March 23, 2020

The Left Must Be Prepared to Fight Back

by Jen Roesch

I believe that there is an ideological war going on right now and that the left needs to be prepared to do battle. In the very first days of this crisis, we saw moratoriums on evictions, expedited unemployment benefits, CA housing the homeless in hotels and prisoners being released in OH. All of these measures showed that the market, profits and our repressive apparatus are not untouchable. This crisis has opened up questions of profit vs human need in fundamental ways.

But now that many of us are all in isolation and the economic consequences are being felt - with unemployment predicted to reach 30% - there is an ideological backlash underway. Trump has said that the price may not be worth it. But he is not the only one. Increasingly, the mainstream media outlets are questioning the measures taken, arguing for more "surgical" approaches, saying that the economy cannot withstand this. This has been combined with confusing information on what it will take to fight the pandemic, if what we are doing will "work" and how long it will continue. And we cannot fool ourselves that these appeals will not resonate with people who are suffering and economically terrified right now. This is why a left-wing alternative, with a strong and unified message, is so crucial right now. We need to press it on all fronts. Here are my thoughts on what I think that needs to include:

1) The "economy" and fighting the pandemic are only counterposed if we accept the maintenance of profits, individual wealth and privatized production as inevitable. We have the resources right now to continue to feed and shelter people and meet their basic necessities. This could be met through a "shelter-in wage" for the duration of the crisis while freezing rent, mortgage and all debt payments so that wages are solely devoted to necessities. All healthcare for the duration of the crisis should be underwritten by the government. Meanwhile, manufacturing and distribution firms should be directed by the government to shift all resources to essentials and to ramping up our medical capacity: protective equipment, hospital beds, testing capacity, ventilators and housing for the mildly ill. Those who are deemed essential should be given hazard pay, enhanced safety protections and enhanced labor rights & regulations to protect themselves. Ultimately, this is an argument for a sharp curtailing of the powers of the banks and private industry and at least partial nationalization of sectors of the economy. It is the only way to meet the scale of the need. But this can be communicated through concrete demands that can make sense to millions of people in a moment like this.

2) The idea that the pandemic can be addressed "surgically" through measures targeted at "vulnerable" populations is a fantasy. It is out of touch with the reality of working class life. The elderly (which in the context of pandemic really only means over 60) is not a rich, isolated subgroup of the population. They are raising grandchildren after children have died (remember we have a middle-aged death crisis in this country); well over 10 million senior citizens are still working, many at exhausting, low wage jobs at a places like Wal-Mart; millions of senior citizens live in poverty, including 17% of Latinos and 19% of African-Americans; and massive numbers of the elderly live in multi-generational households where they are cared for by their working children. There is no way to quarantine this population separately; they are embedded in the fabric of our social and economic lives. Beyond the elderly, this disease also targets a wide range of vulnerabilities - with obesity, existing respiratory illness, high blood pressure and diabetes topping the list. It is a minority of American households that do not have a member with one of these underlying conditions. We haven't yet seen what this virus does to a population as generally unhealthy as ours.

3) Our response to this crisis has been characterized by half measures taken too late, then second guessed and then driven by the immediate crises presented by our lack of preparation. This has led to situations where we are told it is "too late" for testing to matter or where healthcare workers are told to ration protective equipment because we will run out. Too frequently, the administrators and politicians have responded by changing the public health message to match the shortages and deficiencies. This is very dangerous precedent from a public health perspective. Instead, we urgently need to get ahead of this. This requires a non-partisan federal commission of the most knowledgable experts to learn from the international experience and coordinate a federal response. This should include the power to make binding recommendations for production needs.

