Wednesday, August 13, 2008
ABOUT THE LIBERAL LEISURE CLASS
a. there is a lexicon that stratifies everyone politically
b. there are people wholly versed in said lexicon
c. there are (presumably, likely) elaborate tracts and justifications for each strata
d. one should know precisely where one fits on this topological map
e. if you find the whole thing mysterious you are probably in over your head
f. those who "get it" should probably be deferred to since they get it and you don't
g. rhetorical skills are the method of conveying that you grok all of the above
h. anyone incapable of articulating -- at great length -- exactly where they stand in relation to all of the above points is probably a lightweight
i. ad infinitum
CONCLUSION: Let the smart people who drafted the above About Us page do the thinking and planning and talking..they are way more involved and adept than I could ever be.
Liberalism is tied closely to avoidance of political ideas and quickly distracts us towards personal idiosyncrasies ("Choices", "Lifestyles" etc.) in order to avoid substantive challenges to it's vapid discourse.
The trouble all started way, way back, we are to believe, and the solution is psychoanalysis, "being the change we wish to see" and "taking a different spiritual stance" and making "better personal choices." Those are the only solutions – personal, mystical, spiritual, within the unexamined context of consumerist corporate capitalism.
This thinking is highly Eurocentric and arrogant, although in the usual kindly paternalistic liberal fashion. As with so much of modern liberal thinking, collective action is not considered, and personal development is seen as the path to social change. Capitalism is not even mentioned, nor is class warfare. As with much liberal thinking, "we" are seen as quite different and special when compared to "them," although we are not feeling the appropriate guilt for what we have done to those poor inferiors of ours, though we are now wondering as we muse in our parlors if perhaps they did not know something that we have lost.
B'wana in the jungle. The great fucking white hope.
What to DO about the Hottentots?
I think that the biggest part of the challenge is the difficulty we have seeing the social context we are living in. You have to know where you are before you can discuss where to go. You need to accurately identify what is wrong before you start proposing solutions.
I remember watching a show about Indymedia on Free Speech TV. Hundreds of poor young uneducated people were talking passionately, intelligently, and seriously about culture and politics. What a contrast to what we have here. I realized that it is not so much a matter of the wrong discussions happening here in the states, or the wrong politics winning, it is that there are virtually no serious intelligent discussions going on here. It is not a matter of how to promote the Left, or how to configure the Left, rather that there is no Left - there is really no serious politics of any kind at all happening here. I noticed that in Sicko, too. Something is really fucked up here, and it isn't being talked about. The social context is really odd and different than elsewhere and else when. People are seriously traumatized here. Something is really fucked up with everyday modern society here. Almost everyone knows that, that is why they are apathetic about politics, because politics does not scratch that itch, does not get to what is really wrong. That means that cracking open that subject is a powerful lever to move people, to get some momentum, some energy, some thinking, some passion back into people's lives.
We are trapped in a social, cultural and political nightmare. (10...9...8...7...)
It permeates everything.
You can see it in the faces and hear it in the voices of people, and see the stark contrast between the way that everyday Americans act and speak and the way people in Europe and South America act and speak. So long as we speak and act without examining that context, everything is perverted and corrupted.
People are not turned off to the politics of the Left because those politics are too radical, rather because the politics are not radical enough and because the politicians and activists ignore the context and take modern American society as the given - the base line, standard normal.
It is no accident, it isn't arbitrary or insignificant or unimportant the way that the discussions are arranged at the various so-called Liberal outlets.
It reflects a point of view, not so much about politics, but about the existing conditions.
"Modern American society is pretty much OK (although fundamental human nature needs a serious overhaul, and we are working on that) but we enlightened folks do need to fix a few things; like eliminate guns, get people to stop smoking, get rid of bad chemicals, get rid of cars and ride bikes, promote 'green' options, give consumers better choices, recycle, get legislation to allow same sex marriage, find and support tech solutions to problems, get corporations to be socially responsible" and on and on and on and on.
The problem with the liberal activists groups is not so much that they model their organizations on capitalist free market sales and marketing models - it is that they try to disguise that as something else.
So I say that either we don't disguise the fact that we are running the place on capitalist market principles - or we run the place as a worker's cooperative.
If we run the place as a worker's cooperative, there is no need to re-invent the wheel and no need for anyone to be "analyzed, psychoanalyzed, Rolfed, est-ed, altered, gelded, neutered, spayed, fixed, acupunctured, Zenned, Yogied, New Aged, astrocharted, computerized, megatrended, androgynized, evangelized, converted, or even, last and least, to be reborn" in order to participate.
Liberal, thy name is hypocrisy. What's new?
We are trained against solidarity our whole lives.
Maybe not in our families or certain personal influences, but on a societal/cultural level we are never taught that one person's suffering belongs to everyone, and that we are all responsible for alleviating anyone's suffering in our society.
