Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Comment Pissed Me Off

So, in this little post, I wrote about ... Ah hell, it's so short it's taking me just as long to summarize it. Here it is:
"Change the Culture" - Progressives got to get out and put it out there. People have to take a side: Democracy or Inverted Totalitarianism? Food and shelter for all or super-mansions for the super-rich and starvation for the majority? Dignity or consumerism?
Artists, musicians, business owners, ... we have to make a culture and an economy that is ours and put it before the majority and reject the corporate system and sustain ourselves.

Ah, who am I kidding?
Well, that brought this gem of a comment from one "greg":
What is your solution. You seem to crap on anyone who wants to do something or is doing something. At least lay out a plan. Is there anyone or any group out there you like?
 I replied thusly:
"greg"

I wonder why you saw fit to write that. Your tone and words convey the notion that you're a regular reader of my blog, but the plain facts of the matter show that you don't have a clue.

Here's a post (with links to companion pieces) about how I thought we could "stop harper."

http://thwapschoolyard.blogspot.ca/2013/08/my-plan-part-fourth.html

Here's one of many things that I've written about as a way to fight the larger battle against capitalism itself:

http://mail.enmasse.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8180&sid=c2ca5a0fced95120161bb4afc6f6ef7e

Finally, I find it a bit rich to say that I "crap on anyone who wants to do something or is doing something."

As I repeat again and again and again, progressives tend to do NOTHING when they're not repeatedly doing the same ineffective things that they've always done.

I've stated in great detail why I think afternoon protests, petitions and small acts of vandalism are a waste of time. Instead of sniffling out some vague complaints about how I'm hopelessly negative, you could actually engage with what I've actually said.

As with everyone, there's an open invitation to prove me wrong. But whining that I'm a big meanie isn't going to accomplish that.  
More than two days passed and I guessed that "greg" had nothing more to contribute to the discussion, prompting me to conclude:
I guess the plan was to drop a little brain turd in my comments section and move on, self-satisfied. 
 And the thing is; it started as a mild irritation, but that built up so that I feel compelled to make a post about it. This is the sort of whining, deluded, close-minded bullshit that so pisses me off about the left. I'll admit that I've lost a great deal of my optimism and my passion since 2011. I know that fewer people read this blog and that's not just due to the infrequency of posts. I sound like a broken record condemning the left for its laziness, its lack of ideas and analysis, its delusions and inability to form lasting coalitions.

But if I sound like a broken record ("record" refers to these flat vinyl discs that audio recordings used to be adhered to. When they were  broken, it meant a scratch or a crack that made the needle of the phonograph player - which transferred its movement along the tiny grooves in the vinyl into electric messages to the speaker system - continue to bump backwards, thus repeating the same short bit of sound over and over again), it's because the left never changes.

Progressives continue to split themselves between the corporate scum-bags in the Liberal Party and the wannabe corporate scum-bags in the NDP. Environmentalists divide themselves among those two parties and the Green Party. Leftists divide themselves among the NDP and splinter parties or the "brilliant" tactic (represented by EnMasse's "Slumberjack") of imagining that Canada's 30 million people should refuse to participate in parliamentary politics at all, but should instead sit at home and write cockamaymee, impenetrable post-structuralist prose between masturbation sessions and pointless rallies and demonstrations.

Speaking of masturbation: pointless demonstrations and rallies, often featuring tiresome old white guys reciting the things that everyone already knows and believes in, perhaps hoping that if they say the magic words this time everything will start to happen. ("Duh! Maybe I'm the 'Chosen One,' and my version of the same old bullshit will bring about the Revolution!") 

As I said in my first reply to "greg," I've gone into great detail about my disillusionment with leftist nonsensical day-dreaming. I invited "greg" to prove me wrong. But "greg" is apparently uninterested in proving me wrong. He simply disagrees (although he can't articulate why). And, therefore, the whole leftist circle-jerk can continue in its own pathetic non-progression. (A leftist circle-jerk would probably end in recriminations and back-stabbing [there's a metaphor with multiple meanings!] with a bunch of bitter misanthropes, angrily pulling their puds, having pointedly turned their backs to their erstwhile comrades.)

"Our power is in the streets!" they yelled as the police crushed yet another pointless demonstration.

"Hey-hey! Ho-ho!  So-and-so has got to go!" they yelled repeatedly about the guy who retired five years later and got cushy jobs from his private-sector benefactors whose servant he was.

"The People, United, Can Never Be Defeated!" they yelled before they ever managed to unite "the people" and right before the elites crushed them.

"We're standing up for working families!" said the "social democrats" right before they caved to pressures from the elites on Bay Street and the oil patch.

It's all so depressing. What we need is a new party! And to circulate a petition!

 

19 comments:

greg said...