4) Our social institutions and collective sense of social connection have been eroded by decades of neoliberalism. People's tendency to look out for themselves is often a "rational" response to a situation in which no one guarantees your safety, collective power has declined and you have only yourself to rely on. We urgently need to rebuild a sense of social responsibility to one another - our literal lives depend on us taking actions that are difficult but necessary to protect the whole. As much as we might like, we cannot do this through moralism and exhortations. But we also cannot simply abandon the idea that we are responsible to one another. We do have agency. So we need to rebuild a social fabric from the ground up by looking out for one another, sharing information, providing resources and support. At the same time, we need to articulate demands that make people see themselves as part of a broader collective. And perhaps most difficult, we have to rebuild some sense of collective power. Examples like the Amazon workers in NYC who fought going to work, or the threatened sickout of teachers, or nurses organizing for protective equipment - we need to amplify and expand these. I saw Starbucks workers arguing that they should be considered non-essential - how do we support this? The more we can score some wins, the more we can build that collective fabric. But this will be hard and not always win. Part of our ideological battle is winning the argument for solidarity.

We need to be clear that arguments for "getting people back to work quickly" or "not letting the economy fail" are really arguments for letting millions of people die. We also need to be clear that there is no "going back" to the way things were. The question before us is whether our society is rebuilt on our terms or theirs. It is both an opportunity and a danger that we haven't seen in decades.

March 12, 2020

Now is the Time for Solidarity: DSA National Statement on COVID-2019

From the 2008 global financial collapse to the natural disasters caused by climate change that rocked Northern California, New Orleans, New York, and Puerto Rico, capitalism is causing devastating human crises. During each of these crises, it has been poor, working-class, and already marginalized people who have suffered the most — while banks, energy companies, and the real estate industry have been bailed out. 

Now with the COVID-19 outbreak and a looming economic recession, it is hospital workers, poor and unhoused people, the elderly, incarcerated people, the immunocompromised, immigrants, and other marginalized groups who will likely bear the most impact. Millions of people have inadequate health insurance or none at all, millions are living paycheck to paycheck, and millions more are not given paid time off from work. That means that workers and poor people will be vulnerable to illness while being unable to afford treatment or even testing, endangering whole communities. Many who miss work because of the outbreak will lose pay, lose their health insurance, be unable to pay utility bills, or face eviction.

All of this is worsened by the fact that our government has been slashing budgets for services such as SNAP (food stamps) while handing bailouts to oil and natural gas companies. It is clear our irrational and expensive privatized healthcare system, organized not to protect human health but to extract profit, is unable to handle a crisis such as a sudden global pandemic.
Meanwhile, Trump and the Republicans are exploiting the crisis to blame scapegoats: immigrants, Chinese people, and the European Union are demonized, encouraging racism and xenophobia. Further, Trump’s stimulus plan will decimate Social Security if passed, one of our last truly universal social programs and a line of defense for seniors who are some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

As socialists, we reject austerity, privatization, racism, and xenophobia. Instead, we — the Democratic Socialists of America — stand with the working class, poor, and marginalized of our society and demand a working-class solution to this crisis.

A pandemic like COVID-19 confirms the truth in the radical labor movement slogan, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” We need to rapidly reorient our society away from the principles of individualism and private profit and toward the principles of justice and solidarity.

We support the measures proposed in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including federal funding for free coronavirus testing for all and paid emergency leave.

However, Congress must go further.

First, Congress must pass Bernie Sanders’s proposed Medicare for All legislation. Without providing comprehensive healthcare, free at the point of use, to all US residents, we cannot mitigate this crisis or its vastly disproportionate impacts on poor and working-class people. It is unacceptable that almost a hundred million people in the US are uninsured or underinsured during a massive public health crisis, while health insurance CEOs take home annual salaries in the tens of millions of dollars.

Second, Congress must pass an emergency moratorium on evictions and on utility shut-offs until the crisis abates. If workers are unable to work because of quarantines, they should not be punished for being unable to pay their rent and utility bills. Ultimately goods like housing, water, electricity, internet, and more should be provided as social rights to everyone, not hoarded for the profit of a few billionaires.

