The opposite of class solidarity is #cancel culture. Cancel culture is aimed at mainly one objective: to divide a class and keep it fractured. What is the importance of fracturing the organizing of unions, worker-co-ops, and really labor in general? These types of organizations/groups expose the lie that corporate symbolism and #wokeness are beyond facades and are as fake as Trump’s golf score.
When workers realize that the corporate idea, where billionaires are “job creators” and that is then measured up to the reality that no corporation is going to create even one more job than necessary, that idea kind of falls apart. In fact, they’ll actually downsize, burnout, and chew up their workforce if they feel they can turn a bigger short-term profit by doing so.
And why is that? They still run off the Milton Friedman grift that the only purpose of a corporation is to maximize shareholder profit, even at the expense of the workforce. In fact, as Nick Hanauer covers extensively, working-class people who are paid more than starvation wages, and can participate in the economy, is actually what creates jobs.
The arithmetic goes a little like this: workers buying goods or services create a demand for those goods or services. That demand creates a vacuum to sell that good or service. The more money in the pockets of the working class, the more willing they are to spend on the economy. In a system where the economy is 70% driven by consumption, raiding the wallets and purses of the working class is an assured economic death.
Coming back to corporate attitudes, many #woke crowds celebrate the tearing down of the name “Aunt Jemima” but leave in all the same ingredients that wreak havoc on our health. Somehow this is a win and we aren’t supposed to scratch beneath the surface to look for any sort of demonstrable good from this “win”.
With cancel culture, we find ourselves in a position where any wrong word or misstep can get people freaking out and actively working to get you fired from your job/position, or never have any future in your current industry. The problem with this is that it de-incentivizes learning and growing. You either get it right the first time or you’ll get dropped into some pariah category where you’re never to be heard from again.
How does that help a working-class agenda? I’m not saying we shouldn’t get rid of someone who has created predatory policies in government that prey upon vulnerable populations. I’m talking about, say, a Black Lives Matter chapter leader who has the balls to confront proud boys. So much so that the proud boys actually respect this leader enough to inform when this particular chapter of BLM may be in danger from the very group of proud boys they participate in.
Some people, even friends of mine, have seen that this chapter leader was humanized by hateful humans and say this is a bridge too far. These people are akin to Nazis and even talking to Nazis is so beyond the pale. You need to be #cancelled if you engage in this behavior is some approximation of their argument. Not to be overly reductive. I have seen the calls to cancel her on social media from people who have surprised me.
Now, let me attempt to get this straight. This chapter leader is warned that hateful people may cause her friends and family harm and she is supposed to do what? Remind the person sending the warning that they are in fact enemies and should remain that way? That the warning falls on deaf ears because the person warning is hateful or have been at one time? That never mind that this person associated with proud boys is looking out for the well-being of a fellow human, they have had problematic views and any associated with them are disallowed from re-entering polite society forever on.
Is this a strategy towards victory? The end result is a permanent fracturing of the working class and ensuring that anyone who has hateful views doesn’t ever let them go but in fact encouraged to double down. When we are raised with bad ideas, we adopt bad ideas. We can call out terrible ideas while still being allied together. Yet, often, the popular thing is to just #cancel them over problematic behavior.
Imagine now, anyone they reach out to, sincerely or not, who talk a big game on evolution then assumes that your current mindset is incapable of change. I am not the same person nor follow the same beliefs as when I did when I was younger. I have evolved. Is there only space for me to evolve but not you?
I’m not talking about canceling racists caught on camera calling the cops on black people minding their business. That is a different argument I’d be willing to have but not the one I’m making.
There also is certainly room to discuss a level of maybe proto-cancel where unless the offenders show how they have repaired the harm they have created and show sincere effort in that endeavor, they are not allowed back into civilized society or polite company in so far as we have defined all those variables. That seems reasonable but there has to be the ability to allow people to evolve and change.
I’m okay with this idea because it leaves a door open for a redemption story. Someone hateful who hates others for such stupid reasons as skin color, suspending their disbelief to reach out to another whom they are supposed to hate, and in Paul Revere fashion warn of the impending danger. Shouldn’t this be something to celebrate? Yeah, I get it that I’m being slightly hyperbolic with my analogies, yet, don’t both of these actions reside on the same sliding scale?
I’m not going to say this particular BLM chapter leader is perfect. I am saying, though, that we, as an American culture, feel the need to tone police female figures: don’t wear that, smile more, try to sound happier, etc. and in this case, this chapter leader is a loud, tall, angry woman. Instead of being left unawares of the danger, this person somehow harnesses the human side of even hateful people to look out for her and her chapter’s well-being. That is some magic power I want to understand, get in on, and in some approximation, reciprocate.
I, in no way, want to cancel this behavior but instead want to revolutionize it and understand the magic, in order to use it in such a critical time in American history as the ever present now. While we are cancelling each other, we allow corporate parasites to shape the narrative and define what should and shouldn’t be cancelled in yet another plastic and packaged way to run a society.
Pandemic where 40 million people lost their jobs and healthcare is tied to your job? “HOW ARE YOU GOIN TO PAY FOR THAT” is the lobbied scream at any mention of Medicare for All. But let me tell you what, from a corporate personhood perspective, they’ll change the name from Aunt Jemima to something more palatable. This way there is no need to pay workers more or provide better/any benefits. They can just do corporate symbolism and the symbol minded will fall in line.
Go on, continue to cancel each other. Don’t fight the fight that will actually herald change. Pitch your battle at someone who is struggling in the exact economic ways you are while kowtowing to corporate iconography literally meant to keep you from scratching beneath the surface of perceived change.
A recipe for success this is not. If we cancel this person thinking this makes us Scott free (double entendre) of any responsibility, don’t we lose access to this magic power? I, for one, am excited to see if there is room to exploit this magic for the good for the American working class and hopefully at the peril of the parasitic corporate class.
To be fair, there are elements to this story of which I know I am not aware. I am sure this is not the full argument lobbied against this particular chapter leader. All I am saying is, she is no evil mastermind like Lex Luthor, looking to worm their way into power and devour it for their own devices.
I’m saying, whether this chapter leader agrees with your critique of her or not, hasn’t she earned the right to civilly defend her ideas without simply casting her aside as #cancelled? What lessons can we learn from each other and then use that strength to make actual change, in class solidarity!?
After all, is there truly such a thing as never disagreeing or making mistakes in life?
“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” -Niels Bohr