Resistance, schmesistance

Simone Segouin, the 18 year old French Résistance fighter, 1944

French girls, gotta love ’em. That could even be a pussy hat, though I suspect it’s really a garrison cap (or piss-cutter, as they used to be called, for some reason). You know, one of those fore-and-aft affairs that look like an overturned lifeboat. I always thought the US version, in plain khaki, looked rather snazzy. Certainly a lot better than those stupid floppy berets that all the US soldier-boys and -girls wear nowadays.

Not surprisingly, the Trump administration has given us one more turn of the screw, or perhaps a turn and a half, in our great nation’s decades-long screwing away from social democracy — what little we ever had of it — and toward downright fascism. All the people who were telling us that Trump was a fascist were right, of course — only they neglected to mention that his predecessors and his opponent were fascists too.

Still, Trump’s election does seem to have roused a certain sense of alarm. Long overdue, in my opinion, but gift horses and all that.

One has been hearing a lot of bold talk about ‘resistance’, mostly on facebook, but it unfortunately seems to be confined to facebook. There were a few marches — permitted, of course, the worst kind, and dominated by establishment Democratic Party careerists. Then tumbleweeds, except for the Russophobe mania.

Thank God that seems to be dying down. My liberal friends are starting to look a bit sheepish when I tease them about that bad ole Putin. Two weeks ago they would have called Homeland Security and dropped a dime on me. See something, say something, even if the something is an ignis fatuus.

But then everything else seems to have died down too. We’re exhorted to join the ACLU and send yet more money to the odious Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Ridiculing Trump and his brummagem Versailles taste and his oafish manners is of course fun, and there’s ample material to work with. Though it has become something of a cliche.

But resistance? Don’t make me laugh. There’s nothing at all worthy of the name.

Of course, as the Psalmist perceptively inquires, מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִֽי — from whence is our help to come? What social formations, institutions, organizations, might incubate some real resistance?

There’s nothing. They’re all gone. The leadership of the labor movement climbed into bed with management decades ago, and was promptly smothered under a pillow, without even thrashing around very much. There’s essentially no labor movement in the US now, except for a wizened, vestigial vermiform appendix to the Democratic party.

There’s never really been any anti-war or anti-imperialist movement in the US, and certainly none since Nixon, that ingenious fiend, did away with the draft. What, after all, would it be based on? Whose ox, in the US, is gored by our wars — except the poor devils who sign up to fight them?

White guys like me are always hoping for something from black folks, and I for one haven’t completely given up. In my experience that’s the milieu where you find the clearest, least muddled view of our situation. But the hegemon is good at mowing the lawn. Real resisters (like the Panthers) get killed or imprisoned, and other potential leaders, or even actual leaders, get co-opted. The sad decline of John Lewis is paradigmatic, as is the whole career of Corey Booker, the smooth, glossy sweetheart of Big Pharma.

It makes me wonder whether real resistance is even possible from inside the global hegemon. I know, this was much discussed a long time ago, and third-worldism dismissed as a heresy. Correctly so, no doubt. Whatever we can do from inside, we ought to do, and shouldn’t be discouraged.

And of course one knows not the day nor the hour; the old mole pops up unexpectedly like a thief in the night, if one may mash up a few of one’s favorite texts. So perhaps what I am doing here is apotropaic contrarianism: every time I make a prediction, subsequent events make a fool of me, so let’s predict something bad and be delighted when we’re proved wrong.

Okay, Old Mole. Over to you. Bring it on.

6 thoughts on “Resistance, schmesistance

  1. This past Thursday, I had another opportunity to witness the depth of depravity of organized labor in this country. The city of San Francisco, which was sold to tech money and developers long time ago has a board of supervisors that along with the mayor govern the city. Never mind the mayor who like most of his predecessors is just a poodle for big money but the board of supervisors is divided into two camps: the reactionary Republicrats and the less reactionary Democrats. Of course both camps run under the label of Democrat because you can’t get elected in San Francisco if you are an overt Republican.

