As a spiritual person whose politics could be described as grass roots socialism I was intrigued by the position that Russell Means was taking. Was he asking questions that were going to help me?
To begin with the first point to note is that of acculturalisation, basically neo-colonialism. The tradition of American Indians is oral history, and by writing as opposed to oral history there is already a power imposition. To add to this “The process (BZ of writing) itself epitomizes the European concept of “legitimate” thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken”; this is undoubtedly true – our education definitely encourages us to have a belief in books.
And we have to understand that the publishing of books is controlled by the 1% – it is market-driven; Barbara Cartland and Jeffrey Archer pulp is published sooner than erudition. At the same time with publishing the media companies control the distribution, so even if materials are published what the customer perceives as being published (what the average book-consumer sees) is not what is available. I also like this point “the imposing of an abstraction over the spoken relationship of a people.” I have gained a great deal from particular books, to the extent that I have written bookblogs when I study, but the reality is that if I had personal time with such authors I would learn a great deal more.
This issue is one that I have pushed with regards to the internet. Many people, mostly young but not solely, delude themselves that online relationships have similar depths to those of in-person. With the internet now being part of everyday life the depth of human relationships is suffering, a 140-character tweet is communication? It was significant with Adbusters, one of the originators of the US-Occupy, that they were telling people that the internet was not enough. “So what you read here is not what I’ve written. It’s what I’ve said and someone else has written down. I will allow this because it seems that the only way to communicate with the white world is through the dead, dry leaves of a book. I don’t really care whether my words reach whites or not.”
“It takes a strong effort on the part of each American Indian not to become Europeanized“; to paraphrase It takes a strong effort on the part of each individual not to become miseducated (deluded or indoctrinated). But specifically for Russell “the traditional values that our elders retain …. must come from the hoop, the four directions, the relations: it cannot come from the pages of a book or a thousand books. A master’s degree in “Indian Studies” or in “education” or in anything else cannot make a person into a human being or provide knowledge into traditional ways. It can only make you into a mental European, an outsider.” I recall the use of the term “human being” to refer to American Indians as opposed to white people, is that correct? Maybe I will come back to that.
“Each of these intellectual revolutions served to abstract the European mentality even further, to remove the wonderful complexity and spirituality from the universe and replace it with a logical sequence: one, two, three. Answer!” This is concerned with the delusion of abstraction, holding to an idea, withdrawing from the “wonderful complexity and spirituality” of life. In these intellectual revolutions he talks of “the so-called theories of Marxism and anarchism and “leftism” in general. Newton, for example, “revolutionized” physics and the so-called natural sciences by reducing the physical universe to a linear mathematical equation. Descartes did the same thing with culture. John Locke did it with politics, and Adam Smith did it with economics. Each one of these “thinkers” took a piece of the spirituality of human existence and converted it into code, an abstraction. Europeans may see this (BZ Marxism) as revolutionary, but American Indians see it simply as still more of that same old European conflict between being and gaining. Being is a spiritual proposition. Gaining is a material act. Traditionally, American Indians have always attempted to be the best people they could.”
“The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person.” How can you kill someone you love? But if you make other people inferior you can treat them badly. This is part of western culture. Look at the terms first, second and third world! These are terms that are used in development, 1st world is more developed than the 3rd so it is acceptable the 3rd dies from hunger. As Walter Rodney – torrent – described the type of development is not intrinsic it is imposed. The levels themselves are subjective, effectively what the first aspire to are the benchmarks – in Russell’s terms what Eurpeans aspire to. I have to say however, Russell, that the trend for the “Europeans” in America is now far worse than the “Europeans” in Europe at this process of cultural imperialism – at this imposed superiority. [ 🙂 – I have just read this “Terms like progress and development are used as cover words here“]
Using natural resources is perceived as a gain from nothing, this means that the ONE planet is effectively considered as nothing by this “European” outlook. I have always used the term capitalist outlook, but I accept that the Marxist model has a “European” feel. Marxism does not require a ONE planet approach, although as a model it does respect human labour. This is an improvement on the “European” model of capitalism in that it respects all human labour, however it does make more of advanced industrial labour as compared to peasant labour. And of course in accepting this industrial model Marxism accepts mass production which is so inherently NOT ONE planet. I am Marxist in the political arena of capitalism but I agree with Russell in his “Human” arena Marxism is lacking. Unfortunately the world now functions in a capitalist arena, and as such a Marxist model is much more applicable – however although as an economic model it is sound its political strategies are now outmoded owing to the changes in the means of mass production.
“This is what has come to be termed “efficiency” in the European mind. Whatever is mechanical is perfect; whatever seems to work at the moment–that is, proves the mechanical model to be the right one–is considered correct, even when it is clearly untrue.” This brings to mind Fritjov Kapra’s “Turning Point”. One chapter in particular he focusses on what he terms the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm, this could be paraphrased as the “mechanical model”. He talks of the turning point changing this paradigm, and this I believe Capra now terms the Web of Life. However intellectual one might view Capra, or the notion of One Planet there is some convergence to what Russell Means is talking about.
Being and gaining appears to be a distinction Russell wants to draw, being – spirituality, gaining – materialism. There is no doubt that Marxism is based in materialism (gaining). In defence of Marxism there is a notion of equitability, if not placed in a materialist context such equitability would be spiritual. Moving onto the notion of anarchism or socialist libertarianism these would extend the materialism of Marxism into more of a “spiritual” context. However this would be spiritualism arrived at from an intellectual point of view and therefore not complete. To summarise what is European as predominantly gaining whilst describing the few who have moved beyond gaining to being as exceptions to the rule doesn’t feel right to me – but in truth on reflection I can’t argue. For the simple reason that my arguments tend to involve Europeans who have been influenced by Eastern traditions. If you exclude the Europeans who have been influenced by the East there are very few you could describe as in touch with being – exceptions to the rule. I suppose I have to agree. Emotionally I want to counter but I cannot, so emotionally I ask Russell “Are all American Indians who he does not consider having white minds in touch with their being?”
