Destroying the term “political activist”

Activist derives from “active”, which means engaged in activity, energetic, moving.

That’s a big problem: too many people think that the point is to be active and energetic.

Here’s another term: political agent. This term invokes the point of politics – to have political effect.

Lots of people in America, that is to say the political activists, believe in protest. They believe it matters.

And it does. Sometimes. Often in small ways, very inefficient ways given the large number of people engaged. Meanwhile, just a few members of the elite ruin entire countries in a month, a week, sometimes a day. The elite never need to “protest” anything. Why is it so easy for the elite to ruin the world and so hard for the rest of us to fix it? Why can the elite ruin the world without blinking while the rest of us have to hem and haw and wring our hands over some little crime we commit in stopping that ruination?

What we need is a machine. A machine of political agency, to grind the elite to dust.

You might say – hmm, that doesn’t sound very democratic. The political activists say that.

WAKE UP! We are not living in a democracy and never have. Good luck with your fucking protests and demonstrations, your poor uses of time. Good luck congratulating yourselves on some small gain, some minor concession made by the elite, which they’ll roll back as soon as you blink.

If the problem is the elite themselves, the solution is to eliminate the problem. There’s plenty of research done to “cure cancer”, but for the present doctors do the simple, effective thing: they remove the tumor.

The next time someone tells you he is a political activist, ask him why he’s not a political agent instead.

After a democracy is created, then we can all be mere political activists. For now neither we nor our children can afford such ignorance.

You know what being active and energetic is? – it’s calling being alive. You don’t get a fucking reward for being the same thing you’ve been since you were born. You’d better only treat accomplishment when you achieve actual accomplishment – that is to say making the world, or your country, or your community, a better place. Not for a day until an elite comes along and ruins it – permanently. And if that requires the permanent removal of a tumor, then share the ways of doctors.

Oh, one more thing: doctors also reexamine the patient later to make sure a tumor doesn’t reemerge. And if it does, they remove it again. And again, if necessary, and yet again. Tumors have no place in the human body.

Why are doctors so much more vigilant than American citizens? Why do doctors see themselves as agents of health, instead of being activists of health?

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10 Responses to “Destroying the term “political activist””

  1. mad dog Says:

    “What we need is a machine. A machine of political agency, to grind the elite to dust.”

    Which will then become the NEW elite, just like every other time this has been tried.

    “WAKE UP! We are not living in a democracy and never have.”

    Yeah? What would you call it then?

    “After a democracy is created, then we can all be mere political activists. For now neither we nor our children can afford such ignorance.”

    Why don’t you just move to Sweeden?

    “Oh, one more thing: doctors also reexamine the patient later to make sure a tumor doesn’t reemerge. And if it does, they remove it again. And again, if necessary, and yet again. Tumors have no place in the human body.”

    Who gets to decide WHO and WHAT is a tumor and why?

  2. briankoontz Says:

    A non-class society has no elite. Even the system itself exists under democratic control.

    The American system is a capitalist dystopia relying on coercion, deceit, domination, propaganda, indoctrination, social control, exploitation, colonization, imperialism, threat of and use of violence, rape of resources, racism, sexism, classism, and greed, resulting in mass terror, death, injury, despair, suffering, poverty, disease, and war.

    Sweden is not the future of the world.

    The doctors decide (revolutionary movement) – and if the people support the doctors, it’s time for surgery. If the people don’t support the doctors, it’s time for fascism.

    Don’t worry too much, we’re still looking at several years down the road in the best case scenario. Much as the American right has discovered over the last few decades in their move toward fascism, it takes quite a while to build a movement to the point where revolution can begin.

    The closer we get to fascism in America, the closer we get to democratic revolution. In a war between extremes the moderates always lose.

    Let a coin tumble and roll, and when it rests it turns one side or the other face up. The moderate edge becomes nearly invisible. When it tumbles and rolls it’s not known till the end which side will win out.

    This is, quite possibly, the war to initiate the beginning of an end to all war. If democracy wins in America, American power can be used to support democracy throughout the globe… and a democratic world is at the very least a world that will quickly move toward only very limited and controlled conflicts. International law, not American elite domineering, will rule.

    Why do you think the American Horror genre got underway in the 1970s, at the same time as the Neoconservatives? American Horror is not about the monsters – just like the Neocons it’s about the use of monsters to awaken and outrage the sleepy American people. The monsters are faceless. The Americans always begin naive and end either jaded or dead.

    American Horror movies end with both the monster and (at least one) human still alive. The tumbling coin…

    The Neocons are being played out. What will the next administration, probably Clinton’s or Obama’s, hold for them? Does democracy have a chance, does fascism have a chance, without creatures like Karl Rove to convert more moderate Americans to one extreme or the other?

    This is Shakespeare’s last dance. The world of the Neocons, which holds the hope for democracy and the fear of fascism side-by-side, is definitely a stage. And we all are merely players.

    But after we decide on one world or the other, that ends. It will be time for new histories, new bards, new dreams.

