Sunday, October 17, 2021

Omnipresent, existential personal threat

"Israel, US Stop Jewish Families from Moving to Iran as Asylum Seekers".  "Ultra-Orthodox Cult Described as 'Jewish Taliban' Attempts to Flee to Iran for Asylum". Lev Tahor - you'd think the Israelis would welcome having them go to Iran due to all the problems they cause.  Quebec, Guatemala, Kurdistan, Iran, the wandering Jews.

"Nuclear Weapons And Europe" (Cloughley).  1) Russia is still the real target, and 2) the fucking Euro-trash are the farthest thing possible from representative government!

"Fear Itself" (Thielman) (BRIC = Boston Regional Intelligence Center, of the Boston Police Department; this is now Standard Police Protest to Riot Escalation Procedure) :

"On Thursday, August 29, 2019, the BRIC issued its final threat assessment before the Straight Pride Parade in Boston, an event sponsored by right-wing group Super Happy Fun America, a rebranded version of Resist Marxism, whose most famous member, Kyle Chapman, beat a demonstrator with a stick at a Berkeley rally. The event would feature a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, whose fans shot a man outside one of his rallies two years prior. (“I’m going to the Milo event and if the snowflakes get out off hand [sic] I’m just going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls,” the shooter wrote on Facebook before that event.)

The Boston Police Department was concerned. Specifically, it was concerned about the safety of the Boston Police Department: “The BRIC assesses that it is highly likely that some individuals attending these events will attempt to engage in disruptive and / or criminal behavior targeting the opposing side and possibly law enforcement.”

The department responded by flooding its streets with police and arresting 36 counterprotesters. None were armed with urine, that I know of, and most were charged with resisting arrest, a beautifully surreal tactic beloved of municipal PDs around the country. None of the white supremacists were arrested, and no one interfered with their assembly, where various right-wing luminaries spewed hatred into a microphone outside City Hall until their permit expired. One neo-Nazi sold t-shirts. One of the events’ organizers would go on to participate in the Capitol insurrection.

“We think these offenders that are here, most of them outside the city of Boston, not residents here, came here as agitators, here for a specific reason, here to create havoc,” Larry Calderone, a spokesperson for the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, told NBC of the arrestees. The judge presiding over the arrests refused to ease bail or drop charges for months, in defiance of the District Attorney. As far as the law enforcement machine was concerned, it had resisted Marxism.

I WAS THERE. The parade itself was sparsely attended, and mostly by people in silly costumes trying to get interviewed by each other, along with a bunch of fringe media guys in GoPro helmets who followed the marchers along the parade route, augmenting their numbers as was doubtless intended. The rallygoers had a big “TRUMP 2020” parade float, and several of them seemed to be uncomplicated Nazis. I talked to two of them about their tattoos. One told me the SS bolts on his arm signified his heritage. The other, who wore a knife in a sheath on his belt, had a sun cross and the face of a soldier in an SS helmet tattooed on his shoulder.

The counterprotesters also had a few folks in costume—one very tall person was dressed in a bright red wig and a purple cape and jumpsuit that made him look like Magneto in a guest appearance on Steven Universe—and some pointedly nondescript black bloc guys. But there were also elderly men and young women among the thousands screaming for the fascist marchers to go home. I didn’t see anyone with a weapon. The parade ended, the speeches wrapped up, and then the Boston police department and several neighboring PDs, working overtime at the expense of millions of taxpayer dollars, started a riot.

Dozens of cops on bikes wove in and out of the counterprotesters, skirting as close as they could to pedestrians. Finally they assembled in formation behind a crowd they had penned in between the barrier between the lanes of the street and barriers the cops had erected.

They began to advance toward the crowd, an absurd phalanx of neon yellow vests over bulging paunches, gray temples, clean-shaven, jutting white jaws, black bike and riot helmets, and wraparound shades. They started chanting a “move back, move back” call-and-response until they were close enough to start whacking people with the metal crossbars and handlebars on their bikes. Some carried huge wooden truncheons—not nightsticks, but huge, three-foot-long riot batons, like wooden swords. Buses, ready for the arrestees, idled nearby.

When the crush got too thick for people to move back, they began to shoot pepper spray onto the sidewalks and throw protesters, especially women, to the ground. One cop attacked a skinny girl in a tank top, whom he outweighed by probably a hundred pounds, and toppled her to the pavement, scraping the skin off her back. He bent her arm behind her and led her away as she shouted. When they hugely outnumbered the protesters who hadn’t been able to flee, the police held the stragglers down and beat them in front of the cameras.

