Writers Resist is the latest farce the American literary establishment has trotted out in response to the election. It is sponsored by the PEN America, whose mission is to preserve the freedom of expression. One site is writersresist.com and another is writersresist.org.
This new movement is on one level a mobilization of the overwhelming left wing population of people that call themselves writers, or are published authors/MFA program teachers. On closer examination, Writers Resist is very much a part of the Color Revolution technology used by the neoconservative/neoliberal establishment to achieve foreign policy goals internationally, but here used domestically against the incoming Trump administration. Some of you may be wondering how this fits together. We will get to that.
On the surface level this new manufactured movement is yet another example of the stranglehold of boilerplate liberalism in the American literary establishment, something I covered recently. In this sense, the Resist sites are unremarkable, polemical journals for the establishment’s favored groups. Shallow mainstream conservative analysis will no doubt try to prove the irony of their mission: trying to protect “democracy” after eight years of reckless foreign policy, massive wasted spending, an expanding security state, and a stagnating economy. Rank and file neoliberals do not care about the inherent contradictions of their world view like supporting the Obama administration or Hillary Clinton. Of course, their project is absurd because Trump has not even been sworn in. Even as a cautiously optimistic supporter of President Trump, we will not know what he will do once he enters office. The new movement also illustrates how out of touch the mainstream literary culture is with Middle America. Fiction writers should seek to understand people. New Pop Lit showed how N+1, the literary magazine that supports left wing causes is run by very affluent New Yorkers. The bubble of the MFA/NYC literary world is completely separated from the experience of the kind of middle/working class I live around in rural Maryland.
The important feature of the Resist sites is their connection to the PEN America Center. Their stated goal, as I mentioned, is their commitment to freedom of expression. One of their latest articles is on the President’s “thuggish” treatment of the press, despite repeated incidents of media caught lying during the election cycle and the subsequent “fake news” scam –not to mention even older incidents of made up news stories. The most revealing information about PEN America is their supporters’ list. One of the premier sponsors of PEN is George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Soros’ foundations are involved in regime change operations around the world. Soros’ has had a hand in pulling Ukraine into the Western orbit in order to weaken Russia. Hungarian PM Viktor Orban announced a crackdown on Soros associated NGOs. Democracy and spreading human rights are merely the pretext so that Western oligarchs can control it. This occurred in Russia in the 1990s. More recently, we have seen the Arab Spring and the Western orchestrated coup in Ukraine as applications of the non-violent revolutions American author Gene Sharpe studies and promotes.
How does this tie back to the Writers Resist campaign? As I have written several times before, literature was used in the Cold War to affect cultural change abroad. Writers Resist is the application of a hashtag revolution political technology using the literary subculture as its talent pool. Writers Resist is merely the latest manifestation of top-down, manufactured revolution. As author Jay Dyer argues: “Destabilization of regions is a classic tactic of political intrigue, yet most people think the color revolutions and “Arab Springs” are real. Not only are they not real (although there are real discontents among the populace)[emphasis mine], the “springs” are revolutions that are engineered.” The writers on these sites are unaware (I would hope) that their art is not a legitimate airing of grievances against the new President, but a political weapon. While it is understandable that these writers are upset, they are not part of an organic movement. Similarly, people in NGOs are often unaware of how their group fits in with the greater geo-strategic aims of neoconservative/neoliberal establishment.
This leaves literary arts in a bad place. Potential readers will turn away from novels and stories as possible entertainment, associating literature with the toxic agitprop churned out by the likes of Writers Resist and other mainstream literary journals. Like the mainstream media, publishing has made itself into a backwater by alienating different audiences, men in particular. Even a politically liberal minded author Leland Cheuk noted recently that men’s perspectives are absent from literary fiction.The issue is that all art and media is politicized to assert an agenda, and Writers Resist is part of the Western soft power complex described above. Writers Resist creates a dialectical trap; on the one hand, the liberal “resistance” will become more vocal and active producing agitprop, while on the other conservatives will futher withdraw from the cultural sphere and then expect in vain to achieve their goals in the culture war. A nation of STEM graduates, as some rightist political commentators would like, does not produce the Sistine Chapel. Polemical art does not age well.
If writers wanted to resist, they can begin by resisting the temptation to write partisan fiction.