Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorials

Think of a mountain of corpses maybe 6000 feet high. I'm just guessing, but big, very big.There would be fresh snow on the mangled bodies at the very top while the bleached bones toward the bottom bake in the heat. These are the mostly men who killed one another, shot , stabbed, bombed, gassed, burned, crushed each other and were themselves destroyed in turn. The other mountain next to it is the pile of corpses of the innocent, mostly women and children, caught up in the terror of war. Collateral damage, as it were.You have to tilt your head and look way up to see the top. Mostly killed from way up high and faraway. This would be one big mountain as well, stretching way above tree line.We should also keep in our memories those who survived but whose lives were irrevocably altered, by being maimed bodily or mentally or through the loss or damage of a loved one, friend, comrade. That could also be quite a mountain, a mountain of grief and sorrow. What should we call this mountain range? The mighty Kill Ourselves? The Kill Our Own Children Range? The Great Human Follies? Oceans of blood, mountains of bones, a memory we are relieved to escape from. But a Memorial Day, or a Memorial Minute, should be a time when we all look up at those mountains and ask why.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Comparitive Religious Soundbite

Everything I needed to know about Opus Dei in one easy lesson but I hear the Albino anti-defamation league is up in arms. Thats right. I saw The Spectacular Movie.

The great proto-typical right winger General Mac Arthur had a plan to "democratize" China. From Afflicted Powers:
"Above all, MacArthur urged that no fewer than thirty four atomic bombs be dropped on what he characterized as 'retardation targets' in Manchuria. He insisted "the only way to prevent WWIII was to end the Korean conflict rapidly and decisively", as if a massive, atomic attack on the worlds most populous nation would not in itself constitute WWIII. He was convinced he could salvage his military reputation after the Korean defeat and his hopes for the presidency. Nixon had his finger on the trigger, scary, scary.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Beginning of the End

Yesterday was the birthday of MalcomX ,so good on ya Mate. Today there will be Hands Off Cuba and Venezuela demonstrations in Washington and Los Angeles. Im extremely there in spirit and will wear the Black and Red.

The sovereign that Thomas Hobbes warned us about : "He hath the use of so much Power and Strength conferred on him, that by terror thereof, he is inabled to forme the wills of all... And in him consisteth the Essence of the Common-wealth". By terror thereof. Orange, Red, Yellow Alerts. Immigrants taking our jobs. Commies teaching our kids. Athiests running amock. The Gay Agenda. Islamo-fascists and oil Shieks and Mullahs and Warlords. To forme the wills of all. Media, Church, School and the "lifeless, bright, sameness of the Market".

Tommorro is it. My last day of getting up after reading for an hour, blogging for a while, researching something new and interesting while sipping coffee. Watching the deer and pheasants and turkeys out my window as I tie a few flies or do the dishes, paint the bedroom, put away the groceries. My beautiful wife keeps me all winter in the lifestyle to which I can grow so accustomed but summer draws nigh and I must take the oars once again and PULL LIKE A BASTARD. My other life starts Monday, taking rich people fishing for money, living in a cabin with no computer, no phone, just me and the mice and the mosquitos. So while there will be periodic updates and attempts to keep visiting y'alls sights, Troutsky must now concentrate on trout and leave Trotsky in peace. Before I know it ,the nights will be getting cool again, the leaves turning yellow and I will have had (hopefully) new contemplations and discussions and deliberations to share. Here we go! Into the Breach of Capitalists and Capitalist Enterprise!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Attention Immigrants

Go Away! Go back to where you came from! Return to your squalid conditions, your lack of nutrition, healthcare , education, opportunity, we don't have room for you here. What we have , we are keeping for ourselves and if you think by crossing ninety miles of searing desert you have awakened some sympathy for your plight , think again. Back to your dirt floored hovel, your tortilla and beans, your little hoe and machete. Get in line and fill out forms and follow rules and learn to be a good American. If the wall won't keep you out, we will build it higher. (all it takes is money) Troops and dogs and drones and satellites, we got the shit and it's aimed at you. So scram. Try the maqiuladores. Try a NAFTA burger, losers. I got mine and I'm sharing with nada. I may put a buck in the plate at church, I might buy some Unicef cards, but when the big roundup happens, I'll be singing the Anthem in the Queens English! Adios, Latinos.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Like Some Vortex

