Announcing Biden’s Worst Nightmare: the “Justified Outrage” Movement

Written by Patrick Walker   
Tuesday, 22 September 2020 07:56

Justified Outrage--a Movement That Chooses Targets!

Joe Biden, Meet JO Outrage

“Call Me JO.”

If serious opponents of our disgusting duopoly unite and rise in revolt, that movement “calling card”–as Internet meme, billboard, bumper sticker, T-shirt, lapel pin, what-have-you–could soon be provoking horrifying nightmares in what’s left of Joe Biden’s brain. Or (if we’re lucky enough to dodge the fascist Trump bullet) in the younger, more agile amygdala of “Vice-Bastard” Kamala Harris.

JO stands for “Justified Outrage,” the deeply inspired, in-your-face name I just arrived at. The new name, that is, for the previously nameless satyagraha movement I’ve been promoting throughout this “Tracts for Our Times” series of articles.

If I plume my own cap in calling my “Justified Outrage” movement name deeply inspired, it’s for two important reasons. First off, it splendidly fulfills the principle of “condensing revolution to a few tasty sound bites” I emphasized earlier in this series. Movements facing a propaganda war where we’re vastly outgunned in money and media access must keep our message short–if not necessarily sweet. “Justified Outrage” screams to the world that we’re mad as hell, mad enough not to take it anymore, and mad for very good reason. It’s a movement name that “spits bullets”–the bullets we’d actually be using if we weren’t wise enough to renounce violence.

In today’s raging propaganda war, words must become our bullets. And having limited ammo to fire, we must aim our words with lethal precision.

Which brings me to the second reason “Justified Outrage” seems almost divinely inspired. Without my planning it, the initials JO lend themselves to a brutal frontal attack on the nauseating fake populism of our elite politicians. Especially since JO is pronounced exactly the same as the nickname of banking elites’ favorite “Joe” Biden–in reality, the farthest thing from “a common Joe.”

By coincidentally sounding like “Joe,” the movement acronym JO accomplishes rhetorical wonders. In the prospective “calling card” slogan “Call Me JO,” it contrasts real grassroots solidarity with Biden’s big-bank-financed astroturf populism. “Call Me JO” suggests personal identification with the movement, making every member the face of “Justified Outrage.” By its pronunciation, JO can suggest a common male or female nickname, making it a common-cause name that transcends gender. And by suggesting such a common nickname, JO suggests the intimacy and familiarity of a real “of, for, and by the people” grassroots movement.

And those are just the inward-facing, solidarity-building advantages of the JO acronym. As an outward-facing movement attack weapon, it can accomplish even greater wonders. As one potent example, consider that it drops the e in the “Joe” of Joe Biden. The JO movement can scream out that the e in “Joe” stands for “elitism” and “extortion” (the electoral kind). Reject elitism and extortion (drop the e) and all you’re left with is JO–Justified Outrage. The movement can ruthlessly badger Joe Biden to “Drop the E”–reject elitism and extortion by embracing its populist program.

Strange Bedfellows: Justified Outrage and Satyagraha

Readers of this series will inevitably find considerable–even shocking–tension between my sometimes vulgar suggested rhetoric (see here and here) and my invocation of the saintly Gandhi’s satyagraha. A simple, superficial answer is that I’m an adventurous, eclectic American writer and organizer, willing to seize valuable ideas where I find them. As quintessentially American poet Walt Whitman put it, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself (I am large, I contain multitudes).”

With due respect to Whitman, my “vulgar satyagraha” strategy is not about embracing contradiction. Rather, it’s about heeding the advice (or just the practice) of history’s best minds: embracing complexity and trying to reconcile its apparent contradictions as logically as possible. Far from embracing contradiction, I’m trying to apply rigorous logic to the acknowledged complexities of an utterly bizarre–and dangerously dysfunctional–political world. If most recent political strategies have failed, it’s not for lack of logic; it’s for failure to acknowledge the most crucial complexities.

If (against all odds) my “Tracts for Our Times” contribute to saving civilization, future readers may benefit by studying how my strategy ideas gain added refinement and precision from tract to tract. This results directly from facing added complexity: complexity found in my own political reading, or in plausible arguments against my strategy by informed critics. For example, my proposed movement’s very name–Justified Outrage–results from arguing with an informed critic (and huge Gandhi admirer), who plausibly asked why I, having invoked Gandhi, had embarked on the very un-Gandhian path of destructively fomenting more rage when our nation had enough already. And to do so, using vulgar language to boot.

