March 29, 2014

The Community Rights, Anti-Corporate Movement, and its Liberal Pro-Corporate Detractors


As the community rights and anti-corporate movement gathers momentum, it will increasingly strike fear in mercenary minds, and in the minds of all who remain stagnated in the obsolete ideologies of “left” and “right”, “liberal” and “conservative”, let alone the cretins who remain partisans of either the Democrat or Republican halves of the one-party corporatist state we now have.
At a website which claims to stand for a “participatory society”, and which likes to affect some radical-chic vibes, some members recently outed themselves as just another gang of masked liberals with an ethically and intellectually challenged hatchet job on the CELDF movement. Evidently when they say they want participation they don’t really mean participation, heavens no. How silly of us to misunderstand that word and think it means we the people politically and economically rule ourselves.
The fact is that this entire critique is from the point of view of statist, corporatist, pro-Democrat liberalism. It’s therefore irrelevant in principle, since the community rights movement cherishes participatory democracy and economic self-determination and rejects the legitimacy and authority of corporations and centralized states. The piece is also forced to lie at every practical point, since nothing has been more completely proven to be an historical failure than representative liberalism, insofar as it ever actually wanted to improve the lives of regular people and prevent concentrated power from preying upon the people. Of course, if it ever did want to do any such thing, it has long since ceased from any such intention and become a pro-corporate scam.
I’ll just make a few general replies to the piece.
1. It engages in bourgeois quibbling about what is and isn’t “constitutional”, what does and doesn’t derive from the Declaration of Independence in some sense a duly certified law professor would agree with, etc.
But citizens of a democracy care nothing about any piece of paper, except insofar as it expresses and helps realize political and economic democracy and freedom. Today we must care only about what’s effective toward anti-corporate abolitionism. The fact is that none of these documents has any eternal meaning at all, except to antiquarians talking about what they meant at a particular time in a particular context hundreds of years ago. Anyone who claims to think the Declaration of Independence, for example, has any ineffable “nature” other than what the people of a time are willing to fight to make it mean is a liar or is being completely ahistorical. (I’m not sure which of those a system academic is more likely to be.) But the only way these documents matter to modern abolitionists is in how they can help attain the abolitionist mission.
Of course, these liberal scribblers agree with me. Throughout the piece they repeatedly assert that what’s “constitutional” isn’t anything stable, anything based on principle, but is merely whatever the bourgeois courts say it is. The constitution is nothing but what Monsanto’s Clarence Thomas says it is. This is one of their core points.
Let’s correct a few historical facts obfuscated and falsified in the piece. In reality, the Declaration of Independence was not an affirmative statement of synthesized laws, but a rejection of illegitimate, usurped, and therefore tyrannical “law”. Therefore when we reject the legitimacy of the “laws” and rule of corporations, globalization tribunals, and the centralized governments who serve them, we are taking exactly the same stance as the signers of the Declaration. And when we cite it as precedent, we are using it in exactly the same way its original promulgators did. The dispute here is over whether the rule of Monsanto, the CAFOs, the frackers, Wall Street, is legitimate. We say it is not. The authors of this piece and their ideological ilk say it is. So it’s clear that there’s no common ground here, and that these scribblers are simply perpetrating a fraud when they claim to be arguing from some common principle, and that therefore people should listen to them and turn away from the anti-corporate struggle. But to be for or against corporate domination is the only meaningful demarcation today, which cuts across all other issues and gives them their true character, as opposed to the false divisions which system ideologues and partisans struggle to keep in place.
Similarly, the notion of constitutionalism propounded here, that “the constitution” is whatever is written and called a constitution, of course as interpreted by a handful of elite legal priests, is historically false and tendentious. On the contrary, one of the fiercely contested political controversies of the era leading up to the first stage of the American Revolution was the question of whether or not there’s an underlying sovereign constitution, of which even a written constitution is only a provisional expression, its legitimacy contingent on the institutions it establishes continuing to act in accord with the underlying people’s sovereignty. The gradually-adopted decision of the rebels that this sovereign constitution precedes any written one became a basic principle of this first stage of the Revolution. But this philosophical development was also an extension of the long evolution of the logic of political thought. When today a US liberal takes up the old British/Loyalist position, that the constitution is whatever a piece of paper (and really a handful of corporatist judges) says it is, and pretends this is “the” position, he’s simply trying to lie this controversy and this history out of existence. He’s probably totally ignorant of this history anyway.
So there’s our basic conflict over what is or isn’t constitutional: We say that this can only be decided through political struggle. They say it’s a purely elitist determination and decree. And there we see the basic difference between democratic philosophy and liberalism, which is inherently hierarchical, authoritarian, elitist. According to them, the courts and by extension the government are legitimate, the people are not. This is the basic liberal elitism. We see the basic contempt for a community-based organization daring to lay claim to constitutional interpretation, filthy peasants having the temerity to contradict Our Betters in the courts, academia, and of course among the professional liberal NGOs. 
2. They seem to have basically liberal-reformist objections to a more anarchistic philosophy. That’s irrelevant since the anti-corporate movement is, of necessity, both ideologically and on a practical level, anti-liberal. That’s because liberalism is inherently pro-corporate and pro-centralization, and also because it’s a proven failure at everything except helping to increase corporate power.
