of the 2008 economic crash and the subsequent self-defeating policy of austerity and towards popular hostility to the EU; its association with mass immigration as an immediate explanation for the deterioration of everyday life, particularly in small towns and the North. In doing so, the Right has remade political identities that articulates ‘gaining control’ as a popular struggle against remote elites.

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