"Woke" isn't a useful term, should be avoided

While originating as a positive term, "woke" could become a pejorative used by the political right. It conflates a number of different things, and isn't useful.

Woke, like the other pejorative SJW (social justice warrior) points at all kinds of things at once, many of them being entirely appropriate or essential to a good state and receiving support from all across the political spectrum in every country.

The #MeToo movement

For example, the #MeToo movement entirely fits the descriptions of "woke" and "SJW" and represents the same generational change of values, and is responsible for bringing down both Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein. No one will dispute that this is a good thing.

Will anyone, even the most extreme reactionaries, step forward to defend these men against the "woke" women who stood up to them? No-one? In fact, many right-wing Republicans love the #MeToo movement because it incriminated some specific Democrats. Therefore, by their own admission and by their own definition, even members of the extreme right are "woke", at least on this issue.


Anti-racist activists mix with, and are often the same people as, anti-war activists, as is the case with the many in the Green Party of the United States. Anti-racism should not even be considered left-wing and is in fact simply responsible statecraft when one's country accommodates multiple races. It is bizarre that combating racism is even considered controversial. Most countries in the world accommodate multiple races and cultures, and preventing sectarian and ethnic tension is absolutely essential to maintaining the state.

Where anti-racism backfires, however, is when it increases tension and decreases community cohesion. If any ostensibly anti-racist policy increases tension or decreases community cohesion in any way, it is potentially damaging both to workers' rights and to the stability of the state and is bad policy. This is why the issue has to be handled sensitively, as it is in the UK, unlike the US.

Cancel culture

Cancel culture is the tolerance towards another person or group using their position in a company or organisation to arbitrarily deny and suppress points of view, perhaps with pressure from riotous groups and threats. It is increasingly done in companies and academic bodies.

Of course, some ideas are too fringe to be accepted, and the internet has created false expectations that even the most absurd ideas must be taken seriously and deserve time. The fringe ideologues will invariably shout about some extraordinary "censorship" and "cancel culture" destroying civilisation, despite the fact it would be entirely impossible for them to voice their ideas prior to the internet and current platforms existing.

Cancel culture is problematic due to its arbitrary and top-down nature. All it takes is for executives at the top of an organisation to deem even a valid statement as unacceptable (for example, Facebook might deem that criticism of Facebook is unacceptable disinformation). Then, it is completely scrubbed from public view. Control of virtual environments and control of platforms can allow things to be completely denied. It can be argued that the exercise of such power is of significance to the state, and therefore mandates the state taking it over instead of leaving it to private individuals.

As an example of what can go wrong, cancel culture has the potential to eventually come into conflict with the first example of the so-called "woke" politics, the #MeToo movement. If executives who happen to be in charge of influential platforms were accused on those platforms, they would be able to silence everything against them. Any arbitrary power eventually results in arbitrary enforcement of arbitrary rules and can create a group of people exempt from all the rules they force on others.

The confusion is bad

Rather than assigning labels, positive or negative, like "woke", people should use proper descriptions of what they're talking about. A lot of polarisation is probably the result of abject confusion, with people rallying around words that mean nothing.

People opposed to cancel culture may find themselves bitterly arguing with people opposed to sexism, without realising they hold the same views. They became attached to meaningless words they found on the internet, and wanted to hurl these words around.