Even the Arsehole in the Corner

Society is for everyone

Pexels pic, CC0, by kaiquesrocha

Categorising people into groups in order to show discrepancies in who gets to live the good life in society was meant to be helpful on more than just a social level. It was meant to demonstrate the flaws of capitalism, its racist reliance, its reliance on women to do a shit-ton of unpaid work to keep everything going, its misuse of the earth, monetising everything and turning everythng into a commodity so that we are in a far weaker position to deal effectively with climate change than we may have been.

But the way some people do it now just demonstrates how very hard it is to see the destruction of capitalism when you’re in it. Now, you can be an ardent fundamentalist neoliberal and still play the minority card without once questioning anything broader.

But we are meant to categorise people and then we are meant to position all of those categories into a much wider category that includes all of humanity.

That’s how it was meant to work.

But it is easy to forget now that there is a broader category. Instead, our categorisations so easily can degenerate into a grasping for the social credit that our minority victim cards can grant our poor withered souls, without once understanding that such grasping can only come from people starved of community, starved of the comfort that comes from being part of a society that looks after everyone. Instead too many of us have become happy fumbling for the dregs end-stage capitalism can offer.

It’s a fucking killer once you see it, the way we’re all clawing into each other, divided and conquered as neatly as if it was a directive from the CIA.

We are kind of like the Monopoly game, which was originally created in order to show up the shitshow of capitalism and which was then turned by Parker Brothers into its opposite, a celebration of capitalism, one of the most boring bored games in history.

Our vision of what we must move to needs to be way wider than where it currently sits, where we’re happy creating a false sense of comfort by grouping up in tribes and fighting each other on the social front or on the tribalist political front. It needs to be so wide that it includes even the arsehole in the corner. If you’re in America he’s the dick in the MAGA cap. The one who’s become even more racist in the last five years.

Even that arsehole. Because as far as you know, your bickering online about identity politics helped move him there out of pure reaction to your sanctimony masqueraing as activism.

You wanna know what a lack of class consciousness looks like, when you apply modern-style identity-politics-as-practised-by-Twitter on that guy? It’s the consciousness that’s aware enough to call him trailer trash but not yet aware enough to know that he is as much a victim of the system as anyone else.

When you practice identity politics without a full understanding of structural politics, which includes class, you practice fashion. We know the good categories. They’re the minority categories. And it’s good that we are consciously bringing to the forefront the people who have suffered the most under capitalism.

But unfortunately then we can get a little too binary. You know, the western propensity to broad-brush categorise people into good or bad. We like a scapegoat in the West. That’s why we’re so cool with our governments bombing brown people. Someone has to pay. That’s what we’ve taken from Christianity, right? We are a punitive people and so if we are raising up the groups of people into good categories, we must apparently place people into bad categories. And because many of us aren’t quite class conscious enough in broad structural terms, we don’t quite so much have a bad category for the rich yet. We still subconsciously believe they are necessary for the functioning of our society. And so because rich white men are the creators of the hellhole stupid Faustian story that is capitalism, with it just enough shiny trinkets to captivate everybody but dealt out in a way they will ultimately destroy everything, and because ‘rich’ is not yet in the bad category, we’ll settle for being prejudiced against individual white men instead now it’s socially sanctioned to be preudiced against individual black men. We need, apparently, to sub one in. We need a scapegoat. It’s human nature.

So if you’re both male and white, and you’re broke, and you’re broken because capitalism’s broken and our governments are broken and our financial system is broken and our earth is breaking, and so our minds are breaking, and our guts are breaking, and technology is taking our jobs, and productivity has risen high enough that we could all live pretty recently but it’s focussed into the coffers of a few while the rest of us sleep on the street — if you’re that white male who is also at the far end of the working class and you’re being told that you created this mess by people who don’t understand the difference between rich rent-seeker white men and poor white men — well, I’m sorry that you are stuck at the end of such stupidity. And I’m especially sorry if your predicament led you to become a fucking Republican and vote for that fucking dipshit. But I understand that we all have our breaking point.

My tagline is that I love Rumi’s field and Leonard Cohen’s crack. Leonard’s crask is where the light gets in. The brokenness of people is not the end of the story. And as far as I can see, there are enough broken people now that we have nothing left to lose and everything to win in overthrowing this despotic system.

And this is Rumi’s field: “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

That’s the field of possibility. It’s the field where you take a deep breath and look around, look at how fucked up we all are, how many of us do not have the right puzzle pieces in order to see this all for what it is. It is the field that our nervous systems are designed for — something greater than the sum of all of its parts. A field that is a community, where we are all connected to each other beyond our shared horrible lives of competition as consumers, as hustlers in the gig economy, abusing each other because it feels good, the way pissing your bed feels good while you’re feeling the relief and then ruins your sleep for the rest of the night.

Our vision for our future societies must include everyone. Even the arsehole in the corner. Who knows who people are, underneath the hustle and the reaction. Maybe some of those arseholes would surprise us, in a new way of doing things (which will resemble in many ways old ways of doing things), when they can breathe. We are all that arsehole in some way, after all, once we lay down our projections.

Thankfully, there is some hope and perspective to be held onto on the political level, with the Green New Deal being a talking point in US politics and those upstarts Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan shaking their fists at the establishment’s entrenched entitlement. They are the yang to Trump’s yin. The people from the grassroots taking it up to the destructive rich in power working for the destructive even-richer on the shadows, in the corner. The far larger arseholes and the puppeteers of the desperate MAGA hat-wearer.