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What the right gets right about the trucker revolt

A left-wing writer on the trucker rebellion is fascinating. She looks at the trucker revolt as “right wing”, though I am sure the organizers of the trucker blockade of Ottawa streets have no such conception of themselves, and would reject it if they were called it. It also has a strange flavour of a person who lives in a bubble peering out from it dimly to discern, as Bob Dylan said many years ago, “something happening here an’ you don’t know what it is, do you? Mr. Jones”

Emma Jackson writes:

“Whether we want to admit it or not, there’s a lot that the anti-mandate movement is getting right from an organizing and movement-building perspective.

“For starters, in stark contrast to the Left, the past few days have revealed how much better the Right is at meeting people where they’re at.

“Instead of building an insular movement restricted to people who agree with each other 93 per cent of the time, the Right has successfully tapped into widely held resentment and built a mass on-ramp for people with highly divergent views. It’s why the Freedom Convoy isn’t just being ardently defended by white supremacists on Rebel News, but also by anti-vaccine Green Party supporters in the inboxes of mainstream environmental organizations.”

<snip>

Imagine the power that comes from not insisting that everyone agree on everything before you agree to act together! Who knew?

“In the anti-mandate movement, everyone’s participation is welcome. Of course, this also extends to participants brandishing yellow star pins, thin blue line badges, and flags with swastikas—a level of acceptance that should never be tolerated.

“But the degree to which thousands are willing to come to the defense of the movement the second its racist and antisemitic elements are exposed—insisting that they’re just a “few bad apples”—is telling. It proves their commitment to building and defending the biggest possible “we,” against the smallest possible “them”—in this case, the liberal establishment, mainstream media, and those of us naïve enough to be under the spell of both.

It’s also evidence of their collective disdain for any whiff of social elitism—something that is likely only being exacerbated by the urban left’s impulse to wag our fingers at these “backward, selfish people.”

Translating from the wokish, they are open, and anti-snobbish and to borrow her phrase, committed to the biggest possible “we”.

“In order to actively and constantly be recruiting everyday working people into your base (i.e. build power), you actually have to talk to them and ground your recruitment in the everyday institutions and networks they belong to. It’s obvious that the anti-mandate and anti-vaccine crowd is doing just that by engaging in one-on-one conversations with their neighbors, co-workers, and complete strangers, and listening to their collective grievances.

“But the anti-mandate movement isn’t just recruiting participants one-by-one, they’re also successfully bringing entire institutions into the movement and providing them with opportunities to visibly show their support. They’ve successfully recruited evangelical churches, private trucker associations, and far-right outlets like Rebel News, all of whom are fueling the movement—whether by distributing ham sandwiches at rest stops or amplifying their message to hundreds of thousands of people on YouTube.”

<snip>

They have genuine, broad based support. They build coalitions. Who knew?

Emma Jackson continues;

“Labour’s institutional heft is unparalleled, but those of us belonging to other movement threads—climate justice, anti-racism, Indigenous solidarity— must also reflect on how it is that the far-right is doing a better job of recruiting our own family, friends, and co-workers into their movements, than we are into our own.

“Insularity has prevented the left from reaching the mainstream. We have an opportunity to examine our tendency to build organizations that feel more like exclusive clubs for the “already woke,” than they do welcoming spaces for political education and transformation where people feel deeply valued and needed.”

Emma, Emma, listen to Uncle Dalwhinnie:

  1. There is no such thing as the “far right”. The “right” and “the far right” are left wing mental constructions. Those inside the Marxist thought prison imagine that everyone who opposes them is in their own, equally restrictive, thought-prison.  Not so. The only people inside the thought prison are the political left (in my experience) . Other people are quite free to disagree, argue, and have a beer together.  David Horowitz write about this sudden realization when he left the political Left, which he wrote about it “Radical Son”, which is a must-read for all evolving soon to be former Marxists.
  2. Precisely what makes the political left an exclusionary cult is its false but wholly sincere sense of its moral superiority. If you give up believing in your moral superiority, you realize you are a sinner like the rest of the sinners. Then yu are ready to build broad coalitions politically and even religiously.
  3. Living without moral superiority is really difficult. Millions do it every day. If the political Left tried it, they might find themselves being listened to.

Political correctness and the French Class System

A fascinating article in City Journal about the writings of Christophe Guilluy, the French geographer whose observations of French society are equivalent to those of Charles Murray. The article is by the American journalist and author Christopher Caldwell.

“In France, political correctness is more than a ridiculous set of opinions; it’s also—and primarily—a tool of government coercion. Not only does it tilt any political discussion in favor of one set of arguments; it also gives the ruling class a doubt-expelling myth that provides a constant boost to morale and esprit de corps, much as class systems did in the days before democracy. People tend to snicker when the question of political correctness is raised: its practitioners because no one wants to be thought politically correct; and its targets because no one wants to admit to being coerced. But it determines the current polarity in French politics. Where you stand depends largely on whether you believe that antiracism is a sincere response to a genuine upsurge of public hatred or an opportunistic posture for elites seeking to justify their rule.

Guilluy is ambivalent on the question. He sees deep historical and economic processes at work behind the evolution of France’s residential spaces. “There has been no plan to ‘expel the poor,’ no conspiracy,” he writes. “Just a strict application of market principles.” But he is moving toward a more politically engaged view that the rhetoric of an “open society” is “a smokescreen meant to hide the emergence of a closed society, walled off for the benefit of the upper classes.”

I am struck often by how the French get themselves absolutely stuck, where only violence gets attention, and revolution seems the most effective way of changing governments. I see this particularly in the different outcomes in Great Britain and France: how Boris Johnson was able to break through the Brexit impasse, while week after week the French yellow-vests riot and disrupt, to no particular effect.

The link between the riots of the gilets-jaunes and the tight grip the French upper classes hold over dissenting expression was clearly seen in an article in the Guardian by Jon Henley on the work of Christophe Guilluy. Henley writes:

“Guilluy argued that peripheral France should be seen as a bigger concern than the country’s troubled, immigration-heavy banlieues, traditionally seen as its major social problem, because of the sheer numbers of people struggling to make ends meet and their relative isolation from dynamic economic centres. If nothing changed, he warned, the French Socialist party, the historical defender of the underprivileged, would collapse, Le Pen’s far-right Front National – now renamed Rassemblement National (National Rally) – would soar, and France risked a popular uprising the likes of which it had not witnessed in decades, if not centuries….

“It is not so much “big capital” that is to blame for the divide, Guilluy writes, as when “previous generations of the bourgeoisie lusted nakedly after power or money”, but the “laid-back, unostentatious dominance … without hatred or violence” of the “bobo-ised upper classes” in what he calls the “new citadels”. They have “supported the economic policies of the upper class for 30 years now” (policies which only really work for them) and developed “a single way of talking and thinking … that allows the dominant classes to substitute for the reality of a nation subject to severe stress and strain the fable of a kind and welcoming society”. Because hipsters are also hypocrites, Guilluy argues: they denounce globalisation, but never challenge it because it serves them so well; they preach diversity, but send their children to private schools; they love the “authenticity” of living in working-class areas, but contribute to their destruction through rising property prices.

“The revolution is coming, he warns: “The existing order will finally break down not as the result of some decisive event, but as the result of a slow process of social and cultural disaffiliation of the working class.” It has already brought us Brexit in Britain and Trump in the US; “a new form of class conflict” is upon us, and a “modern slave rebellion” is on its way.

A modern slave rebellion?!