I enjoy reading Anti-Racist Canada’s little blog. (It’s really all they have and all they do.) I drop them a line from time to time and leave constructive comments on some of their posts, which they read but wouldn’t be caught dead publishing. One such comment (edited):
uring the time I’ve been reading your blog, I have seen scant evidence that ARC operatives have any ambitions beyond, as I like to say, dismantling white supremacy by screencapping Facebook comments. (And – again – that isn’t even the right way to archive them.) Your group’s name is not Anti-Racist Action, and now I see why. You aren’t really committed to action.
I do not really see a difference in kind between Soldiers of Odin Facebook commenters and Anti-Racist Canada bloggers. The term of art here is “keyboard warriors.”
Why did I have to write up a recipe for ARC and likeminded activists to zap Canada’s youngest Nazi? What the hell are you kids doing sitting around all day screencapping Facebook comments?
Now, is it also remotely possible that Ernst Zündel is long gone, white supremacists in Canada have little to no purchase on the public imagination, and, paramount above all, these guys just aren’t remotely the violent skinhead manqués you find in Scandinavia ?
And on that last point, upon self-reflection, would you agree that ARC operatives are not remotely willing to do anything in the real world, let alone stand within punching distance of a Soldier of Odin, because you people are fundamentally nonphysical, intellectual, ideological, unable to do shit, conflict-aversive and afraid? And because the dudes in Soldiers of Odin and similar groups are built like a brick shithouse, experienced in fighting, aggressive, and fundamentally unafraid?
Progressives: “Appearance, like transphobia and whiteness, is racism”
Next, consider left-wing media critics’ impulse to decry thin blonde newscastresses as, variously, victims of the patriarchy for being thin and blonde and, worse yet, closet Republicans or Tories just based on how they look. (If you dress like Ann Coulter and have her hairdo, you must think like her.) Compare that to my aperçu that a reporter at a right-wing newspaper was as fat as left-wing girls usually are and, like them, used Twitter to manifestly misrepresent my beliefs.
Left-wingers prejudge thin blonde girls as Republicans, fairly or not, while I accurately pegged a fat reporter as a transgender apologist who was willing to misrepresent me on Twitter. Both sides, if sides are what we have here, judge on appearances. Because there are such things as physical types.
Downtown progressives are loath to admit anything of the sort, because all discussions of appearance, beauty, human universals, or, God forbid, the body are off-limits. That’s because appearance and beauty are tools of the patriarchy and are, in any event, culturally dependent and historically variable (but we live in one culture and time); “human universal,” like “white,” is another word for “racism,” and all oppressions are racism in one guise or another; bodies aren’t real, only texts and ideas and arguments are.
Ultra-left-wing people aren’t Futurama heads in jars, they’re Star Trek brains under glass.
That partly explains why left-wing activists are almost invariably fat and ugly or spindly and ugly. Like dressing up in wymmynz clothes despite retaining a cock, that’s their choice, and such choices are to be defended in a free and democratic society. Still, choosing to look like that gets in the way of progressives’ claimed goals, like dismantling white supremacy.
How not to be taken seriously
Of course the intent is to make these left-wing protesters look ridiculous. But they do look ridiculous. And if any of these urchin/wastrels tried to walk up on a racist gang or a bunch of racist skinheads or a some bikers or, I dunno, the Soldiers of Odin, then:
They’d be spotted at a two-block radius.
If they actually got within punching distance of their right-wing adversaries, they’d be chased away or just actually punched.
Even if the adversaries didn’t physically intimidate or assault them, they wouldn’t listen to a goddamn word the wastrels had to say. Why? Because they look ridiculous. They’re immediately non-credible because of what they look like.
How to be taken seriously
If your aim is to actually undermine white supremacy and to frustrate, impede, and otherwise fuck up right-wing assholes, quit doing what is proven not to work and start doing something else.
