Monday, October 26, 2020


Michael Lumish

{Shocking, I know.}
They say that I am too right-wing.
I support a woman's right to choose an abortion.
I favor Gay marriage.
I favor equal pay for equal work.
I oppose racism and ethnic or gendered favoritism of any sort.
I favor freedom of speech.
I marched against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from Delores Park to Civic Center in San Francisco a dozen times, even under the banner of the A.N.S.W.E.R coalition.
I was a Green Party member for a number of years and voted Ralph Nader for president.
Aside from that brief stint as a Green, I was a Democrat for 25 years. I even phone-banked for Barack Obama.
Right-wing, my ass.
What I am is a liberal critic of the Left because the progressive-left is not the same movement that it once was. In fact, it reminds me of nothing so much as the conservative movement from the 1950s and 1960s. So moralistic and self-righteous and humorless.
They're like a bunch of old schoolmarms wrapping knuckles with a twelve-inch wooden ruler.
See, here's the thing. They think that I am "right-wing" -- whateverthefuck that actually means -- but really what it is is a distaste for criticism. They think that because I criticize the Left I must, ipso facto, be on the Right.
But I criticize the Left because I come out of the Left. I almost never criticize the Right because they don't mean much to me, anyway.
The Left still thinks of itself as Abbie Hoffman but, in truth, it has become Judge Julius Hoffman.
This is me from not all that long ago.
Right-wing, eh?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Denzel on white racism, BLM, and the husbandless home

Michael Lumish

In this interview, Denzel Washington argues that the difficulties that black people often face in the USA has less to do with "the system," and its alleged embedded racism, than it has to do with the failure of the two-parent household within black urban communities.

This is an old argument initially made famous by Assistant Secretary of Labor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in "The Negro Family: The Case For National Action" (1965). It is notable because Moynihan seemed to flip conventional wisdom on its head by suggesting that social/cultural conditions are not so much caused by economic conditions, but that economic conditions are primarily the result of the internal social and cultural conditions of the community.

Whatever the merits of such a view, it contradicts contemporary western-left assumptions that promote "intersectionality" and Critical Race Theory. These academic notions passed from professors to students and into the streets. They passed from mainstream media and social media, alike, into the corporate boardrooms.

The primary idea behind both Intersectional Theory and Critical Race Theory is that "white" people, i.e., people of European descent, have distinct epistemologies (ways of knowing) and ontologies (ways of being) that are racist, violent, oppressive of non-whites, authoritarian, imperialistic, militaristic, and colonial in nature. In other words, the problems that non-whites face, both in the West and throughout much of the world, is due to the malicious nature of Europeans and their kin around the globe.

What Denzel Washington, following Moynihan, suggests is that if we wish to see greater economic equality in the United States then we must look to ourselves and not only to the alleged injustice of others. People blame "White Privilege" and "systemic racism" for the failures of many within non-white communities to build decent lives for themselves and their families. Because of the unjust inequalities built directly into the American political and social systems it is allegedly understandable that well-meaning radicals, both white and black, would take to the streets in a wave of violence and rioting and looting and arson and murders that have continued non-stop for four months throughout the country.

Many on the Left believe that such behavior is perfectly understandable. What, after all, should European-Americans expect after treating black people like garbage for century upon century? And this is why, for example, the Democratic Party refused to even mention BLM/Antifa street violence during their most previous national convention. To highlight that violence is considered racist.

The problem with all of this, naturally, is that it insists upon "whiteness" as the primary cause of contemporary black grievances. In addition to the dubious (and racist) nature of such a claim, it also disinclines many poor people from exploring the opportunities before them.

What is the point, after all, of hard study in school or hard work at the shop if the "White Man" is going to throttle your ambitions on the streets of Minneapolis, anyway?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Clusterfuck to Come

Michael Lumish

You need to expect the coming US election to be an enormous clusterfuck.

