Democrats are calling for civility.
Maxine Waters gave a speech where she encouraged people to push back, and The Democrats, the so-called #Resistance, said “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hey, let’s not rock the boat. You can have a voice, but not in any way that might make people uncomfortable.”
The GOP made an ad. James Woods retweeted it. Honestly, it’s a better ad in favor of Democrats than anything they’ve put out for themselves. And Centrists, privileged and quite comfortable where they are, are calling for civility.
Sarah Sanders was asked politely to leave a restaurant. Fascists say “He doesn’t have to bake a cake for gays if he doesn’t want to” and then cry foul when Stephen Miller can’t get a taco. Unhappy constituents confronted Chuck Schumer with questions and media called them a “violent mob”, when there wasn’t even so much as one guillotine in sight. Chuck wants civility. He was very uncomfortable in that moment. Sarah Sanders wants civility. She’s uncomfortable every day.
God forbid some rich white folks with power feel uncomfortable in their positions. They understand that we’re unhappy, they get it. They think you should be allowed to voice your discontent, but certainly not in any way that would cause people to question their policies or the “officials” that pass them off as indisputable law. Jeff Sessions quoted the bible to claim that the government should always be obeyed because the government was ordained by the sky daddy. These people use violence in all forms to impose their will and the will of their corporate masters on people all over the world, domestically and internationally.
But they want Civility. A mythical idea postulated by some imagined grand moral high road, the famous Voltairian “I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it” (which weren’t even his words, by the way). A spook, an intangible concept that has no real basis in, or any real effect on, the material conditions of human existence.
Civility in The Discourse™ can be loosely defined as the quality of being “civil”, or respectful, polite, and courteous, to those whose ideas, views, and politics are in opposition to your own.
Now, Civility in The Discourse can be a good thing sometimes. For a generic example, two or more leftists discussing the differences in their political tendencies can be civil, and is valid discourse. It gives us an opportunity to understand our own personal ideologies a little better, perhaps even question them. And for new and developing leftists, this kind of Civility in The Discourse is far more beneficial than the insults and aggression we’ve all seen thrown at each other from other leftists.
In another very generic example, Civility in The Discourse™ is good at helping us raise Class Consciousness among those “left-leaning centrists”, or “progressives”, those people who are “sympathetic” to Socialist concepts. Those people who can see benefit in Socialist Lite policies, but still believe in The Capitalist “American” Dream, or maybe don’t see any way to completely break down those systems of patriarchy and exploitation.
“If they can’t experience a little incivility without sticking to their principles, and they let it push them further to the right, they didn’t have very strong principles to begin with.” Yeah, but in case you didn’t know, that’s what a Centrist is. And if they can be pushed to the Right, they can also be pulled to the Left. So, in dealing with these individuals, sometimes a little Civility in The Discourse is in order. Using the Kid Gloves, as it were. Not many people are well-equipped to deal with the psychological trauma that their whole lives have been wasted in defense of a lie and that they, themselves, have and continue to contribute to this murderous system of imperialism and oppression.
But that’s not the kind of Civility in The Discourse™ that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and Rachel Maddow and the Far-Right and the Democrats and Sarah Sanders and Stephen Miller want you to have. No, they want to make sure that nobody is uncomfortable, that nobody is inconvenienced.
Well… nobody except for the poor and marginalized.
Civility cedes ground to Fascists. It doesn’t result in that mythical “Middle Ground”, the fabled “Moral High Road”, that Liberals wish it would. Retreating from a vicious battle in preference of Civility in The DiscourseTM doesn’t result in more open spaces for “discussion”, it only and always immediately becomes the territory of the Far-Right. They will then use “Free Speech” to demand that you respect their views – show them “civility” – you will concede more “middle ground”, rinse and repeat.
And they will use that newly conquered territory, the “Middle Ground” of Civility in The Discourse™, to push further and increasingly encroach on Human Rights. They will use their widened platform to recruit and gain strength, to increase in number and support. This is not new. This has been happening for decades. And the Center always meets the Left with the same tired ass line – “Well, if you maybe weren’t so aggressive, they wouldn’t react like this”.
