Thursday, September 30, 2004

Alicublog

Responding to Alicublog's little "Link to me 'cause I want attention!" or whatever link on the bottom of the page...

If a person wants attention, writing on the internet is not the way to go about getting it.

Anyone who thinks that has no grip on reality.

Why do I write this?

Not for attention.

In fact, look, if you want attention, saying out there things is not the way to go.

It works like this: some 'out there' things get attention, but they're mostly not really out there but instead denatured and toothless playthings that the media, in whatever form, can bat around and say how cool they are for doing it.

Real out there things get no such attention because people have limits. And...being out there means you fuckin' don't care about things like that...

There's an out there set where people with cheese and crackers in one hand looking at an art show in New York go along looking at vaguely pornographic pictures and say 'oh my, how shocking, how daring of him to do that'. And then there's the out there set which has to collapse out of exhaustion brought on by some sort of wildly productive and interesting seizure or fit.

Good Night.

I'm in a bind here,,,

Can't really say what I want to say, but can't not say a damn thing....

I feel, and, don't get me wrong on this, that if I indeed said what I'd want to say I'd be a propagandist for pushing this country into dissolution and petty but violent, in every sense of the word. conflicts between regions, neighborhoods, ethnic groups, CLASSES, ideologies etc...

Or maybe I'd just be looked at as not a very nice person.

Either way, I'm sort of gagged...

In part because scortched earth commentary doesn't always find receptive ears. Some people like, um, blogs that don't want to criticize everything to the core and never stop until the filthy center is reached.

They think that the apple protects them from the filthy center, and what's more they come down on Michigan apples since they compete with Washington apples.

I don't know where I stand on this controversy. I'm from Michigan, actually grew up almost amidst the apple orchards, but I live in Washington.

Maybe we need peaches instead of apples. They have pits and it's harder to get to the cores and the cores are protected and don't rot quite as easily.

Or maybe avacados.

They're fruits even though they have the fat of a vegetable. That way we could please both the fruit and vegetable constituencies and have fat to please people as well.

Avacadoes have pits, too, which would protect them from rotting at the core just like peaches.

Or grapes.

Grapes just have seeds and they really don't have cores, so that if a grape goes bad then the whole thing is bad and you know it from the start.

But grapes are small. That's why they have to band together! Like a confederation. A grape vine is like an anarcho-syndicalist confederation in the fruit world.

But who grows the vine? What soil does it come out of?

And grapes need trellises to be able to stand up for themselves.

Could that undermine the revolution? Could it be said that the trellis suppliers are always at fault, damn bourgeoisie messing everything up?

And what about the wine?

Yes, what about the wine.

These are burning questions, which I'm having a great deal of fun with in this rambling.

I think I'm going to pass out now, hopefully.

Rejoinder 2

Both groups, unfortunately.

Jesus, I don't want to talk about anti-semitism...

I think that one thing is true, though: if a person can't cut through whatever crap they're brought up with to see people of Jewish descent as equal human beings then they really aren't ready to join in unionism...

You can't support workers' rights while hating a section of humanity.

Plenty of racists who would love to support workers' rights if they thought it meant white workers only, lines have to be drawn.

The rejoinder to the joke

Is that when a few of the good old boys found out the truth they still hated 'em.

Why don't conservatives like organized labor?

Announcing a new project: The Lost Highway Book

I've decided, because my essential work on this site is basically complete, to try to go through things and assemble the essential writings from this site, then take those concepts and reform them, work them out into a coherent statement, and publish it as a book.

It will take quite a bit of work on my part and will not come out overnight but it will come out, some way.

It won't be a series of reprints from the site, instead it will be, like I said, a real, coherent, book about politics, philosophy, economics, sociology, American history, European history, Western History, world history, religion, native cultures, etc... all worked out and put into a form which resembles any sort of book that you'd see for sale anywhere.

I'm doing it myself.

There's a lot of things of worth on this site and I've succeeded in doing something that no one else has: writing higher level theory about society which isn't derivative, which isn't just "X author's bullshit taken a little further".

Any suggestions would be helpful.

There's a whole lot of groundwork which has been established, but it's going to take some time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Vote for Kerry. Reality, the great terminator of illusions, has hit the nation

One can say a lot and one can write a lot, but eventually one has to cut the bull and say what they or one, whatever, really thinks.

Just vote for Kerry, god damn it.

Just vote for him.

The behavior of a lot of Democrats has been abhorrent.

I've seen, or read, people falling for the same shit that they've criticized.

But the underlying issues still remain.

And they indicate that despite all the bull by the dems that Kerry remains the choice.

What people have done can be considered after the election.

A whole lot of things which need to be talked about can be talked about after the election.

But they don't change the underlying factors, which indicat that Kerry must win.

Vote for Kerry because Totalitarianism is what's on this referendum

Totalitarianism is on the referendum today.

Do we want to install it? Do we want to go along with it and say we tacitly endorse a murderous state or do we want to marshall ourselves strongly enough to say, democratically, that we reject the whole system of beliefs which Bush represents and the whole system of beliefs which Americans who are for Bush represents.

Why I think you should vote for John Kerry, no sarcasm in this, no irony, no joking. Why you should cast your vote for Kerry instead of Nader

Allright, I've come off the fence. You should vote for Kerry.

You should vote for Kerry you should vote for Kerry you should vote for Kerry.

Despite all the bad things I've written, you should vote for Kerry.

Why?

Well, I endeavor in this blog to get to the bottom of things or at least to get to a deeper level than is usually talked about.

You should vote for Kerry for one simple reason: this is a referendum on the state of civil society in America.

It's a referendum with global and local significance.

This is a referendum between two currents in American civil society: on the one hand you have a movement to push back all gains motivated by the hatred by the right of the civil liberties which have been gained since the sixties and the seventies. It's a referendum about whether we as a nation want to revert to the rule of a terrorist right wing in this country or whether we want to have normalized civil liberties internally and normalized relations with the rest of the world externally.

The Bush current is much like the fascist parties of old.

They're motivated by the threat that their privilege and their power might be restrained. They don't like the fact that the rest of the world doesn't like us doing whatever we want, they don't like the fact that internally we want the rule of law and the rule of democracy.

They want to destroy it all because they never believed in it in the first place, and the Cold War, the Red Scares of the World War I era, and previous jingoistic movements allowed this filth of American society to exist unchallenged.

They want to assert total control now that their little world has been threatened.

We have to stop them.

Stopping them means showing that American society rejects this path.

We have to consider the means by which we do this.

We can't fall into the trap of using fascist methods ourselves to keep Nader off the ballot.

We shouldn't vote for Nader but we shouldn't prevent other people who for ideological reasons will never change their vote from voting for him.

We should go into this with two eyes open, but the truth is that in the capitalist system their are no clear cut nice progressive choices available.

We always have to deal with bad people, but between a free market trader who wants to extend the capitalist system by rule of law and one who wants to extend it by force and domination we must choose the free market.

Can we do it?

Yes we can.

We can elect Kerry as a vote saying that Americans support democracy and freedom.

Democracy and freedom are the issues here, not anything else.

If we throw the election for Bush it'll be a reflection of the status we have in the center of the empire which blinds us to the realities effecting the rest of the world.

We can defeat fascism. We can defeat Bush. Voting for Kerry is saying that you reject fascism.

Totalitarianism is on the referendum today.

Do we want to install it? Do we want to go along with it and say we tacitly endorse a murderous state or do we want to marshall ourselves strongly enough to say, democratically, that we reject the whole system of beliefs which Bush represents and the whole system of beliefs which Americans who are for Bush represents.

Why I posted all that personal stuff

Not for a woe is me, or at least not totally for a woe is me, effect but rather to give vent to a slice of life in this great country of ours which is, hell, not even recognized as existing.

You know, people talk about privilege a lot, people talk about what an unequal country we have a lot...and some have been through shit, some are just sitting in nice little offices reading the left-wing internet at work.

I've experienced what it feels like when privilege breaks down.

I remember encountering my high school principle after I'd left the town I was talking about and embarked on getting a nice, prep schoolish, edumaction, and he remarked to me "I'm glad you're still alive", in a very condescending 'FUCK YOU' tone.

I'm glad I'm still alive, too, but there's all sorts of invisible shit which goes on on a daily basis that no one talks about no one acknowledges and no one cares about.

I wanted to bring a little of that to the front, to show people a little bit of how others live in this country and what it does to them.

Continued US Airstrikes in Baghdad Draw Criticism

"Drawing a parallel between U.S. tactics in Iraq and Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, President Ghazi Ajil Yawer said the U.S. strikes were viewed by the Iraqi people as "collective punishment" against towns and neighborhoods."

Collective punishment is an interesting concept which has a long history. If this is indeed what is happening we should be really concerned.

Why? The long history of collective punishment includes the Nazis murdering ten civillians in Italy for every Nazi army personnel killed by the Partisans.

So if this is what the U.S. is doing in Sadr city and elsewhere we're in good company.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The sins of Communism

The sins of Communism as a political position....are really traceable back to the idea of an original sin.

I struggle with this a lot.

You see, the reform Communist movement gives a great outline of what socialism is, or could be, which takes account of human rights, social rights, economic rights, all these things....but there's a problem.

