February 22, 2019

«The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall» by Bill Martin

Bill Martin writes at Counterpunch (excerpts):

«[T]he “hate-work” of this anti-Trump “resistance” has the “positive” outcome for the resisters of allowing them to puff themselves up with self-satisfaction and self-righteousness, and with a kind of certitude that one would think would be reserved for some truly revolutionary emergence or flowering of a new truth upon the scene. But, of course, a new truth is not only quite obviously not a part of the Lib-Left agenda, they themselves are quite clear on not wanting anything of that sort. They are beyond being anti-revolutionary, they are rabid in their rhetoric and other efforts toward getting back to the stable status quo of the establishment. An extra-bonus for the white middle-class professional and academic males who are rushing to be a part of this ridiculous and horrible mob of hate-mongers, is that their militant virtue-signaling represents a truly toxic masculinity, added to the already obnoxious self-righteousness of the ridiculous, LARPing, social media anti-Trump movement. …

«What the Left has in fact “achieved” is a situation where the previous exaggerations and dystopian fantasies of right-wingers have been brought to life. What were previously absurd or at least highly-exaggerated characterizations such as “feminazi” and “anti-white racism” are now realities. …

«[T]he reaction of the haters has been to accuse anyone who says that we need to look again and think again of “gaslighting.” … [I]t doesn’t matter what happens to any individual in the momentous resistance struggle of the anti-Trumpers (who so bravely put themselves on the line on social media every day!) and, in this great struggle for IdPol justice there cannot be any second thoughts, further investigation, etc.—in fact, there cannot be any thinking or investigation, period, that just gets in the way. So, it’s just a matter of the right word for dismissing any movement toward thinking and investigation—in this case, the word is gaslightling. Of course, then you can have a few more epithets thrown in for good measure, “fascist,” “racist,” etc. …

«This is a wonderful moment for the establishment, when it can all get together on one goal, and have the neocons on board with the neoliberals, and the IdPol Left cheering them on. And it’s a terrible moment for the rest of humanity; what better symbol of this than hatefully beating up on a smiling teenager just because he stood where he was already standing, waiting on a bus back to a small town in Kentucky? …

«It would be the easiest thing in the world to walk away from this, [but] the alternative is back to the neoliberal slow-boil of the frog, along with redoubled effort to make sure nothing like the Trump disruption slips through the establishment’s nets again. …

«Please remember, we are talking about ordinary working people, the working class, for the first time in decades. When the establishment gets back in full charge …, this discourse on the working class will be shut down, and workers of all colors, genders, etc. will be punished, and not just the deplorables. …

«We could say there are three hypotheses and a fourth hypothesis. The first two hypotheses are those that are heard all the time, and represent the two poles of conventional “politics.” The third hypothesis represents the rejection of these politics; it is heard some of the time, but generally drowned out by the loud shouts of those advocating the first two hypotheses. … The third hypothesis is that there are no real and lasting solutions within the system to the basic problems the system is encountering. … And yet the existing system seeks to perpetuate itself come what may. Therefore, the only real solution to the deep and humanly-devastating problems of the system is the creation of another system: a revolution. …

«[T]he idea that they’re fighting fascism and they’re part of some “resistance” … sounds a lot better than just being tools of the establishment, and they’ll hope for some reward when the establishment reestablishes itself fully; there probably will be some reward, on the backs of the ordinary working people, in other words the deplorables, who very likely will be punished. So, it also helps to consider ordinary working people as deplorable, so you don’t have to feel bad for them. As things get back to “normal” and more jobs are sent away, the Identity Politics and State Feminism crowd can just raise a big ol’ chorus of “Check your privilege!” …

«The establishment, with the Democrats and the left (including State Feminism) leading the way, have done a brilliant job, and I don’t mean this sarcastically, of pushing the abandonment of the third hypothesis. All one hears from the anti-Trump movement is either that “revolution is not in the offing for the foreseeable future” or that “there’s never going to be a revolution.” … What is important here is that, if revolution is not in the offing in the near future, it is for the same reason that Trump is not a fascist and is not installing a fascist system in the U.S.—there is no general crisis of American capitalism at this time. …

«There is not a crisis for these institutions of capitalism, but there is a major annoyance for the establishment. This annoyance is all the more galling to them because they had done everything to ensure that their operative would be in the White House. …

