Waste of time?

Posted: 20/06/2012 by zandtao in Freedom, Insight, Struggle
Tags: ,

I recently got involved in two threads (1 and 2) with a libertarian. With my recent rebirth into politics one of the first people I was attracted to was Alex Jones. Alex Jones has a lot of information out there and clearly has a budget, so this info was what attracted me. As I started to learn more about the current political situation I found that grass roots consensus democracy exemplified by #OWS offered the same descriptions of the way the world is, yet OWS and libertarians were not working together. I seem to recall a disparaging comment from an Occupier – of the type “ignore him he’s just a libertarian”, and I remember when Occupy first happened I looked for Occupy Thailand and found a page in Thailand(!) talking about removing the Fed and no-one was allowed to comment – completely non-Occupy lack of participation. In the end I found these libertarians to be fiercely individualist eg egotistical in Buddhist terms dominated by self and their idealism and unwilling to work for Unity. In political terms this made these people divisive, and therefore I understood why they had been funded by the 1% (Alex Jones is funded as a Republican). I also could not understand the “Founding Fathers” angle, after all in the history of exploitation it is quite common for “a new country” to want to overthrow their colonial exploiters so that they can exploit their people more – discussed here. It was also never clear to me why there is a myth of the “Founding Fathers” being moral, nor is it clear when “Founding Fathers” became the 1%; it still isn’t.

So on mb I found Greg and began discussing with him, common ground with mb. In the discussion I sought to find political common ground, and in general we did. The differences were in my view marginal, and compared with the exploitation by the 1% we were clearly on the same “side”. What was the final tipping point that made me understand was that we had reached some kind of understanding concerning the description of socialist government as opposed to grass roots socialist activism:- “Libertarians accept free association of individuals in any capacity that they choose voluntarily. So if a group wants to have common ownership of a piece of land together free of government and wants to call it socialism, I have no problem with that. The problem is that if you try to communicate with the public and use that definition of socialism, then you are not going to be very successful because they won’t understand you. Of course you can try to modify their concept of socialism if that is your goal, and if it is I wish you well. You’ll never run out of something to do. 🙂 [Greg]”. He then posted this:-

I accused him of being divisive, and he replied this “Hi Bill. I don’t see any backtracking. Are you describing yourself as a leftist? I thought you said your brand of socialism didn’t fit into any of the conventional paradigms. The left that everyone but you sees when they look at this picture consists of Barrack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hilary Clinton, etc. Are you aligned with them? If so, you are being divisive by aligning with those who advocate pre-emptive war, censorship, arrest without trial, and bailouts for banks and corporations, even political assassination. Are you telling me that you align with these people? If you stick to what you said before, then this doesn’t apply to you. If not, then you’re the one who’s backtracking.”

All individuals perceive “isms” differently “your brand of socialism”, and I work on consensus so “didn’t fit into any of the conventional paradigms” is just rhetoric or sophistry. To describe these 1% politicians as anything other than 1%-puppets (I don’t know who Harry Reid is) was completely against the whole tenure of the discussion as far as I could see. Then there were three killer blows in this thread:-

1) “There are plenty of people who are willing to compromise. Adding me to their ranks accomplishes nothing. To quote Ohsawa, “sympathy kills”[Greg]”.

2) “I would say, and have said, that Reagan’s deregulation of the economy has led to the current economic crisis we are in [BZ]”. “The deregulation by Reagan was a tiny fraction of the regulation of the entire economy by the Federal Reserve. This is the cause of 99% of the economic problems we have today. What needs to happen is more deregulation, the deregulation of the common man’s lawful right to have his own currency. Until this changes, nothing else will make a significant difference in the economy.[Greg]”

3) “I don’t want to disagree with people because we have differences I want to work with people where we have commonality and try to do something about the real enemy, the 1%, corporatism, corporatocracy, that controls our governments, law and education, profits by poisoning our food, profits by selling us water that Nature has given us, and so on. Whilst we focus on our ideals and not on where we have common agreement the 1% wins. [BZ]” “The 1% is not our enemy. They are the impetus that leads us to self reflect and inspire us to take control of our lives. While you and I lament, respectively, about inequality and loss of liberty, the solution is to wake up the 98% that are asleep, and they don’t ALL have to wake up, just a goodly number. That’s why I post things such as I do. My goal is not to divide, but to stir.[Greg]”

The first quote is a killer, he is not willing to compromise. This means he is not willing to work with consensus, and that brings me back to the fierce individualism of the first paragraph of this blog.

The second quote also horrified me. As a consequence of Reagan’s deregulation the banks have caused our current crisis, and the 1% have pocketed huge bailouts. There is a direct causal link. Of course the whole economy sucks – not just the Federal Reserve – and a sustainable economy based on fair trade ultimately is a solution, but this solution can never work whilst we have 1%-power (a theme I stressed throughout the 2 threads). To me this comes back to Greg’s lack of willingness to compromise, evident whenever I discussed the need to be pragmatic.

And why does it horrify me? Because so many people have become homeless, and yet this is described as a “tiny fraction of deregulation”. The principle of deregulation is all that matters to “Greg” libertarianism, foreclosures are “collateral damage”. This is the danger of the policy of deregulation and implementing deregulation is a significant reason why the 1% sponsor libertarianism. This brand of idealism does not want to see the “collateral damage”, only an ideal society at the end of the rainbow, so they will enact deregulation despite inconvenient interim consequences such as foreclosures. And whilst the 1% have the power they will select the regulations they want to finish, deregulate mechanisms that control the 1% and increase regulations on the 99%. Being uncompromising on the principle is an absolute human disaster.

