Monday, December 24, 2007
- industrial unions within the context of "fordism" -- fordism and mid-20th century capitalism allowed a few gigantic corporations to dominate the economy. Because of realities of technology, these firms employed armies of industrial mass-production workers. Because of realities of economics, these mass-production workers could (if they could arrange it) shut down significant portions of the leading production of the economies of nations. Because of political realities (having to do with the crises of the 1930s and 1940s) these workers were able to unionize and exercise this latent power.
- an important portion of this political reality was the existence of a genuine threat of an alternative; this being Soviet-style communism. It's often perception that is more important than reality when it comes to elites. In the case of the elites and Soviet Communism, many Western elites saw the governments of the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China as offering an alternative to voters in the West. For that reason, many leaders in the West advocated providing workers with reforms in the hopes of forestalling revolution.
- public sector unions and the growth of government: prior to 1929, even after the accomplishments of the Progressive Movement, and the realities of World War I economies, capitalists and many capitalist politicians were able to delude themselves that some fantastical illusion of a "free market" was a sufficient means for organizing industrial-urban society. The ten lost years of the Great Depression and successful public mobilization of resources in World War II disabused them of that notion. While significant public activism in the economy was and is still regarded as heresy against the laws of nature by right-wing cranks, even they aren't going to do anything to roll-back the size of the state to 1929 levels. (Maybe. In this late period of right-wing triumphalism and delusion, anything is possible, despite what the reality-based communities have to say on the subject. ) Anyhow, ... the state grew in importance as an employer and provided large numbers of workers with steady work, ... and in response to the culture of the times, these workers were allowed to unionize. In Canada, these public sector workers and their unions remain significant sources of progressive strength and resources, even after over two decades of assaults.
- the welfare state, "full" employment policies, and mass education: While education is usually intended as a means of training obedient workers and indoctrinated managers, ... and while revolutions had been fought and sometimes won by illiterate peasants and workers in the past, it was and is also the case that education systems sometimes train people for independence, as well as providing expecatations of fulfilling work and careers. When these expectations are not met, there is often an articulate pool of resentment. In the 1960s and 1970s, and even up to today, the former manifestation, ... independent, critical thinkers, continue to be produced in larger numbers.
- feminism: economic independence and education produced the second wave of feminism, in the West, producing a powerful movement that has had impacts on the social, economic, and political levels. It has also created a body of critical thinking that naturally responds with skepticism to the platitudes of elites.
- environmentalism: full employment and the welfare state created a sense among many that the struggle for survival (in a realistic sense, I mean within the economic and technological realities of the late-20th century West) did not require constant consumption of the world's resources, strip-mining of all available natural resources. It too served as an area of critical thought.
I suspect that I'm getting into results of the sources of strength. I don't know. I haven't typed an entry for a number of days, and I need to put something out there.
We need to take stock today, of what our potentialities are. That's all for now spam-bots and uninvestigated google hits. And me.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
But, I would argue to such a conservative, that right-wing policies really only serve to reward a rapacious elite, people more selfish and thoughtless than is healthy for human society. Inequalities of power, meant to place the superior over the inferior have invariably rewarded the most violent and rapacious. And then the system produces a ruling class of the privileged, unremarkable children of those greedy sociopaths.
It remains the case that the best years for industrial capitalism were the years between 1945-73. The time when our societies were at their most democratic. This was the era that saw significant gains in living standards for the working class, for the democratic and material rights of oppressed minorities, for feminism, for the rights of youth. All these gains in the Western capitalist democracies produced a fear on the part of the elites, so that they called it a "crisis of democracy." And they therefore worked to destroy it. But the achievements of that era are with us still: a vibrant peace movement, sanity on the strength of the environment, and a more mature attitude towards sexuality and its diversity (please remember the pathetic batch of closet-cases and rapists who seek to impose their "family values" upon the rest of us).
