My problem with tumblr social justice lately is that it is so laughably and ironically neoliberal that it’s nearly pointless. Tumblr sj positions itself as anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and sometimes even anti-capitalist. And it takes those traits, traits which should be shared by decent human beings on the mere virtue of being human beings, and passes them off as valid reasons to consider oneself a leftist and a radical. Which is absolutely ridiculous and definitively neoliberal. Tumblr “radicals” like to toss around the term neoliberal like the swear word it ought to be without realizng they have fallen into its trap.
Historically speaking, neoliberalism is a reactionary ideology. That is in fact part of its definition- neoliberal refers to the set of liberal ieeologies formulated in response to the rise of the new right in the 1980s (this at least is the US context for the term). And as such neoliberalism can only exist as positioned against the right. It is never its own ideology, but a vague dismissal of the political right as we now know it- the far right, unreasonable wing that it is. This is why terms like anti-racist, anti-oppression (wow go you you’re not awful!!!!), and anti-capitalist are fundamentally neoliberal in implication unless followed with something more concrete.
But there has to be something more to a viable leftist political option than a stance of opposition. You don’t just fight against something bad. You fight for something good. As an anarchist I am pro-worker, pro-choice in ways that go far beyond abortion, pro-queer, pro-revolution, etc. This is what must be a defining chacteristic of the left. It cannot just say no to the right wing. It has to say yes to something else or it wil never be politically viable to thr masses. Why should I fight my bosses? Because I am anti-cruelty? Of course I am. So is everyone who doesn’t suck. Or should I fight because I am pro-equality and pro-fairness and pro-justice? When we shit the dialogue from that which we oppose to that which we favor, we open the dialogue to people looking for alternatives to capitalism. Keeping an attitude of anger and violence at the core of an ideology and vehemently refusing yo educate those willing to learn but currently unaware of the impact of their actions and words does nothing but keep the left insular and smal vy isolating it from other potential leftists. Not educating others is a circle-jerk then and nothing more. I forget who said this first (I believe it was Malcolm X) but you have to be patient with others because you must remember there was a time when you did not know what you now know. The revolution can’t be ten people rioting and ignoring to tell other people what’s going on. It has tk be bigger and better than that.