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Gardening in the Asphalt, Reprised

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(Photo courtesy ynefesh.com.)

I borrowed the title, format and questions used in this post from Jo Bucklin's 2013 post "Gardening in the Asphalt."  The answers are mine, informed by many conversations with Sara Cromwell and Sarah Owens.  -- Michael

 

Your chapter recently completed a project that took a lot of work and ended abruptly. What was the project?

From January 2015 until November 2018, we worked as volunteers at KMUZ, a local non-profit community radio station.  We manned the “front office” desk once a week to assist the station manager, we answered phones during the station’s seasonal pledge drives, we put together a biweekly Salem City Council report for Willamette Wake Up (KMUZ’s weekday morning public affairs program) and, beginning in April 2016, we produced, engineered and hosted Willamette Wake Up’s Tuesday segment.  In addition to our volunteer work, we donated an average of $400 in “challenge grants” a year to KMUZ during pledge drives, identifying ourselves in those pledges as “The Socialist Friends of KMUZ.”
       
How did the project end?

The project ended on November 9, 2018, when the three of us who produced and hosted the Tuesday morning Willamette Wake Up program were fired, without explanation or discussion, three days after our program’s absent-mayor interview aired (listen to the interview here at 6:38 to 14:50).  (See also  "Local Politics Kills Another Salem OR IOPS Project.")
       
Why did the project end?

The timing and the circumstances of our firing made it clear that our absent-mayor interview was the immediate cause, but, the two folks who hand-delivered our termination notice had been waiting for some time for an excuse to oust us. (For the details, see "The Radio Days.")   Although KMUZ actively sought new volunteers, there was no real system for integrating new folks into the organization or its work.  You basically had to figure out things for yourself, and, when you did, you began to see how dysfunctional the organization was, largely as a result of the ingrained resistance to self-examination, innovation and respectful disagreement.  We remained “outsiders,” but not because we didn’t do the work we signed on for or disagreed with KMUZ’s “Mission” statement.  Instead, it was because we never did fit in with the passive-aggressive, virtue-signaling subculture created by the folks who’d been there a while and were quite comfortable with the way things were.   Nevertheless, we thought we saw what KMUZ could be and worked hard to help move it in that direction, with the encouragement of Dave Hammock, the station manager who had years of experience in public radio and could see (and apparently wanted to correct) the same problems with KMUZ that we did.  And, we believed at the time that our efforts also were endorsed by Bill Smaldone, who is a professor of history at a local university, a founder of our IOPS chapter and a member of the KMUZ Board of Directors.  In the end, however, when faced with the choice, both Bill Smaldone and Dave Hammock ratified the decision to fire us in order to mollify the two KMUZ folks who’d carried it out.  
       
What effect did the project’s ending have on your chapter?

Bill Smaldone has left the chapter.  (For the details, see "IOPS Salem Chapter Meeting #38.")  Our remaining core group is stronger than before, because of our shared experience with KMUZ -- both the volunteer work we did there and our being fired.  We also have more IOPS chapter funds now to devote to other projects.
       
How do you feel about it?

I enjoyed working with my IOPS chapter colleagues to produce, engineer and broadcast a weekly public affairs radio program that focused on local people and issues.  I’d never done anything like that before, and I’m using many of the skills I acquired there to produce MidValleyCast.com.  I liked the stories we produced for KMUZ, and my favorites are the interviews with the 4-H and FFA teens at the Marion County Fair -- I’d just walk up with my recorder and say, “Tell me your first name and tell me about your animal,” and these remarkable young people responded with pure gold.  At the same time, I’m glad that I’m no longer volunteering at KMUZ -- glad to be away from that culture and the atmosphere that it creates. It was a lot to put up with just to be able to produce a weekly radio program.
       
Why talk about this experience? What do you want the rest of IOPS to take away from this?

Local work is essential, but, it’s slow and hard.  And, as discussed in the first Gardening in the Asphalt blog, there are many self-described local “progressives” who make it even harder.  Projects succeed or fail because of the people involved and what they bring to the table.  Although essential to any meaningful revolutionary work, the capacity to speak and hear the truth without blame or judgment is rare.  
       
What are you working on now?

Our IOPS chapter is moving forward to identify another project.  Sarah and I coordinate a community garden for Marion-Polk Food Share, serve on our neighborhood association board, podcast at MidValleyCast.com and blog at CANDO Archive.   

Discussion 78 Comments

  • Boulder Dash 5th May 2019

    “You basically had to figure out things for yourself, and, when you did, you began to see how dysfunctional the organization was, largely as a result of the ingrained resistance to self-examination, innovation and respectful disagreement.”

    Is that a description of this place? The hardened heavy immovable grey-black asphalt is IOPS? The crack represents an opportunity from which something could still grow? The blooming (literal meaning, not colloquial slang) flower is the Salem Chapter?

    I used to practice Buddhism. Chucked it. Wasn’t working. Too many pithy sayings! I like the philosophy behind it though...Chan/ Zen clean lines. I understand romance and it’s necessity for some. Myths and legends...stories...even religion.

    But there’s this thing I call practical rationality. It just isn’t practical for everyone to sit on there arse and meditate all the time. Perhaps not rational either. But perhaps you need some to do it...see what happens.

    You need a bit of everything I guess to make things work. But then comes the nitty gritty. Minutiae. Head spaces. What’s really in the head? What are we really thinking? Someone starts an IOPS chapter then turns on it and ends up out of it.

    Swat ‘appens. Splits. Fallouts. Disagreements.

    There’s action and ideas and enthusiasm, even romance, notions of love, compassion, dreams of everyone getting along...then it all goes to shit...perhaps there’s not enough practical rationality.

