Posts Tagged ‘Socialism’

Identity and Progressive Agenda 2016 Notes

Monday, December 26th, 2016


Testing the limits of tolerance in the post Coup Turkey.
Hundreds of Turks made a rare protest for LGBT rights in Istanbul Sunday after the murder of Turkish transgender icon Hande Kader, whose body was found burned in a forest earlier this month. Photo by Hande Kader/Facebook
From UPI article August 22, 2016

I have been fortunate this year. I managed to have surrounded myself with a family that is relatively loyal if somewhat dysfunctional, and my constant search for novelty in an ongoing campaign to give meaning to an otherwise seemingly meaningless existence, has got me in and out of a couple of problematic situations this year. One was my attempt at a truly transsexual alliance which turned out to be something of a pipe dream. Ultimately in my view relationships cannot be based on transitory sexual appetites. Commercial careers, perhaps, but not strongly based family ties. Poly fidelity, has its moments but I am probably more of a poor mans patriarch in the polygamous biblical sense of the word, than a trail blazer on the frontiers of human relationships, although I certainly do try to do my part in the romantic belief in the eventual progress of humanity into a truly trans-sexual-racial heterogeneity. The fact that in the US the discourse over the nature of human sexuality has been diverted to a conversation on toiletry is a bit discouraging though. Struggle in the world continues as post modernist struggles over liberation in identity politics continue in the face of repression such as is evident in Turkey. Whether identity issues have distracted from bread and butter issues of class struggle, is something that is being hashed out in the light of the on going right wing reaction around the world. Trumpism can be seen in the light of Nazi attempts to overcome decadence identified with sexual transgression of rigid sexual norms as was brilliantly portrayed in the 1972 film Cabaret.


From:, distraction or battle for control of personal space?

The continued demise of my own personal sexual prowess has been paralleled by the increased ability to encounter and intercept the lives of younger souls aspiring to some kind of continuity in an unstable and chaotic post modern world in which institutions have become both increasingly omnipresent and yet unable to fulfill the somewhat futile goal of social stability. Capitalism doesn’t allow for social and interpersonal stability. It’s pressure to excel and exploit resources, of any and all kinds pinned to a monetary value, has eroded social solidarity to the extent that humans of the modern period have become a hodgepodge of flotsam in a sea of potential resources to be adapted and rejected as required by the mindlessly grinding efforts of the mega machine.


From: Political Cartoon from Summer 2016 when US presidential elections were still in progress. The Russian factor was already in play as was the betrayal of the independent left push represented by the Sanders campaign.

The need for resistance and the creation of an alternative agenda to corporate capitalism as crystallized in the Bernie Sanders campaign showed that like in the McGovern campaign of an earlier generation, that there is in the USA an ongoing desire on the part of the young and the progressive thinking people for change at a fundamental level. It also shows how much better the system has gotten at eliminating such a challenge with old fashioned dirty politics and fear mongering. The left, liberal, minority alliance was unable to beat the right largely due to the decampment of labor and the white working class generally as those hurt by the modern economy abandon their intellectual allies who have shown them little gain. for the demagoguery on the right.


Life’s little Ironies. From:

There needs to be a clear headed assessment of what we desire and how we wish to get where we want to go. Post Modernism although it has liberated many from the fetters of normative identity has muddied the waters in the struggle to unite humanity in a broad based movement to progressive evolution of the human condition. This has been enhanced by the severe disruption caused by modernism and its industrial megamachine over the last couple of centuries. People’s desire for community in the face of the disruptive and depersonalizing power of technological progress gives evidence of the lag between social evolution and our ability to manipulate the physical world around us. We are now just realizing that humanity has to come to terms with the balance between technology and the social mechanisms that allow this tail to wag the collective dog of humanity. Faced with the potential disruption of all life on the planet, humans need to create truly world wide networks of community that put technology firmly at heel and leash capitalism to the service of humanity or train the dog with some new socially progressive tricks.


From: BLM queer and trans people of color contingent, Sept. 26. Durham, NC, 2015.
The issue of identity will continue to be important but it must be in the context of ongoing progress or the right wing backlash will cause delays in progress for humanity and the planet as a whole.

