The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Rogan Joshing

MaNdOs PoSt

I have even less truck with political YouTube than ordinary TV. But it has come to my attention that there is someone named “Joe Rogan” who has achieved a certain level of fame and popularity by doing independent online interviews of politicians, so much so that Democratic primary candidates feel the need to appear on his show.  Another thing I have learned is that this Rogan person appeals to a particular demographic that is, at present, not considered a reliable source of votes for the Democratic Party–or indeed any party that is perceived by television media as being accommodating to any concern considered “left-of-centre” by the prevailing dispensation.

But what brought this Rogan person to my attention was the fact that the current left-wing Democratic primary star, Bernie Sanders, gave an interview on Rogan’s show and obtained some kind of positive review (endorsement?) from him, and this has led to a certain degree of consternation and argument in the online left that has broken down on the usual lines: roughly speaking, “guns-and-butter” leftists vs. “woke” identitarians. I haven’t seen the interview and probably never will. So I guess I can’t really take a side, as I’m not willing to do the basic research of watching Rogan’s show. However, watching the meta-show, so to speak, has proven moderately illustrative about the meta-issues that divide the online left.

The conflict is basically this: As Sanders is the nominally “socialist” candidate in the US presidential elections, and circumstances have (like Corbyn?) coalesced to give him at least a plausible shot at the Oval Office, his appearance on Rogan’s show as well as apparent endorsement can be seen as a necessary step at accessing support from demographics that, as I mentioned above, are not seen as easily accessible to left-wing candidates. Without increased support from this group, left-wing Democrats are forever doomed to failure as an identity-purist bastion representing marginalized groups, who, alas, can never form a political majority that takes power. Consequently, if Sanders is serious about taking power, he has no choice, and in some sense, it would be practically immoral to refuse to appear on this widely-viewed show when the platform is being offered to him under friendly conditions.

At this point, we must examine why someone may expect Sanders to refuse an appearance on a show like Rogan’s. Again, from discourse that surrounds it, I gather that not only does Rogan appeal to demographics deemed to have generally retrograde views, he does so by publicly sharing some of those discriminatory opinions. (I haven’t bothered to figure out what those are but I’m guessing stuff like a little light racism, and transphobia, and so on.) Consequently, Sanders’ presence on the show may be construed as prima facie evidence of complicity with these oppressive discourses. The counterargument is obvious: Sanders is being given a friendly opportunity to draw in support from groups who live in a media environment that predisposes them to retrograde views, and thereby eventually mitigate (by winning power) the harm done by those viewpoints.

But this counterargument does not satisfy the critics of Sanders’ actions. Some of them are motivated by sheer hypocrisy, because their own preferred candidates often participated in the stigmatization of minority groups or associated with those who do. Other critics, however, have more sincere personal motivations motivated by experience or feeling towards Rogan’s target demographic. That is, they see Rogan fans as representative of a group that has collectively made their lives more difficult or acted in a manner harmful to them. The association of the principal left-wing candidate with Joe Rogan awakens an old fear: that this is the point at which they and their concerns are dismissed as inconvenient, unhelpful, or corrosive to the holy grail of a power-taking electoral politics motivated by class interest.

This is not an empty fear. Quite a lot of “economic” leftists have a lot of difficulty taking the justice claims of (for example) gender identity seriously, as opposed to subsuming them into a general concept of economic well-being and ignoring the bits that don’t fit:

This and other reactions are precisely what many people who object to Sanders’ participation in Rogan’s show fear is already happening — that once again, the claims to justice that they finally felt were being recognized were again going to be sidelined or dismissed as frivolous or luxurious*, faced with the pressing need of recruiting the “down-to-earth,” “alienated” Real People.

I don’t know if this is true. It’s possible that a sort of political contagion will take hold, such that the stereotypical Rogan listener will start to care about women’s pay equity or cultural appropriation by increased affiliation with Sanders’ politics. I suppose it largely depends on how Sanders ends up running his campaign, should he win the primary. But I do know that this is an instance of a larger issue that cannot easily be swept under the carpet of unity.

* For example, pronouns and the like. Once upon a time, I myself might have seen English gendered pronoun issues as frivolous until I actually discussed the matter with some of their proponents and found that to them, these and related issues of recognition have tangible consequences.


Open Thread


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – January 26, 2020


  1. Mallam

    I’ve come to the conclusion on this that doing the interview was fine and probably ok (though he never challenged Rogan on his problematic views, the worst being related to Muslims; he’s also expressed support for Birtherism). But making the ad was just a step too far, unnecessary, and causing problems. I think Bree Newsome Bass and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor are the ones to read on this:

    I think it’s fine to accept the endorsement even as I disagree w highlighting him in an ad. Rogan has built much of his career by appealing to racism, sexism, trans and homo phobias among others. This contradicts Sanders appeals for solidarity rooted in the slogan “us not me”. Solidarity can’t be built on a faulty unity that assumes some of our acceptance of the repugnant ideas that continue to keep us divided. And receiving Rogan‘s endorsement w/o publicly challenging his backward politics is effectively to accept those ideas. if we are really building a movement and not just a campaign then we have to challenge *all* instances of bigotry and bullying. This is not about moral posturing. Rather, anti-oppression politics are not just principally right, but they are the only foundation upon which an effective mass movement can be organized and built. Black and Brown people, Muslims, trans folx, women, immigrants will not downplay our struggles to accommodate anyone. I t doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage those with whom we have deep disagreements; we should concede no audience. We can fight for everyone but it must be on *our* terms—against racism, sexism, xenophobia etc. building a movement also means trying to politically influence those we aim to include, to win them to seeing the world differently. You can’t do that by pretending there’s not a problem in the first place. Stop denying Rogan’s bad politics, instead challenge them. Solidarity is hard. It usually requires struggle, the struggle to pick up someone else’s burden as your own; to see someone’s suffering as your own. That’s part of what it will take to win the world we want, not just an election. finally, to all the self righteous critics who never liked Sanders, yr critiques ring hollow when most of you have always made excuses for mainstream Dems that have championed war, repression, & anti-black racism.