    Extinction rebellion or Instinction rebellion? Instinct is good sometimes, sometimes not so. People punch others on instinct...and often. They take a swing. Don’t know what happened. Rebelling feels good too sometimes. I did something. I belong. I had a go.

    Groups build. Tribes. Movements. But then, little things happen, get in the way. Nitty gritty stuff you never see as a cause. Little secrets in the head perhaps!?The tiny little piece of wire that flattened your tire. That sense of no confidence in yourself that you are constantly trying to overcome whilst watching and listening to those others who seemingly have no problem with such an internal struggle. Seemingly. Until you talk to them. But even that won’t necessarily help.

    Romance, myths, calls to love, calls to arms, rebelling, direct action or reaction and non-violent resistance...tribes and groups and movements (people often talk of movements but I often wonder if they are...like the mythical “we” or “Left”) that then grow romantic notions of themselves and the future and around efforts and actions. Myths and legends are born. Myths and stories of legendary activists and actions recalled, history remembered, and then...gone, split, broken...then...yet another call to love, to come together, a “we”, a “movement”, on a vague notion of a dream future and maybe a call to arms at the same time...repeat...then repeat...then repeat...the repeat....

    There is no time left. My daughter can’t get the idea of a shitty future unfolding out of her head.

    Practical rationality calls. I have no choice as an everyday punter to believe the science. A hard nosed green new deal like The Climate Mobilisation Victory Plan is needed and nothing less. Basically now.

    But it must be followed up by further vigilant effort to move toward a participatory society as Tom Wetzel suggested in his recent essay https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/a-green-new-deal-the-eco-syndicalist-alternative/.

    And that must be, on practical rational grounds, founded on strategy and connected vision for the future, as expounded in the series of 16 essays written recently by Michael Albert.

    It is not practically rational to say to be in the present is more important than to try to imagine the future. It isn’t even coherent. It is not practically rational to say, as a John Jordan did, quoted in A Postcapitalist Politics,

    “Our movements are trying to create a politics that challenges all the certainties of traditional leftist politics, not by replacing them with new ones, but by dissolving any notion that we have answers, plans or strategies that are watertight or universal. . . . We are trying to build a politics . . . that acts in the moment, not to create something in the future but to build in the present, it’s the politics of the here and now. When we are asked how we are going to build a new world, our answer is, “We don’t know, but let’s build it together.”

    The above is romance, a call to love, to tribe, a mythical “we”, and something that easily gets caught up in myth and legend, like a historical story, albeit written by a hardcore activist who has recently penned a similar love letter to the Extinction Rebellion folk.

    Dissolving any notion we have answers is the most practically irrational thing I have read in a long time. Although the quote is 20 yrs old. It is not practically rational to say we do not know how we will build the future but we will do it together, not the least because even the notion of a “we” has not been clearly established or defined. It is a romantic “we” imagined in a dream.

    Dreams fall apart the minute you wake up or snap out of it. Romance is fleeting. Love is not all you need. Extinction rebellion, any rebellion needs to be at the same time practically rational

    The practical rationality of a green new deal. The practical rationality espoused by Tom Wetzel’s. The practical rationality relentlessly and repeatedly espoused by Michael Albert.

    The practical rationality represented in the blooming (colloquial slang) flower, the Salem Chapter, emerging out of a crack in the virtual asphalt that is IOPS.

    What’s hard to take here is the syrupy romantic sentiment embedded in that last sentence above! Kind of reminds me of Russell’s paradox. The set of all sets that are not members of themselves! I need to listen to some Frank Z to wash that syrup out!

    • Michael Livingston 7th May 2019

      I assume that the "the syrupy romantic sentiment embedded in that last sentence above" refers to the last sentence in your John Jordan quote.

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      Oh...no. It refers to my own last sentence. It’s the syrupy notion of your chapter being a flower arising out of the barren virtual landscape that is IOPS. That you guys have hung in for so long, continuing to post minutes no matter what...doing stuff locally...meeting...all that...and I see a kind of paradox (hence the Russell reference) in the idea of your chapter keeping on in a very practical rational way (the type of thinking I like) and the romantic sentiment (which I’m sick of) expressed by the idea of your chapter, and the picture for your blog, representing a possibility...a “blooming” possibility, as in a bloody possibility, and a blooming possibility, as in a flowering one.

      A kind of makes me say, “well done” and a kind of feel “yuck” at the same time.

      It’s not an actual paradox, but what the hey, I got Russell’s set theory in there...and that was probably the real motivating ‘subconscious’ (to reference Dave’s comment), force behind my comment, which probably lends credence to Dave’s critique of practical rationality as being worthy only up to a point. If we definitely give credence to the idea the subconscious drives a lot of shit we do, think and say, that, well, we just can’t ever be conscious of, then we’re probably spending a lot of time second guessing what we do, say or think, rather than just going with the more practical rational notion that our actions, thoughts, words, arise from good or shitty reasoning , of which we are well aware, conscious and in control of.

      Know what I mean? (English accent) That last paragraph was just for fun really.

      But I do think the John Jordan quote is ridiculous, even silly, and very very syrupy!

    • Alex of... 8th May 2019

      ah, you must mean..

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      Ah....no.

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      The “ah....no” was posted as a response to Alex’s, “ah, you must mean”, then the Feynman. Just in case the order is not clear.

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      More this....

    • Alex of... 8th May 2019

      =D

      water, fire, air and dirt
      fuckin magnets.. how do they work?
      and i don't want to talk to a scientist
      y'all motherfuckers lyin and gettin me pissed!

      MIRACLES (1:50)

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      “and i don't want to talk to a scientist
      y'all motherfuckers lyin and gettin me pissed!”

