A lot has been going on since my last entry. I haven’t been able to write anything in regards to the recent surge of mass activism because, for one, I am doing what I can to help or at least attend those actions in my area, but I also have a lot of personal stuff going on that’s neither here nor there.
But I have finally found the time to lay down some of my thoughts here. Specifically — and not for the first time — the liberal response to the aforementioned surge in activity. Yes, I’ve written about the liberal’s soft-spot for window panes and convenience stores before, but I haven’t really dug any deeper into the ideologies behind their — for lack of a better term — wet-noodlism. Pacifism, respectability politics, neo-hippy paternalism — each a bane to social progress.
The liberals of today like to think of themselves as the “reasonable Left,” and by that they mean they are pseudo-Leftists who are more than willing to reason with the oppressors. However, there are liberals of other sorts promoting similar or identical tactics, but from a seemingly “non-politicized” or “unbiased” point — in other words, the politically apathetic social-agnostics and/or spiritualists who don’t experience oppression (or just don’t acknowledge it) and therefore think of it as something much lighter than it really is. Lighter means easier to conquer, and that basically means asking the bourgeoisie to kindly lay off a little bit. Or not even ask at all, just ignore it and it will go away. Or, worst of all, they even tell the oppressed to love their oppressor. Striking workers should love those whom they are stiking against. Anti-racists should love white supremacists. And, regarding recent events, People of Color should love the police.
No matter the reasoning behind it, pacifism, in all its forms, serves the interests of the oppressors.
Two members of the liberal pantheon of posterchilds are George Orwell and Mahatma Gandhi — the former is well-regarded for his supposed “anti-authoritarianism” and the latter for his pacifism. Both figures are pretty well-suited to be canonized in liberal ideology: Orwell, the man who snitched on Communists for the British government; and Gandhi, British imperialism’s favorite kind of “activist.”
Liberal dogma has placed Gandhi on a pedestal as the prime example of what an activist should be — passive and non-violent. Decades of violent fighting for Indian independence has been overshadowed by this one man’s image. Hundreds — even thousands — of Indian revolutionaries are forgotten, while every imperialist ideologue sings high praises of this figure of pacifism as if he and he alone won independence for the country, not those actually fighting, bleeding, and dying for the cause.
There is a reason why the imperialist oppressors would rather praise the pacifists than the actual revolutionaries — the pacifists are not the real threat to their power. The other liberal idol I mentioned, George Orwell, was, as an anti-communist snitch, naturally well aware of why the British imperialists tolerated and endorsed the worship of someone like Gandhi, as he stated:
“As an ex-Indian civil servant, it always makes me shout with laughter to hear, for instance, Gandhi named as an example of the success of non-violence. As long as twenty years ago it was cynically admitted in Anglo-Indian circles that Gandhi was very useful to the British government. So he will be to the Japanese if they get there. Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force.”
This realization should be taken into account along with that well-known quote from Assata Shakur:
“Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.”
That is precisely what the “reasonable Left” wants to do: appeal to the moral sense of the oppressor. We are told to respect the authority of a state which serves the interests of social parasites and exploiters. We can conduct sit-ins and form drum circles, but we are never to question the legitimacy of the oppressor class or its murderous state. Meaning liberation is out of the picture, for the pacifists see the oppression of the masses as less of a crime than the abolition of capitalist excess and exploitation.
This is why civilians who kill cops get blown to pieces by robots, but cops who kill civilians get paid administrative leave, despite the latter being paid to protect people, not the former. According to the dominant liberal ideology, the masses must behave, or they will face much harsher consequences than the pawns of the bourgeoisie who commit the very same crimes, and on a much larger scale. It is perfectly acceptable for a cop-killer to be blown up, but killer-cops “deserve a fair trial.”
Of course, I do not condone the attacks in Dallas or Baton Rouge, but I am saying that, when a community is facing death on a daily basis from an institution that acts with impunity, a backlash should be expected. The neo-hippies are always saying “Violence only creates more violence,” but then act surprised when a violent institution that is continuously murdering people receives a dose of violence against itself. This hypocritical contradiction boils down to something very simple: pacifism is an ideological tool to point blame at the oppressed while in the end defending the oppressor. It is not progressive. It is not revolutionary. It is condescending, chauvinistic, and patronizing to the oppressed.White folks telling Black folks how to behave “properly” in their anger; the wealthy telling the poor to “be content” and “ask nicely”; those who say “just ignore them and they will go away” in regards to neo-fascists, Klansmen, and racist cops — these are the tunes of the pacifist choir, and they all come from a place of privilege, safety, and plain old arrogance. Their subjectivity is almost post-modern, and just like post-modernism, it is useless at best, damaging at worst.
How is it useless? Gandhi’s letter to Hitler(in which he refers to the furor as his “friend” in the first fucking sentence) did a lot less to end the Nazi Party’s bloody reign than Soviet and partisan bullets. No revolution in history has ever succeeded by requesting liberation from the yoke of oppression. They have always and will always take the form of a violent overthrow, by necessity.
How is it damaging? Well, besides laying down in the face of a death, it also inspires apathy in the long run, leading to defeatism. It legitimizes inhumane rule and idolizes the rulers in its own way. Being an aspect of the liberal ideology, it picks and chooses in accordance with the interests of the ruling class. The early Soviet Union proved that socialism and predatory wars are mutually exclusive, but the Soviet Union is still demonized. On the other hand, Tibet, under the rule of the Dalai Lama was burdened under the yoke of feudalism, violent theocracy, serfdom, and even slavery, but the Dalai Lama himself is yet another posterboy for so-called “passive resistance,” even though what he supported was a system more oppressive than most of today’s world, and what he resists is the secularism and anti-feudalism that rose up post-liberation. (Note: This is not a defense of the Chinese state, but Buddhist rule of Tibet was not all meditation and unicorns.)
Pacifism is purely a tool of the bourgeoisie. It has never and will never be capable of properly combating classism, racism, patriarchy, or oppression of any kind when put into practice. Its most diehard disciples are complicit in the actions of the ruling system. The militantly neutral have, in reality, already picked a side (the wrong side), and the self-proclaimed “passive resistors” are nothing but a burden to the movement of liberation.
Do not tell us to love those in positions of power who are killing the people they are supposed to protect. Do not tell us to respect a system that wants to use the majority of us as disposable tools for profit. Do not tell those facing death because of the color of their skin to show love towards the institution that perpetuates the real violence towards them and their families.
Claiming to have aligned chakras, or knowing a couple of quotes from MLK, or pretending to be ideologically “above” all sides of the issue do not make you qualified to tell working and poor revolutionaries what to do or how to respond to acts of aggression from the bourgeois dictatorship. Heal yourself with crystals all you like. Post heart-warming cop stories on social media. Send out your thoughts and prayers. Just stop trying to act like anyone should listen to you, because what you’re proposing is essentially nothing more than inaction, so there is no point.
Stop using the issue-of-the-week to boost your own ego and preach about your “enlightenment.” You aren’t helping anyone.