But then my mind moves to those Europeans who have been influenced by American Indians, and I use licence to extend the description of American Indians to include Toltec Wisdom and therefore include the Four Agreements. I would suggest that Europeans who genuinely follow the Four Agreements would be included on the side of being.
I find this harsh “Capitalists, at least, can be relied upon to develop uranium as fuel only at the rate which they can show a good profit. That’s their ethic, and maybe they will buy some time. Marxists, on the other hand, can be relied upon to develop uranium fuel as rapidly as possible simply because it’s the most “efficient” production fuel available. That’s their ethic, and I fail to see where it’s preferable. Like I said, Marxism is right smack in the middle of European tradition. It’s the same old song.” This doesn’t ring true of the Marxists I knew, but it does fit into Marxist theory as I know it. In the theory there is nothing to prevent the exploitation of the planet for profit so long as that profit is re-distributed. But when you move beyond the theory and see how the people behave, these same Marxists have tended to ally themselves to the Green movement; the theory is lacking but the people themselves tend, and I stress tend, to be closer to be influenced beyond just gaining. It might well be good pro-American Indian politic to place Marxists as conceivably worse than capitalists, but in reality making this statement is more concerned with separation and non-alignment than genuine understanding. Of course the speech was written 30 years ago, and at that time I accept that ecology was not included in the mass movement as it is today. There is no way that the current “left-wing” movement Occupy would be solely interested in gaining.
“You cannot judge the real nature of a European revolutionary doctrine on the basis of the changes it proposes to make within the European power structure and society. You can only judge it by the effects it will have on non-European peoples.” This makes me think, but what? Revolutionary change means a change of class, a genuine change of class in which genuine democracy, grass roots democracy, is the new governmental principle. What effect would that have on non-European peoples? This could only improve the position of American Indian peoples. Let me clarify this democracy as it must include “Occupy” democracy. It is not a democracy of majority votes. I could conceive of a situation in which as a minority American Indians would lose a majority vote but in Occupy democracy I would hope that the majority would see that it was not in the interests of the minority, and allow the minority to persuade – to be included. Fundamentally this quote of Russell’s shows a misunderstanding – it cannot be called a revolution if the current power structure is maintained; if the current power structure is maintained there is no change in the class that rules.
This is because every revolution in European history has served to reinforce Europe’s tendencies and abilities to export destruction to other peoples, other cultures and the environment itself. But none of these revolutions have been in class terms, they have usually been wars in which one group of the ruling 1% replaces another whilst soldiers die to enable this. To place a Marxist revolution in the same context as other 1%-change revolutions is not appropriate, and the revolutions in Cuba, Russia and China never produced the desired class change, the power never devolved to the mass movement (he used actions of the USSR on the national question to justify his views). It sounds like Russell is discussing an establishment view of socialism. This is like accepting a European academic’s view of American Indian life as the truth, it seems to me that you cannot understand that lifestyle without understanding being. Whilst Marx was an academic, the mass movement, that is often described as a Marxist movement, cannot be understood without having a feel for the movement itself; don’t describe Occupy – be Occupy.
Later he says, about a different point:- Christians, capitalists, Marxists. All of them have been revolutionary in their own minds, but none of them really means revolution. What they really mean is continuation. They do what they do in order that European culture can continue to exist and develop according to its needs. Implicitly he recognises the true meaning of revolution – as genuine change in class, and further recognises that revolutionary change has not occurred there have just been different continuations. Under genuine democracy there would not be an acceptable solution for the mining that will destroy the American Indians homelands, an inclusive approach would be needed. I can accept that American Indians cannot join with those who adhere to the letter of Marxist theory, but genuine grass-roots socialists would need an inclusive approach that would be arrived at through agreement.
For me “There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. ” This is the way of ONE planet, and it is the only way forward for a genuine grassroots democracy. The mass movement is part of Unity, part of Mother Earth – Gaia, and can only survive by recognising that. At present the mass movement is oppressed so its directions are those of greed – Gain. To begin with this might be what a mass movement would gravitate towards, but in the end that would just lead to self-destruction and if the movement develops the listening required of it it would turn to the “Lakota Way”. Of course at present to describe the mass movement in this way appears as pie-eyed idealism.
“All European tradition, Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of all things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things come full circle, back to where they started. That’s revolution. And that’s a prophecy of my people, of the Hopi people and of other correct peoples. ” Undoubtedly true.
“It is the role of American Indian peoples, the role of all natural beings, to survive. A part of our survival is to resist. We resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don’t want power over white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear. That’s revolution. ”
“we want white institutions to disappear.” Is that what I want? That is not easy to answer because the institutions and the 1% are so intertwined. The more I think of it the better the question the harder the answer. Factories, talking of Marx, – mass production; do we want mass production? To begin with we say yes, economies of scale and so on. But look at what is happening in factories. Environmental degradation. Does it have to be that way? Even that can’t be answered straight-forwardly? With the 1% in charge it is that way because they don’t care about Gaia. If they’re not in charge, can mass production work? Let’s start with food as that is easy, for food the answer is no. Mass production means unhealthy food – preservatives colourings etc. For medicine the 1% have turned medicine into making people ill for profit, can we produce natural medicine in factories? It doesn’t feel right, but maybe. Clothes can be made in factories, and probably cheaper, but we have to kick the 1% out first to get rid of exploitative working practices. Technology can only be made in factories. To remove factories would mean regressing on technology – that feels negative.
