Anti Intellectualism Hurts the Left and Insults the Working Class

I have noticed time and time again at multiple meetings, protests, and other organizational gatherings that there is a haste in several leftists to abandon intellectualism and academics. Either intellectualism is synonymous with whiteness to some of these people or their is this sentiment shared by many leftists that intellectualism is inherently alienating or off putting to the working class.

I reject these notions and I implore my comrades to reject them as well.

I am not unsympathetic to leftists who have a distain for academia and the intellectual jargon that comes with certain avenues of socialist theory, nor am I blind to the exclusion that academics has perpetuated. It is true that academic rhetoric has been used as a tactic for class elevation rather than for the improvement of ones community. To put it blutnly, people under our current capitalist system view education as a method for moving up the class scale. Instead of a degree being a symbol of your knowledge it is often used as a symbol of your class.

There is also a predominance of white supremacy in all, and I repeat all, institutions born under a capitalist system. This includes our schools, universities and even our unions and leftist organizations. As such the intellectualism that is attached to these things has a predominate tendency to enable white supremacy and I am sympathetic to that fact as well.

However the notion I reject is that the working class are incapable of comprehending intellectualism, that in order of our programs to be considered “accessible” they must be dumbed down. This is the notion I reject. One reason I reject this is because distain for academia is a right wing value, and in turn enabling distain for it by the left is a validation of a right wing talking point. Our job as leftists is too disprove the right wing, not validate it. “The poor are to stupid to organize and rise up,” is an inherently capitalist right wing sentiment and when we perpetuate the idea that the working class cannot comprehend intellectual topics or jargon then we are validating this sentiment.

What is even worse is that distain for intellectualism insults the working class. “Intellectual” should not be equated with “inaccessible.” I do think this is where most leftists are coming from when they express annoyance with intellectualism. It is not that they have a distain for intellectualism itself, but rather it is that they want our program and interpretation of socialism to be as easy to understand as possible in order to foster and build a genuine mass movement. I think that is a fair sentiment.

However, too often than not I see friends and comrades equating the idea of making our work “accessible” with dumbing it down. This is reprehensible. I acknowledge that we need a shift in our jargon, and adaptations to our rhetoric need to be made in order for our socialism to be relevant to the working class of the 21st century, but this does not mean we need to insult the working class in the process. To argue that something is inherently “too intellectual” or “too academic” for the working class is to say that the working class are incapable of complex thought and that intellectualism or academia is too good for the working class.

Nothing, I repeat, nothing, is too good for the working class.

It is also nearsighted to reject intellectualism when you are a leftist organizer because it ignores a very large part about the reality of the 21st century working class. The truth is that most members of the working class today do in fact have some degree of post k-12 education. The existence of the student debt bubble is evidence alone that most people who qualify as “working class” are indeed educated to some degree. Therefore the working class of the 21st century is perfectly capable of intellectualism or of comprehending academic rhetoric because most have already gone through the realms of academia.

My comrades who want to make things like our program and jargon more accessible to the working class are in the right to do so, yet it must be remembered that “accessible” does not mean “dumbed down.” I refuse to insult the very people I want to organize by giving them a program that condescends to them.

It is true that intellectualism has been used to intentionally exclude people, especially non white people. Many of our oppressors have used academics and intellectualism to openly exclude non males and non whites from their ranks. In short, they have used their education and jargon as a method of control rather than as a method of liberation. I think this is another place where our anti academic comrades are coming from when they express distain for intellectualism, and I am sympathetic to this outlook as well.

However I also think that to synonymize intellectualism with whiteness erases the numerous non white intellectuals, such as W.E.B Dubois, bell hooks, Angela Davis, and Cornel West, who have graced us with perspective and theory in manners that are both complimentary to the working class’ capablities AND are accessible to those in the working class who have not undergone a secondary education. We cannot counter erasure with more erasure!

Socialist programs and rhetoric in the 21st century need to adapt, and to adapt they need to be made accessible to the masses. However “accessible” does not have to equal “anti intellectual.” I said it once in this piece and I will say it time and time again until I am dead, nothing is too good for the working class!

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Socialists, Communists, Anarchists of the World, PUT OUT THAT LIGHT!

I am sick and tired of the constant gaslighting that socialists of all schools are forced to deal with.