They also engaged in smear tactics, fraudulently seeking to conflate explicitly anti-corporate movements with, for example, racist “states’ rights” movements. This demonstrates their bad faith and their conceptual idiocy, since “states’ rights” makes no sense as a concept, while community sovereignty obviously does. It comes much closer to humanity’s natural and rational political and economic state, as well as being in much closer accord with the principle, paid lip service to even by today’s statist/corporatist tyrannies, that sovereignty can repose only in the people themselves, and that political power can only be conditionally delegated to any kind of hierarchy.
By now we know that these hierarchies, and the political philosophies which sought to justify them, including liberalism, were always frauds which have not improved the happiness, prosperity, and freedom of the people. At most they were able to use the age of cheap oil to build mass middle classes in the West. Here isn’t the place to debate whether or not this Western middle class existence is the highest utopia humanity can aspire to, the way liberals would have it. (I’d say the record shows that middle class existence, even where it was temporarily stable, didn’t seem to make people happier, and in many ways left them less content.) But I will stress the fact that as we reach the end of the Oil Age, this middle class is being ruthlessly liquidated, and the system is clearly headed back, as fast as it thinks it can politically get away with, to some pre-fossil fuel form of economic tyranny: Some kind of feudalism or debt slave society which will be much worse than even the medieval variety.
There’s no disputing this basic trend toward increasing corporate domination and the destruction of the economic middle class as well as the destruction of the Bill of Rights-based system of civil rights/liberties. All this is inherent to the system. Today liberalism, as an ideology and as a set of political prescriptions, is a massive scam meant to help this corporate domination plan along. That’s the basic aspect of the term “neoliberalism”: Liberal terms, concepts, forms like representative government, etc., have been completely harnessed to the goal of shifting all real power and control to corporate bureaucracies while maintaining nominal government as corporate welfare bagman, thug, and the impresario of circus “elections” and “representation”. I defy anyone to give me an example of any significant government initiative of recent decades which transcends those three basic categories.
(Obamacare, for example, is really a corporate bailout and a poll tax. It has no public weal character, but is a combination of corporate welfare conveyance (its main proximate goal was to bail out the financially beleaguered health insurance sector; from there it’s simply meant to keep this worthless corporate sector in profitable existence), political circus (it poses as a big public-interest program), with a thug element as well (the poll tax is meant to help force people who are trying to break free of the corporate cash economy back into it). Anyone who had really wanted a government program to provide better health care to the people would have demanded Single Payer, which would have been vastly less expensive for the people and would actually have helped people. But that’s not what government does any more, and that’s not what today’s liberal and conservative supporters of big government want to do. They want nothing but to aggrandize corporate power.) 
3. According to the comment thread, they’re the types who accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being a “troll”. But as I said in points (1) and (2), they themselves are technically trolls in that they’re pretending to be making a critique of participatory democracy and natural real economies, based on some alleged common ground, when really there is no common ground between anarchism/mutualism/positive democracy and centralizing corporatist bourgeois liberalism. There’s no substantive common ground, just some vague alleged affinity of ideals. But as we’ve seen, liberalism has been nothing but the ongoing betrayal of these ideals, and is a definitively proven failure and/or treachery.
I will agree with one strategic point. My understanding of the CELDF strategy is that it seeks to use the concepts and rhetorical forms of constitutionalism and of the first stage of the American Revolution in an innovative and tactically effective way, to help organize modern anti-corporatism and rational economic tendencies toward building a coherent movement. But so far it seems pretty vague on what the next steps are, once organizations dedicated to fighting for these ordinances have been brought into existence.
But the hatchet job I critiqued here clearly has no goal other than as typical liberal gatekeeping. They’re trying to distract attention from the complete failure of their own scam and discourage people from taking up new ideas and new forms of activism and organization.
I especially like their horror at the prospect of communities fighting to resist interstate highways or fracking pipelines. And you always gotta love when so-called “leftists” take up the canned Frank Luntz term “patchwork”. Bush consultant Luntz called this one of his “words that work”, and we see how this term has indeed worked, to the point that it’s now a staple of alleged “left” discourse as well, wherever our pseudo-radicals are opposing the people where the people are trying to fight back at the community level, which is after all the natural level of human existence. Because liberals and authoritarian leftists have no such human basis for their existence, but are only synthetic products of mass society, they could never understand this kind of humanism.
(“Conservatism” is another part of the overall corporate propaganda scam, but in this case we’re concerned with a liberal and/or radical chicist attack, so I focused on that.)
In the end, the only meaningful diagnosis is that corporations are the overwhelmingly dominant form of economic and, increasingly, political tyranny today. Corporations are totalitarian, and are the radical enemy of all human values, as well as of our physical basis for existence. It follows that the only meaningful prescription is to commit to the clear goal of the total abolition of the corporate form.
This is not only the only meaningful analysis and goal, but has the virtue of presenting a clear goal, unlike the vapid “anti-“s of reformism and pseudo-radicalism. These clearly just want to talk and do nothing, which is why they intentionally claim to be for high-flown principles but offer only the most vague objections to “capitalism” or whatever in place of a clear prescriptive goal.
The community rights movement doesn’t have all the answers yet, but it does understand three basic facts which no one else seems to understand: The people and only the people are sovereign, corporations by definition are illegitimate and have no right to exist, and corporations are actively destructive of all human values and needs, and must therefore be fought to the end with all means at hand.