Third, instead of bailing out oil and natural gas companies during this crisis as Trump has suggested, Congress should take advantage of low oil prices to begin to phase out domestic oil production while introducing aggressive Green New Deal legislation that mandates carbon neutrality by 2030 while creating millions of good, green jobs. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change — which will make natural disasters like hurricanes and global pandemics like coronavirus much more frequent and much more intense — we need to transition our economy off of fossil fuels starting immediately. With a looming economic crash that could put millions out of work, low interest rates and a oil price crash make this the perfect time for the Federal Government to begin this transformation.

In the face of a pandemic, we recognize we are only as safe as the people most impacted by our current systems. As a fourth demand, we call for a nationwide end to cash bail and a moratorium on deportations. The US is home to the largest detention system in the world. Given the torturous conditions, overcrowding, and unaccountable nature of our current carceral system, we call for individuals in prisons, jails, detention centers, and camps to be let go and that facilities are properly staffed with medical teams to ensure the well-being of those who cannot be temporarily released. We demand a moratorium on deportations to ensure that immigrant communities are kept safe and are not discouraged from seeking treatment.

We echo the demands laid out by Bernie Sanders earlier today, as he calls for state and national hotlines for residents to use for resources, information, and updates. We agree that this level of transparency must be relayed by scientists and health experts and not politicians. A vaccine, when developed, must be free, and that any medicine developed to help with the crisis must be sold at cost. The ICU and ventilator shortage must be addressed, and medical residents, retired medical staff, and other medical personnel should be mobilized, staffed with proper instruction and personal protective equipment, to ensure adequate staffing. We also agree with his call for emergency unemployment assistance at 100% of a worker’s income for ALL people, including those who work off tips, gig workers, domestic workers, and independent contractors. There must be emergency shelters erected, complete with healthcare and food, for the unhoused, domestic violence survivors, and college students.

Finally, all of this social spending should be paid for by taxing the rich. The American working class has repeatedly bailed out the same massive corporations and billionaires that cause and exacerbate crises. The Trump administration’s proposed solution, a payroll tax cut, would not provide any relief for the working class and, in fact, would exacerbate the issue by providing an incentive to continue working, even if sick, particularly for those without remote work settings or paid sick leave. The proposal would also endanger some of our most vulnerable populations by gutting funding to Social Security and Medicare. Time and again, the ruling class uses crisis to pit us against each other. This time, the rich — whose wealth is produced by workers — should foot the bill.

As a practical measure and show of solidarity for all working class people, especially the elderly, unhoused, chronically ill, and immunosuppressed who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, we recommend that all chapters immediately begin implementing social distancing measures, including:
  • Cancel, postpone, or move online any meetings scheduled for more than a small group of people;
  • Practice the CDC’s recommended preventative actions as precautionary measures, especially maintaining a distance of 6 feet or more from others;
  • Establish a chapter-wide COVID-19 policy describing symptoms members should watch for and to encourage members who are sick to stay home or attend meetings through phone or video conferencing software like Zoom;
  • Setup infrastructure for members to text-bank and phone-bank from home instead of canvassing whenever possible;
  • Create a plan to check-in on local membership and make sure everyone has the resources needed to navigate this crisis, especially elderly members and members who are immunocompromised;
  • Develop scenario plans to adapt meetings and actions based on the rate of infection in your area, see this template for sample scenarios and alternatives to traditional mass mobilizations;
  • Perform routine cleaning of surfaces such as, tables, electronics, door handles, etc. before and after all in person meetings using products such as sanitizing wipes or antibacterial spray;
  • Supply hand sanitizer at all meetings and encourage its use (see the CDC’s guide for producing hand sanitizer);
  • Place posters that encourage good coughing and sneezing etiquette and hand washing in meeting areas.
Our current system is unequal, unjust, and careening towards disaster. It is as clear now as ever that our society faces a choice: we will have socialism, or we will have barbarism. We call on chapters to use the aforementioned recommendations to practice solidarity with your local membership and keep each other safe. We also implore chapters to review this COVID-19 Resources Guide for Organizers to form demands and identify resources that can inform our organizing in this crucial moment.