“Protest correctly,” they say. Exactly what does that even mean? We can’t stand up, we can’t sit, we can’t kneel, we can’t yell, we can’t camp out, we can’t march. We don’t get police protection. We don’t get corporate sponsorship. We don’t get celebrity speeches. We don’t get Civility in The Discourse™ – not from the opposition, not from the Fascists, not from the Centrist Corporatists, not from the Democrats, certainly not from the State. Those calling for “civility” are usually the ones who have never experienced the incivility that those who actually stand up for equality endure from all sides – and especially in the Media.
All of the “peaceful”, State permitted, corporate endorsed “protests” have amounted to nothing. Sorry, but it’s true. Look at the Women’s March, the day after Trump got inaugurated. Millions and millions of people, marching and taking selfies for Instagram likes and listening to approved speech from approved speakers – they stayed in the lines, they did it the way they were supposed to do it – and what changed? Nothing. Climate March? Environment still getting destroyed. All the cleverly worded signs in the world aren’t stopping it. They heard us, and they don’t care. Politicians don’t work for The People, they work for their donors. And their donors like things this way, and want more of it.
These were nothing more than “comfort” marches, “Feel good about ourselves while ultimately changing nothing” marches, “Let’s not get too crazy or make anybody uncomfortable” marches. And the Ruling Class, safe in their board rooms and condos and gated communities, these vultures watched this display of public outcry from their perches high above us, knowing that they would still be able and allowed to exploit all of the Women, every Feminist, every Environmentalist, every member of the Working Class, and everyone who opposes these groups as well. They don’t care about these marches and protests, for one reason – the “Civility” means they have nothing to fear. The politeness and courtesy that is being demanded ensures that the Ruling Class won’t be made uncomfortable, or inconvenienced, and certainly not fearful for their Ruling Class status.
THAT is what a protest is supposed to do – it’s supposed to make the Ruling Class fearful. It’s supposed to disrupt, to agitate, to inconvenience everyday people. It’s not supposed to be polite, or courteous, or respectful. It is a response to violence perpetrated by the State, and by the systems of White Supremacy, in the name of Capital.
That violence, they’re perfectly fine with it. In fact, that’s exactly the kind of “Civility” that they want – decorum and feigned politeness, the kind they show each other in Executive meeting rooms and the halls of government, while the poor and marginalized are more and more brutally oppressed.
FUCK Civility. People’s lives are on the line. Freedom is at stake. The entire planet is at stake here. We can follow their rules and do it “the Right Way”, but if we do, literally nothing will ever change. Trump’s Muslim Ban is still happening. Medicare and Social Security are still going to be gutted. Net Neutrality is gone. And all the while, people want “Civility”. They want Civility because they know that none of this – literally NONE of it – will ever affect them.
The Rules, and “the Right Way”, are only and always set up and enforced to keep the Ruling Class in power. Civility in The Discourse™ is how they do it.
Now, some of us might not be able to risk arrest. Parents with dependent children, for example, can’t afford to have the breadwinner(s) removed from their household. People have imprisonment hanging over their heads – probation, parole, etc – intended to keep them quiet and compliant. But we surely can offer support – material, legal, medical, and moral – to those who can and do risk arrest.
Occupiers are getting shit done. They are disrupting the process. They are putting sand in the gears. They are doing things that others can’t, or won’t out of fear. Don’t you even dare to presume that you can speak to them on Civility. Don’t you dare tell them that they are doing it wrong when you can’t or won’t do anything at all.
For those of you who can and do engage in disruptive direct action – Thank You. Thank you for speaking up. Everyone can learn from your example.
For the rest of us – Fuck Civility. Break shit down. Burn shit. Deface property. Smash windows. PUNCH. NAZIS.
SPEAK UP LOUDLY SO THEY CAN HEAR YOU, and don’t worry about offending the sensibilities of a few rich white folks. Disrupt COMMERCE. That’s their language. That’s their violence. Agitate. Educate. Organize. And be very, very clear why we are doing it.
Demand your freedom, and FUCK CIVILITY.