What I struggle with, and don't have an answer for, is the fact that although the reformed plan for a socialist/Communist society looks really good it's basic form and features were worked out with the blood of the Russians under Stalinism.

Isaac Deutscher, in his books about Stalin and the Stalin era, makes the point that what Stalin and his supporters were up to was creating a revolution from above which would complete the work of the Revolution and make the Soviet Union totally and truly socialist in every way.

This was done in Deutscher's opinion, by hardline people who, when confronted with the choice of either letting Russia become less socialist and more economically viable that way or clamping down on civil liberties and trying to make the economy work through aggressive police state measures, were partial to the latter. As was Trotsky, originally at least, by the way. So people in the Soviet government, in the twenties, when faced with either economic collapse or one of the two roads outlined above chose Stalin's position, which was radical while still being conservative.

And armed with this putsch in the central committee they carried out their ideal of Revolution from above to make the Soviet Union totally and irrevocably socialist.

They succeeded, at least in making a thorough socialist-like society.

The moral problem of reform Communism comes in when people try to take the basic framework established during the Stalin years, dust off some of the bad parts, make it flexable, make it democratic, and try to use it as an ideal of how socialism could work.

There are many attractive things in this model, no doubt, many very attractive things; and it was realized in practice, too, even the reforms.

Some people seemed to like it. Others really, really, hated it.

But either way the fact remains that the model arrived at was birthed in blood and persecutions.

Khruschev's reforms partook of Stalins 'socialist gains' as much as anyone's did.

So we have two competing ideologies, it seems: the Anarchist/Left Communist ideology which presents a model of how society could work which is decentralized and worker controlled, but which hasn't been tested in reality much, and the reformed Stalinist framework, which offers a lot of potential answers to questions like how are we going to organize the economy on a non-capitalist basis after the revolution and what should the aims of socialism be for the average person, but which was birthed in blood.

Is it right to take crib notes from Castro's Cuba when discussing how one might organize a libertarian society? It isn't such a farfetched idea; Castro's Cuba is much more reformed now than before and does offer some insights in certain areas about how to construct a socialist society which can be useful for anarchists and other libertarians, although I suspect only the left Marxists or Libertarian Marxists or whatever you want to call them, will be interested.

Is it right to look at Hungary's reforms and say that they might offer an insight into how to balance a non-market system of distribution with a limited market system?

Where does the moral issue begin and end?

I don't know.

The easy way out is the most illegitamate way, and I won't even suggest it although I'm sure you can guess it.

Zbignew Zingh: 'Soviets 'r' us'

Ha! You've got it all wrong.

Soviets 'r' us indeed...

The bogeyman Soviets infected us with their germs....I find this current of thought in anarchist circles very funny.

There's nothing wrong with critiqueing the Soviet Union...from the days when the Revolution turned into a rule by Party to Stalinism to the reformed days of Khruschev and later Gorbachev there's plenty to criticize.

But, as good old Mr. Trotsky pointed out, there are ways to criticize the Soviet Union and there are ways to criticize the Soviet Union.

You can criticize what Lenin did by adopting the anti-Communist propaganda that was put out or you can criticize it by means of a critique which relies solely on leftist ideas.

Trotsky pointed out how strange it was that Emma Goldman started to mimic the anti-Communism of the American Right.....this anarchist, who fought for freedom, starting to spout the lies of reactionaries.

Soviet Union...what a bugaboo.

The perception that it all went to hell when the party got the upper hand in the revolution is a conveniant way to use U.S. anti-communist propaganda while still calling yourself an anarchist. That way you have no blood on your hands, nothing to apologize for or to ruminate over morally. Conveniant, eh?

Life isn't so conveniant.

The party did not totally take over the Revolution. Throughout the period of time that's being talked about there was a constant struggle between militants and party functionaries, with sometimes the party winning and sometimes the militants winning......but the militants didn't give up and go to sleep because the party was asserting control of things.

During this struggle they accomplished a great many positive things as well, and to dismiss the entire Revolution after the party started exerting itself as totally flawed and worthless is to ignore the real gains that sincere socialists made in creating a real socialist, worker, society despite the interference from the party itself.

There was also the Left Opposition inside the Party. There were also Party members who were really, really, radical who fought for the Party to endorse more progressive actions, and sometimes they succeeded in their aims. What are we to make of them, the activists who convinced the party to be more responsive to the people and more authentically socialist?

You see, this is why I'm a left Marxist/autonomist/whatever the fuck you want to call me. I've dealt with the moral implications of all these issues and haven't spent my time looking for the pure revolution that I can endorse without feeling that there are troubling complications.

Mike Whitney: Kerry's Moral Compass

Interesting.

I disagree with the idea that Kerry's victory would mean something worse for Iraq than a Bush victory.

We're talking about two different sorts of impact here: on the one hand, there's Bush, determined to play the Iraq occupation the hardest way he can and possibly extend that treament to Iran or Syria.

On the other hand there's the possibility that Kerry, after having made Iraq a little better by moderating the killing, will entice allies to join in the moderated killing.

On one axis, that of broad scope, this is a little worse than what Bush is doing, but on the axis of intensity Bush has it down pat.

I think that in this case the level of intensity is more important than the scope of the people involved in the coalition.

Oh, hey Mike Whitney! You live in Washington, right? Why don't you give me a ring via e-mail and, if you read this site, we can arrange to have a coffee and talk politics.

The e-mail address for this site is losthighway@radiolink.net

Dan Meek: How Democrats Kicked Nader Off the Oregon Ballot

Democracy, eh?

You realize, don't you Democrats, that you're doing this for John Kerry, right?

There's a difference between being on your knees and bending over.

If you want to service Kerry on your knees to get Bush out, I can understand, but you're bending over big time right now.

I call it the Siberia effect

Being forced into association with the criminal underground ,banished from established society, because you dissent from the norm.

Jail time is the likely consequence of the shunning, although I never did time, but even without prison the disenfranchisement of being in the wrong place at the wrong time believing the wrong things has the same effect as being shipped to a criminal community on the other side of the continent.

It's what happened in Tsarist Russia and was one of the reasons why a steady stream of hate and bile accumulated towards the status quo over the years.

Boston.com / News / World / Europe's terror fight quiet, unrelenting

Read every single word of this article and commit it to memory.

This is exactly what I was talking about in my recent post "What is Terrorism", exactly.

Terrorism is a criminal phenomenon which should be fought with law enforcement.

Ugh. Can't believe I said that, but in this case law enforcement, not militarized police state forces allied to an ideological understanding of what the issues are, is the key.

Europe has used this approach with great success, and it isn't a police state.

"At public vigils, millions of Spaniards held up hands painted white, a symbol that for a decade has been used to protest Basque terrorism -- making the point that those with clean hands outnumber and will defeat those whose hands are stained with blood."

This shows a great understanding of what terrorism really is that we seem to not share: terrorism is using bloody and unjustified attacks against civillian targets to attain political ends.

Those people in the Spanish train were responsable for nothing; yet they're dead.

That puts blood on the hands of those responsable; the Spaniards are hoping that those without blood on their hands will prevail against the idea of slaying innocents to get somewhere.



Nader

I'll spell it out real simple for y'all: the amount of people who are going to vote for Nader is so small that it won't have any impact on the election.

So quit bitching about his running for president and acting like Nader being there is the end of the world while Kerry is betraying you on all issues. With the exception of foreign policy, where he's acknowledged reality, a little bit. Which is the absolute minimum that any moral agent can do and still remain moral.

Nader denounced it from the start, people. Wise up.

This website

This website is a triumph and a tradgedy at the same time.

It's a triumph in that I think I've posted a lot of creative stuff and given some interesting perspectives, it's a tradgedy in that those perspectives are a reflection of the pathological nature of U.S. Capitalism and of U.S. society. This website is a reflection, in part, of the repressed, nasty, nature of U.S. capitalism at its worst. This is what capitalism produces. This is what people are forced to see, to experience, because of U.S. Capitalism. I'd rather not of experienced the things that have lead me to produce the rhetoric and ideas of this website, I'd rather have lived a carefree life of comfort and privilege but it didn't turn out that way.

Picture this: a working class kid with a hippy parent, moving to a hardcore redneck working class town. I was raised with alternative values, which still motivate me and which I think are good and decent values. I had all of those values thrown in my face day after day.

You want tolerance? Ha. Sensitivity? What a fucking joke, you fucking loser son of a bitch.

On and on, constantly.

Weirdo, does your mom smoke weed?

No.

Want to be a person who fits in and is recognized by the mainstream of school and town society? Nope. We don't trust you.

We don't trust you.

In the little tiny alternative school where I spent my early youth I had a future, I was bright and I was going places. Public school in redneck land and I'm nothing; less than nothing.

Who cares what you can do?

Who cares what you could accomplish, you're not going to be on the football team any time soon.

You dress weird, you're a fucking joke, you write weird things for class, you listen to that Grateful Dead bullshit.

I wrote a piece of creative writing for a class in middle school which used alternative ways of narration and elements of metaphorical fantasy to demonstrate a point and was the butt of every joke on the way back home and in school afterwards.

I fell in with a bad crowd as a result of being excluded from everything, insulted all the time, laughed at, degraded. I saw things and experienced things which no human should have to. From hippy kid to kid associating with hardcore gang members, not a happy transition.

