Electoralism and Reformism Are Not The Same Thing

Because one participates in organizing for electoral politics does not mean one has put all their faith in reform.

Some treat electoralism as a form of base building, and given the current political landscape it is the kind of base building that can reach the most people in the fastest way.

However, just because one is supporting a candidate or ballot measure does not mean they have put all their hopes in changing the system that way.

Reformists believe in changing the system from the inside.  Electoralists understand however understand that change is unlikely to happen from the outside without massive public pressure that is also rank and file.   Electoralists understand that elections can be used to base build and can chip away at the power of capital in one is both victorious and consistent after that victory. For example, a reactionary anti woman republican will have a much harder time gutting abortion rights or taking away welfare if he has to worry about losing his seat to a socialist, and when he loses his seat they must live with the reality that a socialist is now in office making policy decisions.

Of course, one cannot depend on that socialist in office alone to make all the right decisions, not without a huge base constantly putting pressure on them to do the right thing.

If that elected socialist demonstrates good practice they will push for policies that direct power away from capital and expand social services. The odds of them going full Lenin and leading us to a revolution are microscopically slim, but their base can now be called on to show up for strike solidarity and anti racist protests. They can be called on to pressure and bird-dog other elected officials to act on climate change.

This is not what reformists believe.  Pure reformists believe that we can count on elected officials to do their jobs once elected.  There is no room for an interest in base building for a revolution if one is counting on reform alone to liberate the working class.  Reformists only care about the bottom line, but electoralists know that they can use the base they have built from the campaign they have organized to build a genuine alternative to the capitalist system.

To reject electoralism because of a false equivalency to reformism hurts us more than it will help.

Plus, more elections should be what ever socialists push for. We need more elections, more mass participation, more things should be put to a public vote. The more we are voting the more we are in control of our communities. This is the goal of socialism and communism, democratic control over what affects our daily lives, that is going to mean lots of voting in lots of elections.

Another world is possible, but we need to get our practice in now. Until we have a mass movement behind us, we have no other choice than to build our base any way we can.

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A Quick Note About Leftist Strategy

Strategy and ideology are equally important but when one gets put ahead of the other you run into problems.

Put ideology ahead of strategy you end up doing stupid shit like not voting or joining cultish fraud left groups. If all you care about is validating your analysis instead of thinking tactically to gain the most materially for the most people then you are not helping the left.

Put strategy ahead of ideology you end up selling out important beliefs. If all one cares about is getting socialists elected and not about holding them accountable, about laying out a socialist program for society, and building alternatives to capitalism all at the same time, one is not helping the left.

Leftists should have a strong idealogical core. They should also use that ideology to think and act as tactically as possible.

I don’t think it’s that complicated.

Sex and Revolution, Why The Left Needs to Talk About Sex

Many like to think that we have overcome our prudish cultural fear of sex. It would seem like we have come a long way if one thinks about the constant use of sex in advertising, the existence of thirst trap instagram feeds, and the new public acceptance of kink culture. While we have come a long way in the sexual dialectic, we still have very far to go.

The left must make sex and sexuality integral to our rhetoric and platform. Forsaking sex when talking about our society leads to a continuation of our insecurities and perpetuates the erasure of large groups of people.

Sex Sells

Sexually repressive cultural constructs in our society are still rampant. Our fear of sexual nuance leads to a lack of dialogue on the subject of sexuality. This lack of a dialogue leads to numerous social problems and leads to people developing sexual insecurities. These insecurities are extorted by the capitalists who work in advertising and marketing in order to drive unnecessary consumption for the sake of generating profit.

The use of sex to sell is rampant most in online culture. On instagram we see body building men and women, or “fitstagram models,” selling us snake oil powders and teas that are supposed to make us stronger and sexier. More often than not these models and the commercials they perform in are not only extorting our insecurities, they are selling us the idea of what sex should look like.

The same can be said of the commercials on tv and videos that use sex to sell. Remember when you see an Axe body spray commercial or a Just For Men hair care ad and it ends with a man and a woman sensuously caressing each other, the advertisers aren’t just telling you “Buy this so you’ll have more sex,” they are also telling you “Remember, this is the only kind of sex!”

So long as the sexual dialogue is lacking then there will continue to be erasure of people outside of the heteronormative and gender binary spectrum. While we have made progress in the acceptance of gay people, we are seeing the erasure of trans people and those who identify as queer, as well as gender fluid people, non binary people, and asexuals thanks to the use of sex in advertising. The use of sex in advertising more often than not normalizes only one kind of sex, heterosexual sex.

