This was posted in 2020, after about two years of research into a new phenomenon that I saw coming out of Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter. Since then, obviously, the thinking has evolved, and the threat I was warning about has become far more obvious to a lot more people. I am uncomfortable with the term “Wokism”, but it is also what others call it, so I try to meet people where they’re at. I prefer to call it the gentrification of the left. Others may just call it boring old Superstructure, but hey. Who cares what the hell we call it, so long as we fix the problem.
This is a plea to the grown-up and reasonable political left. I know you’re out there, quietly reading and observing and waiting for the right time. Now is the right time.
As I have been talking about on YouTube, I have grave concerns about a worldwide faction of confused very-online people, that have managed to squeeze past our blind spots, into progressive parties, institutions, media and tech companies under the guise of ‘social justice’.
I’m using the placeholder of “Woke Cult” for now, which refers to what I believe is a virtual social justice cult that has emerged from various Internet fandoms. Others may call it “SJWs” or “Critical Theory” or the “Tumblr Cult” or “The Radical Left” or “Cancel Culture”, but they’re used interchangeably. Most of you dismiss it as “internet stuff”, but there’s a very real problem that is being ignored: people are being radicalised and used as weapons, and it is not okay.
The challenge is that there isn’t an accurate, non-emotionally-charged term for it yet because it is still playing out. I’d like to suggest “Deepfake Politics”, inspired by “Deepfake Methodology“, but this is still emerging.
The main point is that this particular movement claims to be about “social justice”. Good things. Intersectional feminism, diversity and inclusion, race, disability and LGBT rights. But this isn’t that. Its behaviour resembles Scientology and the Unification Movement way more than it resembles Marx.
Frankly, Marx would be rolling in his grave at seeing how neoliberalism has twisted and morphed itself in his name into a weirdly authoritarian, bordering on totalitarian movement. “Wokism” is to social justice like Scientology is to self improvement. And you need to pay attention.
Qualifier: I believe that there are a number of Internet-caused cults, but right now I am focused on the “Woke Cult” predominantly because I am on “the left” and trying to make people aware, but also because the “Wokes” are the faction that has captured institutions, are hiding in plain sight, and are the immediate threat to the left. I can’t cover ’em all.
Yes. I’m acutely aware of how crazy I sound when I talk about this being a cult. I talk about it a lot. Probably too much. Socially, it’s pretty frosty for me right now. Because nobody (in any of the political movements I have been a part of my entire life) will publicly address this.
I’ve spent years thinking that the left wing adults in the room – people who have fought the evangelical right over the very same behaviours, and have dealt with the fringes and kept them there – would step in and deal with this, and see the PsyOp for what it is. But, you are gobsmackingly and inexplicably quiet, presumably out of fear of cancellation, mobbings, and being all-but-burned at the stake by a faction of super-online, super-powerful people who have blogs, bots and a desire for online clout.
The reality is, that ordinary non-political-nerd people are going to the right based on this. Because ordinary voters don’t see the nuances. They don’t see this as a business-as-usual battle between Marxists and Postmodernists, or Libertarians vs Authoritarians, or through the lens of history and factions.
They just see a bunch of whiny, domineering reality-denying bullies that send a mob after everyone who uses words they don’t like, throw serious slurs like racist, TERF, and Nazi like it is no big deal, and not a single grown-up calls them out, or holds them to account for their behaviour, because they’re afraid of the internet. Not a single person tells them to pull their heads in, for fear of not looking cool and having them call us Karen on Twitter.
Well, they can’t cancel all of us. They can’t call all of us Nazis.
By not standing up to bullies, we not only allow them to behave abhorrently, but we allow them to destroy everything we have worked for. As long as we keep trying to be the cool parent, and don’t start setting rules around how people are expected to conduct themselves in order to participate in our political parties, we are going to lose and continue to lose.
Not because of Trump or “fascism”. Not because we have bad policies. Not because of “the virus” or “hate” or disinformation or Murdoch or that people are stupid or whatever other spin you want to put on it to help you through your dissonance.
