The french fry is the linchpin of the American proletariat cuisine. No doubt, pizza is its rival in ubiquity, but when you go to a sushi or a Greek deli downtown, there is not the same tacit assumption of availability. Wherever Americans go, they will want, or at least have their anxieties towards new experiences assuaged by, french fries. I mean: I’m not saying I’d be against a trend of pizza becoming a side you can order with your tri tip sandwich — when I learned that Tim Horton’s lets you have a donut on the side when you order a breakfast sandwich, it was just about the final nail in my “emigrate to Canada” coffin until I realized I was still in Buffalo and moving to a new country for someone you love and it not working out is partly what motivated Jean Reno to kill people for a living.
Still, I recognize that power. A power yet unrecognized, much like the immensity of the french fry workload; supplementing sandwiches and burgers; carrying gravy and cheese and sometimes carne asada or even kimchi; getting people and restaurants to use up their condiments.
More to that last point: french fries are akin to ourselves as socialists. Vessels. Socialism does not die with the socialist. While its ideologies and aims are tangible, the dream is incorporeal, passing through and between us. Our struggles are its pen and paper, our victories its sword and shield.
We must take care that as we allow ourselves to be smothered by (or dipped into, one at a time, if you’re one of them) by the thick, creamy tang of anti-capitalist dialectic, that we don’t alter its flavor in such a way that it’s inaccessible, exclusive, or even harmful to those who share our zest for sending nudes over Signal but not necessarily our experiences of lived privilege.
- KetchupMaybe you’re new — or very, very familiar — with socialism. In either case, people assume your identification as a socialist is indicative of ignorance, willful or otherwise, to the limitations of such a broad term, the necessity for Maoism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Castroism, and why anyone who espouses the other three on this list probably fucks grapefruits or spits on people at the children’s hospital. And, not, like, as some homeopathic cure. No one likes being a majority within a minority — where’s that sense of rejecting norms that led you to break away from neoliberalism in the first place? Throw a hypen in there. Denounce apostasy and ahistoricity and chill.
You know how those kids leave the wardrobe and they were still young and like 30 years in Narnia was like five seconds in real life? Yeah, that’s what it’s like when a liberal asks you in earnest about how to learn more about socialism (or communism!) and you’ve just spend three days arguing over policy no one’s ever going to get to implement because your local faction still hasn’t figured out that if you want poor people to come to your meetings, you have to feed them.
The presumption of inelegance that comes with a simple identifier is a practical (and noble) sacrifice to ensure that the movement can still attract membership and media that isn’t hyper-fluent in our sectarian semiotics but can get our message out to the people who need us the most.
Mayo is a counterpoint to ketchup — creamy where ketchup can be pulpy, tart where ketchup can be sweet, vaguely reminiscent of cheese in a way that ketchup should never be. There is a plethora of culinary justifications for mayo on fries (and Marxism). We need to stop leaning on “that’s how they do it in Europe” to justify what you put in your body — or our Marxist feminist dialectic. Yeah, European philosophy gave us Marxism and that was pretty great. But Europe also gave the world, well, where to even begin?When we canonize European thinkers and thoughts at the expense of all others, we exclude people whose lives and families exist beyond a eurocentric ideological genealogy, where our stupendous machinations of politics and economics — both capitalist and anti-capitalist — ruined an immeasurable amount of lives across unknowable generations. Stop doing that. Socialism (or Communism, or whatever) in America can only truly sit in opposition of capitalist patriarchy when we include and center the concerns and aims of people who were once excluded by short-sighted and malicious applications of our rhetoric.I mean, I’m not suggesting people would become Marxists because they think Marxism is some sort of sterile environment where colonialism can’t exist, and therefore they don’t need to be conscientious of how they perpetuate colonialist thought. Those people don’t exist. They can’t. If you tried to put all those people in a children’s hospital, there’d be no one for that guy who identifies with an offshoot of Marxism you don’t like to spit at. He’d probably just spit over and over in a paper cup and then pour it out in the sink and think “this is so much of myself and my work and yet it amounts to so little in my isolation”.
- Secret Sauce/Animal SauceThis is just thousand island dressing, so ketchup plus mayonnaise in the guise of a salad dressing which is dope because salad is dope and I will never renounce it. For this and other reasons I support places like Whole Foods employing “produce butchers” to pre-cut and prepare your vegetables for you, not only because it makes fresh produce incredibly more accessible for people with disabilities, but because we need to train ourselves out of this careless complicity with capitalism by foregoing the short game. Instead of abolishing wage labor, we often find ourselves, in the misapplication of our dialectic, abolishing wage laborers.Yeah, it sucks that Whole Foods has enough money to employ someone to do a task most of us find superfluous and unnecessary, but 1) someone needs it, and 2) until we can achieve automation and socialize the means of production, we have to keep pressuring businesses not to automate their macro-economy; while defeating capitalism benefits the hungry, meetings and marches that cut into a working poor person’s already very limited wiggle room doesn’t necessarily benefit the hungry. So we gotta make choices, as local and larger organizers, about direct support, inclusivity, and the ways we can keep pressuring the capitalist boss hogs out there to hire on as much people and pay them as much as they can before we can throw them out of the factory altogether.
- Barbecue SauceI’d say the prime directive of Fry Havoc is “do not engage in food preference virtue signaling”. I understand why other sites do it—people gravitate to media that speaks to them, and to that end a post that says “people who eat ketchup are fucking hillbillies” or “put people who like pineapple on pizza up against the wall with the rest of them” is low effort, high yield. But eating is hard enough for enough people that I don’t like to exacerbate someone’s struggle by suggesting something they like is wrong. All that said: this is just ketchup with some molasses and shit in it, Liz. You drove our friends away with your smug eye-rolling. All the while you were carousing with ketchup’s brunette second cousin. You know what, Liz? Fuck you. I like egg salad. I’ve always liked it. And I ate it probably twice a week while we were dating and didn’t brush my teeth after, even though I know you kept reminding me to brush my teeth while I was at work, because I wanted to come home and let the lie on my lips know the lie on yours so that least parts of us would have something in common. God damn you. I would have been anyone you wanted me to if you could have just been yourself.
- Chocolate MilkshakeLook, ice cream’s had a lot of time to think about this, and it doesn’t want to be exclusive with “dessert” anymore, and it’s not as a way to patch over problems in their relationship, but a genuine expression of their emotional needs and their desires. I’m a thirty-one year-old woman — kids have been dipping flaming hot cheetos in ice cream since I was a little boy. There’s an organic ice cream shop by my house and people line up out the door to try their savory flavors. It’s not just a fad, Liz.Look, if it gives you any solace in the face of a definition of humanity that is expanding at a terrifying rate before you, chocolate was originally a savory flavor and if you took a equal sample each of ice cream and half a cup of ketchup, it’s about the same amount of sugar. Everything old is new again.So stop yelling at people on twitter who are new to socialism or just don’t do the type of type of Marxism you think is best. You gotta let people have their milkshake-dipping phase and just walk around wary and bewildered as part of making them feel like they belong and are wanted and needed in your local movement. Inclusion is necessary for execution. It’ll sound better when I say it out loud.
Author: Jetta Rae
Founder of Fry Havoc. Can be found on twitter at @jetta_rae