Hospitals – controlled by the 1% – makes them profits, teaches drug-dependent medicine. Can hospitals be homepathic rather than allopathic? Education fits people into business and industrial jobs – does not teach; but could teach. So when you ask the question the answer is that the European institutions are at present negative, need they be negative? No. Have they ever not been negative? Again, no. Simplistic Russell Means answer, I don’t want European institutions, but the answer cannot be simple.
“And when the catastrophe is over, we American Indian peoples will still be here to inhabit the hemisphere.” Will they? To begin with my answer was no. Whilst I suspect any catastrophe will obliterate the cities, there will be sufficient of the 1% who will have made provision. But then again without minions to take their load will the 1% survive? What happens when money loses currency. So my answer is that I agree, I am too dependent on money – and too old so I won’t be there. That’s OK though. Natural catastrophe to reshape the world or my death is a no brainer, I’m rooting for the Indigenous, the Gaians, the people of ONE planet.
Like this:- “We have a term for these people; we call them “apples”–red on the outside (genetics) and white on the inside (their values). Other groups have similar terms: Blacks have their “oreos”; Hispanos have “Coconuts” and so on. And, as I said before, there are exceptions to the white norm: people who are white on the outside, but not white inside. I’m not sure what term should be applied to them other than “human beings.” ” I would like to think I am a human being but am I?
Posts Tagged ‘division’
Tags: Corporatocracy, division, intellect, Occupy
Tags: alienation, compassion, Compromise, division
I woke up this morning with some vague recollection of a dream concerning food and animal rights and the division on the left. I decided to go through a pointless exercise, and it is pointless for two reasons. Much that is animal rights is driven by idealism, and idealism is a regular bete noire of mine because it creates division. And the second reason is something that I always put forward as a priority, and that can never be a priority for these idealists and intellectuals – the need for unity.
To start discussing what we eat there is a principle that politically needs accepting – “you are what you eat”; so first and foremost the position we need to take is that we eat healthily. This is what Nature intended and we are part of Nature. Nature also tells us that it is natural to eat some meat or fish. Why? The scientific indicator for this is B12. Humans need B12 and this can only be obtained from animals or fish. There are some that argue B12 can be obtained from synthetic vitamins, I doubt that, but what does need to be accepted is that because B12 is needed some animals or fish need to be eaten. I would also claim that Nature has animals to provide us with food, but that need not be a political position.
This next part is not tactful but there needs to be some acceptance of the principle it presents. Animal rights positions have to some extent lost a grip. There are people within the animal rights movements who humanise animals to such an extent that they want to save the animals because of their “human” characteristics – or even “more than human” characteristics. Humans need to be caring, that is first and foremost, and so saving animals per se is not a principle; being humane is.
In general I see no need for animal testing. In many cases the animals are being tested with drugs, and synthetic drugs are not a medical means of success. This fits in with the Natural practice that we are what we eat. In other words being healthy is about ensuring our diet is good, and not whether some pills work on animals. As for cosmetic testing that is completely unacceptable, being inhumane to animals in order to be vain is not an acceptable principle of unity.
So having alienated most of the left and animal rights’ people, I now intend alienating the working-class. The typical British working-class diet is absolutely crass, and has no element of intelligence applied to it. There are working-class activists who eat foods that can only be designed to cause illness. When these people have the intelligence to recognise the power and practice of the corporatocracy and yet don’t question their diet it is foolish. However it is claimed by some nutritionists that there are people who need more meat than others, that has to be allowed for because peoples health through healthy eating needs to be a guide for a united position.
But whatever meat we eat we cannot accept inhumane practices with regards to meat. There can only be one acceptable approach to meat-eating and that is that the meat is free range. Nature I’m sure originally provided a balance between free range and the need to eat meat, this paleo balance I have discussed here. What was discussed here as a scientific rationale can also be the basis of a position of unity for the left concerning foods and animal rights. Eggs equally should be free range. How can eggs that are not naturally created – between cocks and hens – possibly be healthy? As well this is inhumane, and the conditions they are kept in to produce these unnatural eggs is also inhumane. Free range is needed.
And the biggest rallying cry for unity ought to be the recognition that in our foods there are toxins, toxins that are placed in our foods for BigFood to make a profit. We have accepted additives for convenience, and have not considered the aims of the corporatocracy. The corporatocracy exploits our labour in factories, why are they not going to exploit us elsewhere – in what we consume.
In the end Unity comes from understanding who we are. As human beings we need to be guided by compassion, and treating animals the way we do is inhumane. At the same time we need to consider that our political position needs to be guided by what is healthy for us. We are what we eat, if we eat toxins then we are going to be ill. BigFood and BigPharma work together in this. BigFood encourages us, often forces us, to eat unhealthy food. When we become ill BigPharma has pills to cure. Pills are not necessary with a healthy diet, so how we eat is a unified strategy for getting rod of pills – and the need for animal testing. Being humane to ourselves – stopping the inhumanity of the corporatocracy – is also the way to be humane with animals.
Do not place the ideas first, this is a tremendous failing of the left. Human compassion comes first, not the ideas of animal rights. Such rights are ideas that create prisons and division.
There has to be a position that unifies left-thinking people. The working-class needs their health, and this health does not come from the diet that exploits animals. Health is a platform of unity, not ideals. Let’s work together.
There are too many ideas and intellectuals involved in this area of discussion, the corporatocracy has its job done for them already. But this is a workable position of unity if people were prepared to compromise in their work against the corporatocracy, unfortunately where they compromise is usually working for the corporatocracy when compassion and not compromise need to be the byword.
