identity politics

So, there’s been a lot of rationalization and normalization of Trump going on. Like A LOT. People saying he probably won’t be that bad – he probably won’t even do half the stuff he has promised to do – and that if he is, well, that’s the price the liberal elite (by which they mean all non-white people and women and gay and trans people) will just have to pay for not having listened to white men enough. People are selling Trump’s election as some kind of secret socialist revolution. „The people wanted change, Jacinta. The left-wing had stopped listening to poor white people, and so they voted for change. It was an anti-establishment vote. The left-wing now have to listen to the poor angry white working-class that they’ve been ignoring for so long.“

IF THAT IS TRUE WHY DID SO MANY ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICANS GET IN TOO? They fucking cleaned up, is what. It’s obvious that any „change“ the white people who voted for Trump wanted – and let’s stop exaggerating how poor these people were, okay – was not a change from neoliberalism to a fairer, kinder society – but a change from multiculturalism (and you know, women & gay & trans & disabled people almost being treated like equals) to white supremacy. And we can listen to their reasons for preferring white supremacy to multiculturalism all we want, but one thing we can’t do is pretend that they’re decent, humane reasons. They’re mean, horrible reasons. White supremacy is mean. It’s unkind. Cruel. I can’t believe that since Trump’s being elected this has somehow become a controversial statement, but there you go. I also never thought smart phones would catch on, I thought they were annoying. The people who voted for Trump think that white people, especially white men, but including white women, and also especially white heterosexual people, white cis people, i.e. „normal families“ should have palpably better lives than non-white people, single mums, disabled people, gay people, trans people, etc. And they think the way to achieve this is to punish the weak: to punish and humiliate. Maybe even get a tiny bit of revenge. And this is what Donald Trump, in his actions and his words, has promised to do. He has promised to do it. And we have no reason to think he won’t.

One of the funniest things, for me, (and by funny I mean funny in that „isn’t this ironic, this is so ironic it’s almost funny, oh no sorry, it’s not funny, it’s really fucking depressing, thank God I don’t have any cyanide lying around the house“ kind of way) has been the attacks on identity politics. You know what identity politics is? It’s when people talk honestly about how being oppressed and discriminated against makes them feel, basically. Now, don’t get me wrong. I sometimes laugh at identity politics, too. The Kids take it too far sometimes. I mean, they’re Kids, that’s what Kids do, they take things a bit too far. Sometimes I literally think like „Oh God, things have gone too far now!“ I’ll even sometimes think or even say things like „Well, soon we won’t be able to laugh at anything anymore, will we.“ Sometimes I even sneer. But I think this is normal – I am 36. I’m not meant to understand twenty-year-olds. I’m not meant to agree with them. The world changes, society changes. I am an old fogie now. Some of the things The Kids get up to and come up with nowadays seem really funny/slightly ridiculous/totally übertrieben to me. There are things I have laughed at. There’s also things I have been genuinely annoyed by. (There are things I’ve changed my mind on, too – the first time somebody told me I shouldn’t say half-caste or Asylanten, I was annoyed, for instance. But I never say these words now.) One of the things I kind of laughed at, for example, was the idea that The Kids at a uni in England were going to clap in sign language. They thought normal clapping discriminated against deaf people, and they also thought it might trigger people who hated loud noises. I have to admit it, I laughed at that a bit. Well, I sniggered. And I did think: God, if clapping triggers you, how can you ever leave the house? Like what will happen when you hear a big lorry or a building site or one of those people at Neukölln who groan loudly and quote a religious book* at you?

This is the thing though: I don’t believe that all those people in America voted for Trump because identity politics has gone too far. I don’t believe they voted for Trump because Caitlin Jenner was voted Woman of the Year or because students get triggered too easily or want trigger warnings on books with rapes in them or because lesbians bake vulva-shaped muffins using their vaginal yeast or because trans women want to ban lesbians from selling vulva-shaped muffins using their vaginal yeast because they think it’s transphobic/biologically deterministic. I think this is a story people are telling themselves to make sense of a basic fascist/near-fascist having become the most powerful man on Earth. Because to be honest? I don’t think most Trump supporters know about the trigger warnings or the vulva muffins. My family certainly don’t. My brother is 25 and he thought „queer“ was still a homophobic insult until this summer when my Mitbewohner invited him to a queer party. I taught my trans auntie the word „cis.“ And I think my family are (and I don’t mean this in an arrogant way) a bit more clued up than most Trump supporters. They’re certainly no more ignorant than them. I think this PC-Diktatur is a comforting narrative, but a totally made up one. It’s as made up as astrology – it’s a projection which organizes and comforts, which helps us to pretend we understand. And to pretend we don’t think evil is winning. And to pretend there’s easy answers.

