Monday, March 30, 2009

Liberty or Death

"Conservatives" are organizing Tea Parties for tax day, April 15th, so they can express their outrage at Big Government. This is sad/funny in that patriotic, fervent way only Americans can be. ( Now that the Germans are chastised) Clutching their Bills of Rights they will gather en mass on courthouse lawns to defend Freedom and Liberty and try to resurrect that simpler, more innocent time. They will arrive in their Toyota's and leave in their Toyota's and there will be no revolt, no liberty, no death.

There are many points of departure for explaining the general state of cognitive dissonance (and particular tea party charades )but Ellen Meisken Wood, as quoted by Richard Seymour at the end of his worthwhile book The Liberal Defense of Murder, nails it pretty succinctly when she writes : "capitalism does not need formal political inequities - rather, domination and class rule are expressed as rights, specifically as property rights."

The original Tea Party was a "revolt" by the merchant class over terms of trade, identified as Independence or the "right" to self-determination. It extended to the slave trade, sugar ,cotton, salt, etc. and to what today was supposed to be an orderly,global system of disciplined nation-states. All of which requires constant and open ended intervention (check book or the cruise missile) veiled by democratic and egalitarian ideologies. The "patriots" out this way consider property rights sacred, would kill or die over someone trespassing on their miserable little plot of land. Tea parties can turn ugly.

I just went back and read the final comments on the "Spectre" post. Another great discussion everyone ,thanks. We have to look into the Time thing. We Pareconists want to reward based on sacrifice but what do workers sacrifice but '"leisure time"? I hate punching in. I have never worn a watch.( It has caused me some grief ). On the river we don't have clocks, very liberating for my clients.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bling

I was watching a story about a super famous rapper who was busted on weapons charges with a record of 30 prior arrests.I had never heard of him, which tells you something about my limited cultural exposure but he must be a better rapper than criminal. Due to "extraordinary circumstances" the judge only gave him a year. Any ghetto punk would get 20 plus but this "Star" was doing community service and was way down on his knees. His "position" would help him reach out to disaffected youth with his new message.

I think there are a lot of "messages" this Iconic Individual sends about Spectacular culture. On the most basic level it tells marginalized, sub-altern youth to grab a microphone and rap your way out of jail. That's if you can't play ball. Rich people (Bernie Madoff not withstanding) don't do serious time. This "gangsta" who swaggered around with his guns and "Ho's" and bling just laid down and showed his belly to the white Judge and he'll be "free" in no time.These are ambiguos "poster children" for the Free Market.

Like the "Greedy Corporate Bankers" he is also being punished for excessive exposure, you know, you can make the dough but don't flash it around! Barack Obama, Bill Cosby, Michael Steele and Andrew Young get this basic unwritten rule of capitalism but these Rappers and Sport Stars don't get the nuance. (most aren't too bright). An exception is Mos Deff (?) who I watched take on and demolish Christopher Hitchens on Bill Mahers show. The camera panned to Hitchens every time he sipped his scotch and the rapper used humour and well constructed argument to over-ride Salman Rushdie and the Biluous One. With Obama, the white public is not sure yet whether he is Michael Jordan/Tiger Woods material (we are used to getting our asses kicked) or if he's just another anchor on CNN.

Andrew Young, who keeps his Bling out of sight, has used his "Civil Rights" cred to consult for the Chamber of Commerce and WalMart to defeat living wage ordinances and EFCA. Blacks are divided and struggle with contradiction, internally and culturally. They start as Community Organizers but all too often end up burying Malclom X and only listening to Kings "Dream Speech". Waking in the night asking Am I in the "Middle Class" yet?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Spectre Is Haunting America

I have been working on the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act even though I am well aware of its limitations. It had potential as a practical gain to organize and build solidarity around, and clearly could delineate the old Wobbly question" Which Side Are You On? Yesterday Republican Senator Arlen Spector announced he was opposing EFCA, effectively killing the effort at least until the mid-term elections. But we always new which side he was on.