      That’s coz y’all caught up in ya subconscious and all that other sentiment, romance and neurotic psychoshit stuff...

      Snap out of it!


    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      The correct lyric is,

      We could throw our daughter over the side, for a ride, on the tide....

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      Re happiness

    • Alex of... 8th May 2019


    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      Yeah, good argument for the need for practical rationality...

      But then, it’s a good argument for just letting things roll man...woohoo!

    • Alex of... 9th May 2019

      it's an interesting piece i think. i mean, the music is goofy, but the draw here is family/love, something a lot those kids don't seem to have had too much of. they remind me of quite a few i met back when i was 17, droppin acid with the "ave rats" mentioned in the right winger article below. or, many years later when i was doing a bit of volunteer work at Roots young adult shelter in the same hood. ya know, a lot of kids hit the streets because it's actually better than their crappy home situation, and find a "pack" for safety and support. but, not coming with a lot of life skills, can also lead to drug addiction and other problems, and getting stuck on the streets.

      i don't know if the Juggalo movement is a great thing, but there seems to be some genuine care for each other. an old friend of mine related it to various types of emergent community when she watched it. (livin in the rupture i guess). when i was younger i used to think there should be funding to take these kids out of the city, away from the drugs for a few months to say, build a cabin together and experience a different atmosphere. if there's a high needs demographic, i think youth is tops.. at a major fork in the road where things could get better with some help or dug into a hole that's much harder to move on from, if ever.

      a homeless girl came up to chat with me a couple weeks back. i was shocked when i saw her hands, which were swollen in a manner i had never seen. i honestly didn't want to make her feel bad by asking about them after just a few minutes of interaction, but i have no idea what does that.

    • Alex of... 9th May 2019

      plus, Seattle is more classist than ever with a bunch of millenials stomping around with their Amazon money like they own the place. there ARE some serious assholes on the streets (i had a knife pulled on me by some homeless dude a few months back) so maybe it's easy to develop a bad attitude and fear, but the snobby entitled attitides probably piss me off way more.

      hell, and speaking of right wingers, a friend of mine told me last year about a young dude on the streets he had over to his place to let him use some basics. apparently he had joined the Proud Boys because they were the only people he met that would even give him the proverbial time of day in this town. go figure.

    • Boulder Dash 9th May 2019

      The system doesn’t cater for all...never has...Joe Bageant wrote about the Appalachian underclass and its internal contradictions...when systems throw you out or don’t care, you gotta get it from somewhere. There’s care everywhere and assholes...but I reckon there are far less assholes...

    • Alex of... 9th May 2019

      people throw people out, or not. people choose to care, or not. that's about all there is to the system at the root.

    • Boulder Dash 9th May 2019

      Of course. Like corporate responsibility. People are responsible, not abstract entities. But systems create the parameters, the boundaries, in which all this takes place. I agree with Marx...Capitalism causes, by its institutional structure, the exploitation and alienation of workers, that, along with the anti-social and homogenising nature of markets, over time determines a kind of generalised behaviour and set of socio-economic relations.

      Not the only ones and I’m not being complete here by any means. Merely pointing the finger at historical circumstances and environs in which people, who will be the final decision makers, find themselves born through no fault of their own.

      Yes, people choose to act in ways but I’m merely saying the majority at root are good but systems with certain institutional features will determine to a certain degree, how and what sort of relations will develop over time. Choosing to kick someone out or not to care is not necessarily, at root, a persons fault. Certain systems foster and build certain relations and behaviours and people are vulnerable to differing degrees, and in many ways, to these institutional behaviour shaping parameters.

      Most people at root are good and caring, you need, with so many of them around, environs and institutions that foster, maintain and develop those qualities.

    • Alex of... 9th May 2019

      not exactly sure how i would define good or bad/evil. kid who pulled a knife? maybe just feeling desperate and confused and uncared for. an asshole in some ways for now perhaps, in part due to circumstances. a lot of this market/institutional pressure/parameter is way overplayed in my book. nothing is really forcing anyone to exploit others through a corporate entity. you can say no and be voted off the board, or simply walk away. it's not a desperate situation. it's just personal greed and lack of caring for the outcomes on others. there are people with next to nothing who do tremendous amounts to empower others instead. it's a choice, if one looks to their heart for that.. goodness.

      and i don't delve in extremes like Ayn Rand's false choice between selfishness and sacrifice. i think we all have self-interest as well as compassion for others, and a healthy culture is based on that balance. there's nothing forcing anyone to view homeless as nothing more than pests blocking their path to get sushi. compassion/caring/love seems to be a bit absent and there's nothing institutional blocking that. in that sense, i'd say it's true that all we need is love. for what structures exist, they can easily be changed with that embraced. and again, i mean teaching a man to fish, and sharing fish.. empowerment and mutual contribution. we have the freedom to see life as a competition or a.. gathering!

      as MLK said:

      “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

      i think we're probably in "general" agreement. but, with that i'm gunna head out the door for work. actually, i've been doing a lot of delivery by bicycle. nonstop interaction with Amazonians and homeless! the weather is quite nice..

    • Boulder Dash 9th May 2019

      “The American defense, on those rare occasions when one is offered, runs roughly, "Well you commie bastard, I ain't ever seen a sweatshop and I got no Asian kids chained in the basement. So I've got what the guvment calls plausible deniability. Go fuck yerself!" “

      http://www.joebageant.org/2010/12/07/america-y-ur-peeps-b-so-dum/

      We are no doubt in general agreement, otherwise I probably would not be here...still. But I disagree on the “way overplayed” idea and that structures can “easily be changed” with love in mind. History shows they can’t be and notions of love have been around the whole time. There’s a lot of talk of love by everyone, and care, all the time, and yet here we all are, trying desperately to change the system in 2019...actually, at the moment, just redirect it, and quickly.

