HomeArticleA Year Ago I Wrote About Cross-Ideological Collaboration. Here’s How It’s Been Going:

A Year Ago I Wrote About Cross-Ideological Collaboration. Here’s How It’s Been Going:

One year ago today I wrote an article titled “Lefties Need To Stop Being Shy About Working With The Anti-Establishment Right”, and Left Twitter exploded. To this day there are still some social media echo chambers in which this article is the primary thing I am known for.

I still think it was a decent article, and I stand by it. It was about how anti-establishment leftists can collaborate across ideological lines on specific points of mutual interest without compromising their principles, which to me is just an obvious no-brainer, and that people can trust themselves to know how and to what extent that collaboration can take place. Over the following few weeks, the actual contents of my article were falsely spun by Progressive Army, Counterpunch and a few other lefty thought leaders as “Caitlin Johnstone wants us to align with Nazis.”

None of the journalists or activists fanning the flames of this conspiracy theory ever reached out to me for comment, or even to try to convince me of the error of my ways. Not one private message, email or Twitter DM was ever sent to me (apart from one particularly virulent hater after I pointed this out publicly). This is because these people weren’t interested in my actual ideas or what I was actually saying, they were interested in advancing and controlling a narrative: Caitlin Johnstone wants leftists to become Nazis/facilitate Nazis, and anyone who ever suggests venturing outside their impotently small political faction to get things done is pulling a Caitlin Johnstone. My reputation in those circles now serves as a head on a spike warning off anyone from ever suggesting that leftists ever collaborate on any agenda with anyone besides (A) other leftists and (B) the centrists who are intrinsically opposed to ideas which run counter to the interests of America’s unelected power establishment.

The false narrative that a Hillary-hating leftist wants to collaborate with Nazis was shoved into mainstream attention by this faction of Left Twitter day after day after day, until eventually it caught the attention of left-punching centrists who, of course, took this false narrative and ran with it as an excuse to attack the left. The people responsible for aggressively and relentlessly promulgating this false narrative then went on to blame me for it.

So it’s been a year. According to those who warned that I am a secret Nazi plant advancing a “red-brown alliance” in order to lull unsuspecting leftists into the seductive arms of Nazism, I should have won over a few converts by now. There are none, and, as anyone who actually reads the material I put out knows, it would be absurd to expect there to be. It was a fantasy concocted in the imaginations of manipulators with ulterior motives.

If you want to know what I was talking about by healthy collaboration on points of convergence across ideological lines, you have only to look at my career over the past year. Yesterday morning, for example, I appeared on a right-wing show on Murdoch television and gave a few arguments for feminist socialism. Yesterday evening, I appeared on the #Unity4J online vigil for Julian Assange, which featured many activists, experts and journalists from all across the political spectrum speaking about the importance of WikiLeaks and drawing attention to the inexcusable persecution of its editor-in-chief. The vigil itself couldn’t be a more perfect example of the kind of collaboration I was thinking about when I wrote that article one year ago.

My articles are regularly republished with my permission by right-leaning outlets like the Ron Paul Institute and ZeroHedge. Next month I’ll be introducing a media panel for the Ron Paul Institute Peace and Prosperity Conference. I’ve seen high-profile Trump supporters like Infowars, Ann Coulter, Scott Adams and Paul Joseph Watson share my anti-interventionist stuff on their platforms and haven’t blocked them or discouraged them, because my ideas are good and it’s good for them to get out to all ideological corners. And yes, Mike Cernovich, whom I named in the article that started all this controversy as a Trump supporter I could work with on specific issues of convergence, still shares my stuff from time to time. To this day we have never exchanged a single word with each other despite haters continually smearing me as his friend; the occasional retweet remains the extent of our collaboration.

When Fox’s Tucker Carlson and other MAGA pundits came out in unequivocal opposition to military strikes against the Syrian government in April, I backed them fully and helped make it as viral as possible. A significant portion of my readers are Trump supporters and libertarians, though the majority of my audience still leans left. The only political faction I’ve actively cut off are actual alt-righters like Richard Spencer, whom I explicitly named in the article as someone I would not collaborate with to any extent.

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, of course. A number of Berners-turned-Trumpers jumped on my bandwagon last year because they mistook my position for theirs, and have been conducting an angry smear campaign of their own as they’ve realized that I’m attacking the Trump administration’s inexcusable warmongering and deep state cronyism by the same standards that I’ve attacked Obama’s. In the days following last year’s smear campaign I made a very unwise appearance alongside the very shady Robert David Steele in an interview with Cynthia McKinney, because Cynthia (whom I adore) wanted to defend me and I was eager to talk to her. In retrospect I should not have ever had anything to do with Steele, and it’s one of the only moves I’ve ever made that I don’t stand by.