December 30, 2019

We Are The Majority; We Must Turn That Into Power

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers,

Over the last decade, a national consensus has developed for a progressive left agenda on the economy, social services, the climate crisis and ending wars but the movement has not yet built the power to make that a reality. The next decade will be ripe with opportunities for transformational change due to a combination of expanding popular movements as well as escalating crisis situations.
Positive change will only occur if these movements evolve into an organized popular movement that truly represents the people’s interests against the elites. The movement must protect the planet at this critical time of climate crisis against the profiteering of the planet-plundering capitalist class. We must stand against continued militarism, bloated and wasteful weapons spending, military conflict and regime change imperialism.

The movement must be clear about which side we are on, the people’s side, put forward a vision of a future that draws the masses — including members of the power structure — and be organized to fight for our vision.

People have the power; protest in Ferguson City Hall in 2014.

We Have Built National Consensus

Since the Occupy-era of 2011, the movement has grown, not disappeared as many in the media would lead you to believe. People have been working more deeply on multiple fronts of struggle building national consensus.  Below we review some key issues where consensus has been achieved but where we still need to build the power to enact change.

Reducing Inequality

The Occupy Movement highlighted the 99 percent vs. the 1 percent. It was a class war, out in the open, with the people fighting back for the first time in decades. The US has become one of the most unequal societies in history resulting in movements against inequality growing. There is now support for taxing the wealthy with Gallup data showing that 62 percent of people in the US say “upper-income people” pay too little in taxes. Further, 69 percent say that corporations are paying too little in taxes. Other polling shows that over three-quarters of US workers believe that CEOs make too much and that about the same percentage of all people (74 percent) say that CEOs are overpaid.

The support for progressive policies confronting inequality is expressed not only in the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren but even Joe Biden, a corporate centrist Democrat, has had to at least rhetorically agree, saying: “Economic inequality is pulling this country apart. We need stronger labor laws and a tax code that rewards a middle class that’s been cut out of decades of economic growth — not just the wealthy, who have gotten too many tax breaks for too long.” And, Donald Trump won the election in part by playing to the economic insecurity of working people, unfair corporate trade and against the elites in DC.

Despite this, over the last decade, the wealthy have benefitted under Democrats and Republicans, while the workers have struggled. Donald Trump and the Republicans have put in place the most regressive tax policy in US history. Last year, ninety-one Fortune 500 Companies paid $0.00 in federal income taxes.  Over the last decade, the 400 wealthiest people’s fortunes doubled while tax rates dropped. This has led to the unjust reality that the 400 richest US families paid a lower tax rate than working people. When looked at through a racial prism, inequality is worse than it was in 1979, when it was already a crisis. This is not just Trump, the wealthiest have not paid their fair share in decades. For workers, a so-called booming economy has meant more bad jobs and a faster race to the bottom.

In the last year, the world’s 500 richest people gained $1.2 trillion in wealth.  Sam Pizzigati writes if we confronted inequality and put in place policies like Japan, the third wealthiest country in the world, the median net worth of people in the US “would triple, from $66,000 to $199,000.” We need to build political power to create a more fair economy. The Next Systems project highlights some of the places where that is happening.

Nurses, doctors, and medical students demonstrated outside the annual meeting of the American Medical Association in Chicago on Saturday, demanding the group “get out of the way” in the fight for a Medicare for All program. (Photo: National Nurses United/Twitter)

Putting in Place Improved Medicare for All

Another issue that has popular political support and is a top concern of people is the crisis in US healthcare. National Improved Medicare for all has transformative potential that will shrink inequality and cut poverty by 20 percent while providing high-quality healthcare to everyone.

The scam of the Affordable Care Act formalized an unequal health system, giving names to inequality — platinum, gold, silver, and bronze plans — while giving hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to the corrupt insurance industry and allowing pharmaceuticals and hospitals to charge exorbitant prices. Although the power structure has tried to confuse the issue, polls show majority support for ‘Medicare for All’ even when they say it will replace private plans. No poll accurately describes improved Medicare for all as cutting healthcare costs for people or says that people will never lose their healthcare again, instead, the media and bi-partisan insurance-funded politicians spew false information. Improved Medicare for all has gone from a pipe dream to mainstream as the movement has made the issue a litmus test for their presidential nomination with 84 percent of Democratic voters saying it is a priority issue.

