Our alliances become an issue because of misguided allies and faux allies. No one here at Progressive Army denies the need for allies but everyone who calls themselves an ally isn’t truly an ally or they are not a helpful ally.
Misguided allies typically fall into my Toddler Cooking Analogy; They are trying to be helpful but usually, they make a bigger mess to clean up and end up causing you more work in the end. Some misguided allies are simply ignorant of the depth or scope of the problems being dealt with, others simply don’t understand how to navigate within the movement, but faux allies are a completely different animal. Faux allies are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
We lost a lot of potential progressives to Trump because of their anger towards the DNC, Hillary, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Some are clinging so tightly to anything anti-Dem, they are unaware that they are being backed into the wolf’s den.
If you follow Progressive Army, you are probably aware of the Twitter dust-up that has been going on for the past week or two. In case you missed it, Caitlin Johnstone wrote an article, where she suggests that the left should work more with the right, but her example is problematic as she uses Mike Cernovich.
Counter Punch and Progressive Army’s Beth Lynch wrote dissenting pieces. But for all the uproar it’s caused you would think that Johnstone’s name had been placed on a mob hit list. She has made her rounds on indie media complaining that she was attacked and smeared and that this would “mute her voice for years to come.”
Would you like to see what Anoa said to her that sent her running for cover on twitter? This:
That was it. I can’t imagine anyone ready to fight in the revolution would be that skittish but we all have our breaking points.In the aftermath, she found a protective circle around her in the likes of Zach Haller, H. A. Goodman, David Cobb, and Tim Black.
Zach Haller suggests that everyone should “denounce and disassociate” with us.
After he cross-posted a handful of anti-DNC articles then mysteriously “resigned” from a job he never had with us, as we have often invited guest writers to send in submissions. The timing of his submissions considering the directive that was given by Cernovich mid-May it seems more intentional rather than happenstance. It feels like he was deployed as an infiltrator.
But that isn’t what stood out the most about his Twitter feed to me. I noticed that for him and his followers “The Establishment” seems to only mean the DNC, Hillary, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. If you delete the posts about those things with lots of posts being shared numerous times you are left with a bunch of posts supporting Trump. There isn’t much in the way of censure for the RNC or GOP. Now he will say over and over again that “retweets aren’t endorsements” but this certainly feels like an endorsement to me:
Haller even has a post on Medium where science is on his hit list. Sound familiar?
H. A. Goodman
H. A. Goodman (who has been on the Benjamin Dixon Show a few times) spent the better part of two days trying to goad Ben Dixon to debate; initially about Anoa Changa and Caitlin Johnstone’s twitter convo but it soon became apparent he wants to discuss Hillary Clinton. I don’t think anyone who follows Progressive Army thinks we are trying to steer progressives back into the Democratic fold. But his all caps taunts tries to overtly “hint” at just that. I think our work speaks for itself but given the connection to Caitlin and her oddly choosing Cernovich as her example. You start to see a pattern emerge.
David Cobb covered the twitter beef on “Democracy In Action” and said that they felt that Counter Punch’s, and presumably Beth Lynch’s piece, were hit pieces, not critique. An interesting point to note is that David disagrees with Caitlin about using Cernovich, stating he would not work with him, would not retweet him and she responds with a chuckle that she understands if Cernovich is a step too far for David. Why she didn’t feel attacked then, I can’t tell you. I guess those of us here at Progressive Army are the only ones not allowed to feel Cernovich is a step too far.
Tim Black made it abundantly clear the past couple days that he supports Zach, H.A., and Caitlin. He posted a rant specifically aimed at Progressive Army, notably Ben Dixon and also Anoa Changa, of The Way With Anoa. But what you may have missed amid all his yelling fuck is that he too was taken aback when he first saw what kind of content Cernovich tweets, but he was placated when he was told that those were “satire”. Now Caitlin stated that her reasoning for choosing Cernovich, her Alt-Light hero, was because he was the furthest right that she could go which makes no sense if it’s satire, but this is the kind of confusion you end up with when your core values are too “flexible”.
So for all the talk about supporting indie media, here is what we have. But they all talk about working with anyone to achieve their goal. In theory, it all sounds very kumbaya until you think it through. Shouldn’t you first find out what those people are working on, what their ultimate goal might be before you team up with them? But as Tim directed in his tirade, don’t think too hard about it. Sound familiar?
When accomplishing your goals requires you to ignore your principles then you might want to take a step back and gain some perspective because you know who else is willing to work with anyone? Mercenaries. That sort of willingness to work for whoever is not always a positive thing. It’s naive at best and allows you to be attacked from the inside. It sets up a coordinated attack at its worst. I invite you to look at the Twitter feed of all those I’ve mentioned, including Progressive Army, and you tell me who is milking this “beef” for every click they can gain. A person who tells you they will work with anyone, no matter how detestable, is telling you they can be bought, whether that be financial or internet clicks or simply attention.
For progressives to build a party centered around our core values, if we are to be the amplifier of marginalized people, we have to have boundaries and stick with our beliefs or we waste our efforts only to build another political party with a price for political clout.
True allyship is a bond of trust. It is more than buying a hip t-shirt, coffee mug and marching two weekends a month. It’s difficult to find true allies because it requires a paradigm shift. Marginalized groups must empower themselves and allies need to follow their leadership and guidance. Allies must set aside their ego, allies must use their influence to amplify the voices of the marginalized; that’s going to feel a lot like giving up power. That is an uncomfortable place for many who are used to being considered first. Too many wanna-be allies rush in with a savior complex looking to be the hero and center of attention while stepping over or stepping on the very people they are attempting to help.
When that happens true allies will be willing to listen to and accept criticism on their ideas and methods and adjust accordingly. True allies will not spend time creating as much drama around themselves as possible. Don’t blindly follow just anyone because you have one or two commonalities. Don’t let your anger, frustration, and disappointment allow you to be pushed so far in a direction that is counterproductive to your core principals that you find yourself surrounded by people that you can’t trust. And please, PLEASE know your circle, vet those you deal with, know what they stand for. That matters immensely when it comes to people who will have your back in a crucial moment. If you don’t, you end up with an idiotic bully whose only qualification is that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth as president.