The fact that we almost never even talk about asexual people leads to both erasure and perpetuation of further insecurities. (Am I not normal because I’m not sexual enough? Maybe if I buy this stuff I will be!). Erasure of sexuality hurts and holds people back on multiple levels.

We Can’t Talk About Sex Without Talking about Consent!

Our lack of a genuine and all-encompassing discussion of sex also holds back the growing #MeToo movement. One of the reasons we exist in rape culture is because we do not teach enough about consent. You cannot teach what consensual sex is if you can’t even talk about sex itself. This lack of understanding of consent is one of the reasons why victims of sexual violence are held back and afraid to speak up. It is a direct cause of the belittling and even life threatening attacks against victims who come forward. We have often heard these toxic, and infuriating arguments made when a victim of a sexual predator comes forward, “If she didn’t want it why did she dress like that?” Or “Are you sure you didn’t lead him on?” Etc. If we do not talk about sex, how can we properly talk about consent!?

Porn as a Public Service

Our lack of a sexual dialogue is evident in the thriving industry of pornography. Consider how the number of genres of pornography has gone up exponentially over the last decade, why has this happened? Because for literally millions of people internet pornography is the only avenue to explore their sexuality because capitalism isolates us from one another, keeping us from having the sexual dialogue we need.

The porn that a society consumes is reflection of that society, and the fact that porn genres seem to be increasing in numbers by the day demonstrates how people become isolated from talking about sexuality with each other and are desperate for outlets of expression. As a pro sex individual, I am glad that porn performers are giving people this place to explore. Porn performers and other consenting sex workers are the sexual vanguard because they are willing to express and explore their sexuality to the point it becomes their living. The services they provide allow the sexually repressed masses an avenue to explore their sexuality. Just a side note, the least we could all do is pay for our porn every once in awhile.

What Will Happen If We Don’t Talk About Sex

So long as we do not discuss sexuality in an open, public, and universal way there will be capitalist extortion of our sexual insecurities. We can fight this extortion by making a discussion of sexuality central to a leftist platform.

One of the best ways to do this is to support sex work decriminalization and to elevate the voices of sexwork organizers. We should particularly elevate the voices of organizers who identify as LGBTQA+ in order to fight back against their erasure. It also makes the most sense to elevate the people who make their living off sex as the vanguard for discussing the need for sexual liberation.

We can counter the capitalist isolation and its extortion of our sexualities. Talk about sex and talk about sexwork. Talk about consent and make sure that you do not shy away from the word sex.

Acknowledge that our social perceptions of sex are still heteronormative. Acknowledge that many still think of gender being a biological binary.

Let us fight the erasure of sexual preferences and of gender and sexual identities so that we may overcome the insecurities that the capitalists use to extort our consumption.

Let us elevate sex workers and fight for decriminalization and unionization of sexwork. Let sexworkers and LGBTQA organizers take the platform and follow their lead.

Let’s make the revolution sexy!

Misconceptions About Electoralism

There is a sentiment shared by some leftists that if one participates in electoral politics then one is inherently counter revolutionary. Many have the idea in their heads that if one is in favor of organizing for electoral politics then that person must think electoral politics is the only answer. This idea in my opinion is shallow, insulting, and nearsighted.

I am pro electoral politics but I am not some naive fool who thinks that we can solve all of our problems simply with reforms and elections. I believe that in order to bring about total revolution we need to be organizing on all fronts relevant to the working class in the time we live in, and yes one of those fronts is electoral.

However, I believe we must also be constructing alternatives to capitalism through local acts of mutual aid and solidarity, that we must have an internationally focused analysis and support fights for liberation all over the globe, and that we must organize the workers, tenants, and patients of the world to overthrow the capitalist system.

I do not think electoral politics can solve much but I do believe that it can 1. Help with mass base building and 2. Can be used to put up resistance to right wing influence. While electoral politics will never bring about the totality of revolution it is a way to reach millions of people at once. Reaching this many people with a working class platform is essential to laying the foundation for revolution. Not only this but participating in elections inconveniences the right wing.

The system is inherently built to protect the right wing because the interests of the right are the interests of capital, however electing leftists to all ranks of public office puts up road blocks to right wing policies. The more we can make things harder for the right wing the better. I do not understand why some on the left forsake this!