No matter who is elected, the improved Medicare for all movement will need to continue to build its power. The insurance industry and others who profit from the status quo are resisting change in a classic battle of corporate money vs. the people. The single-payer movement has a strategy to win and has successfully turned attacks against those who oppose us. If we continue to organize, Medicare for all has the potential to become an unstoppable political issue.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 1: A replica of a clock is seen at Lafayette Square as people gathered to protest President Trump announcement that U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate agreement on Thursday, June 1, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Confronting the Climate Crisis

The last decade was the Earth’s hottest ever, marked by extreme storms, and deadly wildfiresThousands of scientists have been issuing emergency warnings about irreversible changes as they see tipping points are approaching with frightening prospects, especially for those who are young and will live through escalating storms, floods, droughts, fires and more.  Youth rank responding to the climate crisis as the most vital issue of our times.

Despite this, the staggering failure of political leadership continues as we saw at the most recent UN climate meeting. The crisis emanates from the US where two-thirds of new oil and gas is produced. Failed bi-partisan US leadership on the climate crisis makes resistance imperative. People have been responding in the US and globally with escalating protests including days of action involving the largest protests ever involving more than six million people. Now we need to move from protest to power.

Responding to the climate crisis requires major transformations in the US economy as multiple sectors — energy, transportation, housing, manufacturing, agriculture, banking, among others — will have to transition. There is a growing understanding of what needs to be done with the most detailed plan coming from Green candidate, Howie Hawkins’ ecosocialist Green New Deal. Last week, Stanford researchers put forward Green New Deal plans for 143 countries. Here are ten immediate steps for the next president.

We need to defeat the illusion that corporations and corporate governance can solve the climate crisis. Once again, it is a battle of the people vs. corporate power. To save the planet we must overcome the ruling elites.

Ending Militarism

US militarism is exacerbating the climate crisis. While we can’t confront climate change while lavishly funding the Pentagon that is not the only reason to end US militarism.  The recent release of the Afghan Papers showed us that the longest war in US history, Afghanistan, has been a lie. Pentagon spending, now over 60 percent of discretionary spending, has been escalating for decades and most recently a record bi-partisan Pentagon budget was passed while the people were distracted with impeachment.

The US military is planning a war with ChinaNATO is looking for new enemies to justify its existence and the US is expanding its weapons race to outer space. While human needs go unmet and underfunded, the military is given a blank check despite failing its only financial audit.

It is not only wars and militarism that must be dismantled, but the US foreign policy of domination and empire must come to an end. This includes regime change campaigns as currently being attempted in Venezuela, Iran, and Bolivia, and recent years in Nicaragua, Ukraine, and Syria. The illegal use of unilateral coercive measures, which the US calls sanctions but which are another form of war, kill tens of thousands annually.

US empire is failing. It has resulted in militarized police and led to racist police killings. The movement to end war is growing and having victories like stopping the Trump military parade but we need to put forward a vision for a peace economy that ends the era of global military bases. A better jobs program than the military is putting in place a Green New Deal, building urgently needed housing, remaking infrastructure and providing for human needs. The era of wasteful spending on a bloated and unnecessary military must come to an end.

An Era of Transformation is Upon Us

These are just some of the issues where consensus is being achieved and where change is urgently needed. Crises are resulting in movement building over the resurgence of racism, racist mass incarceration and drug wars as well as police violence in black and brown communities, the mistreatment of workers leading to record days on strike, the crises in homelessness, poverty and housing, deep student debt, environmental degradation beyond the climate crisis, and the crisis in US democracy, are some others.

