Open versus Closed Societies

19 Sep

Let’s assume that a person really wanted to understand a foreign philosophy, a different way of setting up a society. If that was the case, I would recommend listening to Suzanne Guerlac talk about the philosophy of Henri Bergson. Thinking in Time

This is a dense program, but Suzanne is articulate and the interviewer asks probing intelligent questions, so if you have an hour where you really want to listen closely, I heartily recommend this program. It is especially powerful when Suzanne starts talking about how the evolution from a closed society to an open society is not an easy evolutionary transition, that Bergson thought it would take some sort of fundamental change in way of being to occur. Imagining that sort of thing is difficult. Yet those moments occur. Think Solidarity in Poland. Think the fall of the USSR, the sudden destruction of the Berlin Wall. In those moments, I suspect that an open society emerged, however briefly, before a closed society reasserted itself. Fits and starts. Evolution and change may not be orderly.

So, open societies. What would that look like? Listen hard to Guerlac’s discussion of love and livingness as something new, not love that arises with an object that is loved by a subject who loves, but when love arises in reference to all living things. Pretty amorphous stuff. And for those of you who need a lot of structure, this is not going to be your cup of vegan broth. But if you want to stretch a bit, and you want to commit the energy, I think this program will stretch you.

Against the Grain appears to be a wildly intelligent program. My friend Gar Lipow is the latest guest. Gar is talking about climate change and economic exploitation. Suzanne is so last week.

If you make it through the Open Society talk and thinking in time ala Bergson, and you want to think more about open societies, you could check out the mp3s at Audio Anarchy . The Anarchy Tension series is a good place to start if you have an open mind. You may come to the conclusion that this is simple utopian sophistry, that might be true, but it may also be true that if/when an open society emerges, this could be one of the ways that it will happen. This might be the shapeless shape of a certain kind of open society.

See some of you there.

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No Minority, No Majority. There Shall Just Be People.

12 Sep

Biko!

You are not forgotten.

Struggle. Resist. Live and Work for Justice.

Austin’s Picks: Is class struggle anarchism?

25 Aug

Austin K sent this link along in an email this morning. It’s a couple of years old, but it’s still worth sharing and reading. The links go to interesting websites if you have an open mind about politics, which is to say, that you can imagine or entertain valid political positions that are broader than the republican and democratic party talking points. I am only posting two of the points that Nate pulls from Tom’s article. Nate uses his What in the Hell …? website the way I use smallblueplanet.org as a staging area to gather ideas, to store links and info, then to compose from that website for publication elsewhere. For me, that makes Nate’s What in the Hell… ? particularly interesting.

What in the Hell is Class Struggle Anarchism?

July 24, 2009

Austust another WordPress.com siteIt’s

Hat tip to Tom Wetzel for this fine article. Check it out. Full disclosure and a little bragging, I know Tom, we’re both involved in the Workers Solidarity Alliance, so I’m biased. Anyhow, read his piece.

My favorite three bits are quoted below. With these bits I was reading it and I was like “yeah, this is what I try to do in this kind
of work but I haven’t put it this clearly before,” which is a cool feeling, like the article put clearly into words what had been more of a gut feeling for me or stuff I’d fumbled and put badly before.

1. “Dual organizational anarchists often say that the role of the anarchist political organization is to “win the battle of ideas,” that
is, to gain influence within movements and among the mass of the population by countering authoritarian or liberal or conservative ideas. Bakunin had said that the role of anarchist activists was a “leadership of ideas.”

But disseminating ideas isn’t the only form of influence. Working with others of diverse views in mass organizations and struggles, exhibiting a genuine commitment, and being a personable and supportive person in this context also builds personal connections, and makes it more likely one’s ideas will be taken seriously.”

2. “mass struggles and mass organizing as the process for changing society…because it is through the active participation of growing numbers of ordinary people, building and controlling their own movements, that they develop the capacity and aspirations for changing society.

From the point of view of “organized anarchism with a class struggle perspective,” two kinds of organization are needed: (1) forms of mass organization through which ordinary people can grow and develop their collective strength, and (2) political organizations of the anarchist or libertarian socialist minority, to have a more effective means to coordinate our activities, gain influence in working class communities, and disseminate our ideas. In the World War 1 era Italian anarchists coined the term “dual organization” for this perspective.

Read the whole piece if you have a couple of minutes.

Austerity Politics v. Posterity Politics

31 Jul

Are we keynesians or would we prefer to be serfs? It’s an election year, soCourtesty Billy Hathorn Wiki Commons we get to weigh on this and other questions. I really think we need to be thinking about creative economics. Market-based economics that are sustainable, that create useful commons instead of quarterly profits, dividends and obscene bonuses. We all get to decide how to make that happen.

