Can this post-Trump chaos create space for an anti-capitalist revolutionary movement? part II

banksy-capitalism

Banksy’s ‘destroy capitalism’

Part I is here.

Given that rule by capital began during the post WWII Cold War, and has been since that time on a trajectory to Inverted Totalitarianism (Sheldon Wolin’s term for government being subservient to corporate capital), increasing numbers of the rabble class around the world are catching on to that fact.  Inside the EU, that realization seems to have led to Leftists being elected in some nations, and to the rise of the more hidden neo-nationalists, Brexit, a possible Grexit if their creditors won’t write down a hella lot of their debt.  Those stories are still in the making, of course.

To my mind, the Women’s March was far too parochial to affect any meaningful movement against either capitalism or Imperialism, including democratic socialist Kashama Sawant who’s penned: ‘A Socialist Strategy to Defeat Trump’.  She’s quite bullish on the Women’s Marcher’s calls for Work Strikes on March 8 and May Day, knowing that all of the working class needs to be included, but offers this gate-keeping Jacobin piece as the cautionary tale of the hazards of a general strike.  And yet, democratic socialists are by way of ‘reform capitalism, and certainly not anti-Imperialist, as in Bernie-hearts-drones and wants the yuuugest military force on the planet!

Partially because I admire the Zapatistas, I’d like to feature a  ‘Talk by John Holloway presented to the Zapatista Seminar on “Critical Thought against the Hydra of Capitalism,” San Cristóbal de las Casas, May 7, 2015, Roar Magazine

john-hollowayzapatistaseminar-main

A few excerpts:

“By critical thought I understand not thought of catastrophe but the thought that seeks hope in a world where it seems that it no longer exists. Critical thought is the thought that opens that which is closed, that shakes that which is fixed. Critical thought is the attempt to understand the storm and more than that: it is understanding that at the center of the storm is something that opens paths towards other worlds.

The storm is coming, or rather it is already here. It is already here and it is very probable that it will get worse. We have a name for this storm that is already here: Ayotzinapa. Ayotzinapa as horror, and as symbol of so many other horrors. Ayotzinapa as the concentrated expression of the Fourth World War.” [snip]

“Capital is in itself a constant aggression. It is an aggression that tells us every day “you have to shape what you do in a certain way, the only activity that has validity in this society is activity that contributes to the expansion of capitalist profit.”

The aggression that is capital has a dynamic. In order to survive, capital has to subordinate our activity more intensely to the logic of profit each day: “today you have to work harder than yesterday; today you have to bow lower than yesterday.”

With that, we can already see the weakness of capital.

It searches for all possible ways of imposing the subordination that it requires: authoritarianism, violence, labor reform, educational reform. It also introduces a game, a fiction: if we cannot extract the profit we need, then we shall pretend that it exists, we shall create a monetary representation for value that has not been produced, we are going to expand debt in order to survive and also try to use it to impose the discipline that is necessary. This expansion of debt is at the same time the expansion of finance capital, expression of the violent weakness of capital as a social relation.” 

“The other possibility is to say “Goodbye, capital, time for you to go, we are going to create other ways of living, other ways of relating to one another, both among humans and between humans and other forms of life, ways of living that are not determined by money and the pursuit of profit, but by our own collective decisions.”

“It sounds easy, we know that it is not. How do we advance, then, how do we walk? Asking we walk, asking and hugging and organizing.”

The rest is here.  The home page of the Zapatistas is here ; most essays and communiqués have English translations.  They’ve created a bottom-up democracy and are continuously in the process of creating their own sustainable village lives separate from capital. Their over-arching motto is to the effect that: “If we try something and it doesn’t work…we try something else.”  The ‘Chiapas little schools’ page has a lot of information for the…curious.

Recently a friend introduced me to Bob Avakian’s RevCom.Us, pointing to a video in which the Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill as a speaker at one of their conferences.  Admittedly, I didn’t listen for long, but I was curious about their #J20 events and printable posters of ‘NoFascistTrump’ and the like.  Meh.  But I did peek into the table of contents of Avakian’s new book, The New Communism, and was none the wiser about its contents, although excerpts are available now.  Down in the left-hand corner of the home page is ‘How we can win, how we can really make revolution, and ‘To do this we need to know: Why we need an actual revolution, what we need to do now, and how we could defeat them’.

I suppose I’d characterize the ‘How to win’ bullet points as: get equipped, fight only on favorable terms, avoiding direct confrontation, operate in surprise given asymmetrical disadvantages, capture and seize the old order’s arms, etc.  Yes, they admit it will take millions fighting an armed revolution.  The better route, imo, would be when the military would refuse to participate to quash the rebellion, as happened a number of times during the attempted putsches against Hugo Chavez.