Tags: Corporatocracy, division, history, intellect
This analysis is based on an understanding of Howard Zinn’s book – as well as my own understanding of the mass movement and socialism. I am stuck in an awful storm. I was on my way to Chan for my latest Fang Kem when the rain came. Despite my recent immune system weakness based on hormonal balance I refuse to accept limitations of my freedom based on health. It is my view that healing will occur through acupuncture, and developing the required balance through personal healing and recognising what is contributing to the hormonal balance – not just sex hormones!! The last few days the weather has been nice – good times especially at the beach, but today was a reminder that the rainy season is not over. Normally I would just ride in the rain but I was forced to stop – I couldn’t see and there was a wind. I stopped in a Khlung coffee shop, phoned the doctor, and ended up reading Howard Zinn.
There are strong indications that the Libertarians are based in the movement of US leaders against the British. But to be clear these early Libertarians were not fighting for freedom for the American people, they were fighting for freedom from the British. It is important to recognise the colonial structure prior to 1776 – Declaration of Independence. Despite the portrayed religious image, the British people who went to America were funded to go there for profiteering. The Conquistadores went for gold, but the later whites went for the profits to be gained from the land. Over time there developed a typical colonial structure in which some whites profited from the relationship with their colonial masters, but other educated people (middle-classes) saw the injustices for themselves and wanted their bit of the cake. The struggle for independence was not a class struggle in which the American people were founding a government for themselves, but a struggle in which one group of usurpers were replacing another, the US middle-classes who were less favoured than the British puppets.
When you have such a conflict – between 2 ruling classes, rhetoric is needed because each class needs ordinary people to fight their battles. Who was to fight the British soldiers? But the American people, who bought into the Declaration of Independence, were no less duped than the same British soldiers they were fighting; no less duped than the soldiers who fight today in the wars for profits that benefit the corporatocray.
When you listen to Libertarians today, what are you listening to? The same liberal middle classes who were trying to overthrow the British and their puppets. These are people who do not want a change of class in which government is by the people, they want a free-for-all in which the regulations of government that maintain the corporatocracy are withdrawn enabling a new ruling-class to gain control. But what is the nature of this new libertarian ruling-class? No change. This is not a power structure in which the people come first, it is a power structure in which different rulers can old power. They don’t want regulation because they don’t want restrictions. Freedom as a principle sounds wonderful but if there are no checks and balances for those less fortunate then there is no freedom. And by fortunate I am not simply talking about money. At present the Libertarians complain about the corporatocracy – understandable that is the ruling class. How does the corporatocracy rule? Bullying by the richest – typical being the way contributions dominate elections in so-called western democracies. So less fortunate means less money. But if Libertarians are genuinely concerned about the people, they would also be interested in those less fortunate because of race, creed and colour, they would be interested in providing a society in which those with disabilities of whatever form can still function in their society, in a society that is caring. This is genuine freedom for all.
What is useful about seeing the roots of libertarianism is to see that there is no change now. When libertarian approaches were first introduced – Declaration of Independence, these approaches were designed to replace the existing ruling-class with another. Howard Zinn points out that this same Libertarian class were running a tightrope in which they were trying to fuel the independence zeal of the poor but without actually giving the poor power. This is an equally valid description of libertarianism today, they have policies which entice the poor but which will never actually empower them.
And this is also a strong pointer as to why libertarians are so vehement in their attacks on socialism. Socialism has one proviso that does not work for those who wish to change the ruling-class – from corporatocrats to libertarians, socialism requires that the mass movement comes first. Ultimately that means all people need to be free but it requires the people come first and not an abstract principle of freedom where deregulation allows for repossessions etc. as collateral damage to a principle.
Once you see that socialism and libertarianism conflict, you can begin to see why there is so much funding for libertarians. At the same time if you examine historically the class of libertarians you can see that funding for them is just the ruling class funding itself. Whilst libertarians might see the corporatocracy as their enemy, the corporatocracy see libertarians as allies. Quite simply the corporatocracy knows there is only one way they can lose control. They need compliant people to make their profits, without a workforce and without consumers there is no corporatocracy. That is the fear of the 1%. That is why Occupy is fought with brutal police tactics, because Occupy is mass movement.
And that is why they will continue to fund the Sons of Liberty to write that socialism is dead. It is why they will continue to fund libertarian scholars such as von Mises to rewrite what is socialism. Why do so many scholars fail to see the distinction between socialism and communism? Why do so many scholars fail to analyse why the Soviet Union failed? Why China failed? And then equate that failure with the death of socialism? Why do scholars fail to draw a distinction between socialism and state socialism? Why is there so much confusion about a word that is so clear – an approach that benefits the mass movement. All the theories that the academics and idealists put in the way of the mass movement are funded. It is the intention that these words be confused, that the ideas confuse.
Through the 70s and 80s the British Labour party were famous for shooting themelves in the foot. Once the Bilderberg Veil, movie – Lifting the Veil, were aware that their puppets such as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were going to support their interest rather than the interests of the mass movement, they allowed the Conservative party to be divided over Europe. Primarily Blair then went ahead fighting their wars for profit under a supposed socialist banner of the Labour party. Sponsored academy then began to confuse Blair’s corporatocratic policies with socialism increasing speculation that socialism is dead. What is important for these Bilderbergers is the need to ensure that there is no mass movement organisation that will unite their workforce and their consumers – no organisation will remove the control by the corporatocracy. When there is no flagship of socialism for organised labour to unite behind their work is done. No matter how many intellectuals write that there is Bilderberg and conspiracies the Veil does not care, because there is NO organisation. The working-class movement needs leaders not intellectualism. These leaders need to be accountable within an appropriate genuine democratic structure, and not tokens ready to be bought off – Blair in the Quartet, Brown in Education(?).
