The problem with Parecon is that you have to read about it. Yeah, you could listen to a talk by Albert or Hahnel, but...I mean what are the odds of anyone really doing that. Fuck, what a chore. And it is a fucking chore. One that deserves the use of an expletive.
How many people have read the Parecon books, all of them? Really. Even if one excludes the one meant for real economists. Who'd want to? Jesus. I have. I can't even remember most of them. Vague recollections. Everything just blending into some kind of general lump of stuff that kind of makes sense to me. But shit, I've been absorbed in some kind of research project over the last decade and a half really. And what a friggin' boring research project at that. And what a dull life that makes for! Who wants that?
But it is a problem, this reading thing. Reading takes time. Understanding what you read takes more time. Discussing it with others takes time. Rereading what you just read takes more time because forgetting is so fucking easy. I'm a great forgetter. I'd be lousy doing some kind of quiz thing about Frank Zappa, but I could talk for hours, days, weeks, or months, even years, about his music and it's ramifications, for me personally and otherwise. I mean, what a great man he was, composing music using a machine, the synclavier, in the eighties which spoke directly to me. Jazz From Hell, one of the great compositional efforts of the late twentieth century, regardless of the fact that Tom Fowler, a bass player in one of Franks band for years in the seventies, reckoned it was pathetic. Idiot. Tom doesn't know shit. My favourite composer basically giving computer generated music the go ahead to me, in a world pervaded predominantly by opposing attitudes. Anyway, I digress.
Parecon. Who's really read about it? Nah, most people can't, won't, be bothered. See, this thing about solidarity economics, or community economics, or even aspects of p2p, or co-ops, or land trusts and participatory budgeting, and doing shit yourselves, voluntary simplicity, is more about understanding by doing. Actual doing. Doing stuff. Things. You don't really need books. It's more about actually avoiding reading stuff. Not having to read too much. I mean, if you are going to read something, read about how to build a tiny house, or permaculture, or building a bike, or how to start a co-op and stuff, stuff that pertains directly to what you are doing right now or could be doing right now, rather than about some ridiculous set of economic institutions that may or may not work in the future.
I mean, who the fuck wants to read a book about anarchist accounting http://www.anarchistaccounting.info/ ? Well, I did. Never thought I would ever read some such shit, but I did. Do I remember most of it? Not really, but I found it important and interesting. And necessary. And now it's there for me to consult. (Jesus, how boring is that ?) But how the frick do you introduce this shit to anyone else not an accountant or an economist? Well, you can't really. They aren't interested.
But this reading shit thing isn't just restricted to Parecon. The whole plethora or wad of stuff that finds its way dumped on my doorstep via emails from the Next System Project is a time consuming nightmare. Do I read it all? I try. What the fuck for? No-one wants to talk about any of it seriously or for any length of time (shit, I don't even know if I do myself, as opposed to 'I do, someone else') including left wingers who regard themselves as "progressives", "radicals" or "revolutionaries". Sometimes they may. For a little bit. The odd comment. They may even argue with ya for a tad, but then it's all over. End. No more. See ya. "And don't call me, I'll call you!"
So I don't understand why so much shit is being made available by the Next System Project really. It's just too much. And so many of the fucking "visions" or things that pertain to be "visions" or alternative systems all seem like much the same. Different words and phrasing but essentially the same. I mean, solidarity economics isn't a vision, it's a movement that so far hasn't come up with fucking anything much but old notions of reorganised workplaces and local/community economics and a hope that these activities will somehow take hold and give rise to a better way of doing stuff. P2p (apart from other old notions of people doing things they enjoy outside of work - because they can - and sharing them with others) is also about self organisation and this notion of "emergence". Shit emerging out of the present from "new" ways of doing stuff, like open software design moving into hardware, or like living simply showing the way for others as everyone sees how wonderful it all is (no sarcasm there by the way). "Revolutionary" improv!
But none of it is certain in terms of where it is heading, and none of it is really visionary in the real sense. There are actually only a few real visions that have clear designed institutional structure mooted to foster a better way of life for all. Three off the top of the dome, Parecon, Inclusive Democracy and David Schweickart's market socialism, or what he calls economic democracy. One could include a steady state economy of the Daly variety or a Pat Devine, hard to understand, planned and market mixed economy. But really, there aren't many. Further, one could argue that Inclusive Democracy is not as well thought through as Schweickart's model or Parecon, though it shares far more with Parecon, and apart from a few areas, actually isn't much different. It just isn't as well developed, in my opinion, so isn't as clear. One could include Ted Trainer's Simpler Way, but it is more a hodge podge of ideas rather than a clear coherent vision. And shit, check out the Simpler Way website and have a look at how much there is to read. Fuck that, I'll just go buy some chickens, grow me veggies, build my mud house, extract me water from a pump I construct from an old bicycle driven by wind, make me new clothes from old clothes, and drive my musical gear and computer by peddling like shit and typing or playing at the same time. That will be the hum you will hear in my recordings, unless I go direct in, which means no "air", and I kind of like air!