Even the poorer nations were getting in on the act. And when it came to the enormous rise in oil and other commodity prices, Western elites had had enough and they sought to destroy the many-headed hydra of democratic impulses. We see the glorious results of their efforts. The demented simpleton, george w. bush has presided over the creation of perhaps one million violent deaths in Iraq, the creation of 2 million refugees, which, in the calculus of narrow-minded bigoted US policy leaders, counts as the greatest foreign policy blunders in their country's history. Meanwhile, the capitalist ruling class, the mass entity that had the power to sabotage (alas, perhaps not fatally) bush II and Cheney's delusions about attacking Iran as well, has not had the power to police itself, and has produced with its real-estate speculations yet another gigantic credit crisis for the US and world financial systems.
It appears that social inequality only gives a minority of stupid people the power to lord it over everyone else and to create even bigger messes that mass democracy produces. The genius of democracy is that individuals' self-interest works at a rational level to counteract the selfish attacks of other peoples' stupidity. We are not all uniformly stupid all the time, and we can and have acted to defend ourselves from the out-of-control stupidity of the most violent and rapacious.
Finally, social inequality prods people to put their own selfishness and desperation to work as a survival mechanism, creating a society of bitter, vicious cretins.
The best means for conducting the affairs of the billions of voracious humans on this planet is through leftist policies of equality, democracy, and human rights.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
One part reads: "After an early autumn in which his government regularly and successfully divided the opposition - particularly Stephane Dion's Liberals - Mr. Harper's Conservatives have found themselves dealing with a series of negative events."
It occurred to me that Harper was successful when he was trying to be destructive, but with his present unpopularity (a result of the nauseatingly bad high policy of his government) and traditional conservative corruption and incompetence beginning to blossom, making his enemies look bad isn't going to save him.
This latest mutation of "conservatism" is an empty shell, but for the lingering stench of the foul soul that died within it long ago.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
The same goes for getting imperialist politicians to bring an end to their imperialist wars. It isn't going to happen. We have to do it ourselves. The sooner we stop deluding ourselves that the party of the corpor-rats and the stupes, and the other party of the copor-rats and the deluded, are going to do what we ask them to, the sooner we can start doing the serious work of finding out how we can accomplish these things ourselves.
Fuck off wayne. You support arbitrary arrests and political harrassment. I don't give a shit what you say about anything from now on.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Under the circumstances, our actions probably seemed heartless, but the truth of the matter is that we could not see that there would be any end in sight to the situation, and, more importantly, we were being made to feel unwelcome in our own home.
There are two sides to every story. We feel we did more than our fair share. That's all I intend to say on the matter.
Evidently, the US Federal Reserve's quarter-point rate cut isn't having the desired effect because the US banking system is paranoid as a result of its own pervasive corruption.
In other news, the Harpercons have pulled their copyright bill again. So, maybe a victory there. And I watched a few minutes of Brian Mulroney's testimony yesterday. I'd like to have seen Chretien or Martin squirm like that. Seemed to me, Mulroney was trying to bluster his way through his completely sloppy "accounting" of the money he said he never got from the guy he never liked. Brazen fibbery. I couldn't watch much of it.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Why, for instance, is the antiwar movement basically nowhere on campuses? I don't know, and the people on campuses I've spoken to don't have good answers either, but it's up to them to answer that. They were disappointed when the war wasn't stopped before it started after the Feb. 15, 2003, worldwide demonstrations. They were disappointed when it wasn't stopped after that, and after a few more marches. They were disappointed and demoralized when Bush was re-elected. They can never get more than 15 people for a meeting and 5 are pushing a sectarian agenda, 5 want to talk only about Palestine and 5 can't get past identity politics.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
How casually we take civil rights. A Commons committee is examining the government's plan to fix an unconstitutional law that allows it to lock up non-citizens indefinitely without charge. But committee members won't let lawyers for the six men detained under this law appear before them because –given a tight February deadline set by the Supreme Court, plus the six weeks of Christmas holidays that MPs allow themselves – there just isn't enough time.
