You are currently browsing the daily archive for January 2, 2019.

Written by Dr. Caroline Norma her piece is about running up against the male centric Left in Australia.  Inside her essay though are a couple of paragraphs that deserve extra attention.  The notion that appearance and allegiance to the right things is taking precedence over effective action is an important idea.  Coming together despite the differences between the groups involved has been vital in forming effective action in society.  Fragments of groups working apart can be nullified and marginalized by the forces of the status quo in light of the recent gender-identity dust up, it would seem the fragmentation of effective political action is in full swing.

 

“During those 20 years, no activist in Okinawa had the privilege of being able to pick and choose with whom they built alliances or worked in coalition. Their situation permitted no such liberal luxury, only desperate struggle to build movement numbers. They had to be grateful for any friends they could get. The combined will of the US military and the Japanese government was thrown behind the base construction proposal, and so, facing such a Goliath, unionists, churchgoers, artists, fishermen, and feminist groups like Women Act Against Military Violence joined forces in resistance. Defeat was always a possibility, but coalition members permitted no cracks of movement disunity to open up to make it a certainty.

In places like Okinawa, different and even conflicting groups band together for a common cause. In doing so, they prioritize that cause over everything else — including their ideological purity, public image, and social media credibility. In places like Australia, no similarly strong commitment to a cause exists. On the contrary, the priority is performing outrage about inconsequential things in order to appear as though one cares deeply about the right things. People prefer to be seen as the right kind of people holding the right kind of views over actually achieving anything. Meanwhile, coal mine development, overseas military deployment, housing degradation, reef destruction, and corporate tax rorting proceeds apace.

But the problem isn’t one of laziness or smoke and mirrors distraction. We know from the history of left organizing that ideological fitness tests are applied deliberately for political purposes. They are applied for the benefit of the people whose interests a movement is seeking to advance. How they are applied clearly signals who is being prioritized.

As to whose interests the Australian left is pursuing, the antics over my attendance at the Historical Materialism Sydney conference gave the game away. Questioning the notion that gender is a matter of how we feel about ourselves, rather than a matter of how we have been systematically treated throughout our lives, was turned into a crime more serious than ignoring tens of thousands of Asian women in brothels on every street corner of Australia’s cities. But the comedic disproportion of this scenario wasn’t accidental. It was manufactured in service of male interests that are now coming under pressure from feminist challenge.”

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