And now I don't even know what I am talking about, or how I got to here really. Lost my train. (Wonder if that's what Bob was on about when he sung, "...when your train gets lost"? I don't think he even knows. Just sounded good at the time.) Something about reading, or not reading. Like when I found a link directing me to a detailed green new deal, The Climate Mobilisation Victory Plan, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bze7GXvI3ywrSGxYWDVXM3hVUm8/view calling for zero net emissions by 2025, and what would be required to achieve such a thing. Over one hundred pages. The recent four visions published by the Next System Project are collectively 143 pages. I have read two and a bit of them so far and I have no fucking idea why I am doing so. They are so fucking boring to read. Commons this, prosperity that, well-being this, the good society that, green this, sacred and spiritual that, solidarity this, diversity that, self management this, balanced job complexes that....blah, blah, blah, blah.
But I' m drawn to them far more than essays about capitalism being bad, or even essays about the Standing Rock campaign, or Rojava, or spirituality and its place in this whole thing, or what makes us all human and essentially good people, or whatever else...Trump and Hillary...Corbyn, etc.. (Although, I do enjoy reading Chomsky on such matters as what sort of beings we are and language, because he goes hard) Fuck, I don't know. I mean, how many Gar Alperovitz books can one read and I've read about three, not to mention articles? And Chomsky's political stuff? Shit. It's all pretty much the same. Or Paul Street, over and over and again and again? But one does feel kind of smart when one has read all this stuff, all this stuff on how bad everything is, or campaigns and movements and things, basic incomes and growing automation and precarity, and then one starts to use the word one all the time!
Actually, I don't know why I read 'em, these "vision" things. I got no-one to discuss the shit with, no-one's interested. Newspaper articles are far easier to digest, more fun too, because there is a good chance everyone else has read the same thing. But even then you only talk or discuss the things for an appropriately short time, or, if not, someone goes on and on for far too long, usuually because they've imbibed too much friggin' alcohol or are just an annoying arsehole like myself!
And I'm serious when I say no-one's interested. Because they aren't. Have you seen the look they give ya when you start up?And anyway, how much should or can one discuss them before one reaches the conclusion that the conversation ain't going anywhere really. It just reaches some end point, some moment when it becomes clear to the participants that that is it, there is no reason to continue. Silence. Shhhhh....It's a little like the end of a long free improvisation. It just suddenly reaches its natural end, stops for no particular reason, and there is this silence and absolutely no need nor any motivation to go on. So one just packs up, goes home or continues just talking shit, cracking jokes, drinking, smoking or falling asleep.
It's no wonder most people don't know much about Parecon nor want to find out. It's an actual vision. A real one with real institutional structure designed for really good reasons and purpose by really good people with good intent, but you have to read about it, or listen to others talk about it and that takes sooooo much time. Soooo much booooorrrrriiiinnnggg time.
See, economics pervades everything, and most people hate that. Can't stand the thought. Opportunity costs. If I do x I'm not doin' y. That's what fucked me over in my guitar practice. If I practise this, I'm not practising that. If I play this, I'm not playing that. So I just stopped and made my own shit up, eventually. Thank fucking luck! And I mean SHIT. Also, if I read about Parecon, I'm not reading poetry or meditating. But if I do read about Parecon, I'll probably have to think about it in order to really get a grip on it and that means I'm not thinking about fun stuff. I may EVEN have to find some other poor sap to discuss it with as well. (sorry Jason) Then I'll have to annoy people talking about it when I'd prefer to annoy them with stories I have read (and enjoyed reading), about what a maniac Alex Honnold is for free soloing Half Dome, Moonlight Buttress, Astroman, Rostrum, El Sendero Luminoso and other ridiculous vertical to near vertical over thousand foot rock walls.
I have always thought, and actually said numerous times, the two hardest things to do in the world are free solo rock climbing and stand up comedy. One complete fuck up and you die.
So how the shit did I get to writing about Alex Honnold and say, Stewart Lee, a stand up comedian (who in fact I have only just mentioned, very cleverly, now), two exponents of the two hardest crafts one could ever think of doing, when I started out writing about reading about Parecon? (See, that's an issue with this notion of "emergence" and "self organisation" just evolving out of present practice, kind of improvising. Things don't always end up where you want things to. That is if you had some idea where you were headed in the first place, which I'm not sure I did when I started writing this!)
So how did I end up here? Gravity, I reckon. That's what I'm gonna say anyway. Gravity pulled me off track. Some action at a distance I know nothing about. Nor anyone else for that matter. Some natural force pulling me towards something of far greater attraction, and attractiveness, than anything economic. Like Alex Honnold or Stewart lee. And as much as Alex Honnold loves free soloing, if he continues to defy gravity climbing without a rope, it will eventually get him. Drag him to the ground where he belongs.(See practical stuff is about having your feet on the ground, not on the side of a vertical rock wall or pointing upwards, possibly, and strangely, to some stupid abstract vision. It's strange because you usually point with your finger rather than with your feet!) Particularly if he tries to free solo 3000 feet of El Capitan (even thinking about it is absurd). Things don't fall up, on this planet at least. It just ain't natural.
So why do most people not want to read about Parecon? It's only natural not to.
I don't know what the fuck this piece of writing is for, nor why anyone would spend the fucking time reading it. Truly a waste of effort, on my side, and by anyone else dumb enough to get this far.
But if real effort and sacrifice was made reading it, and a certain amount was at least put in writing it, then surely whoever made it, and perhaps even I, deserve something, everything else being equal.
My homage to Frank