What else can you say?
Friday, December 7, 2007
But his latest criticisms of the bush II regime's demonstrable lying on Iran's nuclear ambitions is bang-on. This is inexcusable behaviour on the part of any government, especially that of the most powerful nation in the world.
And we are to believe, Mr. Bush, that the National Intelligence Estimate this week talks of the Iranians suspending their nuclear weapons program in 2003…And you talked of the Iranians suspending their nuclear weapons program on October 17th…
And that term suspending is just a coincidence?
And we are to believe, Mr. Bush, that nobody told you any of this until last week?
Your insistence that you were not briefed on the NIE until last week might be legally true — something like “what the definition of ‘is’ is” — but with the subject matter being not interns but the threat of nuclear war.
Legally, it might save you from some war crimes trial… but ethically, it is a lie.
It is indefensible.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
The OPP say charges are pending after a protest rally over a native-operated smoke shop erupted into violence. Two people, including controversial figure Gary McHale, were injured during the
melee on Saturday morning.McHale suffered a bruised rib, black eye and head and feet injuries.
Cue the closeted racists to appear and start denouncing First Nations violence, roused from their blissful sleep, where they were not dreaming about over one-hundred years of broken treaties and "two-tier justice" against the First Nations.
Note to the banned: Your links aren't being considered because your track record on everything has been disastrous, and Gary McHale has been a complete idiot and a hypocrite for over a year now, so he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Apparently, Vladimer Putin wants to be Prime Minister of Russia and there's a strong possibility that he'll get to be.
Putin represents the class of former-Soviet state rulers who helped orchestrate the top-down revolution that destroyed the official myth of "ownership by the people" and instead, through a corrupt privatization process, gave it to the managerial class (that is to say, themselves).
But some of these guys stayed in the public sector, and while they got rich through corruption, they got nowhere near as wealthy as the few, better-positioned who became "oligarchs" along with out-and-out mobsters. They watched resentfully as the oligarchs looted the country and took the wealth to Western banks, as Russia sank into the most pathetic weakness.
Putin represents the gang left behind by the oligarchs. But Putin's gang still controlled the legal system, and they have the power to crack-down on this tiny bunch of would-be plutocrats. No tactic is out-of-bounds to this ruthless caste.
Together with the high price of oil, Russia is on a sounder footing to make a stand in the world, but it's testimony to Russia's continued weakness that this stance is a nakedly surly, resentful, nasty one.
But what Putin's continued strength means is that democracy is still not an option. Not after the word was so abused and discredited during the Yeltsin era, when illegal state violence and massive corruption was greeted with applause by the sensitive, liberal West.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
We tend to care about the environment and if the vast majority of the world's scientists say that our constant belching of gigantic clouds of smoke and other dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere is having a major and worrisome effect on the planet, we take it seriously. Especially if the scientists who reject this analysis appear to all be funded by the oil companies or other contributors to the alleged problem. That, or they're unpublished cranks who Alexander Cockburn has dredged up in a desperate attempt to maintain a disproven thesis.
We certainly don't go to war, or ignore the possibility of global warming, if the people who tell us to are the biggest, absolute idiots in all the world. People who feel compelled to abuse respected Canadian scientist and eco-activist David Suzuki with all manner of hateful abuse; calling him a charlatan for his warnings about the danger of global warming, while at the same time being able to believe in the contradictory theses that the world is not warming up AND that the world is warming up because the whole solar system is warming up.
It's a serious subject dipshits, which is it? Is the world heating up or isn't it?
People who I like tend not to think that the authorities should be empowered to sweep anyone and everyone off the street and hold them indefinitely without even charging them with anything, subjecting them to torture to produce useless "confessions" and using these "confessions" to go after people of a similar skin colour or political orientation.
