Monday, June 20, 2016

Watch out, the "NDP sex Marxists" are out to get you!

Why is it that some people (and rightwingers are particularly notorious for this) think that they can just throw out provocative words and imagine that they are saying something?

Such was the case the other day when the perpetually failed candidate of Alberta politics Larry Heather tweeted out that "NDP sex Marxists are dissolving the basis for the cohesion of Alberta, leading to the breakup of the Province."

Now, I don't know what a "sex Marxist" is but I personally think it sounds pretty interesting. Larry not so much. Mr. Heather's syntax and grammar, much like his politics, are perpetually confused (and certainly confusing). When questioned by another tweeter, "what the hell is a sex Marxist?" Larry replied, in his inimitable style, "Marxists seek to dissolve the class system and family control - the attack against Gender [sic] is certainly a part of this."

Well, that's about as clear as mud. Now, while criticism of the economic and social class systems is certainly part of much of Marxist discourse, the issue of "family control" is a bit out of left (or should I say right) field. What exactly "family control" means is a bit of a head scratcher to begin with. However, if you have spent any time with Central American, Marxist-inspired groups you know that traditional family ties continue to an important part of their social philosophy. While, no doubt, most leftwing activists encourage the principle of questioning authority, this is a far cry from dissolving "family control" unless Mr. Heather is talking about jettisoning arbitrary authority, in which case let's have at it.

More importantly, what exactly do rightwingers like Larry Heather think "the attack against Gender" is? And why is the word "gender" capitalized? The very idea of an attack against gender is nonsense. Instead, there is a rebellion against the imposition of strict gender identity, and that is very different. The difference lies in the fact that when you impose a gender role on someone, you are de facto attacking them because you are attempting to create their identity for them from outside.

But more importantly, the issue of gender, as it is currently being seen and discussed in contemporary society, has nothing to do with Marxism as a philosophy. I guarantee that 90% of people who question traditional notions of gender are not Marxists, nor could they identify Marxism any better than Mr. Heather. And this is the only reason that it is worth discussing an obscure and insignificant conservative activist like Larry Heather, because in their political efforts such rightwingers will simply throw out provocative words, in an uninformed, intentionally inflammatory manner in order to scare people who, like them, don't even vaguely understand the concepts and philosophies that they are addressing.

Marxism is, of course, partly about greater social and economic equality. But then, most people who strive for greater equality are not Marxist; they don't identify as such, and probably wouldn't even if they understood the complexities of Marxist philosophy. Putting aside the syntactical absurdity of Mr. Heather's statement (an abusrdity that would be akin to me accusing someone of being an "exercise Freudian" or a "hamburger Hegelian"), this kind of thing is typical of the rightwing, throw out some provocative words and hope you can whip up the fear and anger of the rabidly conservative and perpetually ignorant base.

There is, unquestionably, something going on in society. People are questioning all sorts of traditional roles and beginning to call for greater equality in a society that has become marked by a significant increase in inequality over the past generation. This is very good news for us as a society. But when such a change begins to creep into our social discourse some people are inevitably threatened. And in our society, those who are most threatened are white, heterosexual males who see their power slipping away. Such people often turn to religion, and unfortunately to violence, to bolster their traditional claim on power. Through the struggle continues, we are fortunate that not all white men are as backward and slow-witted as Larry Heather.


doconnor said...

No sex please, we're Marxists.

I thought everyone obstensively supported dissolving the class system. Even free-market capitalists believe that reducing government involvement will inspire everyone to live up to their true potential.

Kirby Evans said...

Nice to hear from you again doconnor. And yes, that is a very good point.

Utopian Pragmatist said...

I have no idea what a "sex Marxist" might be. Perhaps they come from the same parallel universe as Dr Dawg's "Gender Fascists".
In which case, I sure hope the two don't reach some sort of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

rww said...

Well to simplify it for the right wing mind Marxists believe in equality, therefore Sex Marxists would believe in sexual equality. So is that bad in the right wing mind.

Kirby Evans said...

Point nicely made rww.

the salamander said...

.. I envision a sort of mental 'stroke' or thrombosis clutched at Larry th Heather .. and in the grip of the seizure or cascading delusion.. he saw a 'vision' or two or twenty. Somehow I think he saw a distorted representation of the Potemkin Villages.. Banks of the rivers crowded with cardboard people, wooden marxist cheerleader folk gayly painted & multitudes of average but nice homes.. perhaps there were oxen in the fields too.

That's where he loses me. Did he see LGBT friendly Johnny on the Spots by the riverside? Did he hear archangels blowing on trumpets? Did any of the marxist peasantry seem sinister to him? Were there two men or two women standing too close together for his comfort level? Did the wardrobes or indeed the sky in any way suggest a rainbow.. now that's a trigger for sure!

A perusal of the body of twitter work of Larry th Heather was unenlightening .. a scattershot of 'will pray for you' & other mutterings of some wishywashy evangelical nature.. and vague expressions of well, uh .. vagueness. I wondered after for about 4.2 seconds why I bothered. Perhaps Larry th Heather is himself or herself, a potemkin construct or facade.. or farce?

Simon said...

Hi Kirby...Alberta has recently announced plans to rewrite it's sex education curriculum to acknowledge the existence of *gasp* LGBT people. Old Larry is probably just combining the carbon tax and the sex education curriculum in the brain and that's what he's spitting out. Why is it so hard to recognize that? Why do so many left-wingers live in the clouds? Why can't they recognize homophobia when they see it? Why do they share the same prejudices as do right-wingers? Why did so few bloggers on PB bother to write about the Orlando mass murder.? Why are they sheltering bigots in their ranks? It seems to me the intellectual left has its head up its ass and can't see humanity for bullshit...

Kirby Evans said...

Hi Simon, I am not sure if that was directed at me or more generally. I certainly try not to fail to recognize homophobia. I admit that I didn't do a post about Orlando, but only because I found it so difficult. I wrote a father's day post in which I talked about it because my father was from a distant generation and started out as a typically homophobic working-class youth but gave up those prejudices as he grew up, and that was always an inspiration to me because he really taught me that people can continually grow throughout their lives. I even remember hearing him argue for gay marriage forty years ago, when his peers would have been totally shocked by the idea. I didn't post that blog because I found it too hard to go back and edit it. If you feel I have fallen short or this subject, however, I am open to criticism.