ritaxis: (hat)
There's some really strange posts that get retweeted over and over on Twitter. It's kind of nauseating to watch. I'm going to try to address them all here in a cogent way, which may be feckless but it's what I can think of to do right now.

The origin of these posts is generally obscure people who present as the sort of person whose opinion one might respect--young people of color, maybe. Not always. But some of the posts are by prominent people whose opinion one might respect(1). The content of the posts is always an attack on the left in the name of ... leftism? See, "leftists" lost the election. "Leftists" are the real racists. "Leftists" are in the pocket of Moscow. "Leftists" are crazy Russophobes. Sometimes the word "leftists" is replaced with "progressives," "Sandernistas," "Berniebros," "Clintonistas," "Democrats," or rarely, prominent leftish Democrats.

Folks, don't spread this. It is fifth-column activity even if it thinks it isn't (and I don't think there's not a lot of deliberate action here). It's not principled struggle over the content and means of resistance or forward movement. It is herbicide spread to prevent the flowering of coalition.

Let me just say one thing about the election. Hillary Clinton did not lose the election. Bernie Sanders did not lose the election for her, and no he wouldn't be President now if the Democratic Party hadn't done what it did last year. "Progressives" did not lose the election. "Leftists" did not lose the election (last year).

This election was lost for us seventy-five years ago, when the labor movement and the Communist Party (at the time the biggest progressive organization in the US, and the leader in any broad coalition activities here) decided to essentially disband themselves "for the duration" in World War Two, pledging no oppositional activity "in order to defeat fascism." The result was that while the European countries, for example, came out of the devastation of World War Two with intact labor movements and left movements capable of standing up to their governments, the US has largely been dependent on the good will of its ruling class, which has just run out, as it will, as the ruling class is composed of people who think it is their right to live in privilege paid for by the privations of other people.

And also, Sanders is not "the real racist." No, he's not been perfect. "Progressives" are not the "real racists." Leftists are not "the real racists." Yes, they're all brushed with the the systemic racism of our society & they fuck up sometimes because of it, or they say or do unexamined things worth calling out specifically. But that doesn't make them the "real racists." Not when the White House is about to be overrun with actual Nazis and Klansmen and "alt-right" superstars. You're seriously going to take down & isolate somebody who used a problematic phrase that one time, or didn't show up to as many rallies as you'd like, rather than demand that they join you to fight against men who openly compare folks to animals, advocate hurting & killing them, decorate themselves with swastikas & the Stars&Bars, and express nostalgia for slavery days and the Third Reich?

We have been able to mount effective coalitions here and there over time, and that is our hope now. Lacking a deep progressive structure, we need to build the ad hoc coalitions that we've seen before (in the civil rights movement, yes the labor movement, the anti-war movement, the environmental movement). I don't mean we don't have any organizations with history and reach. I mean that we need to pull more and more people in, to coordinate activities, to stand firm and support one another.

We very much need to not play along with this smear campaign. And it is a campaign. Just look at it. Every day, there's countless tweets showing up in my tiny timeline from people who mindlessly retweet this garbage because it looks cutting-edge to them or something.

Coalition doesn't mean we make namby-pamby compromises and overlook all differences. But it does mean not letting the fifth column determine the nature of the everloving discourse.

September 2017

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