Skip to main content

What is to be done? No, seriously, what is to be done? Or, the Revolution will not be televised, but it will be streaming on Netflix!

It seems like a month can't go by without us being able to watch a revolution unfold. They are unsurprisingly chaotic, and completely and utterly destroying the idea that a spontaneous, leaderless, movement can take (or abolish) state power. That's the formula right now. Camp out in the city square and soon enough there will be a confrontation which eventually might create enough havoc to shutdown your country. Sure, this sort of "general strike," if we want to call it that, can throw state power up for grabs, but that just makes it easy for any organized social force with even a tad bit of popular support to step in and snatch it. Often times it is simply the opposition political party that has positioned itself to be at the right place at the right time. (If this is the case, you guys might as well have a "managed" democracy like us. Sure it's boring, but less people die. You need not ask who controls the state if you just want to know who controls the government.)

The Arab Revolutions are a mess. The Egyptian military is back in power. Libya is run by militias. Tunisia, which started the whole thing, is looking like the best of the lot, although some political assassinations nearly caused a spiral into chaos last year. Syria is a mess, as nasty bastards like Bashar-al Assad would shoot a kid in the face if it meant a minute more of political power. (It doesn't help matters that the most dedicated fighters in the Free Syrian Army appear to also be jihadist nutjobs.)

It looks like the unfortunately named "gas princess" is out of jail and ready to take charge of the bizarre Ukrainian opposition, which apparently has pro-west liberals holding hands with open fascists in order to topple a dickhead Russian-backed oligarch.

It's a slight relief to read about Venezuela where the forces of revolution and counterrevolution are, despite the media's best efforts, easy enough to decipher. There is an unmistakable class consciousnesses in Latin America that has a lot to do with the obscenely overt rule of that region's flamboyant, and violent, ruling class. 

I realize it's rather *privileged to write about such life and death situations from a position of comfort. But the only thing worse than snark from afar is self-righteous anecdotal proclamations about supposed truths from inside the fray. I think Marx, or maybe just some Marxists, significantly underestimated how hard people will cling to social identities. *Eventually it sets in, but shit, how many Americans making $30,000 a year still think they have more in common with their boss than the person who cleans the office? "We're both from the midwest!" Add more poverty, weak state structures, ancient religious arguments that have morphed into ethnic differences, etc., and you have a recipe for a gigantic mess.

This is the part where every leftist analysis says something like "correct leadership of the working class is needed to usher in a world socialist revoution!" Ok, sounds good. But I'm going to add a precursor, which is probably just as daunting- historical progression is not guaranteed. We have to fight for it. Do we do that through tiny "Leninist" groups all trying to poach the most politically conscious people from one another, or do we combine forces based on the 99% of ideas we all agree on? I'd say the latter. We have a whole group of people, who outnumber us by the millions, who still think that a limited social democracy is the best possible result for the future. And they are the ones with good politics. We've got our work cut out for us.

*I hate that fucking word in this sort of context, but try talking to an overeducated liberal who thinks they're a leftist without them belching it out- because it's always the answer to the question you weren't asking.

*I'm realizing that this "eventually people will realize they're being exploited" is an act of faith not terribly different than believing in a messiah coming, or coming back, to save all humankind. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hanging from a cliff

The day after Obama won his second term the markets took a bit of a tumble. The Dow dipped below 13,000 for the first time in a few months. US Congressional gridlock and the ongoing crisis in Europe are mostly to blame. What is more interesting, even if it's unsurprising, is the rush to bonds- US government bonds to be exact. Indeed, the yield on ten-year treasury notes dipped as low as it has since May. Even with our ratings downgrade (which no one now cares about in the slightest) and huge debt, it is cheaper than ever for us to borrow money. We are still the safest piggy bank out there. 

With the "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts looming, the spirit of compromise is being sprayed into the air like a bottle of Glade mountain berry. Democrats are fond of saying we need a "balanced" approach to reducing the deficit. Nominally this means some tax increases along with spending cuts. Republicans are now, apparently, open to some sort…

Austerity Ecology and The Collapse-Porn Addicts

I just finished Leigh Phillip’s left defense of humanity, “Austerity Ecology And The Collapse-Porn Addicts.” I think it’s important to frame it that way, as one of the main point he makes (and I fully agree) is that the earth doesn’t need us to survive. What we should focus on is our species. And not just surviving, but prospering, even conquering (I know people don’t like that word, but we ought not be scared of power). Phillips goes through every argument that I grew up with, from green austerity to that overpopulation nonsense, and convincingly does away with them. (I read Derrick Jensen was I was younger and had completely spaced out how truly terrible his arguments are. Embarrassingly bad. When I tried John Bellamy Foster I luckily found him too dense to get through. Just like George Ciccariello-Maher is a caricature of your “edgy” left wing professor, Foster is a caricature of what a Marxist is, tough to understand but you should know what he’s saying is super important!) 

Phill…

The Earth is not Fragile

I found myself cringing the other day listening to a well intentioned, yet completely ridiculous, city slicking environmentalist tell a room full of us how fragile the earth is. I wanted to scream "it is not!" but decorum got the better of me and I stayed quiet. It isn't fragile, not in any real sense of the word. The earth would just as soon wash us all away in a flood than conjure up a gorgeous sunset.
One of the most punk rock things you can do these days, particularly at dinner parties in liberal enclaves like where I live, is say you're skeptic when it comes to what people view as scientific consensus. Usually people think climate change, and are immediately offended by the idea that someone may disagree with what they've been told is humanity's most desperate and urgent threat. This is not to say I don't believe the earth is getting warmer, I surely do, or that I believe humans haven't had an effect on the environment, we certainly have. It'…