I suppose I followed the Christopher Dorner “situation” as closely as any schmuck with their own situations going on. Admittedly, I haven’t read anything in depth yet because I’m just not convinced there is anything out there worth my time, really. Lots of muckraking and shallow analysis. I followed Jukebox Jones’ (on facebook) commentary, and I tended to agree with what a pretty active organizer friend had to say along a more leninist line.
I did catch the television coverage of the housefire of the spot he was reported to be holding up in while I was getting my hair cut at the barber shop, and interestingly enough the state of the union address followed immediately after CBS’s coverage (and the LAPD ended up being responsible for killing a woman in that as I understood it).
Now I’m not a fan of automatically assigning “false flag” to anything that pops up on my radar as so many former CIA assets, bent on either redemption or selling secrets of their former employers (or, they could honestly be doing the right thing with still skewed worldviews of how to combat ruling interests) seem to be–in my “official” unemployment, my lack of selling my labor to private or public organizations, I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries, and the history these whistleblowers lay out is verifiable and cogent; I just don’t understand how these people aren’t materialists. It’s damning when they call for these “non-ideological” rallies of Americans just wanting “how things used to be” back for all. From my estimations, it’s a large reason of why they’ve been able to escape being tracked down and killed by the government and go on to tell these stories–they pose no real threat.
I do believe these instances are exploited and capitalized on to fit a larger narrative. With Dorner, this worked in a number of ways. For the more conservative, he was a threat based on his race: scary black boogeyman who might be anywhere in that hellscape of LA set to shoot upstanding officers and their families; this included the threat of law and order being perturbed by someone who has no right to disrupt it because of numerous pathologizations of blackness, however, without any inkling of individualization given to him in that he might be mentally ill like the shooter in Connecticut who was white–please note I am not endorsing speculation of this sort.
Interestingly enough, any white doing these shootings is always the lone wolf, but Dorner of course represents a homogenous population, in the conservative reactionary mind, of angry black folks always conspiring, when in fact white mass shooters have been proven again and again to be heavily connected to networks of organizations looking to strike terror in particularly women and the people who care for them (I am thinking of Operation Rescue here and the various shootings they have facilitated, which are in fact terrorist organizations with at least state structural backing–operating in white supremacy, patriarchy, and so on).
Among the left/left liberal, more reactionary responses included, “ah, this is what happens when you mess with the man.” And certainly, a shooter looking to kill officers and their families, based on his experiences with the interior military wing of the US, is going to be exploited as some all-encompassing threat. Many of these comments failed to recognize his anti-feminist, misogynist beliefs made clear in his writings as I understand, and certainly any real threat to capitalist/ruling classes are going to have to be clear of patriarchal intent and action to actually work. I’ll reserve further comment on that–hell most of my blog alludes to this, however–for something I will go into greater depth at a later time.
Even a designation of “the man”, used on a rhetorical level or to indicate the only end sources that power benefits, is infantile, open to different forms of hero worship that leave most of the picture and context out yet again. While Dorner went after police officers, he also went after families of them as well; I don’t think there’s necessarily some sort of moral judgment to be made here, but I think it’s more important to delve into why this is an issue up for discussion at all in the context of his killings and the LAPD’s violent, racist reaction to them. By the way: in all those documentaries I’ve been watching, families of assets’ and operatives’ gone straight are always, always viable targets for the government. I don’t think this is a fact to get lost in any of the rhetoric surrounding Dorner.
The state relies on the structural violence its operations, agencies, etc, create in order to maintain its existence. CBS’s coverage that night, about the concern for any more “loss of life” was simply galling. Certainly, one has literally been asleep for the last few decades to be able to ignore what loss of life the LAPD has wreaked on the inhabitants of Los Angeles, or so cowed and afraid, typically in a position of relative privilege where they or their loved ones are not in the crosshairs of that police department.
I think that among conservative populations, one can find many of those who subscribe to what I’ve heard called an “organic” sort of anarchism–one that is based on a privileged sort of individualism, however. So while they may curse the ruling order, including within that a strong desire for heroes, salvation by deus ex machina, etc, this sort of thinking isn’t based on too deep an analysis either of course, adhering to racist belief since these institutions actually do help preserve economic privilege they see others not as deserving of. Twisted logic sure, but logic that consigns them to inaction, constant whining about things they don’t understand, and failure how to see that their misguided hatred and disgust play into “the man’s” hands, keeping things at its regular pace of getting shittier for them, shit-city for others, and still others who give them all a “fuck you” by existing on their own terms, shit levels be damned.