Of all the several dozen links to essays for this series, this is my absolute favorite.  Note: there may not be a part III.  ‘Build and Fight: Beyond Trump and the Limitations of the United Front’, Kali Akuno and Doug Norberg, blackagendareport.com

You may remember that Kali Akuno was one of the authors of the report ‘Operation Ghetto Storm: 313 Extrajudicial Killings of Blacks in 2012, averaging one every 28 hours’.   I haven’t discovered anything about Doug Norberg.  As all BAR work is labeled CC, I’ll borrow liberally from their essay.

ungovernable

“On Inauguration Day, we note the considerable range of the opposition to Trump, from traditional activists to very mainstream folks. In many respects the opposition mounted was unprecedented, on a day where patriotic and jingoistic hyperbole is typically concentrated and loudly broadcast more than at any other time, and when, traditionally, new Presidents make appeals to the heart and to democratic unity while all who know how false the claims are, bite their lips, party, and hope for the best. The opposition struggling to find expression is broad and deep. But, nearly all expressions of opposition are resorting to traditional methods of reformist oriented protest while millions of people throughout the United States and the world are discussing and debating how they are going to survive and resist the emerging Presidential regime of Donald Trump and the rise of right-wing populism and a resurgent “America first” white nationalism.

Given the nature of Trump’s politics and how he came to power, comparisons abound between him and Hitler. Some of these comparisons are compelling; several are strategically and tactically instructive for our present predicament. But, while most activists focus on how and why Trump captured the Presidency, or the nature of an ascending neo-Confederacy, most do not address the crisis itself. Nor what the crisis practically implies, and when, where, and how the Left and the people’s movements can and must intervene to produce desired outcomes.

The crisis in question is the crisis of the capitalist world-system, which has entered a profound state of economic and ecological imbalance, social instability, inter-imperialist infighting, mass displacement, increased suffering and rampant carnage not experienced on this scale at a global level since the 1930’s. The crisis is rooted in the inherent contradictions of the capitalist system, such as the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, the need for constant expansion, uneven development within and between socio-political units, and ecological externalization, to name a few. The “Great Depression” of the 1930’s led to the second great inter-imperialist war, more commonly known as World War II, which lasted from1936 through 1945. The process of “creative destruction,” which war under capitalism facilities, ended the depression and ushered in a new era in the imperialist system, the era U.S. hegemony. 

The first 20 years of U.S. global domination was perhaps the greatest period of sustained capital realization in the 400-plus year history of the inhumane capitalist system. This exceptional period, from the mid-1940’s through the mid-1960’s, was the product of successfully implementing world-system regulating instruments crafted by U.S. imperialism to structure the process of capital accumulation on a global scale, mediate inter-imperialist rivalry, suppress and corrupt the national liberation and communist movements, and contain the Socialist countries within the Cold War framework. The primary instruments crafted by U.S. imperialism on the economic side were the Bretton Woods institutions, consisting of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the General Agreement on Tariff’s and Trade (GATT), and its successor the World Trade Organization (WTO).  And grand recapitalization initiatives like the Marshall Plan (which rebuilt the economies of Western Europe after second Inter-Imperialist War).  On the political side the primary instruments crafted by U.S. imperialism were the United Nations (UN), the European Union, and a host of regional instruments like the Organization of American States (OAS), and all enforced by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).”

Then a section on the advent of neoliberalism under Pinochet, advance by Reaganomics, and the ‘structural adjustments’ of the IMF and World Bank during the 1980s and beyond, and one citing US Imperial over-stretch tipping the scales eventually to ever-increasing global and national financial cannibalization of banking institutions, etc.  If I understand what they’ve written, I’’m not sure I entirely agree with their formulation, but…I digress.

“The [2007-08] housing bubble burst caught the U.S. government and the forces of trans-national capital flatfooted, resulting in the so-called “Great Recession” and the fictitious recovery we are living through now.

By every measure the world-system is set for another major global calamity, but with even higher stakes, given the depth of the climate and ecological crisis produced by the exploit and plunder, expand-or-die capitalist mode of production. The result?  Given the present balance of forces throughout the world, we are either facing another great inter-imperialist war that will result in massive destruction and the likely creation of a new “pecking order” of the capitalist world system as occurred in the 1940’s. Or the global war will produce no imperialist winners, but only result in dystopian barbarism, the collapse of “civilization,” and the likely fulfillment of the 6th great extinction event that many are coming to see as virtually inevitable.

We have to ask ourselves, are there other options? Other possibilities? And if there are, what must we do to bring these into being?

We have to start with a clear understanding that the “liberal” center of the world-system is exhausted, bankrupt, and cannot hold. Resistance is growing and is just beginning to develop a revolutionary imagination, and address the imperative need for revolutionary organization and strategic focus. The relatively spontaneous, reactive, and largely reform-minded movements we see in North America and Europe, from the center-left (liberals and social democrats) and the right, against the predominant neo-liberal order reveals that there is tremendous potential for change. However, the change will only be substantive and beneficial to humanity if what replaces our present unethical and inequitable world is truly emancipatory. Spontaneity will not get us there, nor will the liberals, centrists, or the resurgent forces of the right. A revolutionary force is needed, one that is not yet born.

We argue, that the salvation of the human family is up to us – the revolutionary left and the people’s movements. We must find a way to align and unite our fragmented forces, and form a revolutionary, counter-hegemonic force.

