When I first stumbled upon Jason Unruhe, I didn’t know quite what to make of him. In one of the first videos of his that I watched, he offhandedly said something that raised a red flag. And no, not the good kind of red flag. Jason Unruhe said something which claims that he thinks that people would call him transphobic for some comment unrelated to being transgender. That’s pretty defensive right out of the gate. To quote John Oliver from Last Week Tonight, that’s like Walter White greeting people by saying “Welcome to my car wash that totally isn’t laundering money for my meth lab”. But why would you need to be so defensive? If you don’t act in a way that is transphobic, you wouldn’t usually be called transphobic. So, I watched a few more of his videos and apart from a few little things, I didn’t find anything I could comment on. Until today.
— Jason Unruhe☭ (@MaoistRebelNews) July 27, 2017
Jason Unruhe’s misunderstanding of the situation
To be kind, I’m going to assume this is a misunderstanding. This is a misunderstanding aggravated by anti-feminist opportunists like Laci Green and Blair White. But Jason Unruhe goes one step further to call this tweet “rapey” and “creepy”:
I don't see a problem with telling straight guys who are exclusionary of trans women partners that they should try to work through that
— Zinnia Jones (@ZJemptv) July 1, 2017
Never mind the fact that when you open up the thread on Twitter, you see the whole thread and this is the very next tweet in the series. Doesn’t read very creepy or rapey, even though Jason claims that it is. Funny how Jason Unruhe didn’t do his research on this topic.
Nobody has to be with anyone they don't want, AND it's okay to have a baseline social norm of treating trans women as the women they are
— Zinnia Jones (@ZJemptv) July 1, 2017
Now that we’ve addressed that accusation, let’s go on to Jason’s statement that anyone has the right to refuse sex with anyone for whatever reason they want. I agree with this, and so does Zinnia so I fail to see how this point is relevant to what Zinnia actually said. But it seems that Jason is more interested in painting Zinnia as advocating that cis people are not allowed to refuse sex with trans people than representing the discourse accurately. In short, Jason is strawmanning Zinnia. Jason continues with this misrepresentation throughout the entire video, so I’ll explain what Zinnia ACTUALLY said.
The real argument that Jason Unruhe ignores
Put simply, you’re absolutely free to decide whether or not you want to be with a trans person. No one is advocating taking that right away from you (except maybe those on the far-right). However, if you say to yourself “I do not want to date ANY trans person”, that’s an issue that should be worked through. That’s like saying you don’t want to date any French person, any Jewish person, or any Pegasister/Bronie. Sure, that is totally your right and you’re free to have your personal preferences. However, if you’re willing to exclude an entire segment of the population from your dating pool, you might want to look into the why of it.
Let’s go to analogy land!
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I have a fear of flying. Sure, I could just choose not to fly and no one would question it. There are plenty of ways to get around and there are plenty of arguments for not flying. However, if I wanted to travel to Taiwan, I’m going to need to fly if I wanted to get there quickly. I would go see a therapist to deal with my fear of flying and work through that issue. Usually, a fear of flying is due to a lack of understanding of flight itself or due to some comorbid condition that is yet undiagnosed. If a fear of flying is holding back from doing what you love, you might want to work through that.
Let’s bring the analogy of the fear of flying back to our current situation. Let’s say you’re at a bar and you find a woman you’re attracted to. She’s fun, vivacious and hey, she even shares some of your interests! You could really see yourself dating her and you ask her out. You go on a couple of dates and find that there is real chemistry there. However, a few dates in and she says she has to tell you something. You schedule a date in a public place and then, she tells you that she’s transgender. You have already said to yourself that you don’t want to date any trans person but you’re really attracted to this person. Would you rather try to work through your issue or let your bigotry win out?
Jason Unruhe’s anti-intellectualism
Working out issues we have is key to living the best life we can. By working through our irrational fears and misunderstandings, we can live a better, more fulfilling life. Jason Unruhe wants to mischaracterize Zinnia Jones’ position as being somehow akin to that of an MGTOWer or an MRA, but the evidence just doesn’t back his claim. I would think this is an issue that Jason should work out, seeing as he’s a communist and yet demonstrates a serious lack of class consciousness. However, Jason’s transphobia shows that he is not yet free of bourgeois thinking, but as Lenin said:
Working class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence and abuse, no matter what class is affected–unless they are trained, moreover, to respond from a Social-Democratic point of view and no other.
Based on what Lenin said, I think it’s safe to say that Jason doesn’t yet have genuine political consciousness. If he did, he would be working to respond to this case of oppression and abuse, instead of adding fuel to the fire. But what did Lenin know? I would imagine Jason thinks Lenin is not even a communist like he’s claimed about Trotsky. So, let’s watch for Jason Unruhe’s next video where he calls out Lenin for being rapey, eh?
Jason Unruhe’s anti-Maoism
Our comrades’ minds and our Party’s work may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing. The proverb “Running water is never stale and a door-hinge is never worm-eaten” means that constant motion prevents the inroads of germs and other organisms. To check up regularly on our work and in the process develop a democratic style of work, to fear neither criticism nor self-criticism, and to apply such good popular Chinese maxims as “Say all you know and say it without reserve”, “Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words” and “Correct mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not” – this is the only effective way to prevent all kinds of political dust and germs from contaminating the minds of our comrades and the body of our Party.
Jason may not heed this advice, but I think he should. After all, this is what Mao Zedong wrote in his work “On Coalition Government”. Now, I’m not a Maoist, so you may very well ask “How did you come up with this quote in this article?” Because I’m not the only communist Jason Unruhe has irked. I grabbed this quote from an Open Letter to Jason Unruhe and they make many good points. It’s tragic that he feels that he should just brush off accusations of bigotry without listening to why those accusations are being made. After all, shouldn’t a real Maoist not be “afraid to have [their shortcomings] pointed out and criticized” (Mao Zedong in Serve the People)? If someone told me that I was acting in a way that was racist, I would listen.
Jason Unruhe’s anti-Maoist aversion to self-improvement
It seems that Jason Unruhe’s issue is that he has a problem with Mao Zedong. After all, he wants to claim to be this big Maoist but doesn’t want to do the necessary work. The work that Mao Zedong himself said he should do. Mao said quite clearly that a Maoist shouldn’t be afraid to have their shortcomings pointed out and criticized. I can see what Zinnia said as upholding her end of Mao’s exhortation. Based on Jason’s knee-jerk, irrational reaction to what Zinnia actually wrote, I think that this is a shortcoming Jason has. It would appear that Jason has chosen to “fear criticism” and lambast those who “Say all you know and say it without reserve”. He has chosen to blame the speaker and refuse to be warned by her words.
He has also claimed this call to self-improvement is somehow “rapey” or “creepy” instead of what it actually is. What Mao Zedong would even say it is if his writings are any judge of that. But then again, this is the same man who used quote mining to criticise the author of Escape from Camp 14.