  1. It is certainly healthy to discuss and debate strategies for dealing with the global assault we all face. I have been very influenced by certain Native teachers, They have been under attack by the Global Mob for many centuries. One statement in particular by a Native healer/teacher has really influenced me: “The elders told us that if we join any tribal governments that will be newly formed, we will be defeated.”

    Of course most people today would say the Natives already have been defeated. However, this healer/teacher did not consider them defeated, but rather occupied/imprisoned.

    Information I have got thru these Native teachers is so beyond anything I had ever found in the study of Psychology or Human Potential. So on this point alone these Natives succeeded, they transferred super valuable info to me and other seekers. Traditional Natives, at least the ones I have encountered, have historically not joined the invader’s government.

    I’m posting this here in case any readers have feelings that there is something wrong with joining groups that are based on mass murder and fraud and fund themselves by extortion. Yes you can have power if you join, and that is the allure. But what is the price? There is more to the picture than meets the eye. We are taught that anything we can’t see doesn’t exist. Researcher Doug Boyd wrote some excellent books on Natives and other gifted people, showing that there is tremendous power in ways that are unseen to most of us. It’s a big subject, but one point here is that those traditional Natives that refused to join the invader’s, were probably influencing this system far more than people who directly join it.

    What constitutes joining the bad guys’ club is a good question, one I have given more than a little thought to. But one thing to consider is that joining perpetuates this horrible club. My friend became an environmental lawyer after coming to gatherings I invited him to with a Native teacher and environmentalists. So now he works for the government. He is a good guy, and unfortunately his goodwill is now serving as in effect public relations for the bad guys’ club (hey they can’t be so bad if he works for them, right?… there are good people in govt too…).

    So he is unwittingly perpetuating this thing. If he shifted tracks and worked for let’s say Sierra Club or some group opposed to the government, funded by donations, etc., then I think he would be in a whole different current.