I'm so impressed that you wrote about me. I apologize for pissing you off. I don't usually go on these things. I just think that there's is nothing wrong with trying to do something-anything. Not everyone has the kind of time to put pressure on the government 365.

greg said...

I read the post that you suggested. Okay, fine. I hadn't read that before. I totally agree that pressure needs to be applied. I'm probably one of those useless people you talk about. I try to do stuff-useless by your standards. I realize your frustrated. I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

I would read this article from George Monbiot if I were you:

http://www.monbiot.com/2014/06/16/an-ounce-of-hope-is-worth-a-ton-of-despair/

I like reading your blog because I think you're a pretty good writer and have some interesting points to make. But you spend far too much time focusing on the negative than on anything positive. And as Monbiot points out, all that will do is encourage people to throw up their hands and say "well, I give up!",and get them to focus on their own selfish interests. Your idea of "Democratizing" the workplace is interesting, but you seem to spend most of your time attacking anyone who signs a petition or goes to a protest. What exactly are YOU doing to change things aside from just blogging about them?

Anonymous said...

This entire country is depressing. So are some websites.

If you post a comment from another news outlet, the post isn't accepted. Especially if your post doesn't agree with their politics. Instead of going after the outlet that wrote the article, they take it out on the posters.

If the websites are not an open boards then, websites should declare themselves as such.

I usually try to vote for the politician I think that, has told the least number of lies. However, once they get into office, they all like hell anyway.

There are very few politicians in this country? Worth the powder to blow them to hell.

Some websites support their politician, no matter what the s.o.b. does to this country.

liberalandlovingit said...

I've read your stuff, at other places and though I may disagree sometimes, and wonder how you could possibly think humanity is going to somehow, someday, get it together AND solve our problems; while we've proven ad nauseum- we can't, I do know that you're not at all negative, thwap.
Frustrated with people (fools)
certainly, but more passionate than most. Getting people together on the same page is elusive and takes true leadership,
no?

thwap said...

greg,

I don't think that everyone can be a full-time activist either. I've never called for that. At the same time, is it really a good use of anyone's time and energy to do "something, anything" as a form of protest?

Instead of "something, anything," why don't people think about doing something that works? Something that's effective? And avoiding doing (over and over again) stuff that doesn't work? Because some things are a waste of time and don't accomplish anything.

And I'm frustrated, because instead of engaging with me, either about positive proposals that I put forward, or about my criticisms, the general response among leftists is silence.

As if our civil rights aren't being officially shredded. As if our representative democracy isn't being increasingly debased (while leftists propose NOTHING with which to replace it with). As if our economy isn't becoming increasingly harsh and increasingly crisis prone? As if outright fascism isn't becoming a greater and greater threat. As if global warming isn't becoming more and more unavoidable and its terrors magnified with each passing day of business as usual.

I like George Monbiot. I'll give that article a read. I liked his books "The Age of Consent" and "Heat," especially because he offers practical solutions to the problems he describes. (Which makes him a rarity among leftist writers.) At the same time though, I notice that his works haven't been picked up and used to inspire much in the way of practical efforts.

Because, it seems progressive movements are capable of nothing more than: "Hmmm. Yes. Interesting. Now join my splinter-party/attend my rally/sign my petition/bye."

Maybe Monbiot isn't as bitter as I am because, when all is said and done, he's gainfully employed with his writings and research, whereas my stuff is done when I can find spare moment between a dead-end job and worries about homelessness.

Look, I canvassed for politicians/wrote letters to newspapers/circulated petitions/wrote letters for amnesty international/attended rallies/worked with Occupy Toronto/was a union activist, etc., etc.,

I'm just tired of mitigating right-wing victories in a movement that is incapable of advancing its own agenda and seems wedded to useless, irrelevant tactics.

thwap said...

LALI,

I no longer think that we will get our act together. I think it's more likely that the economy and the global ecology will turn to shit and societies will revert to some sort of fascist idiocy to blame "others" for the problems (other groups of poor people, themselves being duped by their own societies' elites).

It will take leadership to organize people, especially leftists who don't like being led, but who like to lead.

It also takes resources. But the people who have the resources are incapable of thinking outside of their usual patterns.

greg said...

I realize that you should write whatever you want. I realize that's a dumb thing to say. And you're right that holding up a sign is probably useless. It just scares the living crap out of me what we'd actually have to do to get real change. So maybe I convinced myself that doing something anything was worthwhile. Still, holding a sign must be better than watching Who's Baby Is It.

liberalandlovingit said...

We'll probably be too busy trying to survive the carnage to be blaming others.
The only people with real resources are the 1%.
And Conservatives.
Meanwhile, I volunteered for the ON election, the Speaker lives in my riding. Unlike the Con candidate who resides in T.O.
I listened and learned. Had fun and met my neighbours.
I'm helping the person I worked with in the municipal election.
Then we ALL- who are not Conservative- take back Ottawa!