    So the Democratic wing of the Democratic party had introduced an ordinance to force the developers to set aside 25% of new houses they build for low to middle income people. That is 15% for low income and 10% for middle income. The Republican wing of the Democratic party that is comprised of an Iranian guy, a black woman, and an Asian woman countered this ordinance with their own version, which dropped the inclusionary measure to 20%, upped the tranche for the middle income families at the cost of shrinking it for the low income families. Truly awful thing to do in the most expensive city in the country. So I’m sitting at the Planning Commission hearing where both of these proposals are being presented and much to my chagrin, I learn that the SEIU had schlepped boat load of their janitors to support the proposal to rob Peter (low income families) to pay Paul (middle income families). Janitor after janitor took the podium pleading with the Planning Commissioners to approve the worse proposal because they claimed they belonged to the middle income group and therefore, they would stand a better chance to get a piece of the pie. Never mind the trade unions who had sent their carpenters, electricians, and plumbers to defend the worse proposal, that was pretty much expected. But the SEIU janitors that at best make $40k a year were a surprise to me.

    By contrast, Chinatown neighborhood associations showed up in force and defended the more progressive ordinance. You see, unbeknownst to most Americans, there are a lot of poor Chinese families who live in San Francisco and since they don’t belong to any organized labor movement, they can’t be co-opted to speak against their own interests. But the poor Latino janitors were lined up to defend the prerogative of the people with money because their union stewardess had said so.

    Making a long story short, I’m in total agreement with you Comrade Smith. There’s absolutely no tradition of activism, no institutional memory of what it’s like to rally for a cause, and no sense of community or camaraderie left in this country. As a community organizer who’s been doing this for the past couple of years, I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with the people that have received my help and countless hours of my time but cannot bring themselves to spend couple of hours at the City Hall lobbying for the cause. Elections in this city are decided by as small margins as four to six hundred votes and that’s why a show of force in the City Hall puts the fire under the elected officials. Hell, you don’t even have to go Black Bloc and break shit or start a riot. Just show up and use the public comments segment to speak up to the power. I can’t even get that from this crowd and you know why? Because as bad as things are, it’s not bad enough for them to get off their ass.

  2. I was at the million women march, neatly organized the day after the inauguration. not an anti-war, anti-capitalist, anti-prison, anti-Israel, etc., sign to be seen. plenty of “go back to Russia, Comrade Trump” along w/the pro gay, pro pussy, pro immigrant, “i’m w/her” signs. (yeah, just how many commies are there in that casino/mafia/real estate world he made billions in? does NBC have some kind of background check before putting any loudmouthed asshole on the air? do publishers of “bestsellers”? just how many articles in the NYT b/n, I don’t know, 1980 & one year ago today were adulatory of DT?)

    SAT question kids! Trump: Hitler:: Obama: who? I have yet to hear a liberal express the tiniest bit of buyer’s remorse about Obama. if he was so fucking great, how did his tenure result in this retarded clown?

    ah, must be racism. don’t let the low black turnout for HRC fool you. she lost cuz racism.

  3. The “resistance” seems mostly people sharing articles on FB, typing furiously about this or that condition — the vast majority of which obtained during the 8-year reign of The One — and signing off of posts with #resist. And, yes, the singular obsession of the FB “resistance” appears to be…Russia. So the rebels are essentially carrying water for the CIA and the Russophobes within the military-industrial establishment, and any attempt to point this out is met with bleats such as, “So, you’re saying the CIA is worse than Putin?”

    Well, in fact, yes I am.

    What a sorry and pathetic mess.

  4. Well, look who is back!

    I thought you’d been disappeared by the Russia/Trumpite mafia and sent to Guantanamo, or the Gulag… or something equally romantic. Er, uh, I mean miserable.

    It’s great to hear from you!

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