      We have people suggesting as many people as possible must throw themselves on the wheels and gears to stop the momentum. This is just to get a green new deal up...a necessary institutional structural rearrangement merely to prolong the possibility for species survival.

      All the time, books, movies, poems, songs, groups, tribes, juggaloos and hordes of people going on about love, but very rarely a whiff of, very rarely indeed, the slightest idea of what kind of necessary basic, minimal and maximal set of economic arrangements may be put in place, that will, to the best of our abilities, at this or that point in time, sustain and foster the “love” and caring we all want to see.

      I think the structural play, with a global population of around 7 bill, is exactly the right play...the only play...the necessary play...love’s had its chance and it ain’t enough...never has been. Even choosing to care is fraught within this structured world, and not done on an equal playing field. Some can care easily and without issue, others, it comes with further suffering and pain.

      Right now, it’s a green new deal, a hardcore one, or we’re fucked. Love can come along for the ride on the tide, and no doubt it will, but the real crux of the biscuit is structural right now. And then onward into the future it remains just as important as we endeavour to develop new institutions that foster the love and care...hence why Albert writes what he does. Parecon represents an optimism that I do not find in what are to me at least, rather arrogant statements, like the John Jordan one I quoted above.

      I guess that is where we may separate and go our separate ways, perhaps.

    • Alex of... 9th May 2019

      just curious.. why do you care if the species continues or if others are treated fairly?

    • Boulder Dash 10th May 2019

      Nothing else makes much sense really. It’s kind of innate, built in.

    • Boulder Dash 10th May 2019

      When I say nothing else makes much sense, I mean that not caring if the species continues is somewhat bizarre to me...to truly believe it would require a genetic mutation not conducive to survival (how would we know anyway?), which I reckon would be pretty rare. I would say most who have said such a thing or thought it do not really believe it or even truly can.

    • Boulder Dash 10th May 2019

      A little extra...I have never liked the word evil. There is good and the opposite of good is not evil, but bad. And there are for both words various levels or varying degrees. Evil is extremely rare perhaps not even existing. In fact, one does not necessarily have to use the word. The extreme end of bad. But it gets bandied about far too often for my liking...seriously. I find its use to be more rhetorical...for propagandistic and persuasive purposes. I think there is significant difference between someone saying, that’s some evil shit and that’s some really really bad shit. The two nine elevens, the earlier and the later one, were both some really really bad shit, but not evil. There are moments in history where I can concede it could be used, but I kind of don’t like it even then. Maybe I just don’t want to believe humans can be evil. But I can believe they can do some really, really, and perhaps really, really, really, really bad shit.

    • Alex of... 10th May 2019

      well, i didn't say love in mind. i also didn't say that if only "some" people embrace love or compassion, that change would be easy.

      perhaps it's more practical, and easier, for me to just focus on making money.. focus on my own survival and self-interest.. rather than some future generation that might suffer after i'm dead.. or the homeless, kids dying from waterborne illness, sex slaves, victims of resource wars etc. fuck it. move the factory, dump the waste into the river, buy a house on the hill. must be the institutional pressure or mutation taking over.

      how bizarre.

    • Alex of... 10th May 2019

      besides, it's all just chemicals pumping through the human organism creating these illusions for sake of reproduction, and some day the big ball of gas next to this rock burns out. all quite pointless.

    • Boulder Dash 10th May 2019

      You asked because you were curious. Maybe I should have merely asked why you were curious?

    • Boulder Dash 10th May 2019

      I know you didn’t say exactly that. I knew Inshould have just quoted the passage.

      Perhaps life would be easier for you doing what you say above exactly. But it probably wouldn’t really. Not in your nature.

      I reckon it would be easier for me to do so because I haven’t done or do what you seem to have done or are doing within your community. I don’t have that experience. I prefer being by myself, with a bit of one on one every now and then.

      I stay here because I like ‘talking’ about shit. Maybe you care more than I.

    • Boulder Dash 10th May 2019



      “And what again of an action with a good end but carried out by immoral or by foolish means; or of an action that in itself perhaps should be done but is thought to be foolish or ‘wrong’ by the doer? Can any of these actions, containing both good and bad elements, be called good? Aquinas, whose distinctions we followed earlier, says firmly that in every one of them the actions are bad, invoking the principle that a single defect is enough for badness, while goodness must be goodness in all respects.”

      I will posit, for all the flack it could attract, that Aquina’s himself was unable to truly believe this. I suspect that deep down he knew it impossible. That goodness and badness comes in all shapes and sizes and can never really be pure.

      An heroic act, say saving a drowning witch, spontaneously acted out, that results in the hero’s death, may appear to be a pure act of goodness, but how often do those situations arise for the majority of the population. And maybe for some it’s a robotic response of sorts. So natural a response that there was never any way they could have or would have acted differently. Instinctive. Can one say that that “good” is any different than an animal instinctively feeding its young or even a bird instinctively pushing its sibling out of the nest that results in a gain (never a conscious motivating force for the bird) for them, from the extra attention they end up getting? It’s just chemicals doing their thing. ? To evaluate the spontaneous act of saving a drowning witch as heroic would be rather strange in this case.

      It would be more suggestive of heroism if the person stopped for a bit, considered the ramifications for their own well being of jumping in the water and saving the witch and still went ahead, all things considered...or as many as one could fit in in the short time before the witch drowning, drowns.