    “ Don’t see how making a video out of JR’s “I’ll probably vote” statement represents “expanding the tent” when JR represents voters they already have. Meanwhile, they got an endorsement from a Black SC mayor, didn’t make a video about it & now public focus is on JR & not that.”
    ~Bree Newsome Bass

  2. There’s an *ad*? *upside-down-smiley*

    But seriously, it’s obvious why you’d want to advertise the acquisition of the leader of a dudebro demographic over a mere black mayor. *irony*

  3. Willy

    Rogan’s a climate change believer, making him a commie of the worst sort.

    But then he did have Jordan Peterson on, so he’s a hypocritical commie. With Neil deGrasse Tyson, that’d be a hypocritical commie who kisses science ass. Ben Shapiro made him a science commie with some evangelical leanings, while Mike Tyson and Charlie Murphy turned him into a science evangelical who might kick your nigger ass out the window (but in a humorous way). Finally, having Alex Jones on more than once, means that he ultimately believes that climate change is an absolute conspiracy.

  4. different clue

    Apropos nothing in particular, I note that the image of Mustapha Kemal is still back up in the “Ian Welsh Images” image-clusterbunch. In the very second row.

    Why? What does it mean? What is someone trying to tell us?

  5. Temporarily Sane

    You can’t have it both ways, Welsh. First you tell us that you know very little about Rogan, that you haven’t watched his show and you probably never will. Fair enough. But then you go on to assert that Rogan appeals to/endorses retrograde political views etc. How do you know this? Oh, you read it somewhere on the intertubez even though you’ve just said you know nothing about this guy and have no interest in watching his show. After that you wade into the ridiculous “should Bernie have appeared on his show “debate and “Omg is it okay if people with opinions that don’t line up with “woke” PC, IDPol dogma vote for Sanders?” What kind of electoral strategy is that?

    This is why a huge chunk of the American center-left is fucking hopeless. Imagine the social democrats in 1930s Germany getting their Lederhosen and Dirndls in a twist over Germans with potential right-wing or even fascist political views considering voting for a left leaning party against the Nazis! It’s Monty Python level farce. (Not that Rogan or working class Trump fans are fascist, that’s just propaganda, but you know what I mean.)

    I had high hopes for you, Welsh, based on some of your writings but you’re apparently just another bandwagon jumper who “weighs in” and “makes his voice heard” by getting involved in whichever ridiculous non-issue is trending on Democrat Twitter. And you are a fucking Canadian who lives in Toronto but you write about American politics with the voice of an American voter who has a dog in this race!

    You have way more patience than me and I certainly have my share of idiosyncratic character flaws, but you’re the guy with the blog who parses political theory in public. So it’s difficult not to notice the inconsistencies between what you write in your essays and what you say on this blog. Maybe you need a break from the daily posting and internet echo chamber and spend more time self-reflecting and consolidating your political positions?

  6. Eric Anderson

    I guess this is where line up.

    And here:

    As is obvious by the tweets, I’m one of those guns and butter leftists.

    Now this:
    “Quite a lot of “economic” leftists have a lot of difficulty taking the justice claims of (for exampe) gender identity seriously, as opposed to subsuming them into a general concept of economic well-being and ignoring the bits that don’t fit.”

    What is it about our system don’t identitarians get? There are two ways the marginalized fight. First, by banding together in numbers great enough to force political change by legislation or revolution (Bernie). Second, through economic strength to enforce their civil rights before the courts. A rich marginalized identity has the power at their disposal to fight. The poor don’t.
    Thus, equalize the economic people so all people are able to fight to enforce their rights on the same level playing field.

    WTF is the alternative the identitarians are dreaming of?

  7. anon y'mouse

    it isn’t voters who must be worthy and in alignment with the candidates views, but the candidate who must be responsible to the voters for what they DO (and fail to do).

    the candidate’s job is to get votes, not disavow people and reject them based upon what he believes they might believe. nor is it a candidate’s job to disavow every single thing a person who follows or intends to vote for them says.

    the candidate is responsible for what they say and do, and we are to decide whether what they say and do appeals to us enough to earn our vote. that is how this limited system of non-existent empowerment works.

    not the reverse. what is someone supposed to say? “i want everyone’s vote, but not THAT guy! he can take his vote and shove it”?

  8. Bramlet Abercrombie

    Temporarily Sane,

    This is a Mandos post, not an Ian Welsh post.

  9. Herman

    I don’t have much sympathy. Look, poor and working-class people have been told for years that they need to accept compromise in order to win elections. Worse, they have had their concerns dismissed and told that they just need to move or learn to code or whatever the latest neoliberal mantra is. In the meantime, conditions in America continue to deteriorate for most working people. Look at the stats on deaths of despair.

    I don’t get how people can say this Joe Rogan thing is a problem for Sanders (who doesn’t seem to agree with Rogan’s more controversial opinions) but people have to accept somebody like Joe Manchin in the Democratic Party out of pragmatism. Note that I actually agree with the pragmatism argument regarding Manchin, given the nature of West Virginia politics. I just don’t see why Manchin and other centrist Dems get a pass but Sanders is under such massive scrutiny.

    I have argued here before in favor of lesser-of-two evils voting and accepting the big tent nature of major party politics but one thing that I have noticed is that the identitarian left refuses any compromise with their agenda at all. The so-called “guns and butter” left has to constantly compromise though, even though the constituency of the guns and butter left is literally dropping dead at a level that rivals death rates in a major war.

    What makes this even more galling is that the identitarian left has largely won the culture war against the right with the exception of the abortion issue. The identitarian left dominates academia, the media (both traditional and social media) and has even gone so far as trying to “cancel” people for stepping outside of certain bounds of opinion. The identitarian left wants to decide who gets to work or not. This is as bad as anything the religious right has tried to dream up. In fact, I would say that as the country becomes more secular, the identitarian left is replacing the declining religious right as the social disciplinary arm of capitalism.