One could look at today and be depressed at seeing no opportunity for change. In reality, these crises are opportunities for transformational changes to build a better world for ourselves and future generations. This contradiction is highlighted in a recent dialogue between long-time activist George Lakey and a young organizer Yotam Marom. Marom had a hard time accepting Lakey’s claim that “There’s no other time I’d rather be alive.” Lakey explains why we are in a better position than movements were in the 60s and 70s to make deeper transformational change. He sees current polarization as an opportunity, as well as the issues discussed in this article, the state of the movement, training available to activists and how crises will force change. Of course, there is no guarantee regarding our success but there is potential — potential we can realize.

We are building toward being a movement that can make transformational changes over the next decade. There are opportunities to organize in our communities, connect with others throughout the country and around the world. The potential of a movement of movements linking issues that seem unrelated is being realized. We are building solidarity from person-to-person across movements and across borders. Together we can build the power to create a new world.

June 12, 2017

Jazz Activism

As somebody who both studies revolution, and as somebody who went to school for jazz performance, the interplay between spontaneity and organization is particularly of interest to me.

Leaders exist whether or not we call them leaders.  Events at occupy wall street were organized by teams of people, and did not happen spontaneously, but required days, sometimes weeks, of nonstop planning and organization.

The model of “consensus” is not a particularly anarchist or socialist model of running meetings, it originated in the quaker church and was adopted by utopian idealists in the 1960s.  It’s hung around as a way to run meetings because that’s what people know.  It didn’t spontaneously come about, it was an extant operating system and was deliberately put in place by leadership who felt it was a good system for running meetings. Whether or not it actually is, is another matter that can be debated.

Seemingly spontaneous moments will occur, but the consciousness of those moments will be varied, depending on the level of self-education of those engaging the moment.

There is a difference between stopping a single pipeline and stopping the economic system that keeps building these pipelines.

Jazz uses improvisation, but it also requires structure.  Some tunes, like standards provide a structural foundation with given chords and rhythms that one improvises over. But there is also free jazz, which starts with very little material and is collaboratively created through the interaction between all the musicians participating. The less structure and the less material one starts with, the more intensely studied one needs to be in music theory, the greater the depth of knowledge one needs to have of harmony, rhythm, and melody in order to make it work. Otherwise you’ll just end up playing the same things that you already know over and over. 
There is a difference between camping out on wall street and actually dismantling capitalism and the capitalist state.  If we get too close to actually threatening the functioning of the system, the system will use violence to crush our resistance, as we saw during the eviction of OWS and destruction of our camps on the day that we planned to actually occupy the floor of the NYSE.

In the years ahead the conflicts will be greater and greater, and our ability to resist the violence of the state will need to grow exponentially.  If we’re going to do this, it won’t happen by accident, and it will require extremely thoughtful and organized planning, and the discussion of tactics that we will use, and tactics that we will not use, in any given moment, depending on the strength of our forces.  If we are serious about overthrowing capitalism and the state, we can’t just protest for the sake of protesting, nor can we just throw bricks through a starbucks window for the sake of destroying property.  If we are serious about winning, we need to be cautious about inviting excuses for the capitalist state to crush us using violence, and be serious about building our forces, and building the level of education of the general population.

Spontaneous moments will happen.  Our role as Socialists is to prepare for them.

March 25, 2017

The Limits of Identity as a Lens to Understand the World

So referring to members of organizations who are part of an oppressed identity group as "token members" as a way to insult the organization is messed up. It assumes that those individuals have no self-agency, no control over their own thoughts, and that they didn't come to their politics on their own terms, informed by their own experiences and self-education.

Lately, I've seen the accusation of people being "tokens" done by people who disagree with Marxism and the politics of intersectionality and solidarity, who use identity as their primary lens for understanding the world, and believe that identity is sufficient to inform political and organizational strategy.

It instead highlights the failure of identity to explain the world, and the political conclusions reached by individuals of oppressed identities that are not in lock step with members of identitarian cliques. People in various identity groups often believe and act contrary to the way that they are expected to. This incongruence between believe and action, and identity is often explained away by identitarians saying that these individuals are not actually members of that oppressed identity, and is invalidating of that persons experience and identity as a member of that oppressed identity.