Some of the fundamental questions confronting emergent revolutionary forces are how will the developing anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle be unified? How will the revolutionary political forces develop and struggle? And where should and will they aim their strategic focus? As these forces develop and struggle for political and strategic clarity, they will have to confront and overcome the demons that have weakened revolutionary forces over the last several hundred years – internal democracy, hierarchy, sexism, patriarchy, heterosexism, Eurocentrism and settler-colonialism, white supremacy, xenophobia, the mental/manual division of labor, electoral fixations, economism, revisionism, and reformism. While all of these issues are of equal weight, the last three issues are of particular short-term concern in the U.S. context, because if the struggle against them is mishandled, it will result in the emerging resistance movement being subject to the forces and agenda of liberal faction of U.S. imperialism, the Democratic Party.” [snip]

At best, “united fronts” are instruments for restoring the status quo ante, which in our case is the neo-liberal capitalist-imperialist order that has dominated U.S. political economy since the 1980’s. The failure of this order created the political vacuum that produced Trump and the resurgence of white nationalism and neo-fascism. Restoring the failed neo-liberal order is no solution. Nor is the attempt to campaign for the restoration of the welfare or social democratic state a solution, as it was (and is) a strategy to maximize profits and pacify and disempower the working class, not social liberation.”  [snip]

After a longish bit on Democrat thinking, pendulums and such, this:

“This argument appeals to the reform left who, long accustomed to playing the single-issue reformist game a la “NGOism,” who will fit right in and help throw radicals and all manner of anti-system activists – like those struggling against the police, prisons, poor education, inadequate health and childcare, substandard and unaffordable housing, gentrification, domestic violence, anti-surveillance, whistleblower, animal rights, transphobia, climate justice, Islamophobia, BDS, anti-fascism, etc. – under the bus for “the greater good,” so as not to spoil the “strategic deal” of a projected pendulum reversal.

But the views of the millions “thrown under the bus” historically and today are not unknown, though routinely denied, dismissed, deemed divisive, and often outright criminalized. Many activists are easily swayed by such arguments, in part because of decades of single-issue reformism, and also the utility of commonplace appeals to “united fronts” historically, which have not been critically examined. In times of great capitalist crisis, severe systemic repressions combined with age-old oppressions throw many people on the defensive, and often move many to be dismissive of attempts at revolutionary challenges to the system. In such a time it’s crucial to examine these illusory “pragmatic” maneuvers (surrenders) against the reality, from the perspective of those who have been, and will be, thrown under the bus – the unmentionables and untouchables throughout the US political arenas.

We have to counter the narrowness of the standard “united front” approach and build a political force and a social movement that aims for social and economic emancipation, and not just a restoration of the “good ole bad days” of the Obama era or the 1950’s and 60’s. This force must be built by the broad totality of the working class in all of its (ethnic, racial, national, spiritual, and gender) diversity, serve its broad interests, and be self-organized and self-directed. By working class, we do not mean a narrow, monolithic subject of the AFL-CIO trade union ideal–the old, idealized, white, heterosexual, male-bodied, industrial worker. The working class encompasses all those who are structurally dispossessed from owning and controlling the means of production, and whom are dependent upon selling their labor, labor power, or their bodies and reproductive capacity in order to survive. This includes everyone from computer programmers to sex workers, from teachers and waged-slaved doctors (both traditional and alternative) to farm workers, from prisoners to the structurally unemployed, and to the vast numbers of unrecognized “gray market” workers in household, care-giving, home and auto maintenance, food preparers, and others. Given the increasing automation of production, this force must call for and organize a liberatory program based on the decolonization of land and knowledge systems, the democratization of the productive forces, the full automation of the productive forces, the decarbonization of the economy, the full democratization of markets and the processes value exchange, and a regenerative social order based on zero-waste the restoration of the biosphere.”  [snip]

“The key to understanding and acting in a revolutionary manner in a period of profound social instability and upheaval is to recognize and rally forces to the strategic emancipatory opportunity, even while uniting broadly for defense against the serious threats and attacks. The fragmentation of power, of social hegemony, means that there is space for revolutionary interjection, intervention, and innovation from subaltern class forces. What we lack is the organization, resources, and initiative to intervene in sustained and determined manner. But, these are not normal times, and the opportunities to create the means of seizing the initiative can be found and created. Capitalism is driving humanity and all complex life on earth to the brink of extinction. Trump, the Tea-Party neo-Confederates, and the rising neo-Fascist forces throughout the world are just a reflection of this dynamic of collapse. The situation demands that we, the Left and the People’s Movements, rise to the occasion. Although profoundly difficult, history says we can. Let us make this era the most luminous period in human history.

We can.

We must.

We will.

