co-option through corporatisation of dissent

Glen Greenwald recently wrote about the rejection of Bradley Manning as a Grand Marshall at the San Francisco gay pride parade.

To summarise, Manning was rejected as a Grand Marshall as he had, according to the organisers fo the leadership of San Francisco Pride parade,  put the men and women of the US armed forces in harms way. Furthermore, that not even a hint of support for him will be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. The article lays out the entire sage.

What I find fascinating is how the increasing enmeshment of the state and corporations deals with dissent – it does so in a market-based approach. Greenwald writes about this very great clarity.

I noted that this development (shift in public opinion on gay equality) is less significant than it seems because the cause of gay equality poses no real threat to elite factions or to how political and economic power in the US are distributed. If anything, it bolsters those power structures because it completely and harmlessly assimilates a previously excluded group into existing institutions and thus incentivizes them to accommodate those institutions and adopt their mindset.

He goes on to write about it with great venom. It a long quote but it does explain that co-option is at some level just a rational economic response to dissent. Sprinkle in some game theory and the outlook is not bright.

Even the SF Gay Pride Parade is now owned by and beholden to the nation’s largest corporations, subject to their dictates. Those who run the event are functionaries of, loyalists to, the nation’s most powerful political officials. That’s how this parade was so seamlessly transformed from orthodoxy-challenging, individualistic and creative cultural icon into yet another pile of obedient apparatchiks that spout banal slogans doled out by the state while viciously scorning those who challenge them. Yes, there will undoubtedly still be exotically-dressed drag queens, lesbian motorcycle clubs, and groups proudly defined by their unusual sexual proclivities participating in the parade, but they’ll be marching under a Bank of America banner and behind flag-waving fans of the National Security State, the US President, and the political party that dominates American politics and its political and military institutions. Yet another edgy, interesting, creative, independent event has been degraded and neutered into a meek and subservient ritual that must pay homage to the nation’s most powerful entities and at all costs avoid offending them in any way.


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