Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category
I arrived shortly after 9 AM on the Southshore train from South Bend, IN and stepped out from the Van Buren St. train exit onto Michigan Ave. amid many young, carefully arranged, packaged, and produced, affluent Chicagoans. This should have given me an idea what I was in for. I traveled northeast where meticulous parks shook hands with meticulous skyscrapers, where fashionable people walked with fashionable dogs. A giant opulent fountain looked out upon a shining blue expanse of water, dotted with boats which were undoubtedly fashionable if I had only paid more attention.
I was looked upon when anyone bothered as so much meat – perhaps adequate as a fillet but a poor one, and clearly not up to their ravenous but oh-so-delicate tastes in any case.
A line of media vehicles, big bulky and shining white, dominated one side of the street. Police hulked about in studious calm.
At the rally and subsequently there were four main contingents of participants – angry, young, middle class people fearing for their (material) future, progressives, anarchists, and people who show up at sexy large social gatherings to mingle. Although not ever spoken about on any news service I frequent, the latter group may well be the most populous. Note that “poor people” is not one of the groups, which is the big problem. This was a largely white, middle class (by middle class I mean people who are globally speaking very, very wealthy) gathering. This was therefore not at all a populist gathering, therefore not a revolutionary gathering, despite much rhetoric given during the gathering to the contrary.
Not much more need be said about it. The police occasionally tried to look intimidating but mostly were just bored, and hotter than the rest of us in their padded armor and helmets in the mid to high 80s degree heat and sun. The march stopped before we got to the poor side of town.
Walking the streets of Chicago after the event I saw far more poor people than I did during the event that opposes (or ostensibly opposes) an institution that dominates and oppresses poor people around the world and at home. Chicago is an utterly racially segregated city, with black and white separations between the white (wealthy) part of town, the black part of town, the Chinese part of town.
And another segregation – between poor people and “revolutionary” activists.
Anyone looking to seriously create revolution in the world rather than just having something sexy to put on their life’s resume needs to be part of a movement comprised largely of poor people. That’s the only logical possibility for where a revolution can come from.
This is a reply to rg the lg from Dissident Voice. His words are in italics:
“Sure doing away with slavery was a good thing … but it was strictly a side affect of the war … not a cause.”
The best slave is one who doesn’t realize he’s a slave. Getting rid of chattel slavery led to the integration of imported blacks into imperial America.
It was a huge propaganda and mind control victory. By eliminating chattel slavery and instituting wage slavery throughout the states, the elite could claim that they had “eliminated slavery”, and most of the people believe it. The people also believe that Lincoln himself “eliminated slavery”, thus making it all the easier for the executive branch to increase it’s power.
There’s also “moving up the corporate ladder” – which is another way of saying “I’m a slave now, but I might become a master later (and my life’s work is to become the most powerful master I can be)”. This is appealing to Americans, to become a master and have slaves of one’s own. “Everyone can be a plantation owner” is another phrase for the American Dream. In terms of morality there is no difference between a corporation with masters (executives) and slaves (workers) and a plantation. The same shape with a different paint job.
Examine Americans and their historical reaction to the “end of the American Dream”. The primary reaction was depression and despair – depression and despair at no longer having the expectation of mastery and possessing slaves. How many Americans celebrated the end of the American Dream? Does Hunter S. Thompson’s “life as burnout” strike you as a celebration? Yet we are told by the left of all people that Thompson is a “good guy”. Americans of all political persuasions need to take a very hard look in the mirror.
There’s no proof that getting rid of chattel slavery was a good thing. It’s riddance led to a relatively unified America and paved the way for American Imperialism, which officially began in 1898 and increased dramatically after WWII. If we use the judgment that what is good for the elite is bad for the people, the elimination of chattel slavery was a terrible thing.
One might note that this kind of analysis applies to many other “activist” issues. An activist is someone who pressures the elite to institute some change. But since the elite control the propaganda machine, any change they institute (pressured or otherwise) they can and will claim credit for, thus building their own power in the minds of the people. Thus, according to Americans, Lincoln was a “hero”. According to this thinking, Obama is a “possible hero”. Thus they have “hope in Obama”. With this additional power and people’s trust they further entrench their power. We can trace Neoliberalism from this line.
