Why Many Have-Nots
Don't Like the Left
July 23, 2017
My book, DIVIDE AND RULE: The "Left vs. Right" Trap, develops the points made here and shows how to create unity among virtually ALL the have-nots
Many have-nots in the United States don't like the Left. I'm talking about people who would LOVE to do what a button I wear says: "Let's remove the rich from power to have real, not fake, democracy with no rich and no poor."
I'm talking about the 86% of people (all white, many wearing Trump "Make America Great Again" hats and waving the American flag) at a pro-right-to-bear-arms rally I went to last July who said they loved my button and eagerly took one when I offered it to them and, in many cases, pinned it onto their shirts right on the spot.
I'm talking about the 80% of people in the rural N.H. town of Unity (where they listen to Rush Limbaugh, not NPR) who eagerly signed a declaration of belief ("This I Believe") that says what the button says but even more forcefully.
I'm talking about the 91% of random people on the streets of five Boston neighborhoods who said they thought the button's message was a good (or a great!) idea--people you can see for yourself in a video of me asking them this question.
The vast majority of American have-nots (by which I mean the people who are not among the ruling and very wealthy elite) want what the button says, what I call an egalitarian revolution. It's something far more radical than what any American politician dares to advocate. No politician even hints that our billionaires should not be allowed to remain billionaires (and thereby retain the real power in our society in which money is power and the have-nots don't have any.) No politician says we should have what most have-nots want: a society with NO RICH AND NO POOR.
But They Don't Like the Left. Why Not?
Why do so many have-nots dislike the Left? Here are some of the reasons.
They think (based on seeing what actual self-declared socialist governments do in countries where they have been or are in power, such as France and Greece and Russia and China) socialism means a powerful central government bossing them around in the name of "the working class" and they'd rather be free.
They think the Left is on the side of freeloaders (i.e., people who do not contribute according to reasonable ability, such as welfare cheats today, and tomorrow lazy people who want to do no work and live off working-class taxpayers with a government check sent to them in a Universal Basic Income scheme.) They don't think health care is a "right for all" because it is not a right for freeloaders.
They don't think have-not whites are to blame for, or benefit from, the anti-black and anti-Hispanic and anti-Native American racially biased policies of the ruling class, and they resent being blamed for it by Leftists using "white privilege" rhetoric.
They don't think have-not males are part of the ruling class--a.k.a. "patriarchy"--and they resent Leftists accusing them of being the oppressor.
They don't think have-nots (be they white, non-white, male, female, straight or gay) who oppose same-sex marriage necessarily do so because (as the Left insists) of bigotry so vile that it means they should not even be allowed to vote on the question (as the Left advocates with its slogan "It's wrong to vote on rights.") They know some people oppose same-sex marriage for the same reason most people oppose sibling marriage, because of a concern for the children such marriages may produce. In the case of same-sex couples, children are created by typically anonymous sperm or egg donation and are thus prevented from knowing and being known by both of their biological parents, which is often very psychologically painful and harmful.
They know that the government doesn't really try to prevent Muslim terrorists from entering the United States (for example, they know the government let the Boston Marathon bombing Chechen brothers enter the United States despite prior explicit warning from the Russian government that the elder one was a terrorist; and they know that the government let the Muslim woman who, with her husband, was identified as a terrorist killer in San Bernardino, CA, enter the country) and so they support Trump's travel ban on Muslims and think the Left is idiotic (at best!) for wanting to let potential terrorists enter the country; and they resent the Left calling them racist for feeling this way.
They resent the Left telling them they are racist* for opposing illegal immigration when they know their reasons are not about race but rather because 1) they don't want wages lowered by people who work for very little, 2) they don't see why they have to obey the law but illegal immigrants don't, 3) being a have-not is already hard enough without being taxed more to pay for public services for illegal immigrants. In contrast to the Left, egalitarian revolutionaries are respectfully listened to when they 1) acknowledge that have-nots experience some real hardships (though others are wildly exaggerated) from massive immigration across the U.S.-Mexican border, and 2) say that the enemy is not the immigrants (who also want egalitarian revolution) but rather the ruling class that FORCES these people to have to enter the United States illegally to enable their families to survive.
They believe that there is a serious moral issue at stake in the question of abortion--the question of whether an abortion is an unjust murder--and they resent the Left telling them otherwise.
They support the right to bear arms to use them to resist tyranny, and they resent those Leftists (and there are plenty of them**) who tell them that "violence only begets violence" and that even violence in self-defense is immoral because Gandhi said so.
They are PISSED OFF (rightfully so!) at Leftists who tell them that a woman is a "transphobic bigot" if she is in a public access women's shower room and tells a man (a person with male genitalia) who enters it that he must leave.
The problem with the Left is not that it is weak. The problem is that it is wrong--wrong in having an unjustified very negative view of ordinary people.
This wrongheaded view of ordinary people enables the ruling class to use the Left in its divide-and-rule strategy. The ruling class orchestrates frameworks for public debates on "hot button" issues. These frameworks are designed to be maximally divisive. Specifically, they are designed to lure the Left, with its anti-capitalist and pro-equality vocabulary, into one camp that declares the opposing camp to consist of morally reprehensible people. The Left falls into this trap over and over again, because Leftists wrongly assume that people who disagree with them have no reasonable concerns and only reprehensible ones.
My book, DIVIDE AND RULE, is about how to avoid falling into these traps so we can create the unity among all have-nots that is required to remove the rich from power to have real, not fake democracy with no rich and no poor.
Winning Is Better than Losing. Let's Win!
The way to unite the have-nots is to start by realizing that most of them--whether they call themselves liberal or conservative--are very decent people with very reasonable concerns who share the values of equality and mutual aid--the very values by which we want all of society to be shaped. Let's keep in mind that when people with these very positive values disagree with us about some issue, it's possible they are right and we are wrong. It's also possible they are basing their opinion on what they think are true facts but which we know are actually false. In this case let's respectfully share our information with them and treat them as people on our side of the fight against the truly despicable ruling class. This is how to build real unity.
Let's dump the elitist Left notion that ordinary people have mainly terrible (racist, homophobic, transphobic, selfish, stupid, ...) values and need to be converted by the Left to have good values. This wrongheaded attitude of the Left is why so many have-nots very understandably dislike the Left.
The very last thing we should do, the most counterproductive thing to do, is jump to the conclusion that anybody who disagrees with us must be a morally reprehensible bigoted terrible person. This is exactly what the ruling class wants us to do--what it lures us into doing with its carefully constructed maximally divisive frameworks for debating "hot button" social issues.
We can build an egalitarian revolutionary movement of the great majority of Americans if we understand that the great majority of Americans WANT such a movement, but also think it is impossible. The ruling class-controlled mass and alternative media make them think it's impossible by making them believe they're all alone in having this egalitarian revolutionary aspiration.
Those 86% of people at the pro-Trump gun rights rally who loved the egalitarian revolutionary button don't KNOW that they are the great majority in feeling that way and so they don't ACT like they would if they knew they were the majority in wanting an egalitarian revolution. The task of a revolutionary movement is to help them--and all the have-nots--discover that in wanting an egalitarian revolution they are indeed the great majority. Then we really will be able to remove the rich from power, this way.
* The Boston Globe reports: "While liberals and progressives have stopped short of endorsing open borders, they’ve come to treat opposition to illegal immigration and constraints on illegal immigration as unacceptable, even racist."
** Such as Naomi Klein, Michelle Alexander, Bill McKibben and Frances Fox Piven who recommend a new book, How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century: This Is an Uprising, that is advertised as "a landmark book on nonviolent resistance" by the Center for the Working Poor with an image of Gandhi.