Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Live in a Small Town

This morning I walked in the parade down mainstreet, holding signs for a couple of the local Democrats running for office. Then I put in a shift manning a booth at the county fair, a booth set up by a group trying to pass a size-cap ballot initiative in an effort to limit the big-box stores that are hoping to move into our pretty little valley. I feel like a regular liberal, getting caught up in all this "progressive " activism but believe me , I am not. That is,I have no illusions this type of organizing will affect the necessary change but I like to help these sincere people with their sincere efforts. I'll knock on doors and do lit drops and make the calls, and maybe even beat out some of these scary-ass reactionaries that have been running this place since the "Reagan revolution." The county fair has whole buildings full of rabbits and chickens and prize vegetables and such. Big rodeo.

The fun part is listening to the conversations around me, especially the ones coming from the booth next to me occupied by the local Libertarian Party rep. Talk about some confused people, the angry white males that stopped by to rant have absolutely no idea what they think is really wrong or what needs to be done about it but they all have personal anecdotes which serve as metaphores for their general unease and strong opinions on everything. They all had camoflauged caps on. They all listen religiously to Hannity ,OReily, Savage, and Limbaugh. One guy called me a communist. ( I was not wearing the red and black, I swear, I was just promoting regulation.)

Speaking of Montana politics, there is a four page article in the Missoula Independent on the effect Montana bloggers are having, primarily, around the Senate race between Burns and Tester. Burns is actually taking a lot of the fun out it through his penchant for self destruction. Today old Conrad gave a speech warning all them big city folks that their taxi driver could turn out to be a terrorist. My name wasn't mentioned as one of the influential bloggers. Shocker.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Not That Noam Cares

A friend sent me an article on why Noam Chomsky has been ignored and marginalized in the academic journals which review books on history. It states: "For one of the lessons we have learned from those post-liberal ideas is that censorship involves subtle relationships between culture and social processes." Subtle indeed.I must return to Debord: "The Spectacle is the ruling orders non-stop discourse with itself, it's never ending monologue of self praise.. It is hierachical societies ambassador to itself, delivering it's official messages at a court where no one else is allowed to speak." Chomsky speaks all right, but the respectacle scholastic world knows that engaging anarchist thought will only lend it legitimacy.

The International Relations Center ( www.irc-online .org) has an interesting piece on Latin American trade issues,stating that the US is threateninfg to remove 'preferred trade' status from a dozen countries, including Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia. It seems Peru has defected, with it's new president entering negotiations with US on FTAA. This is the same guy that left a decade ago in disgrace after sucking the hind tit of US imposed neoliberal economic policies. Will the defection of Peru and possibly Uruguay add to FTAA momentum? Or will the citizens arise again? By the way, China has agreed to invest 5 billion (dollars for now, possibly euros later?) in energy projects in Venezuela, including the building of 13 oil rigs and 18 tankers. They must be planning ahead to tap into the heavy crude of the Orinoco Basin ,which requires special refining capabilities as well ,but at 75 dollars a barrel is still profitable.

IRC also has a good piece on Elliot Abrams, the hemmoroid that just will not go away. "Although he has spent most of his time in Jeruselum over the past several weeks, Abrams has shuttled back and forth from Washington and has played a central role in holding together the neoconservative militarist Washington consensus on Israel-Arabian /Iran policy." If somebody doesn't stop this extremely driven fanatic," the whole world gonna end up in a flame" ,as the old song goes. (Just Bring Me Someone To Love) For more background on this powerful extremist check out Right Web Watch with links from that same site. Elliot is Norman Podheretz's son in law,if that gives you any idea.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Welcome Back

The Witness for Peace delegation to Venezuela, which was organized and attended by fellow CAJA members originating here in Missoula, returned with many interesting perspectives and insights into the Latin experiment.At a gathering last night there was lively and at times intense discussion on what was seen and heard and how the process of processing so much information works. I love my smart and passionate comrades.