The Nazis went home unscathed and satisfied. The threat to them had been accurately assessed, measured, and countered, and they were safe from terror. The police could relax, too: They were safe, though they were probably still afraid."

Cancel culture is preventing reasonable discussion of traditional left-wing issues:  "That One Side Would Like to Utterly Destroy the Other Side Seems Significant, To Me" (deBoer):

"The left-of-center is in a profoundly strange and deeply unhealthy place. In the span of a decade or less a bizarre form of linguistically-radical but substantively-conservative identity neoliberalism descended from decaying humanities departments in elite universities and infected social media like Tumblr and Twitter, through which it conquered the media and entertainment industries, the nonprofit industrial complex, and government entities as wide-ranging as the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the brass of the Pentagon. That movement now effectively controls the idea-and-story generating power of our society, outside of explicitly conservative media which exists in a large silo but a silo all the same. On any given day the most powerful institutions in the world go to great lengths to mollify the social justice movement, to demonstrate fealty, to avoid its wrath. It’s common now for liberals to deny the influence and power of social justice politics, for inscrutable reasons, but if the current level of control over how people talk publicly is insufficient, I can’t imagine what would placate them. Are most of these institutions false friends? Of course. But that, too, is not much of a defense.

This tendency to be promiscuous in enthralling elites and powerful institutions should be a clue to the fact that, despite its radical self-branding, the contemporary social justice movement fundamentally serves to empower the status quo. Effective left politics are about convincing various people who are unalike that they have a shared self-interest, that society can do best for them when we do best for others, too. That’s how you build a mass movement, by appealing to people’s sense of self-interest and showing them how they can help their neighbors while they help themselves. But because the social justice movement’s first dictate is to establish a hierarchy of suffering, and to tell those that are purported to suffer less that their problems aren’t problems, no such mass movement is coming. The social justice movement is not just incidentally antagonistic to organizing everyone and recognizing all kinds of people as worthy of our compassion and support. That antagonism is existential. When you ask many people within the movement, “what could we do to convert the white working class to our values?,” they will simply tell you that they don’t want to convert them, that they are not worthy of being a part of their movement. They would rather have targets than converts, to lose as an exclusive moral caste than win as a grubby populist coalition.

Core to understanding this moment is to realize that the vast majority of people who enforce these politics don’t actually believe in them. They don’t, that is, think that social justice politics as currently composed are healthy or just or likely to result in tangible positive change. There’s a core of true-believers who do, and there’s a group of those who profit directly from the hegemony of social justice politics in elite spaces. (The former two groups have some overlap, but it’s not a perfect circle.) There’s conservative critics, who are both the most natural targets of social justice ire and yet those the social justice movement seem least interested in targeting. There’s an island of misfit toys of left and leftish critics of social justice politics like me. And then there’s the great big mass of people who are just scared. I think Klein didn’t really connect the dots between Shor’s cancelation and the debate about how the Democrats should strategize and message because he’s afraid of facing the same tactics Shor faced. Why wade in those waters when the potential consequences are so severe, and when the upside is so limited? I’m not accusing Klein of lacking courage or integrity. I just think he’s operating within a professional culture that has established dozens of new unwritten rules in the past couple years, along with severe consequences for breaking them."

". . . it’s the activist class, the Twitter-obsessed class, the collegiate class, the vengeful “progressive” NPCs that have poisoned the well by normalizing attempts to destroy people they disagree with. No one is saying you shouldn’t advocate for your values. You absolutely should be vocal and passionate, and you are free to invoke moral language, and you certainly don’t have to personally like the people you disagree with. But you don’t get to threaten people’s lives, which is very common in some social media spaces, and you don’t get to silence anyone, and you don’t get to dox anyone, and it’s profoundly fucked up to try and separate someone from their job in a world where you have to work to eat. That can never be an authentically progressive or left-wing action, I don’t care how righteous you think your movement is. There’s no excuse for that behavior, especially given that the people who are guilty of this are almost all perfectly empowered and socioeconomically secure. You can’t run a political party under these conditions, or a social movement, and we shouldn’t have to. Advocate for your values, do the work, build the coalition through persuasion, accept that people will always disagree with you and that this is a healthy condition, and stop pretending that you are the subaltern when you’re really a whole industry of A students who went to elite colleges and have never known what it’s like to not be listened to and taken seriously.

To put it simply, grow up. And stop trying to destroy people. Like you yourselves keep saying, canceling doesn’t reliably work, so why bother? Judging by the utter lack of meaningful change since last summer, neither have the protests or riots. That’s not a nice thing to say, but it’s reality, and if you are sincere about helping those you claim to speak for, your first duty is to efficacy. So maybe time to try something else."
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