October 21, 2012

“Libertarians” Are For Big Government

Filed under: Bailouts Only Propped Up Zombies, Corporatism, Freedom, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 5:17 am


They want government to continue to artificially generate “corporations”, as extensions of itself, and then function exclusively as bagman and thug for these corporations. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a corporation in the wild, nor have any been found in the fossil record. They don’t exist, other than as typical fabrications of big government. They’re part of government.
The only meaningful definition of “government”: Any concentrated power hierarchy which imposes rule. Especially one alien to the geographical region. What difference could it possibly make whether the nominal form of this hierarchy is “public” or “private”? Public vs. private is a scam which has no meaning in human relations, but is claimed to exist only where concentrated power assaults human beings. This concentrated power and its assault are the only things which actually exist. “Public” and “private” are the same in essence and have the same origin – might makes right. By now the corporate state is one monolith, and it’s idiotic to try to disentangle the government from its corporatist intent and capture, or the corporations from the government which created them and which is the only support of their ability to exist (no big corporation could subsist for a day without massive corporate welfare and government thuggery). If you’re against tyranny, against organized crime, you want to dissolve the monolith itself. If you support these, you continue to pretend it’s not a monolith.
What’s a natural market (to replace the terminally distorted and Orwell-ized term “free market”)? My neighbor and I deal mano a mano, as human beings. If he were to proclaim, “I’m a corporation!”, I’d wonder if he’d been out in the sun too long. I sure wouldn’t know what he was talking about, other than that he wanted to swindle or enslave me.
Vote for humanity! Abolish the corporations! This starts by absolutely rejecting their legitimacy and right to exist, let alone any other so-called “right”.


