A Year Ago I Wrote About Cross-Ideological Collaboration. Here’s How It’s Been Going:
One year ago today I wrote an article titled “Lefties Need To Stop Being Shy About Working With The Anti-Establishment Right”, and Left Twitter exploded. To this day there are still some social media echo chambers in which this article is the primary thing I am known for.
I still think it was a decent article, and I stand by it. It was about how anti-establishment leftists can collaborate across ideological lines on specific points of mutual interest without compromising their principles, which to me is just an obvious no-brainer, and that people can trust themselves to know how and to what extent that collaboration can take place. Over the following few weeks, the actual contents of my article were falsely spun by Progressive Army, Counterpunch and a few other lefty thought leaders as “Caitlin Johnstone wants us to align with Nazis.”
None of the journalists or activists fanning the flames of this conspiracy theory ever reached out to me for comment, or even to try to convince me of the error of my ways. Not one private message, email or Twitter DM was ever sent to me (apart from one particularly virulent hater after I pointed this out publicly). This is because these people weren’t interested in my actual ideas or what I was actually saying, they were interested in advancing and controlling a narrative: Caitlin Johnstone wants leftists to become Nazis/facilitate Nazis, and anyone who ever suggests venturing outside their impotently small political faction to get things done is pulling a Caitlin Johnstone. My reputation in those circles now serves as a head on a spike warning off anyone from ever suggesting that leftists ever collaborate on any agenda with anyone besides (A) other leftists and (B) the centrists who are intrinsically opposed to ideas which run counter to the interests of America’s unelected power establishment.
The false narrative that a Hillary-hating leftist wants to collaborate with Nazis was shoved into mainstream attention by this faction of Left Twitter day after day after day, until eventually it caught the attention of left-punching centrists who, of course, took this false narrative and ran with it as an excuse to attack the left. The people responsible for aggressively and relentlessly promulgating this false narrative then went on to blame me for it.
So it’s been a year. According to those who warned that I am a secret Nazi plant advancing a “red-brown alliance” in order to lull unsuspecting leftists into the seductive arms of Nazism, I should have won over a few converts by now. There are none, and, as anyone who actually reads the material I put out knows, it would be absurd to expect there to be. It was a fantasy concocted in the imaginations of manipulators with ulterior motives.
If you want to know what I was talking about by healthy collaboration on points of convergence across ideological lines, you have only to look at my career over the past year. Yesterday morning, for example, I appeared on a right-wing show on Murdoch television and gave a few arguments for feminist socialism. Yesterday evening, I appeared on the #Unity4J online vigil for Julian Assange, which featured many activists, experts and journalists from all across the political spectrum speaking about the importance of WikiLeaks and drawing attention to the inexcusable persecution of its editor-in-chief. The vigil itself couldn’t be a more perfect example of the kind of collaboration I was thinking about when I wrote that article one year ago.
My articles are regularly republished with my permission by right-leaning outlets like the Ron Paul Institute and ZeroHedge. Next month I’ll be introducing a media panel for the Ron Paul Institute Peace and Prosperity Conference. I’ve seen high-profile Trump supporters like Infowars, Ann Coulter, Scott Adams and Paul Joseph Watson share my anti-interventionist stuff on their platforms and haven’t blocked them or discouraged them, because my ideas are good and it’s good for them to get out to all ideological corners. And yes, Mike Cernovich, whom I named in the article that started all this controversy as a Trump supporter I could work with on specific issues of convergence, still shares my stuff from time to time. To this day we have never exchanged a single word with each other despite haters continually smearing me as his friend; the occasional retweet remains the extent of our collaboration.
When Fox’s Tucker Carlson and other MAGA pundits came out in unequivocal opposition to military strikes against the Syrian government in April, I backed them fully and helped make it as viral as possible. A significant portion of my readers are Trump supporters and libertarians, though the majority of my audience still leans left. The only political faction I’ve actively cut off are actual alt-righters like Richard Spencer, whom I explicitly named in the article as someone I would not collaborate with to any extent.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, of course. A number of Berners-turned-Trumpers jumped on my bandwagon last year because they mistook my position for theirs, and have been conducting an angry smear campaign of their own as they’ve realized that I’m attacking the Trump administration’s inexcusable warmongering and deep state cronyism by the same standards that I’ve attacked Obama’s. In the days following last year’s smear campaign I made a very unwise appearancealongside the very shady Robert David Steele in an interview with Cynthia McKinney, because Cynthia (whom I adore) wanted to defend me and I was eager to talk to her. In retrospect I should not have ever had anything to do with Steele, and it’s one of the only moves I’ve ever made that I don’t stand by.
I have also found some areas of convergence that I can work with Democratic party loyalists with. Just as I will stand with Trump supporters in their calls to bring troops home and resist escalation in Syria, I will stand with any Democrat who opposes this administration’s regime change agenda in Iran. As when working with the right, I will never compromise any of my principles to any extent on any issue, but to the extent that anyone opposes any interventionism in Iran, I stand with them toward that end. The fact that interventionism in Syria and interventionism in Iran have been made into partisan wedge issues is intensely stupid, but it just means we need to get more agile in opposing war, supporting what’s right and opposing what’s wrong on a case-by-case basis.
I have never advocated collaboration with white nationalism or white supremacy. I have never once compromised my lifelong feminist socialist principles or wavered in my devotion to truth and justice. I oppose racism, bigotry and oppression in all its forms and without condition. My argument was never “Leftists should collaborate with Nazis” or “Leftists should all work with Mike Cernovich,” it was and is that people can trust themselves to know who to work with on a given issue and to what extent. I was falsely smeared, and continue to be to this day. They dishonestly twisted “collaborate with the anti-establishment right on specific issues of convergence” into “collaborate with the alt-right” so that they could twist my argument into support for Nazism, and they did so for sleazy reasons.
It has been a year, and the “Caitlin is turning leftists into Nazis” conspiracy theory still lacks a single shred of evidence. It is time for anyone who jumped on that bandwagon to admit that they were wrong.
The more they can keep us factionalized, fragmented and insulated in tight echo chambers, the more politically impotent they make everyone in the world who opposes US imperialism, surveillance, CIA sociopathy and establishment cronyism. I speak from experience when I say that the walls of peer pressure, manipulation and manufactured taboos that they have erected around us to keep us from talking to each other are extremely high and very complex, but it’s the only way sufficient force will ever be generated to shove any of the pillars of empire hard enough to make it fall.
You can interact with people from other political ideologies and work with them to advance a mutual agenda. Everyone who has ever been employed in a normal job knows this for a fact. You can trust yourself to know on what issues and to what extent this can happen. You are wiser than the groupthink. Rise above it.
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