LUMPENPROLETARIAT—Great historical moments of crisis can serve as serious wake-up calls for us all. The First Amendment activity, which turned into fascist assaults on our Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, is one such historical moment. Many of us have been glued to our TVs, radios, or digital devices for breaking news and coverage of the events of January 6th.
The events were so disturbing that many people described feeling traumatized by the events. Many of us remember 9/11. Without a doubt, the events of January 6th are up there, in terms of national impact, with the events of 9/11. Probably what was most shocking was the way the Capitol Hill police seemed to “stand-down”, rather than hold back the trespassers, vandals, and rioters, who were chanting, “Hang Pence!!! Hang Pence!!!” And there was, literally, a noose and a make-shift, but seemingly functional, gallows erected outside the Capitol Building. “Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Ca., told AP on Sunday it was as if Capitol Police ‘were naked’ against the attackers. ‘It turns out it was the worst kind of non-security anybody could ever imagine.'” Observers have noted that Senators Holly and Cruz helped communicate with the Trump loyalists to help them organize their day’s actions. Buses were organized to bus in droves of Trump loyalists, who were determined to undermine the election, which they perceived as fraudulent, having been gaslit by U.S. President #45. Who paid for those buses? And why were the Capitol Hill police misinformed that it was only a women’s group who was planning to rally on the 6th, not armed men?
The Trump loyalists were operating under the pretext established by Mr. Trump, who had been gaslighting the nation, and the world, about his 2020 electoral defeat. Now, this term gaslighting may be a new vocabulary word for a lot of people. It was a new word for me in my not-so-distant past, when I was facing challenges in my marriage, which almost resulted in divorce. It seems impossible for men to suffer domestic violence; but it happens. And, of course, boys don’t cry. At least that’s what we’re conditioned to accept as the standard within the male patriarchal system. Many of us men, in the past decade or two, have tried to correct for the bullshit men have done in the past. But maybe we went too far and allowed women to run roughshod over our domestic affairs. Men may have been emasculated within their own misguided attempts to evolve past the knuckle-dragging past of our cave-man days. Then, we lost all of our masculinity. What does it mean to be a post-patriarchal man. I don’t know. But my wife and I are working together to find out. I guess, like Johnny Depp, I’m coming out of the closet, as a narc survivor. For me, the narc abuse began when I was a child, as for most people. Like Ross Rosenberg’s parents, my parents have suffered from what Rosenberg calls The Human Magnet Syndrome. I could say more about this, but I am not ready to do that here and now, nor do I have the time. (Interested readers can deduce the rest. The point is to raise awareness about social ills, not to dwell on my personal foibles or those of others around me.)
I credit online resources, such as Meredith Miller’s Inner Integration, and YouTubers, such as Dr. George Simon, Ross Rosenberg, “Surviving Narcissism”, Angie Atkinson, et al., even Narc Survivor. (N.B.: Unlike the other resources, Narc Survivor is strictly for individuals, who have reached their limit with narc abuse and have decided to go no contact. Ghosting is a horrible way to end a relationship. But when you have been gaslit, when your emotions have been disregarded, when even therapy and counselling, any kind of third-party professional help is rejected, when all that exists in the home is emotional abuse without mutual respect, the codependent must go no contact from their narcissistic abuser. All of this is new science in the current literature. Ross Rosenberg and George Simon, literally, go around training psychologists and therapists in recent years to train practicing therapists.
I mean I had encountered the word since the days of my youth. But I never really knew it was a technical medical term. I always thought narcissism was somebody, who was foolish, like the Greek fable of Narcissus, who was so enamoured with his own beauty, that he was always gazing at himself in a pond. And Narcissus was so vain, gazing at himself all the time in the reflection of the water, that he fell in and drowned. Oh, no! Pretty silly, right? But that was the children’s fable I was taught.
The point was to be humble, to avoid hubris. I always thought that was reasonable. So, I tried to do that, since the days of my youth with mixed results. Teenagers are moody, half kid, half adult. If we bullshit our kids, we may end up with jaded and alienated kids, who don’t trust their caregivers or other adults. Then, they retreat to their bedrooms and isolate themselves, or back in my day, run wild in the streets, looking for acceptance, validation, self-esteem, and approval. That’s when kids can really get into trouble. When I was a kid, older gang-bangers would initiate the youngsters through a violent rite of passage of some sort. This is very insidious because disaffected youth are often emotionally wounded or traumatized. And they are looking for acceptance. This can be exploited by toxic individuals, who only care about preserving their own status quo, whether it’s capitalist exploitation on the streets or in the suites. The effect is the same, except working class kids rarely get the chance to be exploited in the suites by, say, an unpaid internship, which exploits you. Working class kids are exploited in more dangerous ways on the streets.