And we have other stooges who muddy the pool of understanding. What about Alec Jones? Tons of money, and plenty of sound criticism of the corporatocracy and Bilderberg. But equally critical of socialism and mass movement organisations. People of this ilk – funded system critics alternative intellectuals – are significant because they are so divisive. There are not large numbers of these people, but their work populates the internet, and intellectuals succumb to the view that these people are both knowledgeable and a powerbase because of their funded presence. But integral to their whole approach is a criticism of socialism, the reason they are being funded.
And what do these funded idealists give reverence to – the Founding Fathers, the intellectuals who developed the constitution, the intellectuals who provided the rhetoric that duped the poor into fighting for these alternative rulers. The people rallied behind the Declaration of Independence, fought the wars of independence, and accepted the chattels of the new American ruling class. And as this American ruling class has gained power, money and become the corporatocracy, the Libertarians turn again to the same rhetoric to get the people to rally behind them. Do they want them as an army to fight the corporatocracy? Maybe not, but they do want the corporatocracy undermined so the Libertarians can take over. Not the people, the mass movement, the socialists BUT the Libertarians. Make no mistake, these Sons of Liberty are true to their historical roots – a different shade of ruling class.
Tags: alienation, division, Horizontalidad, NUT, Occupy, Trots
I saw yet another misguided posting concerning the death of socialism, and rather than get into another unresolving ding-dong with the person concerned I thought I would comment here. The comment referred to a PBS series I have not watched yet. Death of socialism?
Significant in the discussion of this death(?) is the history of Russia in the 20th century, and to understand this one needs to consider Russia in light of the dominant ethos that fashioned the USSR – the Bolshevik revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the continuous imperialist infractions, and its ultimate demise to the criminal plutocracy. To analyse these factors can show that socialism is far from dead but that this methodology of state control is deeply flawed – the methodology of state socialism or communism.
How can a mass movement revolution begin with a minority of people? The very word Bolshevik means minority, and the concept, vanguard, is disrespectful to the mass movement. These people in the vanguard wanted a revolutionary change, knew that the Russian people were not ready, were impatient, so decided that a small minority were to lead “the masses” to revolution for their own good – whether it was wanted or not. A completely false premise.
Once in power this revolution needed to maintain dictatorial control. In theory this sounds correct. Post-revolution the West sponsored a huge amount of insurrection within Russia, waging a war that lasted internally until Stalin – not unlike US intervention in Iraq, Syria and Libya and wherever else the US and its western allies have been and will go. To fight this war against the whites, dictatorial control was the chosen method – because the people were not behind the revolution in the first place. The theory is that such a dictatorship would gradually disappear as the state would have such a strong basis in the mass movement there would be no need for any form of dictatorship. Whether this was a matter of the personalities at the time or whether the concept is flawed I am not prepared to be categorical about, but the reality was that the dictatorship of the proletariat lasted until Gorbachev. Gorbachev’s approach killed a dying system. Through Perestroika and Glasnost he was encouraging the mass movement to own the system. Apathy had become endemic because of the dictatorship of the communist party, the people did not own what was happening in the USSR and were as helpless as the people are in the bipartisan “democratic” dictatorships of the West – see the movie Lifting the Veil if you don’t agree with that assessment of the West. Gorbachev tried to return that ownership to the people, but the apathy was too deeply entrenched and the people were too alienatied from the system. Opportunist criminals took over – encouraged by the West, and we now have in Russia a typical dictatorship by the Veil. What we had in 20th century “Russia” is not a history of socialism, but a history of communism – state socialism – that was based on a vanguard revolution and entrenched by dictatorship, and neither concept has any connection with the genuine grass roots mass movement – socialism.
What we do have at the present moment in time is socialism growing in a new form – Occupy or Horizontalidad (check the tag cloud). In the Middle East we have the Arab Spring, in Latin America we have Horizontalidad, in the West there are the grass roots movements that have lately unified into Occupy. Throughout my discussions on Occupy there was the theme of democratic socialism, a peoples’ movement whose organisation was not flawed and who were not bought off by the establishment, specifically the manner in which the system uses representation as a means of control – see tag cloud NUT. Far from being dead socialism has developed from being the models of imposed socialism by the state socialists and communists (dictatorship) to a genuine grass roots democracy as shown in Occupy.
Sadly in recognising the importance of the mass movement as the socialist organ we have to understand that in the current level of corporatocratic control such a movement has been controlled – repressed. Typical of that control is the repeated media analysis that socialism is dead, quite simply the corporatocracy knows that the only means that their 1% can be defeated is when the 99% act in unison as a socialist body – internally directing itself. Also important is the accompanying rejection of Marx’s economic analysis. I am no Marxist expert but the notion of marginal costs is so important, who gets the profits? Who makes the profits? The workers in the factory. Who takes the profits? The owners of the factories. In the UK when these profits were beginning to be redistributed in the 70s, the Veil engineered confrontation with the unions, and ensured that ordinary people suffered the consequences. Rather than negotiate for a fair share of the profits the corporatocracy stonewalled forcing strike action. Once that action had taken place, the unions were blamed, and there was a backlash and the introduction of the scourge of Thatcher. She killed off the unions with the attack on the miners, and now the UK has austerity programmes because there is no organised mass movement to fight back. The need for a strong mass movement, for a socialist movement, is stronger than ever. There is the birth of such a movement through Occupy but there are so many divisive intellectuals around unable to see the woods for the trees because their own individual egos, and the ideas they think they own, are more important to them than the mass movement itself. This was a problem in the movement when I was active – see tag cloud Trots, and it is the problem now where individuals present individual views through the internet rather than making the effort to work together in mass movement organisations – continuing socialism.
