This week journalist Owen Jones wrote an article in The Guardian, and tweeted it with the following caption, “‘Alt-left’ was a term invented by “centrists” to demonise the left — and has now been appropriated by Donald Trump.” But, while Trump distracted from the rallies of the white nationalists by attacking the left, Jones has distracted from Trump's truly abhorrent statement by attacking centrists, who have played a central role in fighting the white nationalists and neo-nazi’s at Charlottesville.

Jones starts by attacking the way centrists frame their beliefs, as being “above ideology, pragmatic, focused on “what works” and, being grown up” — though doesn’t say why they are none of these things. He also seems to suggest that the alt-left don’t exist, saying that the term “refers to no actual group or movement or network.” But, speak to any women or POC who dares to counter the left's narrative and they will disagree. Whether you want to call them the ‘alt — left’, ‘brosocialists’ or ‘bernie bro’s’, the point is that they are real, just as real as their intolerance to differing beliefs.

“The “alt-left” provides a mirror image distortion: the same loathing of Clinton, rejection of “identity politics,” and itch for a reckoning.”  —  James Wolcott

The Labour MP Jess Phillips — who in the past has been critical of Jeremy Corbyn — receives frequent death threats, and has had to install a safe room in her home for her family's safety. And, she has said the behaviour of men on the left is the “absolute worst”. In America, it was a Bernie supporter who opened fire on GOP lawmakers, and, during the election, Hillary Clinton aides had to take frequent breaks while reading letters written to the candidate, for the abuse she received was, “coarse and horrifying”.

And, while those on the left who perpetrate such abuse are a minority, they are a vocal minority, and a minority that worsen our political discourse and threaten our democracy. If key figures on the left spent as much time attacking this abuse as they do attacking centrists and neoliberals, maybe such abuse wouldn’t be so common.🔷



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Politics writer for and Backbench UK - particularly interested in Brexit, US politics, and the Labour Party.