The left needs to take a leaf out of Jesus' book – and get angry

Steven Thrasher wrote an editorial in the Guardian 18 months ago that didn't get the attention it deserved in which he argues: "Being polite gets us nowhere. We should channel the righteous anger we feel at the mess America is in, and use it to change society."

He reminds us of Jesus, whip in hand, flipping over table in a rage and driving merchants from the temple. He goes on to say:

Trump – an angry, intemperate manchild who bullies whomever he can – has unleashed the left’s anger. And it’s high time we let it out.

Angry people get things done. But American patriarchy and white supremacy have tried to teach us that anger is the domain of white, cisgender, rich heterosexual men only – and that women, people of color, transgender people, immigrants, workers, the disabled, and others need to be nice and meek in the hope that we will get some crumbs of justice.

We are told that our anger will be destabilizing. But the status quo needs to be destabilized, especially as anger was suppressed too much during the Obama years.


[Obama's] failure to prosecute the banksters responsible for the 2008 crash, and his denunciation of some protesters during Black Lives Matter uprisings as “thugs,” helped reinforce the sense that while rich, white criminals should face no punishment, black justice warriors require extreme punishment, and that anger should never be engaged to fight economic or police violence.

It was a curious recurring theme for Obama, considering white people and Republicans had no trouble raging at him with substantial political results. And yet, he seemed content to set an example to the left and people of color, that anger needed to be suppressed, and that a calm, polite, technocratic neoliberalism would save the day. (That path gave us Trump.)