    Two sides of the same coin.

  3. mad dog Says:

    “A non-class society has no elite. Even the system itself exists under democratic control.”

    That would certainly be ideal. But how would it be implemented? How would you make sure that the ringleaders of the revolution would not then turn around and act like Napoleon or Castro once the establishment is crushed?

    “The American system is a capitalist dystopia relying on coercion, deceit, domination, propaganda, indoctrination, social control, exploitation, colonization, imperialism, threat of and use of violence, rape of resources, racism, sexism, classism, and greed, resulting in mass terror, death, injury, despair, suffering, poverty, disease, and war.”

    I won’t really argue with this, but I would like to mention that our government has quite a bit of the blood on its hands (working together with the corporations, of course)

    “Sweden is not the future of the world.”

    For some reason, this puts a smile on my face. Maybe you could explain why it is not the future?

    I do remember watching a movie called “Anarchist’s Cookbook”. I do remember one of the more pacifistic members mentioning certain things that he liked about Sweeden, in terms of system.

    “The closer we get to fascism in America, the closer we get to democratic revolution. In a war between extremes the moderates always lose.”

    Yes, it is unfortunate for the moderates. I personally, however, think that there needs to be an intellectual revolution. By that, I do not mean that only the highly educated would participate, but that the average citizen becomes highly informed, and inspired to help the nation and the world. I strongly feel if there is to be any revolution that causes meaningful change, that the average citizen must understand things like Economics, Science, History, ‘Just War’ Theory, Social Science, etc.

    A revolution in which the majority of the participants are ignorant will either end in disaster, or end up with another unjust system. A critical look at history reveals this. Therefore, I feel that the first priority is education.

    “Let a coin tumble and roll, and when it rests it turns one side or the other face up. The moderate edge becomes nearly invisible. When it tumbles and rolls it’s not known till the end which side will win out.”

    First of all, you seem to be assuming that the moderates are a small minority in this country. I have heard a variety of polls that state the exact opposite. Take into consideration that politicians are always trying to go after the ‘swing voters’. Meaning that it is a fairly significant block. I have even heard the assertion that a majority of people in america are moderates.

    “Why do you think the American Horror genre got underway in the 1970s, at the same time as the Neoconservatives?”

    I don’t know if there is any real correlation or not. How prominent were the neoconservatives in the 1970’s? Correct me if I am wrong, but if that was the time in which they were just starting out, then wouldn’t the average person NOT have known about the Neo-Conservatives?

    I am aware that the 1970’s were tough times. I also know that Nixon was quite a hated man as the decade went on. Do you count Nixon as a neo-conservative?

    “International law, not American elite domineering, will rule.”

    No offense, but this sounds suspiciously like the United Nations in action. I really don’t trust them.

    “This is Shakespeare’s last dance. The world of the Neocons, which holds the hope for democracy and the fear of fascism side-by-side, is definitely a stage. And we all are merely players.”

    You seem to act as though the political scale is a mere one-dimensional line, ranging from Fascism to Democracy. You are not the first to do this, so I won’t hold it against you. But the truth is far more complex.

    I would like you to visit this page:

    http://www.freeliberal.com/archives/001180.html

    It is by no means the only way in which to measure political beliefs, but I thought it would help explain certain ways I see things.

  4. briankoontz Says:

    There’s a big difference between democracy and “helping the poor”. Castro helps the poor. Democracy is about self-management. Democracy is about everyone helping themselves, that is to say not being oppressed into not helping themselves. Combine democracy with socialism and everyone helps themselves and each other.

    The best way to ensure military integrity during and after a revolution is to put that military in the hands of the people, not the revolutionaries. The people need to control the revolutionaries. Most revolutionaries in history either start out believing or come to believe that *they* are the ones to save their country, that *they* are the savior. And to the savior goes the power. There must be no saviors, no revered figures (honored figures is fine). Heroic Donut is comprised of fat and sugar.

    Sweden is not a democratic socialist society. It follows neoliberalism. It sells arms. It participates in military operations. Even if it did none of these things, no country is an island. Global powers threaten and attack any non-conformist country. The only solution is global change, not national change.

    A revolutionary movement has to begin before the people will be compelled to become educated. Prior to that time the benefits of being indoctrinated far outweigh the benefits of being educated. This is precisely what the German people under the Nazis believed – it was better to be indoctrinated than to be educated. It was better to follow orders than to oppose them. If a revolutionary movement had taken force in Germany it would have drawn many people to it – which is obviously why all oppressive states, that is to say all states, have political police who eliminate dissent.

    A democratic revolution is impossible without an informed populace, but the great thing about a society that needs propaganda is that it only takes a removal of the propaganda to allow the truth to exert itself. Any propagandized system is necessarily a system of great hope.

    I already said how I see the numbers breaking down, roughly. The majority is on the left, less is in the center, a few are truly on the right, and many more are dominated into being on the right (also many are dominated into being in the center). The numbers probably break down roughly as 60-25-15. Bear in mind though that most of the 60% doesn’t vote, so even that minimal act of democracy is not pursued.

