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Ah yes, now I remember writing, and thinking, and pondering (and throwing my various opinions out at the world)… sorry ’bout that 8-month or so interruption. Life tends to get in the way of one’s best laid plans, I guess.
And when I left off, I was thinking a lot about- in fact, even working in my spare time on a book- the importance of integral theory to the political providence. Conversely, I was also thinking a lot about the many ways in which integral thinkers get politics all wrong. For instance, I just came across a new (to me) site by integral heavy-weight Corey W. deVos, a guy who I generally like (OK, I’ve never met him). This despite the fact that I have some serious disagreements with his take on “integral politics”. But it’s nothing personal against him, since the mistakes he makes are rampant throughout the integral community.
In particular, my attention was drawn to a post up on Mr. deVos’ site which is more or less a mini-manifesto on the wonders- the integral nature even- of green capitalism. As I’ve said before, I’ve found that in general the integral community is liberal (in the American popular sense, liberal to social democratic in the European political sense) and very, very defensive of capitalism. They like it. A lot. At the very best they’d like to see it look more like the capitalist-socialist hybrid that is popular through much of Europe. But the integral community is, from what I’ve seen, more or less 98% upper-middle class or better. Even those “without money” come from privilaged backgrounds (not surprisingly, there’s a high concentration of ‘whiteness’ too, since economic standing and racial make-up are so often related, though, again just from what I’ve seen, the racial mix of the integral community is a bit more diverse than the socio-economic mix).
And while I’m on this tangent (I will get to Mr DeVos’ post and my opinions of what’s wrong with it), a word about the integral community’s general economic background (and connected political leanings): it’s no coincidence at all that the integral community is by-and-large made up of individuals whose economic lot have enabled them to have a higher degree of education, and have afforded them the leisure time to ponder the sorts of bigger picture questions that might lead one to come to an integral vantage point of the world (Kosmos, whatever you’d like to call it). There are, in fact, little if any people (let alone currents) involved with integral theory (or practice or interests) from Harlem, East St Louis, or South Central LA. There are, however, hotbeds of integral activity in Boulder, Ashville, Burlington. Speaking in strictly political terms, people who benefit from a political (economic) system are going to be loath to embrace the destruction of that system, even if the destruction of that system were to bring about a net gain for the majority, or even the planet. Instinctually, we want security and safety, and if we have it, well, it becomes quite a thing to root for something else to take its place, no matter the pros or cons.
I’ve mentioned before that one of the sites I regular to keep up to speed with the news and opinions of the American left is commondreams.org. Of late, they’ve really stepped it up, especially regarding the health care debate and the “Tea Party” movement that has sprung up around it. Here’s their lastest little side note, a good one, from several angles:
But We Thought Socialists Made The Trains Always Run On Time
You gotta love those zany teabaggers. Now the people who went to D.C. to protest government-run programs – on government-built roads, with government-funded police protection etc – are complaining the government-run subway system didn’t meet their needs, and Texas Rep. Kevin Brady has sent an angry letter to the subway czar. The kicker: Brady voted against stimulus funds to improve the Metro. Cognitive dissonance, thy name is wingnut.
“I will demand answers from Metro,” wrote Brady to whatever socialist tyrant runs the D.C. subway.
“After months of committee meetings and hundreds of hours of heated debate, the United States Congress remained deadlocked this week over the best possible way to deny Americans health care.
“Both parties understand that the current system is broken,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Monday. “But what we can’t seem to agree upon is how to best keep it broken, while still ensuring that no elected official takes any political risk whatsoever. It’s a very complicated issue.”
“Ultimately, though, it’s our responsibility as lawmakers to put these differences aside and focus on refusing Americans the health care they deserve,” Pelosi added.”
If you can’t read it, that sign in the middle does, in fact, say “We have no idea what we’re talking about” (from protests outside Obama’s “Town Hall Meeting” in New Hampshire recently).
My favorite “green anarchist” site (i.e., the only one worth reading at all) is greenisthenewred.com (though boy, I really don’t like that name). Will Potter over there has an interesting post up right now, concerning some activists who’ve been working against the proposed I-69 NAFTA super highway (to connect Mexico to Canada through the Midwestern U.S.). Mr Potter notes that, not only were two activists arrested under racketeering charges (a set of laws intended to reign-in mobsters) (and, who’s kidding who, few “green anarchists” are anywhere near as organized as the mob) but in requesting the oddly high $20,000 bond against people charged with “conspiring” to commit non-violent direct action protests (yes, they didn’t do anything, they just thought and talked about engaging in civil disobedience) the government’s motion for the bond includes this non-logic:
The defendant has been observed advocating literature and materials which advocate anarchy…
I’ll let that sit-in for you. Regardless of crimes that may or may not have been committed- remember, our supposed justice system works on the assumption that one is innocent until proven otherwise, no matter the allegations against- the process of setting one’s bail amount is a matter of how much of a danger to the community or a flight risk the accused are thought to be. And in this instance, the government is saying that their bail should be set unusually high (for charges of this nature) because the accused had been observed advocating literature– suggesting that people read! It is not, in any way, shape, form, or stretch of the imagination, the government’s role (not in a supposed democracy at least) to concern itself at all with what political views people hold or ideas they read about.
Don’t get side-tracked by the specter of things like “they were conspiring to break the law (tree sits); their literature was advocating property destruction (vandalism)…” I’ll let you in on a secret here folks: my bookshelf is chalk-full of books “which advocate anarchy” and they were all bought legally, on the open market. In fact, thousands of people across this country could be charged right this moment (if this non-logic is legitimate for arguing that their bail should be higher I can only assume the insinuation is that this is an actual crime, since we wouldn’t say to set their bail higher because they drank decaf this morning) with possessing or advocating literature and materials which advocate “anarchy”. For that matter, there are a number of publishing company’s which may have to go down on this charge (the anarchist run AK Press, for example) not to mention the makers and the distributors of several films (V for Vendetta for one).
