Monday, May 2, 2016
Anarchy Just for the Sake of Anger
Socialist passion is alive and well in Seattle, and the Pacific Northwest. Given that this is where the International Workers of the World had strong support back a decade or so after the last turn of the century, it shouldn't be all that surprising. And now that the May Day demonstrations, and the need to keep a voice for social equity going, have become an established thing, we can rely on something happening that will at least bring the media out, as well as the police, in force.
As a Libertarian Socialist I understand what is, for the most part, behind the passions involved here. And I sympathize with the very real issues that have motivated those passions. The problem, and what a lot of youthful application of that passion misses, is that demonstrations just to be expressing that passion, even if some message is mixed in, accomplishes very little other than make the establishment more resolved in a self justifying, authoritarian reaction.
Thankfully, the authorities here are usually nothing near the stereotypical, "Chicago Police in 68" kind of reactionary force; giving the cause in question some space to vent steam, but not let it get out of hand. No easy thing, and something they've had to struggle with to find the right balance; for which I give them a lot of credit.
That we need change is unquestionable, but change to what, and how we go about is something that these demonstrators haven't spent nearly enough time looking for, or thinking about. A problem I think that was glaringly apparent, at least from my point of view, with most of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. The grievances were certainly there, but a cohesive idea of what to actually do about it was lacking; even with some of the generalized calls for "breaking up the banks," or stopping money in politics.
I have an ax to grind in this, of course, and I do not apologize for it, but I do have a confession to make.
Obviously, A lot of motivated people desiring change don't know about what I've been advocating; a deficiency which is both my fault, and theirs.
For may part all I can say is that it's taken me years of study, and endless trial and error attempts at properly articulating what I have always felt, in order to get even this far, while still working a day job most of the time. And I am sure I am still not doing it to the degree that it either requires, or deserves. I am also something of a recluse, needing a lot of private time to ponder pretty much everything endlessly. Being significantly bi-polar, and requiring the requisite medication for such also doesn't help much either. All of which is merely to put context to why ideas come first to me, and organizing not so much.
Poor as my efforts have been my hope has always been that those of you who do read these postings, or the web site I originally started with, would find reason to pass it on, doing so in a manner that would encourage others to do the same.
The other side of the coin, however, is that too many of those already passionately involved in demanding change seem to be applying so little imagination, or real study, in coming up with workable alternatives. Perhaps worse yet, however, is that those of you out there in academia, or the highly trained professions, seem to sit back and do little more than put lip service, or a little money, to the usual liberal tendency towards reform. Even though, in my opinion, a majority of you know, at some level at least, that doing more of the same stopped working several decades ago.
The thing is folks, the passion you see in Seattle, and the anger that underlies it, is but a microcosm of the rage that has been building in this country for quite some time. An ever increasing lack of social equity has a knack of doing that, of course, but it goes farther then that in my view.
What is also involved here is that the factory mentality, along with the greed inherent in money, and the requirements of sell anything at all costs, that goes with a commercial, commodity form of social organization, has finally pushed us to the edge of what the human spirit, or soul, can stand and still remain human. Endless competition. Complete detachment from tools and the need to create, not to mention ever greater fragmentation of what connects us as a species; a species that requires real, meaningful social interaction. These all contribute. You add that to the despair of powerlessness and an underlying sense that you don't matter at all, and you end up with an emotional/existential, fuel air explosive just waiting to be ignited.
It is that very volatility that demands that not only must those who seek change be very careful of how they go about it, but that those who think they can continue to skate by well enough with things as need to know that they have a very rude awakening in store for them.
It may well be that struggle, of some form or another, will be required to attain change on a fundamental level. We must be very careful, however, that we don't give in to either the notion that it must inevitably be bloody, or that the powers and circumstances against it are too great to even consider trying at all. In this we must try to find, and hold on to, the faith that, if we can identify, and then articulate objectively, why things aren't working any more, and then outline a way to achieve a specific, workable solution, then we at least have a chance to put forth a vision that even ordinary Americans can share. And as I have said before, Americans with a shared vision are a force of nature.
I can tell you that, despite my lack of real progress in getting that articulation out there, I still have that faith. I believe in it and it is enough to keep me going in refining the ideas, and putting words to a page to express them. I retain the hope that enough of you will come to see enough of what I see to help push it forward. To help get more people talking about it, and thus more minds to help figure out how we can make it happen.
Of course I also hope this might help motivate somebody coming up with a much better idea and then I won't have to worry so much about it... Just say'in...