No, Bernie Sanders Fans Shouldn’t Team Up With Trump Supporters…But Thanks for Coming Out.
It’s a rare thing, in 2017, to be able to forget your cares with a little quality television. I just finished watching the CW’s Arrowverse crossover, and for two wonderful hours, I wasn’t thinking about transphobic pseudo-intellectuals, attacks on net neutrality or the looming threat of nuclear war. Right now, there’s absolutely nothing that could ruin my good mood, and…Hmm. What’s this?
I’ve got to hand it to you, 2017; you are truly a master of the art of ruining things. I can only conclude that at some point, a little over one year ago, reality itself broke, and we are now denizens of an aborted timeline that was erased from history when agents from 2250 traveled back to ensure that Hillary won the election. The alternate me is probably sitting on a beach with the woman of his dreams, celebrating the release of his latest book and her new promotion.
You’ll have to forgive my levity, but what else can you say to that? Suggesting that Bernie Sanders fans should team up with Trump supporters is a little like saying, “Frodo should team up with the Nazgul to destroy the One Ring.”
Well, let’s dig into the specifics because this is 2017, in the darkest timeline, and like Sisyphus, I am bound to hell. Slavoj Zizek offers this pile of dross in the hopes that leftists will join forces with those misunderstood Nazis and smash capitalism once and for all, or something along those lines. White workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your dignity!
The entirety of Dr. Zizek’s essay can be reduced to a simple argument, which goes as follows: the conflict between the “Sanders Wing” and the “Clinton Wing” of the Democratic Party is really a struggle between populist and establishment forces. A similar struggle is taking place within the Republican Party, where populists who rally around Steve Bannon challenge establishment conservatives. Therefore populists from both parties should join forces.
Mmmkay. Let’s start with the obvious moral issue, and I can’t believe I have to say this, but… Teaming up with Nazis is bad.
Welcome to 2017, people: come for the rage-induced heart attack, stay for the soul-crushing despair.
I’m not going to argue with the Alt-Right because the only way to be in the Alt-Right is to embrace a willful blindness to the realities of racism in the 21st century. You can’t get through to people like that. This article is for lefties who might find themselves sympathetic to Zizek’s point of view. If you’re thinking about teaming up with Trump supporters, there are few things you should know.
Let’s start with the basics: racism is real.
Black people are shot by police far more often than white people. This data from the Houston Police Department lists twenty suspects who were fired upon over the course of 2017. Of those twenty individuals, twelve were confirmed as black, but only two were confirmed as white. That’s a ratio 6 to 1, for anyone who’s counting.
The ratio of black people who were fired on to Hispanic people who were fired on is almost as bad, coming in at 4 to 1. Why? Well, it turns out there’s this weird phenomenon where, even if you’re not white, simply having lighter skin gives you some of the benefits of white privilege.
Nationwide, the ratio of black people to white people in US state prisons is roughly 5 to 1. In some states, it gets as high as 10 to 1. Comparing Hispanic people to white people, we find a national incarceration rate of 1.4 to 1 with some states going as high as 4 to 1. Those are big disparities.
We haven’t even begun to look at issues affecting women, issues affecting queer people, issues affecting disabled people. Teaching you the fundamentals of “Being Woke 101” is beyond the scope of this article. For now, your takeaway should be this one simple fact: racism is real. It has a tangible, measurable effect on people’s lives.
So, if you’re a lefty who wants to tear down capitalism because you hate the oppression of the corporate state, hey, I’m right there with you! I loathed commuting for three hours a day and staying late for three or four hours most nights just so my bosses could cast me aside the instant they didn’t need me.
But if you’re a lefty who is serious about fighting oppression, then I have to ask, how can you even consider working with these people? Take a good long look, because this is the Alt-Right. Cruel, violent, misogynistic and openly racist: these are the people that Dr. Zizek wants to work with.
Yes, according to the Alt-Right Manifesto — a document penned by the crown prince of douchebaggery himself, Richard Spencer — “All economic policies should serve the people of the nation; the interests of businessmen and global merchants should never take precedence over the well-being of workers, families and the natural world.”
I would agree with that statement, but only with that statement. Have you read anything else on this garbage website? Hmm, let’s have a look. In an op-ed titled “My Fellow Jews, We Need to Talk,” columnist Emmanuel Spraguer had the following to say. “There is a reason why the Alt-Right revels in exposing Jewish shapeshifting and hypocrisy, namely because it is utterly repugnant.”
Do you agree with that, fellow leftist?
Another columnist by the name of Malcolm Jaggers had some interesting things to say about disgraced Senate hopeful, Roy Moore. Jagger’s column is titled “Is Moore Guilty? It’s Almost Irrelevant,” with the subtitle “Winning is more important than moral posturing.” That should be enough for you, right there, but let’s take a gander at this man’s scintillating opinion.
“In light of recent evidence, one must concede that it is at least possible that Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore, is guilty of cavorting with underage girls. But you know what? This is not the time for self-righteous moral posturing. We’re in a dire struggle here, so let’s not take our cues from the treacherous mainstream media.”
Winning a senate seat is more important than exposing a pedophile. Do you agree with that, fellow leftist?
Having one thing in common with Richard Spencer doesn’t make us natural allies. Are you willing to work with people who actively oppose reproductive freedom? Because if they get their way, it means bye-bye sexy fun times for heterosexual couples. And as for gay couples, well…I’ll let the bigots speak for themselves.
This seems to be the existential question so many leftists are struggling with: “how much are you willing to sacrifice for your socialist revolution?” Are you willing to defend pedophiles? To throw immigrants out of your country? To brutalize Muslims? Because that is what Slavoj Zizek is asking of you when he says that you should work with the Alt-Right.
Do you really think a revolution that is based on such cruelty will result in a society that treats workers fairly?
It seems to me that leftists have a choice: we can court the approval of men like Richard Spencer because they’re “edgy” and “anti-establishment” like us. Or we can reach out to the women, people of colour and queer folk who maybe don’t share our views on capitalism, but who are nonetheless working to make people’s lives better.
You’ll have to decide for yourselves, my fellow leftists. But know this: if you choose to ally yourselves with the Alt-Right, you may consider this my resignation. I’ll fight capitalism in my own way.
EDIT: As some friends in Antifa Toronto recently said, “You cannot fight the establishment by joining with the Alt-Right because the Alt-Right wants nothing more than to BE the establishment. The most strict and oppressive establishment ever.”
Rich Penney is a science-fiction author and futurist. You can check out his books here.