From aljazeera commentator Emil Rutledge I learned a little bit about oil futures markets.In 2000 Iraq began selling it's oil in euros. Since the occupation of Iraq its oil sales (what little there has been) have been in dollars. Coincidence, don't think so. Iran is currently attempting to set up a system (Iranian Oil Bourse or IOB) where Iranian oil (approximately 10% of world reserves, 33% of which is sold to Europe, none to US) would be invoiced in euros. US currently has a deal with Saudi Arabia, head of OPEC, to invoice in dollars. Venezuelans re-evaluated reserves which could place it in a position to head OPEC and has has discussions with Iran. A switch away from dollars would not be good for an already sagging US economy. US is the worlds largest importer of oil by far. US energy traders would not be able to participate in this new bourse due to sanctions.

Just something to keep in mind as Iran ,a sophisticated "player",begins turning over cards.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Practical Difficulties

Being an activist in progressive causes while maintaing a radical political analysis poses certain challenges. Tonight I go to a gathering of folks determined to stop "big box stores" (over 60,000sq ft.) from building in our rural community. The main opposition we face, other than the leviathon from Arkansas, are the working and unemployed poor in the valley, who see WaMart Super Centers in the very practical terms of stretching their dollars. To them, anyone restricting this "freedom" is elitist and an abuser of minority power. So a socialist is fighting the working class. Lovely.

The whole discourse of class has in fact become so muddled, that at least as far as this issue goes,I have become one of the "elite"( who drives a 95 escort). There is no longer any bourgeoisie or proletariat, and working class, middle class, affluent class have all melded into some amorphous lump (not lumpen) that's either redneck or rock.What was once called an under-class is now described as "trailer trash "or with various ethnic slurs. This replacement of terms is no accident, but in fact a well orchestrated and effective project of the Right. Politics colonized by culture.

When I go to the so-called" Hearing" on "protecting our Northern Border" next Monday afternoon ( the politicians and "expert" panel will do all the talking , the affected citizens will do all the hearing) I will have to throw in my lot with a bunch of liberals who want reasonable reform of immigration laws, something like the Senate bill blah blah but I seriously doubt we will discuss capitalism as the reason there is such an inequitable direction of flow in the river of humanity. When it comes to WalMart and economic justice, there will be little discussion of the two tier economy developing here in our Aspenized little corner of Paradise, one to provide goods and services for the rich and one to provide cheaper goods and services to those who provide goods and services to the rich. I will make some noise but the local, hopeful dems will throw sideways glances. The systemic causes of these perpetual social issues and crises and wars will be ignored in favor of the particular "Cause" of the month. Ill keep signing petitions.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Did anyone else notice that at the last press conference,Bush had a whole memorized speech, composed of all the old cliches, as a response to any and all questions about Iraq? And how hard he struggled to make it seem his responses were improvised, considered?

This is eerily timely, from Arendts classic Eichmann in Jeruselum: "Officialese became his language because he was genuinely incapable of uttering a single sentense that was not a cliche'. The more one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely associated with his inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else."

"German society of eighty million people had been shielded against reality and factuality by exactly the same means, the self deception, lies and stupidity that had now become ingrained in Eichmanns mentality. The lies changed from year to year, and they frequently contradicted each other;...self deception had become so common that even is sometimes difficult not to believe that mendacity had become an integral part of the German national character."

banal:1. wanting originality,freshness or novelty 2. trite let me add one :3. comfortable in stupidity.

" In every cry of every Man, In every infants cry of fear,In every voice, in every ban, The mind forged manacles I hear." William Blake
The key to consent is getting sub-altern classes to auto-repress, to forge their own mental manacles out of their own best hopes.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Voice of Reason

From the new National Geographic, a known radical left wing mouthpiece: Alaa AlAswany, author of the bestselling novel, The YacoubianBuilding is asked where the current fanaticism is coming from. "Poor areas, because the poor are desperate. Killing is not done because of God, but because people are marginalized and oppressed." On the importation of Saudi values to Egypt: "The Saudis have spent millions to export Sunni relation to Saudi Arabia, Iran has more respect for individual political rights..I must remind you the American administration has been the most powerful supporter of the medieval Saudi regime because of oil." What do you think of America now? " I believe America has made a big shift to the right. The globe has one superpower, and that superpower has to choose to be either a moral superpower or a capitalist superpower.This choice will influence history."