I seem irresistably drawn to the blog of neo-neocon. She and I started jotting our thoughts at roughly the same time (post 9/11) and for many of the same reasons. I was irritated by an article by leftist Norm Geras, whose thesis was essentially that the attack "changed everything". Neo-neocon was of the same opinion ( she experienced a "conversion" from pathetic liberal to even more pathetic conservative) and Norms mention of her blog in his well- read blog in effect "launched" her into a fairly popular venue. (Sure Im jealous, but I deal with it) On the other hand , Norms response to my critique was to banish me , to refuse to engage (I was perhaps a trifle personal) and so it goes.

With the war going to shit, Bush's popularity free falling and all the general corruption and incompetency of her new found ideological soul mates, she has lately taken to talking about the weather, old literature, flowers, anything but how wrong about EVERYTHING she has been for two years. When she does go back to the issues, such as apologia about Iraq, it is with inanities like : "we had to try to see whether we could get something decent going in the region." This really condenses and summarizes so much of this banal, yet monstrous way of thinking. First do you get the "we"? Do you see how the " had to try" just drips with blood and sorrow and crushed bone? Does the "something decent" make you want to shake her, to force her to read some real history rather than the pablum she sucks up like a kitten on a teat?

Without her support and the support of fools like her , this insane bloodletting might have been averted, or at least minimized. The intellectualizing , the abstract theorizing and arm chair quarterbacking is not harmless .The blood, the red ,sticky kind, is on her hands. When she prays at night she needs to ask forgiveness for enabling, condoning , and actively supporting the very real violence and bloodshed and mutilation and chaos which is it's result. Of course when I express my feelings on her site she and her acolytes and syncophants react with self-righteous indignation. They are immune. Safe within their shells.

Corrections

So the system works? Yes and no. The presidents low approval numbers might demonstrate that our democracy is alive and well, that it provides a peaceful way for boneheaded leaders to be deposed and replaced. Screw up and you're out the door.

Perhaps the big drop in the DowJones yesterday is also proof that the systems built in correcting mechanisms are efficient. Overheat your economy and investor fears (and the Fed) will cool things off. Cheat and get greedy like Fastow, lay and Abramoff and it's off to the slammer.Capitalism at work.

There is ,in my mind ,another way of looking at this. Perhaps the system works just well enough to placate the citizenry, to provide the assuring illusion of functioning democracy and capitalisms mechanical efficiency. The liberals watch with glee as the power leaks like hydrogen from the ridiculous dirigible of conservative ideology.( Perhaps she'll go up in flames like the Hindenburg) and they prepare to once again take the helm. "This is a center-right nation" says Karl Rove, hoping to bring moderation to the frenzy. And how "efficient" was the process? Ask a one armed soldier or someone from the ninth ward still living in a tent or a factory worker or a Salvadoran mother dying of thirst in the Sonoran desert. You know the list, Im sure you can add endlessly. And what will this marvelous, "democratic" process bring us? To right the wrongs and bring justice to the masses? Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. And when they fail, conservatives will exhume Richard Nixon and run his corpse in 2012.How will capitalism correct for a little inflationary pressure, for higher commodity prices? Thats right, people will lose their pensions, people will lose their jobs, people will lose their homes and go bankrupt and go insane. A couple of the most flagrant crooks will go to jail but thousands more are building homes in Aspen. All in all, an efficent system.