You can read here about Kali Akuno’s work with Cooperation Jackson: ‘Building a solidarity economy in Jackson, Mississippi, anchored by a network of cooperatives and other worker-owned, democratically self-managed enterprises.’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is from 2016, but it showcases a collective 160 organizations that have come together under the banner of alternative economic systems: ‘Can the ‘new economy’ and labor movements come together again? wagingnonviolence.org

“This includes cooperatives and credit unions, community land trusts, municipal participatory budgeting, local renewable energy and various community organizing initiatives to build local power, all within a grassroots, intersectional and anti-oppression political framework. This kind of work is often referred to as the “new economy” or “solidarity economy.” [snip]

“We can think of the economy as operating in five spheres, as Emily Kawano of the Solidarity Economy Network has suggested, and new economy projects offer alternatives for each, including: worker cooperatives for production; time banking, fair trade and basic income for distribution; housing and food cooperatives, and community land trusts for consumption; credit unions, public banking and alternative currencies for finance; and participatory budgeting, commons ownership and restorative justice for governance.

The overall goal would be to build and link together projects like these that strengthen our collective capacity to engage in these areas in a democratic, participatory way for a post-capitalist future. If we want to eventually have social ownership and democratic planning of the economy, we need to engage in these practices and create more institutions that enable them.  (again, the rest is here.)

Of major note: ‘Forty-three percent of US children live in low-income families’, wsws.org

New York City schools overwhelmed by student homelessness’, wsws.org

Last year, almost 63,000 homeless children on ‘skid row’ were enrolled in LA schools, latimes.com

Greed-Machine

45 responses to “Can this post-Trump chaos create space for an anti-capitalist revolutionary movement? part II

  1. The post-November 8, 2016 chaos creates space for all sorts of movements, just because it has trashed so many normative assumptions about who and what drives politics in the US. And through the international front of nationalist parties and leaders upsets the European Union as well. Russia and China have been looking at the new openings the chaos brings. But most others are still in shock and horror over their lost assumptions.

    Revolutionary rhetoric that just rehashes some commonplace narratives about how we got here do not provide much guidance or vision of the opportunities from giving form to the movements that are popping up all over the place right now.

    Kali Akuno is correct. Coalitions (united fronts) are temporary tactical forms to gain power within the current system of government. All existing majority rulers in parliaments are fundamentally temporary united fronts that have enough seats to form a government. The US simplifies this with its duopoly flavors but essentially, the election is between two coalitions of interests (and in the US that means elite interests primarily).

    Your title question on the other side of Akuno’s analysis raises the question of what exactly do “anti-capitalist” and “revolutionary” mean in the current situation and where? I’ve been meaning to catch up with David Harvey’s retelling of Marx’s contradictions of capitalism. It’s not something my local library carries and I haven’t had the impetus to spring for a used copy of it. Coming from a background as a geography scholar, Harvey is very good about highlighting the where point and how capitalism assigns places. That is also relevant to the forms of organization a movement can enliven and where.

    Cooperatives in Jackson MS make a great deal of sense to me. But that is just a social form of a movement that one puts into existing capitalist civilization to see where locally and how concretely capitalism acts as a force to try to shut it down. As long as cooperatives are non-threatening, they are tolerated. But when they get as large as some major cooperatives in this country–Dairy Farmers of America, Sunkist Growers, Southern States — they become capitalist institutions with the same political issues that shareholders of private corporations have with their management personnel. The boss is the boss, and is the capitalist in ideology, and the stakeholders allow their interests to be sacrificed to the boss’s because “free market” (that ole-time cap’tlist religion). So what is it that transforms co-operatives as a form into something that builds an alternative to capitalism? Or is that a practical question?

    Capitalism is a religion (nee ideology) that subverts all political processes and all cultural processes to ensuring the distribution of the products of the productive process result in a monetary return for the boss first and everyone else at the boss’s pleasure. That is the fundamental relationship that must be changed in the face of the assumptions of the law and the assumptions of customers, suppliers, and people who use the cooperative as a workplace. Indeed, attack your competition with existing players through enforcing those assumptions is one of the ways that capitalist institutions seek to ensure there are no alternatives. (Until the “revolutions” of the Enlightenment, feudal institutions did the same with political power until the towns (the bourgs of the bourgeoisie) established themselves as independent points of power. It is no wonder that what the communist revolutions of the past century primarily have succeeded in doing is suppressing the traditional orders of global societies into conformance with a capitalist order.

    Even in Mexico and Venezuela, the struggle is between primarily capitalist order layered on feudal classes. The same is true in the US with the so-called identity politics. A bourgeois movement to end a system of feudal classes nonetheless seeks the preservation of capitalist classes. And the Trump voters are themselves not going to allow themselves to be permanently assigned to a particular caste based on education, ethnicity, or gender — or that’s their narrative. Not surprisingly this a society that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. The economic insinuates itself into every aspect of life; just see the Freakonomics books for this capitalist calculus.

    So the revolutionary parts are: (1) ending the rule of a boss; (2) decommodifying non-economic life, like politics and culture; (3) decommodifying nature; (4) socializing the fundamental infrastructure of social life; (5) realigning the relationship among the household economy, the community economy, and the global economy (to the extent that locations need to call on the products of farflung other communities). A world turned upside-down has no bosses; definite political and cultural limits on what the economic processes can demand of human beings and nature; replenishing nature; reviving society and social life as central rather than peripheral; primacy of household production and local community production; reduction of economically-driven (i.e. freight) transportation. The politics that requires means some substantial deregulation of some areas and increased regulation of other areas. It requires clarity on what jurisdiction best enforces the regulations and what safeguards against the private appropriation of political power, cultural power, and economic power are required. And the struggle begins when these are in place and insulated from capitalist power to force them back. That struggle is very local, no matter how much Venezuela or Chiapas look like national struggles. That is because the national elite (in Venezuela) or the national government (in Mexico) see these alternatives as a threat of spreading to other localities and weakening the power at the center.

