I’m going to go ahead and bang something short out. I got wired & inspired earlier in the day, and knocked out a piece at the Tumblr site. So go check it out.
It’s about my interest in anarchism as applied to politics and culture, and particularly about my problems getting on board with what I see as the vast bulk of thought and theory. There are different flavors, of course, and maybe it’s a matter of finding mine. One thing I do like about anarchism – and I forget where I heard this, maybe Emma Goldman – but it doesn’t so much call for the destruction of the State and structure of society, immediately anyway. It’s assuredly a long-term goal, but one doesn’t necessarily have to start lobbing bricks through bank windows or be forevermore a neoliberal shill.
Indeed, one of the basic tenants of anarchistic thought is that one can manipulate the facets of State and society that are going to exist anyway and use them to do some good. Sort of like using social media to organize free lunches or protests. Or, for that matter, actually voting – the very least you can do – in local and state elections, if not national, and organizing on a local level. Crushing imperialism is nice and all, but the folks you thought weren’t as important are getting just as screwed.
I went into more detail at the Tumblr site, but I think one of the issues modern social media anarchists, for lack of a better phrase, stumble is dealing with local issues, which often as not involve racism, sexism, homophobia, and way down the list, classism. One of the serious issues I see in what seems to making the bulk of Bernie Sanders stans-slash-Democratic Socialists is the idea that class is the keystone of it all when it’s just another facet.
There are people who are and have been perfectly comfortable financially, who’ve never known want or feared the wolf at their door, that are nevertheless racist as hell. Most white folks in this country, especially, are tinged with racism because it wasn’t until fairly recently that we even addressed the darker aspects of our history in that area.
Hell, I’m from rural Mississippi. You think I don’t know racism when I see it? The n-word may not be being slung and crosses may not be burning, but people who whisper “blacks” whenever they talk about African Americans are afflicted with the same racism as the 20-year Klan member I interview back in the late ’90s. I’ve seen it in rich parts of Miami, New Orleans and Chicago, so I’m inclined to believe it is so.
Eliminating scarcity and making sure everyone’s needs are met won’t eliminate racism. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do either. And, for that matter, eliminating racism probably won’t equal out the wealth disparity. Again, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. For whatever reason, I do think a lot of folks who identify as socialist, especially the white ones, ignore racial issues just like cis folks ignore trans issues or men ignore women’s issues. We call it “identity politics” so we don’t have to think of how guilty we are of being part of the problem.
Okay, I’ve spent the last 30 minutes listening to and writing about Mott The Hoople, so I guess this is as good a place to stop as any. The weather’s nasty again, cold and rainy, and we’re all lazy on the Hill. Y’all stay warm and dry.