People who I like tend to be sane, reasonable, humane people with an natural tendency to prefer the truth to stupid, insulting lies.
People who I don't like believe these stupid lies. They repeat them and tell their own. They're ugly-minded, useless people. People like the execrable Werner Patels, or as some have taken to calling him: "Weiner Prattles."
When faced with a clear case of unjustified police brutality (brutality is never justified, but occasionally you can see a reason for it) as the recent shameful, black-eye for Canada, when four RCMP officers tasered, swarmed and killed an unarmed, distraught man at Vancouver International Airport, Werner is quick to side with the out-of-control cops and cast aspersions on the victim:
Exactly. The Taser is the best approach available. The public needs to be protected from such animals. In the (good) old days, he would have been shot; with a Taser, death is not the most common outcome at all. But as I also said, if you act like an animal, you have to be prepared to face the consequences, including death.
Again, when Canada is disgraced (Hello! The RCMP was involved again! How about that?) by our complicity in helping the bush II regime ship Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria to be tortured, Werner is once again quick to blame the victim and defend the perpretators:
Another such case of ‘manipulation by media’ was the hoopla around Maher Arar, a Syrian living in Canada who was deported by the US government to Syria, where he remained for some time before he was released and returned to Canada. Arar claimed that he had been tortured in Syria but to this day has failed to provide evidence (circumstantial or otherwise) of his allegations. The Canadian government, to avoid a lawsuit he had filed for several hundred million dollars, decided it was better to pay him C$10 million and get him to shut up once and for all.
What ridiculous, hateful stupidity. Patels describes Arar as "a Syrian living in Canada," which is wrong. Arar is a Canadian citizen. Syria doesn't allow anyone to renounce their citizenship, but even if Arar wanted to be a dual-citizen, he would still be a Canadian. Werner doesn't want to be called "a piece of shit that fell out of Mrs. Patels and is now lying around in Canada" does he? I could go on, but the lies and stupidities are too pervasive.
Why am I discussing this imbecile? It's part of a wider argument, bear with me. (Or don't. It's a free country.) The main reason I know anything about Werner Patels is through the work of Canadian Cynic, who somehow has the strength to daily keep tabs on the right-wing blogosphere and report on their various and sundry atrocities. It was also due to Canadian Cynic that I encountered one Tony Phryllis, who saw fit to link approvingly to Werner's idiotic diatribe:
The crux of the writer's argument, at least the way I read it, is that conservative blogs help deliver truth in a world where the mainstream media is biased while liberal blogs help perpetuate the bias.
Read the article by Werner Patels for yourself to see if it makes sense.
Okay, big fucking deal. One stupid loser links to another stupid loser. But here's the thing; Phyrillas has this link to a book called Tip of the Spear, which is apparently about one citizen standing up to corruption in Philadelphia politics
Musician, businessman, politician, citizen activist, revolutionary. Russ Diamond has been a lot of things during his 44 years. Add author to the list.The founder of PACleanSweep, which led the fight to repeal the July 2005 pay raise and punish members of the Legislature for their betrayal of the public trust, Diamond has chronicled his efforts to reform state government in a new book, "Tip of the Spear." ... Makes a wonderful holiday gift for that political revolutionary in your life.
I don't know much about Pennsylvania politics. Matter of fact, I know sweet dick-all about the subject. But if this right-wing doofus points to Tip of the Spear as an admirable example of citizen activism, I'm sure the book is as lame as Werner Patel's political analysis.
But this Russ Diamond fellow has (allegedly) had some sort of impact on the world of Pennsylvania politics, beyond empty-headed bloviating. In this, he is quite similar to all the right-wing foot soldiers, all the Christian-right chumps and saps, who have lined-up to make sure that the unions that could have protected them, the environmental laws that could have preserved their world, the welfare state that could have shielded them from their masters' economic policies were destroyed. About the only non-negative thing they've achieved is to make illegal all the homosexual behaviour that they're so evidently prone to. (I said "non-negative" but not positive. By this I mean they wrote laws that did things, albeit bad things.)Just like the happily witless Toronto Sun letter writers who bitch endlessly about immigrants, taxes, and spending on the people, I'm sure that Diamond has had a real influence on his world, all of it bad.