A significant part of this intellectual approach is ideas and ownership of ideas. Intellectuals believe that the ideas they have “created” are what causes changes. This is not the case. There are no new ideas, just rehashing of old ones. The issue is awareness, confrontation and power, awareness of the expoitation that is around, an awareness that usually comes when good people are confronted by the system and prevented from being good, and a recognition that the power of the mass movement is what will bring meaningful change. Post second world war in the UK the Veil was forced to introduce the Welfare State and NHS. Now the Veil through Cameron is forcing people who cannot get jobs (because there aren’t any) to pick up litter to get a subsistence allowance; this loss of quality has occurred from 1945 – 2013. Where is the mass movement that has allowed this loss? Unaware of the importance of mass-movement based unions, under Thatcher people allowed the unions to be decimated, a process that has continued to this day. Intellectuals are divisive in the union movement because they cannot accept rule by majority. Their ideas are too important to them, like the ideas of the vanguard that brought in the state socialism in Russia last century, and they fail to see the necessity of working in and with the mass movement. Until such ego is let go division will continue to occur, and the corporatocracy will continue to retain control.
The posting quoted the PBS series so I decided to watch it. here was my reaction:-
“Heaven on Earth
All 3 parts are linked here.
I had to stop watching, Robert Owen the second Christ? Education from birth to indoctrinate a socialist, isn’t that what we have now – a neocolonial education that accepts corporatocracy? Intellectuals. If I ever watch another PBS? Just because the media is not Tea Party does not mean the media is not biased. I am biased, I am a socialist. In establishment UK learning Robert Owen was always presented as a man with new ideas – although that is not true he just had money, but in the US he is presented as believing he was the second Christ. In the Lanark mills where the workers were treated responsibly the intellectual simply remarks on state control. This sounds as if it’s the right wing (libertarianism?) on socialism, socialism is just state socialism rather than having anything to do with the mass movement.
The series is based on a work by Joshua Muravchik “Heaven on Earth: The Rise and fall of Socialism”, and was described here as “JOSHUA MURAVCHIK has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal as “maybe the most cogent and careful of the neoconservative writers on foreign policy.” He is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies and formerly a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.” A neocon writing about socialism, is this going to be biased? A man recognised as cogent by the Wall Street Journal? Whoever sites such as a legit discussion of socialism is wasting peoples’ time.
Is this worth pursuing?
Gave up, this is rubbish – neocon rubbish.
Understanding where socialism is today is important, this just right-wing misdirection.”
I have no idea why any progressive would put this up, I only offer the URL out of discipline.
Tags: alienation, division, intellect, Trots
This is a fascinating but exhausting characteristic.
To try to get to understand this character I am going to examine other “characters”. The first such character I met was the “Trot”. Now these intellectuals helped destroy the UK political movement, not that Thatcher really needed their help – mind you the security state still felt the need to infiltrate. Typically these Trots would arrive at university, and get a deep conviction, insight, that the political system was unfair, go to lots of meetings and learn a whole bunch of political ideas about revolution etc. – and get laid. What had been a deep insight about the inadequacy of the system had become replaced by a bunch of ideas, hence the term Trotsky intellectual – Trot.
Being politics it didn’t remain in the corridors of academia. These Trots, spouters of ideas, went out into the mass movement. But they were not constructive. In meetings that were already significantly dwindling because of Thatcher’s strategies, they would unintentionally be disruptive to the collective democratic process. Democratically they have the right to their ideas but what was the purpose of the meeting? To come together to get a joint strategy that all were agreed upon – or at least could act on. Typically a topic would be discussed and the Trots would have an extreme position, a position that I would tend to agree with personally but one which the majority of the movement found extreme. These Trots would often present a motion to the affect of their position, and argue vociferously for their motion. If you listened to the volume then you would consider the meeting favoured the motion. Such motions were regularly defeated because the majority of people were not in favour and were silent – intimidated by the noise. This intimidated silence was an aspect of alienation, and such alienation was a significant result of Trot activity within the movement.
So you might argue that these people have a right to their ideas. But you have to look at the purpose – uniting the mass movement. If left-wing politics were ever to be successful they had to as a mass democratic movement united – bringing people together. I remember organising around the Poll Tax which was a movement that had been hijacked by the Trots. I got a phone call to discuss the Poll Tax demo, the voice was interested but slightly withdrawn. We discussed a while, he said I was Militant and put the phone down; obviously I hadn’t done enough to dispel the alienation Militant had caused. Typically Trot the demo was a disaster, the more violent elements encouraged by agent provocateurs held sway, there was conflict with the police, and the majority of people never supported the movement again. Because of the power of feeling the government changed the Poll Tax to Council Tax but it still ended up being a tax on people just not quite so much. But for me this was failure, and Trots symbolised alienation.
I said I tended to support their ideas, this is still true. But it is the process that was more important, working together to build a movement not the proliferation of ideas. Turning the insight of the Veil (or some other socialist insight) into a practical democratic process was the basis for a concerted approach, something the movement was never able to do then but something Occupy has been much more successful with.
What has to be understood is that adherence to ideas is what divided the movement, helped continue the destruction of a working-class alternative, and this division was why the establishment infiltrated such groups. On a personal note these people were exhausting to deal with, just as you present approaches that they accept then they remember their ideas and cling to them – end of discussion and real process.
Intellectuals in general are divisive. Once you create an idea and you ask for people to accept that idea you create a division, those who agree and those who don’t. Unity occurs through a process, a process of working together where unity is the main objective and not the promulgation of ideas. This is why insight and intellect are in a sense opposites. People with insight and intellectuals can talk about the same things but those with insight do not cling to those ideas, they “cling” to the process of insight. If you practice insight meditation then there is no clinging, ideas might grow from the process of unity and clarity but it is those processes that are important – not the ideas themselves.