The only way around this problem is to seize power from the elite, such that the people themselves become the power structure. The elite *as a class* must be destroyed.
Activists who don’t see the big picture and act accordingly often do more harm than good. And they are the people who are the most self-righteous, the most incapable of believing in their own errors. Everything they do is fine as long as it’s “for a good cause”. The point of activists is not to save the world or really even help the world – it’s to feel good about what they are doing. At that they always succeed.
Activism is the greatest drug in the world. They get high and then get higher, and then go home while the people give the elite all the credit.
Rulers will do exactly as they want unless they are forced to do otherwise by some outside force. The most convenient outside force is the American people, which is why they are the primary targets of elite propaganda. Dissent is not a matter of “expressing disapproval” – the rulers don’t care if the people disapprove. Dissent is successful if it either forces changes to the rulers, leads to new rulers more amenable to public will, or increases the number of dissenters (and thus increases the ability to force changes in rulership).
Every demonstration or direct action should be evaluated by the dissenters in terms of what it accomplished in light of the three positive outcomes of dissent.
In a hierarchical political system, the only outcome that’s in any way democratic is when the leaders are put in chains and only allowed to do what the people want done. Right now our “leaders” are roaming free and the results are inevitable.
70 people (at peak turnout) gathered today in South Bend, IN, one of about 1,000 such gatherings over the weekend across the country, to hear politicians and businessmen speak about marginal environmental improvements and profit opportunities. The word “grassroots” was spoken with a straight face and a crooked intellect. That this bleak farce is a typical example of the environmental movement in America bodes poorly for the future of the world.
This is a nationwide environmental day and gathering. Most of them are taking place on Saturday, November 3. The one in South Bend, IN that I’ll be at is happening on Sunday November 4 in front of the Morris Performing Arts Center. The Rally should start around 3:30 PM and go until 5 PM.
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?
We will never see social change in this country without this – the old optimism is long dead where the idea was to appeal to empathy, or concern. There is plenty of empathy and concern, but none in the hearts of the elite that the appeal is being made to. The elite can never be appealed to on noble grounds.
Which leaves various other methods. Labor strikes (organized and implemented globally) to starve the capitalist beast and bring power to the workers. Armed revolution or assassination to kill members of the elite or to suffer them loss of power. And finally, dominating their culture.
A form of cultural domination was successfully pursued in previous decades through the rise of popular culture, displacing the old “high culture”. But now the elites have embraced popular culture, so a new culture must be put upon them.
How about the culture of “the chickens coming home to roost”? The elite kill hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq and elsewhere, so human blood should be poured on them. The elite put millions out of their homes, so their homes should be damaged or destroyed. The elite impoverish the people, so their food should be poisoned. Even if actively pursued the amount of damage and destruction caused will be a minute fraction of what the elite are causing every day in human misery.
Some people are going around the world pushing pies in the faces of the elite. That has no effect except occasionally providing some media exposure. Why should we respond to vast death and destruction with pies? And then we wonder why George Bush holds us in contempt. At least the Iraqis are responding with bullets.
It is not morally acceptable to attack humans, but it is morally imperative to attack monsters. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
The first step, as always, is organizational. An organization “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, which then drafts laws, punishments, everything. A society within the American society. Once the organization gains sufficient strength (which means it must begin in relatively unthreatening fashion) it can implement more and more of its goals.
The original Black Panther Party served as a good beginning basis for this, other than it’s Racism. As long as a similar approach is taken except with a focus on class, not race, we can succeed.
Where most of these efforts fail is with respect to lack of community support. There needs to be not only weapons to defend from the inevitable police action (it doesn’t matter whether laws are broken, the police will strike regardless, acting in their primary role as a political police) but a broad base of community support in America so that the movement will grow after large numbers of people are put in jail, killed, and/or tortured by the police. That’s the only way to win.
The secondary aspect that must be addressed is the ability to root out spies, saboteurs, and provocateurs within the ranks of the organization. There must be a degree of knowledge about the people in the organization as well as the inevitably enemies that use this approach such as the FBI so that this isn’t an issue.