    That’s just one example, and I will admit it’s a complex subject. But I’m laying ideas on the table here so good people don’t get sucked into joining that horrible club, in some way, when they would be much better off outside of it, with the independents, around better energy.

    btw looks like a second of the 9 old time wheats I planted last Fall is now growing. The one that has been growing is called Globe, and supposedly was the wheat of choice in pre colonial India, which may make sense since northern India is the same latitude as where I’m at here in north Florida (although of course we don’t have the mountains).. According to Dr Robert McCarrison (one of the founders of the modern organic farming movement) who lived in India in the 1930s, the northern Indians were wheat eaters, but south it was mostly rice. He said these wheat eating raw milk drinking people’s were among the healthiest and best looking on the planet.

    Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 29, 2014 @ 11:03 am

    • I wouldn’t say a system NGO like the Sierra Club is “opposed to the government”. On the contrary, it seeks to reform government policy, and has made collaboration deals with arch-fracker Chesapeake as well as Clorox. We should take whatever’s worthwhile from such system NGOs, including much of their reportage. Sometimes tactical alliances with them may be worthwhile. But in general their prescriptions are pernicious. That’s what I keep saying about some of the NGOs involved with the GMO labeling movement and their fetish of the FDA.

      The same can go for all kinds of reformism. Indeed, where it comes to agriculture and food issues especially, the right reform prescription would be the same as the corporate abolitionist one. A reformist who actually cares about food safety, for example, would want to ban CAFOs and their abuse of antibiotics every bit as much as an abolitionist does. Meanwhile even some GMO proponents say they want to “phase out” antibiotic resistance markers.

      I wrote more on that here.


      But the basic fact is that one can’t join the Nazi party in order to “be a moderating influence from within”, as innumerable Germans insisted they had after 1945. The neoliberal corporate state is a monolith which is absolutely committed to pushing “austerity” and corporate domination to the most radical extreme. This system has determined to achieve total victory or death.

      Meanwhile the American people are searching desperately for some alternative to system politics, but no one knows how to fill this political and spiritual need. At the very least we know that the need can be filled only by a movement committed to achieving its own total victory outside and against the system, making its own foray into the system only as a monkeywrencher, gridlocker.

      Glad to hear the wheat continues to sprout. Does India have comparable climate at comparable latitudes? Europe, for example, is considerably milder than North America thanks to the oceanic circulation.

      Comment by Russ — March 29, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

      • Re the Sierra Club, I brought that up in the context of a lawyer shifting tracks, getting out of the club known as “the government” and using his legal skills to perhaps file legal actions in defense of Nature, as the Sierra Club has done. If there are better clubs for this, of course, that can be shared.

        It is a good question, what clubs if any to work with and which to avoid.

        “…Meanwhile the American people are searching desperately for some alternative to system politics, but no one knows how to fill this political and spiritual need.”

        Maybe they should consider forming communities, rebuilding from the ground up, a return to living in groups, but respecting individuality as well, and structured in a way that makes sense in the global prison that we live. But I know, we have discussed this before. It makes a lot more sense to me than joining the branch office of the oppressors and perpetrating that horrible club (“the government”)

        I’m not sure about the climate in north India, but all the other varieties of wheat I had planted were grown historically in colder regions, so that is why I brought up that maybe this Globe variety just prefers warmer places like north Florida.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 30, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

      • I agree that’s a step in the right direction. Does the Sierra Club really still try to litigate on behalf of “nature”? If that was ever them in the first place. I don’t recall who filed such cases.

        But as we speak farmers and civil society activists have had success in the Philippines filing a writ of Kalikasan, which if I understand it correctly is filed on behalf of the environment itself. In this way they’ve helped stall Bt eggplant, which is also stalled in India. Monsanto’s trying to break through in Bangladesh.

        You got those seeds from Kusa? Which package was it? I saw that they have several bundled sets for sale.

        Comment by Russ — March 30, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

      • The legal advocacy arm of the Sierra Club is distinct and separate from the Sierra Club proper and used to be called The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (SCLDF). It looks like SCLDF renamed itself to Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund back in 1997. Here is there URL, if you want to figure out what they’re doing: http://earthjustice.org/

        The Sierra Club proper focuses on lobbying the legislature (aka “reform”), while Earthjustice focuses on advocacy in the courts.

        Comment by Scot Griffin — March 30, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

      • Thanks Scot. I know of Earthjustice, but didn’t know they were originally a branch of the Sierra Club.