Trots and intellectuals generally I have discussed but what about a particular group of intellectuals – libertarians? These people believe in freedom. Sounds fine until you get into issues like no regulation of finance. Such financial bully-boy charters (regulations) led to the crash of 2008, and the crash and all the repossessions were considered by libertarians simply collateral damage for a correct set of ideas. How can a democratic movement put ideas before people?
Associated with the libertarian movement are people like Alec Jones and David Icke – discussed on this blog (see tag). These two and those that agree with their ideas or extend their idea base I am calling the alternative intellectuals, intellectuals who promote a set of ideas that are alternative. What happens to these people? At some stage in their life they have had a deep insight that what the system is promoting is a financial system that accrues money to the wealthy to the deformation of ordinary people, people are just wage-slaves or worse. Division is again caused because it is generally required that you believe in the ideas presented or you don’t. So you start with the correct insight that the purpose of our financial system benefits the super-rich but then you get divisions because people demand that you accept their ideas.
Then you have belief systems often religious of nature. These belief systems say believe or not so we have a division. There are people calling for religious unity, and this unity is essential. But this unity cannot come from comparing the ideas and saying that mostly our idea bases are the same. Why? They are similar. Because there will always be intellectuals who focus on the differences – creating division.
Associated with belief systems are these alternative intellectuals, they have additional belief systems about chemtrails, GMO, energy, angels, and many many more. I am not in any way trying to say that any of these ideas are true or false, I am not asking you to believe in them or not, but the alternative intellectuals are. This demand for belief creates division as well. What is important is a process of unity, we are ONE, let’s work together, work in harmony etc. There cannot be oneness on the superficial level of ideas. Ideas separate because you must accept or not – duality. But if you work on the unity that comes from insight through meditation or otherwise there is no division, only ONE planet.
Trots are exhausting, they keep barking their ideas at you because they believe in the ideas so fervently they feel you must believe them as well. But when you listen they don’t feel right because they are barking ideas and not living in insight – there is no empathy. The same applies to other intellectuals who bark their ideas at you expecting agreement – no empathy, and it becomes draining because the only objective of discussion is agreeing with their ideas or not. And it is draining because insight seeks unity and with intellectuals there is no unity. You tell the intellectual seek the answer inside but they don’t wish to go there so as soon as you start with the inside the intellectual blames others – often leading to insult. Sadly this intellectual framework does not sit well with loved ones as love seeks insight.
What is so hard is that all these people are crying out for is agreement, crying out for unity, crying out for harmony – their original insight. They seek out people with insight but as soon as they find these people with insight they test them with their ideas, do they agree? Then when they don’t pass these tests, the benchmarks bench those they have sought, when all they need to do is deeply listen. This is no different for those divided by war (as opposed to the corporatocracy who create the wars). They want peace but they can’t deeply listen to find that peace.
Yet the Trots and alternative intellectuals are fortunate because they have had a strong insight, it is that insight that made them aware of the lies in the system. But their conditioning changed that insight into a bunch of ideas, and they have forgotten that they had insight. They have lost focus, and need to return to insight. Then these ideas will know their place. Their anger and frustration insists they must bark these ideas at every opportunity – even when people don’t want to hear; their actions effectively try to drag other people into the same arena of anger and frustration. But with insight you can know about the ideas without being possessed by these emotions, without insight you cannot. These intellectuals need to remember the source of their understanding and return to insight.
These types of intellectualism, so lauded in the West, are perhaps the greatest success of the miseducation system because they have effectively eschewed insight, and at the same time causing anger and frustration and bringing about such division because of the ideas – and sometimes providing excuses for war. Peace and understanding through insight, please.
Tags: Corporatocracy, division, history, intellect, Occupy
Warning – Alex Jones is a problem.
I dont like promoting Alex Jones films because of the hidden messages they contain – discussed below. But I do think this movie is worth considering:-
I downloaded it from here.
When you watch this movie it is definitely worth considering the level of control being exerted by the “robber barons”. The advantage that Alex Jones has is that he is financially well hung – strong right-wing sponsorship. This enables a level of research people on the left cannot afford. That is the advantage of this movie he has the money to trace back and make the connections of the powers-that-be – I made some of the connections here.
But you do need to consider what is the purpose of this right-wing sponsorship. Alex Jones promotes individualism and this is a type of Republican message that is so dangerous. We do need individualism, we need the individualism that questions, that thinks for itself. Having worked on the left there is no doubt that these people (lefties) are individualists because you don’t join the Left unless you question the establishment. But what is the major problem on the left? Division. Individuals who do not accept collective discipline for the greater good – the collective. The Occupy movement recognised these problems and altered their democracy to reflect this – see my discussions on Occupy starting here, many blogentries. Throughout the Alex Jones movie there are derogatory references to the collective. Why? The collective is us, the people. There is a strong attack on collective as if joining together is not the correct way forward as if collectivism is a tool of the establishment. We are together already but the problem is that our power has been taken away from us by mind control and other misuses of power by the financial elite – robber barons. It is only when that natural collective functions in the interest of all the people that we have a solution to our problems.
Who are these robber barons? These are individuals who put their own interests first. This is the anomaly throughout the libertarian position. By promoting individuality first you promote the same interests that leads to the elite exploitation. They want freedom, these Right-Wing sponsors want to use that freedom to exploit the rest of humanity through mind control. That misuse of freedom has to be controlled whilst at the same time freedom for all needs to be promoted, this type of paradox is at the heart of democracy and is the fundamental flaw of these Republican libertarians.