That being said, to consider Dorner a comrade to “the people” is misguided as well. Symbolically, a former cop going after cops is pretty striking at this moment historically; the internet has allowed for understanding of how shitty police institutions are nationwide. Singularly, you are not a riot, and neither is Dorner acting alone (? actually I’m not clear on this, but the impression that has been gathered by some of the left is no doubt disturbing) no matter how many symbolic meanings we can attach to his actions.
Additionally, Dorner made a conscious choice to go on to be part of the LAPD.
Make equivocations all day, but those allowed to the special class of people allowed to walk around armed with ~40 rounds of ammo for their handgun at any time, answering to the state, are not workers and are not on the side of those selling their labor to get by. When civilians are declared as your enemy by virtue of your employment, equivocations should stop for anyone considering themselves of the left, for the people, etc etc. Besides, to glorify individual action as any kind of replacement for what organized struggle can accomplish, armed or not (and even an armed group doesn’t need to use them to be a threat), is naive at best.
Which brings me to Joe “buy a shotgun” Biden. I caught this bit of commentary while we were out having a bite yesterday–a steak to celebrate that I have a molar again after a long process. It was “off the cuff” and “wacky” enough (but really! he’s serious yall) to make it to the sleaziest of the sleaze tabloid talkshows, Inside Edition. If you are lucky enough to have never been exposed, think Daria and her addiction.
Biden has been crowned among the left, even the internet-radical portions, as some sort knowing fool on the hill. I’ve seen various apologia for his position and thinking it’s cool to relate with him, or something I suppose, based on class, his ethnicity, and apparent “outsider status.”
And, as far as what he has worked for for women and his progressive views on feminism even, it’s important to remember who and what he still answers to, and keeping this in mind with his suggestion for keeping something that’s going to fire two rounds at a time, with required reload immediately versus large metro area cops’ 40-50 they are allowed to keep on their person at any given time seems pretty …useless. Unless this is to literally blow away another human being with, another civilian, another enemy of the state police forces arm themselves to the hilt to protect the ruling class from.
Now, this may be a “shrewd political” move to gain favor for Obama’s administration, the president himself being accused of “threatening to take away our guns”, but it’s also a very racialized one. Biden, that dopey Irish so and so! up to mischief always, with an aura of “cool” just by serving a black president–almost like one of the “brothers” himself, amirite? But this line of thought is always using the black Other to transcend, and this realization is lost on so many left, progressive men who lionize him as well, even using class analysis for the basis of their admiration!
And having an “Irish background” is always a go-to of people who would rather we dispose of discussing race at all, any material realities of insider/outsider status actually existing notwithstanding. Additionally, the individualized title of war criminal (I’m not contesting its truth here, or even valid, redundant phrasing) reserved for Obama without the share of those atrocities spread around proves the lack of insight for anyone going to lengths dissecting Biden’s class status in the name of leftist analysis.
I also thought this was something to note as a historical attachment to Biden’s ethnicity that is often brought up: Irish immigrants to the US and their displacement of First Nations peoples as they took their communal land in the form of government land grants. While their reality may have been rough as well, it’s always important to note the context of who else they’re stomping on while we acknowledge the stomp-ee’s less than admirable hierarchical status, and what that has morphed to mean now in the present in the public limelight, at work for these singular narratives that aren’t seeking to share it.
It should go without saying that any president or vice president named as a dope, idiot, or foil to anyone else is always a strategic move. As Michael Parenti has repeated at length about the ruling order and its media, they care about what you think, and if you think that any one of their representational heads (who are always making a pretty penny themselves from the seeming chaos) doesn’t know what he’s doing, be careful, because they are counting on that.
In any case, it’s really time to try to wipe away the simplistic analysis that we feel safe in if we are talking about sticking it to any man, any order based on patriarchal relations. What I’ve seen coming from the left with regard to both of the people mentioned is infantile, ignorant, and naive. I understand aversions to violence, but we need to remember who deals in it as a living before assigning individualized morality to those transgressing inherently violent laws we are normalized to, in some way, and probably ask different questions.