Neoliberalism and My Own Pessimism are Killing Me

Amerikan neoliberalism is a strange beast that keeps the system turning.

On one hand, you have a group of people openly admitting their politics are inherently shallow and don’t make it past the US border. When it comes to positions in relation to caring about the lives of people of color, or queer and trans people, US ethnocentrism is the core underlying principal in common neoliberal rhetoric; their is no room for the lives of those being droned, or whose countries are being sanctioned, or those who have been massively deported at record numbers, to fit into the vapid “we care about people of color” politic.

Many of those who were just appropriating revolutionary rhetoric for the sake of Bernie Sanders a few months ago and are now denouncing that rhetoric for the sake of lesser evilism. The beliefs and the hopes of creating change, meaningful change at the hands of breaking a system, were dropped seemingly overnight. We’ve seen, in just a few months, a turn from revolutionary rhetoric to system-solidifying voter-shaming, fear-mongering, and guilting at the fault of a corporate party.

And on the other hand, you have a liberal class of people willfully basking in ignorance who genuinely think that Hillary has the interest of working-class people in her heart, who honestly see a large and meaningful difference between her actions and Trump’s language. This is the group of people who don’t have to lie or create illusion for justification of voting for an imperialist: they don’t know better, or they don’t care. This seems to be the slightly more understandable position, however unjustified it may be.

What am I getting at? Whether the justification for voting for Hillary is lesser evilism, a lack of anti-imperialist politic, lack of political education, or genuine interest, inaction is at the core. Inaction symbolically and inaction literally.

This is how inaction occurs as the presiding politic and neoliberalism preserves itself: the fear-mongering, “I will hold her accountable after she’s president,” lesser evilism, boot-licking, shaming people into voting, imperialist-sympathizing majority create the space in which inaction can exist and not be challenged. It’s an approach that insures the Democratic Party will never “reform” — because why would it ever need to if all it needs to do every 4 years is ask that you vote for whatever neoconservative imperialist they elect simply on the basis of them not being a Republican— and it insures that any other left party has trouble existing/building outside of this system.

I’ve had very little to say about electoral politics over the past few years, but the conversations surrounding this election have left me more pessimistic than I normally am. This pessimism stems from the unavoidable conversations and discussions surrounding voting that expose the common ahistorical and misguided pedagogical approach to voting. The ways in which these conversations arise and are perpetuated are beyond saddening, and allude to a greater problem in a lack of political education. The obsessive nature surrounding voting is stark, and tends to erase the dozens of other radical ways power is built outside of electoral politics, but the overfocus on not voting third party is troubling. I don’t promote or endorse certain parties, however I think Marc Lamont Hill summed it up well in his recent with the Breakfast Club:

“…if the differences between the two candidates aren’t vast enough, then I would rather introduce a third candidate to build a movement. Because every four years we say, ‘The third party can’t win.’ So we never invest in the third party. We never grow the third party. If they get 5 percent of the vote, they can be in the debates. And if they’re in the debates, now we can change the conversation.”

Amerikan neoloiberalism is a self-sustaining machine that oils its own gears and improves its own faults through a rejection of dialectical materialism and anti-intellectualism. The amount of people I see willingly ignoring, or forgiving, Hillary’s imperialist history is disgusting, but what’s even worse is the sheer inability to discuss it on a deeper, critical, analytical level. Through denying and/or avoiding conversations that challenge Hillary’s “imperialist feminism,” inaction continues to thrive in the space where the Left gets wrongfully blamed for the problems perpetuated by conservatives and fascists (see: “the far left and the right hug each other” bullshit).

I will die within this capitalist machinery that thrives on the exploitation of the marginalized and I see no perspective other than pure pessimism and an immense disdain for the dominant neoliberalism that accurately expresses my feelings. I will die in white supremacist capitalism because millions believed in “stopping Trump” instead of building power outside of the corporate, imperialist, historically racist Democratic Party.

I will die in a sea of pessimism while hot pink jets bomb Palestine, and my Ummah in Libya and Somalia won’t be able to see the sun past the drones in the sky, but those drones will have #ImWithHer stickers on them so it’s okay, right? I will die a slow death while reading the latest update from South Sudan, where Hillary’s State Department gave South Sudan’s military a pass for its child soldiers, and know that it is okay because it wasn’t Trump who did it. When the mass incarceration rates double and the police budgets triple, I will know that representation and horizontal diversity were of cardinal importance.

I will die a lonely Black poet who got too comfortable with pessimism, who lived in a country that grew too powerful to be challenged, because inaction became its biggest weapon.

But hey, when it comes to voting, its just a game. It’s just a small and symbollic act of democracy, one that is about business, not people. No humans involved, right?

(In short: I’m bitter and don’t tell me not to be pessimistic.)

Joe Black, “Shoot To kill.” (2013) an artwork by Joe Black of Barack Obama which is made from 11,000 hand-painted toy soldiers
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