If we can’t agree on the language we use in a debate, it becomes what my Chinese bookkeeper use to call a “chicken and duck conversation”. We are currently having a “chicken and duck conversation” about race in our society. We think we are talking about race, but the mainstreaming of a radical form of Marxist ideology is directing the conversations toward a bunch of made up political categories that divide populations into white, brown, and black. These colour categories are not races but made up group identities that utilise marginalised sections of populations to engage in a never ending game of wedge politics. Against this conversation are those of us who are trying to continue the revolution of the multiracial liberal democratic state. What is at stake is the chance to continue to grapple with the complexity of living together united under the principles that have made the freest populations in all of history.
For almost all of history people gathered themselves into their tribal, cultural and racial groups into which they were born. I am no anthropologist, but it seems these “groups” have been fighting, dominating, enslaving and making alliances with each other forever. The Nation State brought things to a new level when it came to collecting taxes and pooling power. At the beginning of the 20th century in Europe, after a great deal of bloodshed and suffering there began a type of science called sociology. There was a rush of writing with theories about better ways to manage populations in the rather new invention of nation states. We saw the rise of much of the theoretical framework on which modern western states are based and how we understand the political world. We recently had a debate in Australia about the value of these social studies. Our government made the degrees more expensive because they are becoming less valuable (actually politically corrupted), I received one (technically two) of these Arts Degrees many years ago and I’ll share with you some of what I learned.
I learned that “white” is not a type of “people” and to be suspicious about anyone who claimed they were. All the various native peoples of Europe have never considered themselves a single people, they have barely taken a break from killing each other for 30 straight years in a row. For the most part “white” in relation to people has only ever been a physical descriptor. Except when it isn’t, and that is usually only when governments want to exclude people from citizenship, or someone is trying to make a grab for power.
By the time kings were being toppled by liberalism or communism, European nations had their dirty little fingers in many pies throughout the world. With the rise of liberalism, democracy, capitalism and industrialisation, things got messy in managing multi-racial populations. In dealing with native populations, imported workers, slaves and migrants, certain nation states invented the political category of “white people”. This was done almost exclusively to maintain wealth and power or more precisely to exclude certain people from wealth and power through the limitation of citizenship rights. From an economic perspective it was done to keep labour costs low and maximise surplus.
The starkest example of the political use of “white people” is apartheid, where the grounding of rights was not in just in race but very much skin colour to the extreme. You could sustain an argument that South Africa, was “white supremacist” but the grounding of citizenship in colour was far less an ideological belief and more a political and economic strategy to maintain power and wealth with those who had taken it. Apartheid became utterly unsustainable because it was inconsistent with principles of liberal democracy and basic morality. Under Apartheid the fact that black people were held with less inherent value than white people is obvious, but social science investigates all levels of human societies not just ideology. The reason I wanted to study the social sciences it that I wanted to examine the ways societies organise themselves in all their complexities. I thought that we could make population management better. The aim wasn’t just to avoid inequality but to avoid the kind of mass murder we seems to see repeated over and over again in human history.
White supremacy and dividing populations into colour categories to maintain power are side by side bad ideas but are not always the same thing. White supremacy as an ideology, saw its ultimate expression in Germany. While Max Weber was talking about a new science to manage societies, a failed art student named Hitler was developing very bad ideas ground in resentment and stupidity. The world had a war about these ideas, and we lost about 80 million people. The killing of Jewish people in gas chambers, remains the gold standard of evil government. Destroying the Third Reich brought the British Empire to the edge of bankruptcy and broke the back of it’s world dominance. To make Hitlers ideas synonymous with “whiteness” and not the crushing of them, is a new pernicious habit of those who continue the use of colour categories in a dangerous power game.
Theories that “White people” are essentially genetically better than people with darker skin have never been universally accepted among native Europeans, quite the contrary. Theories of “white supremacy” have been completely and universally rejected among mainstream social theorists. We hear that there is a consensus among climate scientists about global warming, that is nothing compared to the consensus among social science in regard to white supremacy. These ideas did not exist in race discourse when I went to university and haven’t existed in modern intelligent debate or social theory until very recently, where they are being attributed to made up population categories, without their consent.
While the western world was trying to rid itself of colour categories, something was happening in the humanities departments. Socialists were losing their grip on the working class. By the 1970s the western proletariat was becoming wealthier and increasingly disinterested in collective power. Communism didn’t look so good from the comfortable suburban block. Socialists needed more oppression to work with. Basic statistics revealed that the people with the relative disadvantage were native populations, new migrants, and in the USA, former slave populations. Socialists at some point have realised that if they use the old “white supremacist” trick of colour coding populations, they could roughly re engineer their grand narratives of oppression and freedom through collective strength. In the humanities department where I completed by degree in the early nineties, Marxist were still trying to hold on to class and were pitting themselves against the anti-grand narrative academics on the post-modernist side of theory. We were getting some postmodernist analysis in feminism and Aboriginal revisionist histories, but Marxism and postmodernism where apparently contradictory.