I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

My heart was torn from my chest and destroyed, beaten, and then the remaining husk of what I was was invited to attend a nice school in the suburbs for kids with talent.

A little too late for that.

The husk has been moving through life since then, unable to forget what he experienced in the world of criminality, unable to forget the psychosis and sociopathology of the people that were his 'friends' and which he tried to fit in with.

A 'friend' who conned some girl out of some money and set up a drug house down in Warren, where Eminem is from, who became a crack dealer and was learning how to pimp last time I heard anything about him.

'friends' with relatives who were admitted murderers who didn't care anything about that fact and who, after hanging with me, gave me the complement that I was a decent guy to them. Thanks.


Conned, beaten in order to 'harden me up', so that I wouldn't be such a 'pussy', yeah, that's life right?

Relatives betraying me, hurting me in ways which people get sent to prison and castrated for.

Relatives destroying each other, using one another and inviting dead beat in laws with long criminal records to hang out, inviting local drug dealers and extortionists to be personal assistants, going through a small fortune like it was nothing and destroying whatever legacy the decent, hardworking, ancestor who created it sought to establish.

Threats; a family member held hostage at work with a shotgun pointed at her.

"Forks up, forks down, forks sideways, that's what he told me then he said 'Crime pays'", so says ICP, which I listened to while they were still underground and a Detroit thing.

And meanwhile I'm just a casualty in all of this.

I'm just going along for the ride because there appears that there's nowhere else to go.

No one asked me if I wanted any of this, no one asked me 'what I wanted to be when I grew up', no one except my most immediate family cared, and even they couldn't stem the tide of corruption and degradation which surrounded me.

No prom for me.

No nice first kiss with a cute girl from down the block.

No holding hands and exploring life.

No planning for anything.

No wondering about what I'm going to do with life, with the next year, with college, which was for a long time pretty much a joke of a possibility.

Husk man eventually went; I as a whole person was long gone by then.

Nope. Relationships started with sluts who hung around gang members, prospects seemed for a while to get involved with crime and die young and destroyed by drugs.

And weird weird weird.

It all started with simple intolerance to the way of life which I was trying to live in spite of things, the person I was trying to be in spite of a fucked up family situation.

It ended with me being broken, psychologically shattered (although that didn't totally manifest till later), and given a consolaton prize of a prep school to try and make it in life with.

Shit doesn't go away. Shit never goes away.

It never goes away. It never ends. And I sit here looking at people who've had it normal, who haven't had it good neccesarily but who have had a semblance of a normal life and I just cry.

Why couldn't I even have that?

Why couldn't I even had the basics, not something fancy, not a mansion up on a hill, but just a nice honest working class life without all the shit that ruined me and has made me think and feel like an ex-gulag inmate. Like the guy in Dostoevsky's book "House of the Dead".

Or like Dostoevsky himself.

Why god, why did it have to be this way, why couldn't I even had a normal, loving, relationship with a nice girl, even that, instead of the hardcore sex exploitation that I was surrounded with?

Why did I have to be surrounded by filth because the people in charge didn't like that I'd been taught love and sensitivity?

Why was this thrown in my face, laughed at, and stomped on?

What was wrong with the person that I was and the person that I was trying to be, so wrong that they wouldn't even let me live a decent, somewhat normal, life?

They were bastards to me, I reacted by being an even bigger bastard than they could ever be, and killing who I was in the process.

Now here I am, on the web, a prophet of what people would rather not look at, say, or talk about.

Pathology.



White House Takes a Hit Over CIA Plan to Rig Iraq Election

" A senior U.S. official hinted that, under pressure from the Hill, the Administration scaled back its original plans. "This was a tough call. We went back and forth on it in the U.S. government. We consulted the Hill on this question ... Our embassy in Baghdad will run a number of overt programs to support the democratic electoral process,' as the U.S. does elsewhere in the world."

Uh-huh.

They said it all.

May '68 and Bush

People don't realize it but Charles de Gaulle was installed by a coup as well. He lasted for ten years until the accumulated pressures of society lead to the student uprisings of '68 driving him from power and restoring some greater semblance of democracy in France.

Bush is no de Gaulle, not even in the same weight class, not even three weight classes below, so there's no reason why if it worked in France in '68 why a mass student uprising against Bush in the form of student occupations of universities and colleges in protest against Iraq and against the administration couldn't have a similar effect. Or at least an effect.

A May '68 in the United States would be greatly appreciated by the rest of the world but would take a hell of a lot of work on the part of student organizers.

Nonetheless, it's a really good idea, better than just marching periodically----or not marching periodically, since no one seems to be scheduling and organizing mass demonstrations against the war anymore.

May '68 and Bush

People don't realize it but Charles de Gaulle was installed by a coup as well. He lasted for ten years until the accumulated pressures of society lead to the student uprisings of '68 driving him from power and restoring some greater semblance of democracy in France.

Bush is no de Gaulle, not even in the same weight class, not even three weight classes below, so there's no reason why if it worked in France in '68 why a mass student uprising against Bush in the form of student occupations of universities and colleges in protest against Iraq and against the administration couldn't have a similar effect. Or at least an effect.

A May '68 in the United States would be greatly appreciated by the rest of the world but would take a hell of a lot of work on the part of student organizers.

Nonetheless, it's a really good idea, better than just marching periodically----or not marching periodically, since no one seems to be scheduling and organizing mass demonstrations against the war anymore.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Partial translation for the Bush theme song.

Here it is: One Man! One Goal! And one command! One Heart, One Spirit! And one Solution! One Blaze, of the Fervency, Ja, one God one Mission!

One flesh one blood one true belief, one cry one dream one strong will! Give me the Mission!

***

You can translate the rest.

Can you tell I don't like Bush?

It sounds really good sung in aggressive German, since it was meant to be a lampoon of politicians with totalitarian/dictatorial ambitions...

"So give your hands, give me your hats, I'm ready!"

"There's only one solution one world one vision, one vision!"

George Bush's theme song

Here it is.

I managed to secretly get into the files of Karl Rove and found, at the bottom of a drawer containing German language Skull and Bones material, this song, listed as a sort of theme song/mission statement for the Bush administration:

Geburt Einer Nation (Copyright Laibach)

Ein Mensch, ein Ziel,
und eine Weisung.
Ein Herz, ein Geist,
nur eine Loesung.
Ein Brennen der Glut.
Ein Gott, Ein Leitbild.

Ein Fleisch, ein Blut,
ein wahrer Glaube.
Ein Ruf, ein Traum,
ein starker Wille

(Ja! Ja! Ja! Ja!)
Gibt mir ein Leitbild.

Nicht falsch, nicht recht.
Ich sag' es dir das Schwarz
und Weiss is kein Beweis.
Nicht Tod, nicht Not.
Wir brauchen bloss
ein Leitbild fuer die Welt.

Ein Fleisch, ein Blut,
ein wahrer Glaube.
Eine Rasse und ein Traum,
ein starker Wille.

So recht mir eure Haende,
und gebt mir eure Herzen.
Ich warte.
Es gibt nur eine Richtung,
eine Erde und ein Volk.
Ein Leitbild.

Nicht Neid, nicht Streit.
Nur die Begeisterung.
Die ganze Nacht
feuren wir Einigung.

(Ja, Jawohl!)

Ein Fleisch, ein Blut,
ein wahrer Glaube.
Ein Ruf, ein Traum,
ein starker Wille
Gebt mir eine Nacht.
Gebt mir einen Traum.
Nichts als das:
ein Mensch,
ein Mann,
ein Gedanke,
eine Nacht,
ein-mal.
(Jawohl.)
Nur gebt mir
gebt mir gebt mir
ein Leitbild. 

George Bush's theme song

Here it is.

I managed to secretly get into the files of Karl Rove and found, at the bottom of a drawer containing German language Skull and Bones material, this song, listed as a sort of theme song/mission statement for the Bush administration:

Geburt Einer Nation (Copyright Laibach)

Ein Mensch, ein Ziel,
und eine Weisung.
Ein Herz, ein Geist,
nur eine Loesung.
Ein Brennen der Glut.
Ein Gott, Ein Leitbild.

Ein Fleisch, ein Blut,
ein wahrer Glaube.
Ein Ruf, ein Traum,
ein starker Wille

(Ja! Ja! Ja! Ja!)
Gibt mir ein Leitbild.

Nicht falsch, nicht recht.
Ich sag' es dir das Schwarz
und Weiss is kein Beweis.
Nicht Tod, nicht Not.
Wir brauchen bloss
ein Leitbild fuer die Welt.

Ein Fleisch, ein Blut,
ein wahrer Glaube.
Eine Rasse und ein Traum,
ein starker Wille.

So recht mir eure Haende,
und gebt mir eure Herzen.
Ich warte.
Es gibt nur eine Richtung,
eine Erde und ein Volk.
Ein Leitbild.

Nicht Neid, nicht Streit.
Nur die Begeisterung.
Die ganze Nacht
feuren wir Einigung.

(Ja, Jawohl!)

Ein Fleisch, ein Blut,
ein wahrer Glaube.
Ein Ruf, ein Traum,
ein starker Wille
Gebt mir eine Nacht.
Gebt mir einen Traum.
Nichts als das:
ein Mensch,
ein Mann,
ein Gedanke,
eine Nacht,
ein-mal.
(Jawohl.)
Nur gebt mir
gebt mir gebt mir
ein Leitbild. 