Evolution, Aliens, Socialism

Friday, November 19th, 2010

There are plenty of people out there who believe in aliens, and that the 9/11 events was a conspiracy of an incredible magnitude. Aliens, other than non citizen residents from other countries, are pretty hard to put a finger on. There are none that I know of that have ever been proven to exist. But if you believe there are aliens in the Nevada desert being taken care of by the government, then it is not to incredible to believe that the government is behind 9/11. It is simply a matter of making the facts fit the belief system.
Movies about aliens come in cycles. Hollywood bean counters are following trends, they want to produce what will sell. Sure there is propaganda in the movie industry, why do you think the rest of the world used to want to be like us. Now they have either caught up to the USA in materialism or have wised up to the costs of an American lifestyle.
We still are the most wasteful country on the planet and we have a certain collective guilt, like we don’t deserve all this good luck, and we should since we stole it from the native Americans, but that only goes so far, after all those native Americans came from somewhere else 20,000 years ago or so.
The ability to ask the right questions is essential. What is what is real and what is disinformation? What is an honest living and what is one based on exploiting others? Who is exploiting our good natures for their gain and what would a real level playing field look like?
Is there a direction in history that is taking us to a glorious future as the modernists and Hegelians believe? Are there gods or giants, or other more advanced beings looking over this planet who interferes in our lives and have an interest in what happens here? Or are we here as part of a random process of the mashing up of elemental particle in some fractal process of evolution?
Many of us are caught up in negative or positive fantasies because of the relative meaninglessness of our lives. We want to infuse it with meaning and thus we invent these exciting scenario’s to fill our imaginal lives with some sense of adventure. That is what the proliferation of reenactment groups and end times groups etc represent.
One problem is that we rarely have to spend much time in basic survival. If we did, we would have little time for such hobbies, although the hopelessly poor are given religion with a fantasy that they will be in a better world when they die to alleviate the misery of living in an unfair world. That has been for centuries, at least since medieval times, the main use for religion.
We then had a series of revolutions some 350-200 years ago, some violent like the English, American, French, Latin American, and Italian, and rarely some not like the German unification. These revolutions generally overthrew older aristocratic rule and replaced it with bourgeois rule. Later in the 20th century there were attempts to replace rule by the bourgeois with rule by the proletariat or workers, that failed for the most part for various reasons, some having to do with the inadequate development of socialization and education which is required for mass rule, others having to do with the development of new elites who subverted the system of socialism as it emerged and of course there was the war waged by the old bourgeois elite to repress these proletarian regimes, just as when the bourgeois revolted against the aristocrats the aristocratic elites attempted to repress them.
The end result of all this rebelling has been a certain loosening up of the reins so to speak. There is more freedom of movement and thought than has existed at least since ancient times, with capital now in the hands of the bourgeoisie as well as the old aristocratic classes, and in bureaucratic state formations, there is room for a certain amount of innovation, especially with the development of advanced research universities, largely with funding from militaristic sectors of the state, but they do spill off into the general economy. Religion takes a back seat in such a world, it is not required to build bombs or rockets.
But I diverge, my point being that we have to look at the phenomena that are occurring now in some kind of a context. If we have been placed here as part of some kind of great experiment then it is incumbent upon us to look outside the petri dish and see if there is someone there. If whomever started this whole thing long ago lost interest then we are more or less on our own, unless we grab the attention of said experimenters, assuming they are still there.
We now have the technology, more or less to break out of the bounds of this planet/egg/nursery, but is it wise? After all if space is someplace that is so inimical to human life that we have to protect ourselves in massive shielded suits and ships, perhaps we need to rethink what that is all about.
As for others coming here, well we really can’t do anything about it if they want to come, just like illegal aliens crossing the border, we should find ways to accommodate them, especially if they are more advanced, since we are likely to have little choice but to learn from them, at least initially. Later when we have gained what lessons we can, then we can determine if we want to live with these godlings, most likely we will simply adjust as we have to having Indian and Chinese doctors and Mexican coworkers.
But what does this have to do with determining what is real? After all our senses tell us that the phenomenal world around us is real. But under duress our senses will change the reality we perceive and in dreams reality is perceptibly different. Movies play with that sense of reality. Lumiere one of the first filmmakers treated film as a form of glorified magic show. Now you see it, now you don’t. He also made the first trip to the moon film. When I was a youth I took a lot of LSD and had quite a few experiences of altered reality. Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s there was a lot of scientific interest in exploring these alternate realities, ESP, and all that, psychoactive drugs were used liberally until they got out into the general public and the federal government made them illegal. Now such research is along with aliens and gods placed in the realm of entertainment on the so called history channel. At one time though this was an area of serious research and in the cold war the Russians and Americans tried to harness the psychic powers of the mind for purposes of warfare. The MK-ULTRA operation was part of that.
We live in a time when the borders of what is real are being pierced with scientific precision. Mystics used to starve themselves in isolated monastic cells to transcend the every day world and reach out into the unknown vortex of the heavens. Now we have machines, robots that literally walk the surface of Mars. Is this some cause for wonder? It should be, but we have become so saturated with data, that little strikes us as amazing. What would have been fantastic a couple of centuries ago has become trivial, even of no interest. Are we jaded? I would say more that we are inundated. But that is not really true.
The human brain is still more complex than the most advanced computers, at least pound for pound, and all meaning is still generated out of the human mind. That is phenomenal. We generate meaning. Computers can generate numbers without end, but those numbers are meaningless without the human cognition. Imagine, peasants in the most impoverished regions of the world have something that no machine has, intellect. That is why we each and every one of us must be cherished as a sacred flame. We each are a beacon of awareness in a world that otherwise is what, insensate? Hardly, there are plenty of other life forms, animals, microbes, even the planet itself perhaps, but are they self aware? There is evidence that animals and even plants have some level of awareness, the react to heat and light and hunger, but what they lack is the ability to make lightening fast adjustments to their environments with the ability to utilize tools like humans have.
I am rambling on here and have not come to a conclusion. I am trying to say that we need to elevate all of humanity as the crown of creation so to speak. But the human mind is still to some extent sleeping. It is not fully aware of itself and its capacities. Some are more aware than others. Some have had experiences that have slowed down their development, I know I have spent decades doing somewhat tedious labor as a planner for the business world. Figuring out time and motion relationships to give a monetary value to production processes. It was rarely very interesting but it passed the time. Now I have been placed in a situation where I have been forced to fall back upon my mental resources and think more deeply as once I did as a youth. Then I had not the experience in life and my thoughts were not tempered. Now my ramblings have the edge of time cutting through the idealistic fat of youthful exuberance.