    Polls have shown that PC culture is widely despised by the general population, even among people of color and young people so I don’t see why Bernie has to kowtow to the demands of the identitarian left, which he largely seems to agree with anyway. This strikes me as another attempt by rich liberals to sink Bernie via guilt by association with Joe Rogan and some of his fans. This is a new version of the Bernie Bro and “Bernie hates the global poor” memes.

  10. Salty

    Temporarily Sane:
    Missed who actually wrote the post (It was Mandos, not Welsh)
    Incorrectly ascribed the named person’s position as being American Center-Left and then points out (correctly) that he’s Canadian (Don’t know if Mandos is, but Welsh is) and claims this is a problem for the Americans despite being a Canadian…
    Gets upset that Welsh is Canadian and writes about American issues and thinks he doesn’t have a dog in this race (America has nukes and is a superpower – *everyone* has a dog in this race, including non-humans, it’s just that the rest of us can’t vote)
    And to top it all off, advises taking some time off the internet to reflect on life. After all, being inconsistent and making massive mistakes on a take would be really bad, right? Right, Temporarily Sane?

  11. Mary Carson

    Warren supporters or anyone but Bernie supporters are behind the Twitter dust up. I\’ve checked bios on over a dozen of them and it\’s all the same.
    So it\’s not coming from honest people.
    The question is \”Can you take a vote from a person who holds views you feel are wrong/immoral/dangerous?\”
    Rogan is (maybe) voting for Sanders because of honesty & healthcare.
    If Rogan\’s deplorable minions decide to vote for Sanders because of honesty & healthcare who is getting hurt?
    Those people aren\’t going to be showing up to canvass on a \”btw trans is disgusting\” dialog sheet.
    Rogan endorsed Sanders.
    Sanders said \”thanks\” – not \”btw you\’re right on trans cage fighting\”.
    Try this out with Imus or Kissinger or Bill Maher.
    Nobody gave Hillary shit about this.

  12. different clue

    @Temporarily Sane,

    Others beat me to it, but this is a Mr. Mandos post. It has bright red warning letters that say so.

    As to Mr. Welsh being not entitled in theory to comment upon American affairs because he is from Canada and is therefor not an American because he is a foreigner . . . while that case could be made for some sneeringly supercilious anti-Americanitic culture-racist anti-Americanites; I don’t think that case can be made against commentary and analysis from a Canadian . . . even if it is deeply unpleasant.

    The reason for that is . . . well . . . think of it like this. Imagine that North America is “like” a three-floor three-family apartment building. Mexico lives on the first floor, America lives on the second floor, and Canada lives on the third floor. If you live on the third floor, and your downstairs neighbors are cooking meth and holding loud obnoxious motorcycle parties; you have a legitimate interest in doing something about all the noise and all the meth.

  13. different clue

    My computer time-and-access is limited in life, so I may not ever listen to this Rogan-Sanders interview. I have only just vaguely heard of Rogan, actually. I know he held an interview with Tulsi Gabbard, which was one of her few means of getting her message out from under the acoustic mufflecone of silence which the Establishment has dropped over her.

    But the Mandos post was so short that I went ahead and sort-of skimmed it. This Identyan Culture-Left has been weaponised for use against political-economy leftists for some time now.
    Hillary used it against Sanders in the last round of primaries when she told him that breaking up the big banks would not do a thing to stop homophobia . . . or whatever it was that breaking up the big banks wouldn’t do a thing to improve. Here is a light-hearted satire article making gentle fun of this weaponised attitude as it is rolled out against Sanders this time around.

    There have been articles written about this. Here is one, called The Preachers Of The Great Awokening.

    I basically agree with Eric Anderson and Anon y’mouse and Herman and Mary Carson. This fainting-couch pearl-clutching over Sanders daring to appear on Rogan’s show is tactical and strategic and a pure expression of total and utter bad faith. Log Mansion Democrats and Goldman Sachs Feminists do not face imminent or even near-term starvation and early death due to structural disemployment and mass jobicide resulting from the actions of the International Free Trade Conspiracy.

  14. Herman

    @Mary Carson,

    I also find the demand to analyze the internal states of voters to be strange. I doubt the Republicans care whether all of their voters hew to conservative orthodoxy, so why is orthodoxy demanded by the identitarian left? I suspect that there is a religious element here. Many members of the identitarian left are former mainline Protestants (and maybe some former Catholics and Evangelicals too) who have taken elements of their former religion into the political sphere as a form of woke orthodoxy. People must confess and repent of their sins (now consisting of having the wrong opinions on a number of subjects) and be justified before they can become part of the elect.

    This is a crazy way to go about doing politics where the name of the game is to win as many elections as possible and to develop a broad coalition to win. Sanders or any Democrat will likely need to win parts of the electorate that have Rogan-ish views on some issues. That doesn’t mean that you have to give in to their every demand. Maybe you can get them to vote for you based on issues like healthcare or jobs. But the point is no politician can win the presidency with only the votes of the “woke” electorate. You need some moderates and maybe even some deplorables too, especially given the way the Electoral College is structured.

  15. Tom

    Good for Bernie on ignoring the Identitarian Woke Left who everyone despises and has bred themselves out of the gene pool and whose movies and games flop on the market.

    The average American will never associate with a minority, not because of hatred or whatever, but because he doesn’t have the time due to work and other issues. Attacking them as racist will cause them to defensively strike back. Inviting them in, giving them the power to have more leisure by raising their standard of living, and building a community with a new social contract will bring them in. Rogan and Jordan Peterson understand this, Crowder understands this. The Woke Idiots don’t and always fail because they piss off the Heartland who are needed to break the Republican and Democratic Parties.

