the left vs the right: fighting for the past/present vs the future

somewhere around the 35:00 mark in the episode, From 4Chan to Charlottesville: where the alt-right came from, and where it’s going, of the ezra klein show, ezra poses a frame of the current moment in america that was striking.

essentially, he said that the far right is fighting against a future in which they imagine themselves erased. the left and far left is fighting for framing the reality of the present; it is fighting to be recognized and acknowledged and seen as oppressed right now so that the future isn’t like the past for us. and, in ezra’s mind, these different frames make for a mostly, even fundamentally unproductive conversation.

i think this framing is dead on. white supremacy is gasping its last breathes and fighting like hell to hold on. facebook reminded me the other day of the extinction burst idea abe posted about last year and, though i can’t find abe’s actual post from last year, this text from wikipedia feels just as poignant:

While extinction, when implemented consistently over time, results in the eventual decrease of the undesired behavior, in the short term the subject might exhibit what is called an extinction burst. An extinction burst will often occur when the extinction procedure has just begun. This usually consists of a sudden and temporary increase in the response’s frequency, followed by the eventual decline and extinction of the behavior targeted for elimination. Novel behavior, or emotional responses or aggressive behavior, may also occur.

white folks who are still sleeping, are fighting against erasure and mostly don’t even know it. or can recognize it on one level, but not fully understand how deeply troubling it is to their identity (which isn’t white) what it might mean to be “erased”. in my mind, the obvious solution is that, because whiteness is fiction (and not fiction), the erasure is actually an evolution or shift. but if you can’t interrogate that critcally, it just feels like death (i imagine).

and folks fighting using identitarian politics are mostly like: “hello, we’re here, most of this doesn’t work for us, and we’re tired of it. if everyone could stop rememering the false from the eyes of the colonists and slaveholders and pay a little more attention to the folks who literally were killed, pushed off their land, brought here against their will, and made to work for centuries for negative wages and death, then we could actually move forward in solving some of these fundamental problems we’re dealing with.”

but it seems to me that, given ezra’s framing, we on the left have got to get better at what we’re currently doing (reframing the present) and fighting imagination with imagination.

actually, it’s probably not about fighting at the imagination level. it’s probably about expanding all our imaginations (tools like amb’s detroit sci fi generator and the game, the thing from the future, come to mind as ways to help us get there, but there’s a lot of work to be done before we can even start ideating collaboratively (i think)…)

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