    The most difficult strategy has to do less with the political authorities, generally a matter of raw power, than with the economic relationships with the existing economy required to make any transition. Some things can be transitioned through import substitution (which requires some form of capital plant and equipment from outside) or through what essentially looks like foreign currency holding that nations do.

    From a revolutionary perspective, the primary cultural issue is moving from the privilege of some to equality (in the complexity of what that means in terms of justice) for all. And the cultural artifacts that hold that self-understanding of the community as a persistent assumption.

    Chaos helps only because demands for alternatives are not so easily dismissed.

    • good mornin’, thd, and whooosh. there’s so much analysis here it will take a few readings for me, and i might have to break a few of the long graphs so my eyes can read better. iirc, you mainly come toward the end of the day, so i might answer a few other comments as i’m able…and be back.

    • “So what is it that transforms co-operatives as a form into something that builds an alternative to capitalism? Or is that a practical question?” of course it is, and i don’t have the answer. the various groups linked in the ‘new economy’ link might shed some light on the various ways it’s trying to do so, although ‘labor’ seems to be the thorniest issue. i have no idea if, or how, cooperatives are organized on paper. would there have to be ‘bosses’ at the top? or might they alternate, as in some direct democracies?

      there is at east one link to ‘how to make the transition’, though. david harvey’s essays have been featured at roar magazine. this may be the cliffs notes on the contradictions.

      the essay notes re: labor at the end: “Much has been written over the years about the need for U.S. labor to restore its radical imagination and embrace a more socialist economics. As capitalism continues to undergo economic and environmental crises, more common projects between the new economy and labor movements may lead to a revival within mainstream labor of the old cooperative commonwealth concept.”

      i’m trying to muse through your final sentence, but the images i see in my min don’t lead to “only because”, but that’s a small matter, i reckon.

  2. Whew WD, that’s one hell of a post. I read most, but literally, not every word.
    I was disappointed to see “left” still used; left implies “right” and we need to dump the binary thought process.
    If Usians can’t come together as “one”, regardless ideological differences; then fuck all; we won’t have escaped, no, make that changed, anything.
    That’s what I see as our present morass; genuine change is the only answer. But that in itself presents the real problem; very few understand what real/genuine change IS!
    Conventional thinking cannot create an unconventional answer.
    And therein lies the dilemma, IMO…
    I’m not hopeful…

    • i can’t fault you for scanning some or much of it, v. i just wanted to pack a lot into this part II…for now. i get peeved when ‘left’ equals ‘libruls’, ‘progressives’ for too many, and for ‘D’ it’s even more vexing. but i’d have to say that what’s left of those on the radical left are arguably anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist, save for some ron paul-esque libertarians, at least once upon a time.

      this piece by andre vltckek i found interesting along the lines of which you speak. he reckons one of the failures of rebellion in the west is due to the lack of joy, love, and dependence on facts, rationality, rather than intuition and imagination, poetry and art. he veers off into romantic love in some weird ways, but finally gets to these thoughts and and a few paragraphs following:

      “Whenever I come to New York but especially to London or Paris, and whenever I encounter those ‘theoretical leftists’, I have to smile bitterly when I follow their pointless but long discussions about some theory, which is totally separated from reality. And it is almost exclusively about them: are they Trotskyists and why? Or perhaps they are anarcho-syndicalists? Or Maoists? Whatever they are, they always begin on the couch or a bar stool, and that’s where they end up, late in the evening.

      In case you are just coming from Venezuela or Bolivia, where people are fighting true battles for survival of their revolutions, it is quite a shocking experience! Most of them, in Altiplano, never even heard about Lev Trotsky, or anarcho-syndicalism. What they know is that they are at war, they are fighting for all of us, for a much better world, and they need immediate and concrete support for their struggle: petitions, demonstrations, money, and cadres. All they get is words. They get nothing from the West: almost nothing at all, and they never will.”

      http://dissidentvoice.org/2017/02/the-west-is-finished-but-why/

      but the notion of building local communities while people talk to one another can radicalize more folks than realize they’re ready for it. that was the thing mr. wd and i loved most about occupying mancos, co: listening, then perhaps…suggesting alternatives.