And in the final quote he says the 1% are not the enemy. Whilst he places this in the context of wanting to stir up the 98+%, this statement is tactically weak. Whilst the 1% have power they will develop their neoliberal means of control by intentionally increasing apathy. If stirring up wakes the occasional person, leaving the 1% free to continue neoliberalism unfettered will force more people to become “unstirred”. And how many people does he alienate in his stirring? No grass roots socialist can listen to him sympathetically because he calls them dictators even after the process of grass roots socialism has been explained – and partially agreed(?). But when these matters don’t fit his ideals then he doesn’t listen. And this bring me back to the first paragraph, the divisiveness of uncompromising fierce individualism and idealism.

A small aside but he is clearly knowledgeable about mb, far more than I. Yet mb is against idealism and is definitely pro-compromise, in fact his last comment in this thread talks about unity. The principle mb discusses is non-credo, and mention of non-credo was ignored in the threads. Idealism without compromise is so divisive. We all have ideals, ways we would like things to be, but to demand ideals and policies based on ideals without pragmatic evaluation and feedback is dictatorship by ideal – a very dangerous approach.

So was this a waste of time?

In terms of reaching a consensus absolutely, this type of idealist is not interested in consensus. This is ideals before people, and that is little better than profits before people. People first. It was not a waste of time in that it confirmed my evaluation in the first paragraph, consensus-oriented Occupiers must be sick to death of these libertarian tools of the 1% – dividing by idealism working against consensus. This man is a brick wall of idealism and delusion. What matters is how it affects people – foreclosures from specific deregulation is “unimportant” the ideal of “ending the fed” is what matters. Mb people should be practising meditators, Greg, change your stool and get rid of your rigid mind.

But it would be a waste of time to try again, both with him and with his class of idealism – libertarianism. It is 100% intellectual and selective, select the ideal ignore the practise – delusion. But beyond that I must think about what I do. This waste of time is internet, it is what the internet is all about – diversion. Consensus needs to be a mutual objective, a stated goal, and not the pointless dialogue scenario. This is the usual intellectualism problem, people are satisfied with bouncing intellectual ideals, and the practical consequences of these ideals are not as important.

It makes me think more clearly about socialism. I personally have always worked with the mass movement accepting their discipline, this was not true of many comrades. Although I never changed, as soon as I joined the CP I became an enemy to the Trots. The CP only clarified thinking I already had about the Trots but being in the CP I was their enemy. But the Trots are just Greg with different clothes. People must squeeze into their ideals, it is not people first but ideals. I knew that with the Trots, it is the same with all idealists including libertarians.

Change is a process, one step at a time. To demand an ideal, end the fed, deregulate, a socialist government, these are different hats of the same problem – idealism or intellectualism. It is the process that matters, an internal process of change that then becomes communal change, eating away at the power of the 1% one bit at a time. The process is grass roots activism not with a framework agenda such as form of government as an objective.

But the ludicrous thing is that this is all people can do. The church group doing good, trade union activism at the grass roots level, these communal farmers in Kenya, Vandana Shiva’s seed protectors, Community-Supported Agriculture, Horizontalidad and the initiatives that are coming out of Central and South America – Beyond Elections, all of these things are change in progress – not change driven by a common idealistic agenda. These are people who are compromising with each other to reach consensus, but not compromising with the 1%.

Greg and I have come from a similar time. Out of the 60s grew hippie idealism and this converted for many into different forms of idealism – in my case originally socialism. Once it became controlled by the ideal, that was the end of the hippie love. Whilst idealists have been arguing amongst themselves, this dominant 99% power was dissipated. We can never expect the 99% to wake up together, this is an intended consequence of the 1%’s neoliberalism. People will gradually wake up but the dominant theme is change in the now. Work for change to promote the 99% by regaining power in the now – not in some idealistic future. Whilst recognising that regaining that power means an awareness that the 1% has the power in the first place, if we are working at the grass roots level it doesn’t matter. Claiming grass roots power takes it away from the 1%. This is something that Greg would agree with but he would then want to squeeze it into his libertarianism. This idealistic squeezing does two things. It creates dissatisfaction and alienation. Reclaiming the power is enough, the Kenyan communities feed themselves – that is enough. Don’t dissipate the energies with isms.

This is the real consensus politics, Kenyan communities, Venda farmers, Occupy, Berkshares, any of these things are fine. Move them forward, don’t be stagnant, change fired by compassion, one community at a time.

Greg’s practice is a tool of the 1%. He divides. Alex Jones is rolling in money because the individuals working with him have money to be the fierce egotists of division. The 1% pay him because he is divisive, the real fear of the 1% is unity – the unity of the 99%. That’s why they funded Trots’ parties, their fierce individualism created division amongst the mass movement. When I was working on the poll tax the caller said I was Militant, and in the end he did not participate; the 1% only needed Militant extremism to fight consensus, no other tools were needed. Greg is one of these tools, as are all idealists who put ideals before people.

Paraphrasing Thay, Nirvana has no concepts; Thay builds communities.

  1. zandtao says:

    There was a further comment on the thread, and as I started to read it I saw an attempt to intellectualise that I wasn’t interested in consensus. I hadn’t planned to continue but this was a nail in the coffin. Intellectualism turns outwards and blames others. It is necessary to look in, to examine how we are working for consensus, and do the best we can. No idealism just consensus, genuine consensus.

  2. […] Waste of time? […]

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