The LGBT tactic of “coming out” is generally a good model, and is often the opposite of security culture. Being public and confident about who we are shifts the culture and creates political conditions which disallow repressive forces from acting. We are above-ground civilians; pretending otherwise gives the bureaucrats a cheap argument against transparency and public discourse. The open communication across society must increase for proletarian and organizational democracy to meaningfully exist.
The article which inspired this…
Basically the same dynamics that empowered the Tea Party in 2009 are the same ones which are empowering India’s and Europe’s Right. You have fake Left parties in power, whether the Democrats, India’s “Communists/Marxists,” or Europe’s “Social Democrats” who after years of seeking respectability and selling out, are now hollowed-out centrist business parties in practice.
So besides the bias of capital and its donations toward the Right, there’s also the fact that people, faced with crisis, go for the alternative which seems edgy, radical, and which has internally coherent logic. In fact this article characterizes the election of far-Right parties as “a snub to austerity” imposed by the EU. Not saying it’s the best description, but the fact that someone could even think that thought gives a hint at the political climate. Basically it’s the same shit as Weimar Germany — economic difficulties discredit the Center and the fake Left, so your only remaining choices are Hard Left and Hard Right.
The far Right asserts Race and Nation; against those we must assert something equally radical, and equally compelling: Class and Direct Democracy.
It’s hard to walk the balance between electoral abstentionism and selling out, but it can be done, and we don’t really have a choice. It’s the only antidote to this rising tide. The USA needs a socialist party and not a super-fragmented Left in the first place, and the rest of the world needs radicals in the broad “Left” parties to organize effectively and/or split as necessary. The Left’s foolish mistakes of petty fragmentation, waiting on shit sellout parties to transform themselves, and holier-than-thou refusal to partake in elections are costing us, big time. If you are playing to win, you will get real about these things instead of moaning about fascism.
When people say that whites have an inherent stake in defending the system, and then turn around and expect whites to turn around and help overthrow that system, it’s theoretically incoherent. According to the 2012 Census, the USA is still 80% white!
Maybe they’re pessimists who don’t believe a majoritarian revolution is possible in the USA. Personally I don’t support any revolution that lacks wide sympathy from the majority of the population, or which does not even claim to represent their interests. Attempts at such revolutions don’t really conform to the mass-participatory style of taking over workplaces, etc. They are more like military putsches which establish a new bureaucracy rather than being institutionally rooted in the majority.
Perhaps you can say “white workers may have some stake in racism, but have a bigger stake in ending capitalism.” Or that they “benefit from racism, but would benefit more from throwing off racism and ending capitalism.” Okay. So they’re still revolutionary-aligned, maybe with a complicating counter-pressure, good.
But what is the point of talking about that, honestly? I know some Marxists like to raise every fact under the sun, another practice I find unhelpful and which isolates us in ivory towers, away from people who have no time for such shit. The point is to build unity among the forces who can overthrow capitalism, yes? The point is to give most people more than what they have, not take away what they have, right? The point is to fight oppression, yes?
I think people support that. But you lose their support if you wag your scolding finger in their faces and tell them that they are privileged, which pretty much amounts to saying they benefit from oppression, which pretty much amounts to calling them The Enemy. (Yes, this is what privilege means. If “privilege” just means the “privilege” of not being oppressed, then (1) that’s not a privilege, it’s just neutral — if the oppressed have ill-will against those who are not the oppressor, but simply not oppressed then their rage is misdirected — and (2) actually most white people are oppressed, by living under capitalism, just not as badly.)
The Marxists among us understand that people will act on self-interest. So how can you support majoritarian revolution while embracing a theory which would demand that people…overthrow themselves? Because it is self-interest that will do it, not good intentions, or white people suddenly falling to their knees by the millions and confessing their white guilt. It won’t be some great wave of love or selflessness which saves the world. If that was true, Jesus or Buddha would have succeeded millennia ago. It will be people realizing that there’s more in it for them if they revolt.
A party which blurs Far-Right and Middle-Right just got a parliamentary majority in India with only 31% of the vote.
This is not a uniquely Indian problem! Leftists often think it’s not sexy enough to focus on, but electoral reform is something we have to actually take up. In order to legitimize a socialist revolution, we are going to need a socialist electoral movement first.
Otherwise we just seem like we are coming out of the blue with a putsch by people who have no track record, public familiarity, or legitimacy.
