Seriously – what is it with progressive slogans being so self defeating.
Starting Stateside – and it’s a mic drop out the gate. Defund the Police. Now I’m not one for conspiracies, but if Scooby Doo suddenly unmasked Roger Stone as De-funder in Chief I’d barely muster a shrug. Black Ops sound marginally more plausible than megaphoning electoral suicide as a triumphant liberal strategy.
But Stone and the Project Veritas crew proved as achingly shit at dirty tricks as they did anything else. So if it wasn’t sabotage by the Borat brains trust, then…*swallows hard*… it’s actually legit. Big statement, big idea, big balls… tiny echo chamber.
Before anyone charges in to set me straight – yes I know what it ‘really’ means. But the second you explain your slogan, it’s over. Which is why they’re so fucking hard – 3 non cliché words to encapsulate a message, channel a vibe, empower not preach – leave room for a convert’s climb down.
Black Lives Matter for example… Genius in its simplicity, it’s moral weight; the vacuum it leaves critics – sucking oxygen from any attack. Alone, those 3 words are unassailable, hence the straw men we see instead.
Defund the Police lobs a grenade straight into the oxygen tank… All middle America hears is ‘Abolish the Police.’ The same people roiled by the right wing industrial complex; proud blue collars who loathe condescension… the ones liberals insist are one last ‘explanation’ from seeing the light…
The tragedy is that it’s great policy. Instead of giving the NYPD 6 billion to play Call of Duty, give them 4 billion to fight serious crime. Then invest the remaining 2 billion into mental health, drug programs, care work, housing, employment, local centers for kids – the social infrastructure needed to reduce crime not through fear but hope, community and dignity.
The fact anyone’s still flogging the phrase Defund the Police feels like a pride thing (Hey Shaun King) And I love you AOC, but no, it shouldn’t have been headline messaging in the Georgia runoffs – that’s the left fundamentally misreading the working class again.
It’s a perennial problem – Red Wall crumbles and the left’s diagnosis is ‘not progressive enough’ and ‘wasn’t explained properly – biased press’. And that’s the metropolitan / woke / out of touch clash right there… They don’t mean Keir Starmer cos he’s a bland centrist in a suit. They mean you…
They mean people who don’t understand them or their aspirations –designer threads and a status car. Who know perfectly well Boris lies day and night but don’t care cos he takes the piss out of himself and that’s the thing they trust. They love the police. And the flag. Celebrate striving and frown on benefits. Don’t understand why social justice agendas are so race heavy when they could pivot to class at least some of the time. Making it about deprived communities– that’s inclusive – not marginalizing poor white families resentful of a ‘privilege’ they don’t recognize.
And Extinction Rebellion. I mean Jaysus wept. Sounds like a nihilistic punk band – the underground patting itself on the back for being ‘hardcore’ while limiting its resonance from from the off. Don’t doubt ‘Extinction’ was meant to hit hard but… it’s a profoundly desolate word, stripped of hope, possibility; even the chance of change; and as for rebellion – it’s only ever been masturbatory.
Middle class people won’t identify with a rebellion movement but they DO really fucking care about climate change. They so wanted to jump on the bandwagon – they just couldn’t see where they fit. And that’s the biggest shame of all – questions have been asked about racial inclusion and uniform demographics – but really, it’s anyone different to career protestors.
‘No posh cunts’… Inverse snobbery aside, it’s petty tribalism plus those posh cunts look good on the news and tend to have connections when you’re fighting a cause… Unless it’s not really about succeeding… maybe martyrdom’s easier.
Speaking of which – Kill the Bill? Fucking really? Straight after a tussle with the rozzers – a slogan easily read as ‘violence to police’. Instantly loses ANY middle ground or press support… when it was actually attainable for once – after the police brutality at Sarah Everard’s vigil. There was a window – Kill the Bill fucked it – actively ensured its passing. Oh, and any Criminal Justice Bill nostalgia – for one, that became law and second – any campaign, especially something like basic rights or the environment HAS to be trying to win converts.
Win the middle, get the Mail onside and you are AWAY. Marginalize yourself into a fringe movement – wheel out the usual suspects like anti capitalism – refuse to organize sensibly so no-one knows what anyone’s doing – take bad press all under that one name… Refuse to reach beyond a tiny minority….
HOW ARE WE SO SHIT AT THIS??
Money where my mouth is though – am available for any messaging / strategy chats for high impact protests.