October 19, 2012

The Citizens’ Guide to Voting and Votism


These are distilled from previous posts and comments and presented in the form of a list with some explanations. Use any or all of them, whatever applies to your situation and the argument of the antagonist. I’ll repeat that local elections and ballot questions sometimes do present real choices. For example, if I were a California resident I’d register and go to the polls just to vote Yes on the Right to Know initiative. Of course I’d also have actively participated in the campaign for it.
1. Voting and citizenship, like all other things, must always be organic to one’s humanity and the community. An election could possibly be benevolent if organized and voted by an active, educated, fully participating and vigilant citizenry. (Though in this case it would be superfluous and therefore would never happen.) But system votism wants to quash all participatory citizenship and relegate political participation to a passive consumerist category, with the ballot box a kind of toy store aisle which periodically opens (but with only one broken toy on display, painted two different colors).
2. System voting is decadence. The definition of decadence: One throws away what works, in this case true democracy participation, replaces it with what doesn’t work, elite political hierarchy, and then desperately seeks a substitute for what was thrown away, in this case “representative democracy” and votism.
3. “Representative” government and votism is the alienation of political sovereignty. It’s anti-democracy and anti-citizenship. The complacent voter is a bad citizen.
4. Votism always means fraud and hypocrisy on the part of its propagandists and practitioners, since all system candidates are liars about every value they claim to uphold. To vote for the system is to vote for lies, and to exalt “the vote” is to exalt lies.
5. Your true citizen obligation is full political participation, not the decadent “vote”.
6. If you want to vote for real, vote for positive democracy and human freedom. That means fighting for it. Vote with your way of life, your direct action, and your passionate advocacy, every day, all year. Any other form of “voting” is a fraud.
7. Votism, like its companion corporatism, is empirically proven to fail, if the definition of “to succeed” is that something maximizes equal happiness, prosperity, health, physical and psychological security, peace, rational policy, social stability and comity, community bonds, a harmonious existence with the environment, all of these at a high level. For half a century it’s been physically and technologically possible for all these to be shared by all. Instead votism has presided over the deterioration of them all.
8. Throughout history, only direct action has ever accomplished anything. System reformism, in legislative, executive, or judicial action, has always followed bottom-up citizen action. Name a single thing votism ever got for the people.
9. Votism is a version of trickle-down. No matter how badly it’s failed so far, if you just keep voting when told to and otherwise remain passive, somehow it’ll lead to Better Policy somewhere, years down the line.
10. Representation is an affront to human dignity. We are capable of ruling ourselves and have the right to rule ourselves. I reject representative government in principle.
11. Votism, by claiming we need rulers over us, and that the candidates selected for us by elite Parties are in fact such qualified Leaders, is elitist. Its advocates are elitists. (The German term for this Leadership ideology is Fuhrerprinzip. That Anglo-Saxons don’t have such a term merely indicates that the Germans are more honest about their indelible authoritarianism. But the votism ideology evinces the same elitism.)
12. When we ponder the irrational and counter-factual things its ideologues claim for it, we see that votism is a secular religion. Why would I join your cult?
13. I don’t recognize the entitlement of anyone to “represent” me at all, even if such “representatives” were demonstrably meritorious persons.
14. “Representatives”, i.e. system politicians, are in fact the lowest gutter scum the species produces. Intellectually, morally, aesthetically, they’re repulsive and inferior. Even if I could accept electoralism in theory, I’d have to reject all the actual “choices” on offer.
15. Representative pseudo-democracy, at least in its US incarnation, is bad by conscious design. The Federalist Papers, especially numbers Ten and Fifty-One, are frank about how the goal of the 1787 Constitution is to suppress true democracy on behalf of political and economic elites.
16. The system offers “two” corporatist parties. Even by your fraudulent terms, where’s my “representation”? I bet if we had truly proportional representation, anti-corporatism would be doing very well by now.
17. Meanwhile we have fraudulent anti-corporatism just like we have the fraudulent version of every other idea. For example the moronic obsession with Citizens United, which was merely a formal ratification of the inherent status quo. It’s a fact of life that to the extent you empower the dollar, it will rule your elections. That’s why electoralism is inherently pro-corporate, elects pro-corporate representatives, and brings pro-corporate policy. If you want to break the corporate tyranny, it follows that you must seek an alternative politics outside votism.
18. Why would I vote for an organization (either system Party) which wants to kill everything I love and enshrine everything I hate? I want to totally eradicate both Washington parties, just as I want to eradicate all organized crime.
19. “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.” On the contrary, those who persist in voting for proven criminals are voting for the crimes they commit. System voters thus, at best, forfeit all right to complain. They’re actually complicit in organized crime and crimes against humanity. Votism, by design, makes one a collaborator in history’s worst crimes.
20. Voting as such is a plebiscite on the criminal system.
21. There’s no difference between principled non-voters and the “apathetic”. This apathy is simply a less conscious response to the clear malevolence and stupidity of the representative system.
22. Votism’s own advocates admit it’s purely negative, never positive. One is always called upon to vote against something rather than for something. There’s a special eloquence in the fact that today’s “progressives” call upon us to vote for “the lesser evil”. If that kind of extreme conservative cowardice is progressivism, the language must lack resources to denominate those who actually seek something better in life. That’s by design, of course. The language purges our ideas because the system, including its elections and those who support them, wants to purge our existence.
23. There is in fact nothing to vote for except the system itself. You can vote for Monsanto or for Monsanto, for Wall Street or for Wall Street, for permanent aggressive war or for permanent aggressive war, for the police state or for the police state, for the assault on civil liberties or for the assault on civil liberties. There is no election. There is no choice. Voting is a fraud.
24. So if you’re going to vote negatively, it’s better to become a survivalist or something than to meekly choose at random a “lesser evil” every few years.
25. Even by the system’s own standards the elections are frauds. The Constitution is set up with an anti-democratic Senate and electoral system. The system in general is set up to heavily favor concentrated wealth and entrenched infrastructure. Every sort of hurdle tries to prevent alternatives from getting on the ballot. Gerrymandering tries to prevent organic voting blocs from cohering on the basis of real community interest. Even voting turnout is suppressed through ineligibility rules, the fictive “voter fraud” and related laws (which are meant to suppress minority votes), and direct voter intimidation by the police and affiliated thugs.
26. So “representative democracy” is a fraud in concept, intent, strategy, tactics, and outcomes. 
27. A basic dividing line. Do you consider the outcomes of rigged elections legitimate or not? Those who support system votism say Yes. If you say No, you must seek true politics outside the system’s anti-politics.
I say all this well aware that peoples who have not experienced the so-called “bourgeois revolution” and its “elections” will often be ardent to try it for themselves, disregarding the universal bad experience history has proven them to be. But we who have undergone the full experience of representative government and its version of authoritarian hierarchy must get beyond this false enthusiasm.
We have to recognize that humanity’s only way forward is through building a decentralized movement seeking to relocalize all power, and the strategy and tactics of direct action on behalf of this.