    Frankly I given up on real change in the US. The extremists on both sides have hijacked and hold hostage both parties and the country. The Woke Idiots have bred themselves out of the gene pool and can be dismissed. The Neoliberals and Oligarches will be undone by climate change and will not survive. Good riddance to them.

    Well I and my family and our children and grandchildren will just have to dig ourselves out of the ashes of the US Collapse and learn that what one does in life doesn’t matter if the succeeding generation is not properly prepared to take up the torch, and above all, put the family first.

    OT: China is now Quarantining 55 million people now, mobilizing its entire army and is now shooting people trying to break quarantine. Twitter activists braving the censorship are reporting a death toll in excess of 100,000 which is way above the official toll of 53 as of writing this with 2,000 officially confirmed cases.

    I don’t know about you, but I think the unofficial tolls are more correct as Mass Quarantine of this many people doesn’t make sense with the official numbers when the flu in the US has killed 8.000 so far this flu season.

  16. Jim L

    This post by Mandos is, to put it politely, not serious.

    Mandos admits straight away that he is not familiar with Joe Rogan. Nor has he watched any of Rogan\’s podcasts. Rogan does two hour or longer interviews/discussions with interesting people of a wide range of political persuasions, with views numbering in the millions. But Mandos can\’t be bothered to go to the source. No, he\’d much rather accept the liberal/identitarian/\”woke\” denunciations of Rogan as some racist/homophobic/sexist/transphobic voice of the deplorables. How\’d that work out for you last time? Those characterizations of Rogan, I hasten to add, are wide of the mark.

    I say that Mandos\’ post is not serious, because anyone with any desire to WIN, to convince a majority – especially a majority of working people – to their political position, knows it is absolutely necessary to talk with those WHO DO NOT ALREADY AGREE WITH YOU.

    Mandos is likely one of those who yammer at Glenn Greenwald for accepting the chance to speak to the millions of people who watch Tucker Carlson\’s show – all while the \”progressives\” at MSNBC won\’t have Glenn on at all. Greenwald, in a recent interview with Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi, rightfully dismisses such political foolishness for the idiocy that it is.

    No, Mandos, if you\’re going to write a post about Joe Rogan saying he\’d probably vote for Bernie (\”because he\’s been consistent his whole life\”), and Bernie\’s campaign then publicizing Rogan\’s statement as a way of reaching many people who otherwise might not have paid attention to Bernie\’s campaign, then you\’d damn well better do some homework first.

    There\’s an old expression :\”opinions are like assholes, everyone has one\” that applies in this situation. Blogging about a controversy, without doing the least bit of basic research? No. Do better.

  17. different clue

    Here are a few interesting comments about Joe Rogan interviews from a recent NaCap thread . . .

    Bill Carson
    January 24, 2020 at 2:46 pm
    This morning in the comments I shared links to Joe Rogan’s interviews with Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang.

    If you are so inclined, here is another really good interview that Rogan did in July, and it is well worth your time—

    Joe Rogan Experience #1325 – Dr. Cornel West

    Reply ↓
    Bruce F
    January 24, 2020 at 5:21 pm
    Funny, I was watching/listening to this episode when I came across your comment.

    One, of many things, that stood out was West’s comment that one needs to laugh and cry in order to be truly human. Then he said this – “Socrates never cried and Jesus never laughed.”.

    What followed from that was interesting.

    Reply ↓
    Bill Carson
    January 24, 2020 at 5:23 pm
    The man is a national treasure.

    Reply ↓
    January 25, 2020 at 1:03 am
    And apparently much older than he looks.

    Reply ↓
    The Rev Kev
    January 24, 2020 at 9:00 pm
    In a Michael Tracey tweet, he said


    Joe Rogan says Biden, Warren, and Mayor Pete tried to get on his podcast and he turned them down. “I like Tulsi and I like Bernie, that’s it. Everybody else can eat s***.”

    3:28 PM – Jan 18, 2020

    Reply ↓

    So it appears that Rogan has interviewed several non Right Wing people. Should we accuse all these people he interviewed as traitors and enemies against the COW ( Coalition Of Wokeness) Identy Left?

  18. Chiron

    Post like these and comments like Mallam is why the Left isn’t going anywhere, any type of endorsement by a relatively well know celebrity is immediately scrutinized and thrown out like that Young Turks guy before Rogan.

  19. oliverbohs

    Look, the thing is ; when will another chance like this come along? What candidate in the future would represent the issues Sanders does? The type of demographic Rogan allegedly appeals to either got attracted to Trump last time out or, more likely, did not vote at all. Probably.
    As for identitarian politics, someone like Obama was understandably seen at the time as a president who was ideal as an embodiment for all that. We know that on the economic issues he was a yellow coward though. Basically I can\’t see Sanders as president equivocating on issues like trans rights or the make-up of the Supreme Court.
    The tangible progress on things like that takes time, persuading one person at a time. Tiresome as all hell it must be right enough. Sanders as president would merely provide a better context for identitarian politics. More so than another Trump term, that\’s for sure!

  20. Best Sunday funny ever, watching an amateaur get trolled by masters.

  21. Hugh

    “This strikes me as another attempt by rich liberals to sink Bernie via guilt by association with Joe Rogan and some of his fans. This is a new version of the Bernie Bro and “Bernie hates the global poor” memes.”

    Ding, Herman for the win.

    Liberals and neoliberals, but I repeat myself, freak out at anything populist. Sanders has made it clear that he is trying to expand beyond registered Democrats and likely voters. In addition to the usually ignored and swept aside Democratic base, Sanders also appeals to a lot of people who don’t usually vote (the real majority in American politics) and a lot who voted for Trump.

    Sanders is not going anywhere near as far as FDR did, as in light-years from. A big chunk of Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition was made up of Southern racists. But history is easy to forget when it is inconvenient.

    Somehow I doubt these same Sanders critics were slamming Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Hillary in 2016 for being beholden to and funding their campaigns with Wall Street money. Which do you think was more dangerous to the country: what Sanders is doing or what Obama and Hillary did?