There may be aliens out there, there may be a god or gods or giants, but without contact, without them revealing themselves, we have to take seriously the matter of tending to the planet and treating it as a home and not simply the egg from which supermen hatch. In other words this is a place not to be discarded but to be nurtured. Which brings me to my final point. Are we simply continuing on? Eating, sleeping, shitting and reproducing? To what end are we moving? That I am sure is what all this otherworldly stuff is all about. We are entering a space odyssey but it is not one where we are in a metal can out in the void. This is our spaceship. We are now hurtling through space. We are, and this I am fairly positive about, entering a new consciousness and that involves resolving the material inequities that keep billions of us in poverty while other billions of us are stuffed to the gills with material possessions. The marketplace has to be regulated to bring about the well being of us all so that we can focus on what could be called the grand adventure, piloting planet earth in space and time.
Social planning and intelligent resource allocation, with proper regard for the recycling of waste and maintaining a renewable energy supply are simply rational choices that have to be made. Eliminating the distraction of war between fellow humans is also essential. Why would any space beings with any intelligence be interested a species that continuously was beating up on itself? If there is a community of space beings, we need to clean up our act and stop acting like a planet of the lower apes. Even if we are alone out here, it would behoove us to find more refined games to play. But then without a beyond to adventure into we will probably degenerate into primitive tribal wars, simply to keep our minds occupied with some kind of edgy game. Lets hope we can move beyond that. Evolve.

