Martial Arts Political Synthesis
Southpaw is both a martial arts and political project. We don't just apply our political views to martial arts, we also carry principles from martial arts into our politics. One is a Taoistic principle you'll often hear us cite: How you do one thing is how you do all things.
Recently, an article from The Defector discussed the futility of calling out right-wing hypocrisy, but the truth is that both conservatives and liberals lie to save face, even with themselves.
Rather than hypocrisy, there's often a consistent underlying logic. It only seems hypocritical because they're lying to persuade others to either buy into their logic or to offer them cover for beliefs they already hold.
Our content often addresses contradictions not to point out hypocrisy but to show how we lie even to ourselves. We aren't compartmentalizing. We're not doing two things at once. (Humans are notoriously bad multitaskers but good at habits and patterns.) People often do the same thing but tell different lies about it, which is why it seems different.
Growing up in a capitalist white supremacist settler society means that lying to ourselves becomes second nature because it's how we cope and survive under these conditions, and as complicit actors within this system, we deceive ourselves to justify our actions and choices.
Pointing out how we lie to ourselves has lost us lots of followers because—yes—it's much more popular to say you're all pure, principled, and courageous Nazi fighters without any reactionary tendencies. You're the hero! The main character! But this approach does not align with the realities of the mat. So why would a socialist martial arts project adopt such a façade?
Another overlooked Taoist principle is that balance is not achieved by giving equal attention to everything but rather by addressing the things that are overlooked and counterbalancing them.
With our content, using the framework of counterbalancing to achieve balance can often lead to whataboutism, even from socialists and progressives. However, the issues that people want addressed have typically already been addressed to death and are already part of the mainstream discourse, which is why we don't focus on them.
Repeating these points only confirms biases, which is the opposite of balance and adds nothing new to the conversation. If we merely repeat what has already been said, our goal is no longer education but attracting clicks and following trends.
This Taoistic framework also doesn't make us popular and creates discomfort for many, even those who share the meme of people standing on apple boxes trying to look over a fence. The meme's message is that equity isn't achieved through treating everything equally but through counterbalance.
Applying our first principle of "how you do one thing is how you do all things" only brings about more discomfort. It suggests that despite sharing this particular meme, some people don't genuinely support it. Instead, they may endorse it selectively, only when it suits them or helps them present themselves as a good and just person. In other words, they are more concerned about their public image than examining their actual beliefs and values. Although they recognize that the world is asymmetric, they may not want to acknowledge or highlight that fact.
In the end, there's a difference between a martial artist who practices socialism and those who only use martial arts to boost their ego while claiming to be socialists. The former embodies martial arts principles in their socialist practice and socialist values through their martial arts practice, while the latter simply have an affinity for martial arts without truly embracing socialistic martial arts principles.
(If you like my work, please support me on Patreon or make a one-time donation on Ko-fi. Find Southpaw at its website. Get the swag at Spring. Also check out Liberation Martial Arts Online.)
Liberation Martial Artist 🥊 is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.