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'Anti-racism', All Trap, No Honey: A Discourse About Discourse

One of the things that prevents me from writing more often is the sense that I'm just writing the same thing repeatedly from a slightly different angle. In a nutshell, all I'm saying is that moral idealism substituted for material goals will not lead to justice, but is an argument against materialism. I'm a dumb person's low rent Adolph Reed Jr. translator. I'm a "class reductionist" who understands that when the discourse is reduced to just class there's nothing as important as food, water and shelter that's left out. I often find myself contending with people who insist that there is, unable to name anything. They don't understand that they're making an argument against economic redistribution, or they don't care.
There are no concrete manifestations of systemic racism or any oppression that are not dealt with through economic redistribution. When people say that economic redistribution won't end racism, what they mean is that i…
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MLK Was Wrong: The Orthodoxy of The True Religious Left

When I was in middle school, my mother received periodic evangelical solicitations for donations. I can't remember the church, but the letters were garish, with printed sections in bold red. Sometimes the letters would feature 'activity pages' like Mad Magazine fold over images, that once completed revealed Satan or Christ with stigmata, good fun for the kids. The most consistent part was the fervent cry for renewed spiritual salvation through a donation, since you had surely fallen back to sin since the last solicitation. It's just human nature that one would return to sinning and it could be predicted to happen on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
I'm reminded of those letters by the current most celebrated ideas for dealing with the complex history of race in the US, which cast people into a simple sinner/not sinner binary. In this case you're either racist or anti-racist; actively doing anti-racism or actively reinforcing racism, even through inaction. It shoul…

Black Lives Matter (Some Limitations May Apply): Why Doesn't BLM Care About Black Unemployment and COVID Deaths?

If there was no way to fix poverty the best that could be done was to contain it. Quickly, the War on Poverty morphed into the War on Crime. So fast was the transformation that the tools, bureaucracies, and funds allocated to the poverty war were instead used by police stations across the country to fight crime. Police departments began filling the spaces meant for the War on Poverty. It was police who delivered food and toys to needy Black families. Law enforcement would be the frontline on the War on Poverty, and would thereby increase its presence in, and surveillance of the Black community. Mehrsa Baradaran The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap 

I have admittedly been pretty silent about the current events roiling the entire country. I honestly don't know what there is to say. The conditions that turned the anger and sadness over the video captured murder of George Floyd into national protests and rioting and looting in cities across the country, are the condi…

Is This a Primary or a Generational Murder/Suicide Plot?

I made a prediction last April regarding the then potential candidacy of Joe Biden that I should probably acknowledge was wrong, with an asterisk. In a short piece, "Schrödinger's Candidate", I predicted that Biden would decide against running because getting paid to make speeches as a potential candidate was more fun than losing in the primary. I said that Biden's polling numbers were not real and would sink once he started campaigning. This is where the asterisk comes in. I revisited the prediction in November to acknowledge that it was essentially wrong with a caveat, Biden had yet to truly begin campaigning.

He was the only candidate avoiding a live town hall with questions from the audience. As far as I know, this remains true. His campaign schedule seemed incredibly sparse, more in keeping with a book tour for a book of middling success than building political power. In many ways his campaign resembled Hillary Clinton and her avoidance of the press for a year.…

Making the White Supremacist Argument in Blackface

What are the stakes that people imagine to be bound up with demonstrating that capitalism in this country emerged from slavery and racism, which are treated as two different labels for the same pathology? Ultimately, it's a race reductionist argument. What the Afro-pessimist types or black nationalist types get out of it is an insistence that we can't ever talk about anything except race. And that's partly because talking about race is the things they have to sell. Adolph Reed Jr.
If it's not clear already, it's worth thinking about the ways in which the history revision of the 1619 Project is less about understanding history than it is using history to justify a specific approach to defining and dealing with racism in the present. It serves the same purpose as all of the moral idealism pretending to represent justice-- identity politics, intersectionality, reparations-- that exist in the discourse to deter economic redistribution generally, and specifically, in th…

The Enemy of My Goals Is My Friend?

If you were shocked by the sudden flare up of soap opera drama from the Warren campaign over the weekend leading up to the January Democratic debate, then her PR campaign had been working. It started with an article in Politico from Alex Thompson and Hollie Otterbein. The writers obtained what they said was a new script for volunteers that contrasted Sanders with Warren by pointing to the relative economic comfort of her base. This was portrayed as attacking Warren.

There are a few problems with this. It's factual and matches reporting from Otterbein in July. The Sanders campaign denied sharing the awkwardly worded script. Many volunteers made the point that it was the opposite of the campaign messaging, which doesn't mention other candidates. One volunteer tweeted that it had been shared in a Slack channel by a volunteer posting for the first time and it was removed by a team leader. It should be noted that Otterbein and Thompson are embedded with the Warren campaign. As evi…

For Whom the Libs Troll

Two articles published online within days of each other in December highlight in very different ways a unique hazard of our current political discourse that is singularly directed at the supporters and campaign of Bernie Sanders. Published by The Federalist, Melissa Longam Braunstein attempts to bring the accusations of anti-semitism thrown at Jeremy Corbyn specifically, and the British left in general to our domestic politics. Recognizing it ill-advised to accuse a Jewish man who lost family in the Holocaust of anti-semitism, in her piece Linda Sarsour is Too Anti-Semitic For the Women’s March, But Not For Bernie Sanders Braunstein attempts to implicate him through association. In her final paragraph she writes: These associations paint a pattern of proximity to antisemitism that’s hard to miss. That raises the thorny question: Is it that Sanders really doesn’t notice, that he’s willing to tolerate it, or that he somehow also supports it? Because there’s no doubt that by surrounding…