October 11, 2012

Active vs. Passive Politics


I’d originally intended to write some posts reprising my criticism of the voting ideology, of representative pseudo-democracy, and of the pathology of liberals, all of this on full repulsive display these days.
Maybe I won’t bother with that after all, but it does highlight some basic facts about movement-building.
1. Nothing can work unless we first change our minds about the system itself. If we don’t recognize the power structure as irrevocably criminal and the fundamental enemy of humanity and the Earth, if in any of the various ways we still think it can be redeemed, we’ll remain shackled and on the path the terminal enslavement and death.
(These various ways include anything which in the end still wants big, aggressive government. Whether it be “progressives”, including MMTers and other “benevolent technocrat” types, who want Better Government to directly do things, or whether it be “libertarians” and tea party types who want continued big, aggressive government in the form of corporations and top-down “contract” enforcement (as well as the military and police state), it all ends up in the same tyranny.)
It’s true that individuals can get to this realization by doing something while still thinking the wrong way. They can feel the affirmative good of direct action and negatively experience how the system blocks all action at some point, and in that indirect way come to understand and reject the system. But no real freedom and redemption movement can cohere and fight except on the conscious basis of full system rejection.
2. This organic movement has to come prior to any attempt to build a political party and do system-political things like run for office. Those who want to search right now for alternative candidates are putting the cart before the horse. Something like the Green Party is negatively defined, has no coherent affirmative basis, and is thus a mish-mash. That’s why its actions, where they threaten the system at all, are so easily blocked, disrupted, or co-opted. It tries to use the system tools simply by imitating the system itself (but allegedly toward a “better” goal). But what tools can be useful at all will only be useful in totally different ways, and will require movement consciousness, training, and discipline to use them in this different way toward a coherent goal.
To give an obvious example of this, even if a crusading “alternative” candidate were to win an election, he’d find himself facing a monolithic structure and process, be isolated amid it to whatever extent he truly wanted to fight it, and come under severe pressure to “compromise” in order to “get anything done”, or even simply to get along better with the system people he has to deal with each day. Contrast that with a movement activist who sees office as an “inside” way to help the movement fight from outside the system. Who isn’t there toward the impossible notion of “enacting better policy”, but to mitigate destructive policy by being a monkey-wrench in the works. Who’s there to achieve the good by helping it triumph on its own, from the bottom up. But for this to work, the outside movement first has to exist, prior to any attempt to break in.
I recommend Lawrence Goodwyn’s book The Populist Moment for doing a great job of distilling these general principles in its analysis of what the populist movement tried to do and why it eventually failed. But meanwhile we haven’t gotten anywhere near as far yet toward our movement-building goal as they did.
That’s part of why I’ve been spending this summer and fall thinking about the long run and paying almost zero attention to the kangaroo election. (Just enough to know that pro-Democrat corporate liberal fundamentalism becomes more indistinguishable from the pro-Republican conservative variety every day, and the Obama personality cult indistinguishable from the Bush cult. Equally psychopathic and brainless.)
We need relocalization and democracy. These are essential to what’s organically human. We need economic and political relocalization and democracy. That means, among other things, becoming active participants rather than passive consumers and recipients of whatever’s inflicted upon us from above. It means that we overcome consumerism in both its economic and political forms. It means we take back our human work and our human politics. In this political forum, it means we become true active citizens and stop being passive “voters”, consumers of the system product. This means renouncing the system and building a political redemption movement from the bottom up.
I’ve said many times that pro-corporatism vs. anti-corporatism is a defining, dividing abyss and litmus test. I’ll add another: Does one see oneself and advocate for others, as one’s primary political mode (I’m not saying transitional combinations aren’t possible, but what’s critical is the vector away from the system and toward true participation democracy), bottom-up direct action and organic movement-building, or passively consuming the system (including all forms of begging it for “better policy” and to be “better elites”). Which of these is your inherent idea and will?

October 1, 2012

True and False Solar Cornucopias


This post quotes from a paper to be delivered next year casting doubt on what I’ve called green cornucopianism.
Although Malthus’s worries about land shortages were transcended by world-historical events as well as by Ricardo’s and Marx’s different versions of technological optimism, they were soon reincarnated in Jevons’s warnings about the depletion of coal. Today economists generally dismiss the pessimism not only of Malthus and Jevons, but also of current concerns over peak oil, by expressing faith in human ingenuity. To retrospectively ridicule pessimists by referring to technological progress that they did not anticipate has become an established pattern of mainstream thought. Almost regardless of ideological persuasion, the seemingly self-evident concept of “technological progress” inherited from early industrialism has been resorted to as an article of faith serving to dispel the specter of truncated growth. The increasingly acknowledged threats of peak oil and global warming are thus generally countered with visions of a future civilization based on solar power.
All this modern technological progress was caused by fossil fuels. Now they’re saying technology will provide a replacement for fossil fuels. That’s saying something rather different, although the technocrats and flacks are too stupid to realize it.
(Judging by the paper’s title, it may go in for another kind of idiocy, that without fossil-fueled “growth” we’re in for scarcity and “zero-sum” horrors. But this is the same lie propagated by the growthsters. Agroecological science has proven that smallholder-based organic production using minimal or no fossil fuels outproduces oil-slathered industrial ag, in calories and nutrition. Pre-oil scarcity, where it existed, was primarily the result of malevolent socioeconomic structures, just as today; and secondarily of insufficient knowledge. We now have the knowledge. All we need to make the post-oil future a future of abundance is the Food Sovereignty movement which shall overcome the tyranny of today and tomorrow. This is the way we can and must occupy the sun.
But to use concentrated solar panels to privatize and enclose it cannot work physically, cannot work economically, and cannot “feed the world” or liberate humanity. The only thing which can render the post-oil world a world of scarcity is the same thing which imposes global scarcity today: scarcity-dependent and -imposing socioeconomic structures. Corporate tyranny.
As I wrote last Thanksgiving: Occupy the Sun!)