by Randy Shields
“Desolationists believe that America’s non-stop bombing of other nations is either no issue at all or not nearly as important as being pro-choice or supporting gun control or marriage equality.” They are worse than useless. Plus, “with blacks standing down indefinitely, the working class doesn’t have the rage to stop Obama from taking the first swings of the wrecking ball to Social Security.”
A Plague of Desolationists on the “Left”
by Randy Shields
This article previously appeared in Counterpunch.
“Desolationists are content to fight over God, guns and gays, arenas where they can shoot right wing crazies in a barrel while ignoring bi-partisan systemic evil.”
You’ve heard of the “isolationist” right but I want to tell you about the “desolationist” left.
The desolationists rose up recently, decrying Obama’s “gaffe” of calling California Attorney General Kamala Harris “by far the best-looking attorney general in the country.” (“Gaffe” means someone in power absentmindedly telling the truth, like Chuck Hagel saying that a United States Senator’s first job is to represent America, not Israel. OK, maybe this was more of a misunderstanding on Hagel’s part than a true gaffe but he did say it.)
The desolationists wrote many columns analyzing Obama’s Kamala Harris comment in the same week that they failed to notice the two Afghan children he killed and seven adult civilians he wounded the preceding Saturday, the four Afghan policemen and two civilians he killed on Thursday and the eleven Afghan children and one woman that he killed the following Saturday — over six times as many people as were killed at the Boston Marathon. It was a banner week for the pedocider-in-chief. Years ago, Iran’s Ahmadinejad was mis-translated as saying that Israel should be “wiped off the map” but Barack Obama actually does wipe completely innocent people off the map — every week — and he doesn’t shed a tear about them. But desolationists will imagine that Ahmadinejad does more damage to the world than Barack Obama.
Cornered about Obama’s awful positions and record, desolationists say they had to vote for him because he will, at least, preserve Roe v. Wade, ignoring the ample evidence that access to safe and legal abortion (and even contraception) has done nothing but constrict during his rule. A couple weeks ago a federal judge appointed by Ronald Reagan rebuked Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for preventing women under 17 from having access to emergency contraception. The judge called Sebelius/Obama’s actions “politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent.” Still, desolationists feel better that Obama isn’t some anti-science Republican yahoo. After all, Romney and Bush and Cheney and Tamerlane and Genghis Khan were all worse. (Obama campaign song in election contest against Tamerlane: “Ain’t No Mountain of Skulls High Enough!”)
“Barack Obama actually does wipe completely innocent people off the map — every week — and he doesn’t shed a tear about them.”
Desolationists are content to fight over God, guns and gays, arenas where they can shoot right wing crazies in a barrel while ignoring bi-partisan systemic evil. Desolationists have no class consciousness and no international solidarity, especially with people of color. In the end, they seldom get what they want. Hence, their state of complete emptiness and/or destruction. Desolationists believe that America’s non-stop bombing of other nations is either no issue at all or just one among many and probably not nearly as important as being pro-choice or supporting gun control or marriage equality. If you tell a desolationist that constant war means a police state at home they think you’re alarmist because desolationists prize order above nearly everything, generally aren’t Muslim, definitely aren’t radical and never have their innocuous verbalizations interfered with by the state.
Desolationists love identity politics, they believe symbols are victories and progress looks like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Wall Street shill Eric Holder and the supreme twofer, the African American mad humanitarian bomber Susan Rice. Desolationists are greatly troubled when oppressed people use violence to defend and advance their interests against the capitalist class and its agents.
Desolationists believe it’s a big achievement that gay people have the same opportunity as straight people to slaughter innocent brown people on behalf of the American empire. Same way with “feminist” desolationists who celebrate women in combat roles in the military. One day these “feminists” will look back puzzled that the American government skipped right over Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, where women were segregated as sex slaves and breeding machines, and went directly to making America’s women war slaves while most of the menfolk will kick back on the home front drinking beer and watching sports. You go, girls! If we knew how to bake cookies, we‘d send them to you in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, wherever you‘re defending America’s values of aggressive war, resource theft, bolstering corrupt dictators and liquidating land reformers, union organizers and popular liberation movements. Capitalism will pervert everything eventually, including feminism. In fact, desolationists believe the delusion that feminism is stronger than capitalism.
If you want to see desolationists up close and despicable check out the Alliance of Women Film Journalists who presented actress Jessica Chastain with the award for “Humanitarian Activism — Female Icon Award” for her character of “Maya,” the CIA torturer and killer in the movie Zero Dark Thirty. No, really, this isn’t an Onion-like satire. The award is “presented to an actress for the portrayal of the most positive female role model… a woman who is heroic, accomplished, persistent, demands her rights and/or the rights of others.” You know, the rights of others to be kidnapped and tortured to death as enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles, the right of a woman to assimilate, emulate and validate the absolute worst qualities of a white male racist — and undoubtedly sexist — goon for capitalism.
The AWFJ also gave awards to Zero Dark Thirty for best film, best director, best original screenplay, best actress, best editing and best woman director. One of the rare AWFJ awards that didn’t go to trashing Arabs went to trashing Persians — Argo won for best adapted screenplay. The only way you award Zero Dark Thirty so thoroughly is if you hate Muslims or see them as, say, three/fifths of a human being. For a deeper look at Zero Dark Thirty, Abu Ghraib and how “feminism” is used in service of the American empire, check out Matt Cornell’s excellent The Torturer as Feminist.
“Desolationists are greatly troubled when oppressed people use violence to defend and advance their interests against the capitalist class and its agents.”
Why should the CIA spend its hard-earned drug money on front groups when organizations like the AWFJ do the heavy propaganda lifting? Is it too paranoid to imagine that one day all nominees for the best picture Oscar will be CIA productions, either covertly or overtly? This would just be an extension of the FBI orchestrating most of the recent “terror plots” or infiltrating leftist groups in the early 1970s to such an extent that FBI agents eventually rose to “leadership” positions in these groups and then disbanded them. Freedom, democracy, “choices” (shot or hung), everything in America is a mirage. Nothing matters because nothing is real. The past is wiped clean every day. It’s a cardboard cut out country and the only thing behind the official apparitions is money.
And there’s the desolationists, saying for months that they’ll “hold Obama feet to the fire” about resisting Republican cuts to Social Security when it’s Obama himself who first put these cuts on the table and now has put them into his budget, the first Democratic president to ever do so. Obama says he wants to put your grandma on Friskies so that someday, maybe, your children can have Fancy Feast. I think I hear my can opening right now, nine years into the future. That will be the desolationists’ war cry: Please, Barack, take Friskies off the table! With blacks standing down indefinitely, the working class doesn’t have the requisite rage to stop Obama from taking the first swings of the wrecking ball to Social Security. (“Wrecking ball” – where have I heard those words? Oh yeah, thanks, Bruce Springsteen, for campaigning for this Wall Street stooge — you’re gonna have a whole fuckload of newly impoverished Americans to wail about while racking up kudos from the cock-and-bull rock and roll press. Talk about desolationists!)
Workers are probably going to go gentle into that chained CPI night and die anonymous overlooked deaths of a thousand cuts. By then, Barack Obama will be long gone with a multi-million dollar book deal and speaking engagements, a foundation and, who knows, maybe he’ll devote his later years to cramming South Africa-like bantustans down the throats of Palestinians or being a globe-trotting grand bargainer for American capital in Africa with a pen in one hand and an AFRICOM drone joystick in the other. Who the ruling class gonna call? Oballbuster, that’s who.