The point is school sucks. And kids hate it. Why? Because the teachers are full of shit, for the most part. And students know that they’re being lied to. They can perceive lying by omission. And it creates distrust in our teachers, in our schools, in our institutions. Yes, teenagers are battling wild mood swings and hormones; and they’re struggling to individuate, to become their own autonomous individuals, apart from their parents. So teenage rebellion is par for the course. But teenage life under neoliberalism is its own special kind of hell, to which adults seem oblivious. We see police kill people of color and poor people with impunity. And it’s traumatizing for kids. Young people reject that. That’s why Black Lives Matter has been a primarily youth-led movement. They haven’t been gaslit for so many years, that they have become desensitized to the suffering of others. Honestly, I feel a bit sickened when I see Americans carrying on as usual, seemingly oblivious to the fact that our nation is falling apart. Our empire has been declining for years. That’s why Global Research reported on former President Obama’s so-called Asia-Pacifica Pivot. American imperialism was focused on controlling or otherwise manipulating the flow of petroleum in South Asia/Middle East.
That political reality was reflected in Hollywood by the preponderance of Arab-looking villains in Hollywood movies, starting around the time of the film True Lies (1994). I mean, we could go back to Die Hard for the earlybirds to the new political propaganda theme. But the early 1990s was when I noticed that the Hollywood villains were starting to be terrorists. I was also starting to pay more attention to the news of the day by the time I was in high school and started to get into KPFA free speech radio. Before that, the 1980s villains of my youth were always Russians or commies of some sort. It seems the dominant culture in my nation always wanted me to fear socialists and communists. And, then, after the late 1980s, they wanted me to fear terrorists. Hmmm? I wonder why? As a temperamental teenager, I didn’t have the bandwidth to absorb the full breadth of the news of the day. So, I couldn’t see the connections we can see now. As adults, now we observe the fact that the Berlin Wall fell in November of 1989.
Now, we can see that, as the Soviet Union was floundering, it had become untenable or impossible to manufacture consent, to manufacture a Russian bogeyman to scare Americans into uncritical, capitalistic, and consumeristic docility and obedience. In reality, the Soviet Union had been floundering for decades. And American intelligence knew this, despite continuing the fear-based propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union. What many of us teenagers did not know at the time was that America had engaged in a mass campaign of narcissistic abuse during the Red Scares, the First and the Second, plus the McCarthyism witch hunts. All of that was narcissistic abuse because it was all based on lies. For some reason our history teachers had bullshitted all of us. Our history books had lied to us, as Dr. James Loewen has said. People of color could see that much more clearly than white kids.
Fuck the white education; so, I skipped a lot of classes.MC Eiht, quoted in “The Hood Took Me Under” (1991) by Compton’s Most Wanted
Experts of narcissistic abuse will explain to you that gaslighting is crazy-making. Then, when young people of color, complain about the bullshit that they see, adults act like there’s nothing wrong. I mean adults are not out in the streets trying to fight climate change deniers. Adults haven’t been out in the streets mobilizing for socioeconomic justice. Why not? It makes no sense. Any kid with a conscience will have trouble adapting to an American culture without a conscience.
I’m running out of time. I would like to say more about Dr. Henry Giroux’s book, America At War With Itself, from 2016, which articulates much of the sentiments many of us are feeling right now about the powerful forces within American policing and right-wing ruling class elites, including the leadership of the Republican and Democrat “parties”. I also want to talk about the new book, Worldly Shame: Ethos In Action because I think there are great lessons there for immigrants trying to assimilate into a culture, which never quite accepts them. This is applicable even to non-immigrant offspring of immigrants, such as your author. There is a certain sense of shame, which is inculcated (wittingly or unwittingly) by the dominant culture in immigrants. I mean President #45 even ripped families apart. And we have evidence revealed from closed-door meetings where we hear the actual thought process of politicians in our two-party dictatorship. For example, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, literally, strategized against humanity, “We have to take away the kids.”
