It’s been my experience that Marxists are a peculiar bunch. Peculiar not in a bad way necessarily, but just peculiar nonetheless. Most of the orthodox Marxists I’ve met want people to get engaged in politics; want people to get interested in politics and social movements; but we just don’t want people to be interested in what I suppose can be termed the ‘pop culture’ elements of politics at all.
You know what I mean by this. It’s the part of politics that would be more on the monkey-shit-fight end of the spectrum of intellectual stimulation as opposed to an-evening-reading-Proust end of the spectrum.
It’s Polls as opposed to policy.
It’s Cults of Personality as opposed to principle.
It’s Idiotic right-wing conspiracy theories as opposed to ideas.
For the most part, I couldn’t agree more with my fellow comrades, and, as those of you who read this blog regularly know, I do enjoy (and, in fact, thrive off of) the more cerebral elements in politics.
But that said, the fact of the matter is that sometimes, regardless of how cerebral we may think ourselves, a political “monkey shit fight” is just plain fun to watch! Sometimes you don’t want a steak, sometimes you just want a bag of potato chips. And for those of us who run in left-wing circles, it’s been my experience that we tend take flak for this as being somehow less progressive or less committed to revolutionary change.
For years now I’ve been trying to reconcile these two things — intellectual, progressive, socialist political discussion, and pop-culture politics like polls and image politics — in my mind. But it wasn’t until the other day, during one of my now frequent stints bashing Ron Paul die hards who believe their own spam that I came to a realization.
I realized that, just as I don’t necessarily need to root for one group of monkeys in a monkey shit fight in order to be entertained and captivated by the spectacle, so too can I be captivated by things like polls without really caring which one of the capitalist parties is winning and which one is losing.
So what do politics and monkey shit fights have in common? Well, with the way politics is structured in North America where there is no real genuine choice — they’re both similar insofar as the results will largely be the same regardless of which group wins at either competition.
But it doesn’t make us any less progressive to nevertheless enjoy the fight.