Thing is, though: EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE WHAT WOULD IT MEAN? Like even if you’re one of the people who think Caitlin Jenner shouldn’t have been woman of the year. Or that students should clap normally, as people have done for hundreds of years. Imagine. Imagine being really, really sure of the fact that Caitlin Jenner shouldn’t have been woman of the year and people should clap out loud. Well. If a group of uni Kids you have never actually met and never actually seen clapping in a way you dislike is enough to make you say „We need to have a few years of fascism, now, that will make them clap in a normal way again!“, then, to be honest, you were never much of a non-fascist to begin with. Look, there are loads of things I dislike. I hate baseball. I mean, I’ve never watched a game, but I imagine it would be very boring. I hate watching cricket. I think Scientologists shouldn’t force their women to give birth in silence. I hate pears. They’re shitty little apples. Like really rubbish apples. God, I hate pears. Writing this has reminded me how much I hate pears.I quite dislike tennis. I think those earrings people put in their ears to stretch their earlobes out are really awful. Yuck. But here’s the thing: I don’t think I have any power over people who play baseball or cricket or Scientologists or people who eat pears or play tennis or wear those ugly earrings. I don’t have power over them and I don’t want to have power over them. I don’t need to have power over them. I am just sitting here, chilling, pretty glad I don’t have to eat those manky apples a.k.a disgustingness also known as a pear, watch baseball, cricket or tennis, give birth in silence or stretch my ears out in a really quite horrifically grotesque manner.

I don’t have power over people who eat pears, and them wanting to eat pears is not a direct attack on my freedom. But why would anyone think they should have power over The Kids who clap in sign language? Why would you care? And why would you are enough to think the answer is fascism?

The  fact is, the whole identity politics-Keule is an excuse, it’s not the reason. It’s a story people are projecting onto Trump’s victory to comfort themselves. There’s no way even literally one person voted for Trump because Caitlin Jenner was voted Woman of the Year. Not even literally one person.

But: the fact that this is the story people are telling themselves means that deep down, people know that a vote for Trump was a vote for white supremacy. I mean, apart from the fact that Trump’s campaign was almost entirely based upon him promoting racism, racism, racism, racism, racism and then a healthy dose of misogyny on the side, so obviously we all know it was a vote for white supremacy. But the fact that even people who consider themselves to not be racist are saying:  „Well, what did you expect, all that clapping in sign-language.“ What people really mean is: „Trump won because non-white people and women and gay and trans people and disabled people demanded too much power. Look what happened. You wanted power and equality. Now you’ve ushered in four years of real oppression. You’ll wish you hadn’t been such dicks to us then. You’ll wish you’d known your place.“ THIS PROVES THAT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT TRUMP IS A WHITE SUPREMACIST MISOGYNIST AND THAT HIS TRIUMPH IS A TRIUMPH FOR EVIL. You can talk about identity politics all you want. I think there’s just right & wrong, moral and immoral, good & evil. And really, you do too. You know what Trump’s victory means. It means that at the moment, evil is winning. But it doesn’t actually have to. We don’t need to give up. We can keep on fighting. But, and I know this sounds tacky. But we’re going to have to be brave and we’re going to have to be strong. And we’re going to have to fight. And we’re going to have to be honest. Stop saying silly things about identity politics. Trump won because people are more racist and sexist than we thought they were. And the AfD could win here, too. But we’re going to have to fight. We’re going to have to fight more, and harder, not less.

Kommentare (2)

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  1. Drawing closer to the end of your bloated prop.-blabla-gaga you (seem to) realise that your by then written text doesn’t convince thyself nor could it probably convince anyone (who ’s in one’s right mind);
    So, in needs of draining the lizard and bringing your bread-&-butter scribbling at long last to an (whatsoever) end you decided for a shitty parole, a typical irrational underdog-shortcut:
    „fight more“ !
    You really want to call up for „fight“-ing the democratic standards?! Ever heard about “ Strafgesetzbuch“, etc.?
    My advice just 4 YOU: better go for the 2. link; all YOU (obviously) need are 4 letters as therein rolled out:
    f*** ….;
    and feel free to beef that up with your own simpleminded words:
    „and“ f*** „harder“;
    Yes ! Just do it !
    …. and/or e.g. reed one of the postings in the link-neighborhood:
    https://medium.com/@AsraNomani?source=placement_card_footer_grid———2-43
    And/or –better: just shut the f*** up •