Pushing mail-in voting during this moment of enormous political tensions -- and downright partisan hatred -- is going to put people at one another's throats because whoever wins the other side will believe they got robbed and that the American democratic-republic is under a Constitutional threat.
I have two predictions for election night. The first is that we will not have a clear winner. The second is that the progressive-left rioting and violence will get out of control.
Obviously, I could be wrong, but with perhaps millions of mail-in ballots arriving at polling stations days after the actual election, this will leave everything in a sort-of heightened spastic, hysterical confusion that is a primary feature of this political and cultural moment, anyway. The violent young idiots in the streets will take advantage of the chaos to cause additional chaos, with its ensuing bloodshed, in the name of "social justice."
The right will respond by pointing the finger at the rioters. The left will respond by highlighting the chimera-like menace of White Supremacy and the Poor Boys and, even, the Wolverine Watchmen... whoever they are.
If I vote on November 3 it will not be for the man, nor for his running-mate. I will vote for or against the political movement(s) backing the candidates. Personally, I do not give a rat's ass about either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. What I do care about is the influence of their millions of backers on the cultural landscape.
As someone who comes out of the progressive-left and who was a Democrat for 25 years and who phone-banked for Obama in 2008, I am disgusted with the authoritarian left with its "cancel culture" and its patrolling the borders of freedom of speech.
It's the never-ending hypocrisy around issues of race and the perpetual self-righteous indignation that is most off-putting. They claim to be anti-racist even as they toss the color-blind ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr. into the gutter and urinate on white people and "Zionists" throughout the country and on American campuses.
They want "safe spaces" with crayons and teddy-bears for university-aged children just in case Ben Shapiro or Dave Rubin or Jordan Peterson drops by for a talk, even as those same children are crying "Death to America!" as they recently did in Oakland or as they drag innocent people from their cars and beat the holy shit out of them on the streets of Portland.
So, yes, I fully expect bloodshed come the night of November 3.
I will never forget this video from 2016. The chick is yelling "You voted Trump! Kill!!!" (between the 2 and 8 second mark) as people laughed watching an innocent man get his ass kicked by a mob.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Michael Lumish