      But then, can this be seen as a pure act of goodness? Is it possible that the person doing the saving, for even a fleeting moment, a sixtieth of a finger snap, thought, “oh, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t save them?” If so, this could be seen as a self-interested motivation, in that by thinking of possible future torment for themselves, and not the wellbeing of the witch, they jumped in so that they would not have to deal with it. No matter how fleeting a thought, does that ever so slight self-interested motivation make the act of goodness somewhat impure? Therefore not good according to Aquinas.

      Does any of this matter considering only a very few people really ever contemplate shit to that degree?

      Why are we all even here?

    • Alex of... 11th May 2019

      why curious? it's innate!

      seems like a fundamental question. for someone to be actively seeking solutions to poverty or climate change is only rational if one actually cares about the suffering of others enough to integrate that into their life. sure, maybe during the great Parecon Ages, the economic transactions would work some of that out without much direct focus. but why even read Parecon in the first place? why join 350? why interview people about homelessness? what is practical about any of that if i'm not the one in harm's way?

      i'd say people are more prone to seek revolution (or real change) when they are personally suffering. suddenly becomes a higher priority! are WE fucked without a GND? not really. probably not your kids either any more than what damage has already been done.

      you say love can come along for the ride? but i'm asking what else then compels one to seek that structural change? especially if it might mean sacrificing some personal time, or a future with less personally than one has now compared to some kind of egalitarian society?

    • Alex of... 11th May 2019

      as for the John Jordan quote, i think it's arrogant to suggest we DO have all the "answers, plans or strategies that are watertight or universal", rather than offer one's work or views as a potential piece of the puzzle and possibility, while working with others who share similar values.

    • Alex of... 11th May 2019

      one starts thinkin they have all the answers.. can't actually hear what others are saying.

    • Boulder Dash 11th May 2019

      Who starts thinking that? Having come across anyone like that yet myself.

      I could say that John Jordan’s statement sounds like he’s pretty certain about how to build a future and what to build ignore and dissolve but I’d have to ask him exactly what those things would be. Somehow, in some part of me I reckon, just a hunch, something like Parecon would make him dry reach! I hope I am wrong.

      But you’re right that sometimes people can’t hear what others are saying. We are human after all. Happens right down into the trenches, on the streets, where you spend a bit of time. Where the nitty gritty happens. Suppose that’s why you got to keep talking with people...sort it out...if possible.


    • Boulder Dash 11th May 2019

      Correction,

      Haven’t come across anyone like that myself.

    • Boulder Dash 11th May 2019

      More corrections,

      ...about how to build a future and what to ignore and dissolve...

      ...dry retch...

    • Boulder Dash 11th May 2019

      Like you said Alex, we are probably in general agreement on most things, but like I said, there are points of difference, no doubt. People start talking about the “spiritual” or love is all we need, I jump off. Yeah, I’ll have a go, state my position, for better or worse, because those things, in my considered opinion, have NOT done what everyone says they would. They confuse rather than make matters clear or are just vague and banal statements rather than helpful.

      But maybe that’s where Dave’s suggestion that practical rationality may not cover enough. Because maybe my position, my ideas, everything I think, say, do, is completely out of my control and stemming from a deep seated neurosis I have left unchecked for too long (maybe its unfixable, but then, what would it mean to “fix” “it”...to fix something that merely is?) all subconsciously generated.

      But there’s this tiny part within, a crack, something else, an idea perhaps, struggling to deal with all my psycho-bullshit. It’s had enough with all that shit that’s fucking with my happiness (“my” also being a problematic word) and it’s rejecting all that sentiment, all that subjective supposedly subconscious crap that fucks up the head, generates tears, destroys confidence, second guesses every move, even talks of something called “love”...yeah, it doesn’t want it anymore, doesn’t fucking like it, where it tends to lead...so it can fuck off...

      How fucked up is that? Probably not much compared to millions of others.

      That’s the way so many neuroscientists, some who think we have no free, will talk about the mind. They talk about parts of the brain as if they were people or conscious entities themselves...parts of the brain doing stuff for reasons, with intent, to attain supremacy over other parts etc...the left side trying to out do the right side etc....

      So maybe I am just fucked up...maybe we all are...so let’s just start there...we’re all fucked up, now what do we do?

      Anyone got any weed? Some meth? That’ll do. Let’s fuck ourselves up even more than we already are. Woohoo.

      Maybe this isn’t what you expected in response Alex, or wanted, but it’s what you got...for better or worse...

    • Boulder Dash 11th May 2019

      “as for the John Jordan quote, i think it's arrogant to suggest we DO have all the "answers, plans or strategies that are watertight or universal", rather than offer one's work or views as a potential piece of the puzzle and possibility, while working with others who share similar values.”

      I’ll put it here for reference.

      “Our movements are trying to create a politics that challenges all the certainties of traditional leftist politics, not by replacing them with new ones, but by dissolving any notion that we have answers, plans or strategies that are watertight or universal. . . . We are trying to build a politics . . . that acts in the moment, not to create something in the future but to build in the present, it’s the politics of the here and now. When we are asked how we are going to build a new world, our answer is, “We don’t know, but let’s build it together.”

      Ok, you’re entitled to your opinion. Fine. But what is he dissolving and who is this we doing it? What watertight or universal ideas is he talking about and who has ever said they they have any? So I ask again, what of the Left, in the past, this “trad” Left is he or whoever he is hanging around with dissolving or discarding?

      I suppose he knows exactly what to dissolve, to discard, to ignore and how to move forward. Which he says he does know...how are “we” to move forward and build a better world...well, “we” don’t know but “we” will not know together as “we” do it.

