The Reactionary Left — This Season’s Fun, New Villains

Whelp…Here we are. I want to write about politics. I would love to do this on my YouTube channel, but a repetitive strain injury has made it exceedingly difficult to use a mouse — I can still type most of the time, thank God — and that means that I can’t use the video editing software. Let’s talk about the Reactionary Left.

You can support Medicare for All and still be a racist, sexist pig. In fact, those are the people we’re going to talk about today. We discussed liberals, the “SJ-Right,” in the last article. Today, we’re talking about the Reactionary Left.

Of all these groups, the worst by far is the Reactionary Right as they are completely unconstrained by any moral concerns. Reactionary Right philosophy is defined by utterly rapacious selfishness. Accumulate wealth by whatever means necessary. Destroy the ecosystem to do it. If your social demographic happens to enjoy a privileged status — straight, white men, for example — revel in it. Insist to the world that this is how things should be. Anything that keeps you on top is justified. If you happen to be part of a social minority, cozy up to the privileged class by repeating their talking points.

If you want to understand the Reactionary Right, all you have to do is look at the Republican Party. As a group, they are defined by a relentless drive to climb the hierarchy by any means available. So, yes: I’ll take the liberals over the Nazis, thank you very much, but that doesn’t mean I like the liberals.

The Social Justice Right and the Reactionary Left are mirror images of each other. The former will use dishonest accusations of racism, ableism, Islamophobia and other identity-based concerns to undermine economic justice. And the latter will use dishonest accusations of selling-out, careerism and taking corporate cash to attack women and social minorities in positions of power. Actually, scratch that; they’ll do it to women and social minorities who aren’t in positions of power.

If you want to understand the Reactionary Left, all you have to do is look at its mascot, a YouTuber by the name of Jimmy Dore. Here he is screaming obscenities at AOC. (Not his video. I’ve linked you to a deconstruction of his nonsense instead). Do you recognize the same, old, tired talking points? “She’s a sellout!” “She’s sucking up to Pelosi to advance her career.” Heaven forbid that a woman should have a career. Oh, look! Now, I sound like a liberal!

At one point, during his screed, Dore accuses his detractors of being paid by NATO. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. (This is the actual video with all the vitriol and misogyny uncensored. Fairly warned be thee, says I)

So, how do I know that these are dishonest critiques? How do I know that Jimmy Dore isn’t just really, really mad? Well, I’m sure he is mad. It’s very rare that people just straight-up lie. Usually, when someone makes a dishonest critique, they do believe what they’re saying, but that belief is the product of mental gymnastics. It’s not always easy to spot them, but there are a few telltale signs

1) Deliberately misrepresenting what someone said.

2) Fixating on a single sentence in a three-minute speech and ignoring the larger context.

3) Ascribing conclusions that don’t logically follow from whatever the accused person said.

4) Assuming that any disagreement is a sign that someone is acting in bad faith.

5) Stating your position over and over again without explaining why you think whatever it is you think.

And then there’s the big one.

6) Your actions don’t align with your words.

Some people say that Jimmy is a right-winger, but I believe this is because they’ve conflated being economically right-wing with being socially reactionary. Once upon a time, those two things tended to go hand in hand. But no longer. As Kyle Kulinski points out, Jimmy Dore is firmly on the Left. He wants universal public healthcare. He opposes military spending. He despises the surveillance state: all the things we talked about in the last article. Jimmy Dore is a leftist. He just also happens to be a racist, sexist prick.

If the last article gave you the impression that I think economic leftism is sufficient for a strong moral framework, let me disabuse you of that now. You also have to advocate for the rights of minorities.

Jimmy Dore invited a member of the Boogaloo Boys onto his show. (Once again, not his video). The Boogaloo Boys are a vicious, white-supremacist group who — among other things — played a part in the January 6th Capitol Riots. And I hope that’s enough of a content warning. Oh, and he openly admits to sexually harassing Ana Kasparian. He can protest all he wants about how it’s not a big deal, but yes, Jimmy, it is a BIG, FUCKING DEAL!

Does this mean that everyone who watches Jimmy’s videos is racist or sexist? No. There is a huge spectrum between the most progressive social-justice advocate and the most vicious Nazi. Some of his viewers are undoubtably reactionary scumbags. And some are desperate, out-of-work people who feel that Jimmy’s tirades give voice to their unexpressed anger.

That’s the point!

That’s how he lures you in!

Jimmy and those like him are a threat to a stable socialist movement because they funnel people with a genuine interest in left-wing politics into a reactionary, white-supremacist pipeline. Why are class reductionists always talking about “economic anxiety?” Accusing the Alt-Right of playing on people’s economic fears? Because that’s their grift. People see in others the bad things that they are doing themselves.

If you are a socialist, then the Reactionary Left is your enemy just as much as the liberals are.