I have also found some areas of convergence that I can work with Democratic party loyalists with. Just as I will stand with Trump supporters in their calls to bring troops home and resist escalation in Syria, I will stand with any Democrat who opposes this administration’s regime change agenda in Iran. As when working with the right, I will never compromise any of my principles to any extent on any issue, but to the extent that anyone opposes any interventionism in Iran, I stand with them toward that end. The fact that interventionism in Syria and interventionism in Iran have been made into partisan wedge issues is intensely stupid, but it just means we need to get more agile in opposing war, supporting what’s right and opposing what’s wrong on a case-by-case basis.

I have never advocated collaboration with white nationalism or white supremacy. I have never once compromised my lifelong feminist socialist principles or wavered in my devotion to truth and justice. I oppose racism, bigotry and oppression in all its forms and without condition. My argument was never “Leftists should collaborate with Nazis” or “Leftists should all work with Mike Cernovich,” it was and is that people can trust themselves to know who to work with on a given issue and to what extent. I was falsely smeared, and continue to be to this day. They dishonestly twisted “collaborate with the anti-establishment right on specific issues of convergence” into “collaborate with the alt-right” so that they could twist my argument into support for Nazism, and they did so for sleazy reasons.

It has been a year, and the “Caitlin is turning leftists into Nazis” conspiracy theory still lacks a single shred of evidence. It is time for anyone who jumped on that bandwagon to admit that they were wrong.

The more they can keep us factionalized, fragmented and insulated in tight echo chambers, the more politically impotent they make everyone in the world who opposes US imperialism, surveillance, CIA sociopathy and establishment cronyism. I speak from experience when I say that the walls of peer pressure, manipulation and manufactured taboos that they have erected around us to keep us from talking to each other are extremely high and very complex, but it’s the only way sufficient force will ever be generated to shove any of the pillars of empire hard enough to make it fall.

You can interact with people from other political ideologies and work with them to advance a mutual agenda. Everyone who has ever been employed in a normal job knows this for a fact. You can trust yourself to know on what issues and to what extent this can happen. You are wiser than the groupthink. Rise above it.

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Latest comments

  • Caitlin, those on the real Left (socialists, communists) do not even cooperate or coordinate amongst themselves, and attempt to build their own party/faction/cult do the detriment of other organizations. Purity before policy or politics has been the rule and will probably continue as long as they are watched, infiltrated, and sometimes led by the forces who oppose them (local police, state/regional security/military intelligence).

    Here in the USA, the Left is as fractured as possible, and “progressives” are a concatenation of left liberals who want to reform (medicare-for-all, free education, jobs guarantee), not replace, the current psycho-social alignment. They do not approach the systemic “warp-iness” of the setup we operate within. The world is black & white, and yet winning an election erases the “black”. They think that deposing the current right-wing will cure all problems, and are innocent enough to think violent right-wingers will go away silently into the night. While the intellectual Right has some serious and considered ideas about foreign policy, even understanding imperialism. colonialism, and racism as negatives, Left parties cannot agree upon an election platform they could run on to make a dent in the neo-liberal environment. Maybe they are paid not to, maybe that is not their role. It is frightening to think we face a well-organized and funded Right without any organized Left at all. The Right is justified in ignoring such idiocy and weakness.

  • I think outside of a noisy minority, you have a lot of support. You sure have mine! Arch Druid John Michael Greer wrote an essay last week on the “Ctrl-left, Alt-right and Esc-Center,” urging people to disregard the idiocy of the extremists who do not see value in getting along with the other side. I linked a bunch of rellies to it, and both sides of the divide heartily agreed with it. I hope that more and more people will come to reject the call to enmity.

  • Bless your heart for staying true to what I can only describe as a logical stance in a highly illogical world. It’s tragic that something so obvious – working with others for the greater good despite ideological differences – is nearly impossible at a time when it just might save our species.

  • I’m impressed by your energy & capacity. You’re doing excellent! I’ve tried for 7 yrs sharing information, but most peeps prefer to stay asleep with msm. All the best from Norway

  • I’ve been mostly following sites that agree 911 was an inside job which I consider to be alt-right and alt-left. I have thus been following sites from Alex Jones, through Tarpley, on to the Saker, with visits to Veterans Today and Paul Craig Roberts, Jesse Ventura etc., etc. They all agree on 911 to some extent, but especially during the election they simply split right to left based on their ideology. Their primary bias now is which side are you going to be on in the civil war? Really, I think we need a new Party based on Cooperatism.

