Reactionary Republicans and their hatred of social and political solidarity
Writing for the Nation, Ilyse Hogue succinctly makes a point that, to my mind, cannot be repeated or reemphasized often enough:
For the past two weeks, all eyes have been glued to Madison, Wisconsin. The collective and joyful resistance to Governor Scott Walker’s power-grabbing budget bill has inspired the demoralized progressive base and put the corporate-backed assault on working people front and center in the national conversation.
But while it’s obvious that the right wing is out to break the back of the progressive movement, it’s easy to miss the strategy that guides their selection of specific targets. Their attacks are all carefully aimed at the same critical juncture: institutions that work for people in their daily lives and in the political arena, those that connect people’s personal struggles across the country to the political struggle in Washington. Once we recognize the critical role these progressive service organizations play in building progressive politics, the right’s broader strategy in Wisconsin and elsewhere becomes clear. Scott Walker is a soldier in the same army as James O’ Keefe and Lila Rose, the right-wing video pranksters who tried to smear ACORN and Planned Parenthood.
The rightwing in America, Ms. Hogue suggests, does not merely want to defeat the progressives, to win this or that battle or destroy just one or two organizations. Rather, the goal pursued by the reactionary right in the United States targets those social institutions which produce social goods and a popular politics meant to serve the interests specific to every America citizen. This is the gist of Ms. Hogue’s article. She expresses it by identifying the rightwing attack on two forms of solidarity: Social solidarity and political solidarity.
1. Social solidarity refers to the provisions of those services and goods individuals need because America’s system of markets has failed to provide for those needs.
2. Political solidarity refers to those institutions meant to represent the interests of the individuals whom are unable to pursue and defend effectively their interests whether as individuals or as members of a group.
The right, then, wants to reduce its opponents to a needy, voiceless and powerless mass. And it is the nature of this very project that reveals the radical and reactionary character of the right in the United States today. Sadly, the evils of totalitarianism can be found in this reactionary project, a project which begins with the dehumanization of the ‘other’ and ends with….
As Kevin Zeese put the matter moments ago: “Wisconsin is ground zero for the race to the bottom.” At this time, contesting the rightwing project begins there. But the Wisconsin conflict will not be the only skirmish in this struggle.
Cross-posted at All Tied Up and Nowhere to Go