While criticism along these lines had naturally occurred to me already (how could it not?), having a live commenter on my series publicly challenge me served as a “fly in the ointment”–prodding my even deeper attention to current political complexities. The important resulting political analysis–probably my deepest ever–deserves two separate sections.

Too Much Rage? Hardly–It’s Just Insanely Misdirected

The criticism just cited essentially has two parts: 1) I’m worsening an already toxic U.S. political atmosphere by needlessly promoting more rage and 2) while citing Gandhi’s example, I’m using vulgar, ugly, and ultimately counterproductive language utterly unworthy of him. The first part, I think, can be rebutted quickly and easily; the second will require a much deeper analytical plunge. But refuting the first charge–as readers will soon see–will pave the way for answering the far more difficult second.

This section will rebut the charge that I’m needlessly–and destructively–stoking the flames of already excessive political rage. My new movement name (Justified Outrage), like this section’s title itself, strongly suggests the nature of my answer.

“Why can’t we all just get along?” The very natural sense that there’s too much political rage simply ignores the underlying political realities of our times. “Why can’t we all just get along?” shows a good–but naive–heart and is never really much of an answer. It falsely assumes the anger poisoning the air is “much ado about nothing,” when in fact it’s about painful realities not even being discussed, let alone addressed. Thus the poisonous atmosphere of so many marriages, the reliably boom market for marriage counselors, and the spot-on popular description of the painful and often stormy–but desperately needed–thrashing it out as “clearing the air.”

Given the adulterous, savagely abusive “marital” behavior of our governing elites, we desperately need to “clear the air”–the toxic, almost unbreatheable air. There’s simply no path to societal healing and harmony that does not pass through deep anger, the kind of anger that spits bullets–and will use them if not constructively channeled. Presently, that public anger exists in the vague, unfocused, and dangerous form known as rage. What we desperately need is make that rage constructive by giving it a reality-based focus–against our tyrannical ruling elites. In short, by converting it to outrage, which is always a response to something specific. The movement name Justified Outrage is carefully chosen to fit that constructive focus.

Of course, to bring an enraged–but also brainwashed and bamboozled–U.S. public to that constructive (anti-elite) focus, we’ll need to overcome the elites’ propaganda machines’ nonstop efforts of to keep them bamboozled. Roughly speaking, I’d say the elites’ propaganda efforts to hoodwink the U.S. public–keeping boiling public unfocused or dangerously misdirected–comes in two different forms: scapegoating and false civility. While both major parties and their propaganda machines practice scapegoating, false civility is a specialty of Democrats. Republicans (for reasons I’ll soon touch on) have little use for civility at all.

Since Justified Outrage is a movement designed to peacefully combat Biden as president (God help us peacefully combat a second-term Trump), I’ll primarily discuss false civility in my next, deeply analytic section. Scapegoating (by both parties) may become the subject of a future “tract” in this series.

But Gandhi Would Never Approve Such Talk!

Wishing these “Tracts for Our Times” to reach a wide audience, I’ve consciously placed limits on their length and depth. This might seem the point to say, with singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, “Shove me in the shallow waters/ Before I get too deep.” But since my chief intended audience consists of activist organizers and intellectual opinion leaders–those with the power to influence many others–I’ve constantly felt a need to meet their more rigorous standards by always supplying some rationale for my strategy proposals.

An idea as seemingly bizarre as “vulgar satyagraha” certainly cries out for deeper justification. How can a movement invoking the gentle, saintly Gandhi use such foul language as “shithole election” and “President Bastard”? The short answer, of course, is that the truth of this satyagraha is adapted to very different “colonial” circumstances than Gandhi’s, where Americans’ minds are colonized by the propaganda of our ruling elites. I touched on this in the earlier “tract” where I first mentioned Gandhi and satyagraha.

But without examining in detail the nature of our “colonization” by propaganda, the short answer is inevitably a shallow–and unconvincing–one. The deeper answer for why U.S. satyagraha must take a vulgar–or, at minimum, scathing–turn lies in the nature of the propaganda we’re fighting. And the nature of that propaganda, in turn, lies in the characteristic behavior of the two (increasingly disgusting) political parties the propaganda is designed to defend.

Whole academic bookshelves could be filled (and probably to some extent have) debating the description I’m about to provide. For me, it’s simply the ad hoc, on-the-fly political theory a working strategist must grab hold of. I have no idea what claims it can make to originality; to the extent I’m conscious of influence, the influence is Chris Hedges in his perceptive–even prophetic–book The Death of the Liberal Class.