  • You are not alone Caitlin:
    ”Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance
    to Dismantle the Corporate State”
    by Ralph Nader
    But, you know how the establishment ”liberals”
    trashed Nader because he ran for Prez against
    the wishes of the corporate Dem power structure.
    Nader also said, the only thing the politicians fear
    is when the left-right activists agree on the same issue.
    Hence, the Dem-Repub strategy of keeping the emotional hate war
    going between the left and right folks of the working class.
    Keep pitching the truth.

  • Ideology serves a useful purpose in that it helps people organize their guiding principles. At the same time, ideology can become a mental strait jacket that constricts people from seeing truth and value in things that may lie outside their ideological frameworks. I find it much more helpful to think in terms of values and goals. What are the things that I would like to see more or less of in the world: I want more peace, justice and equality of wealth. I want less war, racism and environmental destruction. Thinking in such terms allows me to make common cause with others on certain goals. But, as Caitlin says, there are limits. Hard core racists and right wing extremists are beyond the pale for me.

  • It’s sad to see CounterPunch that in the 1990’s worked with Thomas Fleming of Chronicles (paleoconservatives!) to try to stop the vile US/NATO attack on Serbia now revert to attacking Caitlin. At the same time they attacked Diana Johnstone (no relation I think) and are now spiking articles by Mike Whitney.
    The current controllers of CounterPunch seem to be more concerned with their little fiefdom and their concept of ideological purity than with stopping the US march to war.
    Until the left and right come together into an antiwar alliance nothing will change.

  • You were ABSOLUTELY CORRECT in that article and your collaborations across the spectrum. Most indepents and progressives – and this is now MOST VOTERS – know that we can and MUST find alliances against the establishment.

    Funny how the hate was dumped on you – I am quite sure it got a lot of coverage because the establishment is TERRIFIED of people uniting against them. Meanwhile – and since then – we have seen the Dems talking about getting Republican voters (hahahahaha) and of course, talking about how they can ‘work with’ Trump et al. smdh

  • Just as the Democrats can only rightly claim to be slightly less atrocious than the Republicans, Liberals can only boast having their heads pushed slightly less far up their ass than Conservatives. Both chest-thumping nationalism and brain-dead identity politics are just distractions from the real issue, which is and always has been CLASS WARFARE. I just discovered CJ a couple of weeks ago and she is important precisely because she calls bullshit on both sides, while putting forth a positive agenda of substance. I immediately added her to my Patreon priorities. We need her. Spread the word.

  • Take skinheads bowling

  • Ralph Nader wrote a whole book about a left-right alliance,: Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. Certain principles are more important to me than tribal loyalty to the Democratic Party or even my identity as a leftist. These include economic and social justice, anti-imperialism, anti-war, anti-corporate control of the government, freedom of expression, privacy, concern for the working-class and the poor, protecting the environment. I am happy to work with anyone who shares these values on any particular issue.

    Though I will never be a Republican, I dropped out of the Democratic Party. I have lost several friends for this. They hate me more than they hate the Republicans. The great irony is that I am in political philosophy a New Deal Democrat, closer to what their party once stood for than they are. I was literally kicked out of an indivisible group. Commenting on salon.com I was constantly attacked for supposedly being a right-wing troll. My heroes are Eugene V Debs, Franklin D Roosevelt, and Henry Wallace, not Donald Trump. But I don’t believe in Russiagate. I think the Democrats are warmongers, facilitators of corporate greed, elitist snobs who despise the working class. If you disagree with them you are a racist, a misogynist, and a Nazi.

    • The left-right alliance has been quite successful in serving the coporate state.

      We all agree: The little people don’t matter.

      I love immigrants, especially with ketchup (o con salsa picante).

      Globalism is intended to destroy diversity.

  • Can you do a piece about Hillary?

  • Thanks Caitlin for trying to bring us all together here in the US. As Percy Shelley said (did you know he started the non-violent resistance movement, inspired Gandhi and MLK?), “Ye are many; they are few.” I usually vote Green, often Libertarian. I’m trying to bring what’s best in those two parties together. I’ve found that the most important piece of the puzzle to link them is Ending the Federal Reserve and founding a National Public Bank to fund infrastructure and public works. This will, not only greatly reduce or end the need to tax the poor and middle class (yay! say the Libertarians) but it will also cut off the supply of free Fed fiat money to the large corporations (Yay! says everyone except the oligarchs). I’m running for Congress in NY on the Libertarian ballot line, looking for Green votes too, while promoting Direct Democracy (people vote on bills directly, constraining the Rep’s vote). I love your poetry too. I’m a director of an arts foundation called Dactyl. Would like to involve you in some way.

  • Nicely Done.

