an atheisitic anarchistic scorcher www.facebook.com/TheSlowBurningFuse
an extended conversation with Boots Riley, writer and director of “Sorry to Bother You,”
some snatches…but the whole thing is worthwhile reading/watching
BOOTS RILEY: And I think that’s something that’s put forward in my film as a tool that we need to use. I believe that since the beginning of the New Left, progressives and radicals have turned more to spectacle and gone away from actually organizing at the actual point of contradiction in capitalism, which is the exploitation of labor, which is also where the working class has its power. And we’ve gone in favor of demonstrations, that don’t necessarily have teeth, but they show where our head is at. And I feel like we have to put—give these demonstrations more teeth, by being able to affect the bottom line and say, you know—and say, “You can make no money today, or you can make less money and give us what we want.”
And some of that has to do with some of the laws that have been enacted since the ’40s, and also some of the anti-communist stuff. But, you know, the Taft-Hartley laws make it so you can’t do solidarity strikes. And the reason why they make it so you can’t do solidarity strikes is because they’re effective. And so, we need a labor movement that’s going to break those laws, because, as we see, the laws that are existing are going to make the current ways of organizing unions much harder. So, you know—and this is almost also a call out to folks that consider theirself radicals, like we’re willing to go to jail for statements sometimes, for demonstrations, and which is good, but maybe if we were part of leading this kind of new radical labor movement, we’d go to jail for breaking the laws that bring people hikes in wages, that then also make for a movement that could handle other social justice issues with strikes.”
Now, so, that’s not to say don’t get somebody in office. But what that does do, though, when you’re doing that, it’s a question of where are we putting our resources, where are we putting our time, where we put—you know, what happens is movements get subverted, because, right now, there’s only so much time and energy, and the first people to act are going to be the ones that we need. And if everybody’s putting their time into the electoral side, we’re going to get caught in this loop, where you get an elected official in there, and they’re not able to do much, because there’s not the movement to do things. You need—you need to be—we need to get to the level where we can shut down industry, and that we can go straight to the puppet masters. Now, if we have that going on and somebody wants to get in office that can better aid those movements, but even the—any progressive or candidate out there will tell you that if you don’t have a movement going on, there’s not a lot they could do, you know? I mean, even on a low level like Oakland politics, you had like Dellums, Ron Dellums, get elected mayor. Great dude. I don’t—didn’t really do much at all. And what he kept saying was, “I can’t do anything if there’s not a movement that allows it to happen.”
And so, I think that electoral politics is the easy way out. And I think it’s because—and I think it’s part of—I think it’s part of the sidetracking that we’ve been having by not—the left has not been willing to engage in class struggle for a long time, and we’ve left it up to liberals. We’ve left union organizing up to liberals. And we’ve made—not just union organizers, but we’ve left—we’ve made our movements devoid of the analysis that says that—that shows where the power point in capitalism for us is. And so, for me, it’s not a matter of—it’s not a matter of can that work. Maybe it could, but it’s not going to work if we don’t have a real movement. And it’s going to get us sucked into the war of inches.
I mean, think about it like this. Really, you know, you end up talking about getting folks to vote. And right now, because of everything that we’ve gotten into, we get focused on the Trump era, and we’ve got the Democrats going way to the right, because of figuring out how do we get Trump out. So people are like supporting the CIA, supporting the FBI, and doing it fervently. Right? So, where does—and they’re like, “Well, that’s just because we need to get Trump out.” But then, where does that leave you afterward? And it’s just—it’s part of this game.
it was a focus on students and spectacle that has led—and has led to like people not knowing what to do and basically saying, “Well, all I’m going to do is electoral politics.
I still help out campaigns against police brutality. I am a little personally burnt out on them, because I don’t know where we can go with it, you know? Like, what happens after you get a whole community to spend a year of their lives, coming together, you know, sometimes in great numbers, to get a officer fired, and then they get transferred to some other department and get pats on the back? And I don’t know. This is not some well-thought-out thing, but I just know, like, I feel like there are, I think—feel like campaigns against police brutality may become more effective once other parts of our movement also grow and where, as I say, we have some leverage. Like, for instance, maybe the Mike Brown killing, if we had had a—if radicals and progressives had been organizing labor—and what I mean, I don’t mean the existing labor organizations. That’s fine, but I’m talking about the rest of the working class, the 93 percent that’s not organized. If we had a way to say, “OK, we’re shutting down the city. We’re going on—having a general strike until this guy gets indicted,” you know, maybe that would have been a shorter campaign. I don’t know, but I feel like we are operating right now from a place where we are not—we’re not putting out a clear analysis of how power works.