Tucker Carlson, The Post-Left, and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

The left must be promoted. The left is just as important as the proletariat, if not more. I am not against the left. I am against the post-left.

Upon Tucker Carlson’s firing the position of the post-left became even more clarifying. Consider these tweets from the Post-Left Watch: “These people went on Tucker Carlson: Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Maté, Max Blumenthal, Michael Tracey, Russell Brand, Dennis Kucinich, Tulsi Gabbard, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Oliver Stone, Matt Taibbi, Roger Waters, Lee Fang, Tara Reade, Jimmy Dore, Cornel West, Ro Khanna, Krystal Ball…. Other people who went on Tucker Carlson: Anya Parampil, Zaid Jilani, Stephen F. Cohen, Andrew Yang, Jill Stein, Matt Stoller, Angela Nagle, Rod Blagojevich.”

These folks have something in common. For the most part they say a line about how the left is the enemy because it has become too totalitarian, too woke, too intolerant of the “working class”. They point to Tucker Carlson, the leading voice of white replacement theory who openly calls for the elimination of immigrants, minorities, homeless people, protestors, etc. as a more tolerant voice.

We need to have stronger language than these people. Rather than appealing to the resentments of the “working class” (code for property owning whites in the West) let’s establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.

In a society where the dictatorship of the proletariat was established Tucker Carlson would frankly be grateful he simply lost his show and kept everything else he has accumulated from advocating for the elimination of the working class. It’s not wise to speculate online, and I remain a prison abolishment and pacifist, but let’s at least say that in a society where the proletariat established the rule of law Tucker would have a hard time hanging onto his nice things.

This is pretty basic and not very radical. The post-left seems to be ignorant of the history of the movement they once claimed to be a part of. The post-left cheers on Russia and China, and while I certainly think there is a case for doing so, they have never actually articulated what their case is. But if Russia and China are the models, or if historically actually existing communism is, the post-left, in whining about cancel culture, seems to be ignorant of how dissent from the party line is handled.

I am more critical of actually existing communism for exactly this reason. I believe that bourgeois nationalism skips the step of proletarian democracy and risks punishing the people it claims to help. However it’s also true that a dictatorship of the proletariat, let alone a proletariat revolution, wouldn’t tolerate hate within its ranks.

If someone was advocating for certain members of the communist party to be eliminated because of the color of their skin, the party leadership, hopefully also held accountable by the masses, would have to act to clarify that in this alternative movement those politics of division wouldn’t be tolerated.

How far could a serious movement (and the post-left isn’t serious) really get if the whole idea was to appeal to the largely imaginary resentments, the worst aspects of people’s characters? How would such an organization hold up when faced with real adversity from the bourgeois class, especially an opportunistically liberal bourgeois class? Could such an organization really hold the line of “we are promoting the elimination of certain members of our group to appeal to others”. Forget ethics. Is this a practical or serious strategy?

We’ve been here before. The establishment of American democracy, when it excludes minorities and women, ends up not being too good for the white working class either. You play with fire and you will get burned.

I am actually here to defend the left. Let me point out three things, the first being the most obvious and important. Firstly, Tucker Carlson is a fascist nationalist white supremacist and his demise must be celebrated as a form of democracy and freedom. An obvious but unfortunately fairly controversial point these days for online pundits.

The second point I need to make is that it seems like the majority of heavy hitters the mainstream media associates with the left are Tucker Carlson fans. This is also an obvious point for those of us online but perhaps not so much for people who have an older conception of the left. Take Chris Hedges for example who seems to be sympathetic to most of these people. No one would call Chris Hedges a fascist but it is true that he seems to be ignorant of the dark turn many of the people he likes have taken. Perhaps that it is to his credit that he is not online enough to see it. But someone needs to tell him, and if someone has told him, he needs to accept it.

And the third point is one that isn’t getting a lot of attention. Just about all of the pro-Carlson Left have renounced the Leftist label. They are Post-Left. I am able to see this because I confess to taking a similar dark turn. I wanted to replace ideology with class. I wanted to replace an ideological approach with a material approach.

The problem here is not in the wish to overcome ideology, for what could be more idealistic than that? The problem is believing that you really could have an ideology that is solely materially informed. Sure it is good to attempt to overcome ideology but the moment you claim you have is the moment you are most ideological. All attempts to overcome ideology are good, all declared victories in this task are false.