Theoretically this switch ( he voted for it last time around) should be an even bigger organizing tool. The political class is our enemy and Blue Dog or "New" Democrats were set to water the legislation down anyway. We know how Business feels about unionism. Organized labour went all out to get Obama elected and spent millions in workers union dues to try and pass this bill and if those workers aren't crazy mad at this betrayal ( on top of being gang raped in the "Economic Crisis" and "Bailouts") then there really is something in the water. When is enough enough? A strike on April 4th would bring Obama and Geithner and all these capitalist slugs to their knees, begging for mercy. ( we could give them all jobs on the GM shop floor)

The working class has to be getting close to the end of their rope. The dollar is being threatened by Russia and China, Wall Street swindlers and con-men are being insured against loss and buying new corporate jets, Mad Money Cramer admitted he's a corporate shill, a clown, and Rupert Murdoch, Larry Summers and Chris Dodd are all lathered up in the steam room together. How much uglier does it have to get? AIG bonuses are just a drop in the ocean compared to the capitalist war, exploitation and theft thats been going on for decades. Sen. Bernie Saunders called himself a "Democratic Socialist" today on Democracy Now.( He is really a social democrat) Mike Davis was on Bill Moyers proudly admitting he was a socialist. Chritian Parenti was on Public Radio Monday espousing socialism. Who is next? Strike on April 4, the day ML King spoke against the Vietnam War and a year later was murdered.

Which side are you on?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Writing for Money

New York Review of Books critic Cathleen Schine gushes over the latest made-for-movie novel The Believers by Zoe Heller ( Notes on a Scandal) "Because she is interested more in the mechanics of human emotion than in making a political point." Which is a lie, Ms Heller actually makes a very structured and deliberate reactionary political point, but the bigger issue is that we are expected to celebrate YET ANOTHER work of banal psycho-drama and the insistence that only this form really constitutes "literature". Somehow, intra-personal relationships and deep soul searching about "family" are "surprisingly fresh". What is "surprising" is that after decades of Updike and Bellow and Roth and the whole canon people still want dreck about dysfunctional humans who are "comically gruesome" and reality that is "vast and chaotic and unmasterable".

In other words the book is a thinly veiled anti-political screed about a cartoonish Leftist family which embodies every know stereotypical contradiction known to clever intellectuals. None of the children turn out "correct", the parents struggle with demons, all sarcasm and mordant wit and blah blah blah. It will of course be made into a movie so people can cluck about Red Diaper Babies and Naive, Delusional Revolutionarys. Me and my existential angst, "intensly personal visions", feelings and emotions, sorry, this book has been written A HUNDRED times and a hundred times better.It will make the "Best Seller "list, snatched up by post-modern liberals with disposable incomes and the authors next book/movie will be about a "Clinton-like" President and his affairs. Ms. Hellers novel is a stern warning to all would-be-dreamers: Don't Bother, it's all a game and Real Life will only beat you down.(although meaning can still be found in "spirituality").

Full disclosure: I am writing a political novel and I don't care if Merrel Streep gets the lead. It's not a polemic ( like The Believers ) but political in the critical sense. It may suck but I hope if it's ever reviewed that the critique centers on the analysis and examines the complexity (or lack thereof) of ideas and the questions it inspired rather than the myriad insipid cliches about betrayal or disillusionment or resentment.I hope a reading public still exists that requires more than cynical soap opera and self flaggellation because micro-vision and cleverness is not a challenge for our times. For fiction to have meaning NOW requires more than slick morality plays or snarky detachment.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Reform or Revolution ?

There has been some interesting feedback to Ehrenreich/ Fletchers Reimagining Socialism piece in the Nation. Michael Parenti starts out with some observations on relative social awareness:

"Compared to the average American, your average Indian has a superior grip on the intricacies of international relations, political economy, history and environmental issues like GMO crops. And Indians' thinking about these matters tends to be structural and historically informed, capable of dealing with contradictions and nuance. The sentimentality, hectoring, moralism and attraction to simple answers that are the anti-intellectual hallmarks of American political culture (particularly our left) are in India reduced to a faint murmur."

I'm not sure how "particular" such anti-intellectualism is to the left but I am sad to see him answer the question with this bland,milk- toast prescription:

"realistically all we have time for is a program of reforms that will get us to capitalism with a green and social democratic face".

In the tradition of Eduard Bernstein and company he asks "wouldn't you be happy with a Sweden?" Perhaps, but when you are bargaining you don't start by announcing what you would settle for! Think dialectically!

Robert Pollin replies in a similar vein: "While socialism is desirable as a long term vision of a just society it is unrealistic in my view to expect it to take shape today...we do not know what a socialist economy would look like..."