The End of the Unipolar Myth

A good article, but compare it to the 'America you have no Alibi' article.

In the 'myth' article the person writing, who's in India, comes close to saying the whole shebang but draws back at the last minute.

If we don't have a unipolar world then what does the world we live in look like? I think it looks, from the third world at least, like the world that the author of 'Alibi' presents, and that the author of 'myth' knows this but chose not to go that far due to not wanting to piss of the U.S. too much.

There they go

Here's a translation of a song which you won't find elsewhere. It's Laibach's song "Anti-Semitism", written about the Semites living in Iraq and about our invasion of them. Can't find it elsewhere because it was recorded in Slovenian, Laibach's native language. This translation was done by Zlato Krec and posted on a list. The copyright belongs to him.


Down the road they go
Down the road they go
towards us they go
towards you they go
with crosses on the foreheads
with fire in the eyes
with crosses on the foreheads
with a star in their hearts
they roar with rage
human game
with crosses on the foreheads
they go into the abyss
children they have
of tall height
strong jaws and pale complexion
germs of disorder
human game
with glowing pupils
they go into the abyss

A tooth for a tooth- a head for a head
A tooth for a tooth- for wilf amusement

From Role Model to International Bully in Three Short Years

Good article

For what it's worth

I'd rather have rights come before nationality in general.

Edward L. Glaeser: 'America the Conservative'

Good article, talks about the conservative American political scene and how it differs from Europe in not having a welfare state and suggests reasons for it. Also strongly indicates that we need a whole new Constitution, which would be a really nice breath of fresh air.

And it came from Smirking Chimp, not from some obscure leftwing socialist Trot group which talks only to itself, so there.

On the question of homogeneity and how America can overcome the distrust that lack of homogeneity makes in viewing people with compassion and basing a welfare state on it I have a few suggestions.

First thing, something which has impressed the heck out of me is Canada's distinction between how it views it's own cultural diversity and how the U.S. views its diversity. Canada, according to some Quebec government website I saw a while ago, tends to view itself as a nation of nations, contrasting this to America's multicuturalism.

The point is that people in Canada still keep a lot of their ethnic identity but participate in Canadian politics as Canadians anyways while people in America are encouraged to shed their identity and then be re-educated in a kind of sham multi-culturalism which does not serve its purpose.

Maybe it's a difference in style, or maybe I'm just not able to communicate the subtlety well enough.

A nation of nations works because it recognizes the fact that although identity isn't going to go away the possession of identity doesn't mean none-participation in civic or cultural life.

Multi-culturalism fails because instead of recongnizing that America has many cultures living together it says that America is nonetheless united in some way which negates the importance of these cultural groups.

Let me try this again. A person can participate in public life as a black woman but she's expected not to act like a black woman but like a white woman who recognizes the importance of blacks and women in our nations history and their contributions to its development.

The contast is stark.

A nation of nations idea might help out with establishing the homogeneity required for a welfare state...because this is a way to get a handle on our diversity, to parse it.


An alternative is to embrace a more inclusive idea of what rights are, which would mean jettisoning a lot of the ambiguous discussion of rights which is the inheritance of pre-modern English thought in American political life and instead adopting something more like the French approach to rights, as in the approach to rights which is associated with the French Revolution.

This brings up questions about citizenship, because rights in this system, universal though they may be, are linked more closely with the identification of the persons involved with the state or the nation at large.

Blacks were free to enjoy all the rights of a citizen of France provided that they became 'little Frenchmen', as the term went.

Maybe we could combine the two approaches: a nation of nations and a nation where citizenship in the nation of nations is acknowledged to rest on universal democratic ideas of rights and responsabilities which are not dependent on ideas inherited from the English tradition but are instead trasnparent and open to everyone.

Dissent or social context

Now to switch gears entirely.

The social universe is like the layers of an onion. For some people dissenting from culture means doing one thing for others another. With my repeated and recent exposures to the counter-culture in America as it really is I'm beginning to realize that the dissent is more important than the analysis of the social context.

This gets into some issues when parts of the punk subculture want to assume the pose of working class poor people attacking capitalism, even when the punks are middle class suburbanites, but not everyone out there is making claims like that.

Some people just want to dissent in their own way and neither put on any airs nor want to join the revolution, so to speak, and who is anyone to say that that's not all right?

That's how the democratic process works

You vote for who you think is the best choice. If you think Kerry getting into office is so important that you'd look over things that would otherwise cause you to vote for a third party then you vote for Kerry. If you think otherwise, then vote otherwise.

The way democracy works is that it's assumed that there are reasons for the way people vote and that it's not just some irrational process.

If, on election night, it comes out that Kerry wins, Nader gets a tiny vote, and a whole lot of people who voted for Nader in 2000 ended up voting for Kerry then that'll be a reflection of the level of concern people have about the impact of another Bush presidency and the level of importance that Kerry's record brings.

That a minority might exist which questions voting for Kerry in the first place isn't exactly cause for alarm.

It's their call and it's their vote.

I expect that turnout for Nader will be a lot less than it was in 2000 simply because so many people have said that they won't vote for Nader this time. That's democracy. Some people will still vote for Nader. That's democracy too. But if we're really talking about democracy then it should be assumed that people who chose to alter their vote have done so for rational reasons and that people who haven't have also done it for rational reasons. Because we'er all rational we should have nothing to fear from Nader being on these ballots.

Trust in the capacity of progressive voters to look at the issues and make up their own minds is what people should be demonstrating, trust that the result will reflect real anaylsis and real weighing of concerns about the issues., should be what people on the left weighing in on the subject should demonstrate, not a belief that a return of any sort for Nader is a sign of a populace that doesn't know what it's doing when it enters the voting both.

This again disturbingly reminds me of the 2000 election, when it was the conservative dems who were talking about spoilers.

Four years have passed since then and the Bush administration's record is out there for anyone to see. Yes, people will say about Nader, but that was four years ago, things have changed.

Yes, things have changed, and everybody knows it, and it isn't like what's changed will not effect the numbers of people who vote for Nader.

It shouldn't take strong arm tactics by the democratic party to convince people who are ameniable to the argument that voting for Nader this time around might not such a good thing.

Democracy works by convincing people of your argument. I think the case can be made pretty strongly that there are a lot of reasons to vote for Kerry even if you don't agree with him. People who have been following this have read the same arguments over and over and no doubt a lot of them agree, because it's a compelling argument. It's not the only argument, though. The Nader argument, while less compelling in this particular context, is still an argument, and I expect the result to be that a heck of a lot of people switch to Kerry while a few people stick to their guns and vote for Nader, based on the relative strength of the two arguments.

That's democracy in action.

Carl Hiassen enlightens us about Nader

"Can't afford commercials
You won't see Nader in the debates because he'll never reach the required 15 percent standing in the polls. And you won't see him in political commercials because he can barely afford bumper stickers.
But you will see him on the Florida ballot, much to the quiet relief of Hood."

Which of course is why he'll mess up the election. Can't afford commercials, can barely afford bumper stickers, yet has a magical power to mess up elections because of the magnetic qualities of his name alone.

Yes, when voters see "Nader" on a ballot there's just something that comes over them which makes them irrationally give him their vote....not like they made some sort of intelligent choice or anything.

Shows yet again the lack of faith that Nader bashing democrats have in the democratic process. Just who is going to vote for Nader? People who have seen all that the dems have said and figured, in spite of it all, that voting for Nader is a good thing. And they have every right in the book to do it, just like you have every right in the book to vote for Kerry if you feel like it.

If you supported Nader last election and this election think that things are so much in the balance that it's better to vote for Kerry then vote for Kerry. Simple as that.

For the rest of Hiassen's article, hmm.. it uses the exact same arguments against Nader that dems were using against third parties in 2000 and which Nader supporters back then were rightly condemning. Like saying that the Reform Party doesn't count because, to quote Hiassen "What's left of the Reform Party in Florida could fit in the back of a Mini Cooper. A party bank account recently showed a war chest of $18.18. Nader was "nominated" by conference call, and college kids were hastily recruited for a pretend convention."

So their opinion doesn't matter.

Bunch of wacko lefty college kids.

Things change a lot when it's no longer fashionable to be for third parties, doesn't it? I don't know what Hiassen's particular thoughts on Nader the first time around were so for all I know he opposed him back then, but, whatever the case, this is an apt comment for the liberal-left as a whole.


Cathryn Sykes: 'Cult of positivism: Bush smiles blindly in the face of disaster'

Good article...but more for the general idea of the cult of possitive-ness than anything else.

Michael Moore on Nader

""You've just got to give Kerry a break," Moore said, adding that he had urged Nader not to run this year. He said his one-time ally wanted to get even with the Democrats for excluding him from the presidential debates.

"Now it's just a campaign of revenge, with no concern whatsoever for what the people want, and the people want George W. Bush out of the White House," Moore said."

So if the people wanted Nader then they'd be going up against what the people wanted?

Funny, I read this quote and I thought that he was talking about Democrats! After all, "Now it's just a campaign for revenge"? Who's in a better position to exact revenge, poor Nader, with no resources and with everyone hating him for his supposed role in throwing the 2000 election or the Dems, frothing at the mouth, who are determined to keep Nader off the ballot, even if he legally qualifies to be on the ballot.