«The fourth hypothesis is that sometimes there is an element that arises in the system that is not fully contained or circumscribed within the system; this element can act as a bridge to further action outside the system to bring about systemic transformation. …

«This element—let’s just call it the “bridge”— … exists despite the calculations of the system, and yet it also exists because the system has attempted to do everything it could to prevent the bridge from existing, or perhaps “emerging” is the better word. …

«[W]e have the bright young things of middle-class academia on the one side, and the deplorables on the other. It seems reasonable to assert that the general functioning of the existing system depends on the idea that “neither the twain shall meet.” The experience of radical uprisings and actual revolutions, on the other hand, very often seems to show that people have to cross the lines laid down by the establishment for something really new to happen.

«This crossing of lines happened in 1968, when the workers joined the students of France in revolt. Now what could go much further in France is if the students and more middle-strata people joined the workers wearing the Yellow Jerseys. In the light of what an explosive combination could result, it is not hard to see why the IdPol-Left has to keep pushing the line that the working class in the U.S. is deplorable—backward and reactionary.

«It is more than obvious, then, that the system has every interest in keeping such a meeting from happening. Indeed, the establishment has every interest in encouraging the contradictions among the people to become increasingly antagonistic. Despite there being a real basis in historical social reality for what has been fashioned into Identity Politics (and this basis remains to be addressed in the serious, deep, and thorough-going way that is necessary), sometimes it almost seems as if Identity Politics came together through conscious and less-conscious efforts aimed precisely at deepening the contradictions among the peopleand leaving violent confrontation as the only form of addressing these contradictions. …

«[O]ne thing that is absolutely necessary is to call out the deplorable-ploy for what it is, a way to divide people against each other, with no emancipatory purpose whatsoever—indeed, quite the opposite, and this is how the Democrats have become a completely reactionary organization, no matter what “exciting, fresh faces” they put forward. …

«My other point here, though, is that the left that is under the sway of State Feminism and Identity Politics has come to the place where anything to do with the working class and anything to do with universalist emancipatory goals is just off the table and is met with insults. So, if these things are going to get back on the table, they will almost certainly come from unexpected places, and those of us who really do support the third hypothesis will need to figure out ways to encourage and support the fourth hypothesis.

«To return to the larger point, beyond this crazy campus world: to put things very simply, an uprising of deplorables will be painted as a “race war,” unless there is significant progress in building the kind of bridges that need to be built. …

«The question is first of all the disruption that the election of Trump creates in system, the clarification that this disruption provides, and the experiments that this disruption may make possible. …

«This is the moment when ordinary people Democrats and IdPol Leftists need to break with their hatred—they need to break with this very openly, they need to apologize and criticize themselves for going along with or furthering the hatred and vitriol shown in their reaction to Nick Sandmann and his classmates. You need to strive toward redemption in this moment, and if you cannot do that, then I do not see how your hateful dogmatic mindset and comportment can be helpful to anyone, in any way. I do not see how the Democratic Party built around this sort of thing could even conceivably give rise to anything that is even remotely defensible. … In the meantime, find something better to do than poisoning everything and your own selves with hate. … Even apart from your vitriolic emotionalism, the problem is not that you aren’t “smart,” it’s that you think you already know everything. …

«Here we see why the IdPol Left, and most of what we have called “the left” until now, is in an epistemological rut—they know too much, they know everything, and so when new things emerge, they will not see these things. …

«The deplorable working people of the U.S. need to come forward in a new kind of way, a way that takes up the path in France that has been opened up by the Yellow Jerseys, and a way that deepens the significance of work, real work, for what this society is and could be. There has to be the absolute recognition of the worker, of the working people, as central to this society, as central to any society, which also means the absolute demand that there be work—good work, work whereby people can have a decent life and also expand their range as people, and work that also shows its value in terms of not allowing financiers (and their political representatives) who do nothing that should be termed “work” to steal and control (and often undermine) the value that this work creates.»

In this series:
The Christine Blasey Ford Episode: State Feminism, the Worthless “Left,” and Liberal Delusions
The Trump Experiment: Liberals and Leftists Unhinged and Around the Bend
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
Watershed Moment on the Mall