Saturday, 4 December 2010
saw this sticker while browsing ebay for christmas presents and for some reason found it infuriating. then tried to figure out why I found it so frustrating. i've come up with the following reasons.
1. general smugness to apathy ratio.
the point is that the neoliberal/capitalist machine will inevitably create the next war once the current one (or two, or four, etc) have run their course, so the sticker you put on your car (avoiding the crass accusation or pointing out of the relationship between oil supply and foreign policy) is a statement that you are aware of this, and not fooled by the various reasonings given for any particular war. the annoyance comes in at the seeming abandonment of responsibility. you're voicing opposition, but also accepting the inevitability of the next war and therefore to a certain extent confirming that there is no possible force of resistance to "the next war"
2. lack of imagination from the left
the crux of my annoyance is therefore that this fictional person who buys this sticker and puts it on their car is effectively giving up, it's an admission that this is the way and that all you can do is voice your opposition in the least effective way possible. i recently went to a talk by Michael Albert in which he brutally laid out the fundamental problems with the left at this point in time. one of the main points was that 'we' don't believe we can win on anything. we're constantly resigned to never expecting victory, and this effects every part of organisation. if you don't think you can win how do you ever expect to? the point he made and that I agree with, is that much of what is done is merely making you feel better, like at least you gave it a shot, to appease your conscience rather than bring about any meaningful social change. the left is stagnant and the result is stickers like this. you put it on your car and feel better and maybe even think you're 'sticking it to the man', but really you just sleep better at night while being complicit in allowing the next war to formulate.
Posted by pete willis at 16:43