        Comment by Russ — March 31, 2014 @ 6:15 am

      • The Kusa Seed Society minimum order is I believe $25. I bought the “Embassy” and also “Awnless” wheat seed bundles. You only get 50 seeds of each variety, so it will be a while before I have enough Globe wheat growing to do some serious bread baking for the whole village (but then again, seeds sure do multiply fast in a few generations – quite amazing technology).

        I originally tried growing Einkorn ancient wheat, planted it four times last year but it never grew. But I should also point out I gave none of these wheats any kind of extra help, just planted them in the soil. (I like the idea of using seeds that want to grow on your land as is.)

        Kusa does sell a “Wheat Ancestors” bundle that includes einkorn and also emmer and spelt (aka dinkel). These types have hulls on the kernels so you have to find a way to dehull them (but so do the birds). I think oats also need to be dehulled. Found a guy on youtube with a pedal powered dehuller that I think would work, but he never replied to me email last year. A small farmer up north also told me he might be able to dehull my grains for me. But at the moment I have no need.

        Went to the land yesterday to check on the potatoes, and the globe wheat has kernels on it now, but it’s not very high (under two feet). Almost all the other varieties Kusa sells are very tall, which seems would be nice for the no-till type of farming I want to do, so the plants get up high above the weeds. But then again so far the Globe wheat is higher than anything growing around it, as Spring is just beginning here in north florida and that globe wheat was planted last fall.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — March 31, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

      • Thanks Tom. I’ll go read up on those, and look forward to hearing more about your progress. Do you envision these kinds of grains playing a significant role in post-oil agroecology? Will their revival help redeploy a wider range of germplasm, on a physically healthier basis? I keep reading that the genetic range of today’s wheat causes health problems in itself, but haven’t researched it yet.

        Comment by Russ — April 1, 2014 @ 4:40 am

      • I became interested in older and ancient grains after hearing that most all wheat today is dwarf wheat that is quite different even than the wheat of the 1950s. Wheat gets a lot of criticism these days, with people with “gluten intolerance” and “celiac disease”. This is bizarre as some of the longest lived healthiest peoples such as in northern India, were wheat eaters. I suspected the real cause of people’s wheat problems could be antibiotics killing off microbes in the digestive tract. I did a keyword search and found an article claiming exactly this, and then a whole bunch of comments of people writing in saying, “You know, now that I think about it, I first noticed I had celiac disease after taking a round of antibiotics…”

        So is it the modern dwarf wheat or antibiotics that is the problem, or both?

        Anyway, if you want to watch a short video from 1937, here are some people that really new how to grow grains. This kind of knowledge could come in handy someday (they aren’t using the no-till approach, but they sure look like they know how to get the job done, and in a pretty harsh environment). Note how damn healthy these people look. At around 6:20 they start taking in the harvest, but the whole video is well worth soaking in. These Hunza people were known to live well into their 100s in good health. Was that the norm in the past? Is it something special there, or is it because of their relative isolation that they were able to hold onto legacies of the past? Weston Price’s pictures from around the world in the 1930s suggest me of the latter.

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — April 1, 2014 @ 11:02 am

      • Given any of the many new diet-caused diseases, I always look first to agricultural poisons like glyphosate.


        And I look to factors like the way Bt toxins and other dietary poisons decimate the microbiome and cause gut inflammation and subsequent leaky gut.

        But I thought I’d ask about the contention that the wheat itself is a problem. If so, that too is a problem caused by corporate ag and the dangerous narrowing of agricultural genetic diversity.

        Thanks for the video.

        Comment by Russ — April 1, 2014 @ 11:41 am

      • yeah I forgot to mention agricultural poisons as another possible cause of “gluten intolerance”. Miguel has written a lot of great posts in that whole area, in David’s blog.

        Also, all these bizarre “food allergies” younger people have now, like my nieces and nephews, that we never had growing up, I’ve concluded the main culprit is all these weird vaccinations forced on little people. Ken posted some great stuff on that in that blog also. Peanut oil is used in these vaccinations, and peanut allergies , once unknown, are now epidemic.

        btw look at the yields these Hunza people get in that vid above, without poisons and chemicals… People need to hold onto real world evidence in this sea of corporate/acamdemia/media bs we live in today.

        also, I meant to say previous, “This kind of knowledge could come in handy someday : like as in Today.”

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — April 1, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

      • I should also add, for those that don’t know, “poverty” is a creation of the Global Mob. The “Third World” is a creation of colonialism. The idea taught in the establishment school system that people in the past lived only to their 40s and populations were stable, not exploding, due to “high infant mortality”, is all fiction.

