Warren Isn’t A Snake, She’s Just Misreading Hegel

Bernie Bros, but especially sisters and non-binary siblings who dare to stand up to the billionaire class are being accused of calling former Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren a snake. The mainstream media is horrified by this “uncivil” behavior but apparently not horrified by Ms. Warren’s decision to go to an oil super PAC in her desperation to beat Bernie, Biden and the bumbling bros at the top. Give this to Ms. Warren: she was the smartest candidate in the race. This hurt her. In fact, it killed her campaign. Bernie uses the same 10 sentences, Biden has dementia and Trump’s messaging is only coherent in 140 character segments.

The online left, unlike other segments of the online population, is honest, thoughtful, and interested in material truth. This is why I find the cherry pickings of Bernie Bros to be rather laughable. The right are fanatics who use horrific and stupid slurs online while the left posts detailed obscure arguments on what version of Marxist utopia would be most ethical, if we were ever to implement it. But left-wing bros are there. The internet is a dangerous and hurtful place that gets tremendous profits without any sort of regulation. The effect on the self-esteem of young people, especially women, has been devastating.

All that being said, Rachel Maddow, the troll of our times, asked Bernie about his supporters calling Ms. Warren a snake. Maddow is not a serious journalist, she’s a fear-mongering like the rest of them, no matter how well she hides it behind fraudulent liberal intellectualism. But just for fantasy’s sake, let’s imagine the reader sees Warren as a snake, some sort of betrayer to the socialist cause championed by Bernie Sanders.

The first point is that Elizabeth Warren was always straight forward: she’s right-wing (as opposed to the center-right campaign of Mr. Sanders). She always ran to the right of Sanders, and to the left of the establishment, counting on a sort of middle ground between the ruling class and the working class.

Let’s be clear about what neoliberalism does: it personalizes everything. This is why the electoral politics extravaganza captivates this passive audience. We become fans, lashing out at those we disagree with, forgetting why we do any of this in the first place. This led even the great and balanced Noam Chomsky to call Bernie Sanders “a good guy”. Who knows, and who the hell cares.

American society is primarily a punitive and judgmental one. We bomb any country we disagree with, forgetting that the point of these wars is not cultural differences or human rights, but class rule. We jail any person who does drugs, we salivate over the death penalty, refuse to teach sex ed, and use anti-choice legislation as punishment, we live in a constant state of superiority, internalizing American exceptionalism. We want to know which one of our friends are with us, and which are against us. Politics becomes a brand, one that is isolating, righteous and dispiriting.

Political figures are a product of class relations, not the other way around. Elizabeth Warren severely miscalculated the severity of class warfare. She believed both sides could come to the table. But let’s wake up. The rich are rapidly destroying all life, not just human life. They will let millions die in war, famine or drought to get resources to sell to stupid middle-class Americans. They will leave millions without a home, work millions more to the bone, jail, poison, and humiliate every single person on earth just to make some money.

This is not because they are bad people, they may well be, but what’s the point of saying that about anybody? Rather we must have a ruthless class interest, just as the rich do. Not for singular profit, but for universal dignity. We must say, fine you are willing to take all of it, well we are not going to take any of this crap anymore.

The misreading of Hegel by the middle class who dominate visible intellectualism and propaganda is that when you combine one thing (thesis) and the opposing thing (antithesis) you get a compromise (synthesis). Rather, Hegel knew that the more thesis and antithesis collide the more contradictions strengthen. Marx used Hegel to understand class. The ruling class is gutting the world with endless austerity, deregulation, war and pollution. The working class is growing, and society is becoming more unequal. As the rich get richer, the poor gets poorer. There is no compromise. Only class war.

Bernie Sanders is a product of millions of people saying enough is enough. America was able to get away with its Empire for so long because it always kept what Chomsky brilliantly called the 20%—a middle class dumb enough to blame poor people instead of rich people. As long as this middle class remained, a civil and democratic society could pretend that there was no barbarity going on at home and abroad.

Bernie Sanders is inspiring those under 45 and really scaring those over 45. Meanwhile, half the country remains disengaged from the whole damn circus, just as half the country (at least) lives paycheck to paycheck. How is it possible that Bernie is doing so well in a country that is supposedly too rich to need socialism? It’s because the class war has intensified. The middle class, for those in their 20s and 30s, no longer exists. As useful as the middle class is to keeping the ruling class in power, exploited labor is more beneficial to profit, and the logic of profit is the only logic of the rich.

I liked Elizabeth Warren, I have to admit. She punched at whoever she felt like. A material note on the nature of Ms. Warren’s attacks against her opponents and what it can teach us about political ideology. When Ms. Warren attacked Mr. Sanders, his supporters rightly saw that it was misleading and immaterial. But when she attacked her right-wing opponents, she was substantive and insightful. This isn’t because of some unique hatred of Sanders. It is because of the very nature of the political struggle.

Left and right are false terms. Left opposes power, right supports it. Left tells the truth, right tells lies. Left has material grounding, right has abstract grounding. Left acts on policy, right acts on profit. Left believes in thought, right believes in violence. The left is interested in the universal gain, the right is interested in the particular, whether that be the individual, the identity group, the nation, the religion, or most importantly, the class.

Warren was somewhat naive in her understanding of the nature of the class struggle. She was a leader against corruption, but could not see how many of her anti-environment and anti-peace ideas as well as her insistence on capitalism had an implicit link with this corruption, even if she admirably stayed above the fray personally.

Ultimately Ms. Warren was the only candidate who remained in less severe time. She really believed in policy. The other candidates all believed in power. The establishment believes in the power of the rich, Bernie believes in the power of the people.

The establishment says that to beat Trump, you have to please the rich, or else you have no chance to get anything done. Bernie insists that you need to listen to the people, or else you lose all credibility and eventually you lose democracy itself. Warren wanted solutions outside of this collision of power, she had rules for a just system, and she hated to see them broken by the rich. But she failed to see how even her vision of a just society failed to get to the root of the problem, and thus would never get consideration from either side.

Elizabeth Warren, like all of us, will have to choose a side eventually. The existential question for those unfortunate enough to be aware of our fleeting existence is what is the purpose of this life before it is over? In death, we all are the working class, we all are unheard and eventually forgotten. We all exit any form of material power and become only a spiritual essence. The class war is on, and the peacekeepers like Elizabeth Warren will have no merit to either side, who rightly fears the other.

Nick Pemberton writes and works from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves to receive feedback at pemberton.nick@gmail.com