Selling the rope to hang them


Legal Insurrection reports from the frontiers of Market Marxism:

It’s no secret that the Black Lives Matter movement and its co-founder (and self-identified “Marxist”) Patrisse Cullors has long accused American capitalism of being fundamentally, systemically racist and “wiping out entire communities“; these assertions are core tenets of multiple official Black Lives Matter organizations.

But that hasn’t stopped Cullors from signing a big contract with a major purveyor of BLM-reviled corporate consumerism: Warner Bros Television.

According to “Variety”, “Characterized as multi-year and wide-ranging, the pact will see Cullors develop and produce original programming across all platforms, including broadcast, cable and streaming. Cullors’ agreement encompasses scripted and unscripted series, longform series, animated and kids programming, as well as digital content. Together, WBTVG and Cullors will look to amplify the work of the Black Lives Matter, which Cullors started alongside Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi back in 2013, and create more opportunities for prominent Black storytelling.”

Most commentators have focused on hypocrisy of a Marxist activist signing a probably very lucrative deal with a major media corporation. There is something, no doubt, about cozying up to the capitalist oppressors and biting the hand that feeds you. This is hardly unusual, however; the commies’s gotta grift while awaiting the revolution. In any case, if you’re a Marxist of a Gramscian/Frankfurt School persuasion, you have to be in it to win it (over).

What strikes me as more interesting is the other side of the transaction, namely that a company with an annual revenue of over $13 billion will be paying a Marxist activist a lot of money to develop Marxist-influenced programming (or propaganda) for the conglomerate.

Now, the Warner Bros decision-makers might not know that Cullors is a Marxist – they’re probably just in thrall of BLM’s social justice mission and aren’t too concerned about any technicalities. Or they might know about it but think it’s quaint and largely irrelevant. Or they are well-off radicals who are trying to square the circle of “radically transforming America” while hoping this radical transformation will not affect their own line of business, at least not to their financial and prestige detriment.

Whatever the exact circumstances, Warner Bros will be acting as a socialist megaphone, for it’s virtually certain that in addition to “amplify[ing] the work of the Black Lives Matters”, Cullors’ production will contain a whole lot of more general messages about how horrible America is and how capitalism needs to be abolished to achieve justice and racial liberation.

Warner Bros, of course, is a private company and can engage in business with whomever it chooses to produce whatever it wants. I was going to add, “after all, it’s their own money”, but while that’s clearly true, we shouldn’t kid ourselves either that such decisions are exclusively, or even mainly, commercial. The entertainment industry that prefers to cater to tastes and prejudices of only a part of its potential audience is foregoing profit for the sake of politics. They will rather preach and send all the “right” messages about their country, its politics, economy and society, rather than seek a more universal appeal. They have been shitting on America for a very long time now.

Fortunately for Hollywood & Co, their market is now increasingly international rather than domestic, with China, for example, surpassing the US box office for the first time this year. Such markets, if not explicitly anti-American, are less concerned with the relentless political negativity that the entertainment industry directs at its own home. They are much more receptive to and accepting of the key assumptions – life in America is empty and stultifying; all the institutions are corrupt; racism and prejudice are rampant; wealthy, white (Christian) males are the real bad guys; capitalism is unjust and is failing most people; hypocrisy is a national trait; greed, war-mongering and oppression make the American world go round – that underlie the cultural products Made in America. From that point of view, engaging a black Marxist to develop more of its programing is probably a stroke of genius by Warner Bros. “America as a racist hell, built on slavery and perpetuated on prejudice” is a theme that will sell well in places like China.

Lenin most likely never said that “capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them”, though he would have probably agreed with the statement. But not even in his wildest dreams would he have imagined the future where capitalists so hate their own society they will custom-make the rope itself.