      Ok. I was making a mockery of the quote here just then. Because, to me, obviously not to you, and maybe because I am “irrational”, the quote is meaningless...even incoherent...no more than a pithy statement.

      And what you say regarding it above, is NOT, least as I read it, what Jordan is saying. And I know of no people in the trad left or any left really who think they have watertight answers. They are just offering their piece of the puzzle for perusal and and probably would like to see it disseminated more widely for wider perusal.

      Jordan wants to build in the present not create something in the future. Well, if you build in the present, which is in fact all you can do, what you build will be there in the future unless it’s self erasing as you build.

      I’m sorry Alex, but I do find what he says, a tad arrogant and not really helpful. But I could be wrong considering my irrationality.

    • Boulder Dash 11th May 2019

      Rearranged this bit. Put answer in wrong place.

      but why even read Parecon in the first place?

      “You asking about me or why read it in general? Me...I stumbled across it accidentally and was interested. It sparked a nerve, it resonated.”

      I also assume people who write shit would like people to read it. And I presume they would be happier if more people read it than were “in harm’s way”, whatever you mean by that exactly. I also assume that reading is a way of learning about stuff that may cause people to change their point of view. Maybe they discuss the stuff with others and share to the best of their ability and understanding. Maybe it gets them out into the streets and “in harms way”, maybe not. Maybe some just like to help disseminate ideas they think useful. Maybe it’s purely out of self interest and nothing else. Maybe the read shit, join organisations, meet other people of similar mindset, try to step out if their comfort zone and participate more directly, maybe not. Maybe they read stuff like Parecon and it solidifies their own point of view that it’s a load of bullshit and that only direct “in harm’s way” stuff is the only answer, or maybe it encourages them and leads them to add it to their armour.

      why join 350? why interview people about homelessness? what is practical about any of that if i'm not the one in harm's way?

      “I thought people who join 350 do do that? Perhaps not all. Perhaps some just receive emails that inform them of things. Not everyone is capable of putting themselves on the frontline, even the backline, but are comfortable just staying informed and feeling like they are part of a good movement. Not sure I can answer that any further.

      Interviewing people about the homeless is an informative thing to do, I guess. At least on some level. Depending on who’s doing it and for what reasons. I don’t know why anyone doing it though would have to put themselves “in harm’s way” to render it practical. I think Albert’s set of essays are practical and I’m guessing he would like people to read and discuss them. You may not think what he is doing is practical because he is not putting himself “in harm’s way”, I don’t know. But that’s fine. I don’t think John Jordan’s pithy statement practical at all and I’m guessing he’s been putting himself “in harm’s way”, for very good reason, with honest intent and motivation, for decades...I assume. The world needs dudes like that, I guess.”

    • Boulder Dash 11th May 2019

      “why curious? it's innate!”

      Fair enough. But I wasn’t being smart.

      “seems like a fundamental question. for someone to be actively seeking solutions to poverty or climate change is only rational if one actually cares about the suffering of others enough to integrate that into their life.”

      Ok. But what do you mean exactly by integrate it into their lives?

      “sure, maybe during the great Parecon Ages, the economic transactions would work some of that out without much direct focus.”

      Again. Not certain what you mean?


      but why even read Parecon in the first place?

      why join 350? why interview people about homelessness? what is practical about any of that if i'm not the one in harm's way?

      “You asking about me or why read it in general? Me...I stumbled across it accidentally and was interested.”

      i'd say people are more prone to seek revolution (or real change) when they are personally suffering.

      Yeah, probably true.


      suddenly becomes a higher priority!

      “Well, maybe, in some sense. But what are they seeking more than just the desire to be free from suffering.”

      are WE fucked without a GND? not really.

      “Alright, but tell that to all those people that say we are then.”

      probably not your kids either any more than what damage has already been done.

      Ok.

      you say love can come along for the ride? but i'm asking what else then compels one to seek that structural change?

      “Jesus. I think most people are loving and care, a majority, a super duper majority even, but that alone hasn’t created what many would like...the easing of suffering. Nor has Buddhism which has been around longer than most other religions, perhaps not Hinduism but not my point. The world needs better structures. That’s all. I happen to agree with Albert most of the time. Don’t know why, but I do. I like Parecon, and are well aware of what most others think of it. I like and agree with Alperovitz, just not his view that Parecon is not feasible. I tend to agree most f what Schweickart says and like his market socialist model but don’t agree that Parecon is nonsense in stilts. I like and agree with much else, voluntary simplicity ideas and other things but they aren’t very coherent, to me, as visions. What compels me to learn about this stuff I do not know. What compels me to stay here and communicate ideas with you for instance, I do not know. Perhaps ego, perhaps just the stimulation, perhaps just at times, entertainment. What compels me to seek structural change...I don’t really know. It’s an innate feeling that the economy we live under is fucked and I have subsequently discovered that that innate feeling is backed up by the observations and experiences of many others.”

      especially if it might mean sacrificing some personal time, or a future with less personally than one has now compared to some kind of egalitarian society?

      “Not sure what you’re getting at here either.”

    • Alex of... 12th May 2019

    • Boulder Dash 12th May 2019

    • Alex of... 12th May 2019

    • Boulder Dash 15th May 2019

      I’m still curious as to why you asked me the questions you did, the why I care ones? I’ve never seen you ask anyone else. Have you asked Irie, Sarah, Dave, Peter Lach, Michael, Lambert and others here that question? Perhaps you have but I wasn’t paying attention or perhaps you’ve done it privately. In fact I’ve never come across it really. Never seen Michael Albert get asked it, or Chomsky, and given you think it is such a fundamental question to ask someone that seems odd to me. Maybe you do not like my manner or you think I’m some cold hearted son of a bitch or something, perhaps not, but when I asked you why you were curious about my motivation you kind of just threw my own answers back in my face.