Now look behind the numbers of the sinking Bush balloon or the receding of the conservative tide and see peoples overall belief in the system in general, their trust and faith in government in general or in liberal democracy as a functioning process. Cynical, apathetic, pessimistic, totally removed. And what of their belief in our economic system system? You will find the same cynical, apathetic, negativity. "Them thats got shall get" , takes money to make money, there's a sucker born every minute. Nice guys finish last. People sit on their couches and watch Donald Trump fire another Wannabe Barron, have another drink and go to bed.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Axis of Rich Evildoers

Forbes magazine makes a big splash every year claiming how rich Fidel Castro is. This year his talley is up to 900 million. This is for the kool-aid drinkers who need their deeply held belief in Corrupt Commie Bastards re-invigorated. Of course they don't have any actual evidence to back any of their claims but evidence is for egg head commie scientists anyway.

Not that they are saying there is anything wrong with being rich. The others on the list of the Richest People are paragons of virtue, don't you know, who worked hard for all those yachts and mansions. Its rich commies that provoke their ire, their snide, knowing commentary. But they want you to know that if you work hard and keep your nose clean and stay clear of populists ,you to can be President or a multi-billionaire, whatever. The world is your oyster. Slashing your commie pension plan and giving you the Freedom of 401K is The Fountainhead of Self Determination and The Ownership Society. More kool-aid, please.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Beyong Good and Evildoer

Ghadafi is on the team, Chavez is " providing refuge for leftist insurgents from Columbia". (nod to graeme) Rather telling are the links provided at the bottom of the MSNBC article about Hugos dismissive attitude about his new classification. These two links take you to a graph of current projections of oil reserve capacity and a chart of current pumping levels within OPEC.

And speaking of "capacity", Gregg Palast writes in the new Harpers that Venezuela is demanding that the cartel "officially recognize a quadrupling of his nations oil reserves, from 77 billion to 312 billion, 50 billion more that Saudi Arabia's. Because the member with the highest reserves and corresponding pumping capacity is OPEC's effective leader, Venezuela will set production quotas and prices.." This is the heavy crude, known as tar sands, which takes extra processing but at these prices is now economically viable. Canada has a bunch as well.

So it is just a coincidence that Chavez is now "not cooperating on the War on Terror".Talk about transparent foreign policy. General James Hill of the Southern Command ( with a huge force in the Carribean as we speak) characterized "radical populists" as "emerging terrorists". As a fishing guide I know a thing or two about emergers. Think Guam, Phillipines, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico. Good thing for Hugo our National Guard is doing double desert duty. ( 115 degrees in Iraq and Afgahnistan, about the same on the Texas-Mexico border )

Venezuela is a "high absorber" , they employ petro-dollars INTERNALLY for development purposes (and for spreading the Bolivarian Revolution and ALBA) unlike our "low absorber" buddies the House of Saud ,who spends their money on US Treasuries, helping to finance our debt, and doing it in dollars. (Chavez threatens with talk of a common Latin currency!) Oil is so incredibly complex, but suffice it to say that Big Oil and their managers in the White House LIKE OPEC, as long as it is stable and they have a partner ( like Venezuela was under Perez and the Saudis are now) who will break ranks and produce above quota to deflect excess price volatility. THEY LIKE the Iraqi oil production to be disturbed, THEY LIKE hurricane Katrina, they are making money hand over fist, keeping the US and world economy lurching along. LIFE is GOOD for Big Oil and Big Arms. This is advanced capitalism at its finest.Venezuela threatens this order.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Weapondollar-Petrodolar Coalition

From Afflicted Powers ; Capital and Spectacle in a New Age by Retort. "Following a wave of mergers and consolidations in the 1990s, the largest twenty US contractors were reduced to four- Boeing, Northrup Grumman,LockheedMartin and Raytheon. Their sales now account for 150 billion..." Thats some serious scratch. All this by way of explaining the Iraq War in terms more complex than just Blood for Oil. "The dialectic of oil and armaments-"build and destroy"- extends, in other words, much further afield, embracing not only military and oil-service industries, but the giants of construction (and "reconstruction"), the global engineering and industrial design sector,and, not least, financial services and banking capital." The usual swine,Chevron,Texaco, Bechtel, Kellog Brown &Root, Chase Manhattan, Enron, Global Crossing,BCCI and DynCorp. Oil ,Guns and Money.