Egypt has produced some great writers, Im thinking of Naguib Mahfouz, whose Cairo trilogy is unsettling but brilliant. I will try to find this book and send a copy to those suffering from psyche strain over at neo-neocon.The great Packistani intellectual Eqbal Ahmad spoke on NPR yesterday (taped, he's dead) about Ronald "Im a Contra"Reagan introducing Osama bin Laden to America as a freedom fighter in the tradition of our countries founding fathers. Thats when the CIA had him killing commies. His talk was called Terrorism: Theirs and Ours.

Im wondering if perhaps the Israeli strategy of arresting Hamas leaders as "terrorists" might not be something the Republicans want to consider. The polls look bad. How come the Israelis can continue commando raids and bombing during a cease-fire? Because they don't give a rats ass what anyone anywhere says.

There are parallel discussions on politics of "support" and tactics on renegade eyes fantastic blog and on Lenin's Tomb ( Ooh,ahh, Hezbollah is the post ,where David Wearing and Michael Berube join in. Debates on ideological purity vs. humanist norms, killing children with ball bearing loaded missles and strategy. All very necessary.We cannot allow the right wing to drive us to be as bloodthirsty as them or they have won.IMO. and no Brad, Im not referring to myself as the voice of reason, I mean al Aswani .I'm an old fishing guide.

Signs of Strain

Sorry , end of "good news".When the President said the American People are showing signs of" psychic strain" , perhaps it was because he was reading www.neo-neoco.blogspot and saw these comments to her piece on the war of civilization (israeli left turns right) All Huntingtonians. check this out: modeling appropriate behavior, illusionary international law, superior weapons systems, precision munitions, most effective are the most fearsome, words that should be abolished under penalty of death: grievances, root causes, cycle of violence, land for peace, peace in our time. Parallels to the 1930s are almost exact, when barbarians are in contact with cultured people, a "deed " for the land issued by God, the Palestinians didn't get kicked out, a more accurate analogy would be if Oklahoma were given back to the Indians I don't think the residents would start wearing explosive vests, does anyone think the terrorists would settle down and become farmers/engineers/teachers?They would merely seek out new enemies to kill because IT IS KILLING THAT GIVES MEANING TO THEIR LIVES, For now they must be content with (killing) thousands; time for tens of thousands,or millions, after the West has been RENDERED HELPLESS, use fuel-air explosives and napalm,tell us which hospital and we'll kill everyone there too, issue the troops hollow point bullets, after everyone in the Mosque is dead, carpet bomb or shell the neighborhood on general principles, international news media should be treated as enemy combatants.

You thought Isalamic extremists were scary? These people live among us, maybe next door. Psychic strain indeed, pathological more like it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

There is Always Hope

Way up here in Montana, where deer and the antelope and Conrad Burns and Denny Rehburg play, we have a well organized group dedicated to human rights, appropriately named the Montana Human Rights Network. It has five active chapters throughout the state including one here in the Bitterroot Valley. (full disclosure: My wife sits on the board) Besides tackling important issues like raising the minimum wage through a ballot initiative, working on anti-bullying legislation and gay rights, and fighting local white supremacist/ anti-government militants, they have expanded into what I believe to be the core human rights issue, economic justice. This structural analysis is amazingly progressive in a place whose politics still revolve around God, Gays and Guns and it is inspiring to an activist, not to mention revolutionary, such as myself. If it can happen here ,it can happen anywhere. Co-alition work includes alliances with Community Action for Justice in the Americas CAJA(on whose board I now sit and whose membership includes lots of smart,active radicals) , Working forEquality andEconomic Liberation WEEL, The Policy Institute , the Smart Growth Coalition and Montanans for Corporate Accountability. Not bad for cow country, huh?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday Missoulian

For a dollar seventy five you get all this: Page 2 Women Vets Confronting Post Traumatic Stress, This day in history, 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslavakia to crush the "Prague Spring". Page9 Heavey Fighting Kills 4 US,2 Afghan Soldiers ( the Taliban is re-conquering the south-west) Israeli Raid Violates Truce, Says Annan, Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Arrested, Bush Brushes Teeth (not really) , Top Chavez Opponent Holds Campaign Rally Page 11 is a full page ad paid for by The Center For Union Facts ( which says "Union chiefs have greased the system..blah blah" Total anti-union propaganda by foundations, business, wing -nuts etc and they are doing radio and TV ads as well. The financial page said Fortune Five Hundred Corporations, led by Exxon, Microsoft and Big Pharma have amassed 613 billion dollars of CASH which they don't know how to spend. The record profits coming in for the last seventeen quarters keeps piling up. Huge dilemna. Comics, want ads, home decor and inserts round out the package.