John Bellamy Foster sees more possibility and perhaps has more courage: "Today the revolt from below in the US,which could well gain momentum within several years under conditions of deep economic stagnation, promises new space for a radical/socialist movement."

This critique from Doug Henwood will sound familiar to some: "I don't think off-the-shelf utopias like Parecon are very helpful; there's just no imaginable roadmap from here to there...there are opportunities to advance the socialist cause..they need state action prodded by organized thoughtful activism."

Mike Davis starts out pessimistic "...there are no realistic solutions to the current planetary crisis." but then perks up "I believe that socialism /anarcho-communism- the rule of labor upon and for the earth- remains our only hope... we must be forthright about the need for disorder ("raise less corn and more hell")

Lisa Duggin asks us to consider the role of identity: "A left politics that abstracts "economic" issues from cultural life cannot explain or even speak to the way capitalism is lived today." "We need to first... gather together the already existing promising, forms of egalitarian cooperative thinking, working, and second, make things up."

Finally Vijay Prashad brings a qoute from Panther Fred Hampton, murdered by the cops in 1971?. "Sometimes if you stretch it so far, it'll be another thing. Did you ever cook something so long that it turns into something else?" This is a great illustration of Marxs understanding of the relation between quantity and quality.It is how a mass movement can change the nature of the demands. He ends by saying "We need to organize our power to make our ideas correct."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Outrage

Playing the "outrage" card is tricky for the ruling class. They must walk that razors edge of showing sympathy for populist anger but also maintain control over it. In other words they want to direct the energy down as harmless an avenue as possible and make sure the basic Market ideology is not ruptured in any SIGNIFICANT sense. They don't want "creative destruction" to get too creative!

The most exposed "fall guys" are greedy traders and their enabling CEOs and Boards, lighting their Cuban cigars with C-notes and going on fishing trips to fancy lodges. ( full disclosure: I light the cigars and tie all the knots) The "good guys" are American taxpayers and the nebulous in-between are politicians, business owners, government workers and the like. Obama and Geitner and Summers can be "angered" over excessive compensation and then go to lunch with Jim Cote (my client and Big Wig at AIG) because the right-wing wants to make sure Wealth remains respected and revered while the left bravely puts forth temporary social-democratic reforms. The "citizenry" ( tax-payers, prostitutes, Larry the Cable Guy, etc...) all watch the Spectacle unfold on CNN or FOX and see the Dow Jones rally.They try to make sense of it all.

The rules to this elaborate game are getting harder and harder to follow but lets see if I can figure some of them out:
1. The world goes round on contracts and so it is the very essence of the American Dream for a young stock trader to make a $2,000,000.00 bonus and drink Grey Goose.

But only if things are swell.

2. When things go sour those young "smart guys" are arrogant parasites who don't create "real" wealth and so deserve disgrace and shame and must drink Budweiser.

3. Even though they are shameful Budweiser drinkers they are still the only ones smart enough to unravel the derivative deals they made. If they promise never to misbehave again they will be allowed to take another shot at the Dream.

4. Sometimes it is the government which owns businesses which is socialism which is a bad thing. At other times it is the taxpayers which own businesses and so may demand "their" money back.

5. Getting a fair return on your investment is smart management but charging too much is usury. Investing in a risky business venture is healthy entrepreneurship but speculating on futures is irresponsible. Home ownership is part of the American Dream but is not an ATM machine and credit cards should only be used responsibly.

You may now assume the position.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Eavesdropping

I don't expect I am alone in the guilty pleasure I get in eavesdropping on conversations (what is the etymology of that word?) Up where we were cross country skiing I heard a young guy talking about his recent shopping for a 4 wheeler (off road vehicle)In Montana these ( along with jeyt ski's and snow machines) confer the relative social status that a new Lexus might in urban settings.

Later as I put on my bathing suit at the local hot springs I listened to a man explain to his friend how he had lost his job because the business had gone bankrupt and so had to walk away from a bank loan on a house he had bought. He expressed remorse at having to reneg on a contractual agreement but then said in a dog eat dog world everyone just needs to look out for himself.Then he laughed somewhat maliciously.

After soaking I sat at the bar,listening to the country/western song about a guy who, when presented with a choice between his wife and a fishing trip, sings "I'm sure gonna miss her". A young guy came in and started relaying to his friends that due to the fact that he could not find a job he had decided to join the Navy Seals. I'm in a ranch town of about a hundred people in a county where cows outnumber people about 10,000 to one.The Navy is actually getting rid of 3,000 sailors due to budget cuts.They debated the relative deadly-manliness of the Rangers vs the Seals.