    It’s ironic that Chomsky cites polls so often, and in the next breath talks about how effective propaganda is to distort public opinion. Although he also recognizes that the left is the least propagandized segment of the population, which is usually what he points to in the poll data.

    The Neoconservatives were extremely prominent from the onset. Neoliberal policies began in the 1970s under Nixon, gaining full fruition under Carter.

    The average person didn’t know about the Neoconservatives. I never even heard the term prior to 2002. My long years of schooling through the ’80s and ’90s never once mentioned them, and I took a couple courses in modern political theory. I also never heard the term “neoliberalism” until recently, and very much outside the “educational system”. Once I stopped going to school I began to learn.

    Nixon was the first neoconservative in a position of power. He served (and still serves) as a hero for future neocons.

    The United Nations is a work in progress. They have a lot more positive potential than the American government.

    We’ve already been through the one-dimensional/two-dimensional thing. It can be seen in different ways. A problem when you add complexity to a model is that there are more things that can be wrong with it.

  5. mad dog Says:

    “There’s a big difference between democracy and “helping the poor”. Castro helps the poor.”

    The idea that Castro helps the poor is really an illusion. His totalitarian society has had a net effect of making things worse for everybody.

    “Democracy is about self-management. Democracy is about everyone helping themselves, that is to say not being oppressed into not helping themselves. Combine democracy with socialism and everyone helps themselves and each other.”

    I think you really mean liberty when you say democracy. If you don’t, then you should.

    “Sweden is not a democratic socialist society. It follows neoliberalism. It sells arms. It participates in military operations. Even if it did none of these things, no country is an island.”

    Sweden used to be much more socialistic. Especially in the 1960’s and 70’s. After the 80’s, the tide began to turn.

  6. briankoontz Says:

    I don’t know that I care to do a research project to analyze the precise economic effects of Castro, and separate them from the various negative effects of outside attacks on his regime (primarily from the United States), but the consensus is that his policies are beneficial to the poor. If they weren’t he wouldn’t have any supporters and would have been overthrown long ago.

    Also – Cuba is not a totalitarian society. It’s a “beneficient dictator” society, which is nowhere near the apex of democracy but is even farther from totalitarianism.

    Your concept of liberty focuses on liberty of capital, which probably accounts for your hatred of Castro. My concept of liberty is democratic, which means it’s liberty of and for people. ALL people, from the rich elites to the poor unskilled. I’m fine with liberty of capital as long as it doesn’t impinge on democratic outcomes for people.

    The Index of Economic Freedom rates Cuba 150th out of 157 countries. This is the “liberty of capital” scale, which corresponds to how open an economy is to outside investment. This is the sole reason for the dislike of Cuba and Castro from the right – that foreign investment is severely restricted.

    The U.S. imposed economic blockade hurts Cuba and especially it’s poor, so American leaders can help Cuba’s poor mostly by ending the blockade.

  7. mad dog Says:

    “Also – Cuba is not a totalitarian society. It’s a “beneficient dictator” society, which is nowhere near the apex of democracy but is even farther from totalitarianism.”

    Tell that to the desperate waves of people who try to go to America from Cuba every day.

    “The U.S. imposed economic blockade hurts Cuba and especially it’s poor, so American leaders can help Cuba’s poor mostly by ending the blockade.”

    To be fair, it would be interesting to see how they would do WITHOUT sanctions.

  8. briankoontz Says:

    You do enjoy your propaganda. Right now the approval rating for the Cuban government is at 47%, to 40% disapproval (13% ambivalent). The young have the lowest approval rating (38%), so the future popularity of the Cuban government is in doubt. According to the link, the biggest issues are public transportation and housing. http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brlatinamericara/300.php?nid=&id=&pnt=300&lb=brla

    Countries always do better without sanctions, and the Cuban government estimated the total direct economic impact of the sanctions to amount to $86 Billion. Cuba’s annual GDP is a bit over $450 Billion.

    The sanctions began to take massive effect after the fall of the Soviet Union, since a lot of Cuban imports came from there.

  9. mad dog Says:

    “You do enjoy your propaganda. Right now the approval rating for the Cuban government is at 47%, to 40% disapproval (13% ambivalent). The young have the lowest approval rating (38%), so the future popularity of the Cuban government is in doubt.”

    Actually, I enjoy research. If it makes you feel better, I disprove of virtually everything about our government. I also am highly critical of many aspects of our economic system.

    You might want to read this: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/herndon2.html

    “Countries always do better without sanctions, and the Cuban government estimated the total direct economic impact of the sanctions to amount to $86 Billion. Cuba’s annual GDP is a bit over $450 Billion.”

    No shit? But I wasn’t disputing that. My point was in harmony with your previous point on this issue.

  10. briankoontz Says:

    What are the political motivations of you and your allies?
    What are the values (moral and otherwise) of such?

    What world are you trying to produce?

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