The Vultures of False Equivalency Descend

I really shouldn’t be surprised that even the much beloved Humans of New York decided it was Trump supporters who needed to be humanized in the wake of at least ~700 hate crimes committed since Nov 8.


Okay, so, I have some thoughts.

Commentators rushed forth to declare that the working class had been unheard, and that this justified the package deal that came with Trump. The mistake is immediately apparent: “Class issues” has never and will never be separable from the minority’s struggle, as if the middle class somehow has a monopoly on “economic anxiety.”

Poverty manifests in discrimination and it’s minorities of all stripes who are disproportionately represented in the working class–the ungainful labour kind. Marxist analysis is critically useful here: No picture painted merely with the “economic anxiety” brush is complete unless it acknowledges that no member of the proletariat is immune to it, and no proletariat’s struggle is without this anxiety. That includes the weird proletariat.

Of course the proletariat has gone unheard. That’s what the bourgeoisie do, their entire raison d’etre, is to effortlessly coast through life on the backs of the silent. And when you start to smarten up about who is on the other end of the leash, they throw a juicy bone to their shock troops–the middle class, the still-proletariat-but-with-extra-bones–to distract us. Those men bring women with them. And so it goes.

The problem isn’t merely that we are in this position–it’s that the shock troops will accept their mistreatment at the hands of the handlers as long as they keep getting juicy bones, or at least more juicy bones than we do. So along comes someone like me, a Marxist, a feminist, a queer trans woman, and she says “your handler starves you to trick you into thinking its bones are generous.”

How many handlers will take that for an answer? Their juicy bones are at stake! Sure, I could point out that he has the supply of bones and us hounds could take them for ourselves, change the system so they are not given to us at the whim of our handlers. But that terribly inconveniences the handlers, so they wave a bone, point at me, and command “sic em!”

Two problems solved at once. The uppity Marxist is too preoccupied with the snarling in her face, and the hound who might’ve won some dangerous ideas is enticed by the bone in his immediacy. No vision or foresight to question from whence the bone comes.

There needn’t be any discussion of class struggle without minorities. They are inextricably linked. If this is truly your chief concern, however, you will need to abandon any benefits you receive to be the bourgeoisie’s shock troops. You’ll never be one of them, but they’ll tempt you by offering you superiority over someone else. The rest. The other. Enough of you will take that bait, dooming us all to try and survive the infighting while our handlers gorge themselves on fat and meat, chuckling as they prepare the next bones to throw to us. It means putting away the petty hatreds, the racisms and homophobias and transphobias. No, it’s not symmetrical. We weren’t ever the shock troops to begin with, at least not to any appreciable scale, because by definition as minorities we did not have enough bodies to fill out a legion.

This is what I referenced when I said reactionaries didn’t need to benefit from humanization. They’re the pup willing to take an extra bone to kill us. They’re willing shock troops for the bourgeoisie. Sure, some of them are insecure, or at least feel that way, and some may even try to feel bad about being told to attack you. But we would be making a mistake not to recognize the capacity for distraction in the systemic nature of discrimination the rich tolerate and perpetrate. This, in my experience, is the more common reaction. If you can corner a “not sexist/racist” Trump supporter and drill to the core of their issue, they’ll inevitably parrot out something about jobs. And what about jobs of the black in their midst? The gay, the queer, the non-Christian? Who will be awarded our jobs once discrimination is legalized by “religious freedom”–yet another bone for their shock troops?

Why do you accept this dilemma when it is our handlers that deprived us of the nourishment we need to begin with?

Why have you accepted the lie that there aren’t enough bones to go around, even though you can clearly see them stuffed in your handler’s pocket?

Have you no ambition?



  1. says

    “Working class concerns” have become a dogwhistle for racism.
    Funny enough, whenever working class people bring up issues without blaming minorities, they’re being told to suck it up. Unemployment? Just try harder, you’re lazy! But say you cannot find a job because of immigrants or affirmative action? Bob’s your uncle!
    Decades of privatisation and neglect of the public housing sector? All good and fine, free market, if you cannot afford the rent it’s your fault! Cannot find a flat because refugees? We need to do something!
    No affordable childcare? You should have kept your legs closed. No affordable childcare because of brown children? That’S something we can talk about!
    Apart from the bogus concerns of “dying out” and “white genocide”. Nobody’s stopping them from having lots of white children, except for the facts that most white women aren’t content to act as brood mares and raise a dozen of kids in poverty instead of, you know, having a life.

  2. Crimson Clupeidae says

    What Giliell said. It wasn’t long ago that ‘white working class’ became ‘working class’.

    Just so we don’t notice that they don’t really care about the non-white working class, but that’s basically what it amounts to, plus it allows those in control of labor laws to pit the working class against each other along racial lines.

    Working as intended (for the rich fuckers at the top).

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    The “white working class” has only rarely overcome its long-ingrained racism, but the results on such occasions have been quite impressive (see UAW, certain local save-the-schools campaigns, etc).

    Progressives may well be able to peel off some worthwhile people from the Trump Chumps, especially as the shockwaves from the impending train wreck(s) reach the 2nd- & 3rd-class passenger cars. To do that successfully, we need to study the “wwc” carefully (and with humans, that does necessitate a degree of sympathy), even though it entails looking past the racism (etc), at least some of the time.

    TL;DR – What would Bernie do?