My wife and I took a long walk into Blodgett Canyon, a beautiful piece of wilderness carved out by glaciers, wind, water, and a hard-to-imagine length of time. Puts a sometimes needed geologic perspective on things.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Indulge Me

Those weary of sophistry and such. Ronald Grigor Suny in his review (see last post) stimulated what few brain cells are left, noting: " Dialectics is a tricky business.It was part of a time when thinking and working toward alternative futures was all the rage. In our-anti-utopian world, when common sense ,pragmatic politics and adjusting to the way things are have displaced dreams and schemes of social engineering, not to mention social justice, the grand claims that were made in the name of dialectics- as a scientific method, a theory of knowledge and a conclusive description of the way history, society and even nature move-appear nonsensical."

I have been arguing of late that these times are one in which we have actually seen a return to utopian, not just thinking, but action. Here the distinction between idealism and utopianism perhaps blurs, but tens of millions of American Christians believe their Way will save mankind, a large portion of the worlds Muslims think their Caliph will deliver humanity to a new golden age, hundreds of millions of Regular Americans believe the American Dream should be the entire planets dream and public intellectuals, policy people and elected leaders from both parties fervently believe, in Margaret Thatchers words, that "there is no alternative" to The Shining City On The Hill .It is not the utopianism I am worried about, it is the poor excuse for discourse which shapes all this irrational analysis. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin both had a utopian vision based on terror and extermination, the religious have a utopian vision based on apocalyptic upheaval. What is needed is a utopian vision based on social justice and peace. As for dialectics being the Golden Chalice, perhaps it is not the key to all the knowledge in the Universe but it is a valuable , though rapidly disappearing tool to help us understand history, society and yes, even nature.

Suny agrees: "Yet Bukharin's engagement with dialectics as a method- his focus on change and contradiction, on overcoming historically generated social institutions and intellectual practices that have taken on the appearance of natural,fixed, pemanent realities- may have an unrecognized relevance more than ever in our one-dimensional present. A politics without a sense of new possibilities cirles around itself endlessly." That endless circling is certainly what we have created and those not dulled to the cries of humanity demand an "exit strategy".

Friday, August 18, 2006

Even Crazier

Explaining the secrecy and precautions during Castros illness : "We could not rule out the risk of somebody going crazy, or even crazier, within the US government " Raul told the editor of Granma. By the way, Andy Garcias' "Lost City", about Havana during the revolution, is a piece of propagandistic crap. Acting is atrocious. Way to long. Pretentious. Other than that..

Speaking of crap, this exact term used to describe Bush by the British dep.foreign secretary. So Bush and Lost City.

Speaking of Bush: "All attending took exception to the word 'frustrated' to describe the Presidents thinking. Snow said". But they unanimously agreed with "not overly burdened with perception".

Speaking of thinking, or not, George Allen calls some brown guy Macada? What is a Macada? Andrew Young,( ex-Mayor of Atlanta) in his role as defender of WalMart (on whose board Hillary sat) goes off on immigrants owning Mom and Pop stores? And I hear Democrats are using the "WalMart Model" as an example of BAD capitalism? WTF is going on?

Great review in the new Nation of Nikolai Bukharin's Philisophical Arabesques. A long missing but important voice of dialectical sublimity. Sort of like me.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Same As It Ever Was

This day in 1806, Captain Clark (of Lewis and Clark) scolded the Chief of the One Eyes for disobeying him and raiding and killing a small band of Snake Indians. Then, following a showy display of it's fiery potential, he presented the One Eyes with a gift of a canon.Beginning a long and horrible centerpiece of US policy. White people, what can you say?

