As an oldster, I find wokeness a bit mysterious. I was raised on the aspiration of Martin Luther King:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
So much of contemporary wokeness seems to fly in the face of this sentiment, which I continue to hold dear. Indeed in my more cynical moments I speculate that wokeness is meant to resurrect the ugly legacy of racism, in the service of divide and conquer amongst the muppets to protect oligarchs and their PMC minions from any sort of unified action by the bottom 90%. Indeed the systematic use of racism as a scapegoat for inequality does a servicable job of erasing the role of oligarchy in vacuuming wealth upwards.
But invoking a divide-and-conquer strategy implies a conspiracy,
and I'd certainly hate to be tarred as a conspiracy theorist!
So I also like to entertain theories of wokeness
that entail material considerations.
An excellent example of this sort of thinking
can be found in Scipio Sattler's
analysis of the neutralization of Bernie Sanders
in the 2020 Democratic primary season.
cancel culture into
a materialist context:
Cancel culture is the ideological mechanism by which the professional class expands its role within public and private bureaucracies.
Turning to a failing empire,
tinkzorg (Malcolm Kyeyune)
in which wealth accumulation is possible only by the dispossession of others.
Today's ideological conflicts can be seen in this light.
Tinkzorg illustrates the process with the case of Activision-Blizzard, in which accusations of sexual harrassment led to demands for highly paid positions and hiring discrimination:
[I]f one actually pauses to read the suggested remedies for what is wrong at Blizzard, they actually have very little to do harassment. Or, to put it in another way: though harassment is claimed to be a problem, the solution is not for men to stop harassing women, it is for Blizzard to do a whole other slew of things, such as instituting quotas for female promotion, to adopt race and gender-based hiring quotas, to increasinglycenter the voicesof women and trans people in the narratives of the games they develop, and so on. Put another way, Blizzard is being asked — at the point of a loaded gun — to subsidize the employment and career advancement of certain classes of employees, at the direct expense of other employees. Harassment, insofar as it is a problem, is to be solved through the creation of new alternate HR structures, with the people employed therein having wages paid by Activision-Blizzard, but who will then have some sort of semi-independent existence as a cadre of office commissars who exist to serve the revolutionary tenets of Equity and Inclusion, rather than something as pedestrian as the company's bottom line.
This amounts to a protection racket:
Hire us, pay us, give us and our clients sinecures at your expense, or we will make life difficult for you.
Now, extorting from oligarchs is a tricky business. They have vast resources with which to resist a shakedown. But perhaps in the service of divide-and-conquer, they're willing to pay some fees? Or maybe this is another way to shake out weak players in pursuit of ubiquitous monopolization? Simplest of all, maybe there's no conscious program here, this is simply a sort of opportunistic infection in a decaying civic body. With the host weakened by near-universal corruption, our social immune system cannot mount a defense against rent-seeking and looting in all our institutions?