Tori Morrison Divorcing the Left

For years, I have been devotedly monogamous to the left: following every protest culture and socialist idea, and learning to recite the archive of genocide, war and corporate atrocity. In a way, I felt that knowledge would somehow cleanse me of my white middle class privilege and ground me outside of a culture I was born and bred into. When confronted with questions of race, I could proudly infer that my own second class treatment of being gay gave me some limited perspective into the situation.

I was like any leftist warrior; loud, angry and deep heartedly right in my own mind. I joined leftist organizations, I read leftist theorists, I spoke at protests. I went to protests with first aid kits to survive my first gassing and arrest and learned what to say at my first police questioning. I grew fascinated by the culture of persecution, aggression and mythical representation. I studied books of political revolts as if I could take enough notes to know where they went wrong so that I could single-handedly fix all of our problems.

Looking back I've always had issues with the left; I would see my comrades punching out a police officer, not for any particular act, but simply for being a police officer. I was almost crushed at a protest by men trying to slam down on the face of a Bush piñata. I saw my city of Toronto set on fire by asshole black blocs. But it was eight little words that ended everything for me… I encountered these words in the middle of my graduate studies mrp, stemming from my own fingers and mind, and I was immediately removed from everything I was once so dedicated. Since speaking them, I have spoke them again and again and each time I believe it more. Each time I find myself moving farther and farther away from the left I knew.

I am not moving towards the right, I am not moving towards anything. Instead, I chose to look inward, evaluate for myself the facts, and in doing so, I have entirely removed myself from the political traditional break-down. I consider myself now an independent, I am something entirely untethered to any political side.

Democracy requires abandoning the symbolic for the real. It is only when being a police officer is a profession, not an act, that I can see why hitting one in the face over your fear of there being a war in another country is completely stupid and arbitrary. It is only when there is no “the man” that I can realize my own potential for exploitation of others is entirely my fault. It is only when being rich, being white, being male, being straight is simply a description (not a gesture), that I can see why any human becoming an object, being injured or being murdered, is wrong. This is not to say I deny homophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, or any other concept. These are active issues which play out in every moment of every day to which we all commit, experience and are injured. It is simply an decision to abandon the symbolic for the real grey areas of thought. To remove political discourse from intense internal ethical debate. I am no longer perfect and I am certainly no longer right. In fact, since divorcing the left, I have never been more wrong, been more guilty and been more confused in my entire life.

My problems with the left, are simple: the left is entirely devoted to the binary system, pendulum swings, mythical representation and fictional sacrifice. You cannot empower women by attacking men, you cannot dissolve poverty by stealing from the rich, you can’t fix fat phobia by force feeding a skinny chick a sandwich, no matter how hungry you think she looks. You need to empower the grey, the exceptions, the spectrum to know that any push from one binary to another is not justice, it is always a reinforcement of the binary itself. As long as the binary stands, its initial concepts will in reference always exist. Attacking someone for being white is an act of black exploitation. Attacking someone for being straight is a commitment to the continuing of homophobia. Abandoning the symbolic allows for change is impossible otherwise. It is if anything, a complete abandonment of the question of right and wrong in an effort to move past punishment to acceptance. Any action towards symbolic binaries makes them real, true and empowered and as long as the left wants to enforce them I will not let it into my ballot, into my writing, or back into my bedroom.


This was really great.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.