Since my time at university something has happened to merge these academically contradictory schools. They haven’t exactly merged it’s just that Marxist started to use the postmodern methodology. We have seen the postmodern deconstruction of the grand Marxist class narratives and then a prompt reconstruction as a pernicious intersectional narrative based on race, sex and gender identity. Marxism still paints all capitalist systems as inherently oppressive, but the intersectional Marxists re purpose some of the old “racist” categories of groups that were used to attempt to control multi race populations. These categories replace the upper classes as oppressors with “white people”. The proletariat are no longer the victims of oppression of the capitalist system. We now have new categories of oppressed humans like “brown people”, “black people” the “non binary” add to these, the gender expansive and still, I think, women (although conservative white women have been excommunicated from the oppression Olympics). In league with these victims of the oppressive capitalist system and white supremacist state, a group of virtuous (and often vicious) sympathises have risen that they call “allies”, “advocates” or if they are honest “activists”.
Critical race theory has emerged from these Marxist departments to again build an entire theory to re-interpret the history of the world into shades of skin. I recently had an academic from one of these humanities departments tell me that he couldn’t even explain the reason why I was inherently racist because as a person of colour it wasn’t his job to educate me. I told him that I had a first class honours degree in political and cultural theory, I was married to Lebanese man, have bi-racial children and I have travelled the world extensively, If I don’t understand how I can be racist, what hope did other “white people” have? He directed me to a very specific book on critical race theory. I told him I could tell from the synopsis that the theoretical base was German and French theorists. More specifically the theory is a cross between Marxism, German Romanticism and French Postmodernism. Since these are all white people, as was the author, why would this book be better than a person of colour to explain racism to me? No apparent explanation.
What I learned from my Arts Degree is that assigning characteristics to a “people” is not racist. Assigning negative character traits to a person’s racial genetic make-up is racist. Assigning these characteristics to a person as a member of a group that they are given no choice but to belong to is bad. To do so for political purposes is deadly and is usually employed for some kind of population control.
What we are talking about here is social theory and not genetic differences in race or the psychology of cross-cultural relations. That is because I am an Arts graduate, and I’ll tell you something about Arts graduates, we generally aren’t that bright. Arts has the lowest academic entry requirements and its graduates don’t always have a great deal of knowledge and patience for boring old science and numbers and things. In my day, we looked at statistics and population management through finding actual problems with actual research. But generally, us social scientists like stories, grand theories, history and philosophy. That is why theories of “whiteness”, “white fragility” and “brown people” seem stupid and ridiculous. They are made up by the dummies of academia.
Even though my honours thesis was titled “Policing Culture”, no one was more surprised to see these moronic Marxist theories sweeping through various institutions than I. When it first started to see culture being policed in very suspicious ways, I emailed my old professor and asked what was happening in the humanities. Being close to retirement he was clearly keen to keep his head down, but he confirmed the research process in the Humanities has been completely corrupted. My Professor was a fan of Max Weber and thought that research should be conducted in an ideological vacuum, like any science. He defended what Weber called the “neutrality of scholarship (as memorably defended by Max Weber in his ‘Science as a Vocation’ lecture)”. I had argued with him twenty-five years ago that his plight was an idealistic one, and as such was self-defeating. Weberian postmodernists in those days were reluctant to pick a horse and have therefore been outrun by more sexy theories.
What was causing me alarm before emailing my professor was that people were publicly and unashamedly assigning agency to people in accordance with their religion, sex and skin colour. It seemed a strange thing for media and social commentators to do. Even though I hadn’t picked up a book of political theory in many years I easily saw the familiar structure of socialist theory in mainstream social commentary, particularly on the ABC. Marx didn’t accept that people in social structures acted with agency as individuals. He maintained that the structures of power in a capitalist society locked people into patterns of behaviour that they were hopeless to resist, and therefore the overhaul of the entire economic system was needed to force equity and fairness. The Marxist aim is for “the people” (actually the government) to own the means of production. This is about power, everything with the Marxists is about power and big massive governments controlling all aspects of life, including thought.
Worst still, I can see the fingerprints of Foucault on cultural discourse but as if someone had given Foucault to a complete idiot. When I first saw social justice warrior confessing their white supremacy sins I thought about Foucault and his work in “The history of Sexuality”. He wrote about the misconception that Victorians repressed sexuality. He said far from repressing sexuality the Victorians were obsessed with it and injected sexuality in every aspect of life in order to control it. I thought the same was happening with the new social justice movement. Rather than killing white supremacy what was happening was a massive proliferation of race and racism into every aspect of life. Far from trying to expel racism it was all of a sudden everywhere.
