It is pretty much a boilerplate position for the right to complain about the “long march through the institutions”—and it has been so for at least twenty years. The general assumption seems to be that the march has stopped, the left has captured everything that has any significance in what was once called “civil society”; however, I think “the long march” is largely irrelevant. Remember, the idea that the left needed to capture “the culture”—civil society (clubs, churches, sports clubs)—comes from Antonio Gramsci, a man who outlined his position almost a hundred years ago; and even the term “long march through the institutions” recalls Mao’s “Long March”, undertaken in the 1930s during the Chinese Civil War and metaphorically adapted for “the institutions” by Western Maoists in the 1960s. Indeed, I doubt that many people even realise what the “long march” in the “long march through the institutions” refers to anymore.
Yet, remember, Gramsci developed this idea—his ideas around hegemony (“what leads”)—during the 1920s. He spoke about a “war of position” and a “war of manoeuvre”; and when he used those metaphors to understand Italian society he had trench warfare in mind. The left and the right are in their trenches: Eastern leftists, such as Lenin, face opponents who are not so firmly entrenched—they can wage of a war of manoeuvre; they can charge the enemy’s positions (strikes, riots, paramilitary action) and win. Western leftists, however, face an enemy who is dug in with bunkers and extra support trenches (civil society—clubs, churches, “common sense”). The Western left lives in a world where the state is not “all”, so it has to wage a war of position—it has to tunnel underneath the enemy trenches and blow them up, or sneak across the lines at night to cut the barbed wire. It has to undermine and insinuate.
Not to sound too superficial, but “It’s 2022! It’s current year”—the First World War was fought over a hundred years ago; even the Second World War was not fought with trenches, it was all about blitzkrieg. So these metaphors and ways of thinking about politics—derived from war, “War is the continuation of politics by other means”—are antique.
“Perhaps; yet when I look at British Vogue this month I see a cover with all black women. This is the face of fashion. This is the face of Britain. A British woman in 2022 is a black woman—Vogue has been captured by the left, the long march, and so the left, as Gramsci said, defines what it is to be British and beautiful now; they dug into our trenches, won.” For sure; yet, who reads Vogue in 2022? Nobody.
Glossy magazines are dead and have been for over a decade; and people who knew about the Internet knew magazines and newspapers were dead in 2003. Girls and women do not read Vogue in 2022 to find out about fashion—they use Instagram, or some other app I know nothing about. If the left had captured Vogue in 1953 and had what would then have been termed an “all-negro cover” it would have a coup—“the face of Britain in 1953”. Yet no, they captured something that is dead—the left is parasitic; when it has total control, the host is about to die.
The same goes for all the other “long march” victories. For example, schools and universities—sure the left runs them, and almost always has done; yet today people learn from YouTube and websites—and Covid-19 has only accelerated that process, made the classroom even more irrelevant. Social clubs have collapsed and the remaining ones are parasitised by the left, but at the same time social media has led to emergent self-organised socialisation—from group chats to 4chan—that are less leftist than ever. In short, “the long march” is irrelevant so forget about it—the Internet, as it was designed to do, routed round the damaged and dying nodes.