Calm Before the Storm?

I haven’t been posting much lately because, honestly, there hasn’t been that much I’ve felt moved to post about.  This isn’t to say that nothing has been happening – more that, whatever dramatic and even terrible events may have occurred, they have had a same-sh*t-different-dayness to them for awhile now.

I expect that things will be getting more interesting as the 2020 elections approach, however, not so much because of who will end up as president as because of just how out of hand things promise to get in the meantime and the likelihood that American political culture will be permanently changed as a result.

Judging from the noises coming out of the Democratic pack, as typified by the recent travails of Beto O’Rourke and the buzz over reparations, it seems like the race/gender cards will be getting played harder and faster than ever before.

Thus, while I only look at The Root when I’m feeling particularly masochistic, I have to at least partially agree with Michael Harriot’s recent piece The 6 Kinds of Woke White People. Occasionally amusing and consistently indicative of the unapologetic disdain for whites so prevalent in the Democratic Party and most of the “left”, the article tells us:

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A Good Case In Point

“I, Spike Lee Of Sound Mind And Body Will No Longer Wear Prada Or Gucci Until They Hire Some Black Designers”T.I., Soulja Boy, and Others Call for Gucci Boycott After Blackface Scandal: ‘Apology Not Accepted’

I’ve noted arguments by Adolph Reed and Walter Benn Michaels that identity politics as currently practiced in the USA is completely consistent with the logic of capitalist development, rather than a challenge to it.

As Reed said for example:

… race politics is not an alternative to class politics; it is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism. It is the expression and active agency of a political order and moral economy in which capitalist market forces are treated as unassailable nature…. As I have argued, following Walter [Benn] Michaels and others, within that moral economy a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources could be just, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people.

I could not resist noting Mr. Lee’s courageous statement as a particularly instructive example.

(If you have missed the recent controversy re Gucci’s balaclava knit top turtleneck you will certainly want to catch up.)

From the Black Agenda Report

There just aren’t that many left sites worth reading these days for anything other than know-your-enemy purposes.  One outstanding exception to this, however, is the Black Agenda Report (“News, commentary and analysis from the black left”) which, having apparently resisted absorption by the system, consistently provides a fresh and provocative take on things.

Of course, BAR and I obviously disagree regarding the site’s insistence that any self-defensive movement by middle American whites is necessarily racist and supremacist, however, reading around that one can appreciate the articles’ consistent recognition that the the co-optation of black community leadership by the globalist system represents a betrayal of the real interests of the black working and middle classes and that the “resistance” is a ruling class ploy.

Of particular interest is an article by BAR editor Glen Ford published in July, Russiagate is a Ruling Class Diversion, which I’ve been meaning to discuss since then but, due to my habitual procrastination, am only getting around to mentioning now.

The article begins by reviewing the system’s response to Trump’s election:

Trump’s howling racism was what made Democrats believe he was the ideal candidate for a trouncing by Hillary Clinton, who could be counted on to escalate Barack Obama’s general military offensive and to aggressively pursue TPP and other corporate governance arrangements…. When Clinton lost, the ruling class panicked and resolved to bring down the Orange Menace no matter the cost to U.S. institutions and to the appearance of stability in the very bosom of the empire. The rolling coup was begun.

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On the Death of the Left

The evidence of the death of the Left is all around us. You can see it by the fact that on campus being left-wing means having blue hair and thinking a man can become a woman by having an operation.Brendan O’Neill

From Back to Enlightenment values: An interview with Brendan O’Neill by Chris Mansour at Platypus Review. O’Neill is the editor of sp!ked “Britain’s first online-only current-affairs mag… a metaphorical missile against misanthropy.” With roots in the British new left (its predecessor was Living Marxism) sp!ked has moved far from its Trotskyist origins towards an idiosyncratic libertarianism and is now “a fan of reason, liberty, progress, economic growth, choice, conviction and thought experiments about the future, and not so big on eco-miserabilism, identikit politicians, nostalgia, dumbing down and determinism.”

The magazine has played a particularly positive role in its defense of “freedom of speech with no ifs and buts,” particularly in the UK, where the prevalence of speech codes and aggressive no-platforming by the left make US universities appear to be bastions of tolerance. (See, for example, its Free Speech University Rankings for 2018.)

Overall, sp!ked is one of those things you just have to keep reading, libertarian or not.

Which Side Are You On?

We live in interesting times, as the fallout from the Charlottesville events reminds us yet again.

The physical conflict between elements of the right and left is hardly new, nor is the determination of the a significant section of the left to silence dissenting voices by any means necessary.

What is new and noteworthy, however, is the way in which they have been now been wholeheartedly joined in this by the ruling class itself.

And so we have an early vision of what an authoritarian order may look like in the 21st Century West.  Dissenters are silenced not primarily by direct state repression but by private actors – street level thugs engaging in physical intimidation which is then covered up by the elite media blaming the victims for being “violent.”  Fake “outrages” are manufactured and then the corporate media almost as one blares a false narrative, mobilizing the population for ritual mass denunciation of the evil-doers.

Dissidents are not only effectively silenced by being deprived of any access to the public sphere – now mainly controlled by a handful of huge tech corporations – but are also whenever possible deprived of their jobs and even prevented from carrying out such mundane activities as booking a room, a car or a flight.

The response of the left to all of this has been instructive.  A handful have criticized the more “ultra-left” elements, either for strategic errors (see, for example, The Unrepentant Marxist) or out of some slightly guilty sense of discomfort with the outright thuggery indulged in by certain of the antifa.