Constantly we are told by the people who have never been apart of our organizations what we stand for. Every day pundits who hate us will misrepresent us and sometimes even the most well intentioned progressives will perpetuate the stigma that “communism” is a dangerous word. Many liberals will say to us “I like your principles but I don’t like socialism because…” and then they will proceed to give some tedious illogical diatribe that will mistakenly call Putin a Soviet or end in some other illogical fallacy.

The conservatives claim we are terrorists who hate freedom, despite Leftist groups like the YPG and YPJ liberating cities such as Raqqa from ISIS. They claim we hate Americans despite the Soviet Union being the allie’s key to victory in World War II, effectively ending the holocaust I might add.

I am no anarchist, but I despise the people who call Black Block anarchists terrorists or “excessively violent” when the people making such accusations support fascists like Trump or drone enthusiasts like Obama.

So, in an act of solidarity across the spectrum of leftism, be you a Berniecrat, a Black Block Anarchist, a loyal tankie, or a run of the mill DSA member, I implore you to no longer let others tell you what you believe.

We are leftists, we are not talking points to be used as fodder for pundits who are out of touch with the realities of living in our modern, vampiric economy. We know what we are and what we are not and we cannot, must not, let those outside of our ranks be the ones who define us.

I for one will no longer allow the gaslighting of leftists to go by unquestioned. We will not be told what our own beliefs are nor will we let anyone speak for us but ourselves.

We are not threats, we are not dangerous. We are your neighbors, your coworkers, and in some cases your children. We are teachers and nurses, graphic designers and web technicians. We are state workers and we are janitors. We exist in all dimensions and in all classes of life that are outside of the billionaire bourgeoisie. We are people, and we deserve to be treated as people.

So when Fox News or Pelosi loyalists try to tell us what we are or what we are not, put out the gaslight with the raging wave that is our collective power.

I am a socialist, a communist, and a proud member of my organization. I will put out my gaslight and start a new fire, a fire that will rage and burn down the oppressive systems and state that doom us.

Do not let the gaslighting of the left continue. Put out that light and let the fire that is our rage spur a new flame, the flame that can guide the specter of communism to victory in the dark days that we live in.

Leftists, You Don’t Need to Have All The Answers, But You Need to Have Some Answers

It’s all well and good to say, “Smash the system!” I support and agree with that statement whole heartedly.

However if we are not offering a genuine alternative to the status quo and the systems we are attacking then Leftists are screwing over ourselves by weakening our argument and, more importantly, we are screwing over the people we are trying to organize and liberate.

It is the staple of conservatives and reactionaries try to argue with us. I have lost count of how many times I have heard, “Well if you hate capitalism so much, what are you saying should replace it?” In all honesty Leftists are not obligated respond to this. Leftists are not obligated appease this sense of entitlement. We do not need to explain every point about every thing they believe, especially any Leftist of a marginalized group.

However when organizing if we are not offering the masses the clear alternative to the systems we rail against then we are doing a disservice to the capabilities of building momentum and we are weakening our foundation for our movement.

To put it bluntly, it is an insult to the victims of racism, patriarchy, and capitalism to say “smash the system” and not make it clear that there is an alternative to organize for.

It is the calling card of the “lifestyle anarchist” to say smash the system for the sake of saying smash the system. Do not mistake me, this is not an attack on anarchism nor any other form of Leftist theory. What I am saying is that when we say “smash the system” the alternatives we are offering must be made clear so that the unengaged will want to become engaged.

It is all well and good to say “smash the system” but if you are not making it clear that you are offering an alternative, whether that alternative is anarchism, Marxism, or social democracy, you are insulting the very people you are trying to liberate. You are not giving the victims of the system what they need. You are simply validating your own need to decry the status quo when you offer revolution for the sake of revolution. Which is all fine and dandy until the system is actually smashed and then there is nothing in place to help lift and protect the disabled or the otherwise marginalized. The current system does not do that at all, yet if we do not make it clear we are offering a structure that does protect the unprotected then we have lost.

It’s all well and good to say “smash the system” It is not all well and good to ignore the implications of what comes after the fact. It is not all well and good to put your own need to feel validated as a revolutionary ahead of the actual needs that go into a revolution.

Smash the system, and make it clear that when it is smashed there is something to organize, and hope, for.