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Naomi Wolf’s Magical Theories and Politics

November 28, 2011

Recently, in the Guardian, Naomi Wolf did magic.

She concocted up a frothing, delicious right-wing theory of government conspiracies and political crackdown using fairy dust made up of progressive narratives and good, old-fashioned paranoia of the privileged.

It is one thing to critique police brutality and Obama’s silence around it, and another thing entirely to “reveal” that OWS is being suppressed by government forces commanded by King Obama (from Australia) because OWS wants to (among other things) “draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.” .

Baseless conspiracy theories that also happens to fall within the net of right-wing objectives and agendas. Naomi Wolf has the cultural capital within the progressive/liberal movement that allows her to go to right-wing rallies, make right-wing arguments and come off as a “brave, radical leftist” or something. Make no mistake, Naomi Wolf is our typical, white libertarian activist. Some wariness is much advised.

As ABL points out:

If Homeland Security, the FBI, and federal law enforcement officials were working in concert to violently crackdown on the Occupy movement, that would be a huge deal. If — as Naomi Wolf baselessly charged — the feds were being ordered to do so by Congress and the White House in order to protect their personal wealth, it would (and should) be a significant scandal.

ABL goes on to pull apart Naomi Wolf’s thinly stretched imagination with plenty of links and you know, information.

What I find annoying about Naomi Wolf’s article is essentially the same thing I found annoying about The Beauty Myth. This idea that police brutality and suppression just began yesterday against brave OWS protesters who are critiquing financial systems that benefit the rich.

Via San Francisco Bay View (a post also filled with that thing called information).

In the aftermath of police actions in NYC, Oakland and elsewhere, some justifiable outrage and even more hyperbole abounded. Scott Olsen, the injured Iraq War veteran who galvanized Occupy Oakland critiques of police action, was described in various blog posts as “the Crispus Attucks of the movement.” Never mind that he is white. Or alive.

A recent NYPD action that moved protesters off a public sidewalk and resulted in 20 arrests was described by an observer as “the most egregious violation of constitutional rights I have ever seen.”


Rodney King? Oscar Grant? Amadou Diallo? Sean Bell? Abner Louima? Troy Davis?

How many millions more?

And where you been?

“Those of us who do not have white skin are the most policed people on the planet. Oakland Police Department shoots unarmed Black men and takes white men who engage police in shootouts into custody alive.” – Rich Ejire

I am not really challenging OWS protesters’ courage, but there is something deeply privileged about “discovering” ages-old oppression (ex. police brutality) that people have been talking about since forever. (As Naomi Wolf recently gasped, “the scales fell from [her] eyes”!)

Instead of connecting these wrongs to existing power structures that repress people of colour, sexuality minorities and anyone who is perceived as weak, poor and disposable — these narratives instead feel the need to come up with entirely new explanations for their injustices. When in fact, these systems have been in place and humming smoothly for a very long time now and its only recently that college students, elderly white ladies and American war veterans are getting ensnared.


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