        People around the world were in general much healthier than today and long lived. People need to hold onto books like Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (loaded with pictures), and videos like the one I’ve posted here.

        Like most all of our problems today, world hunger and malnutrition are creations of the establishment, and then they pose as the solution. People world wide used to be expert at feeding themselves. And I didn’t even go into the spiritual aspect of farming, as researchers like Doug Boyd have documented, in books about Natives.

        But most book learning is filled with fiction. People must seek out real world evidence and direct experiences, to be able to sort the wheat from the chafe (no pun).

        Comment by Tom M Culhane — April 1, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      • All anyone needs to know is that the world currently produces enough food for 10 billion people, and yet out of the 7 billion alive one billion go hungry, and another 2 billion have diet-related health problems.

        That’s incontrovertible proof that:

        1. All problems with the quantity and quality of food are 100% artificially created by political and economic structures.

        2. Corporate agriculture does not intend or want to “feed the world” as the Big Lie has it, nor could it do so even if it did want to, since its inherent structure is based on generating artificial scarcity.

        Comment by Russ — April 2, 2014 @ 5:42 am

      • There’s mounting evidence that GMOs have been a major cause of the great surge in food allergies. Here’s just a brief overview (cf. especially section 3.7.3).


        Cf. also the StarLink outbreak.


        As always, the fact that Monsanto and its allied governments are scared to spend the pennies it would cost them to actually do all the tests necessary to establish the safety of GMOs is proof that they fear what the results of these tests would be. Similarly, the fact that they try to shout down and suppress independent studies like the 2012 Seralini study instead of replicating them the way actual scientists would is an implicit admission that these studies are valid, and that replicating them would give the same results. The same is true of the 1999 Pusztai study and all the others that gave results adverse to the myth of GMO safety. The system has always dodged its responsibility to replicate these studies, which it would do if it really believed these studies were flawed.

        Comment by Russ — April 2, 2014 @ 5:42 am

  2. Russ, your statement “But so far it seems pretty vague on what the next steps are, once organizations dedicated to fighting for these ordinances have been brought into existence.” The next steps are not vague at all to the people in communities actually doing this community rights work on the ground passing these community rights based ordinances and charter amendments. We are very clear that we are directly confronting the existing structure of law and legal doctrine that underpins the entire existing corporate run system. We are committing civil disobedience and dismantling the existing system piece by piece. We are declaring legal what is currently illegal – GOMs, fracking, CAFO’s, etc. At the community level we are building a mass movement, state by state, with the full intention of driving the elevation of community rights over corporate rights and the rights of nature into the state constitution. Then when we have enough states that have done that, we will drive it into the federal Constitution. This is totally analogous to the Suffragist movement. The people fought city by city to recognize the unalienable rights of women as persons not property. And the women at great cost committed civil disobedience by actually voting when it was against existing law. Then when they had 9 states that recognized those rights in law, they finally drove an amendment into the federal Constitution.

    While we are passing local ordinances we are actually creating the structures of law and legal doctrine outside the existing structure that will already be built and functioning when the existing system collapses because it will no longer have the consent of the people to even exist. This is what movement building is all about – people actually exercising their unalienable rights and creating the new structures and governance they want along the way.

    One other thing I would like to point out is that there are no leaders in this community rights work. It is completely driven by the individuals in each community. The people self organize as they see fit. CELDF really acts as a guide and educator, and shares the experiences of all the other communities that they have worked with. And they get us all connected in solidarity with the same vision of how we protect our own health, safety, and welfare, however we choose to define that in the places where we live. They help us understand how these ordinances need to be structured to exercise our community rights, create rights for natural systems, and to directly confront corporate claimed “rights”, state/federal/global preemption, and other structures that have to be dismantled.

    It’s actually kind of frustrating that CELDF doesn’t just tell us what to do. It would be so much easier if we didn’t have to figure out what we really wanted and how to organize our neighbors to stand and fight for what we want together. The approach is kind of like my therapist when I am in crisis and don’t want to take the blue pill to make all the bad stuff just go away. After I spill my guts about all the stuff that is going on that is causing me horrible pain, she just listens and asks questions. She never tells me what is wrong or tells me how to fix myself. She makes me figure out most everything myself with a little guidance and information from her observations. And it pisses me off because it would be so much easier if she just told me what to do. But of course I would not do the real work I needed to do to change my habits and thinking patterns that will actually help me get well. Same with this community rights work and the pain and suffering caused by our corporate and political system oppressors.