I find myself increasingly curious about the so-called "Proud Boys."
Primarily I am interested in their use by others in the current Presidential campaign. The mainstream media almost always refers to them as violent and "extreme right-wing" and racist. They portray the group, small as it is, as a White Supremacist threat that is deeply antisemitic.
The founder of the group, Gavin McInnes did, in fact, do a satirical on-air bit entitled, "10 Things I Hate About The Jews." It is thus not difficult to see how many people would think him antisemitic.
Attached in my first comment below is a discussion from about a year ago between McInnes and his producer at Vice Media wherein they chew over the accusations of antisemitism.
Leaving aside for the moment questions specifically around antisemitism, I want to look at what they say about themselves. In Proud Boy Magazine, which seems to be their official outlet, they list the following tenets of their belief system. Let's go through them one-by-one and see how they may see themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 representing "extreme left-wing" and 10 representing "extreme right-wing."
{These judgments are my own. Naturally, your mileage may vary.}
1) Minimal Government (7)
This is a standard tenet of right-leaning ideology in the United States and, in and of itself, cannot be taken as "extremist."
2) Maximum Freedom (5)
This is an idea that could easily be assigned to the counterculture of the 1960s and contemporary libertarians alike.
3) Anti-Political Correctness (7)
They get no argument from me there.
4) Anti-Drug War (5)
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and know not a soul who favors anything akin to Reagan's "War on Drugs." This is not just a libertarian view, but a left-wing view.
5) Closed Borders (8)
The Proud Boys are not particularly fond of immigration. My only question is if they are opposed to illegal immigration or to all immigration. The first position is well within respectable American discussion. The second is not.
6) Anti-Racial Guilt (3)
Indeed, holding people responsible for the alleged guilt of the forbears and according to skin color is entirely opposed to the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr. and was, until fairly recently, a distinctly left-leaning value.
7) Anti-Racism (5)
And speaking of MLK, Jr., anti-racism has been the signature issue of the western progressive-left since at least Brown v. Board of Education (1954). This is not a position associated with the extreme right-wing. In fact, pretty much all Americans, left, right, and center, oppose racism.
8) Pro-Free Speech (1st Amendment) (5)
One of the most important aspects of the Movement of the 1960s was the free speech movement kicked off by Mario Savio at UCAL Berkeley in the early years of that decade.
9) Pro-Gun Rights (2nd Amendment) (7)
Yes, well, it is in the Constitution, now, isn't it? Pro-gun rights is generally considered a right-wing stance, but not an extreme right-wing stance. It is part of the typical American political conversation.
10) Glorifying the Entrepreneur (5)
It hardly gets more American than that. This is a common North American value that is usually honored throughout the right-wing, the center, and most of the Democratic Party. This stance is center/center-right.
11) Venerating the Housewife (9)
This is absolutely Father Knows Best territory. It is directly out of sentimental 1950s Americana and, needless to say, it is sexist as hell. This is their most far-right stance. This is extremist far-right, in a Western contemporary context.
And finally:
12) Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism (7)
I love this notion in its various connotations and aspects. McInnes, as a right-wing political gadfly and humorist -- who may not actually have that much to do with the Proud Boys these days -- used the word "chauvinist" to yank the feminist chain.
However, leaving that antifeminist elbow aside, the idea of "Western Chauvinism" is a call to classical liberalism. By "Western Chauvinism," unless I am being too generous, the PB's mean the tradition of political liberalism as derived from Magna Carta, enunciated in the Constitution of the United States and coming to its height with the Civil Rights Movement under MLK, JR.
So, on a scale of 1 to 10 just where do the Proud Boys see themselves politically? My number is 6.
If you add the numbers above you get 73 as a total out of 12 official ideological tenets. 73 divided by 12 is 6. And that position on a scale of 1 to 10 is not extreme.
Of course, not being a sociologist, I am using a very crude metric, but I think that it is probably reasonably accurate as to how the group sees itself.
None of this is to suggest that the Proud Boys live up to their own ideals. In truth, I've never met anyone who has. Nor is it to suggest that individual PBs contradict any number of the tenets listed above.
But, again, my main question concerning these people is why their advancement into the media spotlight during this political moment?

Whose purpose do they serve?

And please feel free to tell me where you disagree with my numerical assignments.

Friday, October 2, 2020

The Proud Boys

Michael Lumish

How many police have the "proud boys" attacked in the streets of Seattle?

How many buildings have the "proud boys" set afire in Minneapolis? How many Biden supporters have "proud boys" shot in the head in the streets of Portland? How many small, black-owned restaurants or retail shops have the "proud boys" trashed in the streets of Chicago?


This creation of the Democratic Party is a political chimera used to clobber Trump with. They are using the same playbook that popularized the "alt-right" in 2016. Virtually no one ever heard of the "alt-right" until the Democrats conjured them as a propaganda cudgel that fall. And, now, in 2020, when virtually no one had ever heard of the "proud boys," the Democratic Party is popularizing them, as well.

One difference is that the "alt-right" largely stayed behind their keyboards. The "proud boys" make for a better political weapon because they can naively or cynically be used as a means to veil BLM/Antifa blood in the streets. 

What's hideously ironic is the way that the progressive movement, under Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., went from easing racial tensions by the 70s through the 90s to agitating them for electoral reasons ever since. They do so even to the extent that there are some people who speak of civil war.

In truth, it is vile. 

The Democratic Party is using the "race card" because it works, not because they are fighting racism. On the contrary, all this demonization of white people and "Zionists" is doing more to foster hatred then the Klan could ever have hoped. 

Good job, guys. 

But, who knows? Maybe the spreading of hatred will work in the Dems favor this time around. It failed to do so against Hillary, but Hillary did not have the benefit of four solid years of pure progressive-left racialized hatred eating at the American heart.