Fugitive Culture, RadLib Outrage

By James Murray

July 25, 2020


It’s pitiful to see the left have an ‘outrage moment,’ over federal agents snatching people off the streets in Portland..it means several things – the so-called left is still playing a ‘game,’ and have yet to accept and adapt to the new conditions of wartime… although loudly deriding ‘white privilege,’ the left still expects it, and they react with juvenile shock when such historic privilege is denied them. Federal agents in quasi-military outfits arresting people is fairly common in black, brown and lower-class white neighborhoods. Hundreds of thousands of people go to bed every night and wake up every morning with outstanding felony warrants hanging over their head fully aware they could be “snatched” at any moment. And if they resist they will be shot.

Alice Goffman’s 2014 On The Run, Fugitive Life in an American City,” explored the neighborhoods in Philadelphia where the prevalence of outstanding warrants had created a ‘Fugitive Culture,’ among the residents. In this culture no one called the police, disputes were settled via interpersonal violence and an inability to maintain identification cards and bank accounts made the illicit economy the only option. Far from being strictly an urban phenomenon ‘Fugitive Culture,’ stretches far and wide across the continent. In my former county of residence, Cherokee County, Oklahoma, a newspaper article once informed me that there were almost as many outstanding warrants in the county as there were residents! This was explained by the thesis that very few people ever paid a fine, and there were individuals with very many warrants, sometimes stretching back for decades. They drove without valid driver’s licenses, in untagged vehicles. Existing in a low-grade “Fugitive state,” for year after year. This simple reality – shared across decrepit urban slums and isolated rural ghettos, was just accepted, ‘I might go to jail any day.’

This is the American reality the so-called left knows little about. The white ‘RadLib,’ protestors in Portland never expected to go to jail. How could a ‘left’ being so well-behaved and moralistic ever expect such treatment? They’re not like “those people,” who sell drugs and carry unlicensed firearms and commit petty fraud and prostitute their bodies and settle “beefs,” without hiring a lawyer. One of the video clips that provoked such hysterical outrage showed a kid wearing a bizarre “riot outfit,” including helmet and gas mask and soft body armor. Some “federal agents,” swoop upon the scene and take him “into custody,” without incident. He appeared as harmless (and probably confused) as any other Portlandia anarchist but I laughed to myself watching the video, the outfit, perhaps more useful at a fetish party than in street combat could not help but attract ‘law-enforcement,’ attention.

I could not imagine any young prole, either a black or white guy, with a few years of “hanging out on the street,” behind him, thinking he could stroll down the avenue in such attire and not “interact” with the police! Certainly more “lumpen,” elements like Piru Crips or Aryan Brotherhood members would think such “dress up,” is laughable and “amateur hour.” They know all about fighting and sneaking around and avoiding the police and they don’t wear fetish gear to do it.

Could it be, after these riotous months of ‘”white privilege critique,” that those white radlibs shouting the loudest and “performing,” the most incendiary acts of “social justice,” actually have more white privilege than anyone? And suspend that privilege for a few days and Facebook and Twitter explode with rage, disbelief, and the now de rigueur accusations of ‘fascism.’ That all this quasi-left mess (IdPol, anti-racism, PC culture, speech codes, etc.) are not an attempt to project power upward, and challenge the state and capital, but an attempt to project power downward, and police the proles into a (petit)bourgeois cultural project they have no interest in and often actively disagree with?

  This is a quasi-left whose consciousness remains reformist and liberal, still expecting rules and justice. And of course, they expect their privileged positions to be maintained. Their irrational belief in “progress,” is undiminished. Revolutionaries understand there are no rules, and justice is a myth. To me, this Outrage Moment has “Late Weimar” written all over it – a (petit)bourgeois left, completely misunderstanding itself, its enemies, the situation, the masses. Lost in a cascading series of Outrage Moments, bizarre fantasies, and hysteria. The same people who have convinced themselves Trumpismo is “fascist,” and is actively engaged in genocide are simultaneously shocked, stunned that federal agents would dare arrest white liberals. They couldn’t do logic syllogisms if you held a gun to their head. Because this is a secular religious movement, a faith-based doctrine. It has no choice but to abandon logic, free-thought, and speech. It would mightily like to coerce the masses, but that is and will remain beyond its capacity, so it can only threaten coercion. Like a small-town Baptist preacher threatens his flock with Hell for their sins.

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