November 4th has come and gone. The country is still in chaos. Fighting continues in most urban areas. The 1st Transgender Mechanized Division has taken Washington and the black Antifa flag flies over the ruins of the Capitol. Donald Trump has fled in a private jet seeking asylum in Dubai, while Pence has been captured by the People’s Army. My name has appeared on a list of “tools of the oppressors” who must report for “evaluation.” Wait… someone’s knocking at the door… they’re all wearing Guy Fawkes masks… now they’re kicking in it in….
Actually, that’s not happening at all, even though something similar was promised for last Saturday by both Antifa and various conservative commentators. To put it simply, Antifa, RefuseFascism, RESIST!, the John Brown Clubs, and assorted other organs of national liberation set November 4th as the date of a national uprising to overthrow the Trump administration and liberate the entire country from capitalist-patriarchal-white supremacist domination. It was supposed to develop into open civil war between the progressive forces and the forces of reaction, with the outcome undoubtedly that guaranteed by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Castro, and company. The planning for the operation began last summer, and the left sounded quite serious about it, going so far as to buy an entire NYT page to call out the proles. This past week activities were scaled back to twenty cities, but it still sounded awfully impressive.
And then the 4th rolled around and… nothing. Three hundred marchers in Times Square. A few dozen in the Bay Area. A scattering of others here and there… But apart from that… bupkus.
I was frankly taken aback. I expected something. A cop car turned over, a limo or two burnt, a couple acres of plate glass smashed, at the very least. But the People’s Revolution was a complete washout. A bust. The mountain has labored – here is your mouse. (Oh, somebody assaulted Rand Paul on Friday, but if this was intended to kick off hostilities in Kentucky, with the guy expecting rescue by his comrades on Saturday morning, then he’s still waiting.)
In the wake of this, it seems that Antifa can take its place in the left-wing tar pits along with the SDS, CISPES, ANSWER, Occupy, and all the other undergrad revos who vowed but failed to bring down the rude capitalist monolith known as the United States.
But that doesn’t leave us high and dry with nothing to discuss. Because the hard left were not the only ones involved in this debacle. A large number of conservative commentators and websites also bought into this. The general tone was “RIP, THE UNITED STATES: JULY 4, 1776 – NOVEMBER 4, 2017” or “AMERICA – WE HARDLY KNEW YE” or “CIVIL WAR, NOVEMBER 4th.” The accompanying prose usually made it sound like the Revelation of St. John the Divine combined with the Zombie Apocalypse combined with Battle: Los Angeles.
The left in this country can never depend on a broad-based movement. It simply isn’t there. Most Americans are not interested. So they have turned to a rarified variant of Lenin’s vanguard strategy (which Fidel Castro called the “foco”). A small group of “woke” radicals acts for the proletariat, striking down the capitalist structure and then acting as a leadership cadre to construct the new society on behalf of the proles (See the Bolshevik coup for details).
How can such a vanishingly small group challenge a whole society? Through the wasp strategy. If you let a single wasp into a room full of people, it is likely to cause utter chaos, particularly if somebody gets stung. Trying to get away, somebody smashes into somebody else, who bangs into a table, who knocks a vase against the wall where the water splatters an electrical plug, which shorts out the electricity, which causes a fire, etc. etc. All this caused by one little wasp.
That’s the strategy of the CPUSA, the Movement, Occupy, and now Antifa. It follows that anyone who aids Antifa in spreading panic and dismay is, inadvertently or otherwise, working with them, helping put the strategy into effect by getting people wrought up about something that can scarcely affect them. Accessories before the fact, to use legal phraseology.
There are some elements of the left, exactly who will likely forever be unknown, who have carefully studied their opposition, from accepted center-right figures to people who sleep while hanging from the ceiling, and know exactly how we work and how many of us can be manipulated.
You see this daily in the comment threads. No matter what the topic, some lefty always appears out of nowhere to attempt to derail the discussion of the issue at hand. He’ll sometimes work through insult, sometimes through misdirection. There are always one or more commentators who take him up on it, dragging in others until eventually the entire thread has lost its way and everybody is arguing whether Trump is 6’2” or 6’3”. It’s absurd, it’s idiotic, and it works just about every time. (My favorite example involved a column dealing with an Obama contradiction that might have caused him serious problems if it went public. As the discussion got rolling, a kid showed up claiming that he and his family were being held hostage in Phoenix, with the police refusing to respond. Within seconds the thread was in total chaos as readers promised to contact the cops or call people they knew in Phoenix, tried to get the address from the “kid," etc. Needless to say, the actual topic was utterly forgotten. At no point did anybody sit back and ask, “Why the hell is a kid in trouble contacting AT?”)
This works on the larger stage as well. The activist left knows that there exist people on our side of the fence who are not serious. Who are into it to generate clicks, to manipulate others, to make a name for themselves. They know who they are, and exactly what buttons to push. The old communist term for this is “transmission belt”: somebody who can be used to get the message to places it would otherwise never penetrate. The left plays this crowd like violins, using them to get carefully-tailored information payloads to the hysterical, the ill-informed, the emotionally and mentally unbalanced, and to people sincerely frightened that something horrible may be happening to the country. The result is panic, uproar, wasted time, wasted energy, and wasted money.
The military term for this is “force multiplier,” any factor that increases the effectiveness of combat forces. Aerial refueling was a force multiplier during the Cold War, increasing the effectiveness of the U.S. Air Force by a factor of ten or more. Using refueling, USAF air assets could easily outdeploy, outfly, and outmaneuver the Soviets, who did not adapt the technique. Today, it’s often applied to advanced communications and networking technology. All too often, the conservative internet acts as a force multiplier for the left, lending a far greater impact to a couple thousand goofs standing in the street wearing masks than they logically should have. (I name no names because there’s no point in going from the general to the particular – that’s not the intent here.)
There’s only one way to control this, and it will never be more than a partial solution at best. You can’t police it, you can’t oversee it, you can’t stay ahead of it. The sole remedy is to encourage a greater sense of responsibility among both readers and writers.
For both: conspiracy theories are usually bullshit, either completely or to a large extent. There are rules on how to identify bogus conspiracy theories. Learn them and apply them.
And finally: anything you hear from the left is bogus. That you can bank on.
Who the hell wants to act as a shill for the left? Particularly a left made up of kids dressed up as ninjas.