The hatred towards Nader is incredible....so to call his campaign a campaign of revenge is like saying that a kid with a stone is exacting revenge against an Israeli tank.

What the people want. Moore seems concerned that the people, dunderheads that they are, might be corrupted by the very fact that Nader is on the ballot and, in a fit of weakmindedness, throw the election for Bush by voting for him, therefore ignoring what the so-called responsable people really want.

Isn't this the prophet of working class democracy, the populist who believes that everyone counts? Now he's saying that your vote only counts if you agree with the Democrats.

If you choose to vote any other way you're ignoring the will of the masses....which you are a part of, by the way...and should be strung up for doing so.

The funny part about all these Kerry fundamentalists is that most of them admit that Kerry won't be that good on many issues, that the reason they want him in office is that he isn't as psychotic as Bush and is likely to stop totally alienating the world.

Why is this funny?

Because for someone who you're supporting as an alternative to a police state you all sure don't act like it.

So when Kerry is elected, hopefully, in November, and he moderates some of Bush's policies but continues to do a whole lot of bad stuff around the globe and at home I hope you remember that you all shut out discussion, attacked people, and tried to deny someone ballot access for this.

For...Clinton #2.

Not to say that this isn't an emotional election, or an important election, it is, but the level of hopes pinned on Kerry is so out of proportion to what Kerry actually believs in it's silly. It's just so off the charts.

Yes, the Kerry campaign must be chuckling at the thought that they've gotten progressives to attack each other in large numbers in the service of a candidate who has no loyalty to them now and who never has.




Yes, arrogance

I have the arrogance to believe that my opinion matters and that I have a right to put it on the web just like everyone else. It's you who has chosen to read this site. I've done exactly two things to promote this site, actually three, and those involve just adding this site to long lists of lefty blogs out there in directories. Beyond that, zilch, which is pretty amazing considering what other people are doing to get their stuff read. So if you're reading this right now it's mostly you, not me, who's responsable. Why in the world should I have to conform to your standards of what you think is responsable conduct or a responsable attitude for people giving their opinions? This ain't your blog.

Egoism

I see a disturbance in the force, and that disturbance involves this site being seen as egotistical and arrogant.

People who read this blog regularly know what the deal is, that what some see as arrogance is just the ground rules of the game when it comes to a personal blog.

Yeah, I'm writing my opinions online, and that's intrinsicly arrogant. I guess I should just keep them buried in a notebook somewhere and never show them to anyone, right?

Having a blog and writing itself is inherently egotistitcal, it's just that some people cover it up better than others.

Michael Moore.com :Slacker Uprising message

Hmm.... to be quite honest, if Michael Moore was able to get people whose main activity in life is staring blankly at a wall and drooling to get out there and vote en-masse for Kerry I'd be happy.

Good use for them.

William Hinton's article in September Monthly Review

Where he gives his thoughts on Mao Zedong.

It's pretty gruesome, in that I'd had some respect for Hinton, author of several books about the Chinese Revolution, supports Mao's reasoning for the cultural revolution and it's purges down the line.

In particular, Hinton twists reality by talking about the Chinese leader Liu Shaoqi as being the head of some sort of bourgeois center of power in Shanghai and of resisting Mao's socialism, whatever.

Shaoqi was actually to the left of Mao and was purged because of this, so I guess being a bourgeois power leader means being a left-wing 'infantile', to use Lenin's term, disrupter. Strange how words change; bourgeois used to mean that you were collaborating with the capitalists or were part of the middle class, not that you belonged to a political ideology that the people in power didn't like.

Wouldn't get this knowledge from Hinton's article.

He quotes Shaoqi's pamphlet 'How to be a good Communist' as proof of the bourgeois lackey-ness of the guy. I looked it up on Marxists.org, where I'd found it and written a positive review about it a few months ago, just to make sure I knew what I was talking about.

The interesting charge is that the pamphlet is all about self-cultivation and doesn't give party members a toe hold in learning about regular people. Why interesting? Because Hinton assumes that it was written for people who weren't of the working class. I read it as being intended for people of the working class, telling them to cultivate themselves and actually stick to a working class point of view in that cultivation. I think the text bears me out.

About servile obediance to the party, did the late Mr. Hinton know about a person called Josef Stalin?

To charge Shaoqi with promoting servile obediance to the party while ignoring Mao's own smarmy little commands to such in his 'Little Red Book', and to ignore the fact that in 1936, I believe, when that pamphlet was written, pretty much all Communist literature reflected the same emphasis on party and party building is to exercise some pretty damn selective memory.

Mao gets off from the charge of promoting servile obediance to the party even though his Red Guards, Mao quotes in hand, terrorized the country while Shaoqi, who wrote a pamphlet which for it's time (the heydey of Stalinism) which is actually pretty unorthodox and progressive but which reiterates the usual stuff about sticking to the party about correct lines and ideology, is denouced for his party-ishness.

Where was Mao's great testament to working with the people during this period?

Just bothers me to death that coming up on thirty years after the person died there'd still be people who 'keep the faith'.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Dan Carpenter: 'Followed by a goon shadow'

Another good one.

Omar Barghouti: 'Americans, you've lost your alibi!'

At last, the truth comes out. The third world has spoken it's mind truthfully and forcefully about what it thinks about the United States.

Is history really over? This reminds one of stories about the end of the British Empire, the same events the same pattern. It's like history repeating.

"Before the Fall", an article about Wilson

Well, this article is interesting. One of those constant articles that I see these days where someone picks a historical figure from American political life, praises them as a pillar of sanity, and says "If only we had someone like that" or "If only we followed this person's philosophy the world would be a better place".

Woodrow Wilson is an interesting choice, to say the least, because he was an inveterate racist, a proto-fascist who didn't believe in civil liberties, a Christian fundamentalist of his day, and a firm believer in the principle that the United States should promote Christianity and Democracy around the world by force. That we had a duty to invade or try to control the rest of the world and force our value systems on them, no matter if they liked it, asked for it, or not.

From what I remember of Wilson's political philosophy he was very much into the Progressive idea that democracy was out of date and that some of the pure democratic process should be replaced by citizen and labor groups which would have representation in government.

Like in the Fascist parliament, for example.

Now, this idea isn't totally off the wall, but the way in which the Progressives expressed clearly indicated that they didn't really care about the possible ramifications of having unelected citizens groups replace popular opinion as the forces determining policy and government action.

**

In unrelated news; this blog must be the worst for getting names of books and people wrong, as well as having copious spelling errors. Tariq Ali's book about the sixties is called "Streetfighting years", not "Streetfighting man".

Too cryptic?

The reference to conservatives being in theory for peace if they're worth anything being followed by stuff about personal interactions may not have been clear, what I was trying to say is the following: Just like with politics it appears that there are people out there who have thrown out the idea that you should treat people with respect and have instead embraced the idea that you should treat them with disrespect as being a core value, just like some conservatives have made war into something which should be sought instead of peace.

We call the latter fascists, what do we call the former?

A little extreme?

Well, that's the reality that I see outside my window.

I, and we, can either shut our eyes to it and pretend like nothing's happening on the base level of human society---personal interactions---and that the only problems are with issues of foreign policy or we can acknowledge what a fucked up and unfriendly, unhospitable, and inhuman in every sense of the term place the United States has become in these last three years.

Things to be for and the decaying of our society.

In life there are things that one should or can be for which are fairly uncontroversial.

Do you believe, in the abstract, that peace is a good thing?

Do you believe, in the abstract, that cooperation between people and between bigger entities like nations is a good thing?

Most people, one would hope, would say yes to these questions if they were put this way.

The biggest conservative should be able to say "Yes, peace is good, in the abstract, and I'm all for peace when we can have it, but sometime war is neccesary". When they start describing war as a good thing on principle and peace as a bad thing on principle then you know you're in trouble.

In terms of basic interpersonal ethics something similar applies.

Unfortunately, capitalism promotes an environment where, on the interpersonal level, people are encouraged to say that war is good and peace is bad, that hostility is good and cooperation is bad.

It shows in people's basic conduct towards each other.

Is there a level of indifference or amoralism which when crossed causes one to forfeit their humanity?

Yeah, I believe that that's exactly the case.

Confronted with a decaying and decadent society in denial about everything since 9/11 I've seen people get worse and worse in their actions towards each other, in casual life, casual contact.

I stand back and try to be a nice person to people, who more often than not don't understand why someone would want to do something other than fuck them over or cheat them and then they look at me like there's something wrong with me.

I can't hit them back.

Because I believe that peace and cooperation are too fundamental to give up on the abstract, interpersonal level.

On the political level conflict is fine, but that's not what I'm talking about.

Do we really want to live in a society where the only way to fit in is to believe in nothing and act in accordance to that belief?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Why we hate the French

I don't, but I think that there're two reasons why people in general dislike the French: first off, there's a cultural tradition of hating the French that goes back to the days when the French were the royal family of England. The court was French culturally, descended from the Normans, and they used French as their official language and old french in their legal codes, wrote with it, generally were French as opposed the people of England, who weren't. Upper class mobility meant adopting French cultural norms and so the upper class in general became identified with French culture and those who aped the French way of doing things were identified with trying to move up in the class ladder. Become closer to the court culture.

