October 13, 2016

Two Gifts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 7:26 am


Two brothers were given by their father two gifts to share, a puppy and a baseball bat.

One brother loved to play with the puppy, and he liked to use the bat to hit a ball for the puppy to chase.

The second brother grabbed the bat and started clubbing the puppy, trying to kill it.

What does their father think? What should he do?

What should his brother do?


October 12, 2016

Black Horse Chronicle, October 12th. The Perspective from the Wilderness

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 5:05 pm


“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto you the judgment of the great empire that sits upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of its fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness…” (Revelation 17.1-3)
Indeed, only from the wilderness can we truly see Babylon for what it is.

February 22, 2015

The Syriza Cave-In

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 10:55 am


Of course it’s no surprise to me. As I’ve always said of any “alternative” or allegedly “radical” political party, I’ll believe they’re really committed to fighting austerity and corporate rule when they really start DOING IT.
Why is this outcome so easy to predict? Let’s leave aside the probability, always high, that the political leaders were lying all along. What’s structurally wrong, as I’ve been saying for years (a few more examples, here, here, here, here), is that people are rushing to cobble together political parties without first building the coherent movement structure which is the only non-sand basis upon which radical political parties can be built.
Sure enough, for all its rebellious rhetoric which lasted for a few days, Syriza didn’t know how to psychologically mobilize a critical mass among the people, lacked the will to overcome the sense of cultural inferiority by telling Greece “we are the true Europe, it’s they who have surrendered to the US-dominated corporate order and become US lackeys”, lacked the movement core ready to undergo the blood, sweat, tears, and toil that will be necessary to break free of Euro-domination, and ready to exercise the ruthless resolve that would be necessary against any counter-liberation, pro-austerity reactions. In the quickly-reached end they were a timorous head without a body.
The lesson again: Whatever your view of how radical the changes need to be, if you want any real change at all you can’t put the party horse before the movement cart. We first need to build a coherent, committed, aggressive anti-corporate, anti-austerity movement.
I’ll be writing more soon on my ideas for building corporate abolitionist movements in every sector, of course with special reference to my specialty, the movement to abolish corporate agriculture, which I believe is the most critical sector and at the same time the one that offers the most opportunities for citizen action from outside the system.


November 18, 2011

Blog Hibernation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 3:23 am
I’ve decided to take a few months off from regular blogging in order to rest, collect my thoughts, and take stock of the situation. I also have some study I need to undertake, and I want to give it my undivided attention.
So my plan is to put the blog into partial hibernation until sometime this spring. I may still post from time to time over the winter, but there’s no regular schedule for it. I intend to return to full-scale posting in spring.
I want to say thanks to my readers and commenters, and I hope you won’t forget me while I’m gone.
Let me know in comments if people would still like to have open threads at this blog. I’ll still put up short posts to allow for that, and participate in the threads.

April 14, 2011

Hello, and Program Note

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 1:38 pm
Hi everyone, I just wanted to apologize for being absent for another week just after my long break. It was a combination of being busy with some things and a lingering uncertainty about how to start the next phase of the blog. But I should be resuming normal programming, for good this time, in the next few days.
In the meantime, thanks to everyone who’s been bearing with me the last few weeks.

January 7, 2011

Programming Note

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 6:54 am

Hi everyone. Sorry I’m getting off to a sluggish start this year, but I’ve been out sick for a few days now, and haven’t wanted to do much on the computer.

But I’m feeling better today, and should be back on track in a day or two.