I just read a piece on Common Dreams about coming of age during the Viet Nam War and it occurs to me this really was the crucible for Americans of several generations. That war, and the counter-culture it spawned, shaped our world view and separated "We The People" into two camps for whom there is still very little common ground. Check the conservative blogs ( neo-neocon wrote a whole series, beakerkin is big on this)) and they always return to that patriotic-ire-rousing myth of the US being Stabbed In the Back by it's internal enemies. From Alger Hiss at Yalta, to Douglas McArthur and "losing China" to Spiro Agnews "nattering nabobs of negativity" ( code for intellectual homosexuals) the Right needs these seditious enemies to explain why it's policies ALWAYS fail. Kevin Baker does a great expose of this myth in the June 06 Harpers but the neo-cons cling to it like a fetish.Throw into that mix of patriotic paranoia the culture shaking influence of feminism and Black Power, shake and pour and you have a dysfunctional ,raging coctail. The Golden Rule in this society is DO NOT discuss religion or politics. All children go to the Art Linkletter School of political economy where the geography lesson is one hour a year and the terms capitalism and democracy are used inter-changeably. Most people can channel Rush Limbaugh but have never heard of John Q Adams. And why is the Rights greatest vitriol directed at females Jane Fonda, Hillary Clinton and Cindy Sheehan?Covered some ground there,eh what?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


NBCs The Today Show provides arresting glimpses into the dominant narrative. All those people jumping around with their signs, hoping for their Warhol moment. This morning they had Wild Jim, the hyper-nuerotic stock analyst tackling that delicate subject of profiting from war. He was uncomfortable with the implication,but when asked about what opportunities the Eternal War On Terror provided, he recommended investments in cluster bombs and phospherous. Hey, what are you going to do? What's in your portfolio? Complicity and responsibility.

In our local news, it seems Dick Cheney will be in Whitefish Mt. today at a private fundraiser for Abramoff-slimed Senator Conrad Burns. For 5000 bucks you can go flyfishing with the pair. I would love to guide that trip.

My old nemesis (check out my very first post) Norm Geras is squirming like a fishing guide with Burns and Cheney in his boat ,trying to find some high ground to stand on as he apologizes for imperialistic excesses. Warning us righteously from his Ivory Tower about anti-semitism and Islamofascism but his hole keeps getting deeper and deeper. I say we are witnessing a classic crisis of capitalism. Call me crazy ,but it looks like an attempt to use primitive accumulation to solve over-production/supply. Once more.

My friend and comrade in Aruaca, Columbia reports that the situation has devolved further, with the FARC and ELN now battling each other and once again innocent citizens get caught in the crossfire. He is in Saraveno trying to help where he can. More stinking oil (Oxy Petroleum), drugs and US intervention. Send prayers if thats all you got, but money would be more helpful. will distribute to these needy organizations working for social justice and self-determination in Arauca: Dawn of Women forArauca, Joel Sierra Regional Human Rights Committee, Cimitarra River Valley Peasant Association. Of course none of this is on the radar of the MSM.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Everyones A Winner!

Bush declares victory for Israel, Hizbollah declares victory, my neighbor Ed declared victory, its so great when you can have a little war that everybody can win! Now we just stick an international force between two existential enemies, send Israel another twenty billion to help it
"re-build"(more of the Aparthied Wall), maybe send Lebanon a gift certificate to Home Depot and Condi can go back to wherever she lives all by herself knowing she set the world straight.

Meanwhile ,some "Libertarians" are having doubts about the practical effects of some of their philosophical underpinnings. "I voted for the measure because I believe in property rights" said Rose Straher, referring to Oregons Measure 37, the "anti-takings" legislation that destroyed land use planning efforts there. Now she has a 40 unit mobile home park next to her little farm and she is whining that 'there is absolutely no protection for the neighborhood." Duh!Soon ,hopefully, a gravel pit and pork rendering plant will site there because ,by God, this is the land of the free.Give me Liberty or give me Death, but above all ,give me Profit. These Brave Americans are all over the inter-mountain West,they are here in my community, trying to get their anti-takings "property rights" initiatives passed so their Corporate Masters will pat them on the head and give them a lifetime parking space at the WalMart Supercenter.