    As Sanders goes up in the polls, our elite political and media Establishment is going nuts. There is the whole lamely manufactured CNN/Warren smear, zombie Hillary comes back from whatever hole she has been nursing her grudges in to attack Sanders, the Bernie Bros are resurrected, Obama mutters in the background, Sanders is criticized for saying true things about Biden’s record. This Josh Rogan thing should be seen in the same light. The Establishment Democrat strategy right now is to throw everything it can think of at Sanders and hope that some of it sticks.

  22. Herman


    Good points. People also forget that the Obama-era Democratic Party included a fair number of socially conservative Blue Dogs. Most of them ended up losing their seats to Republicans but the point is that the Democratic Party has always accepted some people with conservative views on certain issues. Even today there are socially conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin and John Bel Edwards, the pro-life/anti-choice governor of Louisiana. We are told by establishment Democrats that we need to give these politicians some leeway because of the nature of politics in their states. I think that is a fair point.

    But Bernie seems to be in a lose/lose situation. He is either branded as an extreme leftist purity politician or he is a “brocialist/brogressive” who pals around with conservatives and doesn’t care about anything other than economic issues, which is false since as far as I know Bernie is on the left when it comes to social issues.

    This is a clear case of neoliberals weaponizing identity politics to try to torpedo Bernie’s campaign. The neoliberals cannot come right out and admit that they don’t want their economic privilege attacked (that seems to be the preserve of the conservative right), so they hide behind wokeness to make the case for defeating Sanders and ending the movement he is trying to develop.

  23. Jim L: No! I refuse! It would destroy my mental image of the interview, with Sanders being interviewed by a fragrant Kashmiri lamb curry in a trench coat.

  24. Ché Pasa

    Funny how anything allegedly “woke” or “PC” invariably triggers reactionaries to froth and fume about how the country has become a ruin because of identitarians. Regular as clockwork. You think those who are “woke” or “PC” don’t enjoy triggering the reactionaries? Of course they do. And vice versa. It’s all part of the rightist ruled political game keeping the some segment of proles busy whilst the rulers loot and pillage and exploit with abandon.

    As for Bernie, I’ve never thought he was running a serious campaign for the presidency — any more than Trump was in 2016. What he’s determined to do is create a political matrix and force through and by which a successor, sometime in the future, can mount and win a genuine left-wing campaign for the presidency — and bring in a lot of other neglected interests as well, winning a lot of other offices throughout the land. In essence, he’s operating a political revival of some of the perspectives and policies commonplace when he was young.

    And it’s resonating.

    Not with enough people, not yet. And not yet in a way that can take power from the ruling class. That will require much more than simply winning elections, as the push-back on Bernie’s ascendance in the polls demonstrates. The message is that even if by some miracle he were to win election, he’d be as hamstrung as Trump or Obama if not more so. His would be another presidency full of sound and fury that would, ultimately, do what it has been told by the ruling class. Or be terminated.

    No, the kind of wholesale change we need is not going to come through elections. A mass movement which sidesteps the electoral games, though, can push the system of rule sideways, ultimately perhaps toppling it, something the rightists have been engaged in for generations. They win partly because they don’t rely on elections alone to gain their objectives, and partly because they have the backing of some of the most vile members of the ruling class. They play the identitarian games masterfully, btw. All of which are intended to keep the proles in their place.

    As for Rogan, shrug. Just keeping the pot stirred, sticking it to The Man, providing an outlet for anger and despair. Bernie’s appearance and attacking Bernie for this or that or the other endorsement is all part of how the game is played. Rev. Wright, eg.

    The need is to break the game board, no?


  25. Eric Anderson

    “A mass movement which sidesteps the electoral games, though, can push the system of rule sideways, ultimately perhaps toppling it, something the rightists have been engaged in for generations.”

    #NotMeUs Che’ Pasa.

    The soldiers are on the ground and their boots are laced up.
    We know what’s coming. We welcome it. Bring the F’ing fight. We’re ready.

  26. The “guns-and-butter” left, consisting of humans and not of saints, has its own cancel culture, of course, so I don’t expect anyone to believe me, but I really do hope for a Sanders presidency. I also hoped for a Corbyn win. Fairly early on, I didn’t think Corbyn would succeed, and I was right about that for the right reasons, reasons that a lot of people still aren’t willing to hear — but I mostly bit my tongue until it was almost over.

    Sanders is not in the same position as Corbyn despite some superficial similarities: there isn’t a central, divisive Grand High Maximum Issue like Brexit that Democratic voters and Sanders’ movement is deeply ambivalent about. (I’m sure we all agree here that Trump’s peccadilloes do not compare to Brexit as an issue.) So I would say that, should he pass the primary, Sanders probably stands a better shot at the Presidency that Corbyn did 10 Downing.

    But there’s the rub. We’re still living in a world where, of all things, Biden is competitive in the primary. The primary is the last opportunity that the “unrepresentative” Democratic voter has a chance to influence the outcome relative to their ideological dispensation. After that, it’s R vs. D.

    Now I am well aware, as I said in the OP, that there are hypocrites everywhere you look — people using these issues as a wedge to give Biden or someone else a head start. That said, it is nevertheless an old fear of the identitarian left (who definitely do not believe they have ever secured some kind of final triumph, especially since we’re talking about disparate groups with different particular issues) that just on the cusp of victory, Lucy will take the football away. (Sound familiar?) In their case, that means the sudden downgrading of forms of acceptance they had been working for, on the grounds that it damages wider acceptability.

    And for them, an appeal to Rogan supporters during the time of the primary is a warning sign that they’re about to be deprioritized, and therefore they have one last chance to put a spike in this dynamic.