Of course the French kings were overthrown during the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution....and some German non-entities were put in their place, but the tradition of French-English upper class culture remains.

It should be noted too that the French culture which people despise isn't the culture of the warm hearted, upstanding, French rural farmer who lives in the country, overseas his family's homestead, and maybe thinks about supporting the CPNT party which I talked about a few posts ago. That's the Chase Peche Nature Traditions party, which means "Hunting, Fishing, Nature, and Traditions", and which is a sort of sportsmans' party: they support protecting nature and endangered species, are for gun rights and hunting and fishing rights, like rural culture, would prefer to see the state decentralized, all sorts of good, wholesome stuff that any American sportsman could look at and say "Right on!" or "Cool!" as the case may be.

That's not what people are against; when they see France they see the ultra-urban culture of Paris which was the natural counterpart to the court culture of London. People English court probably had more in common with the rulers living in Paris and Versailles than the common people of either lands.

Ok, so that's number one.

The second reason, I think, that people don't like the French is sort of racial and historical.

The French, after all, took a stand in about the 16th century, I think, which acknowledged both the Celtic and the Germanic parts of their nation.

This is important since it was the Germanic tribes who overran Europe and established feudalism. The Celts were largely on the receiving end of it.

So France is Franco-Gaullic, and the French nationlistic expression of this idea is Gallicanism, which back in the day meant that the rulers of France and it's religious luminaries saw France as a special case due to it's particular history and therefore not subject to the same discipline as other states.

Why is this important?

Well, before the Norman invasion, which established feudalism in England, there had been other invasions.

The Danes had invaded and so had the Angles from Holland and the Saxons from present day Germany.

They were Germanic. Who did they conquer? The Celts in Britain.

They pushed back the indigenous population of Britain, the Britons properly, to Wales in the western part of the country, to several outposts in the west country and to obscure parts in general.

Under the Normans, admittedly, they conquered Scotland. The Anglo-Normans then took on Ireland sometime later.

All throughout this period, it should be known, or, I'm getting it confused, all throughout the period after the Norman conquest when the Anglo-Normans were conquering the Celts even further, there were always interesting back channel deals and conspiracies being hatched between French allied partisans of the continent who were not adverse to the Celtic people's of the British isles getting some freedom and independence from the English---but still being controlled somewhat by royal houses which had their roots in the continent.

But that's another story.

Anyways, before the Normans invaded the Germans invaded and pushed the Celtic population out of power and out of public life.
After the Norman invasion this repression of the Celts continued, albeit somewhat modified by the complications that the Normans brought with them from France.

Now look at it like this: France declares itself to be both Gaullic and Germanic, or, actually, to be Gaullic alone because the Frankish part of their history was one of being conquered and controlled by a foreign (Frankish) power. France then wants to assert power over England. Somewhere deep in people's minds this appears to be like the Celts wanting to call the shots again, like people in Wales, bless their hearts, wanting to tell the English what to do.

And they get pissed off because conquered people's aren't supposed to tell the conquerers what they should and shouldn't do.

That prejudice was, possibly, passed onto the Anglo population in the U.S., which is why, possibly (I have to be objective)you see those "Boycott France" bumper stickers only on cars belonging to pure English rednecks who think that Irish people are strange and hate Catholics.

Hippy Hegemony in Mendocino County Politics

Sorry, no link to the article. It's in Counterpunch's "Dime's worth of difference" book and in the print edition.

I'm glad that I found it in "Dime's worth of difference", they have it posted on the head of their website as something that you can only find in the print edition and I was tempted to sign up in order to get it....still am now that I know that the price for Counterpunch print edition has gone down substantially, real substantially.

So, ok, the basic idea of the article is that the hippies who moved into Mendocino county in California, which is the stretch of coast that you get to by crossing the Golden Gate bridge, have not substantially changed things. They've become a new democratic machine, albeit one which is more liberal in certain respects than other machines.

While I can understand the author's dismay over the situation it did dawn on me after having read most of the article and plowing ahead that these types of complaints are what you find everywhere where democrats are in power.

It might be sad to know but not every person who identified themselves as hippy and participated in the hippy culture went all the frickin' way over the wall and into never-never land of total radicalism...most people in any social movement have different levels of participation at which they feel comfortable, and everyone, it should be remembered, who comes into alternative social movements does so from some sort of conventional background---which people have to work from in order to get to someplace else.

So it doen't surprise me that Mendocino hippies have replicated the Democratic machine. NPR limited to approved liberal voices and topics, censoring people who don't have similar views, nothing you can do about it, dubious funding sources? That's NPR in every single college town where it isn't also the campus radio station, if you get my drift.

And that's NPR in general. Nothing new there. Democrats taking credit for victories that grass roots groups make? Happens all the time, all the friggin' time. Nothing new there either, although it's sad.

People appointing friends to commisions as sinecures, people going into the legal system in order to make it work for them in the form of dollars, making the local government more complex and bureaucratic (spelled it right!)? Nothing new there either.

I sympathize, but people take the city with them wherever they go, unfortunately.

The Voice of the Turtle article (and me trying to save credibility)

OK, this is yet another article on Thompson and Anderson, and it's beginning to make sense now.

Anderson and company were in fact the people that Thompson was complaining about in the 'poverty of theory'. I've read a long essay by Thompson that he contributed to a collection of radical historians points of view where he pretty much went over his 'poverty of theory' views in really, really, in your face tones.

I agreed with him when I read it but now that I see that the approach has born fruit I'm tempted to say that while the New Left Review people may have gone off the deep end with theory which they didn't know how to synthesize into a good, coherent, whole for a while that eventually they did make it work and they produced some really good, really radical, books which are in fact real advances.

My heart is with E.P. Thompson but my mind and my political beliefs are with the New Left review people.

And the two approaches are not incompatable: you can easily see Thompson's history from the ground up approach in the historical works talking about the contruction of race and class in America that Verso has put out.

Incidentally, while Verso is still a good publisher I don't really like the New Left Review since it declared....was it the year before Seattle happened?...that the Left was dead and Socialism was over.

They decided to pursue a much more culturally hip and academically oriented line after that and I stopped paying attention. Maybe they've gone back to publishing radical stuff....in light of a new new left existing right here right now.

E P Thompson: class struggle and historical materialism

OK, here's the other side of the coin: an article which understands E.P. Thompson but doesn't understand Perry Anderson.

Written by a good writer whose book "Against the Market" I'm slowly but surely making my way through.

Wade Matthews | The Poverty of Strategy: E.P. Thompson, Perry Anderson, and the Transition to Socialism | Labour/Le Travail, 50 | The History Cooperat

Wow. Wading through this article I've found much to agree with.

Let me explain.

There are two British socialist authors and historians, E.P. Thompson and Perry Anderson. I've works by both. Both are New Left or at least non-traditional left.

Little did I know that they had engaged in a polemical battle with each other over basic issues regarding both radical theories of history and what to do with them.

I only found out about it through "Streetfighting Man", Tariq Ali's memoir of the '60s, where he mentions it in the context of going to Bolivia to contact Regis Debray, who was imprisoned, and possibly make contact with Che and his guerilla forces, with a group which included Perry Anderson and Robin Blackburn, another New Left historian.

Not realizing that Anderson and Thompson had been at odds it seemed like a good thing to look up on the 'net to see if I could find anything out.

Well, I found a lot allright. This article, for one.

Personally, hmm, I'd have to express it like this: my heart is with E.P. Thompson but my historical and political sympathies are with Perry Anderson.

The author of this article has his own view and own misunderstandings, but I'd like to point out in particular that Anderson's view, if his large books on the history of European society are any indication, does not say that culture and hegemony exist in some sort of vaccuum apart from economic factors; instead, Anderson seems to take an anthropologically inspired view about what the nature of capitalism and of economic systems are, so that the cultural production nexus fits in with the overall patterns of social reproduction and so economic reproduction and life.

Additionally, I don't think that the author understands E.P. Thompson's views at all, although he offers some good descriptive evidence which can be interpreted by people who know Thompson's writings.

Finally, he misunderstands the role of agency in pretty much all 20th century Marxism and socialism. There's always been a huge gap between people concerned just with socialist theory, who, for them, the socailist movement is taken to be the broad tent of everyone and his brother who says a good thing about socialism, and those whose idea of socialism comes from socialist groups who are intent on making social change. Whether it's labor or something more ideological, the people on the ground who've been trying to do something instead of just philosophize about it have always emphasized human agency to a greater degree than their scholastic brethren. No surprise, considering that human beings are what they're dealing with on a daily basis in their work to create change.

Both Thompson and Anderson fit into the latter category, both are denounced in this article for being too voluntarist, for supposedly inverting the pyramid which says that economic concerns have to dictate human action if socialism is to happen.

Well, this is a revolution of human beings, right? Not tractors.



How Bush's Grandfather Helped Hitler's Rise to Power

"The Anti-Defamation League in the US is supportive of Prescott Bush and the Bush family. In a statement last year they said that 'rumors about the alleged Nazi 'ties' of the late Prescott Bush ... have circulated widely through the internet in recent years. These charges are untenable and politically motivated ... Prescott Bush was neither a Nazi nor a Nazi sympathizer.' "

But Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader are anti-semitic. The Anti-Defamation League can be a wise pillar of reason when it comes to their patrons on the right.