So now that the money has gone out of derivatives, "entrepreneurs" have turned to short selling on the stock market and pay day loans. However we dress it up, capitalism has always been about indentured servitude and the necessary depravity to see fellow humans as rubes, dupes,and suckers- born- every- minute. "Payday advance customers represent the heart of America's middle class" says Community Financial Services Association (loan sharks) the industrys lobbying group.They target a demographic called #44s : "Homespun families with a mediam household income of $40,351, they eat at Shoneys, enjoy NASCAR and watch the 700 Club."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Harringtons Revenge

I picked up a hitch hiker on the way home from Missoula late the other night (1:00 ish), it was already a little below zero and getting much colder. He had walked from the bus station (3 or 4 miles) having just got in from Ukiah, Ca. and was headed fifty miles south. He had no sleeping bag, two broken cigarettes I think he found, and an unwillingness to answer my questions with much more than a syllable or two.Twenty five years ago I was just such a non-conversational hitchhiker, happy to be in a car, worried about aggressive queers, sleeping in fields and parking lots with a few cigarettes in my pocket. I stayed away from Montana in the winter though and wonder what would have happened had I not picked him up. Nobody picks up hitchhikers anymore.

As usual, Helmut over at Phronesisaical pulls up some good references on the difference between social democracy and democratic socialism, critical to our current discussion. He points out that this moment has precedents and Obamas backing away from "socialism" a real sign of the times. The question:

"Are we standing at the sickbed of capitalism not only as doctors who want to heal the patient, but also as prospective heirs who can't wait for the end and would gladly help the process along with a little poison?"
Fritz Tarnow socialist-unionist 1931 describing the dilemna.

This is from a great piece Sheri Berman did in Dissent recently where she unfortunately sides with social democrats and holds the Scandanavian countries up as brave examples. She, like my wife and others, fear the chaos (rightfully) of administering poison and chides Michael Harrington and me for not having a perfect plan in place to replace capitalism. What Harrington did was kept alive the utopian imaginary and critiqued the "disenchantment" of a left that gave up on capitalisms final demise. I point to the historical lesson of the European Social Democracies( now in chaos), to the destruction of the welfare state in the US and the persistance of Market Liberalism as the reason for poison. Democratic Socialists had it right, they just weren't patient enough. Yes it may get ugly, but it has been very ugly for very many for centuries. If not now, when?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Probably Just Misplaced

A report came out today that said the global economy had lost 50 trillion dollars worth of wealth since the "crisis" began. I love those statistical descriptives such as " That is a pile of English muffins that reaches to Pluto and back..." But however many trips to Pluto it is, it's one hell of a correction. By now everyone has seen the "tent city" springing up in Sacramento and the lines at the food banks reaching around the block but we shouldn't be deceived into thinking these are some new phenomena, it's just that now they are NEWS. Buddy can you spare a dime?

This interjection by kulturcritic, (for those who have followed) has to some degree centred around the question "Just what are we prisoners of?" I have only had time to skim Barfield and kulturcritics own work where we find Man a prisoner of his own consciousness of Time (and with that, Death) with which he shapes nature and his own reality including a hierarchical political society. And to which kultur sees no real way out.
We are also prisoners of our sub-conscious desires, fears and projections which constrict our intentions and abilities.Here there is limited relief through intervention such as psychoanlysis or psychology but liberation is also constricted as Lacan and Freud point out.
Then there is the Marxist interplay with objective and subjective forces, such as private property and alienation/ estrangement to which we are also prisoners but for which there is a way out, at least theoretically.

To kultur and Owen Barfield I would suggest a popular little koan: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" or "what does it mean to this created reality that mind can look at itself, can converse with itself, can analyse itself ? If transcendence means mind and self are separate/together, then shouldn't we be able to observe the reality we create with detachment and affect our reality creatively? Discard Enlightenment thought habits, discard post-modern cynicism through discipline and practice ?

