Monday, 7 March 2016

More Equal

"If I had understood the situation a bit better I should probably have joined the Anarchists." George Orwell - Collected Essays

The name of this blog and my pen name come from Orwell's Animal Farm. Snowball is one of the pigs who lead the revolution, but who is later purged from the farm by the dogs trained by the pig Napoleon to attack. Napoleon and Snowball both sought to overthrow the farmer but Napoleon wants to center the power around himself and a handful of pigs. Snowball is earnestly trying to forge a place where all animals are equals. We never learn of Snowball's fate. We know the dogs chase him off and maybe he is killed and maybe he isn't . History is rewritten by Napoleon to portray Snowball not as a hero of the revolution and one of the founders of Animal Farm -which he was-but as a vile traitor who needed to go for the good of all. I choose to believe that Snowball got away and never stopped fighting the good fight for all creatures great and small.

Orwell comes to mind a lot lately as I look at the 2016 American Presidential Race. Pundits are often looking at it through lenses that fail to capture the biggest element going on. They talk about the usual demographics but that's like talking about Animal Farm and breaking down how the sheep versus the ducks felt as the point instead of seeing that the bigger point was insurgency and Revolution. Yes, it's important to look at how the various animals acted-but you gotta keep yer eyes on that big issue.

And Insurgency is the big issue in American politics right now. The GOP has all but been completely taken over by a fascist insurgency. And it's not just Trump and his supporters. Cruz is the only candidate that has any hope of catching him as of this writing, and he's simply a theocratic strain of the same . The Republicans have themselves to blame for this. They empowered and mainstreamed their most radical elements hoping it would help their establishment regain power , and it's backfired. The GOP establishment doesn't have its monster on a leash anymore and doesn't know what if anything can be done. 

Meanwhile the Democratic Party faces an insurgency of its own. And pundits are talking about how  
Clinton is doing better with The Black Vote as if it's a monolithic thing. Clinton did well in southern primaries not because of the Black Vote, but because of the black democratic establishment vote in the South. That's a powerful political machine and Clinton as the establishment candidate tapped into it. But to portray that as Sanders failing to connect with black voters misses the mark. 

Angela Davis is a pretty damn Black Vote and she supports Sanders. Killer Mike is a hip hop artist of some note and owns a black barbershop -pretty black vote- and he's a Sanders surrogate. Sanders has the activist vote. And they are a different political entity.  But they are no less Black. The most prominent activist organization in America right now is Black Lives Matter. And when Sanders was confronted by them , he gave them the mic and he listened. When Clinton was confronted by them , she was condescending and dismissive . Telling one young black woman that she'd talk to her later and had her taken away by security. In the other case told the woman " well why don't you go run for something then"

Because Clinton and her camp are establishment . They won't meet with you unless you are part of an establishment political machine. An elected official or someone with access and command of the southern black churches ability to mobilize voters. Sanders was an activist. He not only marched with Dr. King, he chained himself to a black woman protesting segregation. He got arrested. During this time Clinton was a Goldwater Girl. Goldwater wanted to shred the voting rights act.

Poor people, people of colour, indigenous people, queers, the disabled and other marginalized groups are by definition outside the establishment. and because of a gutted voting rights act, voter suppression laws, systemic and institutional barriers to access political power they frequently are left to choose between lip service and crumbs from the establishment or to protest and exercise their constitutional right to petition for
a redress of grievances. The Sanders candidacy is about all those disenfranchised folks finally getting tired of being told " later" or " why don't you go run for something then". They are coming together in solidarity and trying to take control.

The Sanders campaign isn't just about Bernie for President. It's an act of activism.

But the DNC is fighting it. As one would expect the establishment to do. And with better tools and success. But that's a problem.

America is at a place where a fascist could take power at the head of a populist anti establishment insurgency if they ran against someone who comes across as condescending and contemptuous of rank and file citizens who disagree or challenge her sense of entitlement. Hillary could lose to Trump or Cruz. 

That's a real and frightening possibility.

But the hubris of the Democratic Establishment is such that it's not one they are taking seriously. They don't think any Democrat could lose to any GOP candidate, for the same reason there are those in the GOP who think they can stop Trump with a candidate they prefer. They are so used to Power being theirs alone to control, they are at a loss when faced with the power of uprisings that pose real threats. The GOP establishment are stunned that Trump has taken over their party despite having paved the way. The Democratic Party would be equally if not more stunned to lose a general election to a Trump because of their own hubris induced blind spots.

And this is the face of Privilege. Both Democratic and Republican. Let's just keep doing things as we have they say. Maybe make a few adjustments they say. Trust us, they say. But they don't want to be made too uncomfortable. All too often we wanna believe that its only the violent squashing of dissent or protest we need concern ourselves about. Its the Trump rallies that are the obvious concern. But Hillary having security remove someone calling her out on her shit and her supporters galled at a young black woman in America having the temerity to challenge the rich white lady about her words and deeds impact on communities of colour is just more polite racism.
That's what Privilege does. It protects itself. Solidarity sees it's struggle as linked to another's and chains itself to them. Fascism promises that if you go beat up Those People you'll be taken care of.

America isn't just choosing a president this time. It's being given a fundamental choice about its nation's soul and direction. Fascism,Privilege or Solidarity.

Are all animals created equal or are some more equal than others ?

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