But according to this article Prescott Bush was involved with the corporation whose name is the magic word for people looking at both the economic foundations of the Third Reich and the economic survival of Nazi companies post-WWII: IG Farben.

Shocking statistics

Waking up on a Saturday morning I did what any self respecting person would do: turn on the lights and start reading "Dimes worth of Difference", the new collectoin of essays by Counterpunch authors.

In Alexander Cockburn's article about the Clinton economy the statistic that 30 million people in the U.S. are food distressed, meaning that they don't know where their next meal is coming from.

For those of you not keeping up 30 million is over ten percent of the U.S. population. That's not 30 million people who're poor that's 30 million people who don't know where their next meal is coming from.

I think about a person I knew who used to say she was poor because she didn't have a car and didn't have a computer, yet was enrolled in a graduate program and had a nice alternative job.

Poor, eh?

That has to be one of the biggest lies of certain sections of the radical young community in the Pacific Northwest.

There are 30 million people who don't know where their next meal is coming from; the least you could do is not pretend that your faux poverty actually counts for the same as theirs.

And this is just the tip: there're people who'll dig into food banks up here who have no economic distress whatsoever but simply want to slack. Casual references to 'how poor I am' are made by people dressed up in privilieged indie-rock styles.

It's fuckin' disgusting.

If you want to be a slacker or a drop out and not have a job, be my guest, but nowhere in the description of what that involves does it say that you have to complain about 'poverty' while real poor peole are wondering where they'll get their next meal in massive numbers.
***

Oh, in there's an essay in "Dimes worth of Difference" by Brandy Baker about the feminist movement and the democrats which has the line "Do you remember in the 1970s when women were talking about ERA, equal distribution of housework and childcare? You do? Good, because I damn sure don't--seeing how I was born in the mid-'70s."

Right on sister.

"You've got to go down to Mississippi, you've got to go there by yourself, ain't nobody here, can go there for you, you've got to go there by yourself"....

A song lyric that people today should remember, 'cause maybe if more people took seriously the idea of creating social change we'd see mass movements like in the '60s that we could be proud of.

But instead we have a collective nostalgia monkey on our backs. People, people who I have no respect for, comb their hair in a certain way, buy vintage designer public assistance style glasses and expect the world to come knocking at their door...These losers aside, the best way to capture history is to make history and the best way to make history is to do the hardwork that it takes to build something comparable to the sixties and seventies in every sense of the term.

If you want it, do it.

But it has to be genuine. You can't comb your hair like Abbey Hofman's and expect to be a radical leader (like I've actually seen a person in a certain Southern state which was home to many Populists do), either.

Genuine-ness promotes genuine-ness...

Anarchistische Pogo-Partei Deutschlands APPD

The Anarchist Pogo Party of Germany...

Hmm..

Articles from the front page: one declaring that the Standard German Dictionary spelling is shit....and that the Revolution will not be standardly spelled.

One declaring that work kills. Well I can agree with that...

I don't know enough German off the top of my head to translate their political platform...but they do seem to show a picture of a little kid chugging a beer quite often.

And a naked lady being carried over the shoulder of a man happily going off somewhere for some reason...

And two women giving each other tongue...

Now I know where Louisiana and Quebec come from..

The main image of France that we get in the United States is that of urban France. Rural France is totally left out of the picture. It's good to know it's still there. I can see the continuities between Louisianan French culture and the rural French culture on the CPNT website.

Dossiers--CPNT issue positions

They really are the Hunting, Fishing, Nature, and Traditions party. I think that's a really cool thing.

If you click on the link above you'll see that their dossier or their set of issues that they campaign on are 1)agriculture 2)guns 3)hunting 4)wildlife issues 5)decentralization 6)the Environment 7)European Union wide applications of these issues and 6)Fishing.

That's it.

Chasse--Pêrche--Nature-Traditions French Political Party

CPNT is a French conservative party who's name means "Hunting, Fishing, Nature, and Traditions party". Sounds good to me.

Who says that the French don't have any fun? There's many a sportsman in the United States who would go for such a party.

I like Rall

And I hope to get my book signed by him when he comes to Seattle, but I have to tell it as I see it. It's not personal, it's business, see?

Again with the Stultocracy

Rall uses Alexis de Tocqueville's argument that a well educated citizenry is required to keep the masses from doing what happened in post-revolutionary France.

Maybe this is one of the reasons I disagree with this column. I happen to think that a lot of what happened in post-Revolutionary France was allright and that the Jacobins, if you look at their political philosophy, had some really good ideas about democracy. Or at least they were really genuine about it.

One radical historian, can't remember the name, might be Herbert Gutman, once wrote that people should "stay with the working class even when they're throwing you out of the window".

I agree with that sentiment.

And de Tocqueville was an obnoxious conservative who wrote his books to further his political agenda, not to honestly examine American society, FYI.


Friday, September 24, 2004

Triumph of the Stultocracy by Ted Rall

The main point is that a huge amount of people are politically illiterate, or so it seems.

I disagree with Rall's suggestion that there should be a political literacy test in order to vote....anti-democratic.

However, I do have some insight into the problem.

When people are asked somewhat simple questions about the world and about their political system and get them wrong it's not because they resemble a wooden post more than a good, engaged citizen. Far from it. It's because they've been devoting their attention and their brain cells to something other than politics.

Brain cells are still there, they're just being put to a different use...like following work or office politics, or being really into friendships, or being obsessed with bands or sports, or worrying about their job, or spending most of their time raising their kids. Or having relationships.

Which is not to say that politics takes the place of these or that being a good citizen means negating them but you have to understand that these things are the basic thrust of life and politics, although it's very vital and central to our condition and the way our lives work, takes time away from that. And in our society we aren't encouraged to set some mental space aside for citizen specific issues or political issues. We're encouraged to just live life with blinders on to everything outside of it, so that we really know the 'thrust of life', but we may not know the side to side motion so much. Ok, bad joke but you get the point.

I've met a lot of really nice people, really smart people, who just don't devote any attention to the greater issues and instead focus all their mental energy on the immediate relationships which surround them.

That, I think, is how we get those outrageous responses to questions about 'where such and such is'. It isn't like they don't know where Iraq is, in principle. The know it's in the Middle East but they haven't taken the time out of their day to actually find it on a map because they really don't care. It's not what they're interested in. They know the war's going on but it doesn't really effect their lives.

And so it goes with all the rest of the questions.

People can get big rewards in this society for blotting everything out and staying on task; people who can do that and focus only on the job have an advantage over those that don't or can't or won't. They have more energy to do the job they have more awareness of what the job is about they have more insights. But they have no conception of their civic duties or environment. All those qualities, though, are prime for moving up the ladder in advancement...so being 'stupid' according to the polls pays---literally.

It also serves as a novel criteria for inclusion and exclusion, a key feature in defining social groups, which in turn define society at large and help chart a person's potential for advancement. Those who can't buy in all the way and devote their time fully to the immediate relationships around them are treated as suspect by people who do and never fully let into the group, thereby altering their destinies in relation to what social connections and networking the group could offer them.

Those who do are fine.

Looking at high school students failure to come up with obvious answers that their schooling 'should have prepared them for' (ha ha ha) the reasons become obvious: public schools today are geared for kids to get ahead by any means neccesary, not for learning. Private schools aren't neccesarilly better, but anyways. Schools in general teach kids how to lie and kiss ass in order to get ahead, how to massage the teacher's ego and answer test questions in such a way that high points will be received with the least amount of work or understanding.

That's what high school---particularly the section of highschools designed to send students to college---teaches these days, so of course they wouldn't have a clue about basic facts! They probably have it in the back of their minds somewhere but the questioner forgot to give them the cheat sheet in advance so they couldn't pull it out of the memory banks fast enough for it to register.

That's the sad truth about our culture: that it's an opt out culture. Opt out if you want to get ahead in life and be opted out if you don't qualify for advancement because of socioeconomic reasons.

And if you choose to opt in despite all this, well, good luck.

Triumph of the Stultocracy by Ted Rall

The main point is that a huge amount of people are politically illiterate, or so it seems.

I disagree with Rall's suggestion that there should be a political literacy test in order to vote....anti-democratic.

However, I do have some insight into the problem.

When people are asked somewhat simple questions about the world and about their political system and get them wrong it's not because they resemble a wooden post more than a good, engaged citizen. Far from it. It's because they've been devoting their attention and their brain cells to something other than politics.

Brain cells are still there, they're just being put to a different use...like following work or office politics, or being really into friendships, or being obsessed with bands or sports, or worrying about their job, or spending most of their time raising their kids. Or having relationships.

Which is not to say that politics takes the place of these or that being a good citizen means negating them but you have to understand that these things are the basic thrust of life and politics, although it's very vital and central to our condition and the way our lives work, takes time away from that. And in our society we aren't encouraged to set some mental space aside for citizen specific issues or political issues. We're encouraged to just live life with blinders on to everything outside of it, so that we really know the 'thrust of life', but we may not know the side to side motion so much. Ok, bad joke but you get the point.

I've met a lot of really nice people, really smart people, who just don't devote any attention to the greater issues and instead focus all their mental energy on the immediate relationships which surround them.