Whither Socialism and the Chinese Model

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Obama is going around the country stumping for Democrats. On a macro level there is no real difference between Democrats and Republicans, they both work for the business and banking elites. It is in the details, the micro level that there is a difference and in the details lies the devil. The Democrats have a left wing that is what we shall call progressive. They are the seventy odd members of the progressive caucus in the House of Representatives and Bernie Sanders in the Senate. The DSA Democratic Socialists of America is the main political organ if this group. My problem with these socialists is that they still tend to prop up the Capitalist system. We look at countries with Socialist or Labor party governments and we see Great Britain until recently, Spain and Greece in particular have been making social concessions to the bankers that go against socialist principals.
This might be rationalized due to the fact that the world economy is interdependent and is controlled by the big banks and corporations. The Socialists would say that if they did not cooperate their credit would be ruined and they would not be able to gain loans to finance their debt. If they simply refused to pay the debt then there would be no loans in the future. That may not be as bad as it sounds, if each country were to pay as it goes, there would be a much more vigilant watch over where the money goes. Redistribution of wealth is based on the premise that wealth has been unfairly accumulated in the hands of the capitalists when it was created by the sweat equity of thousands of workers over the centuries. What wealth has been accumulated would not exist if not for the labor of each of those workers. Therefore redistribution is simply the redressing of a social imbalance that has been caused by an economic system that led to the accumulation of much power and wealth into a smaller and smaller number of hands.
This capitalist form of accumulation was required for the development of the factory system and the emergence of a tax base that would fund government research programs and military complexes that feed off of the capitalist economic base. This concentration of wealth allowed for certain transformations to occur in terms of technological advances. But it did lead to the laboring classes being separated from their tools of production which now became the property of the capitalist classes. Workers no longer could sell the products of their labor, they now had to sell their labor to the capitalists who sold the products of that labor at a profit, paying the laborers the minimum possible to maximize profits.
Now we are entering a period in what is called late capitalism where there is very little room to move without effecting the entire world. Rationally speaking to avoid the boom and bust cycle of capitalism the world now must regulate capitalism to a minor place in the total economy. This means states will become more important in determining economic policy. If the states are democratic then hopefully this will lead to a more rational distribution of wealth. But it is not necessarily so. Some states are dictatorships or have powerful interests that will channel all the excess wealth into the military or they are oligarchies who will simply skim wealth off for themselves and let a trickle go to the masses of the people. We are seeing the rise of state capitalism as the primary mover with the marketplace being more and more the dependency on state policy. This could be called socialism by the back door, because the intent is not to redistribute wealth but to prop up capitalism. One of the main features of real socialism is the redistribution of wealth so that people can lead lives without worrying if they will have enough to eat, a place to sleep or if they will be taken care of if they become sick or elderly. That is all covered in a socialist state.
Some formerly socialist states such as China have removed the social safety net to encourage capitalist development in certain sectors of society. They are by no means a democratic socialist state. But they do have a socialist government that retains control over certain vital sectors of the economy.
This from Wikipedia on the Chinese Economy.
“The highly concentrated public sector, dominated by 159 large SOEs, provided key inputs from utilities, heavy industries, and energy resources that facilitated private sector growth and drove investment, the foundation of national growth.”
“China’s growth comes both from huge state investment in infrastructure and heavy industry and from private sector expansion in light industry instead of just exports, whose role in the economy appears to have been significantly overestimated.”
“The PRC government’s decision to permit China to be used by multinational corporations as an export platform has made the country a major competitor to other Asian export-led economies, such as South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. China has emphasized raising personal income and consumption and introducing new management systems to help increase productivity. The government has also focused on foreign trade as a major vehicle for economic growth. The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978… Nevertheless, key bottlenecks continue to constrain growth. Available energy is insufficient to run at fully-installed industrial capacity, the transport system is inadequate to move sufficient quantities of such critical items as coal, and the communications system cannot yet fully meet the needs of an economy of China’s size and complexity.”
There is a large gap in China between the industrial sector which has benefited from large subsidies from the government and the agricultural sector which is dependent on factors such as he weather and has lagged in development. Also the Chinese factories are often primitive and dependent on the availability of cheap labor rather than extensive automation to retain their competitive edge.
Recent moves by the Chinese government to stimulate domestic consumption by allowing workers wages to rise and allowing the Currency to float in the market as opposed to keeping it pegged to the dollar at a set rate will make China less competitive on the international market but it also will spur development in the interior of the nation where the economic growth lags behind the costal regions as capitalists seek cheaper labor in the hinterlands.
But China has problems with pollution, income disparity, lack of the rule of law, corruption and an inefficient banking system to name some major ones. Socialism in China is mostly the government and its public sector directing the areas they want to see growth in and then letting things take their course. It has generated great growth and wealth and great inequity. Something the Chinese will have to deal with. Perhaps by allowing the workers to earn more and turning away from excess dependence on exports, they will retain enough wealth to rebuild their social welfare system. We shall see.
As for socialism as a whole, Europe shows us that it is possible to have a gentler, kinder capitalism, but is it sustainable? Will the workers allow the capitalists to remove their benefits in the name of some form of marketplace competitiveness or will they insist upon a regulated market that benefits the working classes? We shall see.

