Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Guide to Being a Knee-Jerk Leftist (KJL)

A true Knee-Jerk Leftist (KJL) cannot contemplate rebuttals; like a hammer to a knee, we must react quickly or the fascists will destroy us. I've been every type of leftie in the book---Marxist, Anarchist, Socialist, Liberal, Green---so if you're having a political awakening or are considering switching from right to left, consult my concise guide.

  • The US economy can never do well. The right wing has tons of info about how good the US economy is, so you must counteract it. Remember, poor people always exist in any society, so when you're losing the argument, memorize some poverty and unemployment statistics so you can prove that the economy is in the shitter. That's a sure winner. If you still feel insecure, trot out the ole no-more-American-factory-jobs horse. Works every time.

  • Things are worse than they used to be. The left and right both conjure up dreamy nostalgia for the good ole days. But as a KJL, you've gotta be on target. Things are bad now. REAL bad. And they're getting worse and worse. A real KJL is a fatalist, so create your own Ultimate Doom Prediction. Make it unique so you'll sound like an intellectual when swapping scenarios with other KJLs.

  • International business always brings ruin to the Third World. Everyone knows a sweat shop story. But as a good KJL, you've gotta have details. GORY details. And nothing works like anecdotal evidence. Bring up a specific name of a company and the exact effects it had on the down-trodden workers of a country in the global south. And don't say you read it in the New York Times or Mother Jones magazine. The best way to stick it to your right wing opponent is to say you read it in The Economist. No one will be able to dismiss it as a commie rag.

  • Poor people are more noble than rich people. Repeat this sentence ten times: When poor people do "bad things", it's because of their economic situation. It's The System, you brain-washed automaton. THE SYSTEM.

  • The USSR "had its problems", but at least it provided universal healthcare. The KJL exalts healthcare as the primary human right. When lambasting the fact that there are 40 million poor souls in the US without healthcare, bring up the old hammer and sickle. Most people of our generation think of kindly, birthmarked Gorbechev as the Soviet Union. Run with that. It's always useful in deconstructing capitalist propaganda.

  • WWCD? (What Would Chomsky Do?) My friend, you have to read more than just Noam Chomsky's booklets to be a self-respecting KJL. I'd suggest his monumental tome, The Washington Connection & Third World Fascism (Amazon link). Read it twice. You may have some difficulty poring through his dense, humorless prose, but you'll end up with an impenetrable arsenal of material if all of the above fail.
  • Comments:
    But LB, the world is already full of such people. You need to write a guide to help such people to parse out resistant movements within systemic violence. In other words, how does an organization like Working Assets fit into the corporate mold?

    Back in the good old days I can remember discussing with fellow grad students the benefits/ultimate uselessness of buying CDs from indy shops rather than Tower etc. I think somehow that relates, but I've lost the thread.
    "A guide to help such people to parse out resistant movements within systemic violence" ... How could we make this concise? Help me out, here. I have no idea where to start.
    Neither do I.
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