That, I think, is how we get those outrageous responses to questions about 'where such and such is'. It isn't like they don't know where Iraq is, in principle. The know it's in the Middle East but they haven't taken the time out of their day to actually find it on a map because they really don't care. It's not what they're interested in. They know the war's going on but it doesn't really effect their lives.

And so it goes with all the rest of the questions.

People can get big rewards in this society for blotting everything out and staying on task; people who can do that and focus only on the job have an advantage over those that don't or can't or won't. They have more energy to do the job they have more awareness of what the job is about they have more insights. But they have no conception of their civic duties or environment. All those qualities, though, are prime for moving up the ladder in advancement...so being 'stupid' according to the polls pays---literally.

It also serves as a novel criteria for inclusion and exclusion, a key feature in defining social groups, which in turn define society at large and help chart a person's potential for advancement. Those who can't buy in all the way and devote their ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

What is Terrorism?

People talk about Terrorism today in ways which make me think of this: picture this, it's the woods in India, a group of mendicant sages are sitting on the ground, a god appears to them, and they ask him "Lord, tell me about the meaning of Terrorism", to which he replies "Yes, my son" and goes into a deep metaphysical-spiritual explanation about the ramifactions of the concept of Terrorism throughout the universe, it's origins in the primeval conflict between the gods, and how it plays out in the final drama at the end of time.

In reality, I think, the meaning of terrorism is simple: Terrorism is a tactic. It's not beholden to any ideology or group but simply a tactic that some groups have used to try to advance their goals.

I consider it an illegitamate tactic, as do most other people, and this view of mine goes both for Al-Qaida and for the Red Army Faction, which I would consider a terrorist group completely.

If terrorism is a tactic then it makes a lot of sense to combat it with police forces instead of the military.....since you can't 'fight bank robbery', to use a paralell example, with the military but you can address it with police. That's how you fight something which is an intangable thing not backed by a state. It's an intangable entity because it's a criminal strategy, which can be fought best by the people who deal with fighting criminal strategies: Law Enforcement.

How do you deal with a threat that could be anywhere, carried out by anyone, by people you may know, with no links to anything solid behind it....this sounds like a perfect description of the issues surrounding random crime.

How do you deal with violent muggers who can come out of nowhere?

Um, law enforcement surely has some ideas.

I'm not a big fan of police power but I appreciate their investigative skills...and I think that this is totally appropriate for them.

In a way people haven't been able to figure out terrorism because a type mismatch is going on. In computer programming a type mismatch is when you try to use the wrong type of data in an operation, like putting letters into a math problem. It's also called a category mistake in philosophy....where it's not that what you've said is wrong so much as the framework of the question itself just does not make sense.

Ok, so that's what terrorism is. Now, considering for a moment that terrorism is something other than the wail of the oppressed, which I don't believe it is, what does Osama bin Laden's terrorist act mean in relation to the Muslim world, and to the Third World in general?

I think that Al-Qaida's act on 9/11 was just as detached from any sort of real base of support as any other of the terrorist groups of the 20th century, with the possibile exception of the Palestinians..., but anyways, and that contrary to popular belief Osama bin Laden's act wasn't the manifestation of poverty and inequality driven back at the United States in retribution for what it's done.

These things exist, and we're responsable for a lot of them in some way or another, but they didn't conjure up Al-Qaida and command it to strike us.

The way I see it there are two tracks going on at the same time, like two track audio recording: one track has the reality of inequality and corruption in the Middle East backed by the U.S., with the sanctions on Iraq and our support of Israel present as well. The other track has Al-Qaida members deciding to attack the U.S. The tracks aren't mixed in with each other.

In other words Al-Qaida decided to attack the U.S. over real grievances, and also to advance Islamic fundamentalism in some way, but they chose to do it independently of anything else.

They were all very well off people, college students, heirs to fortunes, and they just decided one day that they were going to do this.

But all that means is that they decided to do it and carried it off, not that the Muslim World somehow collectively punished us.

Or that Middle Eastern civilization somehow reared up against the U.S.

Remember that every single country in the Middle East with the exception of countries that we had recently attacked, or had a history of firing missles into and sanctioning, responded to 9/11 with condolensces and expressions of sympathy, including Iran. Iran even made a special point about saying that it did not approve of 9/11.

I don't see any reason to think that those condolensces were anything other than genuine, that these countries really did not approve of what Al-Qaida did and were sorry that it happened---even if they personally had some problems with the United States.

Why weren't they taken seriously? Why did we launch an attack against Islam-dom, mistakenly thought of as Arab-dom (Afghanistan isn't an Arab country, boys).

I think it has everything to do with the color of the skin and country of origin of the people who did it.

If this had been comitted by white college students from Europe or the United States people would have been furious and would have ranted about how these spoiled brats had gotten insane ideas into their heads and had made people suffer and lose their lives for them---but they wouldn't have viewed it as an attack by some large metaphysical entity called terrorism or by the ideological props of those people who comitted the act on the United States.

But let some rich college students and professionals from non-European countries do it and suddenly it's a clash of civilizations. Suddenly it's East vs. West, Christianity vs. Islam, instead of people using a very, very bad and stupid method to try to air their grievances.

And still the grievances go on. 9/11 objectively changed nothing; in fact, since the invasion of Iraq it's made it worse. And 9/11 wasn't followed by a mass uprising of Muslims against the U.S.

But that doesn't stop the U.S. from behaving as if it was hit by a United Front of Muslims aimed at destroying western civilization.

If they had been white, had been from Europe, and had committed 9/11 in solidarity with the oppressed of the Third World the reaction to it would have been so drasticly different that it's almost impossible to imagine.

Rage, hate, loss of loved ones, lives blotted out, families destroyed, all this would have happened....and maybe America still would have turned into a police state....but none of this Clash of Civilizations, Failed Culture fighting back against its betters, They Hate us Because of our Freedoms bullshit would have occured.

I guarantee it.

I guarantee it.

The people in Washington must think that people in the Thirld World do nothing except huddle in little caves by fires reciting weird prayers in incomprehensable languages...not knowing about things like "College" or even having a "Culture", just existing on the most primitive level possible. So when any one of them decides to pick up a stick and hit someone you know that the Natives are Restless.

Dissidents

There's some issues with solely supporting reformists or former reformists in former Communist countries. While hardliners shouldn't be supported there's also a vast middle stratum of people that weren't hardliners and weren't neccesarily totally with the reformers but who nonetheless believed in socialism and still do.

Dissident-philia would leave these people out.

People to look out for, now that Cat Stevens has been denied entry

Bob Harris posts this list:

"Carole King
Terry Jacks
David Soul
Phoebe Snow
Janis Ian
The Captain & Tennille
Donny Osmond
Seals & Crofts
Eric Carmen
The DeFranco Family"

With the Captain & Tennile out there..... no one is safe.

A party of our own

Would be good; it'd be, like, la cosa nostra, literally "Our Thing".

Seriously. The campaigns of the dems this election season have shown how futile it is to try to get the democratic party to change it's ideology to that of socialism by any other name, call it progressivism, call it whatever.

While we're spending time trying to get the democrats to be socialists we could be forming our own party where the basic principles that we're fighting for are contained in the declaration of principles, where they're the first things acknowledged and not the last. Where the processes for internal functioning are democratic from the start. Where you don't have to hope someone will throw you a crumb because you've got the cake already sewn up.

All this and more could be possible if we started our own party.

It could run on totally different principles.

While people are chasing down crumbs from the democrats the main issues are being ignored; they make you work for nothing, almost literally. You do as much work as you can while they have the discretion to ignore everything you believe in and want.

Why not start our own party and get what we want from the start?

When they're having us build their base by having people help out with grass roots efforts we're..... building their base while we could be building our own.

Efforts to turn the dems into socialists and to promote a sort of democratic party/socialist synthesis are efforts whose energies could have been devoted to promoting and building support for a socialist platform with no adjectives attached.

We assume that the voters would never support it while we never even try. We never even try to get out there and see if they'd vote for a socialist platform, once it's explained to them what it's about and that we don't want to shut down churches and have everyone worship the state.

Haven't even asked.

Hey, 2017 is 13 years away. That'll be the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. People act like the only socialist movements which can succeed are those founded before the October Revolution, when everything supposedly went to hell and was polarized by the Soviets, on and on, whatever. Should we let events which happened almost a hundred years ago prevent us for organizing for a just society?

Should we say: "Well, that October Revolution really messed everything up....it'll be a shame not to have Socialism in 2250"?

If the excuse of the Soviets and of Communism is used in perpetuity we'll never get a just society, period, because the dems will never give it to us with what they throw on the progressive table.

Eventually we'll have to bite the bullet. And that means creating a socialist party, going out and talking to working class people, and getting them to agree to socialism and agree to vote for it, and to organize for it.

The U.S. is privileged in many ways. One of the ways is that Americans can sit on their duffs and pontififcate about how socialism is a bad thing and will never work, while people in most other countries have to fight for it because their life depends on it.

Which is what I think about people bitching that socialism will never catch on in the U.S. or that the U.S. will never become a socialist country: they're sitting on their asses giving everyone a piece of their mind as if their opinion carried something more than the self delusion of a priviliged class who'se opinions do not reflect world reality at all.