Welcome to The Omnicause, the fatberg of activism

Gender, environment, Gaza: they’re all the same


Greta Thunberg wearing a keffiyeh scarf is removed by police outside the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden. (Photo by JOHAN NILSSON/TT/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images)

June 17, 2024 15:24

I’d like to talk about The Omnicause. Oh, you haven’t heard of The Omnicause? How embarrassing for you, because it’s quite the dernier cri! The Omnicause is, simply, every cause you must care about if you’re A Good Progressive rolled into one, because everything in the world is connected.

So trans rights are connected to Palestinian rights are connected to environmental concerns, and any self-respecting progressive who cares about one has to care about the other two. Queers for Palestine; headlines in the Guardian such as “Emissions from Israel’s war in Gaza have immense effect on climate catastrophe”; standfirsts in the New York Times such as “In many students’ eyes, the war in Gaza is linked to other issues, such as policing, mistreatment of Indigenous people, racism and the impact of climate change.”  Too long, didn’t read? “Everything that I don’t like is fascism.” I’ve lost count now of the number of Democrat senators whose social media biographers finish with “she/her. Palestine.”

Gender, environment, Gaza: they’re all the same, even though LGBT people live under the threat of death in Palestine, and I haven’t heard too much from Hamas about the environment. According to The Omnicause, they’re all magically connected. It’s the fatberg of causes, and the fat gluing them all together is Western narcissism.

Fossil Free Books, for example, is very much part of The Omnicause. You have doubtless read about FFB: the shadowy pressure group that has decided the best way to fight climate change is to campaign against wealthy investment companies from funding arts events. Yeah, shut down a little book festival in the north of England: that’ll fix the environment! But of course, FFB aren’t only interested in the environment – that would be impossible. Despite their name, their social media feed suggests their main interest is – can you guess? - Palestine, or, more specifically, campaigning against Israel. Their main complaint against Baillie Gifford, which – until FFB had its way – supported most book festivals in the UK, was that it had a tiny amount of investment in companies connected to Israel.

If you had any doubt of the clod-hopping, philistine stupidity of Fossil Free Books and all who travel on its dead-end coattails, Jeremy Corbyn has been cheering it on, tweeting triumphally after Barclays withdrew its funding for UK music events, “We will continue to demand all arts festivals stand on the side of humanity and peace.”

Ah yes, because there’s nothing that screams “war-mongering genocide” more loudly than, say, a music festival in a London park on a summer’s evening. Still, it must be hard for Jeremy to care about the arts when his cultural hinterland begins with regular appearances on Russian TV and ends with similar gigs on Iranian TV. Thank God he’s taken a stand against that true cultural evil: British book festivals.

So what is this actually about? The New York Times article I mentioned above, which ran in the paper on 1 May 2024, has some great quotes about this, involving the usual word salads: “Climate justice is an everyone issue. It affects every dimension of identity because it’s rooted in the same struggles of imperialism, capitalism — things like that. I think that’s very true of this conflict, of the genocide in Palestine,” claimed a Cornell student. A first-year student at Emory “who uses the pronouns they and them acknowledged not having followed the conflict in Gaza especially closely, but said there was considerable overlap between the movement for greater justice in policing and pro-Palestinian sentiment,” the journalist writes. Yes, because if there’s one thing that’s really similar to Hamas it’s… justice in policing.

Anyway, you get the picture. A lot of this has to do with – as I said – narcissism: idiots who cannot fathom the idea that their issues are totally irrelevant to other people’s issues, and maybe the Israeli-Hamas conflict has actually nothing in common with, say, a middle class life in Brighton. Ignorance is part of it, of course, in that these people are totally ignorant of all Middle East history, but that’s really down to narcissism, because if they weren’t such raging narcissists they’d read something other than their own tweets, the online version of masturbation.

But really, this is about conspiracy theories. For the past decade, progressives have been obsessed with finding a single source for all oppression. For a while it was “patriarchy.” Then it was “white supremacy.” For the hardcore there was “heteronormative cis supremacy.” And now it’s “Zionism.”

But history doesn’t work in single, simple ways, alas. It would be so much easier if it did, but it doesn’t, and part of growing up is learning this fairly basic truth. You can resist it if you like, and reside in a state of arrested development, clinging with your fingernails to the fatberg Omnicause, but don’t kid yourself that you’re doing any good. All you are, really, is a crank and a conspiracy theorist.

June 17, 2024 15:24

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