Does your Daddy work for any of these? ( Partial list, to be extended)

On a somewhat lighter note, we had a great turnout and beautiful day for the Revolutionary Mothers Day March in Bozeman today. Nine hours of driving but I networked with a few more anti-capitalists. It grows daily, patiently, largely out of sight.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Warlords in a Self-Inflicted Dreamworld

Damn computer smoked half of the last post and then forgot where it put the other half. And it was so incredibly brilliant. (self-deprecating sarcasm) Ill try again.
Hannah Arendt felt:"The modern period has dethroned the prime importance of the political. A modern social phenomenon is the uprooting and loneliness of the masses and the triumph of a type of human being who finds satisfaction in the process of mere labor and consumption. A type of "worldlessness".

I suppose this "type" might be the person who can adapt to alienation or find coping mechanisms but the "triumph" is shallow and short lived. I don't foresee "worldlessness" trimphing for long. The New Debordians (the Retort collective,Ian Boal,T.J.Clark,Joseph Mathews and Michael Watts see a "dream world ", a world of images, rather than a negation of the world. This world is created by a "monstrous political deployment of (and entrapment in) the apparatus of a hyper- modern production of appearances." I love this stuff.

Everytime I head the term "warlord", I used to think of some primitive society, a place where time forgot, and how archaic the social structure must be ,how Hobbesian. Now I realize that this term simply describes the logical culmination of the Ayn Randian societal construction, the conservative paradigm as it were, and that warlord perfectly describes our own national leadership. Raw power, primitive accumulation, family dynasties, you don't need a camel to assume authoritarian control.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Worldlessness

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

British Rockers

I was thinking about the Yardbirds this morning, Clapton, Page and the least known but in my opinion greatest guitarist of the genre, Jeff Beck. His first album, Truth, with Rod Stewart on vocals was untouchable and he was just as great in concert,where I saw him often in Europe in the day. Page, nothing needs to be said.Clapton hooked up with John Mayall ,Peter Green, Mick Taylor (old Stones) Mc Vie and Fleetwood and then dove into Blind Faith with Baker and Steve Winwood, who had come out of the Spencer Davis Group and went on to form Traffic. In interludes Stevie played hammond organ on Hendixs' Voodoo Child and backed up Toots Maydole. My God, what a historiography of blazing riffs. Started with the Chickens.

Alternative Spaces of Freedom



These are the workers of a garment producing collective in Caracas, Venezuela. They have no boss because they are all the boss. They don't make wages, they all share equally in the proceeds derived from their labor. There is no profit expropriated by a capitalist because everything that does not go to re-supply, or to financing , or to re-investment (as decided by the workers) goes to the workers. It doesnt go to shareholders or anyone else who doesnt work. This is a really hard model for many people to wrap their mind around.( Pope Leo and friends)

They go home to dwellings, which they might own. They might get back and forth in a vehicle which they own. They have private property, the beds they sleep in, the pots they cook in belong to them but are not fetishized as some form of liberty.(although there are collectives with common cooking areas). Of course Venezuelas experiment, which they are calling Socialism for the 21st Century, has not included ending all markets or profit or wages and they are not expropriating all productive property. They are instead creating these alternative ,Bolivarian systems so that people have a choice and so that a practicle demonstration of social principles exists to educate and inform.

In Cuba the People own almost all the means of production and share equally in the benefits. Despite decades of illegal and immoral economic sanctions they have the most educated population in Latin America and one of the most comprehensive and free healthcare systems in the world. The people are proud of their revolution and while one can argue endlessly about the "nature " of man (am I essentially "evil" ,greedy, competitive, possesive? Are you?) examples such as this and others (the French Communes, the Spanish Anarchists, etc) show that humans are adaptable and multi-faceted and that the birth of every human being ushers into the world untold new possibilities. As Hanna Arendt described it :" the appearance and reappearance of popular councils since the late eighteenth century are a stubborn, persistent reminder of how, when circumstances were propitious, men and women could create the spaces of freedom."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Definitions

I realize I am in the priveledged position of being able to carry on these debates about political-economy and philosophy while my refrigerator sits there with plenty of food on it's shelves ,while I have a roof over my head and all the other possesions which provide comfort, access and entertainment to my life. This priveledge carries with it the burden of knowing it is the result of structural injustice, and that I am an unwilling but nevertheless culpable participant in a system which distibutes wealth and resources based on violent and exploitive power. I hope to change that.

