My GOD, but Leftists are such grim, joyless, juiceless prigs. Miserable, twisted people, the whole lot of ’em.
Oh, by all means, let’s.
In the drama of nationalist culture, the bloody and international origins of the apple pie are subject to a collective amnesia. In the imagining of American community, the dish is transformed into a symbol of domesticity. By 1910, it’s possible for a theatre review to celebrate a wholesome play, “as American as apple pie”.
Guardian readers ought by now to be familiar with the exercise of undoing the commodity fetish. Scratch the surface of a bar of chocolate, a tuna sandwich, or even a chicken nugget, and you find the horrors of international trade: violence, exploitation, poverty and profit. Capitalist logic is everywhere the same, but countries are capitalist in their own ways. The apple pie is as American as stolen land, wealth and labour. We live its consequences today.
The history of the US food system has always, however, been one of struggle. “Food justice” is a term that is intelligible only because oppressed and exploited communities have organized for redress against the predations of US capitalism. The US was made by finding ever lower labour costs, and workers always fought back. Food justice, and its opposite, are of a piece.
It is clear, though, that tensions and imperfections and losses lie ahead. The US continues to spread its economic model internationally. While Joe Biden’s administration seems ready to infuse cash into the management of domestic hunger, internationally it’s agribusiness as usual. But as May Day reminds us, solidarity between workers need not be bounded by the nation state. The United States was made through global connections. It will be remade when those links are not ones of oppression, but ones of solidarity in the fight for food justice.
If I hadn’t read this interminably long and tortuous Grauniad lecture for myself, I would scarcely have believed it. But it’s real, it’s in your face, and it’s totally not going to just go away. Can “mostly peaceful” protests against the genocide represented by a slice of good ol’ apple pie be long in coming? Is the glass of milk that traditionally accompanies it still okay, or no?
So I guess now it’s “food justice” we all must wring our hands and gnash our teeth over…or else. To fail to speak out is to implicitly confirm our complicity in “injustice,” see. Also “bigotry,” “racism,” and “white supremacy.” Probably several more sundry atrocities I’m forgetting about also. Silence is violence, y’all.
One can only marvel, and wonder what the self-righteous carbuncles will come up with next.