Thursday, June 08, 2017

All worked up and nowhere to go

All Worked Up and Nowhere to Go: The ever more futile politics of left protest

The Trump administration has rekindled the internal hysteria that Fisher warned against [e.g. in Exiting the Vampire Castle]. And though it was heartening, the first wave of solidarity marches and general actions is now fading into memory; we’re left with a familiar hostility, a recurring bad faith that so recently has smeared greater minds and gentler hearts than my own. The economic ambitions of the so-called “Sanders Effect” appear to have waned, and the focus has predictably turned to the glittering, bilious spectacle of Trumpism. Just as Trump remade politics as television, we’ve allowed political action to mimic the spiteful, futile patterns of online bickering: our fellow anti-capitalists betray us all by enjoying or creating the wrong art, reading the wrong articles, championing the wrong theories, or even laughing at the wrong jokes. The left is at once flailing and sclerotic. Afflicted by a vague autoimmune disorder, we cannot even retain what little power we have, nor do we have any institutions capable of doing so; thus, we are able to smack only those within arm’s reach of us—ourselves. Meanwhile, the bigger and stronger the right gets, the more insular we become, single-mindedly obsessed with purifying our own ranks and weeding out the problematic among us. Of course, the left requires large portions of the problematic and disparate working class to sign on, but the range of acceptable comradely thinking is becoming ever-stricter, and “deviants are sacrificed to increase group solidarity,” as the artist Jenny Holzer warned. . . .

More than Twitter-style rhetoric, amputated “strikes,” and academic posturing, the left needs radical, militant unions with a political vision beyond the protection of their own rank and file. When the Muslim ban was declared, the drivers of the NYTWA immediately turned to their union, because they know it’s how they fight; that’s what unions need to be.


  1. Here's the problem (as I see it). The Republicans don't care about getting re elected. The Koch Brothers' sponsored reactionaries have a once in a lifetime opportunity, and they are going to break as much as they can (of the New Deal and the Great Society) before they go. They know they may get voted out in 2018, but anyone they know they can look forward to a cushy job at a right-wing think tank.

  2. I would like to think they would get out-voted 2018 but there are a LOT of trumpkin faithful out there! And they WILL vote, where the moderate humanist types tend to stay home. I will approach 2018 with dread! How many 'mericans are pissed because of the MOAB onto Syria but Flint is OK!?!?! Or all the leaks in the not yet finished pipe line???


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