Running a blog (like ARC’s, but Anti-Fascist News is another) amounts to nothing but running a blog. Screencapping Facebook comments and writing 2,000-word screeds does not harm the adversary. (I’m at a thousand words already in this posting and I have been online for 25 years. I know the limitations.)
You have to do what Stieg Larsson did and get to know these dudes personally. He had their phone numbers and would talk to them regularly. That’s still a good idea, but keyboard warriors of the ARC variety will want to use chat or messaging. Maybe that would work, and maybe they’d just block you. Really, the phone is better. If they live in your town, buy them a shot of tequila.
Of course all this is unthinkable even though it will work. I already told you why: Left-wing activists hate anyone who deviates even mildly from their agenda and cannot bring themselves to be in the same room as their enemies. Everyone is an “enemy” who isn’t completely onboard with leftist agendas of the moment. Imagine what a hanging around with a bunch of skinheads or bikers would be like.
If you want free drinks from the bartender, send over the bustiest girl in your group to ask for them. If you want to be taken seriously by right-wing assholes, send your biggest, strongest guys and your prettiest girls.
The super-fun Tumblère entitled Soldiers of Odin Looking at Things shows you what these guys look like, at least if “these guys” means Soldiers of Odin in Finland.
Camo pants, sweatshirts, shaven heads, heavy-metal facial hair, and a beer gut here and there, yes. But these guys are not small. They take up space and look like men.
Do your left-wing activists dress and look like that? Well, there’s your problem.
Being left-wing and spindly is a choice
Time to paraphrase someone you weren’t expecting. Ntozake Shange: “I could not stand being sorry and coloured at the same time. It’s so redundant in the modern world.”
Here we have my onliné acquaintance Jay Richard in Calgary, whom I have permission to cite here:
And here he is hoisting 405 pounds (update, 2016.12.14):
Jay describes himself as not a right-wing asshole (“I am pretty far from right wing”) and is a vegan for animal-protection and anti-cruelty reasons. And he’s not gay. He isn’t a spindly heterosexualist veganist like Moby, whom I met once and towered over.
Do you have guys like this in your anti-racist group? No? Why not? Jay is an anti-racist vegan. He’s also built like a brick shithouse; distributes weights, barbells, and fitness equipment to gyms; and does marketing for so-called MMA fights.
Is this the kind of guy you want in your anti-racist activist cabal? No? Why not? Send this guy to double-fist tequila shots with the racist assholes you hate and they’ll actually sit and talk to him.
If you don’t think this will work, ask yourself how come Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice was so effective. Shaven hair and 14-hole Doc Martens are a choice, not an emblem of shit-kicking racism. There are other examples, like quoting scripture back at evangelicals and (in an article I cannot find now) going door-to-door in the American south promoting gay rights, but dressing appropriately and using respectful language and a vocabulary your hosts will accept.
As for deploying your prettiest girls, well, I know you don’t have any. Your menfolk can at least go to the gym. (Unless that’s too patriarchal.) This wouldn’t solve the problem that left-wingers are fundamentally scared shitless of groups of big aggressive guys, and fundamentally cannot deal with men, and fundamentally are scared shitless, but it would be a start.
Do something that works for a change.
This was another instalment in a series of unsolicited advice to ultra-left-wing activists
As a student of ADAPT, among other activists in my 30 years of following and advocating for and working in disability rights; as an attendee of one or two ACT UP meetings and as a dead body on one of their Gay Pride floats; as a writer for the gay press for a decade or so; and as someone who survived AIDS Action Now even though they left my friend to die, I like nothing more than seeing activism that works.
Hence my unsolicited advice to left-wing/anti-racist advocates. They need to stop doing what isn’t working, like running a blog and being afraid of guys who never thought of arguing over pronouns or checking their privilege.
And, when they’re done doing that, they should ask themselves what might possibly drive a gay vegan pacifist writer to proffer such advice. What might he really believe?
They could ask. They’re also too chickenshit to do that.