So to conclude, yes we need to work on our consciousness, yes we have to be aware our best plans may be subverted by our subconscious, but definately our economic system is something we can "practically" rearrange to achieve objective, tangible results toward liberation.Other than fishing, what else is there to do?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Broken Promises

Some friends were over last night and we watched Bill Maher spar a bit with "progressives" like Corey Booker and Erin Burnett and I realized as our conversation went on (we paused and discussed a lot) that the moment of choice is upon us all. My wife and friend were enamoured by the ultra-slick delivery of the young black mayor of Newark and ,yes, his Obama-esque charisma and polish are impressive in an anti-Al Sharptonish sort of way. Both he and Burnette cheerlead for the American Dream, capitalist innovation and courageous entrepreneurship, to lift us from this "temporary" crisis and malaise and return us to the glory which we deserve. To do so they are willing to endure a little "nationalization" as long as it's temporary. "I hope we CAN succeed" said my friend and I could keep my mouth shut no longer.

These are the exact same broken promises that we should all be questioning at this moment of systemic crisis, that if you played by the rules and worked hard each generation would do better than the last. That each pursuing his or her own self-interest would magically morph into the common good, that creativity and courage transformed themselves into wealth that endlessly compounded itself. It is a seductive line and it is tempting indeed to rally behind the idealistic young black man (progress and redemption wrapped in one eloquent package) and against the stupid mean people ( Repubs, Rush, certain conservatives), to just put the train back on the track; only this time promise to shop a little less, to recycle a little more, to give to charity and spend more time with the kids.

Instead I turned to my wife and friends and said "thats bullshit , I hope it crumbles to ash and broken mirrors. (metaphorically) I hope it gets so bad that everyone is forced to re-examine all his smooth talk about capitalism". You could hear a pin drop. Few are ready to embrace a deep transformation that requires suffering, loss, pain,and the relinquishing of comfort and stability.She wanted to "punish the greedy CEOs and start a "green economy" and end mark to market accounting and all kinds of fluff but even though she works her fingers to the bone everyday cooking and cleaning for the uber-rich, she rolls her eyes at my "four hours a day, four days a week" work program.

I'm going to a dinner party tonight crammed with liberals and I'm going to steer the conversation from"is this the bottom?" or "cap and trade" or "universal healthcare" to "I hope he fails in bailing out capitalism". I'll report back and I would like to hear what kind of response others get.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Liberal Dissapointment

I spent all yesterday at an academic symposium on foreign policy options for the new administration, they called it New Avenues for the Middle East and three different panels tossed around such weighty notions as Afghanistan:Disengagement? and Egypt and North Africa: Challenges of "Old Regimes" and even more exhaustingly : US-Iran Relations.
Many well known Doctors of Political Science or International Relations or strategic studies, mostly of the liberal persuasion , scolded colonialists and imperialists and even (in one instance) "globalists" and then tried to explain how their own "hope for change" ( they sniggered at the popular slogan, as academics will) has been diminished regarding any fundamental realignment coming from the new administration.They recognized "challenges".Really?

So no big surprise there. What was interesting was the prolific use of the term "liberal democratic norms" and the absolute absence of the term capitalism. Breaking out all the "Strategery" speak, we learned of "balance of power" and "national interest" and "soft vs hard power" and vague references to trade and oil but no actual mention of the system of domination itself, the REASON for the everlasting ongoing conflict. These people were just "experts" in MANAGING it.

Debates ensued about the practicality of "democratization", about "realist" approaches versus liberal or neoconservative or exceptionalist approaches. All the scholars solemnly and sagely agreed one should "learn from history" and then shook their heads at the endless litany of policy advisors who hadn't , including those in the current administration. It seemed to be a great mystery to these Phd's from the Think Tanks and Institutes for the Study of This and/or That. One that luked behind every elocuent declaration, yet one they could never quite articulate

The discussion about Afghanistan was fairly typical. The Soviet "Invasion" was presented exactly as I remember Cuba and Vietnam being explained to me, the attempt by the USSR to export revolution onto a "blank slate" society and Americas role as protector of "self-determination" ( although using extremists such as the Mujahedeen "Freedom fighters" was, admittedly unfortunate). A comrade of mine reminded the panel (including one young Afghan) about the 78 revolution, about the fact that an organic Leftist movement existed (however flawed) same as in Egypt, or Iran or Vietnam or Chile etc etc etc. In these Ivory Towers the Great Game was Authoritarian versus Democratic and Americas sin was it's inability to be consistent. They refused to acknowledge the ABSOLUTE consistency of US policy against collectivism wherever it raised it's head.