This sort of illogical and insulting conclusion leads to white activists shouting down black people as being anti-black racists, or shouting down trans people as being transphobic.  And the reason for this isn't because there is any substance to these accusations-- it's because there is a strategic or political difference, which is being elided.

Now it's entirely possible that black people have internalized anti-black prejudices, or that trans people have internalized anti-trans prejudices-- and the identitarians shouting people down have to agree in order to engage in this sort of behavior.  But to agree that identity doesn't coincide with politics invalidates the foundational premise of identity politics-- that identity is sufficient to inform your political worldview and strategies for change.

Now identity politics is problematic itself for a host of other reasons. Using identity to explain why people should have a certain set of politics is reductive (the opposite of intersectional), and members of oppressed identity groups who do not fall lock-step in with a clique are cast as being "self-hating", or as being guilty of upholding and defending other oppressions.

This is all done as a way to hide political disagreements and cast the person in question as being "bad" rather than actually having out debate around areas where disagreements lay, with the goal of winning people to a point of view. It attacks the person and not the argument (ad homeniem), which is toxic and destructive behavior.

Intersectionality, as it was originally conceived by Kimberle Crenshaw is not about how many oppressions you as an individual can tick a box next to on a list. It's about how identities and oppressions interact and cannot be (and should not be) used to reduce any individual to any one monolithic set of experiences. It was an argument against both identity-based reductionism and class based reductionism, but has been taken by those who perhaps have not read the source materials to mean something entirely the opposite, and they instead argue that identity CAN be used to reduce an individual to a monolithic identity.

Intersectionality, as originally conceived, is an argument in favor of Solidarity politics, because nobody can be reduced to monolithic identities, and all our struggles intersect and overlap with one another.  Just as black women have a different lived experience from black men because of gender, and also have a different lived experience than white women because of race, there is no monolithic "black female experience" either.  The black lesbian experience is different from the black female experience.  Ultimately, everybody's experience is different, and identity shapes people's oppressions, and these oppressions are different from person to person, but the conclusion that must be drawn is either that each of us are too unique in our own oppressions to come together and fight in solidarity, or our oppressions are linked and intersect in ways that require us to come together and fight in solidarity.

One of these strategies will destroy the left, and the other will build the left into a force that can take on all systems of oppression and defeat them.  I'm going to throw my lot in with the politics of solidarity, and fight to end all oppressions, even ones that I don't experience directly.

March 22, 2017

If the Illuminati are real, I want to join

There's two options: The illuminati are either real or they are not.

If they are real, I want to join; and if they aren't-- I want to start them up. Having god-powers to control all the major events in world history for our own nefarious ends sounds like a sweet deal. But wait, what are our nefarious ends?

Gaining control of everything? That can't be true-- The illuminati have *always* been in control of everything, including the weather. There's literally no way to stop us, so like, why even bother thinking about it?

We, the Illuminati, offer you something that you desire: a sense of purpose in a cruel, random, and unforgiving universe. We give you a story about why bad things happen to good people. We provide the illusion of order in a random chaotic universe.

So long as you have us in charge, you don't have to think about how totally terrifying it is that nobody is actually in charge of this chaotic nonsensical shitshow we call life.

Not convinced? Just imagine a world without the Illuminati, and you'll see why you need us.

Shootings would happen not because it's a false flag operation, but because some random asshole has a gun!!! Yikes! If that were the case, mass shootings would happen like, every year! What if the nearly 100 people who die of gun violence every day in America, die for no reason, other than some other asshole has a gun? Wouldn't you rather it instead be part of our plan to slowly eradicate the human race in accordance to the Georgia Guide Stones? Because, if it wasn't our doing, that would mean that nearly 100 people die every day for no reason! That's really scary and upsetting!