Even further, we are taught that other struggling people are our competition, our enemy.
So we have a tendency to compartmentalize our political picture, as if all of these 'issues' are separate - war, immigrants' rights, environment, corporate welfare, unemployment, globalism, outsourcing, healthcare... But in reality, these are all part of the same overarching problem. The biggest fear of the ruling class is that all the people will figure that out and turn against their true enemy.
For any movement to become successful we need to learn how to overcome those obstacles, we need to learn why/how we are alienating potential allies.
I think it is all or nothing right now, and 'nothing' is winning...How do we harness the 'all'?
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Liberals like to talk about changing people - sort of a hearts and minds program - and see that as a prerequisite to political success. People are to be converted - educated or whatever - to become like-minded people. The problem is that this conversion program is not political. Converting people to be more like liberals - in sentiment, preferences, likes and dislikes - is a big job, and a useless one, as well, politically. The idea there is that social problems are caused by individual people being bad - violent, bigoted, wasteful, stupid - and that social problems can be solved by converting individual people to be good, as”we” are - loving, kind, caring, peaceful.
Almost everyone in the general public has already heard it all, and things get worse, not better. Now what?
At the same time, you can't go an hour without hearing some apology for "success" usually accompanied by a "what can you do" shrug, or encouragement and admiration for any "clever" or "realistic" moves you have made...
This "success" mentality will tolerate no serious discussion of social or political problems. Let's say someone wants to talk about this or that happening in their life, whatever - his career, his life (which is all anyone ever wants to talk about) - and you want to talk about public transit. Not the personal "green" choice of riding a bike or public transit to work - that would be about the person's individual life again - but actually have an intelligent and serious conversation about public transportation for all the people.
Good luck, right?
People immediately get impatient - why would anyone want to talk about that?
If it was a special interest of yours, like a hobby, well then fine except "I am not really into that." It is OK to have hobbies, and people are free to ignore you because they are "not into that" as a hobby activity or interest.
People will ask "what good does it do for you to be interested in public transit?" They don't mean to question the social value of discussing that, they mean how does it advance you personally?
Are you planning a career in "the field?"
Are you an "expert?" Is it making you money, is it increasing your social status?
The pressure to socially conform is pressure to do two things - be clever, and be realistic. "Be realistic" means stop worrying about the problems in the world, you can't do anything about those anyway, and who are you to think you "have any answers," and worrying about other people or the community is taking time and energy away from looking after number one.
"Be realistic" means give up all of those ideas you may have about intellectual, creative or political pursuits. "Be clever" means make the right choices - feather your nest, don't take any risks, find the angles, get with the program.
This is not a situation of "oh well what can you do," it is not a "well people are just that way." It is caused by commercial interests being given higher priority at all times and in all things than is given to the creative, intellectual or the social.
It is not happening off there somewhere in policy decisions in Washington, it is an ongoing battle every minute of every day in everyone's life. Nor is it some deep dark flaw in human nature that we need to reform one person at a time.
Unlike liberal activism, which calls for a tremendous amount of time and energy in the hopes of reforming people's sinful (apathetic) nature, and that brings very small and useless results in return, confronting the commodification of our daily lives is much more productive - a small amount of effort can cause enormous effects because everyone is caught in this trap, and it is miserable and people want out of it. The more resistant people are to confronting this, the more in love with their own role and status in the system they are. It is a relatively small number of people, but they dominate the Democratic party and liberalism.
It has to do with some fucked-up middle class liberal-elite culture of fucked-up white people striving and succeeding and living a fucked-up so-called lifestyle and being complete assholes wasting all of our time and making everyone around them miserable.
It doesn't take years of study, or deep understanding, or special knowledge, or the right guru, or the right theories.
Just look around everyday, all day, everywhere you go. And it doesn't take baby steps, we aren't on the path to anything, we aren't getting there, we aren't improving and all of the rest of that drama.
It isn't difficult, it isn't hard to understand, it isn't arcane or esoteric. The hard, miserable work, the really difficult, soul-smashing thing to do, is to keep participating in this ongoing and omnipresent and insane discussion going on all the time by the upwardly mobile good people. It takes a huge amount of thought, time, and energy; it is immensely unpleasant and stressful, to play along and keep propping up an insane world view..... It only sounds weird, or difficult to fathom or grasp, because we are embedded in an ongoing insane set of social interactions.
Modern liberalism is occupying the space where the Left should be, confusing and misleading people, steering people away from accurate perceptions and clouding their minds, preventing them from asking the right questions because they think they already have the answers. That is dead wood that needs clearing. If we are willing to kick over the beehive of modern liberalism you will see the true face and the true nature of the ruling class war against the people with crystal clarity. As it is, we can't even see the enemy now. We are looking out the tent flap watching for the approach of those dreaded right wingers, and the enemy is behind us right in our own tent.
“For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society...a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr