Now It's Woke Struggle Sessions
Chairman Mao would be proud
Back in 2021 a Toronto school principal, Richard Bilkszto, attended a racist struggle session run by a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) trainer named Kike Ojo-Thompson. When he objected, he got hammered down:
Ojo-Thompson is described to have reacted with vitriol: ‘We are here to talk about anti-Black racism, but you in your whiteness think that you can tell me what’s really going on for Black people?’
That was bad enough, but then his colleagues doubled down on him.
The first training session was just the beginning, although it was horrible. It was followed by some sources scrambling to show their own virtue by condemning Bilkszto, or protecting themselves from similar attack by fearfully keeping silent.
Anyway, in April 2023, the “political progressive” Bilkszto committed suicide.
I reminded myself, in the small hours of last night, that suicide was an all-too-frequent fate of top officials in China during the struggle sessions of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, as retailed in the 2023 book Victims of the Cultural Revolution: Testimonies of China’s Tragedy by Wang Youqin. I have only read 90 pages of the 549 page book. You may not know that the book concludes not with a regular index but with a 9 page “Alphabetic Index of Victims.” At about 80 per page that’s about 720 victims. Of course, the total butcher’s bill for the Cultural Revolution, according to La Wik, is “Hundreds of thousands to millions of civilians, Red Guard and military deaths (exact number not known)”
That is chump change compared to the “15-50 million deaths” in the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-61 that was subsequent to the Great Leap Forward directed by world-famous economic expert Mao Zedong.
What is going on with these woke struggle sessions?
First off, I have had my own very minor experience with struggle sessions:
Oh, and I had my share of "microaggressions," like the prof at university that told me [in the late 1960s] that I was taking a place away from a deserving working-class boy; or the managing partner at work [in the 1980s, I think] that asked "where did this guy come from" when I made a mild remonstrance against something in a cultural sensitivity training session. But you know what? That is life. You don't let other people get you down. After all, they are knaves and fools!
And I have a nice liberal lady friend who used to tease me about being the troll under the bridge. But could I have dealt with the emotional horror of cowardly colleagues piling on in the DEI session? I wonder.
You may wonder when I jumped off the good ship Liberal Narrative. I think it was in 1972. I remember watching PBS lovingly attend Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern’s family cottage in the summer of 1972 and then being rather shocked when Nixon won the election 60-40. Something did not compute. By 1976 I had read the Austrian economists and I was a goner.
Anyway, yesterday I read Newt Gingrich’s latest in his “American Despotism” series. He retailed the full glorious story of the civil rights movement through the 1960s. And I thought: our liberal friends are right to be proud of their achievement. Not only that: we should be proud of our national leaders at the time, from the Supreme Court to President Eisenhower to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and the brave black activists that took the incoming rounds from the angry Southerners. They threaded a needle and achieved the civil rights revolution without a second civil war. Medals and statues all round.
I prefer a saltier narrative, as follows:
The Eric Hoffer notion that every mass movement turns into a racket.
The Anatomy of Revolution notion that every revolution ends in a violent frenzy.
As I read the glorious history of the civil-rights movement in Newt’s piece I thought: yes, I understand how our liberal friends feel: it was glorious! And I also understand the questions that bubble up into their minds:
How could it be that black neighborhoods dissolved into riots after the civil-rights Acts passed?
How could it be that blacks are still way underrepresented in corporations?
How come the street violence?
How come the black incarceration rate?
How come blacks still don’t get no respect?
And so on.
The answer is obvious: malevolence; white racism. This is not just a weird reaction of our liberal friends: we humans all tend to think that when bad things happen to good people, it must be evil at work.
And what do you do when evil people are abroad? You pursue them; you fight them; you defeat them.
Except that maybe the problem isn’t the Evil Other, but something else.
And, I would say, that if the problem isn’t an evil enemy, then politics is not the answer, because Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt and the political being the distinction between friend and enemy. Politics is only useful if there is a genuine enemy that must be defeated.
Indeed, I would say that if the failure of blacks to thrive since the civil rights era is not because of the actions of some enemy, then using politics to make black outcomes better is going to Make Things Worse. Because politics is only of use in fighting some enemy.
Could it be that politics is only good for really crude instances of injustice, and that the use of politics to deal with mere inequality and lack of representation or under-representation usually Makes Things Worse?
Maybe that’s why your average revolution ends in a frenzy of struggle sessions and people committing suicide and eventually the head revolutionary gets his just desserts. Or he dies and his political heirs decide: enough already.
Anyway, Jordan B. Peterson is coming up for his own struggle session with the Canadian woke brigade. And he is threatening to make the whole thing public. You remember that Peterson first came to galactic consciousness when he testified against the Canadian C-16 bill back in 2017.
But here is my advice to our liberal friends. When you have to resort to struggle sessions to keep the peasants in line, it means that your movement, your racket, your agenda has failed, and it is time for you to leave the stage and go work in the garden, like Voltaire’s Candide.
As Bill O’Reilly told Tucker Carlson:
We’re in the age of disorder. America has entered the age of disorder, and it’s because of the progressive movement.
And our liberal friends don’t have a clue why.