Frost on Solnit

It will be interesting to see whether Amber Frost’s brilliant take- down of the Rebecca Solnit mansplaining book and the mystique surrounding it (and Solnit, for that matter) will get the kind of traction it deserves. If if ends up being ignored-by the left generally and Solnit who I’m sure would be more than happy to pretend it doesn’t exist-I can think of some reasons. (All of them bad.)

1) It’s published on the New Politics blog-a top notch operation but, for whatever reason, almost totally invisible and apparently unable to generate much “buzz” for its generally excellent content (as I’ve discovered when I’ve placed my stuff there).

2) Solnit’s book is published by Haymarket, the commercial wing of the ISO: The ISO cadres who serve as its marketers and publicists will likely ignore, suppress or, at most, trivialize and dismiss it. (Revealing that of the some 70 “likes” I’ve seen none derive from this reliable Trot phalanx. That’s what’s called a “party line”-a subject I’ve discussed previously.)

3) On the other side, Solnit has been embraced as an icon of the horizontalist left, a friend of David Graeber and viewed as an icon of the OWS and “anti-globalization” movements.

4) She also has been accepted within the elite ranks of the liberal/left media circles (e.g. Tom Dispatch, Harpers, the Nation).

It will be hard for those in 3) and 4) to eat crow/admit they were at all wrong about Solnit-the cardinal rule of elite punditry being “never admit error”. Not optimistic this will be an exception.

Anyway, it took a fair amount of guts to write this. My hats off to Amber, who, fwiw, doesn’t like me very much, apparently.

Whatever. I think she does great work.

Rosa’s Choice Revisited

Last week, some of you will remember that I vowed to stop writing these sorts of “purely political” pieces.

I can’t say that I was surprised that I didn’t get called out for breaking my promise today.

After all, whatever my self-delusions, not included among them is that my virtual friends hang on my every word desperately awaiting each new status update as a guide to how they should think, feel and act. In fact, I don’t imagine more than a handful of friends read what I have to say at all.

Furthermore of those who do, I’m perfectly aware that I’m mainly preaching to the converted, and only a tiny fraction of those who are.

That said, if, contrary to fact, it were the case that what I had real influence, it strikes me that it would be my responsibility to circulate the basic line I take here.

The reason goes something like this:

A century ago, we were faced with Rosa Luxemburg’s choice between socialism and barbarism.

For the 22nd century, that’s far too optimistic in that we’ll be lucky if we get barbarism.

What we’re virtually certain to get is the climatological onslaught Oreskes and Conway document leading to the encroaching extinction of the species experienced by our grandchildren’s generation.

And so it is now obvious that our having any chance at a decent survival now relies crucially on our rejecting the belief in what Noam pegged as “The driving force of modern industrial civilisation (which) has been individual material gain, . . . accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits in the classic formulation.”

In short, as Naomi Klein said, it’s capitalism vs. the climate.

It follows that the price of our defeat at the hands of the neoliberal right now is not just misery but the virtual certainty of extinction.

But as Facebook friend Ikoi Hiroe observes “make no mistake: the right is winning, and winning hard. and there is a real reason for that. . .  .(T)o say the left has no fault for this loss is an egregious mistake.”

The linguistic games of the postmodern multicult faux left, their insistence on creating a gated community which the overwhelming majority of potential allies run screaming from, their high dudgeon denunciations, all this has simply become intolerable. I’m not sure when this nightmare will come to an end, but, damn, it has to. And soon.