For example when abortion bans are introduced to legislatures, the presence of leftists can offer open vocal challenges to these bills and even organize their defeat. This in the short term is a genuine material victory for the working class, their rights to reproductive health are safe for another day. In the long term, if organized properly, their campaign will have built a base that can be mobilized when needed. An example of how to properly utilize the base you have built is best personified in the Bernie campaign. Bernie has used his network to alert his base about ICE raids and strike actions, this is what elected officials should be doing!

The other thing to remember is that no leftist should view one single tactic as a panacea. No single tactic will bring revolution and revolution itself is not a panacea (remember, revolution is not the end but the means to an end!) This is why it is imperative that we be present on all fronts. The number of issues that are connected to the realities of capital create so many different fronts that need to be organized. The attacks on women’s choice, the attacks on sex workers, the attacks on black lives and immigrants, the attacks on unions, the attacks on tenants, and the attacks on genuinely democratic elections are all places where the left must be taking action.

I find it insulting and genuinely shallow that some people think because I am in favor of organizing for electoral politics that I must only believe in electoralism and reform as our means.

No, I believe in electoralism and reform as a tactic of base building, inconveniencing the right wing agenda, and winning short term material goals. I believe that true revolution can only be achieved when the left is built into a massive front united against capital! I do not see electoral politics as a panacea, nor do I fetishize the idea of spotenous revolution, as many leftists do.

Another thing to remember is that infiltration is a lost art to the left. Snu Tzus Art of War makes a clear argument that spies are a necessary tool to win any war, and make no mistake because we are in a class war. We on the left have no spies, no insiders, no informants. We constantly have to worry about the likes of the FBI or local police infiltrating our ranks, the agents of the state should be just as worried about us spying on them. Yet they are not, all because so many on the left do not touch electoralism and reform.

I am willing to concede that electoralism and reform is not sexy. It is not as romantic as ultra left reading groups larping about the russian revolution, it does not feel like as much of an immediate material gain when compared to local acts of mutual aid, it is not as cool to post on social media as a sit in or mass arrest is, but internal base building is essential and electoral work streamlines base building.

Yet once again I must reitierate, I do not see electoral gains as a panacea. I see them as a short term base building gain and a short term material gain when we use elections to put up blockades to right wing attacks on the working class. To act like I believe in no other tactic, no other hope for a massive revolution is insulting, gaslighting, nearsighted, shallow, and just over all counter revolutionary. We can never expect to defeat the right wing if we are still having trivial arugments about whether or not to vote! While we continue to have these conversations, the ice caps melt and all who are not white cis males are attacked by the day.

We cannot afford to reject any area where we can achieve a genuine material gain, be it in the short or long term. We must build our base, our platform, and mobilize. What many on the left forget, we are still in the phase of building our base.

So abandon this shallow outlook. I am not asking you to embrass electoralism, I am demanding you stop assuming that someone using one tactic means the only believe in that one tactic. We cannot afford to be nearsighted, we have too much work to do.

Why the Left Should Abandon Julian Assange

Assange getting arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London

I am making a special post outside of my regularly scheduled content to bring you a very important message. A message that will upset some of my fellow leftists but I think it needs to be said.

I think leftists should stop supporting Julian Assange. We should not be focused on one mediocre white man. We should be focused on a multi racial and international working class that is actively fighting patriarchy.

I do not support the arrest of Assange nor do I support his extradition to the U.S. I do think Wikileaks did the right thing by releasing the footage exposing atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq and exposing the DNC’s insider game against Bernie. I think Chelsea Manning is a beacon of integrity as well.

All of that said, the amount of support that some on the left are giving to Assange is infuriating to me.

Here are some things about Assange we must consider when talking about his case:

1. Assange is not a leftist, he hates the left. He released a video in 2014 that revealed he was a Ron Paul libertarian and that he is blatantly misogynist. He is vocally against a woman’s right to reproductive choice, which in my opinion doesn’t help his defense against sexual assault since the allegations revolve around him using broken condoms.

2. Assange has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women. This is often ignored by his supporters because it defeats the narrative that he is purely a victim of state oppression. What is even worse is that some will decry the allegations against him as a conspiracy by the CIA, totally removing his victim’s agency. If you call yourself a leftist but you refuse to believe victims, even victims whose stories hurt your narrative, you are not an agent against patriarchy and therefore you are not an agent against capitalism. We can not pick and choose which victims we support, truth is more important than narrative, period!