These sorts of legal reforms — are they disconnected from people’s immediate economistic passions? I don’t think so. I think people in the USA care about democracy. Now of course, the classic rule applies, that if you offer people wimpy reforms they don’t give a damn but if you advocate sweeping systemic change they are more likely to turn out, so watch the video about voting from your smartphone.
Actually this is one more wedge we can drive. If we fix the system’s ridiculous archaic electoral laws, some might think that we are only further legitimizing the fundamentally broken electoral system. The opposite is true. We are further exposing it. We are drawing an even sharper line between the professionals who run the system and the people who feel constantly locked on the outside. We are proving that the professional bureaucrats cannot even run their rigged system properly, let alone un-rig it.
At some point we are going to have to begin casting suspicion on the legitimacy of the state itself. The best way to do this is not to yell at it from the sidelines, but to get people involved in concrete fights over its machinery while at the same time providing a vision of a radically more democratic system.
I think the only way I give a flying fuck about global events commentary is if the person writing it is from there, in which case there is a real organic link to the scenario. It comes with the respect of someone who is invested in what is going on, rather than a detached spin-doctor just trying to figure out how to straitjacket the situation into their pre-established theories.
Otherwise I really do not care to hear you project your party hack dogmas onto the world stage. Maybe there was some value to such commentary once in the past, but it has been utterly inundated by sectarian horseshit.
If you think people need to agree to your exact positions on distant political actors whom you have no ability to assist nor hinder, you’re not playing to win. You’re turning politics into Dungeons & Dragons, where you dream up character sheets full of cool little details about your character, except for you it’s your Programme.
Unless you’re protesting your own country’s military intervention, the situation is not relevant to you. Nobody busy getting shot at wherever is paying any attention to your solidarity rally, and because of its non-resonance with life conditions in the US, your solidarity rally is guaranteed to be too small to register on the radar of American politicians, either. I know, that hurts to hear, and you probably have to attend anyway because it’s part of your organization’s culture even if it accomplishes nothing and makes no sense at all, so just show up, wave a flag and get it over with.
What the hell has happened to careful, impartial investigation of facts on the ground, and recognition that complex emergent scenarios may evade previous categories?
In fact I sometimes question why it is necessary to talk about world events whatsoever. Not entirely; it’s good to hear about things that are happening. But sometimes it falls into the classic Leftist trap of, “Oh, you have to read this!…and this!…and this!…”
The Leftist idea that theory matters often expands into a counter-productive idea that one should attempt to learn everything. We are not in favor of theory for its own sake. We employ theory for practice. And while pure research for its own sake may yield results for practice, we Leftists have a lot to do already. Time is finite — we need to be doing things where we are, not just learning about other places.
Of course, are the lessons from other places even applicable here? Are the situations remotely analogous? Or are you just practicing the typical Leftist compulsion to take a position on absolutely everything? Just because people are talking about something doesn’t mean you need to make an uninformed, strongly-opinionated status update about it.
Knowing everything will not win the revolution. Being an encyclopedia will not win the revolution. Some knowledge, combined with good organizing, but more overlooked, just a good old immersion in human beings and a webwork of relationships, is what will win the revolution.
The only thing I will say about the Indian elections: seems bad. But continually harping on them only breeds despair. What are we doing about it? We’ve got our own pile of shit in the USA. We can make some critical analysis of how the parties in India are really not up to snuff, and how they should rearrange their shit, but honestly the very same Leftists who might be quick to point out flaws across the Pacific are completely unwilling to reassess and reorganize the Left in the US. At least in India there are bad parties to point at. We don’t even have any parties that abuse the name of socialism, let alone honor it!
You would spare yourself so much anxiety if you just kept your nose to the grindstone and focused on helping the Left figure its shit out.
From Wes’ definition:
Anarcho-statists believe in a form of government where politicians are replaced with direct democracy, judges are replaced with juries, and police chiefs are replaced with militias.
The argument is that the original definition of anarchy did not mean “no state” but simply “no rulers.” The anti-statism of modern anarchists is an obsession that does not fit with the definition. Given the rise of Nazi-inspired “National Anarchism,” there is obviously more room for complexity than the simple “pro-state/anti-state” litmus test. Real popular liberation might belong to a new paradigm.
I think this is the new, geeky, trendy, Internet-driven opponent to neoreaction that I’ve been looking for.