Becca links to this article by Rawan Abdelbaki so I want to learn something useful from it. I didn’t.
I had trouble with the parts I could read. My head starts to explode somewhere around the paragraph beginning, “More troubling is the subtle implication that…” This paragraph follows one where Abdelbaki seems to argue that Black communities couldn’t possibly NOT want defunding because Black women started the movement (and presumably the slogan). I don’t see why both statements can’t be true.
Other passages are certainly rousing, e.g.,
But it is the response from certain pockets of the Left — encapsulated in this segment of an unfortunate launch episode of a new Jacobin series — that has emerged as one of the most reactionary [pockets?], entirely cowering to the same facile liberal denigrations launched by the Democratic establishment that many of us so deeply despise.
I listened to the Jacobin video, especially here: and I need Abdelbaki to explain to dense people like me just how it is so reactionary and cowering, etc.
In the video Vivek Chibber says that a slogan that has to be explained is a poor one.
Yet Abdelbaki goes ahead and explains it:
Although many might find the phrase “defunding the police” jarring, this sense of unease emerges when the choice put forth — as mainstream media, Conservative, and most Democrats have done — is “only police” or “no police.” But no one is actually making this argument.
Just as a linguist might analyze a sentence like “John saw Karen and spoke to her” by replacing the pronoun with “Karen”, it’s easy to substitute “Defund the police” back in place of “this argument”. Guess what do you get?
Abdelbaki alliterates that …
…it is difficult to imagine any engaged Leftist would harbor confusion about the demands put forth by abolitionists in this moment of cacophonous crises.
Are “engaged Leftists” the only people we need to talk to? And do “engaged Leftists” really NOT mean “defund”?
I dislike articles like this if for no other reason that I find them poorly argued and confusing. (Many of them sound really good, I do admit.)
But what really troubles me is the constant arguments I see among “left” groups. Leftists trashing Obama in the most derisive terms. Leftists trashing people who think that “Defund the police” is harmful and was harmful our last election? (I wish I had more evidence about that, but I think it’s very hard to find.) Why not direct your energy against the rightwing of our country? Is Abdelbaki a Russian?