We are going to lose because we have let the bullies and crazies and blue check Twitter hijack our politics. They are stacking branches, taking over institutions, passing policy by stealth, and cancelling anyone who disagrees …and nobody is standing up to them.
Well, I am.
Because we are going to lose if I don’t say something.
Here’s an article that landed on my feed this morning. It’s not the first. It won’t be the last. In fact, it is probably the fifth I have read this week:
As a so-called “TERF” (which is basically a “Fair Game” rally cry for the Woke Cult), I am obviously familiar with Arielle’s recent ‘coming out’. Like clockwork, and like pretty much everyone before her, the harassment became relentless. Then the double-down. And the love-bomb from the right means that now, we’ve probably lost her and her sizeable audience.
I sincerely – naively – hoped that the adults in the left might’ve stepped in. Engaged her. Made her feel less alone. Seen her as an influential voice against the crazy faction in an election year. Because she isn’t alone in this and we all know it.
Where was the sensible grown up ‘left’, trying to win her back with ideas and arguments and conversation? Where were the people who would never abandon the left because their politics is not about a club, or tribe, but about core values?
Where are the invisible and silent and afraid people I continue to defend even when you continue to let people like me not only get shoved under the bus, but have it reverse over us again and again and again while you look on?
Where are you?
Where the fuck are you? You’re so quiet. You’re afraid. I get it.
You are also complicit.
You make excuses for their behaviour. You gaslight us. You call us crazy and stupid, even when we are uniquely qualified (as I am) to speak out about identifying this very real threat. You tell us to “look over there!” and deflect and split and say that Trump is the bigger enemy.
Well, he’s not. Sorry. Whilst you are still yelling over Trump being Trump (and still surprised for some reason), insane policies are being passed by stealth under the name of diversity and inclusion and social justice that amount to stealth authoritarianism.
This cult is a very real threat. And those who fall afoul of it (or even dare brush up against it accidentally) are made to suffer, and you enable it, because you blame the victims.
We are the ones who are stupid.
We are the ones who you say are ‘radicalised’ (basically this means you watch or read anything other than approved materials).
We are the ones who are bigots, the bad people, and can’t possibly be as much of a feminist as the pornsick lefty dude (who is telling us to lighten-up-and-don’t-be-such-a-prude-you-Karen-TERFs, because we can’t possibly be as feminist as a man who knows best).
We are the ones who are the problem for engaging in unapproved books, TV shows, YouTube channels, words and thoughts and therefore must be punished, mobbed, fired, harassed, threatened, punched.
But we are not the problem.
I didn’t change. I am open-minded. I am progressive. I read widely and love to engage with ideas that challenge me. My politics is based on deeply held values, including social justice, feminism, critiques of capitalism, freedom of expression and fighting for a seat at the table. I am not the problem.
Grown ups: we have to deal with the bullies or we are going to lose and keep on losing. Yes, even against Trump.
I’m out in the wilderness. Every day, I keep waiting for left-wing leaders to stand up against people who use Fair Game tactics on everyone they don’t like. Every day, I hope that the adults in the room will say “enough!”.
Instead, what do I see?
The right welcoming the ‘politically homeless’ (basically anyone who doesn’t swallow the cult’s bullshit, or gets pushed out by the bullies) with open arms, and seeing it as a viable strategy to expand their base.
And the ‘left’ being astonishingly, gobsmackingly smug. Their elitism oozing from every pore in their body. Denying the problem, gaslighting anyone who raises it, whilst sitting in self-righteousness, tweeting relentlessly about Trump, calling everyone stupid, racist, bigoted, transphobic cishet white supremacists. Afraid to speak up against the bullies for fear that they’ll come for you.
I have to be the adult now.
Pull your fucking heads in.
Me – a Marx-defending Feminist Social Democrat – being frozen out for the high crime of disagreement and asking the same questions I have always asked and holding the same progressive views I always held.