That's what makes Phryllis momentarily important to me. This unremarkable US right-wing idiot, the creation of a community of losers, scum, madmen, is part of gigantic network of similar idiots from the pitifully insane Werner Patels to this Russ Diamond fellow. And while their wave has crested, they did a powerful amount of damage during the almost thirty years they had in power.
The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 is a convenient signpost for the movement represented by the goons of our present times. The significance of Ronald Reagan is that he represented a conscious decision to embrace fantasy over reality, to celebrate ignorance over inconvenient reality, to use simplistic slogans over nuanced deliberations, and to engage in naked agression over the pretence of diplomacy. Reagan was not so much different from Jimmy Carter insofar as the outcomes were pretty much the same (see El Salvador for instance), but in the inane justifications, and the abusrd evidence he and his handlers would use as arguments for his destructive policies.
Ronald Reagan was an actor, and a simple-minded individual as well. He was therefore perfect in acting the role of a heroic American president, in a simple-minded fantasy just perfect for all the simpletons who had been mourning their lost privileges and shattered delusions since the 1960s.
By "simpletons" I mean the slow-witted authoritarian white males, anyone who ever felt threatened by the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Minority civil rights, feminism, environmentalism, the peace movement, ... all these challenges to the bigoted status-quo of racism, sexism, destructive consumerism and plunder, militarism. Also, there was the gay rights movement, religious pluralism, and the intellectual challenges to entrenched capitalism spreading through academia. In short, a thorough, and long overdue challenge to the whole gamut of prejudices, delusions, superstitions, and cultural bullying of a large portion of society.
Reagan's victory came at a very significant point in his nation's and the world's history. The US empire was weakening for reasons unrelated to beginnings of democratic upsurge. An overvalued US dollar until Nixon abandoned the gold standard in 1973, had weakened US industry for years. Imperial overstretch, especially in Vietnam, where the nationalist resistance had the support and protection of both the relatively powerful Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China, had brought on a political-military crisis. The recovery of Cold War clients of Western Europe and Japan was a further challenge to US economic superiority. The "Third World" was feeling its strength in the surging world economy, demanding higher commodity prices and a better deal from the international economy overall. The best example of this "Third World" insurgency was the successful oil price revolution of the OPEC cartel. In the USA's "backyard" of Latin America, decades of repression and (inevitably) failed capitalist development schemes had produced a widespread insurgency, similar to what we're seeing now in the early-21st century.
Finally, and most traumatically for the American people, on top of all this, the people of Iran rose up against the brutal, corrupt, US puppet, the Shah, and Iranian university students invaded and occupied the American Embassy in Tehran in anger over their suspicions that the US government was continuing to plot with the Shah to destroy their revolution. Several US Embassy staff were taken hostage and the occupation lasted for months. During the crisis, the Carter Administration attempted a military rescue of the hostages which ended disastrously and seemed to be representative of then-current worries of the USA's "weakness."
This perception of "weakness" had stemmed from the USA's supposed "defeat" in Vietnam. (They had been unable to impose a puppet government against the will of the vast majority of the Vietnamese people and against an organized North Vietnamese military backed-by the two great communist military powers.) In the face of the obvious lies and incompetence of successive US governments on Vietnam, the American people were reluctant to endorse further military adventurism for years afterwards, compelling the Carter Administration to have to pursue diplomacy and negotiation with international adversaries, rather than instantly resorting to brute force. This brief period of sanity was referred to as "The Vietnam Syndrome."