What has gone almost entirely uncriticized, by the left at least, has been the role of the corporations.  One would expect that a movement claiming to oppose and resist the capitalist system would at least be given pause to consider the ease with which the ruling class has shown that it can and will move against its enemies without the least accountability.  One would think that a truly subversive and revolutionary movement would, merely for the sake of self-preservation, oppose such actions, even when they are aimed at the right.

In fact, however, this is just another reminder of the two things we need to keep in mind about the left:

  • It is a fundamentally loyal opposition, a part of the system. It is unconcerned about the repression directed against the right because its members instinctively recognize, even though they may not admit it to themselves, that they will never be a fundamental threat to the system and are therefore safe from such treatment.
  • It hates and fears the people far more deeply than it opposes the ruling class.

 

P.S. In my recent reading around the net on this topic I came across an interesting web site – aptly named Sisyphean News. Committed to “Exposing Antifa and Working Against the Mainstream Media… the overall goal of Sisyphean news is to create a new platform where freedom of speech will always be protected.” While I believe that the author and I probably see many things differently, I wish him the best in this endeavor. I’d encourage you to drop by and read some of his posts, such as his latest Leftists Rally to Shut Down Freedom of Speech in Boston.

 

On the New Witch Hunt

Sorry, the blog at alternative-right.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.” – Blogger(1)

The braying bad faith of the political alliance which spans the entire spectrum from the mainstream media, corporate elites and GOP establishment to the Revolutionary Communist Party and the black bloc is reaching deafening proportions.

More than anything else, this feels like the early ’50s, with the alt.x movement playing the role of the CPUSA.  Those hard times are here now and there are no doubt worse to come.  Any voice speaking out in even the most moderate way in defense of the interests of the traditional American nation must recognize that the consequences can be real and unpleasant.  (Think job loss, black listing, physical assault, ritual denunciation, silencing, even prosecution when some criminal charges can be trumped up.)

But this too will pass – remember how things changed then over the course of a decade.  Let us hope and, more importantly, work to ensure that our ’60s lie ahead!

Note:

(1) This is what showed up when I tried to access Alternative-Right this morning. It may be that the site is moving elsewhere of its own accord but in the current climate one suspects the worst, especially in light of widespread corporate efforts to silence dissenting voices. (See, for example the announcement at Counter-Currents that their web-hosting service is cancelling its account and that the site may be going off-line, or any of the coverage regarding the purging of offending accounts by Facebook, Paypal, etc. Silicon Valley’s Nazi Purge Kicks Into Overdrive Or: How tech learned to stop worrying and begin policing speech at Vanity Fair is a good place to start.)

Against “Cultural Marxism”

Having spent 20 years studying the history and theory of Marxism, I can say with some confidence that… most American conservatives (as well as most white nationalists), know hardly a thing about it. – Michael O’Meara – The Next Conservatism?

I was once again reminded of the truth of Mr. O’Meara’s observation by Paul Gottfried’s recent article at Vdare, Yes, Virginia (Dare) There Is A Cultural Marxism–And It’s Taking Over Conservatism Inc.

In general, the theme of “Cultural Marxism” and its supposed triumph reflects the theoretical poverty of the American right – in both its mainstream and alternative varieties.  It is consistent with the tradition of blaming the “commies” (or, for some, the commies and “the Jews”) for everything, treating the globalist/multiculturalist order as something foreign to our system rather than the “natural” product of it.

Even worse, much of what passes for insight on the matter is of the crassest character. (See, for example, here and here.) While I will confess that I’ve never been a big fan of Gottfried‘s work, I expected something better from him and so was especially disappointed by the crudeness of his analysis in this particular effort.

While Gottfried expresses some general discomfort with the term “Cultural Marxism” and acknowledges a number of the ways in which it diverges from  class-oriented Marxism of one sort or another, he argues that it can be understood as fundamentally part of that tradition and seems to endorse the view taken by so many on the American right that all of today’s ills are traceable to the influence of that handful of  unorthodox Marxist theorists associated with the Frankfurt school.

Thus, in an earlier article Gottfried claimed that Cultural Marxism has been “successful… in taking over Western societies, through educational, social and political institutions” while in the current one, after some fretting over whether or not it still makes sense to talk about the influence of the original critical theorists given how far the corruption of the West has advanced beyond what they had imagined, he ultimately assures us that “Not only does Cultural Marxism exist” but that, given the embrace of a sort of political correctness-lite at home and “humanitarian” interventionism abroad on the part of the mainstream right,  “it now appears to be taking over Conservatism Inc.” and that “Conservatism Inc. … [has] become a Cultural Marxist puppet.”

In fact, the “Cultural Marxists” are able to hold the sort of institutional power which they do because they are doing the system’s dirty work – motivating and justifying the clearing away of all of those “irrational” obstacles – family, nation, tradition, etc – to the horizontal and vertical spread of the capitalist system in its globalist phase.  As Gottfried himself points out:

… nationalizing productive forces and the creation of a workers’ state, i.e. the leftovers from classical Marxism, turn out to be the most expendable part of their revolutionary program…. Instead, what is essential to Cultural Marxism is the rooting-out of bourgeois national structures, the obliteration of gender roles and the utter devastation of “the patriarchal family.”

So, far from representing the victory of the left, the rise of “Cultural Marxism” to prominence and intellectual power represents a victory over the left – its absorption by the current incarnation of the capitalist system rather than a subversion of it.

(The introductory quote is from and article published some years back by the now-silent Michael O’Meara on William Lind, who was an early proponent of the concept of “Cultural Marxism”. The piece is typical O’Meara – full of insights and energy but seriously marred by his habitual anti-semitism. Overall, much of his critique of the notion of the alleged role of “Cultural Marxism” remains valuable.  I will not repeat his analysis here, but I do suggest that you have a look.)