      • …andre vltckek i found interesting along the lines of which you speak. he reckons one of the failures of rebellion in the west is due to the lack of joy, love, and dependence on facts…

        Ian recently had a post re: happiness, which I reject categorically.
        I’m well burned out by happiness freaks and “positive thinking” harpies.
        But what did come to mind was joy, and Vltckek’s above quote I heartily agree. Most of what passes for informed discussion on most forums is an uninformed wasting of electrons, going absolutely nowhere; circular firing squad.
        It’s exactly why we have Trump and the continuity of the shadow government or deep state; pick your poison, no?
        I wanted to respond over yonder re: joy and how it seriously has nothing to do with happiness. But with RC poisoning the waters there; I’m mostly staying away; he’s a hair trigger psycho… ;-)

        • yes, i’d seen your good comment about contentment being more to the point, and more desirous. to me it implies the fullness of all emotions deeply felt and integrated into ourselves. was i a line from woody allen when a young woman said: “i’m happy cuz i’m shallow”?

          this from vltchek:
          “To be part of something important and revolutionary was symbolizing often a true meaning of life. People were (and in many parts of the world still are) fully committed, dedicated to the important and heroic struggles. Trying to build better world, fighting for better world, even dying for it: that was often considered the most glorious what a human being could achieve in his or her lifetime.

          In the West, such approach is dead, thoroughly destroyed. There, cynicism reigns. You have to challenge everything, trust nothing, and commit to nothing.”
          …reminded me of MLK’s superior sayings about love being the key to a revolution of values, when we only consider ourselves, not our brothers and sisters, including those around the world…we will have failed not only ourselves, but all of those who come next. or close. ;-) which always reminds me of bruce cockburn’s cover of a fine mark heard song:

          oh, my yes, on rc’s attacks. i expect those who see fear underlying so much anger are right, but it’s painful to witness, isn’t it? winning some blogsite argument is gonna change the world??? ;-)

          • Yep, unsurprisingly, you get it. Cheers.
            And to be clear; I do not fear that twerp; but just want to avoid his toxicity…
            Cheers

            • no, i get that it’s not fear on your part, although i might have feared the cactus he’d invited me to put up my bum a li’l bit. j/k.

              further musings on ‘contentment’. i’d like to feel before i die that i’d kicked hell outta life, most especially in service to my family, friends, and larger communities. i get the blue meanies sometimes in the wee small hours, haunted by my failures and fuckups, though, and try at times to right those wrongs. in the spirit of ‘the worst lies are those we tell ourselves’, i often wonder about my own moral inventory. but still. i watch a meditation video now and again: “ask for nothing, receive everything”, although i’m crap at guided visualizations. but the videos images are utterly sublime. small visual bursts of…bliss. ;-)

              i’ll go have some brekkie, and if the phone doesn’t start ringin’ w/ family news, i’ll be back soon, THD.

              • I forgot, WD, you said RC’s toxic atmosphere is fear driven.
                I couldn’t agree more; and that did not occur to me until you said it, thanks.

                • welcome, v. it’s overly facile, but in general, bullies are considered to be unconsciously psychologically frail and insecure, and use bombast and threats as cover for it.

                  i studied under a wonderful man (ron kurtz, ‘the body reveals’) who demonstrated four main body types, and what their bodies were signaling by way of muscle tension/s as ‘armoring’ (protecting from feeling). one subset was ‘the gunslinger’, feet planted wide apart and legs rigid, arms slightly akimbo, and ready to draw down.

                  he would analyze one’s posture, then find ways to offer verbal suggestions to get under one’s defenses. back then, once in a great while: or right between the metaphorical eyes, but he later said that only through gentle non-violent suggestions could one effect true healing. but of course, to the bullied, knowing that weakness isn’t always enough, cuz sometimes the bully acts. say a trump, or a million others.

                  happy st. valentine’s day.

  3. This essay was predicated by references to the post-World War II period. The European wars that came to be called the World Wars, and the Fed that made them happen, certainly have had a profound influence on American capitalism. Since I’m here already, I’ll encourage any passers-by to consider the source and control of the Fed, the ascendancy of Woodrow Wilson, and the nature of the nation-state stolen by Britain as a result of World War II.

    If you see too many coincidences to ignore, and are able to surmount the well-conditioned cognitive block imposed by NATO-zone pedagogy, a lot of the consistencies between Bush, Clinton, Bush II, Obama, and Trump–indeed, all presidents since the Fed–might come to exhibit an equally troubling pattern.

    • Nice, you actually know history, downright bracing…

    • good to be reminded that the fed was created in 1913 by wilson and friends. wwI was just afterward, wasn’t it? i had seen it said, although not fully explained, that the two were related directly, but i’d never learned that history. but akuno and norberg named:

      “The primary instruments crafted by U.S. imperialism on the economic side were the Bretton Woods institutions, consisting of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the General Agreement on Tariff’s and Trade (GATT), and its successor the World Trade Organization (WTO). And grand recapitalization initiatives like the Marshall Plan (which rebuilt the economies of Western Europe after second Inter-Imperialist War).”, plus the UN, nato, OAS…tra la la. but yes, the Fed’s funny money. end it, or nationalize it.

      • The pattern we’ve discussed is one of a group of Semites establishing debt-based central banking with fiat currency, then orchestrating American involvement in two European wars, then further strengthening the central bank’s control over the American economy. I’m interested to see if anyone on the left can refute such an argument, except perhaps by saying, “It is mere coincidence that the Federal Reserve, the World Wars, and the twentieth century media were predominantly effected by, and benefited, Jews.” How can we reconcile this vast series of connections as a mere coincidence?