    And that’s all I have to say about that….for now 🙂

    Comment by Dana Allen — March 30, 2014 @ 2:28 am

    • Thanks for the great description, Dana. What I meant about the subsequent steps is that history proves the people in opposition need to build a fully coherent, committed movement – political and economic, and even more cultural and spiritual. I should rephrase and say that the CELDF/community rights idea looks to be a good ingredient going into the mix from which this movement will cohere, but isn’t sufficient by itself. Nor, as you point out, is it claiming to be sufficient. That’s another falsity of the IPOS attack, that it implicitly claims a binary between within-the-system reformism and the community rights campaigns in isolation.

      But of course the community rights movement goes along with the many other threads of opposition and regeneration.

      Comment by Russ — March 30, 2014 @ 7:06 am

    • thanks for the follow-up thoughts, Dana — much appreciated!

      Comment by ozob — March 30, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

  3. My encounters w/the IOPS authors vaguely remind me of this Incite! Blog piece: https://inciteblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/why-misogynists-make-great-informants-how-gender-violence-on-the-left-enables-state-violence-in-radical-movements/

    My partner introduced me to Phil Ochs, and I’m glad she did. Your response reminds me of a classic piece of his…Love me, I’m a liberal also available at Youtube:

    Comment by ozob — March 30, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

    • It’s too bad we so often have cause to be reminded of that song.

      To sum up again, what made it clear to me the IPOS piece was pro-corporate gatekeeping was:

      1. The one and only “principle” espoused, indeed the basic theme of the piece, was bourgeois legalism. With plenty of “professionalist” elitism, of course.

      2. The horror that a highway or pipeline might be slowed or even stopped. What kind of psychopath wants more of those?

      3. The use of the right wing code word “patchwork”, a longtime favorite of ExxonMobil, Big Auto, more recently Monsanto, and many others. That’s a small but telling detail how liberals and conservatives have become melded together to the point that they’re indistinguishable in substance, and increasingly even in their language and tone. These days it’s often at outlets like NPR and Politico where one hears about the “patchwork”, in pro-Monsanto contexts.

      Those who actually support democracy think patchworks are wonderful, beautiful, and most of all absolutely necessary. (Same for anyone who knows anything about agriculture.)

      That should be obvious. But it’s amazing how most people in America with political opinions nowadays simply despise democracy without even realizing it, that’s how deeply the authoritarian rot has gone. The authoritarians who wrote that garbage actually think a centralized, hierarchical, authoritarian (anything preemptive, for example) political and economic monoculture is democratic, when it is of course the radical opposite.

      Comment by Russ — March 30, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

      • Russ,

        I agree that the IPOS piece is pro-corporate, but I am not sure if the authors realize that.

        This is not to forgive them as they have not recognized their sin, let alone profess it.

        Rather, it is to note that attempting to speak to power inherently imposes the expectation that one must speak the way power speaks. This is one of the things I am struggling with as I progress in my efforts related to Biblical history: the scholars I am interacting with are inured to the speech of power within their discipline, and working with them means that I need to speak in a way they will understand. To be credible to them, I find myself falling into their patterns of speech and thinking, which actually takes me away from my own thesis, although I am managing to get back to it. I think this kind of dynamic is common and often leads to people confusing what they say with how they say it. In other words, people used to speaking to power alter what they say when speaking to power. If you truly seek change or “reform”, you need to speak about that change to power as if you had power yourself. You cannot alter the message to make it palatable to the powerful because all you do is acknowledge their power while giving them no reason to give you more than some incremental change that may or may not make things better.

        On balance, I would encourage engaging the authors of that piece and putting them on the couch to help them see what the hell they were thinking. (The entire analysis was backwards, as if the states were an afterthought to the federal system.)


        Comment by Scot Griffin — March 30, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

      • No doubt you’re partially right, though it’s been a long time since I worried about trying to convince liberals of their errors. Do you think you need to work with professional scholars, or do you view that as nice if you can, but not essential?