Vulgar” Satyagraha’s Deep Rationale: Fascism vs. Hypocrisy

Here’s my guiding theory in a nutshell. Whatever Walt Whitman might say, the human mind does not like (or easily tolerate) self-contradiction. Not even the apparent self-contradiction of complexity comes easily to most minds (though better ones seem to revel in it). Of course, our moral failings offer prolific sources of contradiction between professed intentions and actual performance, but here the mind indeed balks. Thus our frequent resort to rationalization, restoring consistency by giving bad behavior fake moral justification.

Thus also our resort to hypocrisy, which (like rationalization) is a “homage vice pays to virtue.” The essence of hypocrisy–what allows it to maintain comforting mental consistency–is that while our actions might contradict our moral standards–our public image (our reputation) remains in perfect harmony with them. And as psychologists have increasingly found, our public image–rather than the stricter standards of conscience–is what most of us care more deeply about. For individuals, hypocrisy functions pretty well–as long as they’re not found out.

Given the multi-directional pulls on politicians–the many interests they must answer to–some hypocrisy is almost a given. What’s true of individual politicians is likewise true of political parties. In fact, the Democratic Party is now in its essence the party of hypocrisy, since its reputation with its voting base, dating back to the New Deal, depends on its being “the party of the people.” This is of course in flagrant contradiction with its leadership’s decision, now dating back decades, to serve the interests of elite donors–those I find best summarized by the labels “Wall Street” and “War Street.” Political deeds being public matters (unlike much individual behavior), such flagrant hypocrisy could never endure long without protection by constant media propaganda. For a movement seeking to successfully pressure Democrats, exposing that flagrant hypocrisy–destroying the fake harmony between public image and actual behavior–is the crucial mission.

Of course, Republican pols serve the elite donors of Wall Street and War Street at least as much as Democrats do. And, since the GOP is traditionally “the party of business, ” they do so with less apparent (and intolerable) self-contradiction than Democrats face. However, openly devoting themselves to elite interests faces Republicans with a dire problem: there simply aren’t enough voters sharing those interests to win elections. Initially, Republicans dealt with the problem by a fake identity of interests between average people and elites: trickle-down economics promoted the notion (now exploded) that a rising economic tide automatically “lifts all boats.” But this theory, while plausible, has not stood up to decades-long evidence of the rich getting much richer while average and poor people have stood still or regressed. Increasingly, Republicans have had to base their appeal to all but the rich on the darker forces of grievance and resentment, ever more resorting to the scapegoating and outright reality denial characteristic of fascism. Democrat’s deep hypocrisy (unacknowledged by themselves) has provided an especially prominent target for GOP scapegoating and fomenting of resentment.

Needless to say, scapegoating and fomenting of resentment (especially when it’s based largely on racism and xenophobia) does not leave much room for civility. Whereas Democrat hypocrites–who don’t want the ugliness of their hypocrisy discussed–tend (in contrast with “those Republican yahoos”) to make civility the essence of all virtue. But this is really a false civility, since the real thing is rooted a concern for the dignity–and therefore for the welfare–of all human beings. Democrats’ concern with civility reflects their desire to “keep talk nice” because they don’t want their own putrid hypocritical deeds discussed; I previously savaged this rancid “disgraceful civility” in an article section discussing Michelle Obama’s disgusting public courtesy to mass-murdering war criminal George W. Bush. Democrat’s “disgraceful civility” is part and parcel of their sanctimonious policing of language references to minorities; for Democrat hypocrites, it’s perfectly justified to let minorities go to hell economically and in terms of the social safety net–provided we vigilantly censor all language with even the faintest whiff of racism, sexism, or homophobia.

In enforcing false civility–such as not saying “shithole” or “bastard”–Democrats like to claim decent people don’t talk like that. Conveniently ignoring the fact that they do so all the time under the right circumstances: for emphasis, for humor–or most importantly of all, when they’ve given reason for moral outrage. “Vulgar satyagraha” is a moral weapon against a false civility shielding a hypocrisy that’s gone abominably way too far. If our language doesn't give shock in the way normal angry adult language does, Democrats simply won't believe our outrage is serious.

In my next piece, “The New Satyagraha and the Outraged Vanguard,” I’ll discuss the activists–especially among the royally screwed young–who might dare pioneer the outraged language of “vulgar satyagraha.” your social media marketing partner
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