Leave the left behind

April 20, 2017 10:28 AM

KR Nava

The left in the United States is in crisis. But it’s important to understand that the left is crisis.
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What I mean is that it is not only true that the left is dealing with some dire emergencies—the victory of Donald Trump being the most alarming—but we must also face the reality that the left has been defined by emergencies for far too long.

We know that capitalism causes constant crisis: rampant exploitation, war and imperialism, and the horrors of climate change. But when the left fights an anticapitalist fight, it just ends up fighting on capitalism’s terrain, using capitalism’s vocabulary and its weapons. The left, in its anticapitalism, is crisis as much as capitalism is.

One manifestation of that: sprinting from fight to fight to fight, from Flint to DAPL to Milo, always out of breath.

I’m not saying that the fights aren’t worth sprinting towards. But I think there’s value in walking, too: in breathing, and in recognizing that we are not trying to stop capitalism in order to fend off some apocalypse now, but that the apocalypse already happened and the world we inherited thereafter was (is) scorched, radioactive, uninhabitable.

This would, of course, require an exodus. Not an unstoppable march of progress towards utopia, punching fascists when they pop up, but instead: disappearing completely, sublimating, abandoning the terrain entirely.

If there’s something telling about Brexit, it’s the victory of the decision to Leave.

The death of the left is the only real attack that the right can’t sustain.
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There is no here here — and we know it. So: let’s leave. And let’s leave the left behind.

Keep in mind, I’m not talking about moving to Canada; I’m talking about learning from self-sustaining indigneous communities who’ve valiantly formed oases in the desert we sink and suffocate in. Maybe I’m talking about Calexit. Or maybe I’m talking about something we can’t yet imagine.

But if you don’t ache to leave, then you must still have enough left offered to you by our here to want to stay.

I look forward to writing an elegy for the left, someday. Its death is the only real attack that the right can’t sustain, rendering the right obsolete, making them merely horsemen aiming at windmills in the distance.

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