But before I get too lost in the political freedom angle of this story, I want to bring it back to and stay clear about the really big issue here: advocating literature– suggesting people read- is not and can never be a crime or even a point used for character assassination.
You know what folks: call me a rebel, call me a criminal, but here’s what I’m gonna say: go read something. Hell, go read Chomsky on Anarchism, or Bakunin: A Biography by Leier, or something by Kropotkin or Proudhon or Emma Goldman or Murry Bookchin. Go read whatever you want, whatever you can, in fact, about a variety of different political, social, and economic ideas. It’s not illegal (yet), nor is me suggesting that you do so.
I’m wondering if anyone can tell me the difference between this scene:
and this scene:
Give up? Well, for starters, in the first video the U.S. (the president, the government, and the press) either explicitly or at least tactfully supports the protesters in the street over the “heavy handed” violence of the police. In the second video, it’s just the opposite: the American State sees the violent actions of those police forces as “restoring law and order” and enforcing “security” in the face of radical, criminal social deviants. By no surprise, that first video is of protesters in Tehran, Iran these past few days. Iran, see, refuses to open it’s consumer goods markets to Western business, and more importantly, refuses to open its petroleum resources to Western exploitation for corporate profit. Perhaps just as importantly, Iran refuses to accept the U.S. military as a legitimate “police force” over their sovereign affairs. That second video, on the other hand, is from protests in South Korea in 2007, where people took to the streets against the devastating domestic effects (particularly in rural areas among peasants and farmers) of global capitalism. See, South Korea does “freely” trade consumer goods with the U.S., does offer its natural resources to U.S. corporate exploitation, and freely recognizes the U.S. military as a legitimate “security force” within its own borders.
Engage in a global economic order in which the power elite can line their pockets? beat down dissent when necessary; refuse to allow rich white Americans and Europeans a chance at making money off of your people and land? well, how dare you beat those innocent people in the streets.
See, while admittedly president Obama has taken a very reserved public stance regarding the recent election results in Iran (the guy the U.S. preferred didn’t win) it’s no secret whatsoever that the West (including the U.S.) very much wants Ahmadinejad out of power in Iran and political unrest there is very much a welcome development, as far as the powers that be here are concerned. Make no mistake, Ahmadinejad is an asshole of the highest order; among other absurdities he’s a holocaust denier, and in his political fits against the Israeli State (not unjustified from a humanitarian perspective) he’s gone that extra step to believe and promote full-blow conspiracy theory’s and even pal around with neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists who share his hate for all things Jew.
What I’m not buying, however, is that there was likely any “stolen” election or that the protest movement that has sprung-up all of the sudden in Tehran is entirely populist, or entirely organic. For those who think I’m dipping into conspiracy theory here, let me assure you: I’m not saying any of this with certainty, ’cause I just don’t know for sure. What I do know- because it’s documented fact- is that the U.S. (along with other Western allies) has a long, long history of interfering in the political and electoral happenings of country’s for it’s own strategic (financial and military) gains. The fermentation of pro-capitalist, upper class minority revolt in Venezuela, for instance; the “orange revolution” in Ukraine. As I said in my last post- the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, and in all three of these examples that’s very true. In Venezuela, while the U.S. tried to covertly foment dissent in that country against Chavez, it’s also true that Chavez is power hungry and running that country in the same tradition of authoritarian socialist State’s throughout the Twentieth Century. As well, Chavez loses much if any real sympathy we might extend to him by exaggerating the acts against him to try to prove his own point and draw attention to the interference of pro-capitalist forces within their borders. Same with Ukraine: while programs like USAID covertly built pro-Western movements among sympathetic elements of the population (hit that link on “orange revolution” above and read down to the section on “involvement of outside forces”), Russia operated the same kind of program to push their favored candidate, just with all the not-very-subtle effectiveness of their authoritarian history (um, poisoning the other candidate? really? your covert political meddling handbook is the James Bond series?). I find it incredibly likely that relatively progressive student movements have been nudged in Iran with the oversight of USAID or some other similar U.S. program; Ahmadinejad of course doesn’t win us any sympathy’s by claiming to have won in a landslide when it was likely closer than that, and by offering us photo-shopped PR images of his faithful backers.
In statements about the protests in Iran, president Obama has explicitly spoken about the importance of people’s ability and right to protest without feeling the heavy hand of the State come down on them. Let’s just agree to keep those comments in mind when we get the to G20 in Pittsburgh in September.
Gang of queers force Nazi out of Albany Pride march
We found 41 year old “Spanish Blue Blood,” a self proclaimed “stormtrooper” of the National Socialist Movement and senior moderator of the NSM’s official party forum, sitting on a bus bench waiting for a crew that never showed… [And beat his ass]
The second he saw us he split for the street
but didn’t get far til we caught up with him and gave him what he deserved.
“Spanish Blue Blood,” who lives in the Colonie area of Albany, had been trying for weeks to draw up enough people to stage a counter protest of Albany’s Capital Pride march but apparently he couldn’t even get a single person out. He recently celebrated his 41st birthday on June 9th so we delivered some belated gifts-in the form of tightly
balled fists. The gang beat him until the cops showed and we made our way back into the park with no arrests.
-A motley crew of queers, anti-fascists, and anarchists
That, friends, is the “politically correct” way to deal with neo-Nazi’s in your community. Good on Albany.