Socialism, Capitalism Or Another-ism, Which Is The Way Of The Future?

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

I think I will stick with this name. Sort of a hybrid of my old blog site name and this new one. ‘Gary Rumor’s Anti-Entropic Continuum’.
I am listening to the fundraiser on KPFK my local Pacifica station. Ian Masters is doing his fundraising bit. I am a big fan of community radio. I used to be a DJ on KGNU in Boulder, CO. They are always on the edge of being broke and struggle along with the aid of dedicated lefties. I gave my bit today. Second time this year. Incredibly they claim that the listener-ship is way down from where it was 10 years ago.
I was thinking about what is the matter with the left. The left has good ideas. It has solutions that are sensible and better than capitalism. So why don’t people trust them? It is probably because most lefties are perceived as being children of privilege. They are not working class people and if they are they are the smarter ones that got picked on as kids. In this day and age where being a nerd is the ideal, the less than genius level masses feel condescended to and living in a democracy, people are free to vote their resentments. So you find a smart operator like George Bush playing the everyman card, claiming I am one of you, just a regular guy who partied too much and then got religion and found his calling in the Presidency.
Lots of white males are able to identify with him. The script writers who did Harold and Kumar go to Guantanamo got it just right. They played on peoples fear of homosexual rape, they played on peoples love of partying and sex and they played up George Bush as an every man who had issues with his father and a scary vice president Dick Cheney.
My Jewish and Gay friends might be wondering what happened to me. Did I turn into a proto fascist? No, but I have been of late wondering why the left is so weak in America. I don’t care if you are a libertarian anarchist or a Stalinist workers world type. You are all marginal and I am out here on the margins with you. So why are we marginal? We like to think it is because of some conspiracy on the right to keep us down but when you think about it, even in the cultural milieus where we have dominated like the punk scene in the 80’s or the hippie scene in the 60’s, there has been no long term change brought about through anarchist communist thinking. People who are smart move on. People who are livestylers simply cocoon themselves around the symbols that make them feel comfortable and create a religious cult of the left.
We are left with the option of growing up and moving on or becoming cultists. I don’t like either option. I think we need to find a way to communicate to people on the level where they are. This means realizing people like to party when they are young. When they are older most people get tired of that or they become addicts like I did and then get sick of it much later. Older adults either keep trying to relive their youths or they accept adulthood and find the complexity of running the real world interesting. Or like me they are marginalized and frustrated by the pittance of control over my own life that I have and desire for an entry into the control room of this cosmic ship and my turn at the wheel. Now I do have a choice on certain levels. I could go into business as a capitalist and join the game on the terms that have been most optimally construed for participation. But I don’t prefer the capitalist mode of participation. I am not a good capitalist, not because I don’t understand how it works, my job is in estimating cost and assigning value. In the company I work that is exactly what I do and I am pretty good at it. But I find the capitalist system to be a wasteful use of human potential. I spend 8-12 hours a day, 5 days a week doing this work. There are millions of people who are doing almost nothing at all. I would prefer to work 2 to 4 hours a day and then pass the baton on to someone else so I could spend another part of the day working on policy issues and another part of the day working on research. I do that now, but I have to spend much too much time doing the estimating job and my blog time is more an exercise and my policy time is virtually a waste of time because it is not taken seriously.
But it is this sort of thinking that upsets many people. They work hard to have a piece of the pie, They may not like this system, but they have adjusted to it and are now functioning, if not as well as I can imagine people functioning, as well as can be expected under this system. So why rock the boat? Why does this guy talk about himself like he is somebody special? I am not any more special than anyone else. But I do believe that we are all functioning at a fraction of our natural capabilities. This is not new age nonsense. And there is almost nothing more irritating to me than some child of privilege playing at being a guru-vy enlightened being with their crystals and talk with space people and all cotton fabric clothes and veggie diets. I could go on but anybody who has been to the Bodhi Tree bookstore knows of what I speak.
I know of those types, and I know the pierced and tattooed alt lifestylers who wear their identities on their sleeves. This is not the way that working people with rents or mortgages and car payments and jobs will find their way to a transformed world. We can each of us drop out and live our version of the alt lifestyle. America is very generous in that way, allowing people to go crazy and get a minimal subsidy to get by on. Or be an alt capitalist and make a million bucks selling products to these alt types. Toilet paper with a green label sells for double the price. I buy all organic food at Trader Joe’s, stuff I used to buy at the Coop before private industry drove the coops out of business.