As for me, I will be voting for posterity economics. Raise taxes and reinstate the steeply progressive tax rates that discourage bald-faced greed and encourage investment in useful infrastructure. You will hear that taxing the rich won’t raise the funds that we need, that we will have to tax the middle class. That is a calculated threat by the rich to discourage taxing the rich. And besides, look at the demographics, where is this vaunted middle class?

Where are the middle class jobs?

Time to downsize? Ouch!  Click me please

A couple of stories from the Washington Post this morning caught my attention:

The Mittster is chillin’ in Israel for a few days after his tour of the London Olympics where he wowed them. well, maybe not. but anyway, he’s out to Israel now. Checking the real estate in Jerusalem. Making contacts with car elevator contractors in case he decides to build a get away place in the Other Holy Land (not salt lake).

Mittster did have kind words for the Israeli health care system. Unfortunately that health care system is exactly the kind of big government interference that the right wing is certain will destroy the soul of a great nation. Here is a piece of the WAPO article on that:

 

Romney praises health care in Israel, where research says ‘strong government influence’ has driven down costs

 

Posted by Sarah Kliff on July 30, 2012 at 11:10 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had some very kind things to say about the Israeli health care system at a fundraiser there Monday. He praised Israel for spending just 8 percent of its GDP on health care and still remaining a “pretty healthy nation:”

When our health care costs are completely out of control. Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care. 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our health care costs.

Romney’s point about Israel’s success in controlling health care costs is spot on: Its health care system has seen health care costs grow much slower than other industrialized nations.

How it has gotten there, however, may not be to the Republican candidate’s liking: Israel regulates its health care system aggressively, requiring all residents to carry insurance and capping revenue for various parts of the country’s health care system.

Israel created a national health care system in 1995, largely funded through payroll and general tax revenue. The government provides all citizens with health insurance: They get to pick from one of four competing, nonprofit plans. Those insurance plans have to accept all customers—including people with pre-existing conditions—and provide residents with a broad set of government-mandated benefits.

Read the whole article? Go for it.

It’s too bad that the conservatives have no sense of humor or appreciation of irony. They really miss out on the best that their leaders have to offer.

Second piece from the WA Post that jumped out at me:

 

 

 

As ‘fiscal cliff’ looms, debate over pre-Election Day layoff notices heats up

 

 

 

 

By , Published: July 30

 

 

 

The deep federal spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the start of next year may trigger dismissal notices for tens of thousands of employees of government contractors, companies and analysts say, and the warnings may start going out at a particularly sensitive time:

Days before the presidential election.

Read the whole piece. I dare you.

I hope that the Dems find a semblance of spinal material and will hold certain feet to the fire. Imagine a budget cut so severe, so fair that it would even cut into defense jobs. Well, try to imagine that. What are the chances?

Each moment we are faced again with the choice of austerity politics or posterity politics. Think on.

 

 

 

The State is a Condition

29 Jul

“The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another…”

Gustav Landauer

Have to pack and set up the Really Really Free Market in Olympia. Contracting other relationships, behaving differently toward one another? Can we really destroy the state by behaving differently?

Wall of Films? Yes!

28 Jul

Boy, we all need a little couch potato time, don’t we?

Don’t know about you, but I would rather watch a movie stream across my big screen at home than fight traffic and take other chances with a night out at the cineplex. Sorry for the loss of jobs, but I just don’t go out to the movies very often.. for a variety of reasons.

We also don’t have an antenna on top of the house, or a dish, or any cable channel systems plumbed into the domicile, but we have a decent internet pipe and an extra computer plugged in to big screen and sound system, so we can watch the inter-tube-net movies when schedule allows.

Always looking for free streaming movies and entertainment.

Here’s a new source that I just came across: Wall of Films

Check it out.

Wall of Films | Films For Action

If an Agent Knocks…

26 Jul

Well, the news in Olympia is that the agents came knocking in the last few days.

Our free society has generally embraced the political freedom of aligning with either the Republican or the Democratic Party!

For those of us that find that range to be a little too tight, you can stray into the fringes of the Justice Party or the Green Party.

If you are drawn to politics beyond this range, you should expect to be surveilled, investigated, possibly indicted and maybe jailed for your politics.

True political freedom in the land of the free and the home of the brave has always been illusory.

There are some important considerations to consider if you have a hoody on your coat rack in the closet today.

Claim and exercise your Constitutional rights. Don’t fall for lying schemes and conversational gambits such as “you know why I am here, don’t you?”

“Let me come in and let’s talk.”

You may want to exercise your right to remain silent.

You may want to exercise your right to counsel.

I expect we will be having meetings to discuss the suppression of political thought, the continuing criminalization of poverty, the politics of oppression.

Sunday, July 29th at Sylvester Park at 2:30. See you there?

Here are a couple of online resources:

http://ccrjustice.org/files/CCR_If_An_Agent_Knocks.pdf

http://grandjuryresistance.org/