        But these days I’m less and less inclined to see liberals as being basically erroneous at all. By now I think liberals support organized crime because they actually do support organized crime. On some level they see their own socioeconomic existence (and American liberals clearly regard the American-style suburban middle-class existence as being the ultimate utopia) as being dependent upon it, and in the Obama era, more and more of them have come to sadistically enjoy it. I think one of Obama’s main roles has been to convince many liberals to drop the mask (including to themselves) and learn to love their criminal culpability. Look at the bloodthirsty glee many of them take in their chickenhawk drone war jingoism, or the way they strive to outsnarl Republicans about what a traitor and scumbag Chelsea Manning is. Clearly the main reason many of them disliked the Bush era was that they were jealous over not being able to participate in the fun.

        The only thing that makes them “liberal” (i.e., having a meager residual “conscience” they feel the need to assuage, or at least pretending to have this) rather than “conservative” (those more prone to be openly proud of the system’s crimes, or at least to want to justify it as a law of nature or something), is temperament.

        But ideologically and in terms of policy prescription they’re identical. The same is true of the radical chicists who may vaguely talk in radical terms but who always revert to liberal prescriptions and often, as in this case, ideology.

        In my mind I’ve finally freed myself of all the compromises, temporizations, trying to “moderate from within”. I know I’m here to say something completely different.

        Comment by Russ — March 31, 2014 @ 6:14 am

      • Russ,

        “Do you think you need to work with professional scholars, or do you view that as nice if you can, but not essential?”

        I consider it essential from the point of view that I need to attempt to falsify my theory, and the people I have contacted are among the best people available to do that. But that is as far as it goes. I don’t want to work with them to publish the book, for example, because I don’t want to be stuck with their language and extremely academic audience.

        “In my mind I’ve finally freed myself of all the compromises, temporizations, trying to “moderate from within”. I know I’m here to say something completely different.”

        Understood and agreed. I do think, though, that there are a lot of active and engaged people out there whose ability to act meaningfully is constrained by a fairy tale view of the world that is constantly reinforced every day. They don’t consciously understand what it is they are really supporting. It is kind of sad, actually.

        Comment by Scot Griffin — March 31, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

      • I hope you can receive the honest critiques you’re looking for, and not just hidebound responses. At any rate you’re right to rule out their language and seeking an elite audience. Am I right in assuming this is supposed to be for a general audience?

        My rule in talking to anyone who may be beholden to system dogmas is that I’ll discuss in good faith for as far as they’re willing to discuss in good faith. But good faith obviously doesn’t include those who perpetrate public hatchet jobs on decentralization and anti-corporate ideas. Or in the case of GMOs, those who clearly care nothing for facts and reason but do nothing but regurgitate proven lies.

        In a case like this, I feel that in aggressively counterattacking those who aggress, I’m really speaking to any honest people in the audience, and not to the scribblers, who merely provide the occasion.

        Comment by Russ — April 1, 2014 @ 4:37 am

      • Russ,

        The two people I have reached out to thus far are Thomas L. Thompson and Niels Peter Lemche, both professors emeritus at the University of Copenhagen and properly considered founders of biblical “minimalism,” which views the Old Testament as literature, not history, and insists that biblical history be done the same way as real history, i.e., through the use of evidence and not circular argumentation. They’ve been very helpful and encouraging. To the extent that I’ve been challenged on anything, I’ve found it helpful in focusing my efforts to gather the evidence necessary to address their challenge. My overarching narrative definitely diverges from theirs, but I know they have been supportive of others who do the same thing.

        The first link is a mini-bio of Thompson, whose PhD Thesis was blackballed by the future Pope Benedict. The guy was put through the ringer by academia because his ideas seemed so radically different.



        Comment by Scot Griffin — April 1, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

      • Thanks for the links, Scot. I’ll check those out. I’m glad you’re finding such people to bounce your ideas off of.

        Comment by Russ — April 2, 2014 @ 5:47 am

  4. […] movement in his country. To rid himself of the few critical voices left in his country. The human rights community in Russia needs your […]

    Pingback by Statement for Sub-Committee on Human Rights of the European Parliament on the situation in Russia | Israel Foreign Affairs — April 1, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

  5. Russ, great post!

    Comment by Warren Celli — April 27, 2014 @ 9:05 am

    • Thanks Warren.

      Comment by Russ — April 27, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

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