This is something to think about. If the private industrial model can produce the shopping experience that upscale conscious alt people want, with non union labor, who am I to complain that I no longer can spend 4 hours a month doing my part at the coop to get my organic peanut butter. I go to Ralph’s around the corner to relieve my guilt at shopping at a non union Trader Joe’s. But Ralph’s doesn’t have all the organics that TJ’s has. So I vote against my class interest in favor of my cultural taste for organic foods. This is something I would like to change and I encourage Trader Joe employees to unionize. It will mean higher prices, but then perhaps Ralph’s will start carrying more of these organics and that will make them more competative. This is the rubber meeting the road where people vote with their wallets or purses.
Under capitalism many people vote for fast food. This is where we need more regulation. It should be against the law to sell junk food that aids to obesity and health problems. Under a public health plan with our taxes paying for our health care the connection would be blatant. But that goes for cigarettes and unsafe workplaces and unsafe transportation. It all is connected to the health issue just as the gas guzzlers are connected to the green house gases that are connected to the environment and all of this is connected to heath care and we are faced with a one world that is all interdependent with factory farms polluting and feeding us toxic food products that make us obese that give us diabetes that causes our health bills to go up.
No matter which way you turn it is all connected up. When you pick up one part of the stick, you get the whole stick. Either the government decides it is not its job and backs off, like the libertarians would prefer, or we get in there and develop a new system that works based on the model of the latest understanding of how the world works. If we don’t and leave it all to private industry then we are basicly saying that a model that states profit making and the drive to make a profit is the supreme value in the land. If we decide that profit is not the value we prefer to determine how we run the world, then we have to make a good argument as to why it is not the best way to do things.
Self interest has been the main driver of capitalism. It is based on a philosophical model that states greed is good. It certainly is not the only model. Most religions except perhaps Satanism do not follow that model. The others follow a model that incorporates either a belief in compassion, detachment and renouncing worldly pleasure like Buddhism, or compassion, union and salvation as with Christianity. There is the model of much of the ancient world where ones status was not determined by wealth accumulation but by agrarianism and ones skills as a fighter in defense of ones community. The simple farmer with his family at his side and perhaps a few trusty slaves who could buy their freedom was the model for Rome. Even when they were reveling in decadence at the height of the empire, that was what Romans looked to as their model. Family and country.
Business was not a primary value in the ancient world. It was not really a value that was given predominance until the hold of agrarianism with its collective values of a village working together to bring the crops in, defend themselves from invaders and trade on market day. The main alternative value system was pastoralism or nomadism. These were herding people who rode horses and had cattle, goats, sheep and other animals as their primary source of sustenance. Cooperation among nomads was a more limited event, mostly for raiding other nomads or the agrarians.
The last great conflict between nomads and agrarians was in the American west of the 19th century and the wars in southern Africa between the white settlers and the African pastoralists. This was when the technology of capitalist industrialization was transforming the centers of population in western Europe and the east coast of the United States.
There is another social system, that of the hunter gatherers. This is a state that is possible in a situation when there is a very small population or a very abundant natural resource base. When there is no capability to support agriculture or pastoralism as in the arctic or certain desert environments then hunter gatherer society are able to exist. But in the face of capitalism even hunter gatherers are incorporated. This is something new in the world a system that demands universal acquiescence. The imperative of utility demanded by capitalist development, its incessant need for cheaper sources of raw materials and markets to sell these products created by the value extracted from the labor of the workers drives it to become universal. It will soon have absorbed the entire planet. As each territory is forced to take on the nation state structure and develop legal systems that respect corporate law and allow for international trade agreements, there remains only the Antarctic as a scientific reserve without a nation state base. The rest of the surface of the planet has been colonized by capital and its dependent legal structures.
It could be argued that democracy is a development of capitalism. The Chinese are attempting to develop a social model of capitalism without democracy but that is pretty tough. The democratic form with its emphasis on the autonomy of the individual is essential for a market based system that places importance on contractual arrangements between individual entities. That is one reason why coops and families don’t do well under the capitalist mode. Mafias are a form of family and they are persecuted under the capitalist system as a hold over from the feudal period when loyalty was to ones liege lord not to ones contractor. Mafias contrary to popular opinion are like gangs not primarily economic units of wealth generation. They are mutual aid organizations with a peculiarly hierarchical structure. They create conflicting values with capitalism, promoting the loyalty to the mafia family over loyalty to the marketplace and the contract.