3. The DNC wikileaks release doesn’t make up for Assange’s misogyny, and yes the DNC leaks did help Trump win. It wasn’t the only thing that helped him win, but it did help him win. I am glad that the corruption of the DNC power play against Bernie was exposed, however the way it was framed inevitably helped to paint Trump in a positive light when compared to Hillary Clinton. Assange released nothing about Trump because he said what he had on Trump, “was no more embarrassing than what Trump has already said publicly.” This means that Assange had information on Trump but didn’t release it or it means that he wasn’t looking for it as actively as he was for information against Hillary. Even if what Wikileaks had on Trump (if they indeed had something) was inconsequential, it is bad optics and just bad journalism to be selective about who and what you expose. I am not saying it is the Wikileaks DNC leak that made Trump win, I do not think there is any single reason Trump won. Had that story come out with Bernie as the winner of the nomination he would have been painted as the man who defeated corruption in his own party. It cannot be denied however that the DNC leaks helped Trump’s narrative more than they helped Bernie’s. Despite the DNC corruption, Bernie supported Hillary, that speaks to his integrity and dedication to defeating the right. You do not have to defend Assange to believe the DNC Wikileaks info release.

4. Are we really going to stop everything and demand the release of one mediocre white guy who had lived and ate for free in the Ecuadorian embassy for years while children are detained, war refugees created, and black lives are shot, beaten, and jailed daily!? If you are marching in the streets for Assange and rallying for his release while there are still people rotting in jails across the planet for minor drug offenses, most of whom are black or non white, then you have terrible priorities. Also I would like to remind everyone that there are already multiple political prisoners throughout the world who need our support. Mumia Abul Jamal, Leonard Peltier, numerous LGBTQ people in oppressive anti-queer states, and countless others, but we are going to sidebar them for one white guy who did his job? I call bullshit.

5. All Assange did was his job, a journalists job is to expose harsh realities, but that does not make him a hero of the leftist movement! Releasing the info he had on the DNC and the war in Iraq was his obligation to do so as a journalist. I’m not about to praise someone for merely doing what they are supposed to be doing, especially not someone with the societal privilege that Assange has. What also frustrates me about people leaping to his defense is that several are acting as if governments like the U.S. or U.K. have never used state power to suppress journalism before. Have we already forgotten the Pentagon papers? Watergate? The Bush Administration banning photos of soldiers coffins? Instead of being outraged that Assange is being prosecuted under the Espionage Act, shouldn’t we be outraged about the fact that the law has existed for a century!? Why are we outraged about the person being prosecuted and not the fact that the avenue for prosecution has existed for a century!?

6. Assange let Chelsea Manning take the fall for Wikileaks, period. I applaud Chelsea Manning for her integrity and refusal to snitch on Wikileaks, however her integrity is not Assange’s integrity. When they came for Chelsea, Assange did not stand by her, he ran. He ran like a coward and he ran far! Now I do not blame whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or others for running away and seeking asylum when they can find it. However I will blame people who leave their fellow whistleblowers to rot and Assange left Manning to rot. He used her as a source, then left her behind. A journalist with integrity would never do that.

7. Some acknowledge that he is an asshole but are still rallying for his release because his arrest might set a dangerous precedent for censorship. However I disagree with this analysis because the precedent was always there and has been there as long as we have had capitalist governments. The Espionage Act, as I have already stated, is a century old. This means that the U.S. government has had the legal authority to suppress journalism FOR 100 YEARS! Assange’s case is nothing new. Stop acting like the state has never done this before just because some of the stuff he released helps the leftist narrative against the American state.

I do not support Assange’s arrest, in fact I think it is despicable that once again the state is using it’s power to retaliate against journalists. However, as long as there are black lives being lost, children being detained, war refugees ignored, you will not hear me rally for Assange anytime soon. My priorities are with the multiracial multi gendered working class, not with one white guy who did his job. Assange is no hero, he is a coward who abandoned the people who gave him his information. We should repay him in-kind and abandon him.

What to expect from this blog going forward?

In my pursuit to produce more content and write as much as possible, I’m starting a new regiment with this blog and I am launching a patreon.

Every Monday I will post a new video.

Every Wednesday I will post either a new poem, flash fiction, or short story.

Every Sunday I will post a new article or essay.

For as little as $3 a month on patreon you can help me keep this blog alive and free for the world to enjoy. I want my content to be as accessible to as many people as possible, but I need your help to assure that happens. When I reach my first patreon goal I will be launching a Professional Protester podcast.

Please follow the Professional Protester, here and on Youtube, twitter, and instagram, and join my patreon to help make sure that leftist writers are guaranteed a platform.

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.