  27. Eric Anderson:

    What is it about our system don’t identitarians get? There are two ways the marginalized fight. First, by banding together in numbers great enough to force political change by legislation or revolution (Bernie). Second, through economic strength to enforce their civil rights before the courts. A rich marginalized identity has the power at their disposal to fight. The poor don’t.
    Thus, equalize the economic people so all people are able to fight to enforce their rights on the same level playing field.

    WTF is the alternative the identitarians are dreaming of?

    I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with this. The “identitarians” are not dreaming of a different process. Rather, they’re frightened that “banding together” in practice does not mean the Joe Rogan fanbase embracing trans allyship, but rather an implicit demand to reduce visibility so as not to “scare off” the humdrum white working class family men and the “Karens” etc. For “identitarian” movements, invisibility (“erasure”) is the ultimate sacrifice, and the demand for invisibility comes in slow slices and with no guarantee of eventual reciprocation.

  28. jay love

    This write up is filled with \”meta assumptions\”, ie uninformed opinions that amount to not much.

    I hope your other articles are better researched.

  29. Eric Anderson

    I get that Mandos.
    I’m just being pragmatic, as one would hope those who skew toward identity politics would be as well.
    Pragmatically, who is going to help me the most? And, why would I attempt to gut the candidate that will do so? This is about picking battles and not cutting one’s nose of to spite one’s face to me. Can anyone in a marginalized identity community in good faith claim Bernie hasn’t been the most consistent political figure in fighting on the right side of history over these issues?

    Terribly selfish and myopic.

    ps … I kept my critique civil. I’d hope to anticipate the same from you in the future — regardless the depth of our disagreement.

  30. Hugh

    A few years ago, wealth inequality, climate change, universal single payer healthcare (Medicare for All), criticism of free trade and markets, education without debt, a jobs guarantee, even a universal basic income were off the table, ignored, marginalized. But we didn’t let them go. We continued to push them. We refused to let them be forgotten. We kept slugging away at them. Now they are part of everyday discussion. This is the way things work. Establishment Democrats won’t fight for us. We have to do all the heavy lifting. Even when it gets presented to them wrapped up with a pretty bow on it, they still have to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept a done deal (although they will take credit for it even as they try to subvert it). The Republicans are, of course, even worse. They will use whatever dogwhistle is handy: abortion! immigrants! and change the subject.

    We are not there yet, but the lesson here is we need to continue the fight, whether Sanders wins or not, –because our betters among the rich and elites sure as hell are not going to fight for us.

    What Trump does are not peccadillos. He is not dismantling the deep state. He is hollowing out government. And if you are for things like Medicare for All, good education, clean air and water, or Social Security, you want a fully functioning government. Scientists and foreign policy hands with knowledge of the languages, histories, and politics of regions of the world are leaving in droves. The DOJ is being politicized in ways unseen since the founding. Our alliances, and yes, we need them are being trashed. The US military is being sold as mercenaries to the highest bidder. This is not making us safer. Trump is a new level of degeneracy in our already degenerate political system.

  31. bruce wilder

    “the Identitarian Woke Left” regularly expresses its hostility to economic reforms. they take many opportunities to attack and undermine efforts to build both arguments for and a coalition in favor of economic reform. that’s just what they do: a scorpion asking a frog for a ride across the flood.

    of course, Matt Stoller, dedicated (and deliberately specialized) to making a particular economic argument (and, yes, claim of justice), feels “stung” when he’s confronted by “woke” activists who could care less about Stoller’s issues.

    rule-or-ruin tactics should not be confused with justice claims. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, mentioned in the first comment by Mallam, is a very good example, because she’s professionally engaged in “divide and conquer” from what one might call the other side — a professor at Princeton whom I listened to recently in a wide-ranging interview with Michael Moore, she deploys a multi-syllabic vocabulary to fight the class war to lose, arguing for “solidarity” but only on terms unacceptable or unintelligible for a majority. (Taylor is definitely a Sanders supporter, just to be clear on that point.)

    political polarization is a serious problem for a left politics of economic reform and political polarization is being generated by moralized language, “outrage” culture and narratives of grievance by a identitarian, “woke” left that isn’t very left at all. and, then the inevitable and predictable reaction to and resentment of ill-chosen frames is exploited by the right and leveraged by the corrupt center-left. and, maybe this isn’t entirely the fault of activists with genuine commitment to making claims for justice — maybe a lot of it is the fault of ethically-challenged opportunists — those who made relentless charges of anti-semitism against Corbyn or who coined and distributed the “Bernie Bros” meme. maybe the lame charge of sexism manufactured by CNN in cooperation with the Pocahontas campaign isn’t real woke activism, but tell me again, whose side did Jodi Jacobson take? (a Jodi Jacobson tweet was featured in the Mandos OP)

    The terms on which political solidarity is to be formed is what is being contested here. The vetoes, censorship of views and self-indulgence in outrage and grievance sought by the soi disant woke in the guise of claims of justice seem designed to make forming effective political coalitions impossible. That woke rhetoric and activism is leveraged by the smug and cynical center to this end ought to be a wake up call on taking responsibility for one’s own conceits.

  32. Willy

    The populist Bannon was fired because his usefulness for the establishment enabler named Trump was over.

    Rogan’s had populists on his show. If a few trannies are so selfish that they can’t find some commonality with Bernie’s vision, or the elite bullied worker, or see that Rogan giving diverse voices a chance to express themselves mano-a-mano is an American thing that’s been going on for well before todays pathological tribalism, then fuckem.

  33. bruce wilder

    Hugh: . . . foreign policy hands with knowledge of the languages, histories, and politics of regions of the world are leaving in droves.

    Listening to some of those “foreign policy hands with knowledge of the languages, histories, and politics of regions of the world” testify in the Impeachment proceedings, I have to question whether the country might not be better off without these self-regarding fools. More than a half-century of Ugly Americans competing with Quiet Americans to screw up American diplomacy and hijack American economic and military policy to do evil ought to be enough.

    The false idea that everything was just dandy and in competent professional hands before Trump accidentally came along is a ridiculous and unsustainable premise.