Foucault has had some bad press from the right, but he was a master in analysing structures of power. He liked to examine the fine use of power in clinics and institutions and in the small aspects of everyday life. The Postmodernists were interested in the intricacies of culture and how we saw power used in architecture and clothing and furniture. Now we have what used to be “journalists” gathering evidence of this minute operation of power with rather less art than the masters themselves. In fact, the new “analysists of power” are to Foucault what Milli Vanilli is to Simon and Garfunkel.
New allies of the Marxist causes find particularly evidence of the operation of systematic oppressive power in our streets, in our language and this week even in our rice. “Racism” has to be rooted out in places that it clearly doesn’t even exist in order to prove the great narrative of the oppression. Ignoring at every point, actual disadvantage of many kinds including the ongoing appalling outcomes of Indigenous people.
If there is a causal relationship between racism and disadvantage it would be a perfect subject for study in the humanities department. But Marxist using targeted and misappropriated postmodern research methods just posit a theory that is sure to be proven in dialogue, cultural artefacts and thoughtless expressions of “white people”. Once the process is corrupted the research will always find the evidence it seeks. Similar simplistic theories are floated by feminists with the causal relationship between misogyny and domestic violence. The absolute dominance of Marxist thought means that all acts of racism are placed into a narrative of racism and systematic failure leading to the poor outcomes. All acts of domestic violence are the result of the sexist thoughts of all men. This is great for left wing governments, because the blame always rests in grass roots population leaving for them little to do but point fingers and exercise more control over culture. The solution is always bigger government and a different kind of government.
The public, not being idiots, are now increasingly cynical of accusations of racism and sexism at every point they turn. Most dangerously, this movement silences the struggles that vulnerable people like women and children have within their own culture and race to access protection and justice. These struggles get very little oxygen with a media hungry for a simplistic white on black struggle.
What has bothered me in the rise of this new form of Marxism over the last few years is that Socialism always requires not just a struggle but a real fight to get a revolution going. Classic liberals have come late to the party and have not been in the mood for a fight. The centre and right have agreed that racism is bad, they remind the left that we have sacrifices blood and treasure for this cause. They have tried to be rational and say, “hang on, let’s talk this over in the marketplace of free ideas”. That’s had mixed success because the way to fight “racism” and resulting disadvantage has been to control language everywhere.
What the far left are really looking for is a proper fight with the white supremacists. Turns out they are hard to find. People like Jordan Peterson have been warning us that when you pick a fight with the far right by using their very terms of reference, you may find one, and they don’t fight to lose. But in lieu of a proper gang of skinheads on every corner, the left has needed to find the new class enemies of white supremacists in everyday life. Every white conservative woman for instance is a secret white supremacist, her name is Karen. But there are still white supremacists somewhere and one can’t help but think this can go very bad very quickly.
The mainstreaming of Marxist critical race theory as a social justice movement targets youth culture and language to gain support, but there are plenty of violent types around on both sides keen for a fight. There is an attractive pull to be an “ally” (comrade) to the revolution because our young have never seen or remember the shedding of blood.
As a young university student, I was a socialist. I thought the boring old classic liberals to be very dull. I remember them in their clean neat clothes and dorky haircuts and how smugly superior I thought I was to them in every way. But my parents had grown up during the depression and WW2 and I had in me an implanted uneasiness at the idea of a revolution. I remember talking to a real Marxist and hearing him tell me that he actually wanted to overthrow the state. That was the beginning of me redefining my politics.
Simplistic Marxist ideas are appealing in moral superiority but they completely ignore the complexity of race relations and the dynamics of disadvantage and the blood that social unease almost always leads to. We hear people talking casually about the dismantling of the entire criminal justice system. I know what it is like to be homeless and alone and a young single woman and a victim of crime. In my Arts Degree I learned that an independent police force was essential for women’s liberation and I knew why. What is happening in the universities is criminal.
No logic is useful here because socialist narratives are always simplistic and stupid. But they are very appealing to the young and those you can convince they are dispossessed. The fact that these theories are ground in German and French theory are therefore “white” themselves, is not mentioned. Because this movement is absolutely dependent on “white people” being inherently racist.
Marxist no longer talk about cultural hegemony because they hold it and as such, they are controlling the language. They are categorising humans into broad categories of skin colour and trying to force us to debate on these terms. These concepts were implemented into laws by multi-racial run nations but the ideas that underpinned them have been fought against with volumes of words, treasure and blood. We now know that skin colour is a ridiculous way to categorise populations, and certainly not appropriate in politics or the management of populations. These are categories that have been invented solely for dodgy political and government purposes. What to do? We need to refuse to talk like a duck. Refuse to use these Marxist and white supremacist categories for humans. Reject the narrative completely. Try to refer to races and cultures by their correct names and get off your knees people, we are trying to continue the revolution here for free liberal democratic states.