In a recent exchange the political economies known as capitalism and socialism have been described as "mythical" due to the supposed utopian and unrealizable nature of each but I would like to argue that this view is at least partly based on a poorly defined lexicon, on the fact that our terminology is not just inexact but deliberately and fatally (to our argument ) misleading. It seems to me that there are two parrallel arguments taking place here, one being the relative merits and flaws of theoretical capitalism and socialism and the other being the comparison between the two systems as practiced in the real world in their various forms.

The most common argument against socialism is it's historic failure as a system ( unrealizable) in relation to the "success" of capitalism. This is the "real world" argument that assumes socialism as practiced in the Soviet bloc or China or Nazi Germany is related to socialism as developed by it's theoreticians (utopian). Socialists, on the other hand, argue that the global capitalism practiced today has failed the majority of humanity throughout it's history and that it is related to the theoretical capitalism developed by Adam Smith and others. Once we accept the fact that neither of these arguments is valid due to the fact that the theory and practice have such a large degree of separation we realize the degree to which language and terminology fail us.

As a socialist I argue that theoretical socialism has never existed, that Stalinism, Nazism, Baathism and other totalitarian regimes used socialism as a perverse misnomer. Many capitalists argue that the dominant world market system is also a perverse distortion of Adam Smiths conception. Therefore we must start with a common understanding of how this terminology fails us. I am guilty of this labeling error, arguing my theoretical socialism against this perverted "real world" capitalism and realize it makes for an irrational discourse. Likewise those who argue idealized,theoretical capitalism against "real world" socialism are equally guilty.

I am still prepared to argue that theoretical socialism, though it has never existed, is a preferable system on moral grounds and a likely next historical phase based on scientific reasons and am undeterred that this might be described as "utopian" thinking. Capitalists should engage me with the merits of their theoretical system and be undeterred as well that it has not yet existed. Describing either system as "mythical" is a ridiculous straw man, it is saying that because something has never been, it can never be.It is the deliberate twisting of definitions to subvert the discourse.Perhaps socialism does tend towards totalitarianism, perhaps capitalism does as well. Perhaps a truly "free market" can exist and perhaps all citizens can own the means of production.This all needs to be discussed.What is certain is that the status qou is untenable. Can it be reformed? Must it be replaced? Will it be the "Bolivarian Revolution" or Paracon, Anarchism, Mutualism,Leninism or something we have not yet dreamed up?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Banality

"What struck Arendt more about Eichman was his banality:" his inability ever to look at anything from the other fellow's point of view,"his penchant for "officialese," for stock phrases, for shallow elation, for being"genuinely incapable of uttering a single sentence that was not a cliche'";his"empty talk". "The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability speak was closely connected to his inability to think, namely ,to think from the standpoint of somebody else.No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safegaurds against the world and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such." It was not stupidity but vacuousness. This is a distinction for our time and a condition of our times. Banality. This "strange interdependence of thoughtlessness and evil," or " remoteness from reality."

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Half and Half

At the First Annual Buddhist Film Festival ( Missoula is an amazing place) we were treated last night to a documentary featuring the Dali Lhama speaking to a gathering in Sun Valley Idaho (2005). When asked his views on political-economy he said he was half Buddhist , half Marxist, and laughed that funny little laugh. He said socialism is the only compassionate way to organize a society. His english is not bad but he is limited to fairly simple concepts and platitudes. Apparently when he speaks in Tibetan you realize more fully his Mastership.

Someone who takes erudition to an incredible level is Jorge Luis Borges, whose non-fiction I am attempting to wade through.His elegant and informed prose makes me hesitant to even attempt my own incoherant ramblings. How could he have read, and comprehended, so much?