The decline in US dominance was not due to "decadence" and "weakness," arising as some sort of unavoidable consequence of women getting decent pay, treating blacks as equals, driving smaller cars, or not sacrificing one's children to Moloch, but from real structural causes. In 1945, the United States of America was the world's creditor nation, the only economic great power with an intact industrial base, with by far the most powerful military capabilities the world had ever seen. The economy was humming along because of new-found consumer strength, because of postwar reconstruction, military Keynesianism, and other causes. But such an artificial position of total dominance could not last. When its rivals had recovered, when capitalism's enemies found new sources of strength, when the US began to be challenged as it moved into the former European empires after 1945, the image of pristine supremacy of 1945-50 could not be sustained.
But this was all too difficult for morons seeking scapegoats and easy answers. Just as Western civilization was getting smarter, Western imperialism was getting injured enough for the morons, thugs, imperialists, racists, assholes, weeping over their lost entitlements, to blame the good people for these geo-political developments. "Reaganism" was to be the antidote. Union-busting. Tax-cuts for the rich. Deregulation of the economy. Shredding of the welfare state (even the stunted US one). And unapologetic support for brutality, imperialism, and militarism worldwide.
A group of right-wing hacks and war-mongers calling themselves the Committee on the Present Danger had concocted a fraudulent analysis of Soviet military power (similar to Democratic Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy's fraudulent "missile gap" with the Soviets, and the recent fraudulent PNAC analysis) claiming that the USSR was overtaking the USA militarily. Obviously the thing to do was to rachet-up military spending enormously. (This last gasp of counter-cyclical military Keynesianism might have actually helped Reagan on the economic front. It certainly mitigated the high-interest rate recession which occured at the beginning of his first term.)
It has been downhill ever since. Reagan was allowed to say any fool-ugly thing that popped into his head. Trees caused pollution. The Nicarauguan Contra rebels, raping and murdering their way throughout that poor country were the moral equivalent of the US founding fathers. Libya was to be bombed. Tiny Grenada was invaded and treated as an example of US heroism. Black welfare queens were responsible for the deficits. And, in the Iran-Contra scandal, some of the most significant crimes of any US president were excused by their being carried-out by a confused, kindly grandfather and an allegedly telegenic US Marine colonel.
Neurotic, far-right whacko billionaires responded to the increased influence of sane people in the media and decided to meet the challenge by funding hack publishers and pro-business think-tank/propaganda mills. And they bought up geneuine media outlets and gave guaranteed careers to shameless professional liars, and denied access to the voices of reason. And certain sectors of the population, those who had been forced into some mild form of reticence about their love of war, injustice, bullying, and theft, lapped it all up. America was great. America was strong. The thing to do was to push all the feminist bitches, faggots, atheists, and darkies, back into the shadows, and let the upstanding white Christian [allegedly apparently] heterosexual men, those who had proven incapable of keeping up with the changing times, back in charge. We now have an entire network FOX news, and a culture of lies, swallowed up by deluded, ugly shits.
And of course, these morons, being morons, have fucked everything up. As their movement went from strength to strength, they gained in the self-confidence of their bankrupt ideas and their impunity at ever facing a reckoning for their corruption and brutality. But now their control over the system is at its peak, and their influence over the population is self-destructing. This article:
Does an admirable job of outlining their moral decline. And now, they have barfed up stammering moron bush II, and the "brains" behind their operation (the laughable Cheney and Rumsfeld) were allowed to pursue their hubris to its fullest extent, producing the greateset US foreign policy disaster in their nation's history. They have brought ruin to the economy, hollowing it out in their pursuit of maximum individual profit. And they have revealed the full extent of their sleazy hypocrisy with the implosions of various "Christian" movements ... Ralph Reed's cynical work for Jack Abramoff, and Falwell and Robertson's ghoulish blaming of the victims after 9-11. It's all gone wrong, because these people are wrong, stupid, losers.
We on the left, we in the reality-based community have to be poised to seize the moment.