    • so I just found out that steve bannon is going to be donald trump’s chief adviser and… I’ve been trying to avoid my usual level of self-promotional blather, to stay humble and not talk as much about things I don’t understand. but I do understand the alt-right. I really, really do. and I don’t mean to make anyone panic, but I also kind of maybe need to tell as many people as possible to find out who you can trust, save your money, connect with anyone you know who lives overseas, plan ahead, buy a gun, yadda yadda yadda. this is bad. this is so, so, so bad. you do not understand at all how bad this is. america is about to undergo four years (at best) of very calculated, extremely powerful propaganda designed to sway the population towards fascism and white nationalism. that’s not hyperbole, that is what is going to happen. I don’t know if it will work. I don’t want to cause panic or talk about shit that again, I don’t understand, and I don’t know what the future holds, but right now the president is a person of few convictions who is easily swayed, and the person swaying him the most is an extremely smart and cunning person whose convictions are very strong, and very horrifying.

      some of you know that I try to spend time on alt-right and fascist sites to keep an eye on them; this started when I figured a bunch of people were misunderstanding stormfront and thought the simplest way to learn more was make an account, but it didn’t stop. that means I have been hearing about steve bannon for a long-ass time, because for years, the only time you would hear his name on the internet was from white nationalists who didn’t agree with him fully, but appreciated his skill in manipulating the media and pushing the window of acceptable discourse towards their aims. I urge people to start actively monitoring this shit; the good thing about the fact that this is all done online is that a lot of it is public, and that which is secret can be found out if you’re patient and willing to pretend. the white house is about to headfuck us into believing steve bannon isn’t a white nationalist and anyone who says he is is hysterical and unpatriotic. if you are watching them right now, this gaslighting is impossible. that is, at least until they start planning more misdirection to minimize the connections lest the media get suspicious (richard b. spencer, open and unrepentant white nationalist, said in a couple interviews a while ago that steve bannon is leading the way and shares his views, and immediately started denouncing them once bannon became prominent. expect more of this shit, and don’t settle for the surface level of how white supremacists talk in public.)

      so like I said there’s a lot of things I don’t know about and there are a lot of people more qualified than me to talk about this; please seek those people out. however, I know enough about this shit that I at least know where things are headed, and I can’t just not share that as widely as I can. so here’s some very rough, very loosely organized things to watch out for:

      1. this is about misinformation and chaos, not outright lying. trump can control the media indirectly with ease by just not appearing on outlets that disagree with him, since he couldn’t give less of a shit about the free press. the media will not say things that are untrue (usually) it will create bullshit narratives out of isolated facts. protesters who make things violent, people who lie about attacks from trump supporters, instances of corruption in other media outlets; these will all be real instances that happen, and you can’t get drawn into disputing the particular events. this isn’t a theory, this is how staffers at breitbart have long described their job: each story is part of a narrative, each article has a hidden agenda that ties it together with others to create a sense of reality. and I have no fucking clue how to combat this. it’s really effective. like, obviously try not to break the law unprovoked while protesting, but it will happen at least once anyway. I expect the answer involves things like constant filming and calling them out on their narratives ahead of time, but man, I am fully expecting the general mood of the country two years from now to be that all protesters are unpatriotic and violent. russia will hack the aclu and everything remotely looking like a scandal will take it down. false flag operations will breed distrust and confusion among activists. shit’s real bad.

      vocabulary becomes hugely important. always focus on underlying meanings, rather than words; when accused of racism for trump’s comments against muslims, supporters fall back on „islam isn’t a race“ and all that shit. seek out tangible data and make careful arguments. also, they love using the left’s vocabulary against them, and it’s really effective (breitbart’s written articles on how islam is a „rape culture“ and uses plenty of concepts from racial minority resistance applied to white people.) this can be used against them, though, to at least hilarious effect: if someone tells you to fall in line and support president trump, call that „political correctness.“ frame every protest, constantly and loudly, as an exercise of freedom of speech, of the first amendment, as something patriotic and american.

      chaos and unreality are the chief tools of the alt-right; the sheer improbability of the movement shields it from being observed. remember when clinton criticized pepe memes, and the general public was laughing at how the crazy lady thought there were racist frogs? obviously, anyone who’s spent time on /pol/ knows that that’s pretty much accurate! the same will happen with bannon. people will be incredulous: surely the office of the presidency isn’t inciting a covert white nationalist movement! surely the president’s closest adviser isn’t an unamerican, antidemocratic professional propagandist! don’t let bannon’s presence be normalized, ever, do not let the office fool you regarding what he was yesterday and will be tomorrow, do not let the absurdity of what he’s trying to do convince you he isn’t doing what he’s doing.

