Since I began and subsequently neglected this blog there’s been a marked change in the internet atmosphere as I’ve seen. Social media has been around for some time and will surely continue. When it all started, the Facebooking, the Tweeting, etc. the big criticism was that it turned us all into amped up narcissicists–posting minutae of our daily lives as if all the people we followed should care what we ate for lunch–which was a legit criticism, for which I committed a multitude of sins. But I’ve seen a dramatic shift, as have others it seems, we’re moving from personal narcissicism to a more collective narcissism. We’re using the internet to boast of our ideologies; primarily through sharing links.
I find nothing so wrong in linking to articles regarding social ills, critiques and such. Recently a transgendered teen committed suicidoe and my Facebook page was awash in linked articles suggesting action should be taken to preven this type of thing from happening. Damn right! I am a fundamentally cis-gendered male; I don’t know what trans-experience is or experience discrimination of my own, but being open to listen to other people’s stories I see something needing a dire change. The deaths of Brown and Gartner were tragedies and failures of our justice system to work, as many links I received suggested, yes.
So where do we go from here? One of the implications of these links suggest I need to be properly outraged and express it as such. Being a white, cis-gendered man, clearly from an egalitarian standpoint there is an aspect of knowing my priviledge and being properly informed of the experiences of others unlike myself who face systematic discrimination. Knowledge is power, sure. More radical minds suggest that I express my discontent at certain places and times where we shall demonstrate away the evil. We shall picket transphobia and racism to death on such and such a date.
If I sound a bit sarcastic in that last paragraph, then good. I believe in the collapse of liberal democracy to work anymore, if it ever did. There is not any longer an out-there group of representatives to listen to the voice of the masses. I don’t even know that there ever was given the failures of the 60s/70s. I beg the question of who the “Who” is that all these link-shares, protest marches, etc. are geared towards in which we’re supposed to, or are desperately seeking a new measure?
Old terms to define social antagonisms feel stripped. We don’t have a class system that Marx saw. We do not live in overtly racist times anymore (we live in racist times, but ironically the rhetoric of tolerance and color-blindness has doubled-back to make even calling something racist, racist, a challenge to racial harmony.) Antagonism becomes a vocalisation of preference. We live in a perfect system. There are only a few kinks to work out, so fill out a complaint form (post a link, protest march, etc.) and they’ll get back to you.
Upworthy is the opium of the masses.
The communist dream that still preoccupies me is how I want to exhume the belief that the whole “we” who are fed up with racist police/courts, trans bullying, the decline of labor, etc. etc. etc. are no longer visualizing this as reform but reclamation. We lost what we had in the egalitrian dream and the point is not to ask for it back, but to take it back. It was already ours to begin. If the *system*, to use an overworked term, will not agree to listen to us, but continue to pat our heads while saying “isn’t their outrage a cute vindication of how great liberal democracy is? We let them protest until they burn out?”
I will share no links, not raise my hands in support of Michael Brown (I’ve literally seen cops laugh at white people doing this, rightfully!) Enough of the gestures expressing what ought to be. The Left needs to recall that we weren’t always so timid in begging for reform. While conservative, reactionary forces are stepping all over us with glee and carte blanche we’re still opting for the system. For a hot second we had a good thing going with Occupy. It did not conform to rules. It did not ask. It didn’t care if it’s measures disrupted. We need this. We need to cut out supposed-reformists like Obama, to stop placating ourselves with expressions of outrage and start being outraged again.