Libertarians also don't like liberals. Here is a typical lost liberal, Lynn Chu, and her poem (edited for length by me, sorry Lynn) Why I Continue To Believe in the War in Iraq:
Because I believe in nation building
Because the left has always insisted on this
Because we must seed the world with democracy, for it is right
Because America is as brave and competent as it is reasonable to expect of clumsy, imperfect humans
Because in 1948, to world acclaim,the UN created Israel ,whose existence is just and must continue to be defended
Because our nation is strong enough to shrug off the malice and subversion and sophistries its heedles factions devise
Who style themselves whistleblowers and heroes
For their vanity and venality betray them
Because this wars lessons will assist in transformation,which must continue
Because if we can't do Iraq,we can never do Rwanda or Darfur
Because we need to pick our fights
And there is nothing immoral about making a list ordered by need and self interest
Because we can use a Middle East base
Because civilization is always effortful.
Because the UN will save no one

It goes on about what we can use and what we need, about "doing"Iraq and making "lists". Jesus. This is neo-neocon and beak and the guy, Ed, across the street. Lord love a duck.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Another Reason One Should Sleep

Sorry that last post was a bit incomprehensible (if profound), I have not been sleeping and thats what emerges.By God, I know what I meant!

Anyway, another great Lewis Lapham riff on war profiteering in the latest Harpers, I just wish he would take the next step and tell us if he believes the vicious cycle of merchant and mercenary is intractable and inherent in "human nature" or if he thinks there is hope we can break out. By leading off with this Rainer Werner Fassbinder quote: "In the last analysis, terrorism is an idea generated by capitalism to justify better defense measures to safeguard capitalism.", we get the idea he sees problems as structural. And then we find he must be reading my profound blog when he says: "Understand the War On Terror as free market capitalist enterprise...and in the nightly newscasts we see before us victory, not defeat." All he needs to do is suggest an anti-capitalist alternative as a process for changing human behavior and he is headed for home plate.

As for this wierd war between beak and brown (sounds like a law firm) taking place on Renegades site, it really is horribly analogous to the war in Lebanon. Beak says to Renegade, stop all contact with Brown or we will attack your site. Israel says to Lebanon, stop Hizbollah or we will decimate your country. Once you are successful with such a tactic, where does it stop? What prevents you from threatening destruction on anyones blog if they don't cut off someone you don't particularly like?

One last thought on Utopianism. (My theme, I guess, for August) Arendt and other liberals have criticized Marxism for naively proposing the "end of history" by solving the materialistic dialectic, by envisioning communism as the final stage. I have not read ALL his work, but from what I have I don't believe Marx had any illusions that the socialist project meant the end of all conflict. There are plenty of other dialectics in need of solution to keep us bickering for a while.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Degrees of Complicity

The question arises, where does responsibility begin? To not resist, to do nothing, is to do something then. It is to acquiesce. For instance ,rather than supporting the troops, I support the refusniks, those who will not obey orders. Theirs is a courageous stance , mine is simple , but at least I am not accepting the status qou. But then to what degree am I complicit in the Great Oil Wars everytime I fill my car with gas? How am I supporting the neo-liberal capitalist agenda each time I stock my refrigerator, turn on my furnace or buy clothes at KMart? My friend asked me last night, so then, do I believe there is some cabal, some tightnit fraternity orchestrating this insidious agenda? The Masons, the Bohemian Grovers, the Carlyle Group or Skull and Bones perhaps? Lots of serious people believe that the attacks of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own "people".It all comes down to degrees,

These people( and a few others) are responsible. We are all complicit. Whatever your degree of skepticism, cynicism, gullability or paranoia, at some point the "orchestrators " responsibility leaves off and our own complicity begins, or overlaps, or melds. Of course ,if the form of control is systemic rather than overtly terroristic, such as the "molecular, invisible" coercion Debord labled The Spectacle, then our personal complicity is relative to the degre of our own awareness. Just as a murderer must be aware of the nature of his crime to be convicted of a "first degree" of that offense, the more aware we are, the higher the degree of our complicity. And the more it becomes our duty to resist. We are called to action.If we are aware of a structure which is responsible for injustice but still support that structure , we are complicit.We must act.

