Sometimes a "Trivial" Issue Isn't Trivial at ALL

by John Spritzler

July 24, 2019

I have made it a point to expose how the ruling class uses social issues for divide-and-rule, issues such as transgender bathroom laws and laws about same-sex marriage and whether the phrase "white privilege" is a good or a bad phrase. In response to this some people have told me that these issues are trivial and just a distraction from the important issues (such as unjust wars, homelessness, class inequality) and that we should ignore these silly issues.

I disagree. Here's why.

If the ruling class successfully destroys our solidarity by using an apparently trivial issue, then for that very reason it is not trivial.

This is exactly what the ruling class has done, for example, with the "bathroom" law. Here's my personal experience that shows how it works.

Recently there was a very heated and divisive state referendum in Massachusetts where I live on whether or not to keep a very stupid (deliberately stupid, by the way) bathroom law that the liberal legislators passed in order (they lied) to end the oppression of transgender people. Read about it here.

I had posted on a neighborhood email list that the law was stupid, and I explained that the legislators would have written a very different and sensible law if they had really intended to help transgender people avoid oppression. I explained that the real purpose of the law was to tell liberals that it was to end the oppression of transgender people and that only transphobic bigots would oppose it, and that therefore liberals must support it. The purpose of this was to ensure that liberals and conservatives would each think the other group of people were horrible (stupid or bigoted), which in turn would foment divide-and-rule to help the ruling class (to whom the politicians are beholden) stay in power.

Several months later I was standing in front of the local CVS drug store in my neighborhood asking people to pose for a photo with a sign saying "We the People want affordable housing for ALL.  To get it we aim to remove the rich from power to have real, not fake, democracy with no rich and no poor." Not exactly a trivial issue, right?

When I asked one fellow to pose for a photo, he told me that he agreed with the sign but wouldn't pose for a photo because he wouldn't do ANYTHING connected to me because he knew I had posted emails criticizing the bathroom law. He viewed me as a transphobic bigot, a person so horrible that he could not imagine being in solidarity with me for anything!

This is how the "trivial" bathroom law helped the ruling class continue to remain in power--hardly a trivial thing, right?

We need to expose how the ruling class uses issues (no matter how seemingly "trivial") to divide-and-rule. This requires that we think hard about the issue. We need to figure out what's going on, how the ruling class lies or covers up important truths or censors viewpoints that would unify most people. And we need to explain what's going on to the public. This will result in greater unity, and greater anger at the ruling class. Hardly a trivial accomplishment, right?




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