        • “It is mere coincidence that the Federal Reserve, the World Wars, and the twentieth century media were predominantly effected by, and benefited, Jews.”

          Which Jews? I’ll not be drawn into a conversation that is a general bash of Jews. The term Jew covers a broad swath of Judaism; many sects, politics, beliefs, and dogma.
          Genuine history doesn’t mince words about who benefited from WWII (Henry Ford, the Bush clan, and other captains of U.S. industry to name a few), and religion had very little to do with it.
          Anyhoo, I have no idea from whence you come; so I’ll quit here.

          • Ah, I see–I’m using the term “Jews” to refer to a genetic group, not a religious self-identification. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of humans as biologically evolving beings with scientifically observable genetically influenced behaviors, this discussion would end up being about your faith, rather than about observable physical phenomena.

            (I’ve discussed the fossil record and the evolving human genome with a number of creationists, so if you’re game, I’m willing to hear more about your faith in divinely created beings if you’re willing to consider observable evidence in turn. But if not, I respect your ability to decide upon things based upon an unquestionable moral code.)

            • no, we just won’t have that conversation here, high arka, period. any sort of racialism sucks.

              • Thanks WD; I agree.

                • while it’s hard for me to decode the language structure high arka uses, this finally tipped me off, v arnold:

                  ” If you’re not comfortable with the idea of humans as biologically evolving beings with scientifically observable genetically influenced behaviors

                  fuck that. the ‘bell curve’, anyone? pffft. he can boogie on outta here, a far as i’m concerned.

                  • If you’re referring to the 1990s book, The Bell Curve was, like Trump’s Art of the Deal, written by a Jewish man.

                    Anyway, I respect your ability to have faith. I am not a particularly religious person or a creationist myself, but I know that there are some topics of such spiritual significance to people that they are uncomfortable looking at scientific evidence. Best of luck in your other endeavors.

            • I assumed nothing re: your remarks; why would you make assumptions about “my faith”?
              FYI; I’m of no “faith” or belief systems…

              • V. Arnold, I thought you made it quite clear above that you were a post-Protestant Universalist…? Did I read you wrong? I apologize if I misunderstood. My understanding was that you were like Wendy, and did not wish to consider evidence that might refute any core tenets of your belief system.

  4. Wendy, my many thanks and where this post is focused on the future. And it’s for this reason that much of what we are addressing, i.e., the future and for what will cause this future to come about, and of course, in my favored manner. And as such, the Indigenous World!

    For most of us, this Indigenous Hemisphere has been around for these past seven thousand years, and with an Interregnum for the European Mercenary Belief or 500 short-lived years and further, another 7,000 years of Indigenous Belief. A Belief that is of a “natural democracy” and personified by the Talking Stick.

    Consequently, today’s European-premised Democracy will morph into this “natural Democracy” that is advocated by the overwhelming majority of Indigenous persons. Thus, the blatant usage of “demographics” is still oncoming but will not have that much of a viable importance, for this pending “short term” as we come to further our grips as the national “money spigot” continues and corrupts today’ politics. And that being “clean water, “clean air” and “clean dirt” and followed by Alpha-Male Wars relative to spending patterns, is also oncoming.

    Jaango

    • from your fonts to the gods’ ears, jaango. you know, it was the indigenous who taught me the true evils of capitalism while i was reporting on the indigenous side summit meetings at the rio 20 ‘sustainability conference in in 2012. just look at some of the wording of the cochacama accords, for instance!

      they taught me about the craptastic con of ‘green capitalism’, as well, and what REDD has really meant for not only the indigenous, but the planet, as well. turns out there’s a video embedded as well; i might try to watch it when i have a few minutes. yes to the talking stick, much in the way the zapatistas run their caracole meetings.

      https://shadowproof.com/2012/06/14/green-capitalism-and-the-%E2%80%98peoples-summit%E2%80%99-at-rio20/

  5. In psychoanalysis, cathexis is defined as the process of investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea – wiki on “cathexis.” (the verbal/adjectival form is “(being/to be) cathected.”)

    “successful” people in the US are cathected about “rule keeping,” being hyper-vigilant about acting like obedient little shits in the great social game. imagining a group of neighbors or townspeople in solidarity preventing, e.g., some home-title-robo-signing fraud of a bank from foreclosing on a home, via the sheriff, is scandalous b/c people lose homes thru not having sufficient psychic investment in keeping the rules necessary for home-ownership & general social achievement, not b/c of rampant fraud. that there is no lack of food, money or housing in the US and that all these things should just be given away w/o question or caveat to any & all is difficult for over-achievers to grasp b/c it belittles their own “success” and the often torturous labor a person has to endure to achieve such a success. self-enslavement and the conforming of one’s own emotional life to that of a machine are praised as the highest accomplishment and, in certain fields, rewarded w/lavish bribes. the expectation from those so bribed is that everyone can be successful just like me if only they’d act like me.

    yet who is it that made all these rules? and for what? who says it’s not the average citizen’s duty to lie, esp. about matters of money, to the USG in any & every way that is personally advantageous or subversive?

    anyway, the big (but shrinking, due to fleecing) ovine middle of this country, its mentality & the allure of entering the “security” of the comfy middle via ever greater acts of conformity is a huge obstacle to radical transformation. the system is staggeringly successful at channeling energy, even heroic levels of energy & effort, into ultimately empty gestures. i’m sitting at the moment on the periphery of an “aging in place” fund raising event w/all kinds of brain wattage & energy & ideas in which not one person will ask: why, in this unimaginably wealth society do old people eat cat food? why does grandm/pa have to perform in a 3 ring circus to get a roof leak fixed?

