Volatility

June 27, 2018

Note on Movement and Party

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There’s a big difference between building a political, cultural, spiritual movement, and forming a political party, as proven by the historically proven relation between these. The point can’t be made often enough, especially these days when it really seems like every kind of dissenter has completely forgotten movement-building as the necessary strategy and the necessary basis of all future tactics. Mine is the only site I’m aware of which consistently has touted it year in year out. Most people never even heard of it and can think of no possible strategy other than electoralism and the whole tedious litany of proven-failure “reforms”, or else immediate spontaneous violent insurrection.
 
This latter is self-evidently absurd (at least in the US) and therefore people mention it only in order to underline how allegedly there is no alternative to electoralism. No doubt this is often a deliberate elision of the movement-building possibility, though I think more often the main objection to movement-building is that it’s long hard work. More horrific, in this society where almost everyone, including those who hold radical opinions, is fully indoctrinated and assimilated to the bourgeois system of individualism and the priority of private life (most importantly “the job”, if you have one; otherwise agonizing over the absence of one), is the proposition that one should dedicate one’s life to building a movement on behalf of an idea and a vision. Historically this is the way great revolutions happened, from Christianity and Islam to the Russian Revolution and beyond. These revolutions weren’t the work of part timers, and they weren’t the work of those who were hobbyists in their own minds. They were the work of those who were dedicated heart and soul. Those for whom “job” was at most a way to get the minimal sustenance necessary to carry on the real work. Those for whom even family was primarily a support structure for the great work.
 
That, I think, gets to the core of why no one wants to build a movement against the corporate technocratic system and to exalt the necessary ideas for the coming age of civilizational collapse and ecological cataclysm, and the great ecological way forward. As radical as these ideas are in themselves, and as unappealing to anyone who hasn’t burnt his luxury-materialistic ships, perhaps even more radical is the proposition that you should exalt this or any other self-chosen idea as the guiding star of your life and orchestrator of your actions. (Needless to say dedicating your life to carrying out the liberal-Randroid-capitalist Mammon idea is considered normal, since everyone was indoctrinated into it and no one had to choose it. It’s only choosing one’s guiding star which is unthinkable.)
 
All that goes to why every attempt to found an “alternative” political party runs aground or spins its wheels. We’ve had decades of fairly widespread and correct diagnosis of the situation, and many people have proclaimed their will radically to change it. So why has so little been accomplished against the worst of neoliberal corporate rule and imperialism? A major reason is this: Everyone always wants to put the party cart before the movement horse.
 
Trying to cobble together an “alternative” party (let alone a one-off presidential campaign) on the fly without having first put in the long, hard work of building a coherent cultural and ideological movement which then can serve as the solid foundation for a party, is doomed to failure. The failure may come through lack of a coherent political rationale, or lack of self-controlled publicity and organizational vehicles, or lack of institutional fortitude in the face of the inevitable set-backs and enemy attacks, or co-optation. Most commonly it’s all of these together.
 
This is reinforced when “alternative” candidates bring along as psychological baggage the assumption that they need to engage with every element of the system which the system itself insists is necessary – every agency, every “information” source, seeking to appease the corporate media – and to engage with these on the system’s own terms. This mistake is inherent in a party’s lack of a coherent movement-based world-view and the lack of an organizational foundation which itself is equipped to displace many of these system-demanded and -provided alleged needs.
 
Of course the “alternatives” on offer today aren’t offering much of an alternative at all. In America the likes of the Green Party offer little more than a proposed Democrat do-over, but honest and for true this time. If the likes of Jill Stein ever did attain high office they’d think only in terms of “getting things done” (“progressive” things, of course) according to the pre-existing rules of the system. And that’s where they’d get swamped and redirected and forced to cave in from day one.
 
The classical path of radical change is first to build a real movement, then to field a political party which seeks office in order to function as grid-locker and monkey-wrencher from within, in the service of the extra-legal action of the movement, which is where the real action is. But this remains unthinkable to today’s dissidents (at least in the West), which proves they’re not true radicals nor think radically at all.
 
 
 
 
 
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November 13, 2016

Whose Pipeline

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Letter to all the people exercised about the Dakota Access Pipeline and cheering on the fighters, but who also support the Democrat Party and are even asking questions like, “Where is Obama on this?” (And of course those who voted for Clinton.*) :
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Those are Obama’s cops, in case you were too clueless to notice.
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Of course energy projects of this scale require all kinds of federal regulatory approval. And it is, of course, impossible for a significant energy project to exist without massive federal subsidies. So in both ways, it’s impossible for such a project to exist against the will of the president. On the contrary, it requires lots of action from the executive branch to make anything happen at all. All that corporate welfare doesn’t hand itself out, and all those federal thugs and federally subsidized and equipped thugs don’t outfit and deploy themselves. You do know, right, that there’s barely a cop in America who isn’t dependent upon the federal gravy train. Certainly not the kind of cop the corporations deploy against the faithfully active people at a place like this.
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But then, we know that almost everyone engaged in social media meta-“activism” on the occasion of the pipeline fight, which basically means circulating memes and clicking on the “Angry” button, really supports Big Oil and voted for it this last circus as they’ve voted for it every previous circus. After all, progressive opinions are fine to have, but those personal cars won’t fuel themselves.
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Of course I’m not talking about those who understand and fight on the basis that the fossil fuel system is unsustainable, destructive, and evil, and are struggling to bring to light the need to break free of it while we can. But I imagine they’re not doing much better than I am with poison-based agriculture, including having to face the impenetrable bubble of idiocy within which the president idolators vegetate. In the case of pesticides it’s the FDA-worshippers who comprise the plague, with fossil fuel extraction they fetishize the Department of Energy.
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(For those who care about “property rights”, the entire project is also a perfect example of how there’s no such thing as property rights in America, but only the right of the stronger as this private corporate project had its physical way cleared through eminent domain. Governments of course provided administration and thug services.)
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I wrote this post, like some other recent ones, thinking about the fact that a president has almost unlimited latitude to do whatever it wants. I want to drive off the earth with a whip any of the liars who claim the president doesn’t have complete control of the executive branch (which includes every kind of triage where it comes to enforcing/respecting laws and court decisions) where it comes to anything the president really cares about. Just one of the many reasons I have infinite loathing for corporate liberals, that they base their existence on this lie.
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*Bernie Sanders also supports the pipeline. I just went to his website to see if he’d changed his position at all, and found that although “the revolution continues” and will accept money, the site no longer has any content. Kind of self-contradictory, wouldn’t you say? Of course anyone who knows the slightest bit about politics could peg Sanders as a fraud from day one, precisely because he wasn’t building any kind of outside-the-system movement. If I was wrong about that, wouldn’t today be the day for Bernie to be proving me wrong? Wouldn’t the aftermath of this election be the time for a true movement to go into hyperdrive, capitalizing on the evident failure of status quo liberalism? Any Bernistas out there who can explain?
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And forget the Green Party. Their vapid “issues” page gives zero details on what it means for Jill Stein to “Oppose” something, obviously by design. Would she halt all illegal pipelines and cease all the necessary subsidies for “legal” ones? (And for that matter halt the “legal” ones too?) Or to put that in a more vague, politician-friendly way, does she at least promise that one way or another these projects will cease to exist? Obviously not.
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Nor do I see any movement call there.
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The fact is that my despised and rejected blog, with almost no hits and zero commenters, nevertheless represents more of a movement and revolution than all these frauds put together.
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October 23, 2016

A Political Party Can Arise Only From A Movement

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What does the discriminating voter look for in a political party these days, where it comes to candidates for central government offices?
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The Greens are a commonly touted alleged alternative, but if by some miracle their candidate were elected, what do you think she would do?
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As with Bernie Sanders, the Greens’ website is no help, expressing lots of pleasant-sounding boilerplate but nothing clear. (Along with several instances of pandering to mainstream corporate lies.) While it’s true that real dissidents shouldn’t let themselves be drawn into providing too many specifics of what they want to do since it’s in the nature of radical change that you have to improvise most of the details, you do need to be stark and unequivocal about what the end results will be. “As president I’ll tear up the TPP, NAFTA, and every globalization pact in between” is the word of a real anti-system candidate. A vaguely expressed opinion that the TPP might not be such a good idea doesn’t cut it. (That’s also all I found at the Sanders website when I looked earlier this year.)
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(I’m aware that the vast majority of Stein supporters are supporters only out of a vague tribal feeling and that in spending ten minutes at the website I’ve already done far more than the vast majority of her voters will ever do. I used to be astonished at how rare it was to find a supporter of Obama or anyone you care to name who had even the slightest idea what their Leader actually does or has done or specifically promises to do. Elizabeth Warren is a perfect example, a pure projection fantasy. We’ve seen that across the board this year with Sanders, the Greens, and of course Clinton.)
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In Stein’s case, for example where it comes to the pesticide/GMO complex she seems vague and tentative, doesn’t know much about it, ergo doesn’t consider it very important. She thinks there may be some problems and that America needs “mandatory labeling” and more study. Needless to say the “anti-GMO” crowd considers her a real anti-poison leader. (Of course in 2008 Obama also promised labeling, one of the few things he actually lied about.)
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Does that sound like the kind of revolutionary who would appoint an anti-corporate attack dog as Agriculture Secretary, who would eviscerate Big Ag subsidies, impose a halt on GMO registrations and field trials, fire all the Big Ag propagandists and lackeys? And when as a result of this a thousand lawsuits are filed, would her administration actually stand on the law, and when this doesn’t work in the corrupt courts, stonewall and obstruct and smash up the machinery and defy? And would she appoint another attack dog at the FDA who would suspend its prior approvals and illegal GRAS designations and begin enforcing existing law (for all these things you don’t even need anything new to take action within the bounds of legality, you just need actually to apply the existing law; the same is true in many, many other contexts) on regulating GE products and suffused pesticides as the food additives they are, which would immediately halt all sales of any product containing any such additive?
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Because for those who haven’t gotten the news, that’s what’s necessary. It’s necessary in every sector: I just gave one example, but we can apply the same across all executive bureaucracies. (Of course I’m sticking with things the executive can do unilaterally, without having to “work with Congress”. But does anyone seriously think Jill Stein would have any other attitude than great angst over “how am I going to work with Congress??”, however impossible that would be if she really wanted to accomplish any part of a radical program? A progressive of course assumes you have to, no matter how impossible. And therefore, even assuming Stein is sincere in the first place, the caving in and selling out would begin right from the transition period. We saw what happened with the Greens in Germany once their establishment was given a share of power.)
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Do we see any alleged alternative party which would do this? Or do we see only a party wanting a Democrat do-over, but honest and for true this time? In other words, the exact same scam just starting over with a new name.
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My conclusion is that electoralism is a fundamentalist cult whose devotees worship elections and the vote as such. They care zero for results. Results, for them, have nothing to do with reality, only with fantasy.
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But America needs a movement which exists only of reality, by reality, and for reality. Only such a movement could ever possibly be of the people, by the people, and for the people. And only a political party which sprouts from such a movement can live up to such an aspiration and attain such a goal. I didn’t write this piece just to rag on Green supporters, but to insist on the fact that there is no way forward under conventional electoralism. By now belief in electoralism is a disease. It’s a delusion to believe in the efficacy of anything but building a new extra-legal movement starting completely outside the system. It’s hard work, with much blood, toil, tears, and sweat, and little in the way of instant gratification. But it has to be done.
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As for a political party of true protest, opposition, and regime change, such a party can never be cobbled together on the fly, or out of the hurt feelings and earnest sentiments of idealists, or built on an individual’s ego trip. It can grow only out of the soil of the true spiritual, cultural, political movement. But as any grower worthy of the name can tell you, building soil takes work and time.
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I write this so people who aren’t full-blown cult members might begin to comprehend ideas that seem to be literally inconceivable for most Americans so far.
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