Saturday, February 05, 2011

Gateway fascism

A moment ago Suzanne Moore was lamenting the absence of the likes of radical angry feminist Shulamith Firestone, for whom humanity was divided into races arranged as a nuclear family, with "the white man" as the father, "the white woman" as the mother, "the black man" as the oedipally desirous child, and "the black woman" as de ho nex do, seductress of daddy. So it is not surprising that now she's moved on to explaining how the left can and must learn more about "race" from fascists.

I was/am addicted to this show Weeds, a fascinating example of how the ideology of revanchist white supremacy of kindly white bourgeois American progressives works in the genres marinated in "postmodern irony" before being baked in sentiment (among them the ubiquitous black dramedy, into which all other genres including news seem to be collapsing). The white family (a matriarchy, led by the self-styled lioness) is "dysfunctional" and down on its luck but plucky, sexy, adventuresome, with an irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit, ferocious competitive instinct, and flamboyant individualism. "Racial others" appear as dangerous threats and yet necessary resources; one after the other they are subdued and tamed, exposed as mechanical (and "rude mechanicals") and a bit ridiculous, quirky imitations of "the American family", living that (upper) middle class domestic dream in varied ethnic flavours which produce the cutesy "incongruity" of violence/banality, coded as racially black/white, of which somehow tv execs can never get enough. (Mexican flavour: wife/mother vetoes daughter's tarty dress choices while telling hitman hubby on the mobile phone to hurry up and kill white heroine Nancy and come home she's making something special for dinner.) These others - African-American (LA), Mexican (San Diego/Tijuana), Arab (Dearborn) - are creatures of culture and constructed of behaviours; the white protagonists are self-fashioning, infinitely varied, and equipped with interiority.

There is one performance, by Guillermo Diaz, that lifts the Mexican gangster character he plays above this plane so that only the authorial disregard of his pov prevents him from attaining the status enjoyed by the minor white characters, but the ethno-taxonomic operation in which he is enmeshed is such a repetitive loop (menace, diffusion of threat, menace, diffusion of threat), so perfectly entwined with the dramatic structure and the requirements of both caper and comedy, that the emotional interest he elicits only enriches the racial mythology produced. Discursive domination (stereotype, unbridled cultural appropriation, the monopoly of spectacle, and a J. Petermanesque anthropological/sociological "knowledge") - the narrative authoritarianism of authorial authority - is itself flaunted as the instrument of white supremacy, the arsenal wielded for the protection of the white family.

The show and its loving, condescending zoology could serve as a guide to the ideology permeating the milieu of Suzanne Moore and giving rise to the now routine argument that "the failure of 'the left'" (to be racist enough) causes fascism. If only feminists today were like Shulamith Firestone! She certainly understood that the problem was the "dangerously prolific reproduction" of black women not the dangerously despotic impulses of white elites (simply "universalisable", generic individual, representatives and proxies of humanity) whom she urged to sterilize them.

Suzanne Moore:

Remember, the EDL formed in 2009 after a demonstration against the returning troops from Afghanistan. Banners were held up saying "baby-killers" and "butchers of Basra". This demonstration was organised by Al-Muhajiroun and included members of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. These are extremist groups. This is the bit where it is obligatory to say that most Muslims are not like this.

Most not butchered and bereaved? No no - most not so rude, crude and savage as to complain about - and wound with their harsh words - Afghanistan's liberators on the civilising mission. And are most white English people baby killers and butchers? But for Moore "Muslim paedophile gangs" not "British imperialist baby killers and butchers" is "the stuff that many people say when they think no one is listening", people being of course people, universal types without particularist bias. Unsurprising then neither "most Jews" nor "most Christians" nor "most non-Muslims" is the counterpart to "most Muslims" Moore finds for her natural egalitarian, un-bigotted balance:

The EDL evolved, if that is the right word, into the "United Peoples of Luton" in response. Many of its members have BNP pasts, criminal convictions and come out of the hooligan firms of the football casuals. This is also the bit where I will say that not all EDL support is so straightforwardly thuggish, either.

Imperialist white supremacism fades into unquestionable normality - merely the natural condition for the urgent "problems" about which Moore is complaining and advising - as Moore daringly raises the question (again as if breaking a taboo, though this is now one of the most frequent topics for the despised "chattering classes") of the purported failure of "multiculturalism" to ensure that civility among the imperial core hoi polloi the appearance of which (of that is social harmony and cultural/racial virtue) forms one justification for the imperialist ruling class' civilising mission.

Placing "Muslims" on one side and the EDL on the other, Moore effectively offers a huge population defined by something other than actual religious conviction as the "mirror image" of white supremacist fascist thugs, producing a riven society of multiculturalism gone wrong in which, we are invited to conclude, there remains neutral good wholesome human stuff of the social order which includes herself and others like her:

The EDL slogan of No Surrender, a Loyalist slogan (or just possibly the title of a Bruce Springsteen song) also tells us a lot about their roots and influences. Far-right movements will, of course, thrive during a recession. Certainly, one of the things we need to do is to understand the new right. For the left to rise again in any meaningful way, we have to deal with the concept of Englishness, and stop the official silence around race and culture. The crude stereotyping of the EDL plays into their hands. As with their Dutch counterparts, they are using a language of libertarianism, modernity and fake inclusiveness. They know what they are doing, just as Al-Muhajiroun does. Such groupings may in fact be mirror images of each other. Any anti-fascist movement cannot take on one without the other. That is indeed complicated. But any other way is indeed surrender.

This native and beseiged humanity, the rightfully resident, non-problem population, (what others of Moore's ilk often call the "host"), cannot be named or described positively (except by the Zizz crowd) if the white supremacism is to remain veiled; they can only be made to appear obliquely like this, as those implied targets of these identified menaces, those who mustn't surrender to either Muslims or white supremacist fascists, those whose existence and presence in the UK are merely given, natural, along with their imperialist adventures about the wisdom of which of course they are entitled to debate (civilly).

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how I missed this post but yes, exactly right and I said something similar recently in reaction to Moore's Brevik apologia. The manoeuvres she pulls are grotesque to watch. The piece she wrote on the white woman's right to offend (by fearlessly using the N word for instance) appearing the day after the Lawrence verdict and which took as its basis Diane Abbott's tweet on how "whites love to divide and rule". This rapid overnight operation conducted so that the following day the facts established by the Stephen Lawrence court case - that our UK police are indeed racist - and which you would have thought would invite us all to examine the implications of this for UK society had all but disappeared from the airwaves and media and in their place we found instead the subject of "black racism" with Moore's piece dominating the CiF columns. It's so f-kn depressing to watch this transpire.