    The Blob did a great deal to make Trump possible and we should not forget that while watching stupid and incompetent Democrats go after Trump in the most ineffective and unjustified ways imaginable.

  34. Ian Welsh

    As a general rule guest-posters are here because they will write something I won’t. Often I even disagree (and very often with Mandos.) Often we also agree on a lot, but they don’t tend to write those posts because they don’t need to: I have.

    But I find value in what they write, often just that their POV is shared by other people and I think my readers will benefit from reading it, even if my readers disagree with it.

    It’s useful to understand world views we don’t share.

    I may write about Rogan’s endorsment, but basically I think he brings in voters which make Bernie and Dems (if Bernie is the nominee) much more likely to win, and Sanders didn’t change any of his excellent policy to get Rogan. Rogan endorsed Sanders complete with policy Rogan doesn’t agree with.

    Looks like a win to me.

  35. anon

    The only Rogan episode I watched in its entirety was his interview of Bernie Sanders. I am not a fan of his schtick. He comes off as a douchebro/MMA/alpha male type who has broad appeal among his fellow cisgender white males because he gives a platform to anyone who wants to be on his show. That includes members of the intellectual dark web, alt-right/alt-light leaders, Jordan Peterson (eye roll), and occasionally liberals and progressives who bring a different POV from establishment Democrats, like Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, and Tulsi Gabbard. That’s my opinion from watching one full episode along with a few clips on YouTube and some online articles and commentary. Some people like that his show offers a “big tent” while others hate that he is friends with fringe members of the right, like Alex Jones.

    That being said, I don’t think Rogan’s own personal views are that clear at all, and that may be because he’s like a lot of typical white guys I know who are moderates or libertarians and hold both liberal and conservative viewpoints. I gather he’s not a feminist or someone who cares about rights for certain people of the LGBT community. Yeah, like I said, a typical American white dude. And that is why Bernie was very smart in releasing his statement not shunning Rogan’s endorsement. The left will paint him as a sexist whose supporters are solely made up of Bernie Bros anyway. Rogan’s endorsement allows Sanders to tap into a demographic that can go either way in an election. I don’t see anything wrong with bringing these people over to our side. We may not agree with a lot of things, but all of us can agree that we want a president who will make life better us and not only the 1%.

  36. Hugh

    It was not listening to the old Middle East hands that got us the disastrous Iraq War and Occupation which turned Iraq and subsequently Syria into permanently failing states.

  37. Ché Pasa

    That demonstrates the factionalism in the ruling class and the government which serves them. It was no piece of cake for Cheney and his cohorts to turn the government and military into the mockery of AngloAmerican Empire we are saddled with today (and which Trump and his cronies are doing nothing to undermine/dismantle.) But it’s fundamental to understand that Bush the Younger had a big ol’ chip on his shoulder and was determined, come what may, to war on Iraq.

    This was going to happen whether or not Cheney was successful.

    The anti-Iraq War faction was small and weak; Cheney was able to intimidate and overcome their opposition with a few carefully timed and placed threats and slow-fuse bombs within the agencies, congress, and the media. It was really quite something to watch while marching in the streets and confronting war-mongers.

    The consequence was that most of those who understood what a colossal blunder the wars and return to Empire were left the government. They mostly shut up, too.

    Now we have a different set of factions, but their ideas don’t diverge significantly from one another or from the poison Cheney injected into the foreign policy and intelligence communities. They differ in priorities, not goals and objectives.

    The whole “woke/PC” controversy serves their needs by keeping the proles divided. So long as that’s the case, nothing can or will change for the better.

    Thankfully, most people don’t care a bit about it even though it is relentlessly marketed by rightist media. Ignore it. It doesn’t matter.

  38. Benjamin

    I don’t much care about Joe Rogan, but I guess I’ll defend him a bit here.

    The reality is that he’s center (in the true sense of the term, not the way right-wing Democrats use it) to slightly center-left. He’s open to having all kinds of people on, letting them speak at length, going ‘ahhh, golly, etc’ and even occasionally getting in a genuine question that cuts to the quick (there’s a part in his Peterson interview where he brings the Kermit reject to a screeching halt by pointing out a flaw in his logic).

    He has a bunch of opinions, some of of them genuinely dumb and ugly (birtherism), some of them unpopular but not wrong (Islam is ugly and repugnant even by the low standards of religion, and transgenderism is going to blow up in the left’s face in the decades ahead as all the mutilated kids realize they were lied to).

    If the worst liberals can do is “Bernie appeared on Joe Rogan’s show!!1oneone”, the road ahead looks pretty easy.

  39. Jeff W

    bruce wilder:

    Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, mentioned in the first comment by Mallam…deploys a multi-syllabic vocabulary to fight the class war to lose, arguing for “solidarity” but only on terms unacceptable or unintelligible for a majority.

    Taylor (and Bree Newsome Bass) lost me at “And receiving Rogan‘s endorsement w/o publicly challenging his backward politics is effectively to accept those ideas.” Really, sez who? An endorsement by Person A of Person B doesn’t necessarily imply anything about what Person B “accepts,” effectively or otherwise, about the ideas of Person A. There’s no bidirectionality in an endorsement.

  40. KT Chong

    I have listened and watched (or “experienced”) the Joe Rogan show. Actually, he is very progressive on economic issues — i.e., he has always supported universal healthcare and free public colleges. On the other hand, he is NOT a SJW or “woke identitarian”. On social issues, he is moderately conservative. While he accepts gay marriages and marijuana legalization, he is against the Cancel/Cancer Culture, the “You Must Always Believe Women” Me Too mental disorder, the Islamic Apology — or rather, the “Islam and Muslims cannot be criticized” brain disease that has infected the Woke identitarians, the 1001 gender pronounces, and the dictatorial “if a straight man refuses to date a trans-woman then he must be a bigot” trans-acceptance/enforcement movement.