      I mean shit, you were asking me why I even cared? I’ve never even contemplated asking that to anyone. I might ask someone why they don’t but even then I wouldn’t think it really productive.

      You actually said, “I’m curious...” like as if what I write here makes you wonder about the way I in particular, think...you find it odd or something...unlike everyone else. Like the guy in the video above is unquestionably caring and real while I’m some sort of weird arsed human that doesn’t fit your bill, even though you did say you think we are probably in general agreement.

    • Alex of... 16th May 2019

      well, you've said that systems create the boundaries and parameters (ie Capitalism). i haven't disagreed that we need better ways for our economic and social relationships (i've argued for that), or that environment influences behavior. but, i've also suggested that the onus on the "system" is overplayed. a system of property rights with very little that regulates accumulation is not the only place we derive or explore our values. we also have plenty of examples of exploitation in human history with different institutional structures in place htan what is called Capitalism. (is greed and selfishness also innate?)

      you've said that caring about fairness or outcomes for humanity is innate. and yet, people knowingly exploit others plenty. in other cases, people express concern, but are not willing to sacrifice anything of themselves to create change. sure, i do think there is innateness in our capacity to love and care, but is also something to be fostered and developed. i said "in that sense, ..it's true that all we need is love."

      Parecon sparked a nerve for you and resonated. i may not wholeheartedly agree with every piece of that outline, but i would at least say it is a call for a more compassionate society. i was asking what drives you (or anyone really) to pursue that. or what drives someone to sacrifice their personal time toward the future of humanity, or the plight of others if it has nothing to do with their own survival, or even those close to them.. while yes, other do not. does Capitalism define YOUR personal parameters and boundaries?

      i think people HAVE raised these questions. should continue to raise these questions. you don't think it's productive? ok. i don't really see what's so productive about bashing on Jordan's call to come together in the here and now, or calls for love and compassion in how we move through our lives. heck, ya even sent me a message about the pithiness of the statements i pulled from crimethinc. a recent visitor to this websites termed your comments toward him as hostile.. and i don't disagree.

      i posted that video for whatever it's worth. holds some elements of the conversation, such as a call to get together and build better communities, solidarity, not throwing people away. maybe you find his statements pithy, too. ya seem to take that post as an attack. but also yes, i do think that guy has integrated his sense of compassion into his actions and approach to life. get what ya want or don't want from it. maybe that you draw comparisons between you and him is part of your own complex or demons. hell, i have mine. but it's not a damn competition. neither is Parecon vs calls for love and solidarity.

      and hey, i never said i expect that just because some people are calling for a more compassionate society, that suddenly the whole world will drop its weapons and redistribute their personal wealth.

      you concluded some of your previous comments with "now what do we do?" is that the mythical we? you've asked it before. but, at this point, i doubt you're asking me. there's certainly plenty to be done and not enough people doing it. i can make suggestions based on what i know of you. i've asked you what you're interested in doing. you could ask Michael Albert, i guess. it's up to you man.

    • Boulder Dash 16th May 2019

      I was mainly curious as to why you asked me, when I have never seen you ask anyone else such a question. It’s not like it’s a starting point to being involved. I always just assume that no one joins orgs like this if they don’t give a shit. I means, there’s no personal gain in it.

      As for my approach. I think I apologised to you for something I said recently, can’t remember. As far as “hostile” to some recent visitor, I wouldn’t say that at all, forceful yes. No more forceful sometimes than others I have read. And I addressed it. And at least what was perceived as hostile (I think overplaying it) by him and yourself was balanced by offering him other information re vision and I stayed in the conversation.

      Bashing John Jordan? Really? I mean, I can have some fun with words sometimes, perhaps arrogantly, but bashing? I said his quote was incoherent and made no sense. And it’s a perfectly legitimate thing to say, wrong or right, given that that kind statement, to me, is not rooted in some openminded position. And I’m sure Jordan’s pretty tough. Not interested in personally bashing him at all.

      And what you asked me, out of the blue, was why I cared whether our species continued or about fairness. You did not really ask me what drives me. Of course love (however you wish to describe it) seems innate, and caring and of course greed, anger, nastiness, self-interest and avarice and all those other things are innate...they arise...they happen don’t they. But you asked about me particularly, not about the human race. So I said innate meaning that that feeling has always been there. A sense of mutual reciprocity, care, good, whatever, founded in an innate sense that if you do x, y might happen and y might be bad or not so good, (and you kind of intuitively know it) and relations between people or something “bad” will happen. Sometimes when you improvise your finger hovers over a note you know will sound shit, bad, crappy, yet, you plant it on it regardless...and it causes the whole improvisation to fall apart. Not quite a great analogy but it also goes to a reason why I improvising our way to change is fraught.

      I think Marx was right and pretty much most people fighting for change over the last 200 yrs have been fighting for systemic change because they know, feel, see, whatever, that the boundaries and parameters of an asymmetrically absurd economic system eat away at capacities for love and caring. It’s not the those things are gone, they are merely shoved aside to cope in whatever ways people can to get by. Even a psychopath may love something, like a pet, but I don’t know for sure, don’t know any and never met one.

      Didn’t take the post of the video as an attack. Just hard to figure out a video response in a conversation sometimes. I thought perhaps it was about solidarity. But, because of the way I think, I was left with the same thoughts that I always get when I see such things. When everyone is in the park, on the streets, and Big Daddy White Geezer has finally stopped to listen because he can no longer ignore, what do we do next? And who is the “we” doing the talking? If the “we” is to make it up as “we” go along, then forget it...I’m an improviser and it’s fraught...not a good strategy...and it’s how “we” got here in the first place. Capitalism was not a system someone imposed.

