Reading time: 5min.

by Graham Peters

The grey haired movement

What started as a farce, if you believe the mainstream media, is now a reminder for any Camerons, Trumps and Clintons that the lefty heart of the working class beats. Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders have awoken something dormant, though some would have had you believe dead: socialism.

While it isn’t as 1950s Russia as you might thinkn, the media are undoubtedly the reason so many people recoil at the mere mention of the word. In the minds of many American and British news reporters, it’s Stalinism – I suspect most know the difference, deep down. Given all the fearmongering surrounding Islam, it’s hardly a surprise so many people have come out of the bigot-closet, trolling with Drumpf’s crony-capitalism and whatever else he believes in. Is anyone else not sure what that is exactly: walls that China pay for, Latina sex parties (I love the Mexican people!), failed entrepreneurship and the redefinition of small loans?

Much of the problem is also IQ. It’s clear many of those who support Trump (most of whom seem to be working-class, no less) are a few tools short of a toolbox. Like children high on sugar, they’re led by song and dance, not fact and figure. Trump is of course the all-singing, all-dancing Narcissus of the Presidential race, juxtaposed with the fierce, biting, but perhaps boring, factuality displayed by Sanders. Idiocy must be in fashion this season, because Trump is evidently rubbing off on Cameron (a self-professed Christian Conservative, with membership on several transatlantic conservative think-tanks) who has managed to turn the House of Commons –a place for rational discussion of the issues that matter – into the fucking circus. Dodgy Dave, as Dennis Skinner labelled him, is apt, considering Cameron’s penchant for evading important questions under oath.

Eugh. It’s all very tiring, isn’t it? Exasperation with the façade of progress is a sentiment the public have echoed of late. Corbyn won Labour leadership in a landslide. His party colleague has since been elected London Mayor, while Sanders’ rallies have been record-breaking.

It’s not difficult to see why their grassroots movements have been so successful. Prospective students in the UK are being denied grants; junior doctors face a fascistic and short-sighted “contract” against their consent; wealth inequality is the worst it’s been since WW2; people have been dying after benefit sanctions; and food bank use has never been as widespread in my lifetime as it is now. While in the US, Land of the Free, it costs women an average of $10k just to have a baby delivered in a hospital; there are still states where paying a woman a different wage for the same job as a man is perfectly legal; and current wealth inequality dwarves that of the UK. Finally, there are Christian-Conservatives who after all their historical lessons in civil rights (think Rosa Parks) still haven’t learned.

Sanders and Corbyn offer sane alternatives; they naturally give validation to the unmet needs of the underprivileged. That’s what socialism is supposed to be about: power of the people. Alas, the status-quo is a hard nut to crack. Politicians who favour corporate interests are still popular among the older generations. Hope remains, not least because youth – notoriously apathetic voters — have come out in record numbers in support of their grey-haired Messiahs, and Messiahs they well yet may prove to be. Corbyn has led the Labour party in successfully pressuring the Conservatives to U-turn on their dangerous proposals for forced academisation of all schools, while Sanders has shone a damning light on his party-partner in the Democratic race. These are just the recent events in a growing narrative illustrating how hopelessly out of touch the Unholy Trinity are with the public.

Cameron’s policy failures are cult legend by now. Trump’s pie-face moments need not even be mentioned, there are so many of them, so readily available. While Clinton, despite the grotesque wealth attributed to her campaign by corporate donations, has been unable to hide her own faux-pas: Taking payment from Goldman Sachs to speak favourably on their part, for instance, is tantamount to bribery. So I ask: how can she still profess to empathize with the poor? Though I’m not entirely sure it’s empathy so much as entropy; a lack of predictability; the gradual descent into disorder. One minute she loves Joe and Jenny Bloggs, the next she’s happy to help the filthy rich maintain their abundant privilege, all in the name of the First Female Presidency. Perhaps most worryingly is that voters are turning out in support of her gender, not the content of her character. The irony in which is best illustrated by the fact that the Clinton Foundation still accepts donations from countries with horrendous records on women’s rights.

Hillary’s set to beat Sanders, Trump has won the Republican nomination, and I’ll be very surprised if Corbyn’s Labour manages a majority next election. Saddening? Yes, but a wholesome shift to the left was never going to happen overnight. I’m confident; the foundation is set. The movement will continue gaining momentum for as long as the needs of the many remain unmet. Hillary doesn’t have the stones, Trump doesn’t have the wit, and Cameron doesn’t have the want to meet them.

So viva la revolución.