    Joe Rogan does NOT invite — NOR allow — anyone onto his show. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Peta Booty-juggs all wanted to be on his show, and they kept requesting to be on his show. Rogan REFUSED to let them come on to his show — because he does NOT like them, which he openly admitted:

    He had allowed Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos onto his show, which really irked the SJW and Woke identitarians who wanted to cancelled those two alt-right personalities.

    Joe Rogan’s number-one preferred candidate is actually Tulsi Gabbard, and Bernie Sanders is his second choice. What he really wants is a Bernie-Tulsi ticket.

  41. different clue

    These various COW ( Coalition Of Wokeness) groups are basically trying to force everyone around them into a psychological/emotional domination-and-abuse relationship. The COWists want to dominate and abuse and extort the worshipful submission of everyone around them to their own so-called “Identity declarations and expressions”. These are really just Stalinist-style
    loyalty tests.

    Any random Social Justard Warriasshole believes he or she should be able to say he or she is “gender boron” who presents as a ” tungsten carbide drill bit” for example . . . or any other equally preposterous-on-its-face nonsense . . . and demand my public submission to his/her will as revealed by my humble acceptance of his/her gender/presentation identy-demands. For example.

    Basically, they expect me to HOP whenever they ring their LITTLE BELL. Well . . . they still be ringin’ , and I still be not hoppin’. Let them ring till their fingers blister. I’m still not handling their baggage.

    Sanders won’t submit to their will. He won’t even show any public sign of hearing their petty and vile and filthy little demands. If they don’t like it, let them vote for Trump. That’ll teach Sanders a lesson. Oh yah, you betcha.

    And parts of the Identy Left will attack and extort other parts as well as attacking and extorting the broader society. Here is an example of Woke Blackist and Latinxo/ Latinxa psychological extortionists seeking to extort their changes of choice into the Rainbow Flag.

    And I am supposed to care about how any of these people affect to feel about Sanders going on Rogan?
    I don’t give a good gahh damm how these people affect to feel about Sanders going on Rogan, or how they affect to feel about anything else. Because their so-called “sincere feelings” are a pure excercise in psycho-Stalinist extortionism and nothing else.

  42. See, when I wrote this post, I really thought that this was mainly about a tactical question of whether Sanders, representing a kind of big tent US left, needed to actively recruit from particular alienated demographics who could be attracted to left politics via class interest. That is, I didn’t really think it was about forcing we’re calling the identitarian left to make fundamental concessions to those they feel have been making their lives miserable. I merely wanted to identify and name the terms of the conflict, with the overall hope that it was merely a perceived one.

    The last few posts on this thread have made me question my assumptions. It’s clear that the some part of the “guns-and-butter” left doesn’t merely want to passively subsume “identity” conflicts (I’ve conceded to the “identity” term from the outset, even though it’s not really quite right) into economic ones. Rather, it is willing actively to endorse Rogan’s apparent transphobia, Islamophobia, etc. In other words, part of the fear of the identity left in Sanders embrace of Rogan seems a little more plausible — while Sanders himself may not intend it, Sanders may indeed legitimizing bigoted left-wing discourses, and the choice being offered to the identity left is “abandon your pronouns and eat crow or be blamed for blowing up the world.” The thought that Rogan’s supporters could actually, you know, not be bigoted (aka accede to “psychological extortionists”) is not on order here.

    Food for thought.

  43. The terms on which political solidarity is to be formed is what is being contested here. The vetoes, censorship of views and self-indulgence in outrage and grievance sought by the soi disant woke in the guise of claims of justice seem designed to make forming effective political coalitions impossible. That woke rhetoric and activism is leveraged by the smug and cynical center to this end ought to be a wake up call on taking responsibility for one’s own conceits.

    Stripped of the tendentious rhetoric that impugns and rejects the priorities and claims-to-justice of the “identiarians”, it’s deeply ironic that this boils down to a Lesser Evil argument. A lot of these “identity” questions are actually very old social conflicts that have simply been suppressed for a long time and only recently emerged into the light of day. Now their proponents are declared to be “self-indulgent” and demanded to drop their claims and simply accept the greater priority — as they themselves suspected and feared would happen.

    *mumbles something about shoes and feet*

  44. nihil obstet

    Mandos, I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe that the 1st Amendment guarantee has been “weaponized”, as Justice Kagan pointed out. Your reading of centrist use of identity issues fails to recognize that they have been similarly weaponized. Just use the right rhetoric (explanation is too “tendentious”), and rule?

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made employment discrimination illegal. Now, 56 years later a whole generation of women and minorities worked their entire lives for less than white men and are retiring to a poorer old age. The generation of women and minorities now entering the work force can expect the same thing. The focus on identity first with de-emphasis on economics in politics has been a failure for most of us, though a major success for the powers that be.

  45. different clue

    Mandos’s cynical playing of the bigotry card is exactly the kind of psychological extortionism which has led decent people to hate the Social Justardice Warriassholes of the COWist Left.

    In other words, Mandos, you still be ringin’, I still not hoppin’. Handle your own luggage.

  46. Yes, exactly, you’re making my point for me. People whose needs are congruent with the goals of the “identitarian” left are apparently not wholly irrational for being wary of some of Sanders’ supporters.

  47. different clue

    I know you are, but what am I?

    I’m on to the con. I’m hip to the hustle, you dig?

    In other words . . . Mandos . . . this ain’t my first rodeo.

  48. *rolleyes* No, I’m just saying, as a matter of fact, anyone who needs what “identity politics” is bringing would have reason to worry about certain subsets of Sanders supporters. Which you are, right? And you’re clearly against “identity politics”, right? So they’d be rational to worry about you. Which is what you want, right? I mean, that is literally what you are saying and indeed what you want to say. Right?

  49. different clue

    Nice try, Mandos.

    You still be ringin’. I still be not hoppin’.

  50. Not sure what I’m supposed to have tried nor do I understand that ringin hoppin stuff, but you do you I guess.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén