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Morning News Roundup, March 23, 2010

Hi all,

I’m keeping today short.

But first, here’s today’s News Soundtrack:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bng3agUOYiI

New Vietnam:

Libya:

Libya’s pro-democracy fighters have formed an “interim government,” though they remain outmatched thus far by Gaddafi’s forces.Fighting overnight left 14 people dead and 23 injured in Misurata. Also, it has been announced that Gaddafi’s air force has ‘been defeated’.

Other regional news:

Syria: 6 Protesters dead.

Yemen: Opposition to the government gaining momentum, but no clear potential leaders of Yemen have stepped up.

Japan:

Japan issued a radiation warning on tap water and 11 vegetables.

Everything Else:

Detroit:

The most recent census shows that the population of Detroit has dropped by 25 percent over the last decade.

Morning News Roundup, March 22, 2010

Hi all,

One thing I try to do every morning is keep up on the previous day’s news–so I figured I’d share with you all.  Exhaustive? No, but I’ll try not to waste your time.  Opinionated? Most of the time, but never in the Fox News fake-news way.  Here we go.

First, here’s today’s News Soundtrack:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBfjU3_XOaA

New Vietnam(s)

Libya:

After a third day of Western air strikes in Libya, Gaddafi’s forces have continued to press their siege against the rebels, shelling Misurata, an important Western rebel holdout, and bringing in snipers and tanks.   An American F-15 crashed, but reportedly from technical failure, not Gaddafi’s forces.  I’m not sure if one fighter plane crashing is news, except that it reportedly costs $27.9 to 29.9 million.  The stated U.S. plan is to achieve some quick objectives in Libya towards a no-fly zone, and hand off leadership of the intervention to European nations.  I suppose we’ll see, won’t we?  (Remember Shock and Awe? Wasn’t Iraq supposed to be quick in-and-out?)

Speaking of which, Iraq:

March 19th marked the eighth anniversary of the Iraq War (to whom do I send the birthday card I bought?).  The Department of Defense has identified 4,430 American service members who have died since the start of the Iraq war (with 32,000 wounded) and 1,493 who have died as part of the Afghan war and related operations.  In 2010, more soldiers died from suicide than from combat.  But the real tragedy is what has happened to the Iraqi people.  The British polling firm Opinion Research Business estimated “that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003” in a 2008 analysis, and their infrastructure is still destroyed, many living without electricity, clean water, or medical care [This links to an excellent Al Jazeera article, I’d recommend you read the whole piece].   Otherwise, we’re still there.   Yaa-a-a-a-ay *blows party favor* Happy Birth. . . day?

Afghanistan:

Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock is on trial as one of 12 soldiers who were effectively mass murdering serial killers who kept trophies from and pictures of their victims.  (Side note: he’s from Wasilla, Alaska.  Not to say there is any connection between that and his actions, or him or his actions and Sarah Palin, but it’s strange.)  Apparently we’re now at a stage in Afghanistan where we’re supposed to be beginning to transfer power to the Afghan government by 2014 (we have about 100,000 troops there now, and we’ve been there for more than nine years), but  it’s not a “sure thing” and could be, in theory, indefinitely longer.

 

Other news from the region:

Police are breaking up protests in Morocco, fighting in Sudan.

Syria:

Protests, crackdowns.

Yemen:

Protests.  Yemeni leader says he’ll leave office earlier, but protesters want him out now.  3 top Yemeni generals defected to support the protesters.

Bahrain: After major crackdowns on protesters last week, with the aid of Saudi Arabia, protesters are softening their demands. Bahrain is a major U.S. government ally. . . I wonder which freedom package they will get?

 

Labor News

Wisconsin:

On Friday, a judge delayed Walker’s anti-union bill from going into effect.  So, that’s stalled for now.

Indiana:

Union agitation and protests have effectively stopped Indiana ‘right-to-work’ (that term is such ideological b.s.) laws.

Japan:

Power has been restored to three reactors, and Japanese authorities report the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami as exceeding 18,000.  There is concern about contamination of food and water in the region, and they are still trying to prevent a full meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

Oh, and one more thing. . .

Obama Kicks Off Latin American Tour

Straight from Democracy Now:

“President Obama is in Brazil to kick off a three-nation tour of Latin America that will also include stops in Chile and El Salvador. In Chile, protesters gathered on Sunday calling on United States to apologize for its support of the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Meanwhile, in El Salvador, Obama is expected to visit the grave of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980.”

That’s got to be an awkward conversation.  “Yeah, so. . . um, sorry Chile about the supporting-a-coup, killing-your-democratically-elected-president, and installing-a-Neoliberalism-friendly-dictator thing.  Our bad.  Oh, and can you tell El Salvador we’re sorry about the Romero assassination that we had a role in, too.”

Anyway, y’all have a damned good day!


A Fine Slave (poem)

Auction block,
How study his legs,
Strong teeth, bright eyes
A fine slave. Fine slave.
Takes a whipping, never resists.

A fine slave.

Labor market, crisis,
Application, application, rent’s due,
Dental work needed, must keep power,
Application, application, denied, denied,
Lower down the chain, lower down the chain, fuck my degree,
Rent’s due. Sure I’ll take your job,
I’ll flip burgers fine. No questions.

A fine slave.

Why Ross Douthat Doesn’t Matter

Ross Douthat’s new NY Times Opinion piece, Why Monogamy Matters, approaches the question of family structures with a very traditional style of conservative reasoning, which can be loosely demonstrated as follows:

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is probably an elephant because that’s what I want it to be.

Let me explain:

Douthat first cites a CDC report showing that “American teens and 20-somethings are waiting longer to have sex.”

This, he argues, is a “good thing” because of a distinction he makes between “different kinds of premarital sex,” one involving “monogamous couples on a path that might lead to matrimony one day” and one that’s “casual and promiscuous, or just premature and ill considered.”  One guess as to which he favors.

He proceeds to cite a recent book by two sociologists titled Premarital Sex in America, which “finds a significant correlation between sexual restraint and emotional well-being, between monogamy and happiness — and between promiscuity and depression.”  It argues the correlation is stronger for woman, as “Female emotional well-being seems to be tightly bound to sexual stability” and “the happiest women were those with a current sexual partner and only one or two partners in their lifetime.”

Douthat argues that “The ultimate goal is a sexual culture that makes it easier for young people to achieve romantic happiness — by encouraging them to wait a little longer, choose more carefully and judge their sex lives against a strong moral standard.”  See, don’t get me wrong–I think people should respect themselves and their partners.  I also believe that teenagers are 40% less smart on average than your average-sized seedless watermelon.  All that said, (1) I think you have to ignore a lot of social context to come out swinging so hard for early-picked life-long monogamy, especially from research that appears from the account given to focus on merely one current trend among one age bracket, (2) I want to look into the research, because it sounds like the conclusion is a taller order than the premises, and (3) I think coming out all family-valuesy in the manner of the opinion piece is again not warranted.  Its premises involve the naturalization of our current social order, a favorite tactic of the Right. Here’s why I’m suspicious:

I can see how you would think, for example, that monogamy is natural for the human species.  I mean, if you ignore:

(1) the evidence that suggests our species’ polyamorous human history (from about 2 million years until agriculture, maybe 10,000 years ago);

(2) all the instances both historical and contemporary of polygamous and polygynous societies;

(3) the polyamorous kinship structures in our closest mammalian relatives, chimps and bonobos;

(4) the prevalance of (a) serial monogamy, (b) non-monogamous fantasies, (c) current polyamorous relationships, and (d) cheating within ‘monogamous’ relationships;

(5) the structures of our physical bodies, suggesting that our species won ‘natural selection’ through neither monogamy nor a ‘harem’ style of reproduction based on physical strength, but sexual selection under polyamourous prehistoric conditions; and

(6) the historical fact that monogamous family structures emerged with the onset of inegalitarian class societies [the exact explanation for that fact is controversial] and family structures reflect components of the class society they are in, with leftover components of prior class societies [e.g. [a couple quick facts] early families, formed during slavery, were centered around a man ‘owning’ his wife, who was transferred as a ‘gift’ from her father to her new husband to bridge the gap between two families or clans; also, note that with the onset of capitalist production and property relations, marriage became a contractual relation, and the expectation over time was of mutual monogamy, characterized by treating the other person as ‘yours’ of whom you could ‘expect pure fidelity’–i.e. your attitudes towards each other was of mutual private ownership. . . funny, huh?]

. . . If you ignore all those facts, you might have a very strong case that some people might be naturally monogamous.  If someone gives you a stronger opinion than that, you can bet that it’s either (1) good natured but their research is grounded in ‘common sense’ intellectual assumptions, which are unfortunately factually wrong, or (2) someone is really, really reeeaaalllly wanting to convince you a duck is an elephant.

* * *

If you want more info on these facts, check out Sex At Dawn.  Or just post a comment.  OR both.  Your choice.

It’s easy for Scott Walker to pick fights with labor–thanks to the brave workers and their allies protesting, not as easy as might be expected, but still easier than it should be.  Let me make my point clearly: If the majority of Americans identified as working class, and not middle class, (1) unionization battles would be easy, and (2) an attack on any laborers in favor of business would be seen as an attack on all (class consciousness, anyone?).  Americans don’t identify as working class, as workers, and so pro-business ideologies such as “neoconservatism” and “libertarianism,” acting like they have some real freedom, some virtue in them, have ‘selling points.’ They sound good, and they continue to sound good because (thank goodness!) they’ve never been tried in a pure form, and shown to be the Trojan Horse ideologies that they are.

[Commercial Break]

From the makers of the all-time classic teenage hits “You Can’t Tell Me What To Do (You’re Not My Mom!)” and “I Hate Everyone! Leave Me Alone!!” comes that political philosophy for the ages. . . Libertarianism!

[End Commercial Break]

(Right) Libertarianism is predatory callousness masquerading as the advocacy of freedom.  Realistically, though, little in libertarianism is distinct from what is known in general as ‘classical liberal’ ideology–loosely meaning that early pro-capitalist set of beliefs that the Market, left to its own devices, will stay competitive and solve all the world’s problems in the absence of government.  You have varieties of libertarianism–your quasi-sociopathic Objectivism, your rigid Austrian variety, and your Chicago school Friedmanesque version, to name a few–and each worships the ‘entrepreneur,’ the myth that the people at the top of the economic food chain are really just better than the rest of us, a special breed of human, who are the trendsetters and inventors that, over time, have made the world.

But what makes their dreams real? And why do they have the luxury to pursue them?

In all these cases, it is the labor behind the dream that turns idle ideals into something that actually makes life better.  And in most cases, it is those with the luxury of time and resources to pump out inventions–long ago the province of the inspired and obsessed few, but now of the well-financed R+D department.  The daily capacity of the everyday person to be inventive with the labor they do all day is forbidden by a system that centralizes autonomy in a select number of engineers and ‘thinkers’ at the top, and dictates commands to the bottom of the economic food chain of the firm.  You get no more credit for being the source of invention in a system that prevents anyone but you from inventing (and by thinly veiled force at that) than you would for being the one guy with a lemonade stand in a country that forbids the selling of lemonade from anyone other than you.

Our entrepreneur mythos, quite frankly, is an intellectually cancerous bullshit fable, preached by those at the top of the pyramid to defend their ‘Greatness’ to the mass of people lugging boulders up the ramps.  “Why do I have to lug these damned boulders?” laborers ask.  “Because I’m the reincarnation of Ra a hardworking entrepreneur, and you’re lucky I’m building this pyramid for you!” the entrepreneurs reply.

[This commercial interruption is brought to you by my cat, who at this point jumped on my keyboard to give you an important message:  nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn                                      bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb,,.  We now resume our regularly scheduled blog post.]

The majority of the population of every country works, but yet we’re told that the majority of the population are most accurately defined as a politically apathetic, culturally bankrupt, all-consuming herd animals who follow the trends promoted by these ‘entrepreneurs’ –consumers, not producers; receivers, not creators.  This is how libertarians, classical liberals, ‘Tea Partiers,’ and conservatives see workers and the everyday population.  And this is the opposite of what we actually are, and of how we should see ourselves if we are to take America back from the Right wing juggernaut.

I want people to see themselves as ‘working class.’  It is common in America to see yourself as ‘middle class’. . . but what does that mean?  “Working class” intuitively references what you do and makes sense of your social role in society, conceptually lumping you with the other people who, you know, work for a living.  “Middle class” implies, what, you’re in the middle between other classes? What other classes, and in the middle by what criteria? It is common in popular discourse, on the very, verrrry rare occasion that class is mentioned, to define classes not by your place in the structure of society, in the scheme of working-versus-owning, or controlling-others-labor versus controlling only your own (or no one’s), but by income–by how much stuff you can buy.  In this frame (which has bled into sociology) we are all merely different levels of consumers.  Not only does this hide how much social power you gain from ownership (not to mention income) but it hides the question of how you feel about work itself in all its aspects.  ‘Work’ doesn’t exist–and even ‘working class’ (if it makes it into this income-style schema) is somehow transformed into an income category, not a structural position.

It is work that is the background of society, of civilization.  People should be proud to see themselves as workers, whose identity is embedded not in what they have, but who they create themselves to be through their action, and through the ways their actions have benefitted society.  Work makes life work, and without work. . . what would there be to consumer, anyway?  Entrepreneurs, the favored Right term for capitalists, clamp down on resources, holding them for ransom until conditions are profitable–and we don’t need ‘them’.  We need a world where we can manifest our creativity and meet our needs freely, proudly, and where something like Scott Walker’s valorization of business combined with disrespect towards teachers and public servants is completely foreign–we need to see ourselves proudly as working class, and take this country back.

Hey y’all,

I just wanted to make a plug for a push to get single payer health care in Oregon.  There is a bill on the table in the Oregon legislature, and there is a rally to support it in Salem on 3/11:

11-3-11 flyer

I encourage you to support the rally and bill if any of the following conditions apply to you:

(1) You will need healthcare and would like to have it when you need it, or;

(2) You could possibly need healthcare and would like to have it if you did need it, or;

(3) You love or like anyone who either will or may need health care, and you would like them to have it if they need it, or;

(4) You can never get sick, and have no one you love or like, but you are a pretty damned good person anyway, and want people who might need health care to have it.

If you can’t attend a rally in Salem on a weekday (I can’t either), there are plenty of ways to support single payer health care in Oregon, and you can learn more about the campaign, the organizations supporting it, the bill(s) and proposal, etc., here or here.

How else can you help? (From Health Care for All Oregon)

❑ Arrange  a presentation to your civic or faith group or union.

❑ Endorse the bill and campaign. You can find endorsement forms (for individuals, organizations, and businesses) at hcao.org/oregon/aff ordablehealth-care-for-oregon-act

❑ Ask community leaders and organizations to endorse the bill and campaign.

❑ Host an informational meeting for your neighbors and friends, for your civic group or faith community. We’ll send a speaker.

❑ Use Twitter and your Facebook page to let people know about the campaign.

❑ If you have a Web page or blog, link to www.hcao.org.

❑ Distribute copies of this AHCAO flier at events.

❑ Write letters to the editor, contact legislators, and attend hearings in Salem.

❑ Donate money: make checks out to HCAO–Oregon Single Payer Campaign (OSPC), and mail to HCAO, P.O. Box 51422, Eugene OR 97405.

 

Toward a New Marxism

I’ve reentered school in the fall–a task which has kept me busy, however much I like it, and so I’ve let blogging fall by the wayside.  I really, truly, want to change that, to get back on the horse, so to speak.

The best way for me to start is to go where my heart has been in all this time since I’ve posted more regularly.

First of all, Egypt has inspired me.  From an internet based movement, sparked by the revolution and bravery of Tunisia, Egypt toppled a 30-year-old regime, despite opposition from the dominant party, precisely because regardless of difficulty, the Egyptian people never backed down, never resorted to violence, rape, looting (excepting the violence in defense from pro-Mubarak ‘supporters’), never strayed from message–they consistently would be placated with nothing less than ‘Mubarak, step down!’.  And step down he did.  That settled, and the military verbally guaranteeing reforms for a real democracy (whether they remain committed to such a vision remains to be seen), they proceed to clean up the mess that the protest has created.  This is how a protest should be–clear, revolutionary demands, without resorting to anarchy or being placated by red-herring false promises and impotent, minuscule changes.  And it was a neither a U.S. trained coup nor a militant, Islamist revolt against ‘secularization,’ but a multiparty coalition for democracy which has changed the face of the Middle East.  We should all learn from Egyptians. . . this is what hope and change look like.
In the West, we’ve gone so long without hope and change.  We’ve long felt impotent, and rationalized our inactivity.  “This is the way it’s always been. . . ” or “Americans aren’t willing to move with us for anything better. . . ,” or perhaps “It’s a Right Wing nation” or “Look at the obstacles to change!”  The leftmost phrase one can use to describe oneself is “progressive,” and that rather meaningless phrase is still labelled “Communist” in some crowds, depending on who you ask.  What does one do?
I am a committed Marxist, but not the “Old Left” or “New Left” kind.  The “Old Left” kind prioritized structures over agency, over the need to move in what Marxists called the “superstructure” to help people see the world they live in for what it is, and to pave a path to change it.  The “Old Left” prioritized class over gender, race, sexuality, environment.  The “New Left” hated the same systems of oppression, but saw gender, sexuality, race, and environment sometimes simultaneous to class, and sometimes instead of class.  They rejected authority, either Right or Left, and they fought for a world of TOTAL freedom.  But their overcorrection for the sins of the Old Left, their anti-authoritarianism, allowed them to descend into a rag-tag and decentralized band of competing struggles, each decidedly committed to their own ends and de facto competing against the ends of other New Left groups.  I consider the New Left generation of the 60’s to be the ‘Greatest Generation,’ whose war was not against fascism abroad but totalitarian unfreedom at home–fighting against alienation, homophobia, sexism, racism, capitalism, and for the oppressed, the exploited, the nonhuman animals.  But in their fight against all sources of oppression, the New Left so commonly devolved into a quasi-postmodern, infighting-prone, drug-dependent, and unprincipled band of uncoordinated movements, whose rejection of a capital-O Order resulted in the structural inability to meet their potential, their destiny.
It is our time to learn from their mistakes.  Inequality.  Environmental degradation.  Impotence in one’s workplace, country, city. . . life!  One drinks and lives vicariously through television and video games, playing Madden 2010 instead of football, watching James Bond instead of having martinis with beautiful women (or men, for that manner).  What went wrong?
I believe the New Left of the 1960’s had a lot right.  You cannot build a new society without abolishing racism, sexism, homophobia, traditional family structures, abandoning capitalism, reengaging the environment, seeking new spiritualities, rejecting war.  But the New Left maintained a definition of Freedom that was no more than an extension of the ‘bourgeois’ notion of freedom into wider realms.  The ‘bourgeois’ notion of freedom defines freedom loosely as the freedom to choose within a constrained choice set.  Let me be clearer.  ‘Bourgeois’ freedom argued that if a person’s society and nature keep them able only to choose between ‘A’ and ‘B,’ and prevents them from choosing ‘C,’ ‘D,’ etc. up to ‘Z’, when under other social rules one could have choices from A to Z, ‘Bourgeois’ or capitalist notions of freedom considers you free—because, hell, you have a choice, right?

The “New Left” extended this notion–they argued that no one has a right to make you choose only A or B, between Green Apple Antibacterial dish soap or Orange anti-grease dish soap, when you could have not only antibacterial AND anti-grease dish soap, but way more meaningful choices than soap at the end of the day.  They wanted you to be able to choose between A and Z. But they rarely connected the different systems of oppression, and they never looked at the effects of the systems of oppression and exploitation as a whole, ignoring that alongside the need to have self determination for your nation, your relationship(s), and your workplace, is the need to have self determination over your full self.  And this is not the Christian notion of feeling bad for every time you enjoy a piece of cake or a good lay, but the humanization of one’s desires, making them truly yours rather than enculturated or contradictory pursuits.  So they wouldn’t listen to each other (who are you to tell me what to do?) and they tuned out, and blew their minds.  What do we do?

Like I said, I am neither an Old Left nor a New Left Marxist, but there is value to each.  Perhaps you could call me a Now Left Marxist. Here is a part of where I stand (and if you happen to want the theoretical backing, quotes and such, leave a comment).
Meaningful freedom is more than what you can do with a limited choice set–freedom is both external (your liberty to do what you want without external barriers) and internal (your liberty to do what you want without mental or habitual limitations).  One creates oneself through habituation (among other things), and so either external or internal limitations cripple the self–you are limited in your own self-creating potential.  And there are two types of barriers, natural and social, which can affect either internal or external freedom (I’m sorry if this is too heady, I just have faith in you–if you need clarification, please comment).  I’ll probably expand upon this later, but for now suffice to say that the ultimate freedom is both democratic influence over all the external factors that constrain your choices (social or natural, and for all external structures) and over all internal factors (ideologies, command over one’s own inclinations, habits, desires, etc).  This latter part, I believe, is a fundamental component of Marx’s ultimate project, as well as my own, extending into one’s relationships, consumer activity, etc., and most particularly NOT resulting in a denial of one’s desires, i.e. towards sex, drink, etc., but merely the use of all things as informed by ones fully free choices.

The point is making oneself fully the person one wants to be.  That is freedom.  And advocates of a limited freedom–libertarians, Republicans, capitalist apologists–they don’t advocate full freedom.  They advocate a conception of the lowest level of external freedom–choice within social and natural constraints–but even then an inconsistent version, where one’s external freedom can limit the external (and internal freedom) of another, but for no good reason.  For example, a speculator can buy the property of a family facing hard economic times, and use that power to raise the family’s rent until they can no longer pay.  The speculator has external freedom–no government or external force prevents them from buying the house–but their freedom to do so violates the freedom of the family to stay in their house, and that limitation is first social (social rules backed by force allow the speculator to take the family’s house) and natural (that force, personified by police, can remove the family at a very real physical danger to their lives). People who equate capitalism to freedom don’t get freedom–and I don’t think they want to.  But my Marxism, and I believe it stems from Marx himself, is founded in a fully, consistent, internal and external freedom.

You should be free in your work, government, relationships, beliefs, and over yourself.  You should be connected with your true goals, loved ones, community, environment.  You should manifest your creative power and develop yourself in all aspects of life, be it work or sex, eating or playing, or anything else under the sun, so long as at the end of the day it helps others do the same, rather than hinders them.  Now Left Marxism is feminist, queer, antiracist, environmentalist, and Buddhist (in its emphasis, with Buddhism, on control over the self), and founded in a demand for full democratization and full liberation.  It is this philosophy that I hope to develop here, and I invite comments.  Let Egypt show us that true change is possible, and lesson learned, lets change the world ourselves.

Time Magazine doesn’t get it.

France is revolting.

And I definitely do not mean disgusting.  I mean people-in-the-streets-public-anger revolts, demonstrations, strikes.

They were featured in Time Magazine’s November 1st page 13 “Briefing” subtitled “The Moment” in a short piece by Michael Elliot. The situation: President Sarkozy wants to move the age at which one can claim state pension from 60 to 62, and the age at which one can claim the full amount from 65 to 67.

Elliot’s take?

“The lazy French don’t get it; they don’t understand that pensions and other benefits have to be paid for by taxes on productive workers; they won’t admit that better health care and longer life spans mean that everyone can work longer than they once did.”  He concluded in an implicitly positive tone that the lowering of “spending entitlements” by European countries was in line with “economic realities”, and concluded with “[America]: it’s time to take a few lesson from your students [and reduce social spending].”

Why Rejecting Economic Servitude Isn’t Laziness

Lazy?
Because they think their life might be better spent outside the work force when they’re older?

Don’t get me wrong; it’s clear as day to me that workers are the backbone of society, and that people who can work should.

But at age 60, most people have worked most of their lives (excepting for some or most of the wealthy and some of the very bottom economic rung).

Should they work their whole lives, and stop only because their body has worn down too much to continue?  Should ‘retirement’ be nothing more than the social ‘throw away’ point when no one can profit from you because you are too decrepit to do anything, including enjoy life? Or should you have years where you are healthy enough to work at the end, but since you’ve spent so long benefiting society, you no longer have to?

The Impoverishment of ‘Reasoning’ by ‘Economic Realities’

Let’s look at the ‘reasoning’–‘economic realities’.

Globalization does demand increasing hardship from global labor.  Every sector of the world is increasingly pitted against every other sector, and this is ‘reason’ to demand longer hours, more years, cheaper wages, lowered benefits.

The U.S. has ‘taught’ these principles for years because of the dominance in American society of the business mindset.

In reality, this trend of increasing harm to the world’s population for the sake of global profit is present ‘reality,’ but only because the global capitalist class have the power to act as tyrants over our society, over our jobs and our ability to meet our own needs, and acts as thieves through making money from our work, our debt (from our needs not being covered by our available wages), and speculation.

Tyrants and thieves.
Didn’t we used to revolt over such things?

Remember who collapsed the global economy?  Hint: not everyday people.
And who suffered? The workers and everyday families, who had little to do with it.

“What about them buying houses they couldn’t afford?”

Wages should have kept pace with inflation, and financiers gave loans to people with a low chance of paying them off on purpose. Social programs were intentionally eroded.

It was the irresponsible financial mechanisms, the shadow economy, the default credit swaps and derivatives that crashed the economy.
That’s economic reality.

You want to compensate for lowered state funding?
Fine some billionaire stock traders under the principle of “those who do the crime pay the time.”

Attempting to squeeze the French workers for two more years?
Haven’t you and the interests you serve done enough damage?

The French aren’t lazy.

The bosses who make money off their backs, and the traders who click buttons all day for the expansion of their own wallets without working are far lazier than the French workers at retirement age.
Stock traders perform many activities that can be described with ‘verbs’, but can only loosely be described as ‘work’.

And Michael Elliot?  Try understanding what you’re talking about before you publish next time, eh?

Viva la France! Viva la revolucion!

What happened to dreams?

I miss democracy.  Sure, America was never as democratic as our high-school textbooks would have us believe.  We were founded on land secured by genocide, build off the labor of slaves in the South and poor, mistreated white laborers in the North.  “All men were created equal” actually meant men, and property owning white men at that.  But over time the people who had been shoved aside and stepped on picked each other up.  Over time, slavery ended, women fought for the vote, property qualifications on voting were abandoned, workers could form unions, and currently our Queer brothers, sisters, and transters are fighting for equality.  The revolutionary ire of the 60’s became mired in the liberal conception of freedom–doing whatever one wants without thinking too much about what one wants–and despite the beauty of the ideals of peaceful, happy, free societies, rampant drug use immobilized portions of the hippie movement from creating structural changes.  The gains of the 60s were followed with the consolidation of global capitalist power, leaving us a neoliberal train wreck of an economy–one that pits workers against each other, destroys the environment, replaces living wages with debt, and responds to its lack of profitability with layers of financial tricks stacked precariously on the edge of a very large cliff, and we all may be faced with looking into that abyss. . . or we may not.

We could make it–but we need to dream.  Mainstream economists will tell you that prices have to rise if everyone has a job.  Politicians will tell you the government can’t make jobs (let somehow the government gave them a job–I guess they just mean jobs for us).  And both of those statements are false.  If everyone gets a job, no one’s desperate for a job, so they have to be good–and wages rise.  So they raise prices to maintain a profit.  And profits are nothing other than money we earn and they keep.  Profits are bull–the purpose of job availability and pricing should be to meet needs.  And the government can invest to create jobs same as private companies–but doesn’t because it would compete with a company’s ability to make money off our needs and inadequate government.

We can do better.  What is stopping us from creating communities build around our happiness and needs? In tune with the environment and each other?  Why can’t we co-manage our own workplaces?

The Chamber of Commerce wants to wage war against whatever democracy we’ve fought for over time, hoping that corporate financing of our candidates skews our system in their favor, just as such groups hope corporate financing of NGOS skews our attempts to change the world.

If the moneyed interests want so bad to control our society, I suggest a version of what the Paris Commune tried, and so many intentional communities have tried or are trying ever since. . . I suggest we pull out of their labor markets, their consumption patterns, their apartment complexes.  We form our own worker and consumer co-ops and coordinate production and consumption with each other, and outside of the market.  Different models have been suggested, Parecon and the model developed in Towards a New Socialism–and I’m not suggesting I’m committed to either of those visions in total.  But we can take inspiration, and we can create a new world, a Post-Capitalist world from a process of creating Exo-Capitalist modes of production, consumption, LIVING.

The phrase “New World Order” conjures up a host of images–neoliberal globalization, the Illuminati, (I guess it also has some meaning in the professional wrestling world)–so at first, it may seem a strange phrase to invoke on ‘our’ behalf.  It speaks to outsiders, to external string-pullers, master manipulators of human affairs.

What it really means, though, is somewhat different than its connotations.  According to the oracle of democratic knowledge production, Wikipedia, “new world order” means “any period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power.”  It signifies nothing more than a new structure of global power, a new hegemony.  So what is “we need our new world order” really saying?

“We” references something more than Americans, more than Westerners, and something far more substantial than “global citizens.”  The latter term is more than consistent with the massive inequalities of wealth and power between people and nations–a ‘global citizen’ can mean a postnational, globe-trotting investor for a transnational corporation just as much (if not more) than it can mean a hummus-eating, kimono-wearing, African American artist with a love of German beer and Native American dreamcatchers.  No, ‘we’ references that group of people who usually don’t travel much, don’t each food from chefs with three Michelin stars, and don’t get the luxury of choosing not to work because they just want a day off.  The majority of the world is not composed of highly-educated, globe-trotting ubermenschen.  Most of the world is more likely to be like the ones who worked at or built the airport, shipped the food to or waited tables at the restaurant, who either work too much or can’t find enough.  Most of us take orders from people who take orders from people who, at the top of the economic food chain, wear ties to work and drink wine with their pinkies up.  That is to say, most of us are in the working class.  And most of us are suffering.

We’ve been told that contemporary economies are too complex to manage, and so they must be left to the market’s hoard of millions of little profit-hungry busy-bees, whose collective and disjointed acts of greed will somehow bring about a world full of wonders, roses, and sunshine.  But we let the ‘experts’ run the show through successive rounds of financial deregulation, and the result was a crisis that nearly equaled the Great Depression in gravity–letting those ‘experts’ run the show ended up being nothing more than letting the inmates run the asylum.

“We” need our New World Order.  We need to understand that we, the workers, the housewives, the queer folk, the immigrants–the downtrodden–are the ones who have built this world, raised these families, expanded these worldviews and inched the world towards freedom, well being, and justice.  We need to have faith in ourselves to democratically run EVERYTHING. . . from the ground up.  We need to work, play, sing, dance, run, jump, laugh, speak, high-five, fuck, and breathe liberation, and let it run down our fingertips and spark everyone we touch.  We need to work together to figure out a liberated, democratic world–OUR New World Order–and we need to run down the streets of Wall Street, Main Street, Easy Street, and Sesame Street chanting Viva la Revolution!–a revolution not of guns and bullets, not of stomping boots and broken dreams, but of millions and millions of the downtrodden, dusting themselves off, turning to help their neighbors rise, and seeing the sunshine together as if for the very first time.