Perhaps the revolution will not be televised, and it probably will not be livestreamed, either, but it certainly won’t be authorized by the ruling class. The implacable ruling class, typically defined by glacial apathy, is furiously nimble in its resistance to any credible threat against its power—which is to say, against its very existence. We mourn Bernie Sanders and his failed democratic revolution, but lest we choke on our tears, shouldn’t we gag on this gibberish we speak? What is a “democratic revolution” if not a contradiction in terms, one which should be struck with brutal cruelty from the lips of a political novice? “Democratic revolution” . . . Do you really believe that “the revolution”, which is meaningless unless it is the lethal termination of the ruling class and the total demolition of their authoritative structures, will take place in the form of an election, an event that is permitted, encouraged, respected, sanctioned, and finally accepted by the ruling class? You are speaking not of revolution but of masochism, which might reveal an awful lot about you, but which takes us no closer toward an understanding of the sadistic elite.
Every authentic democratic exercise is peaceful in its nature, which is its appeal. It is also useless in its nature, which is also its appeal: the electorate believe that they have acted in the moral right and the ruling class maintain their power apparatus. Revolution, on the other hand, is necessarily violent: the ruling class will not capitulate without the threat of bloodshed, at the very least. Even if a democratic exercise could eliminate the power of the ruling class, it would only be through the enforcement of the will expressed thereby that the victory of the electorate is secured; indeed, there is no persuasive rebuttal to the libertarian’s diagnosis of the necessity of force in the nature of the state. Accordingly, the ruling class must resist, through their own forceful means, every attempted revolution, democratic or otherwise, of the ruled. It cannot be a coincidence, then, that those ruled are taught to synonymize democracy and revolution, the former being under the exclusive control of the ruling class.
Until we consider the practical requirements of revolution, until we acknowledge the need for the possibility of violence, we will be incapable of overcoming and overthrowing the ruling class. The ruling class employs every violent method at its disposal to suppress the uprising of the masses, of which the deployment of the militarized police is only the most conspicuous example. Because we are contending with a violent opponent, we cannot afford to deny ourselves every violent resource. We cannot dismiss violence out of hand, and indeed, no sensible person does, lest the right to self-defense be dismissed, as well. This is the argument proposed by Frantz Fanon in his forgotten little book, The Wretched of the Earth, which I have had the good fortune to read for the past few weeks. Fanon, who appears to have been forgotten, too, was a Marxist revolutionary who wrote in support of Algeria’s War of Independence, a subject that should be of some interest to those who champion the Black Lives Matter phenomenon.
At this point, I must apologize for writing in support of BLM, albeit indirectly and only once, more than three months ago. In the span of this summer, it has become undeniable, to me and to anyone who has learned to recognize and transcend propaganda, that BLM is only an ambitious PSYOP, one that has been orchestrated, funded, and coordinated by very powerful people and institutions. The sophistication of this enterprise, which launched simultaneous protests in major, minor, and miniscule cities all over the world, is enough to prove that it is inorganic. Really, this should have been clear to me while I was marching with the protesters in Boston, and I suspect it probably was, but in the time of the pandemic, when the ruling class has been assaulting us with misinformation, perhaps it was too painful for me to think that this, too, was a form of mass hypnosis. Perhaps this exposes the inherent flaws of our modern culture of instantaneous journalism.
If the artificiality of BLM is more salient today, then it is because of the warmth and affection with which the ruling class, including the corporate media it maintains, has embraced and promoted the phenomenon. We should always be skeptical of anything celebrated by popular culture, in no small part because of the ease with which it has reached the masses; in other words, the ruling class has allowed it to reach the masses, so it must serve some kind of oligarchical purpose. If such caution is paranoid is principle, it is proven in this particularity: both the National Basketball Association and the National Football League have entered into partnerships with BLM, paying homage to the organization in branding, messaging, and advertisement. These sports affiliations, which are pillars of American entertainment, are broadcasting their support for BLM in the many channels of mass media. These outlets of international communications conglomerates have already undertaken that effort for the last few months, but by extending it to formerly apolitical platforms, they are raising public awareness—and public contemplation—tenfold.
The consequence of this is the reaction of the masses to this extensive information campaign. The reaction preferred—one might even say instructed—by BLM is to vote in November’s presidential election. We know this, not just because a number of NBA players have placed the word “VOTE” on the back of their jerseys, but because the NBA and the NFL are running myriad advertisements produced by organizations like I am a Voter and When We All Vote. A little Internet research—too little, really, for propagandists who ought to be covering their tracks—reveals that I am a Voter is captained by Mandana Dayani, a multimillionaire who co-hosts a podcast with a racist neoliberal named Debra Messing. Two weeks ago, Dayani retweeted Preet Bharara’s pledge to “remove the most unfit (and bizarre) president in history”, and two weeks before that, she applauded Joe Biden for selecting Kamala Harris as his running mate.
When We All Vote adheres to the same ideological frame. Michelle Obama financed this project, one which shameless journalists have the temerity to describe as “nonpartisan”, two years ago with the explicit purpose of supporting Democrats in the midterm elections of 2018. It features a gaggle of co-chairs, including Kerry Washington, who hosted the third night of last month’s Democratic National Convention. Unsurprisingly, the organization’s Twitter account frequently retweets Mrs. Obama and her many friends among the Hollywood elite. No honest observer could argue that We All Vote is any more nonpartisan than I am a Voter, but one wouldn’t know this solely by watching the NBA or the NFL, whose ostensible mission is voter registration and whose supposed message is “Vote”, not “Vote for a particular candidate and party”, and certainly not “Vote for Joe Biden.” Yet, one cannot watch a basketball or football game without encountering this veiled propaganda literally hundreds of times. How much money is being spent on this, and is the Democratic Party required to report it as official campaign spending? What is the effect, however insidious, of such compulsive consumption of subliminal messaging? Should we approach this issue politically or as a matter of public health?
Needless to say, the electorate are not encouraged to ask any of these questions. Their only task is to vote—for Joe Biden and the Democrats—and to persuade everyone they know to do so, as well. The suggestion and the promise are that doing so will somehow accomplish the same revolutionary goal of which Bernie Sanders and his supporters spoke, but, as Fanon explained decades ago, this objective is inane when it is pursued within a democratic process alone, especially within one that is welcomed by the ruling elite. The American oligarchs have achieved a unique omnipotence, for they can purchase every source of institutional power as well as every popular challenge whereto. Theirs is an elaborate system of control, one which has prepared well in advance for every possible critical response. Democratic initiatives are perfectly useless against it, and violence often is, too. Nevertheless, when the time for revolution has come—for legitimate revolution, not this infantile fantasy promoted by the bourgeoisie of Rose Twitter—we can expect to see few ballots cast and much blood spilled.