Solid Bread and Butter Left

by Elias Blum

I like this poster (Belgium, 1936) because it is an example of how the Left used to be able to get our message across.

It focuses on specific, tangible gains for working people, explains how they benefit society as a whole, and does so within a moral framework that can also resonate with conservatives. A shorter working week is better for one’s health, for the family, and for society. People can get that. You don’t need to be a drop-out stoner protesting about trigender triggering (or whatever it is they do) to see it. It appeals to the real struggle of people trying to balance the pressure to work long hours with the needs of personal and family life.

The Left today needs to move away from the countercultural radicalism and identity politics of the 1960s, and start to engage with the needs, values, hopes and fears of ordinary working people in clear, practical ways. The policies of the Left should also appeal to decent, solid traditional families who want to live in peace, security, dignity and moderate prosperity.

And by ‘working people’, I mean those who wear ties as just much as those who wear overalls, those with post-grad degrees precarious on short term contracts as well as those with callused hands.