I need to add to my favorite films list this gem that came to me out of the blue yesterday, A Thousand Clowns with Jason Robards. He would answer the phone with this useful question: "Hello, are you delivering good news or money?"

"It's a Show ,you know. Not Always Entertaining but a Show Even So" Someone wise suggested that the sarcastic tone is the preferred weapon of the weak essayist. I slip into that mode all to often because I seem more and more often to be required to respond to absurdity. Bush's faux populism (we will get the Energy Gougers) while decrying populism in others. ( Chavez, Morales) Our local populace decrying Big Government as our Senators vie to see who can secure the most pork, on and on, so it goes. "We'd like to learn a little bit about you for our files, we'd like to help you learn to help yourself" Simon and Garfunkel. You must read Guy Debords Society of the Spectacle. I am reading Hannah Arendt, Borges and trying to tie some salmon flies. And they called yesterday to say my book came in, Afflicted Powers ; The State ,Spectacle and September 11 by the Bay Areas Situationist Collective. This should answer all our questions. (more sarcasm)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Life in a Holograph

President Bush wants an official inquiry into "what actually determines the price of oil". One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, whether one could possibly have heard correctly, one sits waiting for everyone to burst out in hysterics. It is indeed the theatre of the absurd, a skit Brecht himself could never have dreamed up. He could ask his Dad. He could ask the Crown Prince, or Thomas Friedman, or MiltonFreidman. He could ask Condi (she had an oil tanker named after her) or Dick, he's familiar with the supply side of the business. Ask Chavez or Morales.

He wants us to think, like Alaskas Liza Murkowski, that some evil doer is twisting the invisible hand, and once he sets the Department of Homeland Scrutiny and Honesty on the trail, we can all go back to the 1950s. He will find those greedy crooks and make them sell gas at the "correct" price. Personally,I think we need an inquiry into the price of potatoes. How come they are two dollars one week and three fifty the next? What about the price of a new coffee maker? I just bought one for ten dollars. There is no way it can be produced and marketed that cheaply. Supply and demand? Smoke and mirrors?

And while we are on the subject of Modern Miracles No One Understands, how does a micro- wave oven work anyhow? How does my thermos know when to keep something hot and when to keep it cold? Does Hillary Clinton or Buchanan or Barack Obama know why gas costs what gas costs?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

74 Dollars a Barrel

The instant the polling station for school board elections opened yesterday the ancient Bitterrooters started trickling in. Two generations away from having any kids in the system they still do their civic duty, voting for reactionary zenophobes at any and all opportunities.The Greatest Generation. I was manning a table nearby, trying to get petition signers to get a Raise The Minimum Wage initiative on Novembers ballot. Of course all Bitterrooters are not fascists and I had some great exchanges with many folks,but so many saw my sign and immediately averted their eyes, so as to not make any contact with the Bolshevik scum. Some came over to tell me how they used to work for fifty cents a day, milk the chickens and walk five miles, uphill both ways, in the deep snow to school each day. Many needed to explain their absurd ,inane ,philisophical analyses on "what is wrong today".

Meanwhile ,the latest Spectacle for Society is putting a few greedy rich people up for public stoning, dirty cheaters and excess profit takers like Ken Lay and Exxon -Mobile and other "high salaried executives". A bizarre societal ritual this exorcism, this occasional penance the "have mores" (Bushes base) must display to keep the natives pacified. AgainI must quote myself " We all hate rich people but we all want to be one". A society based on paradox.

I heard a major hispanic columnist/pundit quoted this morning saying how it's great "the people" rose up for a little marching, chanting, drumming etc. but now they must tone it down and not cause waves or stir up resentment and make "real" labor and rights gains by working through the established process. What a crock of shit. The "good Mexican" wants to blend in just as things start to rock. Nothing was ever gained by toning it down, quite the contrary.