  • You shouldn’t have to explain yourself Cobber. The truth of the matter is self-evident to anybody with a handful of firing synapses.
    Tim #WorseHalf did a great job at the vigil stepping in for Liz so she could rest and you, of course, are always awesome. XxOo

  • No worries on this one , Caity. You’ve got such a high-ground advantage here that your opponents look like not ants , but rather sub-atomic particles.

  • Caitlin, you are a courageous lady who is not afraid to call a spade a spade. This is one of your trademarks and you should stick to it, the harebrained, loudmouths notwithstanding.

    It is clear that there are certain issues that are neither left nor right, e.g. any creature living on this planet’s drive to survive, i.e. to not want to be annihilated in a war, or to be fed chemicals, be slowly cooked to death that will have the same effect as a nuclear war.

    Sure, certain issues could be labeled as rightist but still be relevant to the left, e.g. immigration. Trump’s approach is despicable, but that does not mean that the only alternative is “laissez faire”. The issue is one that affects many societies and needs a sensible approach that is acceptable to both the origin countries as well as the receiving countries. Both left and right need to face that and need to come together to deal with it.

    There are many such subjects, so you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT to advocate cross-ideological collaboration without ditching your political principles. Keep up the good work !!

  • As someone that worked on social media seemingly endless to get Bernie Sanders known during the 2016 primary, I seen many republicans ask about changing party’s and helped explain to many republicans how to go about that. Mostly those up in their years that had been stuck in a party they felt they no longer knew. I seen that type of comment on a thread so many times it was like it was rehearsed. Like many independents that sit back each election cycle waiting for someone to come along with a similar ideology and similar political policy’s. I was astonished at how many republicans would come out of what I seen as a shell to vote for a someone with that word, socialist, attached to their identity. They like myself wanted nothing to do with Trump or Clinton, both having a history of a deplorable nature towards humanity in many aspects. We are not the world apart MSM and our politicians have managed to make us out to be when you toss aside the chains. Unempire! Out of the Illusion!

  • The points you’ve made as well as the thinking behind it have been superb. Too bad you’ve had to go through the nonsense.

    Unfortunately, so many are brainwashed by MSM propaganda- and are either unable or unwilling to question the information they are fed, and to take the time to do their due diligence to ferret out the facts and evaluate them critically.

    It will always be a constant battle, but have faith and keep doing what you’re doing.

  • Caitlin you are right about this.

  • To many people see our world as one giant reality TV show. You are left or you are right. For me or against me. Just at a time in history where we need cooperation and thoughtful decision making, we get fucking trolls running government. Our fourth branch of government has been bought. We are so screwed. I was listening to that right wing professor that has taken the internet by storm and he was talking about how important it is for conservatives to fight income inequality. At some point it would be nice if us Americans could admit our health care sucks and decide to fix it. That will never happen. So we heat the earth beyond repair, pollute the planet, waste our resources on consumerism, bomb and kill brown people, and act surprised when we find out incarcerating young people create racist. Thanks Caitlin! Nice to hear a sane voice.

  • I’m a big supporter of free markets and little / no government intervention but I love your work Caitlin.

    At the core we are all humans and have more in common than in difference. It seems crazy that a call for ‘not fighting your enemies so much’ could attract so much hatred. But then if I were part of the elite I’d probably want everyone battling each other so they don’t think of looking at me.

    Keep up the good work Caitlin, sorry you get so much grief – you are so brave for putting yourself out there.

    • You might change your views if you discover how we have been LIED to for decades while our corrupt politicians and corporate heads have ENRICHED THEMSELVES with our federal money. I was in a tizzy for DAYS after finally realizing how our federal money ACTUALLY works. These sociopathic money addicts must be STOPPED. (Links in the article to professors of economics teaching about our federal money).
      https://whatifitoldyouthis.blogspot.com/2018/07/privatization-biggest-scam-we-all-need.html

  • Yep. If we define ourselves as opposed to other perspectives out of hand, so to speak, we may miss an opportunity for a mutual alliance. Let’s look for such opportunities. When police, military switch to the revolution, it is secured. Speaking involves listening.

  • non fututorum carborundorum
    Badly translated (i.e. by Google), that is intended to mean:
    Don’t let the fuckers grind you down!
    Stay strong, sister!
    You’re doing good work.

  • Pardon me if you have shared this before, but what exactly are the principles you adhere to?

  • What you propose is exactly what Ralph Nader has always proposed and he has given concrete examples of how it works. It works because 99% of people or a large percentage have common concerns whatever beliefs they may espouse. I think of this as the Green agenda but it doesn’t need a name, it can be ad hoc about anything. Left and right are clearly meaningless terms these days and best to avoid using them. It just muddies things up.

    Frankly, I think it would be helpful if you went on Crosstalk on RT. It reaches a lot of people and is worthwhile. I always watch it.

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