December 15, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Russell Bangs @ 2:19 am


In light of Paul Krugman’s recent pro-corporate proclamation, where he sneers that we should just lie back and enjoy corporate tyranny, that to want to fight it is “so sixties” anyway, I thought I’d ask a few questions about him of those who still believe in him.
The contention is that he’s a reformist, and even among those who reject reformism there’s a residual affection for him. Everything he says is, on its face, reformist at best. But as I’ve traced in many posts, I think he’s actually a pro-bank, pro-austerity manipulator who only poses as a citizen. Others think his pro-bank aspects are the pose. If he’s really a citizen advocate, that’s the secret. Others think they can detect this citizen advocacy in him, but it seems to me they can never adequately explain it. My explanation for what I think is a scam is that it’s precisely because Krugman has such (fraudulent) progressive credibility that he can astroturf better by posing as a real progressive, even though he’s not really that even in his pose.
But here’s my questions (versions of this can apply to many others as well):
1. You think Krugman is secretly on our side, and that if he had the power he’d come out in open opposition to the system. But he thinks he lacks that power, so he tries to change from within, tries to nudge, tries to persuade, to convince. “I joined the Party because I hoped to be a moderating influence from within.” You think he’s an appeaser, and you support him in that even if you reject it in others.
2. For the sake of argument, let’s say that’s true. But we know for a fact that appeasement of a criminal aggressor doesn’t work. It’s been tried innumerable times throughout history, and has failed every time. So even if that’s Krugman’s real mindset (I doubt it, but I grant it’s possible), it’s a pointless mindset. And when he explicitly rejects class war as being the enemy’s motive, it’s an objectively harmful, malicious mindset.
3. Krugman may possibly be that dumb, but why should any of us? So even if that is his mindset and strategy, why would anyone support him in it?
4. Why oppose my criticism of him? If Krugman is who you think he is, then my criticism would fall into the “make him do it” category. Because it’s clear that if Krugman really were on our side, the best thing he could do would be to come out in open opposition.
5. But again, I don’t believe that’s what he really is. I think he’s on their side, playing his role, which is make some of their worst crimes look “progressively” palatable. So I’m not trying to “make him do it”. I’m trying to convince people that Krugman is not our secret friend, but our enemy.
But he can prove me wrong any time he pleases.

October 14, 2010

Question For Readers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 7:41 am


I’m going to quote somebody, and I’m interested in what people’s impression is of the quote and the person who wrote it.
I’ll reveal who it is and give a link afterward, but first I want to see what people think before they know who it is. (It’s from May, BTW).

Now as for TARP, I have some background in economics. I took two years of econ as an undergraduate business major, including a memorable semester of macroeconomic theory from an anti-Keynesian young turk. I also had a semester course in corporate finance. So I probably had some sort of a handle on the crisis that hit the American financial sector in the summer of 2008. I believed that the economy would plunge into a deep depression if the major banks failed and credit virtually disappeared. It was difficult to imagine where the dominoes would stop falling as one sector after another collapsed. And I haven’t heard anyone who has criticized TARP acknowledge what would have happened if the government had not stepped in.

In the case of TARP, I’ve only heard of one economist who said the government should not step in. The experts seemed virtually unanimous, and what they said made sense to me. It was also true that the Bush administration, including the secretary of the treasury, and the Democratic nominee, Barrack Obama, and his economic advisers agreed TARP had to happen. True, most of the Republicans in Congress voted against it, but their reasons seemed short-sighted to me. I didn’t like the idea of bailing out the banks any more than Sen. McConnell did. But I thought it was more important to keep the economy from collapsing.

I think you’ll find, by the way, that a lot of the TARP loans have already been paid back, and in one way or another, most of the government investment will return to the treasury.

March 13, 2010

“The Front Fell Off” – A Funny Video

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 3:56 pm

I want to see if I now know how to embed a video, so here’s a funny one I saw the other day over at The Big Picture. 

Two Paintings

Filed under: Uncategorized — Russell Bangs @ 3:44 pm


Apocalyptic Landscapes, 1913

The Burned-Out Homeless Ones, 1912

These are two paintings from Ludwig Meidner’s Apocalyptic Landscapes series.

I just wanted to figure out how to put images in a post, something I’ve been procrastinating about learning. So we’ll see if this works.