And then there is all the commentary on the nationalization of the Bolivian natural gas industry. Some bootlicking spokes-shill for the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security ( USAID, Scaif Foundation?) says "When you cause problems for foreign investors, you cause problems for THOSE WHO KNOW how to create and develop the industry". "Those who know" is code for people with lighter skin, people who just want you to bend over and take it like a sheep. The "Brazillian Center for Infrastrucure Studies" ( Chevron, Heritage Foundation?) are energy consultants warning us of "populist agendas". 74 dollars a barrel, baby. The Toronto Star even found a way to point out the "down side" of cheap gas in Venezuela (12 cents a gallon). Pathetic lackeys.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Turned The Corner

The media has been asked to relay this message but in case you missed it, weren't paying attention, etc..: With the formation of the new Iraqi government there will be decreased conflict. As soon as they come up with a new cabinet things will settle down and that Mission Accomplished flag soon will be flying , the national anthem will be sung in Iraqi (exemption granted), we can relax and start thinking of summer travel plans. whew.That was nearly a debacle.

In Montana the numbers are way up for people using the food banks, despite the statistical growth in the economy. They wouldn't lie to us about all this growth just for political reasons would they? Who is in charge of all these statistics?

It occurs to me how interesting it was sitting in a room full of academic types, scholars, many of whom were historians, discussing revisionism, critical thinking, dominant narratives and national conversations. They generally realized with awe the powerlessness of the academy to counter the propaganda efforts of those in Power, (there was some disagreement over who that was) the uselessness and irrelevance of their beloved discipline. History will show May 1 as the day we "turned the corner" in the Iraq war.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Class Struggle and Evo

The revolution progressed a little today, just a little, but I am a patient man. A farmer sowing seeds. And its always fun to hang with young radicals and learn about some older ones so the small but enthusiastic crowd at the University of Montana is inspirational and welcome to this old comrade. Johns doing fantastic work with the anti-coke campaign, Rose with the anti-sweatshop campaign, a bunch of signatures on the minimum wage petition and a few kids stopped by my table to check my socialism propaganda and chat a bit. The unpermitted March down the main drag of Missoula singing union songs and carrying the IWW colors was a nice touch. The cop behind us all the way to the courthouse decided to just turn on his colored lights and wait till we went away.The better part of valor, though sharing a cell with a gal dressed up like Elizebeth Gurley Flynn would have been dreamlike.

Then I slid on over to the Business building to catch a lecture by Andrew Bacevich, author of an interesting book on the New American Militarism and who was featured in the latest Harpers in a forum titled American Coup D Etat.He is an historian who makes a very convincing case that Henry Luces' "American Century" is a myth created through selective memory and poor analysis and which is leading us into an imperialistic morass of large proportions.His main thesis is that the Century is now seen to start with WWI, the moral war, and The Great War to End ALL War is slowly being erased from the national consiousness. He explained this manipulation of the dominant narrative as a result of nationalistic ambition and moral naivete. He viewed this history structurally, as a tension between modernity and tradition, between "liberal "thought and totalitarianism, or between Orient and Occident, all good points.Since it was May Day and I feel a deep seated need to argue with everybody I mentioned my own conviction that what was truly being erased was something he himself had failed to mention, the essential dialectic of Capital vs Labor which had so dominated the "long" nineteenth century.(1820-1930) He turned the question on me and asked why I felt this discourse had virtually disappeared and I did what I usually do speaking impromptu before a large audience, mumbled and stammered incoherantly. But of course driving home I came up with a brilliant response. He is focused exactly where the conversation is framed, on the conflict between nation-states or the clash between cultures. Who has done the framing? Transnational Capital, which has developed a modern, symbiotic relationship with states which allows it to not only exercise power but to hegemonically control the discourse as well. In other words we (the US) are not in a morass or losing control over global resources because George Bush is an idiot or Wolfowitz is naive but because there is profit in it.Huge profit. I am a shameless materialist but just do this. Follow the Money.

Now follow this money. Evo Morales nationalized Bolivias natural gas industry today. The money from this incredibly valuable resource will now (hopefully) start flowing towards the Bolivian people rather than a small, oligarchic ,elite. Follow this money. Millions of immigrants and those in solidarity rose up today to say yoo hoo.