Sunday, May 31, 2020

America Has Always Been at War with America

I've been dithering on whether to write about the protests of the murder of George Floyd and the retaliatory police riots spreading across the country.  There's a lot of information flooding the media, corporate and otherwise, and I can't keep up with it.

On one hand I've been seeing white hipsters cheering on the People's Violence from a safe distance.  I think they've been playing too many dystopian video games, among other fictional media: one usually sensible guy on Twitter wanted to compare real life to V for Vendetta. I like the graphic novel, but it's not reality.  I suggested that the guy look at real-life parallels, such as the successful history of protest and resistance in South Korea; and I went back to reread my own coverage of the candlelight vigils there from 2008 onward.  (Which reminded me that I was unable to interest leftish bloggers and independent media in those events at the time.  Not as exciting as V for Vendetta, I guess.)

"Let's You and Him Fight" is one of the creepiest things I see on the white left, especially when it buys into the Right's narrative that the protests are predominantly violent.  It's hard to say for sure, but it appears to be the other way around. No one has access to the opinions of all African-Americans, but I see indications that the community is not united behind burning it all down.  I'd be surprised if it were. Those whites calling for more destruction are doing so, not because they stand with black people, but because they enjoy fantasizing about it.

The mutual aid and support, the caring for each other that is turning up everywhere - sometimes looted by the police -- are to my mind much more newsworthy than the violence, wholly justified though it is, and the mutual aid is not going to get the same amount of coverage by the corporate media.  There's also the near-certainty that a lot of the violence is being incited and committed by police agents provocateurs, just as we've seen in the past.  But you can't eat violence, you can't live on bricks, and nobody on the ground or in the streets wants a permanent diet of tear gas and pepper spray.

Except the police, of course.  Even the corporate media are recognizing that, as they are targeted for harassment and violence by the police.  The spectacle of heavily armed gangs of racist goons prowling the streets, assaulting bystanders and driving their SUVs into crowds, is going to get harder and harder to frame as keeping the peace.  So now the police are unlawfully ordering reporters to stay off the streets, to hide their criminality.  I'm not optimistic about how this will turn out.