    • welcome back, stranger; we missed you. “insufficient psychic investment”; ay yi yi. back in the days of occupy, there were folks who put their bodies on the line against sheriff’s evicting robo-signed mortgages, and even a sheriff or two who refused to evict folks.

      your point about free things belittling their accomplishments hits home big time, partially because i’ve just been watching an argument at another site over the Obvious Truth that billionaires like trump being “competent”. oddly, no one ever mentioned how many times he played the system for bailouts over his many bankruptcies. now i see that it was his psychic investment that led him to know how to play the rubes to win.

      that same andre vltchek piece also had this paragraph in it that echoes your observations:

      ““People are actually voluntarily locking themselves for years at schools and universities, wasting their time, paying their own money, even getting into debt, just in order to make it easier for the regime to indoctrinate them and turn them into good and obedient subjects of the Empire! Already for decades the system has been successfully producing entire generations of emotionally dead and confused individuals.”

      yeah, channeling george carlin: “they Want you stooopid!” but gads on your aging in place notes. and what about these?

      ‘Forty-three percent of US children live in low-income families’
      ‘New York City schools overwhelmed by student homelessness’
      Last year, almost 63,000 homeless children on ‘skid row’ were enrolled in LA schools.

      yeppers, it’s their own damned fault. and you may be right in believing that the obstacles to transformation to a just society are too great, but there may just come some tipping points soon that…adjust people’s glib acceptance of the rule by capital.

      • oh i’m not sure that the obstacles to a just society are too great. wth do i know? i liked the andrew vltchek piece, btw. it’s not an either/or. his piece is a nice counterpoint to the intellectual puritans at the wsws, whom, as you know, i like a lot.

        • lol. i often like them as well, but their swallowing whole hawg the amnesty int’l crap (with caveats of timing, and tra la la…) was painful to read for me. rick sterling at CP paid that ngo too much deference, as well. margaret kimberly hit it hard, imo, as did b at moa. and with these hints and clues, i may not find it necessary to make a diary of it. and i had saved a hella lot photos and links just in case! ;-)

          what’s worse, is that once in a while, amnesty gets it…right.

  6. grima wormtongue;
    Wow,what is that? Sounds great but I’ve never heard that before.

    • an ‘aide’ to king theoden of rohan in tolkien’s trilogy. what i’d meant to convey, but hadn’t expanded upon, was that one can dress up anti-semitism or other raciailist/racist rubbish in glib ‘neutral’, ‘fact-based’ academic language, and it’s still just as slimey and mean-spirited. imho, of course. ;-)

      in the film, he was played by brad dourif, he was also billy bibbit in ‘cuckoo’s nest’.

      • V. Arnold, I suggest you avoid disgusting racist filth like Tolkien’s work. Written while Tolkien’s son was fighting third-worlders during World War II, Tolkien’s books describe hordes of dark-skinned, evil men of the east, looting and pillaging noble Aryans from the West, until the Aryans begin to resist. Most disgustingly, the dark-skinned hordes are given counsel by hook-nosed, partially-white chosen “wizards,” who stir them up against the native peoples of Middle Earth. It’s a horrible racist screed that you should definitely avoid.

        • er…i take it you’re not a jew, then, high arka? lotta snakes and barbed wire in your brain though… although, come to think of it, even the ents had hooked noses, didn’t they, hoom-hoom…?

          now i do believe that i’ve fixed it so you’ll have to go sprinkle your load of pixie dust on other sites.

          • WD, did you occasion to check out HA’s web site?
            It creeped me out; it was then I decided to stop the dialogue.
            Keep on keeping on…

            • ha. no, but mr. wd did, and pronounced: ‘ish’. ;-) strange fetishism, but he’s not alone, is he? just keep it away from me (and the café).

              • There you go…

                • Ha, reminds me of Lady Hawk (minus the romance);
                  Your early mornings;, my late evenings at the convergence…
                  Cheers

                  • yeah, and neither of us are gettin’ much sleep, are we? (though i shut my laptop down early to rest my wee brain a bit…) looks as though today might be our second sunny day in about five week; bound to improve our spirits!

                    dunno lady hawk, though…

                    • It’s a fun movie; lady has a curse put on her and she turns into a hawk. She only returns to human form for that brief instant between night and day. And of course there is the handsome knight as her guardian…

  7. i’d just seen this as i was cleaning out my inbox, v arnold. between worlds, was she? guess high arka never imagined that…i might be a jew, eh?

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