      perhaps the most important thing to understand is that white nationalists are not going to promote themselves directly, and the administration will always be able to distance themselves from it. a lot of people have (thankfully) been talking about the „overton window“ in recent days, the term for the range of acceptable beliefs in a society. the alt-right has been talking about the overton window for a long, long time. they use the term constantly, and understand that the best way to promote fringe beliefs is not by persuading them directly, but by covertly moving the overton window until they are acceptable before openly supporting them. richard b. spencer will be on tv within the next few years promoting white separatism as a valid ideology, and the tv hosts will remind viewers that of course, of course they don’t agree with this, of course this is reprehensible, he’s providing the fringe view. doesn’t matter, he’s on tv. criticizing his presence will be seen as an attack on free speech; the concept of free speech will be used as a weapon, but only ever to push the window of acceptable discourse to one side. it’s not about *promoting* white nationalism, it’s about *normalizing* it: do not be fooled when the presidency says they disagree, as they’ve won just by becoming a position that you have to say you disagree with. which brings me to my next point:

      2. this is not about donald trump. this is in no way about the person who trump is. steve bannon does not give two shits about donald trump. sure, the casual nihilist memesters of the alt-right (4chan /pol/) worship him as god-emperor, but the truly scary organized racists (some of 8chan /pol/ and boards beyond) recognize him well as a useful fool. they also want donald trump to fail, as long as he fails in a specific way.

      be very careful how you criticize donald trump. a lot of people have been pointing out that he’s breaking his campaign promises, he’s just as corrupt as the people he’s replacing, he doesn’t really represent the american people. this is true, and important to say, but be mindful of the nationalist narrative: they want trump to fail, after pushing the overton window so far right they can take over. they want people to look at a failed trump presidency and think yes, it’s because he was one of the elites, just another one of the secret liberal cabal that must be destroyed (oh and did you hear his son in law is jewish hmmmm.) again, this is not a theory of mine, this is something that white nationalists regularly talk about. they want to take trump’s narrative further than he ever could. he’s already framing this as a working-class uprising against elites, but the alt-right is framing it as a white uprising against (((elites))), and it requires him to fail before an open white nationalist provides a solution. a lot of people think a failed trump presidency would inherently shift the country back to the left: once one side fails, people go to the other. remember the overton window. there is a side that is to the right of donald trump, and people could shift there instead, especially following 4 years of bannon’s psyops.

      3. lastly, this is not about america. which I’m just throwing in because I hope this is the most effective strategy to inoculate against this shit? the alt-right is an absolutely international movement, and white nationalists firmly reject any other national borders. that’s why bannon contacted marine fucking le pen and then lied about it, why trump is going to get cozy with farage, how putin is having a fucking blast watching alexander dugin be read around the world. I bring this up not because it’s less well known, but because that, at least, can hopefully get through to some americans. why the fuck is trump meeting with farage at all? this is a rejection of fundamentally american values in favor of a coalition of global minority parties coordinating their efforts to flip governments one at a time. fuck them. they do not care about america. steve bannon does not care about america. steve bannon cares about tearing down an establishment of anyone who offers tolerance in favor of one that rewards aggression, violence, and ethnic nationalism. and he might be the most powerful person in the country.

      again, I am really not trying to pontificate too much or jump too conclusions. there are a lot of people who know more than me. but this is all literally stuff I’ve seen over the past few years on the internet, on the chans and gab.ai and not so secret kik groups. I really do believe that america has strong institutions that are motivated to keep out these kinds of things, but I am also amazed and horrified that someone this ruthless and skilled at what he does will now be so influential in this country. we can’t rely on trump’s unpopularity to sway things back our way in 2018 or 2020. bannon is going to ratfuck democracy in any way he can, restrict voting access to the unworthy, and raise the kids who are currently 14 on an unending diet of skilled propaganda that the real enemy are the feminist, globalist, diverse, jewish elite.

      keep on making art so good they have to empathize with you, not because you’ve caved to their demands, but because you’re undeniably real. remember that society really can shift, fast, away from norms we took for granted. remember that there are a shitload of people in this country, of all backgrounds, who do not like trump, and there are a lot of people in states that voted for trump that are able to be empathized with and looking for an alternative, for now, until this is normalized. be aware of the narratives being spun and call them out immediately. and like… I’m serious about saving money and finding who you can trust. I’m fucking scared as shit