Laws will not save the oppressed. Only power. Pompeo’s statements on Israeli settlements remind us once again that laws without power are toothless. The liberal delusion is that if we submit ourselves to the law, we will arrive at a neutral, self-correcting system. What liberals don’t tell you is that in order to assert the rule of law, it must be enforced by a powerful entity — the state. This entity must be more powerful than you and me. It surveils and confines our dissent to that which is least threatening to the liberal state and its laws. This is why MLK Jr, Malcolm X, leftists, and feminists were sabotaged by the FBI (COINTELPRO), but capitalists and white supremacists were allowed to have an outsized influence.
COINTELPRO is a great example of the priorities of the liberal state, because around the same time another famous scandal occurred: Watergate. Most people have heard of Watergate, but not COINTELPRO. Watergate is basically one half of business elites spying on the other half of business elites. What a scandal! On the other hand, the world’s most powerful government spies on its own citizens, wrongfully imprisons them, smears individuals and groups by planting false reports, arms fascists militia groups to suppress them, and resorts to violence including assassinations? Most people have never heard of it. This is COINTELPRO, and many of these tactics are still used and practiced today. Inarguably, this is much more serious than Watergate. However, the victims of COINTELPRO did not have the state or the law on its side. It doesn’t matter that the FBI broke the law in many cases. The law doesn’t come from nowhere; it comes from the state — and states have interests. Under capitalism, states are run by business elites and their servants. There is no disinterested state or party in politics. Centrism just means the interests of certain business elites.
If we look at politics in this way, Trump’s statements on Israeli settlements is quite revealing. Liberalism’s conceit is over. The right has long abandoned the pretensions of liberals politics. Liberals who follow the law, rather than create them; liberals who decry Trump’s illegal gestures, but ignore the much larger cost of his legal wrongdoings; liberals who believe in compromise with capitalists and fascists; are toothless in facing a foe that plays outside the rules. How are liberals going to check Trump’s brazen disregard of international law with regards to Israeli settlements? Shame him? Convince the US government that has been largely complicit with Israeli violence to suddenly change its mind? Liberals have no answer. The same can be said about virtually every significant issue. We cannot compromise on climate change. There is no time. You cannot be pro-immigrant, if you follow the law and deport millions like Obama. The laws need to change, and our perspectives must be challenged — transformed.
In order to do so, we must come together and exercise our power. Agendas must be set by us, the people, not passed down to us by lawmakers and their donors. These agendas will be unfamiliar and uncertain. This is just the nature of life. Those with a future have multiple paths and embrace the uncertainty that accompanies change. In contrast, the certainty of death is what awaits us under capitalism. Everything always appears so certain and measurable, because capitalism rejects radical transformation. It rejects futurity altogether. There are always cracks of potential and movement within the illusion, of course. For example, the rise of Bernie Sanders and the supposed certainty of Hillary’s victory. Instead of treating these cracks as aberrant, we must regard the illusion itself as pathological. These cracks are opportunities, and we better catch onto ‘em quick, because the certainty of death is looming larger than ever. If liberals get in our way, we must confront them with everything we have. We must gather the power to transform the world. Do not be hampered by liberal sensibilities in your quest for power. As Malcolm X often said, “by any means necessary.”