On January 6th, 2021, the right’s ability to connect and communicate reached a tipping point. They stormed the capitol. Deep connections, communication structures, even social media like Discord and Slack, have allowed them to coordinate their efforts and amplify their voices. Now listen, I know that’s giving the fascists too much credit.
Thankfully, it was a mess and they accomplished little more than the catharsis that comes with pissing on your elected representative’s office chair while he flees for his life in a tunnel 50 feet below you.
In contrast, left-wing activists have struggled to merely keep in touch. We exist only in disparate, fractured signal chats and servers. We rarely interact, and larger leftist organizations like the PSL and DSA are often derided by armed, security conscious direct action groups. We’re leftists, we infight. It’s like 20% of our personality.
Before we look inward, we need to look at our adversary. The right’s success in communication and coordination is the related to the nature of their circles. Conservative politicians, media personalities, and activists are often connected through shared religious beliefs, financial ties, and the dynastic nature of well-to-do society. We know the conservative movement in America has strong ties to evangelical Christianity, which serves as a social focal point for many right-wing activists. But it goes deeper than that. Our society’s structures, like it or not, cater to conservatives.
At the core, the fascists own the nation right now. Cops and the Patriot Front are one and the same. fascists working together. Every police officer is a threat to your life. One of the richest men on the planet is a fascist, and owns one of the biggest social media sites on Earth.
This interconnectedness has allowed the right to build a robust infrastructure that can quickly mobilize people and resources in support of their causes. This includes well-funded think tanks, media outlets, and grassroots organizations that work together to promote conservative values and policies. The money seems to help.
Where does that leave us? Our decentralized nature is both laudable and problematic. The lack of hierarchy and structure allows for greater individual autonomy and creativity. This can lead to innovative ideas and approaches to social and political issues. On the other hand, it also makes it difficult for activists to coordinate their efforts and amplify their voices.
Let’s not forget, of the two political parties that actually matter due to the dismal First Past the Post system, the party which claims to represent us is an utter embarrassment.
The lack of funding on our part is also a blessing and a curse. Money corrupts. That’s kind of, like, our whole thing. But the lack of funding does make mass organizing more difficult. Spreading the word about actions, helping activists grow their resources, their reach, and even pay their bail when needed. People function as the cogs, but every machine runs better with grease.
Maybe someone can convince the Sixteen Thirty Fund to give armed leftists money.
This lack of coordination and communication has been a significant hindrance to the left’s ability to achieve its goals. While there has been a growing movement for social and economic justice in America, many of these movements have struggled to gain traction and make significant progress due to a lack of cohesive messaging and coordination. Even union membership has hit an all time low.
Put simply: the left doesn’t talk.
Come on, everybody. We can do better than this.
We have media personalities. We have Jay Tomlinson. We have Alyson Escalante and Breht O’shea. We have Robert Evans, Garrison Davis, Margaret Killjoy, Max, and 99.
We have political organizations. We have the PSL, the DSA, the Socialist Alternative, the Socialist Rifle Association, John Brown Gun Club, Coalition of Armed Labor, and hundreds of other small groups and networks spread across America. Every union in this country has comrades in it with the power to halt business.
Our ideology has news media, magazines, education, and even a free library, a massive trove of information.
The problem isn’t numbers, it’s communication.
For an ideology with community in the name, we sure are bad at forming them in America. Groups are splintered and scattered. Small cells and interpersonally connected groups that are ideologically aligned, but who have no communication with the greater left movement. Larger organizations like the PSL and DSA exist, but both groups have lofty political aims, and tend to resist direct action, especially armed confrontations. This alienates many of these smaller cells.
Independent cells are adept at appearing out of the woodwork to combat specific threats. Most recently, that tends to be bigots and Nazis targeting the trans and drag communities. That resistance is a powerful tool, and it could be scaled up to the national level in an incredible way.
Only, we don’t— not yet, at least. Once the immediate threat is over, the cells retreat into near-invisibility. Even once nation-spanning groups like the John Brown Gun Club has lost its nationwide communication structure. How can the left transform America if it cannot communicate?
The defeatists and accelerationists will say there’s no point in trying.
To hell with that. We can, we should, we must. Every day, attacks on innocent people increase. Transgender people, activists, drag queens, students, the unhoused, and more.
Every day the problem gets worse. Oh, and about the problem.
Hot take: we are part of it.
There is no excuse that the left is as weak and impotent as it is. The problem is me. It’s you. It’s your comrades, and those that came before us. We have failed and are failing at present. We must do better, and we can do better. Instead of churches, imagine every town with a community center built and run by anarchists, communists, and socialists. Centers that reflect our community. Young and old, Hetero and queer, white and black, neurotypical and divergent. Places for us to relax, to talk, to plan, to put down roots and make real communities.
A ‘third place’ made by the left.
All it takes is communication.