Communism in China promotes a state that is theoretically engaged in the project of sharing the wealth of the people on the basis of from each according to their abilities and to each according to their needs. That these social planers have determined the quickest way to get to that goal is not through enforced social equality but through the market mechanism of capitalism is an interesting concept. They are attempting to push China through the capitalist development phase to generate enough wealth to then transform into a truly socialist society. They are attempting to ride the dragon of capitalist development without the legal structures of capitalism, or with the minimal portion of them that are required. The problem is that leaves no balance. The state planers cannot be in every place putting out every fire when there is a conflict between the needs of the people and the needs of capital. Without the legal frame work of the law suit and the redress mechanism of the vote to change leadership to make it somewhat responsive, the party has to run around playing cop and settling every dispute itself. This has led to an unbalanced system.
People are expected to live as entrepreneurs in one sphere but as good socialists in another. It causes contradictions that lead to a whole new series of social problems. I don’t see how the party will be able to come through this with its reputation intact as a legitimate body for the development of socialism. All I can see is it eventually becoming the party of the oligarchs that rule in every other capitalist country and it will either adapt democratic reforms or become some semi totalitarian hybrid. Communism in its germinal state cannot be kept like a precious child swaddled in the rags of capitalism in my mind.
The structure of government reflects the society and that means capitalist societies have capitalist governments. Semi socialist societies have semi socialist governments. That is why the right wingers are correct in the analysis that says Obama is bringing socialism. He is. But he is not doing it fast enough or consciously enough. He is trying to save capitalism by regulating it into being nice. Sort of like teaching a lion to not bite off your head when you stick your head into it. Eventually that lion is going to say fuck it and bit your head off or it is not really a lion any more but some sort of circus show hybrid. Capitalism breeds greed. That is how it functions. When you regulate it you are changing to another system. Some kind of hybrid. If you regulate it enough you will end up with socialism. That is a laudable and intelligent goal and we should be calming peoples fears by extolling the benefits of socialism not by pretending a lion is a pussy cat and a system set up to benefit all as socialism is, is something that is made to benefit capital which it is not. Trying to use socialist methods to salvage capitalism is irrational and ultimately will fail. You either revert to capitalism as we had under Regan, the Bushes and Clinton or you progress to the next step, socialism.
We really must boldly go where no man has never gone before and stop acting like a bunch of wimps who are afraid of being laughed at by the other kids. If we have a path that is a solution to the problems of the day we should be honestly presenting it and not pretending we are really trying to prop up capitalism and return it to its owners all shined up and good as new. It is a wreck we need to dump it and get the new model out and working. If we act with confidence and test this thing out to make sure it works properly then people will accept it like they accept everything else.
If aliens landed on the white house lawn and said that they are taking over on prime time TV, within a week or two people would act as if it has always been that way. We need to be confident in what we want to give people. Either we believe that socialism is the answer or we might as well shut up and go back to work. Go Green, go labor, go green socialist labor with a splash of liberty thrown in the pot to make it taste good.
There are a couple of contradictions in my argument that I am not sure how to clean up. One is the difference between essence and mutability. How much can capitalism be reformed before it becomes something else? How much variation is there is a type before it becomes other than what it is defined to be? When is it smart to play the wolf in sheep’s clothing and when do we stand boldly and announce that we have the solution? How do we know we are right? When do we give up on an idea that simply is out of sync with reality or be patient and wait for our time to come? These are all dilemmas and quandaries.
We live in a world where we have a population bombarded with information, so much so that many of us would rather just grab a cold one and zone out. After all how much is enough? When do we know we are simply hitting our head against the wall and when do we determine that one more try and we break on through? One never really knows. We can use educated guesses and inform ourselves to the best of our ability and then make our move.
I have waited until I was in my fifties before I felt that I knew as much as I thought I knew when I was a twenty. Now I know I know something, not much but it is something and I will do my damn best to do my part in keeping this world safe and livable for the next seven generations or so as the old tale of native american wisdom went, in that book Seven Arrows.
Oh back to my Jewish and Gay friends, I simply think you guys scare ths shit out of Joe Normal. Not that he thinks you are going to give him AIDS, but that he might be more like you than he would like to admit. I try to be aware of all sides of myself, the gay fairy side and the redneck proto fascist side. I am attempting to merge those 26 personalities into one as the Gurdjieff followers would put it, or at least to be able to appreciate the papal pageant as my various selves move on and off the stage of my personal existence. We are all much more than we pretend, but to take that lamp shade off might be dangerous. We don’t want to blind anyone with the brilliance and besides all that light will show off our defects. And I am a real Scarface when it comes to those.
Gary Rumor done for the day. This is another of my crusty love letters to the world.