Dana said...

"I no longer think that we will get our act together. I think it's more likely that the economy and the global ecology will turn to shit and societies will revert to some sort of fascist idiocy to blame "others" for the problems (other groups of poor people, themselves being duped by their own societies' elites)."

There ya go - stick with that and be as happy as possible with the time you have left.

The Rubicon has been crossed, the die is cast, the moving finger has writ and having writ has moved on, the fat lady has already left the building.

Love your friends, your family if you can and round out your days in the best way you can or can discover.

The doctor has spoken.

liberalandlovingit said...

I could not agree with you more Dana, and how beautifully you said it.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree less with it. It's defeatist bullshit, and illustrates my problem with the left. Always giving up and complaining about how hopeless things are. Of course they're going to hopeless if you don't fucking do something! The problem is that change takes time, years and even decades. I think the truth is that we live in a world that's not perfect, that faces some serious challenges, but is at this moment full of potential. And yes, just because you fight for the world you want doesn't mean you'll get it, but if you just give up YOU NEVER WILL. Because if I've learned anything, sometimes the most amazing things can happen when you least expect it. Dictators fall, people rise, and love survives. The fact that you might not succeed isn't a reason to quit, it's a reason to try harder.

liberalandlovingit said...

Anon?

Spoiler Alert.

We win.

Cool?

liberalandlovingit said...

thwap;

Upon re-think...

it's the beration we feel...

from you, daily.

It is de-motivating-

AND demoralizing.

Ya know? You must.

Re-direct your fire?

Please.

We can not have the troops

discouraged.


Thank You.


P.S.

I have an awesome idea.

You, me.

Matalin, Carville.

Live Radio...

Slaying political

and religious

myths,

in one fell swoop...


Think it over.

It's (fucking) golden.

thwap said...

anonymous, ... is that "greg"?

This rant:

"I couldn't agree less with it. It's defeatist bullshit, and illustrates my problem with the left. Always giving up and complaining about how hopeless things are. Of course they're going to hopeless if you don't fucking do something! The problem is that change takes time, years and even decades. I think the truth is that we live in a world that's not perfect, that faces some serious challenges, but is at this moment full of potential. And yes, just because you fight for the world you want doesn't mean you'll get it, but if you just give up YOU NEVER WILL. Because if I've learned anything, sometimes the most amazing things can happen when you least expect it. Dictators fall, people rise, and love survives. The fact that you might not succeed isn't a reason to quit, it's a reason to try harder. "

... illustrates my points about the hopelessness of the left. It's nothing but generalized assertions.

You can't reverse the decline of human rights by "doing something, anything." You have to find some way to stand up for them and to ATTACK those who would destroy them.

Sure, futile protest is better than not protesting (regardless of whether that's due to ignorance or apathy), but it breaks my heart to know that the goddamned left is incapable of rising to the challenge and that futile protest seems to be all we're capable of.

If you're "greg" I want you to know I'm working on a post about your Monbiot link, but I've got a couple of kid's birthdays to deal with first.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not Greg.I did post the rant and I did post the Monbiot article. Honestly though I have to say it sounds like you're just looking for reasons to be pissed off and cynical. Maybe you have a confirmation bias. And perhaps you're only looking at things from a national/international level. I think their are some positive signs on the local level, like some of this for example:

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/6/piketty-capital-cooperativeownershipworkerowned.html

Plus, if you look at the states, two of them have legalized marijuana, many have leaglized same-sex marriage, an vermont is moving toward single-payer health care like we have in Canada.

Now don't get me wrong, sometimes I too can get pissed off an cynical about how things are. But I think their is reason for hope. I suspect though that you and I are just very different people.

thwap said...

LALI

I don't understand your last statement. Are you saying you know a radio-show I can join you on out where you live?

anonymous,

1. Could you type some sort of pseudonym for yourrself so I know who you are and who you ain't?

2. I wasn't looking for reasons to be cynical. If you read this blog, you'll see that they came to me.

3. I've repeatedly argued, both here and on EnMasse, that of course there are local actions and localized victories. I simply don't see them as countering the overall progression. Like, when public healthcare gets destroyed, I'm not going to be interested in a program for more community gardens in Thorold, Ontario.

Dana said...

Stand up everyone who thinks the correct political philosophy will be a bulwark against the collapse of civilization due to anthropomorphic climate change?

Or that leftist orthodoxy will be a substitute for food crop seeds that won't grow in over heated soil?

Or that rightist rigidity will add more oxygen to an atmosphere depleted of same by the burning of the rain forests?

Defeatist your own ass you denialist idiots.

Anonymous said...

1. Fine, call me J.

2. You only ever seem to talk about what makes you cynical.

3. I'm not talking about community gardens. The point of local victories is that they can be building blocks for things at a larger stage.