Erasing Laci Green

Laci Green is a feminist/left wing Internet personality known mostly for her popular YouTube channel. Recently she started dating a right wing YouTube personality, and some of her former supporters lost their minds. Follow the New York Times link if you want more information about the drama there (honestly, you probably don’t).

After this drama, someone on Tumblr began re-circulating an older post about Green succinctly titled “Why Laci Green Sucks.” The post lists a number of examples of Green’s apostasy from far left orthodoxy, including this gem,

(6/5/13) She made a post erasing low-income vegans and vegans of colour, and never responded to any of the criticisms made.

This refers to a Tumblr post that Green made back in 2013 about what she sees as snooty vegans,

Methinks if you want to promote veganism, you go about it by helping to create more affordable food sources instead of basking in your own fucking luxury and yelling at people.

ugh. this is one of the things that really bugs me about where i live. in san francisco there are tons of vegans/vegetarians that get off on feelings of moral superiority. south park had it right in the episode about bay area people loving the smell of their own farts. really, all that “superiority” people feel for being vegan is just a clusterfuck of their own privilege.

like, oh, you only buy your food from the farmers market? you can afford to spend $3 on a peach? good for you, but don’t you dare go shaming other people for not doing the same. until you actually care about how food politics are heavily tied with class (and how class is tied to both race & physical health) and are doing something about that, I don’t see your promotion of veganism as anything beyond pseudo-political masturbation.

Not being a vegan (or all that interested in the topic), I don’t have a very solid opinion about Green’s assertion. I’ve known vegans who were insufferable about their food choices, but I’ve also known enough vegans to realize this is hardly a universal of even necessarily common attitude among vegans (this may be a case of cognitive bias where those of us who aren’t vegans simply remember the annoying vegans and not the non-annoying vegans). But Green is hardly the first person to make an argument about food choices and class structure in America.

But for what might be termed the “regressive left,” that’s not good enough. No. Instead, Green is erasing low-income vegans and “vegans of colour.” (The last part of that is especially confusing given that Green doesn’t mention race at all except as to how it interacts and reinforces class distinctions.)

Accusations of “erasing” this or that group or subgroup seems to be a common trope among the left that has embraced some form of critical theory. Its main purposes seems to be to shut down a speaker or writer without ever having to address their arguments. Is Green right or wrong about how much it costs to be a vegan in San Francisco? That is the wrong question. The real question is whether or not she is “erasing” some subcommunity and therefore outside the realm of acceptable discourse altogether.

These sorts of tactics encourage and reinforce a groupthink that explicitly values uniformity of views over even minor disagreements. It is a 21st century re-enactment of the 20th century Trotskyists. This BBC description of Trotskyism is almost entirely applicable to this Internet cadre of social justice warriors,

They have never had much success in elections, seeming to spend more time fighting each other and splitting into rival factions with confusingly similar names than taking on the powers that be.

The main difference being that those on the regressive left seem to devote their time to infighting and nitpicking rather than actually attempting to solve the often very real problems that initially motivate them. As with the Trotksyists, the underlying issues of (in this case) race and class are merely window dressing for the real work of fighting to become the alpha ideologue.