Solidarity Down the Drain?
By Maxwell Black at Nov 28, 2008
The Left is spiraling down the toilet. It looks like our own “coalition of the willing,” our hodge-podge of various causes and mini-movements wasn’t so much based on any real, long term solidarity; it was—it seems—mutual Bush hatred.
I think I was naïve and little too romantic in my perception of the Left. Being sort of a “big tent” leftist, I’ve foolishly believed that civil rights, civil liberties, environmental, gay rights, women’s rights and animal liberation activists were all fighting under a common flag with a common dream. As it turns out, I was totally clueless.
Many on the mainstream or more reputable radical left seem to be under the impression that with the election of Obama they are in some proximity to power. And find it quite intoxicating! We are seeing many formerly radical institutions falling all over themselves trying to clean up and look “respectable.” We see people (or should I say folks?) like Tim Wise hysterically trying to distance himself from the “those on the left” or “many of my friends on the left” lashing out at his new straw man, the dreaded and always useful scapegoat: the anarchist. I guess he hopes that if he plays his cards right he could maybe be on the Rachel Maddow Show.
And of course the radical left is loosing its fucking mind as well. Including me! I’ve noticed that I’ve been perpetually pissed off the last couple of weeks and not at the usual (and rational) stuff like the destruction of the ecosystems of the world. I’m pissed at people; I’m pissed at other Leftists. I’m so mad at Tim Wise (and many others) for what he has written since the election it’s difficult to describe. And it feels personal, which is ridiculous being that, other than a couple of quick chats on MySpace, I don’t even know the guy. Shit, I’m pissed at Znet and I’m not even sure why! I go to the site, look around and then I’m like, “fuck this, I’m mad.”
I think we are having a massive identity crisis.
What I’ve observed over the last few weeks is cannibalistic left feeding frenzy (particularly if one observes the civil warfare going on in “comments” on any left website.) We’ve got one half of the Left trying to out left each other, you know, “I’m not an Obama dupe, I’m still committed to the Revolution.” I’m guilty of this, I know. And the other half, are desperately trying to shoo away anyone who might occasionally don a black mask and hoodie just in case they might scare away all that mainstream funding (and perceived recognition and newfound legitimacy.)
I think we all need to get a fucking grip (and a clue.)
The Left is always on shaky ground, with our perpetual inner tensions and competing commitments. For example if we put a group of radical environmentalists and a group of socialist economists in the same room it could be a bloodbath! Know what I mean? The only strength we’ve ever had is our numbers and the occasional ability to find common cause. Without getting too corny: we really do need each other. It’s that simple, it’s a numbers game.
This might help. If you’re reading these words you’ve more than likely been here before, (I know this because since the election my “unique visitors” have dropped to like four a day!) Well allow me to let you in on one of my writing tricks. Ever noticed that I will change the subject from the environment to class to race or gender in the same paragraph and with no announcement that I’m switching gears? I do that shit on purpose! I’m making a direct point when I do it: I’m not really switching gears at all; they are all the same struggle.
In all of our hysteria, I think we forget what, at the core, we are about: ending domination. We all have our favorite causes and identities, but we are all fighting against the exploitation and domination of our labor, lives, bodies, minds and landbase. Right? Without us working and standing together, every single one of our movements and dreams are dead. It’s called solidarity.