The other fallacy that libertarians promote is the Founding Fathers. Throughout this movie there is the historical perspective that the root of all the financial exploitation lies in Europe, and of course it does. But then there is somehow an implication that this financial root has managed to somehow divert the wonderful American Founding Fathers. This is such a crock. Throughout history the exploiting class have developed constitutions, used academic literature, promoted ideals – basically appropriated any human virtue in order to exploit. The American constitution sounds great, but like everything else that is “virtuous” there was never any intention for that constitution to be put into practice. In the same way that Europe’s virtues were used to make wage-slaves of the European population, the constitution of these Founding Fathers was used to enslave the American peoples. There was never a wonderful society (cowboys?) in which American people helped each other, worked for each other, and showed compassion based on the virtues of the constitution. The constitution is simply the tool it was intended to be, the image of virtue that enslaved the American people. Alex Jones Republican masters misuse his own idealism for that constitution in a way that divides ordinary people fighting for their rights.
Libertarians demand freedom – whatever the consequences. Libertarians don’t provide protection for ordinary people, it is a bully’s charter – free to do what you want if you are powerful enough. So when you listen to Alex Jones, try to remember this. Whilst his analysis of what is wrong with society is sound – based on much financial support, his solution is just more of the same – a charter for individuals to exploit.
The foundation of any political action needs to be compassion.
Tags: 4 Agreements, Anatta, Buddhism, Corporatocracy, division, enquiry, khandas
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.
I got involved in another interesting thread with Greg, and we reached a consensus “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. :)” Yet this thread began with this picture:-
The thread began with division and ended with unity. Isn’t this the wrong way round? At the beginning of the thread there is a critique of the socialists of the 99% by a libertarian of the 99% effectively supporting the interests of the 1%.
Now I know Greg does not support the 1%, and was presenting this picture (in part) to warn against government but the picture does not say socialist government, it says socialists. In the quote Greg challenges me to change the perception of socialism. That is issueing a challenge against the 1% media, I cannot win. But whilst I don’t agree with some of his liberatarian positions, no blog or mb question from me would present an attack on libertarianism per se. I would say, and have said, that Reagan’s deregulation of the economy has led to the current economic crisis we are in, but that does not mean that I disagree with all that libertarianism has doneor stands for. 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.
I learnt this most when I was a socialist activist. Union meetings would be dominated by sectarian divisions, divisions that if they were examined by the majority of people would not be recognised as anything different. Whilst we focus on division we are the puppets of the 1%.
Now I contend that the governments of the USSR and China were not socialist, Cuba has more to offer but to describe it as socialist would not fit in with my limited understanding of marxism. But what about the socialists who live in NATO countries? What do these socialists do? They work within their own organisations and within the mass movement. Where do most people contact with them? In the mass movement organisations. And what do they do there? They work mostly as grass roots activists trying to better the interests of the mass movement against the interests of the 1% or corporatism. For the most part this is what they do, grass roots activism. Their tactics might not always be good, their approach might in some cases be alienating, but what they are trying to do is work for the interests of the mass movement at the grass roots level against the interests of the 1%.
So why do we allow ourselves to be divided against these people along minimal divisions? These grass roots socialist activists might believe in socialist government, but NOW their interests align with the 99% as are the professed interests of libertarianism because the 1% are the most powerful reducers of our freedom and liberties. A socialist government in the US, this is not happening in the next …., so why fight against them?
Let’s take the issue of deregulation. Whilst I can never support deregulation of the 1% – get rid of the 1% and I more than likely would support deregulation, what about deregulation of the 99%? In general no problem. After all the law is designed by the 1% to allow them to do what they want and repress the 99%. This can so clearly be seen in the US with the horrific repression of the Occupy movement, people standing up and saying thath the 1% have taken homes, bailouts etc. Work together on common ground rather than highlighting idealistic differences.
The 1% divides and rules, we need to fight this by working together in commonality.
As an erstwhile communist a major strategy was to counter splitting. In theory what they did was to work hard at trying to keep the movement as integrated as possible. In fact tyhis theory was far from their own practice as at the time I was active a small communist party was split into CPGB – a party that worked to get votes for the CP, CPB(Morning Star)? – forgotten the name of this one but it was a party revolved around the paper, and the NCP. Now the CPB and the NCP were revolutionary in the sense that they saw the only solution was a revolution as opposed to the CPGB being electoral. I am guessing the numbers at the time were 5000, 600, 600, and I was one of the NCP’s 600. So they were anti-aplitting yet there were only approx 6200 UK communists. That says enough.
Here is what the NCP told me to do. I was NUT and the NUT leadership were reactionary. Within the NUT the leadership had formed a group called the “Broad Left” that was primarily there to counter the “Socialist Teachers’ Alliance”. Because teachers are primarily intellectuals this socialist teachers group were relatively strong. Now in truth they didn’t function well. Conference was the main forum for both these groups and you could tell an STA motion by the inclusion of the words “up to and including strike action”. Conference was a battle about whether motions would get passed that included these words. The leadership didn’t want strike action because strikes usually lost members, the STA pushed strikes. Neither addressed the problems in education, and these groups were locked in a conference battle Broad Left vs STA. Now my sympathies were more strident than many in the STA, but I was told to join the Broad Left to prevent splitting. This strategy was completely wrong, I should have been in the STA trying to get an approach that wasn’t splitting. I was always in favour of an Education Charter that dealt with Conditions of Service, and that the union shoulod mobilise behind this charter. But that was unlikely to happen because teachers are mostly concerned about paying their mortgages. If your battle is with Trottish egos, that’s where you have to work – stopping splitting whilst showing genuine commitment to the struggle.
My point here is simple, you fight the splitters but do not support the 1%. NUT leadership supported the 1% by its actions. I suspect there were similar approaches in all unions at the time. Crazy. These compromises have led to a worsening iof the situation in the last 50 years. Its is time to throw out compromise whether that is splitting or not.