‘Woke lefties are the militant wing of neoliberalism’

Watch Brendan O’Neill’s speech at the SDP’s annual conference.

Topics Politics UK

On 28 September, at the SDP conference in Leeds, Brendan O’Neill spoke about why so many people are rejecting wokeness and neoliberalism and are looking instead for a sense of social solidarity. Watch it above.

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Topics Politics UK


antoni orgill

1st December 2019 at 5:35 pm

Who the fuck are the SDP? Non-woke? Shadow-dwellers? Some un-clique of social arbiters without prejudice, bias, pre-ordained agenda? If so, it would’ve been just great to have the option to vote for them in the GE. But, no. Like so many of Brendan’s bandwagons they tend to vanish in a puff of smoke before most of us have even heard of them. Hey, what next: the Common Sense Party ..?

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cliff resnick

13th November 2019 at 11:15 am

One mans “Wokeness” is another mans “Right-on” reminds me of Martin O’Neil ex footballer and ex manager of Ireland commenting on the creative mind of Louis van Gaal short-lived manager of Man Utd on the subject of exotic formats of tactical systems like 3, 5, 1, 1. Martin O’Neil said when playing for Brian Clough Notts Forest, we used to call it crowding out the mid field? A bit off topic but a personnel bugbear but I suppose time moves on!

cliff resnick

13th November 2019 at 6:12 pm

I guess what I’m saying it has been around for a long long time, wokeness is not new but just more deranged

Thomas Smith

30th October 2019 at 11:59 am

The two souls, or rather, sources for intellectual inspiration, of Brendan O’Neill:
1) The Frankfurt School Marxists, and their heirs, Christopher Lasch and David Riesman, tracing the narcissistic rot of our society to corporate capitalism.
2) Emile Durkheim, who, despite his support for social democracy, had views diametrically opposed to that of the Marxists. Instead of “imagining” internationalism, John Lennon (and by implication, Marx and Engels) he calls “infantile nonsense. The nation state, not socialist revolution and class identity, is increasingly becoming for Brendan the sole bastion of “organic solidarity,” until, perhaps, our new modern complex division of labor can bring about a general understanding that “people, who need people, are the luckiest people, in the world (talk about infantile–structural functionalist, status quo conservative–nonsense!)”

Kathryn Barbara

29th October 2019 at 8:45 am

A really clear argument from Brendan. Many strands brought together very persuasively. I agree that the end destination of woke politics is a very fractured and resentful society, and a hyper-individual rights jamboree where free speech is impossible for fear of “offence”. A worst outcome than we currently experience. Let’s not go down this path. Woke is not the answer.

Tim Hare

28th October 2019 at 3:43 am

Claiming that supporters of woke politics undermine society because of their different views on marriage, family, gender, and nationalism is desperate stuff.

You have to show exactly how those traditional views contribute to the well-being of society and not just deride those who oppose those traditional views. Making wild generalizations about woke people does nothing to enhance public debate on those particular issues and shows an intellectual feebleness that should be challenged for what it is.

If those traditional views enhance the quality of society then show us how. Explain why having those things are important and necessary to a stable society. Why should we value those traditional views unless they are logical and reasonable in themselves? The fact that they are traditional is not good enough in this day and age. We demand more intellectual rigor than that.

Woke people are challenging those traditional views and it is up to their opponents to meet that challenge with reason. Generalizing and resorting to derision and a kind of intellectual ghetto is not the way for society to deal with its differences.

Andrew Leonard

27th October 2019 at 3:27 am

Great work man!

The business class’s desire for open borders is simple to understand; they want the cheapest labour possible, from wherever. Social solidarity is irrelevant. Capital has no roots, and no inherent sense of morality. Some call these people Anywheres – I call them Nowheres. 21st century capital is really no improvement on the 19th century Atlantic slave trade, in terms of its ultimate motivation. It is rather ironic then, that opposition to open borders and mass legal & illegal immigration is regularly referred to as racist.

Open borders undermine real wages and workable levels of inequality. The plentiful supply of cheap labour also undermines the impetus for industrial innovation. In pre-civil war USA, the country was economically separated into the innovative industrial north, and the backward, agrarian south. Open borders also removes the distinction between citizen and resident, which undermines democracy, and even the concept of legality itself. Some may claim that ‘diversity is our strength’, forgetting that this strength is secondary in nature – it is only achievable by standing on the shoulders of more fundamental strengths – individual rights, democracy, and social solidarity, being a few good examples.

On the other hand, the Woke brigade’s support for hyper-individualism, hyper-subjectivism, and its manifestation in the cult of self-esteem, is in comparison, more cunning and tactical than is the simple drive for profit and growth maximisation. Whilst superficially about the individual, and therefore superficially appealing in an individualistic society, the expansion of the subjective realm has been pushed to the point that it is now a sphere or domain in its own right – one in which the Woke left can synthesise threats and dangers into existence, and demand the public be protected from them. With their monopoly on the subjective sphere, the Woke have been able to define these threats and dangers to, in all cases, conveniently coincide with the principals supported by their political opposition – respect for the public’s belief in only two genders, and the overwhelming scientific support for this, being the most prominent current example.

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