This is why Obamas actions are now so narrowly proscribed and Dennis Ross, Madeline Albright and Hillary may have to consult with old Kissinger.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Eurotrash

"Movement" conservatives are particularly worried that the economic meltdown will turn the Home of the Free into Eurotrash and they have broken out the corps de espirit to underscore what a hideous fate that would be. Every indoctrinated blogger, talk show host, think-tanker, or CNN "journalist" is relentlessly reminding Americans about the pathetic depravity of these "Nanny Staters" even as their presumptive leader, Gordon Brown, stands before the US Congress and sings praise to the "Shining City on the Hill"! The poor Canadians are drug in as putative "Euro-types" who die of heart attacks while waiting in endless lines to see a doctor. Who would want to live like like that! Budweiser is NASCAR and rodeo. Spring Lager is badminton!

Meanwhile, the "animal spirits" are very much alive in Europe, dragging down country after country by the throat. The carnage is especially brutal in Eastern Europe where, in terms eerily parallell to US housing crisis, emerging economies were encouraged to join in the "Great Expansion" and borrow and leverage and spend. Like poor, often minority borrowers here at home, they were told "This is how wealth is created, the Ownership Society, we'll get you in a loan blah blah fucking blah", and now, like American working poor, they are reprimanded for being "irresponsible" and "overly exuberant". Well, there are angy mobs taking over the Electric Company in the Ukraine today and hopefully they soon will be here as well. Conservatives going on about the "porkulous bill" and liberals trying not to use the word "nationalization" have no idea that all of Europe is on the edge of a precipice and their moronic world view is about to get a real shaking.

On the political front there are some hopeful stirrings. The Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste ( French left-left) is building coalitions under a young and charismatic Olivier Besancenot and the German Linke party represents a real alternative to the Blairite-Sarkozy status quo. They are both mobilizing workers students, and coordinator class elements and provide a model for US agitation.
I actually feel bad for the first Black President because within the narrow confines of his political-economic philosophy he is trying to do some "progressive" things and it would be sweet to see him slam the closet racists and "movement" fundamentalists out there. So

Here is a plan. They already consider him a subversive communist terrorist Hussein loving abortionist so it is not like he can be any more vilified. Saving capitalism, even a kinder,gentler version, is not working. So be the radical they think you are, take your place in history with necessary bold action. Put the people in charge. Public owned banks, utilities, health care and pension systems. Voi la!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Wal Marts in Gaza

Welcome to the 6000s on the DOW- Jones (no relation). The only major corporation to show profit last quarter was Wal Mart, which I think is a pretty good indication of where this is all headed, ie. cheap crap at low prices, subsidized by taxpayers. (many employees get food stamps and other forms of relief ) Perhaps Wal Marts can be part of the re-development model for Gaza that Hillary Clinton is promoting!

Milo Minderbinder himself ( from Hellers Catch 22 ) would blush at the the capitalist logic/ insanity of supplying military technology and weaponry ( for profit) so a country can destroy a tiny bantustans infrastructure (while sitting complicitly by) only to then open for bidding the re-building of said infrastructure. Europe mostly built the last batch but this time I expect our friends at Kellog-Brown-Root, Halliburton, Catepiller,etc.now need work, having so successfully re-built Iraq. Supply and demand.

Radio propagandist Paul Harvey finally died, may he rot in hell, and across this Great Land gun sales are skyrocketing and comparisons being drawn between Hitlers National Socialists and the taxpayer takeover of Citigroup and AIG. These reactionaries ( and it is not just a handful) , would not be so fearful if they took the time to delve into some history , such as that presented by Richard Seymour (Lenins Tomb) in his book The Liberal Defense of Murder. For example :

"We must get away from the utopian notion of simply abandoning the colonies. The ultimate consequences of such a view would be to give the United States back to the Indians...Socialists too should acknowledge the need for civilised peoples to act like the guardians of the uncivilized...our economies are based in large measure on the extraction from the colonies of products that the native peoples have no idea how to use." Eduard Bernstein leader of the Social Democrats in 1907

"Socialists" have often been the friend of profit and imperialism. And yes, Greg, kulturcritic and others, I know how "civilization" and "modernity" have been used, often insidiously, by forces on all sides. And yes there is ancient wisdom to guide us but I still believe those wise words "you can never go home" ( because it is so often a projection) and the task before us is to be part of the re-making of the world which is taking place as I write this.