Again Hannah Arendt tells us: "Unpredictability is not lack of foresight, and no engineering management of human affairs will ever be able to eliminate it, just as no training in prudence can ever lead to the wisdom of knowing what one does.Only total conditioning, that is, TOTAL ABOLITION OF ACTION ,can ever hope to cope with unpredictability." We crazy, wildeyed Leftists are heartily criticized for our utopian yearnings by those who suggest (and themselves do ) that we do nothing because doing something is unpredictable. I say screw that. This question of praxis, of "what is to be done", has bedeviled revolutionaries since oppression was recognized AS SUCH. (to use one of Ms Arendts favorite terms)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Miles and Miles of Texass

Kevin Pask writes an interesting piece on social/ political conditions in the Lone Star state. In an article in the summer 06 Dissent titled Gods Casino , he analyzes the bizarre blend of oil money, Christian fundamentalism and new technology wich defines the Sun Belt freak factory. Money and God becomes Money IS God. Those who know me know that Texas and Texans cause a strange, mean , visceral reaction at a molecular level in me. I have met a few wonderful Texans in my time, somebody reading this may very well be one and the author of the article is certainly aware, but I have also met enough Texan assholes to fill the Berkley Pit here in Butte (big pit for those unaware).

Mr.Pask points out the queer confluence of mega-churches and mega -box stores in the glistening new exburbs of mega-cities like Houston and Dallas. I can picture the highly educated and technologically savvy workforce piling into both of these Modern Cathedrals to Irrationality ,right before consecrating themselves at the High School Football Statium on Sunday. Redneck Pride is a perverted populism which cranks out crappy music, cannon fodder for capitalist wars and boring loudmouths; "You can always tell a Texan but you can't tell him much". Convinced they are Chosen People, yet perpetual victims. (Like Zionists!) Think LBJ, John Connely, the Bushes, Ken Lay and Co. and on and on. Pathological sociofreaks. Glad I could finally get that off my chest.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fishing As The World Burns

I just returned from a week of trout explorations, two days on the Ruby River ( which I actually started exploring last year) and three days on Hebgen Lake hunting the legendary "gulpers",which I had never done. What a hoot! Exacting fishing, using sight and sound, the closest thing to bonefishing I have found in fresh water. Consistently big fish (3 to5 lb) on 5x. You may be wondering, how does a fishing guide get to take a week off in the height of the season to go fishing? The answer is, I am blessed. I have the things I need and the time to do the thing I love and believe me ,I appreciate it. It is more probable you are wondering, is this bastard sick? ( fishing on his time off from fishing) The answer ,of course, is most definately.

Back to the "Real World". William Sanchez, an attorney for the Cuban -American non-profit Democracy Movement, urged Bush to TELL Cuba to set an elections timetable and LET Cuban-Americans come to the island to HELP with a political transition. OK, here we go.
Is a Cuban-American like a German -American? No. They are Americans only until they can get their hands back on their villas and plantations and casinos again and they want your tax dollars and cruise missles to help them do it. Has William Sanchez ever heard of Luis Posada? These are fascists who worshipped at the feet of Batista and they are drooling at the chance for another Bay of Pigs. I know which side I would fight on. Luckily Bush has his hands full with some of his other "transitioning" projects.

"Popular movements around the world often use non-violent civil disobedience to break impasses at critical moments of TRANSITION. Mexico today faces such a critical moment." Laura Carlsen , IRC. I would love to be camped in Mexico City ( but I have to go back to work) with the protesters. Americans are getting a lesson from their brown brothers again. I still wonder about the position of Marcos and the Zapatistas.

"How much longer will we accept that this world so in love with death is the only world possible?" Eduardo Galeano This is my segue into our continual, and important, discussion on Utopia, utopian visions, political possibilities etc. The Great Liberal ,Arthur Schlesinger Jr.( yes, I am being snarky again) warned us in his manifesto, The Vital Center, that : "The Utopians believed man to be perfectable; and that radiant belief permitted some of them to slide over into the INEVITABLE next step- that is ,to believe that they, at least, were already perfect. Men in a conviction of infallibility can sacrifice humanity without compunction on the altar of some abstract and special good." Hence, totalitarianism, both then( Hitler , Mussolini, Stalin etc..) and now.

Us socialists understand the dangers of utopianism equally well yet continue to believe that "imagining the good society" is an intrinsically human impulse. Not Perfect, but Good. Irving Howe and Stanley Plastrik described it such , back in 1954: " Today ,in an age of curdled realism, it is necessary to assert the utopian image. But this can be done meaningfully only if it is an image of social striving , tension ,conflict; an image of a problem creating and problem solving society."
Of course there will always be the "knucklehead factor" ,even in (or especially in) the working class. But this is no excuse to sink into acceptance of irrationality. (or sinfullness ,Wiser)