Post Protest Blues

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

It happens, you get back from the big protests, you tell a couple of stories to unbelieving co-workers, and then its back to the grind.
Those days of heightened concern for the immediate situation, the confrontations with the police, the planning, the rushing back and forth to different events, the concern for those arrested and the efforts to release them, all heady stuff, all intense, living each day as if it counted, that is what it is like at the protests. It is not like the half life of the workaday world in the left over capitalist system. That world is bankrupt, that world is a dieing dream, an ebbing tide where little pools of industry still persist in the general demise of its meaningfulness.
I work to pay bills, period. I have no illusions about capitalism being a system that brings about positive change. I hear and see all that propaganda, all that noise about going green, and it is 95% marketing and 5% substance. What we need is another way, and that other way has to be something we create ourselves.
I don’t mean the self managed oppression of the coop in the city, an island of poverty in a bustling metropolis, or some pathetic communal self sublimation for the good of the cause, more tedium. No what I want is the same level of excitement when things are popping on the job, or at the demonstrations. It is not all up and out there, I mean there are cycles and some of these cycles are quiet, reflective times, but that is meant for a few hours of recouping of ones energy, like a good nights sleep. It is not meant to be the night of the living dead that consumerist capitalism has become.
We need more rebellions, more days of rage, more intensity if we are to remake the world. Otherwise we will fall back to sleep. That is what life is like in the twilight world of wage slavery, just enough to get by, like the old state capitalist dictatorships, where people pretended to work. Those societies bred contempt, and that is what capitalism is doing now, Perhaps we can feel its death knell, perhaps we can rise up and live like we were meant to live, not as slaves but as heroes. We shall see. Meantime, back to the grind…
But then perhaps I am simply on the wrong track. Anybody out there got a word about where the action is going non stop, and I don’t mean the stock market, I mean the social revolution for real, not like some TV image of it. I have been in the intensity of it and when it is happening there is no better feeling, the feeling of truely being alive, better than any drug, although it is good on drugs too. Ah, to live and die in LA!

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