Left and Right

An Open Letter to the So-Called Left

By C. Derick Varn

An Open Letter To Much of the So-Called Left:

I am a man of the left. Make no mistake about it, I am a man of the fair left even. I have vaguely liberal social sensibilities, and a hard left politics. I have, however, noticed much notice in my life: one) a tendency to try confuse polemics and derailing tactics with arguments. In “anti-racist” battles I have noticed a strategic essentializing of the minority group to preserve self-identity move to a strategic essentializing of the majority. Take for example this bit from People of color organize:

“The white race continues to be a parasitic force through cultural appropriation, colonisation(they call it gentrification these days). They brought and continue genocide. Disease, slavery, starvation, capitalism, patriarchy, Christianity. Each and every white person benefits from white supremacy and the oppression of people of color. ultimately they will serve their own good. White anarchists tokenize/fetishize indigenous and other people of color. We are objectified and become something to be managed and be organised by whites, or educated by the white man. We are sexualized by the white queer anarchist movement. From the eco, feminist, unionist, student, communist, punk anarchists; in the end they show their white supremacy.”

Now I have expressed my critique of privilege theory because it’s not strong enough, and, yes, every person who is identified as white does benefit from privilege, but then again so does “first world” person of color benefit from first world privilege: Are we to conclude, like some Maoist Third Worldist basing their theories on the political excuses of Lin Baio and Mao Tse-dung, that the first world is a parasite and that all people of color and white people in the first world show their first world supremacy. Insert any race that has been at a dominant position over other and take this logic to its extreme and you’ll have Rwanda on your hands in a heart-beat. This is reified thinking, and if you read the post, you’ll see it’s deliberately anti-intellectual engagement too.

This sort of particularism is based on false notions, and has inverted many of the “white tropes” that it claims to stand against: ‘white people’ did not invent Christianity, and early Europeans had no sense of themselves as “white” but as Roman, Celt, etc. White people weren’t the only people to bring patriarchy either, but that is hardly the point. Insert any group who is denied any possibility of solidarity on grounds of privilege and you have dehumanization.

This actionist street battles that one sees here in this action do meet what Adorno feared in the new left which he saw as a spirit animating fascism. For all Marcuse and Adorno are blamed for the new left, and blamed for their quietism, the latter charge may stick, but the former does not.

Identity is the Ur-form of ideology, and these kinds of identities betray ideologies that are particularist to the core and cover themselves in leftist language and tactics. In struggles of nationalist liberation it makes sense, but this kind of politics does not lead to anywhere good.

If your idea of politics is this sort of progressive derailing and a refusal to make an argument, I don’t need you. The left doesn’t need you. Go play in the dustbin of history, and when you not committing over-generalization fallacies and mirroring the worst tactics of the people you hate while using the cops as a means to avoid having to make good on your threats, then I will take you seriously. That goes for Crimethinc anarcho-liberalism too. Or any form of the left that has forgotten how to reason: this sort of posturing just illustrates how irrelevant most of you really are, and why most oppressed adults without the leisure that I am sure both many members of POC and Crimethinc have spare no time for.

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