Only to have many on the left call me (and everyone ‘unapproved’ I associate with) stupid or lost or ignorant or other names, simply because I:
- don’t buy their regressive and astonishingly dangerous, science-denying, anti-logic, anti-reason framework;
- reject the idea of inate gender identity and find it incredibly regressive and sexist;
- question that porn and prostitution are 100% fine all of the time and don’t negatively impact women worldwide;
- will always fight for the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association (which, astonishingly, according to the cult, is a “dog whistle for the alt-right”. You know what? Fuck. Off. With. That. Hot. Nonsense. You. Fucking. What. Now.).
I hold these beliefs. That is my crime. Whatever. We can disagree. It’s cool. We can still be friends. But, when I made the mistake of disagreeing, I began to see the bullying, the cancellation, the abhorrent and violent behaviour, and OH MY GOD the smugness of the Woke left.
I understand why people leave and say “fuck you”.
I am on the left because I fight for the working class. And, I have to admit, the new left isn’t working class anymore. And, you k now what? The working class know it too.
We need to address the smugness. We need to address the bad behaviour – both subtle and overt – that forces us to not speak up against the bully faction of spoiled rich children that have taken over and are squatting in our house, claiming our hard-earned street cred and turning us into the enemy of the people.
We need to get back to our core beliefs, clean house, and stop making excuses for these people. We need to tell them that they need to find themselves a new home at the fringes. Yes, even when their limbs are flailing like a 3 year old and they’re holding their breath and turning blue and screaming in our faces that we are white supremacists and bigots and TERFs and whatever else. Let them.
Because we are the adults. I am tired of Deepfake Politics. I’ve earned my adult card and I am here to claim it.
This is not the left I joined. This is not the left most people will stay in. And it most certainly is not the left that everyday people will vote for.
Please stop calling people stupid.
Every time I suggest a lefty friend read a book or consume media from the “other side” (whatever the fuck that means) – that VOTERS ARE WATCHING AND READING SO YOU SHOULD BE TOO – they reject it, but, bizarrely, they also say they refuse to read it. Or, worse, they accuse you of being ‘radicalised’ by an ooga booga, ill-defined, Alt Right boogeyman, because only stupid people think for themselves, right?
The Walk Away movement in the US is gaining ground and the left are asleep. I don’t agree with Walking Away, but I respect it. As I have said frequently, I am not ‘politically homeless’ – there are squatters in my house. But this Woke faction makes everything SO unpleasant with their smugness, coercion, bully tactics and blatant misogyny (we know that misogyny crosses the political spectrum… but at least conservative men don’t pretend).
If you are in the ALP, or Liberal, or Labour or a Democrat and not reading the “other side” and their materials, and if you are blocking them on social media… I’m here to tell you that we’re losing. We don’t have the numbers. People are aware of the institutional capture, and see the symptoms, and they don’t like it.
I’m happy to be wrong, but we stand no chance whilst we are bullying everyone who disagrees – especially influencers with large audiences – silencing, blocking, threatening into compliance. Because everyday people are on the Internet are seeing this. And, sorry, but they don’t think women have penises and men give birth, and most don’t have the toolkit to differentiate between whatever this is and the mainstream left.
The only way “the left” could possibly win right now is to show what we used to be. Engage ideas, not shut them down. Support freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of thought – not abuse those principles in favour of one side. Talk to the people who are fed up, and try to do better, and win them back with the quality of our ideas and our policies.
Not win simply because everyone hates the other guy so much you win by default.
Until we deal with this vile faction of authoritarians and social justice puritans, who like to dictate what we read and watch, the tweets we like, what we say, who we talk to, what we think… and increasingly whether we can even go outside and run our businesses… I want it clear that this shit is not what I signed up for.
In fact, totalitarianism and authoritarianism is what I have fought against my entire life, and if you agree with their behaviour and give them a pass, you, my friend are on the wrong side of history. And I will not Walk Away. I will stay and fight and be a boil in your arse until the end of time.
Totalitarian Left. Not SJW. Not “Woke”. Authoritarians. Totalitarians.