By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
In these days of epic collapse, with the established order rapidly disintegrating before our very eyes, mankind seems to be tearing apart at the seems and resorting to the bipolar extremes of the far-left and the far-right. And why the hell not? Poor people across the globe have grown weary of the false promises and bald faced lies of the so-called moderates. The one thing the warring camps of extremes seem to agree on is that the mass democracy of neoliberal globalism is an epic wash. A rigged shell game that only pays out to the house, and now the house is on fire.
So we witness the spectacle of populism on both the left and the right. Record numbers of young people embracing the once tainted label of socialism while the kind of xenophobic nativism which was once only uttered in hushed tones at the far corners of church potlucks has now become mainstream fodder, openly brandished like Hermann Goering’s revolver. These are the times that we live in but we’ve seen them before. Whenever empires crumble and the fixed markets of state capitalism find themselves in peril. The people who stand to gain the most from the cataclysm find themselves divided on the opposite ends of the barracks. Stalinists and Brown Shirts. Antifa and the Alt-right. It’s times like these when the call of Samuel L. Jackson’s prophetic DJ in Spike Lee’s classic dissection of urban upheaval, Do the Right Thing, rings like tinnitus through my eardrums. “Can we live together?! Together, can we live?!!” I’ve spent my life in search of an answer to that existential question. I believe I’m getting closer.
I’ve always found myself on the far-left end of the barracks, even while the proletariat was still drunk on the delusions of progress that came with a first black president and Apple Store commodity fetishism. I discovered Marx young and Chomsky shortly after. I spent the lion share of my teens flirting with a caraselle of Libertarian Socialist ideologies, Chomsky’s Syndicalism, Red Rosa’s Council Communism, Subcomandante Marcos’ Zapatizmo. All set to a hard driving soundtrack of Billy Bragg, Joe Strummer and Zack de la Rocha.