Or what about extreme weather events!? If it wasn't for HAARP controlling the weather, extreme weather would be caused by naturally occurring meteorological forces that we've got no control over! Do you really want to feel powerless like that? I mean, it sounds really stupid to ascribe human motives like anger or malice to uncaring, unconscious weather systems that are literally not alive, and are just the product of a confluence of natural physical forces. If it wasn't for the Illuminati, weather systems would destroy people's homes for no reason! How terrifying! It's almost like it could happen to anybody! And for no reason! And it's not just the result of a kind of primitive thinking, like how the Vikings ascribed bad weather to the anger of Freya or Thor-- the Illuminati aren't actually gods. They are people who use their science powers, and their reverse engineered alien tech, and their special Jewish powers that only Jewish people get, to amass incredible amounts of wealth and power so that they can control the fabric of reality like gods. Which is why science is bad, and anything beyond your capacity to understand should be destroyed. That's so much more rational, don't you think?

If we got the illuminati out of controlling medicine, we'd have single payer healthcare by now (but no pharmaceuticals, because drugs are chemicals and are therefore bad-- unless that drug is marijuana, which has lots of chemicals that cure literally EVERYTHING).  Or the opposite of Single Payer, because big government is bad, and we could all just retreat into our fallout bunkers and we'll just eat hydroponically grown kale and never die of anything because when you live underground, you can't get poisoned by chemtrails.

It goes without saying that the government is controlled by the illuminati, but what if it wasn't?  That would mean that the ruling class instituted a sham democracy so that they could exploit the working class! That sounds like something Karl Marx would say!  And we all know, Karl Marx was Illuminati, because he was ethnically Jewish, and used his special Jewish Powers to create communism-- which is not a form of democratic control of the workplace and society-- it's a ploy by the Illuminati! Why?  We're not sure.  We did that one just for fun, I guess.

If the illuminati didn't control financial sector? It'd be chaos!  Stock prices would rise and fall with the anarchic forces of the market! And what then?! Why, we'd just have a bunch of greedy rich people fighting with one another to be the ones who are best able to enrich themselves at the expense of the working class and the environment! That sounds like boring old capitalism.  There's no magic there.  No thanks.  Give me that zazzle, zing, pow-- give me that Illuminati!  Capitalism could totally work if it wasn't for the Illuminati!

((psych!  The whole "capitalism would work if it wasn't for the illuminati is actually a double-fake, by us, the illuminati!  We use Capitalism to maintain our control over everything!  That's how good we are!  I put this part in double parenthesis so that way only people who are in the illuminati initiation program with me can read this part, otherwise the secret will get out that the illuminati aren't real and that it's just capitalism, the ruling class, and a complex tapestry of social forces and competing ideologies. Shh! Don't tell anyone!))
Our logo is super creepy looking, right?

Clearly The illuminati are real though, and thank goodness. How do you explain David Rockefeller dying on the first day of the Pagan year? It was a ritual sacrifice! DUH!  There's no way a really old guy with a ton of money (that you ascribe a bunch of weird values from your internalized anti-pagan sentiment that is quite literally a holdover from the Roman Empire's conquest of Europe) could have randomly died on a day that coincides with an arbitrary position of the Earth around the Sun!  And if that is the case, it's quite frankly boring.  Let's give his death magical powers instead!

The trilateral commission! New World Order? That's not internal competition between various sectors of the ruling class! It's us! All us!

Bra-burning feminists and the destruction of the family?  That's not a result of thousands of years of patriarchy, unequal pay, and downward pressure on wages by the ruling class, that's the illuminati. You see, women don't actually want equal rights or equal pay.  Naturally, they are very comfortable with their inferior station in life, and are docile like deer eating alfalfa pellets in a petting zoo. This is because genetically they are just less good than men.  They actually have no agency over their own thoughts and are incapable of thinking for themselves or forming their own opinions. So what's up with all this feminism?! We'll that's just an illuminati thought-program that we poisoned their mind with using mind-control implant chips (you may know them as IUDs) that beam thoughts into their brains using RFID tech. 

((We call them RFIUDs... Shh!)).

Clearly, it's much better to have the Illuminati around. We make bad things happen so you have someone to blame, so you can sleep at night knowing that somebody is in control, so you don't have to be constantly be in a state of existential crisis about the cruel uncaring universe. We provide order to the chaos.