Such is the problem for the post-left who now loves Tucker Carlson. The claim that race or nationality is an ideology and class isn’t is simply befuddling and this is what the post-left uses to defend Carlson. The true left still opposes Carlson and still embraces leftist ideology; regardless of their other identities.

Another point against the love fest for Carlson is that it seems like the post-left gets very little out of the interaction. The argument by these people is that on Carlson’s show they get a large audience and this makes going on his show a good thing. In theory such collaboration with the enemy is plausible, and indeed always part of a serious leftist’s survival.

A serious leftist always makes friends in high places. In general the serious leftist has no power or money and must find a way to survive. Knowing a friend or two who can sustain their existence is necessary. Charming the class enemy is a necessary tool as well.

If one is trying to house the homeless, they may befriend a landlord, who eventually gains respect for the leftist, who in turn houses the homeless at a property. Would it be wrong to befriend someone with a certain skill that pays them highly, and learn that skill to distribute to the working class? I would say no. Would it be wrong to stay on good terms with your racist uncle if he lets you use his vacation home so you could take a break from your selfless activism once in a while? Who am I to judge?

Such a trade off is possible, I admit. For most of us some compromise, some niceties, is necessary to continue fighting the good fight. But it is something that we should treat with caution. We should treat each of these exchanges with a strategic judgement, not a moral one. Yet I smell something funny on this widespread Tucker Carlson love.

What exactly has the post-left gotten from Tucker Carlson? It seems that the conditions of going on his show means you can’t disagree with him but more importantly you can’t be a leftist at other points in time. Or at least you have to denounce the left even if you make some leftist points yourself.

More worryingly all of this seems like an excuse to embrace Tucker Carlson’s real agenda. It seems that most of the post-left is simply dismissive of the differences one would have with Carlson. They seem to think that he is some sort of ally against the real enemy: leftist totalitarianism. They have bourgeois values and free speech for the privileged becomes more important than the actually existing lives of the underclass.

It is here where I am going to address and defend a leftist who I disagree a lot with: Noam Chomsky. Most of the left who is sympathetic to Chomsky seems to be ignoring the Jeffrey Epstein elephant in the room, and I get that. But I’ll go a little farther, with caution.

If Chomsky had strategic private meetings with Epstein and war criminals (something he admitted to in his defense of his actions), then I will say that while I may disagree with the approach, I’ll forgive Chomsky for a simple reason. He’s still thinking and meeting with these people hasn’t stopped that. I can’t say the same for the Tucker left.

I would however challenge Professor Chomsky to be more open-minded to communism as an alternative to authoritarianism. I also of course would strongly consider him to reconsider his statement that Woody Allen is a “great artist”!

That aside I think what Chomsky misses, in his defense of meeting with Allen and Epstein, and in his take on Russia-Ukraine, is that it is the obligation of the intellectual not only to come to the right logical conclusions, but also to validate their audience’s needs and struggles.

Chomsky may be an anarchist, but he is also a leader, whether he wants to be or not. This is the greatest compliment I could give anyone and it comes with a certain responsibility. A victim of sexual violence for example could be upset about Chomsky meeting with Allen and Epstein, and he should do a better job of explaining strategy, rather than simply defending himself. I’ll defend him. He should explain.

As for Russia-Ukraine, while Chomsky is right about the United States’ role in repressing the world, we also have to be conscious about what a Ukrainian would think about American intellectual leaders saying we should focus more on America than Russia in our critiques because we are American. To the contrary, Russians have told a great many truths about the horrors of American Empire (which is not comparable to Russia’s crimes, the US is far more guilty). It is also true that the US, even the bourgeois from the US, can, for their own reasons, have and must have solidarity with Russia’s victims and tell the truth about Russia, because we are in a position to do so.

This is my only issue with Chomsky when it comes to the communism situation as well. Sure it is good to be correct about communism’s crimes, but Chomsky runs the same risk as the post-left if he becomes a post-communist, turning against the cause because it failed. While it may be true that authoritarian states can use communism as a propaganda line to repress the proletariat we have to say: so what? If they aren’t doing communism, who cares if they are talking about it?

Tucker Carlson and company are using the same kind of language to claim they represent a movement with history when they don’t. We can’t let them control the narrative. We have to be real communists, real leftists, rather than dismiss these things as always fake. It is our job to create material reality, rather than use material reality as an excuse to turn against the cause.

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