But our American culture is beyond outrage. As Professor John Vervaeke explains, “We seem to be drowning in a sea of bullshit.” Since the 1990s and the rise of the internet, there has been an explosion of information. Now, people are finally getting all of the history, which we hadn’t gotten in our history books. We’re finding maybe Karl Marx was right. We’re finding the young Karl Marx was angry. But the older Karl Marx just wanted us to fully understand and appreciate the revolutionary nature of capitalism. Many Americans still do not understand this. Students are not even taught economics until 12th grade! And, even then, the curriculums are such bullshit; it’s as if the subject is intentionally made unbearable just to keep young people away from the one subject, which teaches them about “the economic dimensions of our lives,” as Professor Richard Wolff likes to say, ‘our jobs, our incomes, our plans for retirement, and those of our kids and grandkids.’ Economics is the one subject, which deals with arguably the most important adult responsibility, income as a prerequisite for self-sufficiency. But capital is mystified by antidemocratic forces in society. We take money, wages, wage labor, all of it, for granted, as if that’s the only way humans are capable, or deserving, of organizing themselves. That’s bullshit. Cruz and Holly, for example, are patrician elites, who spout anti-elite rhetoric. Only a gaslit group of codependents could fall for such deception. But that is the type of deception we see on a regular basis by both of our dominant, corporatist political “parties”. I put the term parties in scare-quotes because we have to admit that they are more like identity cults than political parties. People identify with the political parties, but there is no there there. Neither party’s have any meaningful platform anymore. Both parties ran without a platform in 2020. President #45 won without a platform at all, except the racist, reactive narcissist, dog-whistle slogan of “Make American Great Again.” That is not politics. As Alexa O’ Brien explained to your author in an interview during the Occupy Wall Street protests. “The culture wars are over. Everyone lost.” Now, we have fascism because the will of the people is never reflected in public policy.
Those forces, which you can listen to on right-wing media all day, are seeking to transform our hopes for the development of sincere and participatory democracy to the gaslit acceptance of fascism. Now, I know that the word fascism is a powerful word. And it’s not well understood. We also have little understanding, as a society, of American racism. So, we often hear Americans conflating white supremacy and white nationalism. White supremacy was the system America had since the beginning; it involves dispossession, expropriation, narcissistic abuse, and exploitation. White nationalism is the system, which is trending and desired among a growing number of predominantly white middle class Americans. White nationalism involves racial purity and genocide.
My wife and I just bought a house. I helped a neighbor by building him a beautiful, redwood fence. He wears Trump loyalist propaganda. He’s a middle-aged white man. I felt that same pang of dread, which Meredith Miller (Inner Integration) describes, which one feels when you’re in the presence of a narcissistic abuser. I was triggered by the symbolism. So, I returned to my in-breath and out-breath.
I have to get back to attend to my family and to fight for our survival through this American Great Depression. I did not write this for your entertainment. If I could find like-minded individuals this blog could be become a well-rounded website. Excuses, right? I just don’t want to bullshit anyone. This is what one working class blog looks like, for better or for worse.
The Bottom Line
My main point is that the events of January 6th were a huge wake-up call to us all. We’re all seeing things we didn’t see before, or admitting things we hadn’t admitted before. Narcissistic abuse is one of them. World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day is June 1st. Let’s mark our calendars. And let’s learn how narcissistic abuse is similar, or identical, to racist abuse.
One thing many of us are seeing, which I have never noticed being discussed is the psychological deconstruction of the mental illness known as racism. There are several elements to racism, which have been articulated since January 6th. The most important one, from my perspective, is the psychological mapping of the mental illness known as racism. The fact that we can virtually map racist abuser traits right onto narcissistic abuser traits is a breakthrough, in my humble opinion, for critical race theory. If I could get a grant, I would write a research paper on this, if it doesn’t exist already. Maybe I should do just that.
The cool thing about blogging or journaling is that you get to develop your thoughts in the absence of being able to discuss these topics with others face to face. We cannot expect our immediate family and circle of friends to be passionate about civic engagement, critical media literacy, or democracy, if they are not already. People need to come around on their own. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Our job is to make Americans thirsty for socioeconomic justice. Anything less is the status quo, which brought us to this new low in American history.
[17 JAN 2021]
[Last modified on 17 JAN 2021 at 05:59 PST]
[Your author hopes to expand and clarify this post, as time constraints allow. Living in poverty, it’s a challenge just staying healthy, avoiding toxins, avoiding toxic people, avoiding toxic environments. We don’t live in the Green Zone or gated communities. We live where we hear police sirens and helicopters all the time, shit like that. It’s stressful. You rarely hear form the lumpenproletariat, unless its a news report telling you to fear them. “The secret to life is have no fear,” Fela Kuti. If you’re the fearless rock-climber or bungee-jumper type or other adrenaline junkie type looking for a thrill, why risk your life on frivolity? Why not challenge American imperialism, white supremacy, white nationalism, male patriarchy, defend Julian Assange, and the freedom of the press, defend the Constitution. Why not engage in copwatching then next time you see a cop engaging in fascist policing or doing anything at all. Always film cops. That’ll get your adrenaline going. Please, think of others. Don’t let neoliberal assimilation strip you of your collective consciousness in favor of a hyper-individualistic, neoclassical economics outlook. Humans are social animals. Our accomplishments are collective, not individual.]