      And while the question contains a “we”, it’s about the next move. And it would be fine for someone to say to me, who’s the “we”, because it’s important. But it’s more important, in a different sense, when someone suggests that “we” will figure out what to do together, because, to me, the first thing that pops into my head is, “who’s the we” and how is this even possible? Please inform me (rhetorical, not directed at you personally Alex).

      And I have pushed Albert on it. He talks of a Left, of a “we” learning from mistakes. All of which I totally understand, like the guy in the video, I understand and have respect for what he is doing which is no different than what millions have done over the centuries. But I want to know, how, out of a disparate Left, one that does not appear coherent and unified in so many ways, similar in part but not coherent, and I have heard others say this, Chomsky for one, it becomes a “we” working together?

      Who is Albert talking to when he writes his stuff about learning from the past and using that knowledge to adjust theory, strategy and vision? That sort of thing is easy when you are in a specific group or movement or team. Sports teams do this all the time...but some mythical Left “we”? Albert did not like me questioning it either, but hey, that’s what I do, for good or bad...put my foot in it.

      I would be happy for someone to question my use of the “we”. What’s the “we” the guy in the video is talking about filling all the parks (don’t think he actually uses the word, not sure), getting off their arses and out into three street, holding Big Daddy to random?

      Occupy kind of did it but it was a weird “we”, a questionable one that morphed and changed, and that actually, and I am certain it wasn’t really decided together by all, refused to ask for demands. That sort of thing, not asking for demands, is the sort of thing arrived at by those giving thought to strategic and tactical measures which is not necessarily something the average punter would.

      And if you want to know what drives me...because to me that’s a very different question, it’s been an intuitive belief that capitalism as an economy never felt right to me, even when I was young, though I would never have put it like that (actually I may have). But I never was interested in this stuff at all for a good solid twenty years because I was stupidly of the belief I could make a living as a musician.

      But what got me started on learning about the political economy was Geldoff doing one of his make poverty history things, probably out of love, care and deep concern (whatever deep means here), around 2000 or so. I again just felt that what he was doing was doomed and not what was needed. It actually aggravated me. I felt he was circumlocuting (just like the word) the problem and missing the core.

      So I started reading. Not going out in the streets. That’s never been my thing or drive, for better or worse. I like to read...and talk...much to the pissed offness of most around me. Unfortunate, but my cross to bear and I am less likely as I get older to apologise for my fucked up shit. But I digress.

      I read, and read. New Internationalist and every other mag I could find. Then I found the site Global Issues, put together by one dude. Awesome. It linked me up to fucking so much good shit and it was there I stumbled across Parecon. And that became my Marx. It was saying shit I had intuitively felt for a long time.

      Yes, Parecon resonated but not just a little bit, massively. My Kapital. It kind of drove me. It kind of became the object of my curiosity and inquisitiveness...to understand it and to see what else was out there, because to me, it was clear that a new system was needed but I was basically an intellectual desert and an idiot. So I read and read.

      That brought me eventually to here. No activist intent or drive, just learning about systems. Yeah, I care and love and I worry about the species. And I have self-interest and selfish desires. But for me, as I read and read it became clearer and clearer that what people who were out in the street, protesting, sitting in, creating noise and trying to get Big Daddy to listen lacked, was a clear idea of what to replace the current system with.

      And John Jordan’s quote is a denial of the need for one and I personally, for good or for bad, cannot for the life of me, in any way shape or form see in the quote, which is twenty years old by the way, anything helpful or coherent in its message. And yes, it’s just a pithy saying, similar to the thousands of them I read and came across studying Buddhism.

      My drive to stay here, or read, or talk to people, send them emails, about new systems and the necessity for such things, is a natural part of my make up...it’s in the head. I mainly operate in the head. I do not do what you do, nor can, nor want to, nor what Jason Chaplin does. I have often said to Jason, all I’ve got to offer is Parecon. And I actually do not much like joining things.

      I stay here because this was the first thing I reluctantly joined. I can talk about shit here I cannot around my family and friends. They get shitty with it all. But I persevere...oh, the sacrifice!. And then I saw this place just dissolve. All those testimonies by all those people who would agree with the guy in the video who actually wrote that the Left, needed something like this, who then decided to not show up at all, or very rarely, and who never even probably thought about starting a chapter themselves. Why? Because they were too busy already doing their thing. So, in reality, they never really thought the Left needed an org like this at all, because if they really did, they would have spent some time trying to make it work to fill the void they wrote, testified to, existed within the Left. But they didn’t. They left it to inexperienced dweebs like myself and others and then everyone went, oh, why didn’t it work?

      So you can see the scar!! Kind of funny really. Pathetic I know. But the website exists and I like communicating whatever’s on my mind here for some embarrassing and strange reason. I like communicating with yourself, Dave and others when they show. Even people who come up with their own visions. And yes, I have been changed by my experience here, big time. Pathetic again, but true. I am far far far far far less idealsgic or prone to sentiment (though it still gets in and it shits me no end!) or, well, nice about shit. I still love (whatever that is) and care, that shit’s the base, not the goal. It’s always there like the background radiation of the universe. In fact, that’s where the hope resides because if I did not already believe, even among those who own and control all the private tyrannies of the world, even within the Big Daddy White Geezer Hegemonic Power Grid, that love and care exists, always, then there’s really no point.

      As far as asking Albert, I burnt that bridge a while ago. Part of the change. Yes, you’re right, it is up to me man. What I do, say, think, involve myself in. And I do what I do. I care and love like anyone. And worry like anyone would about my kids futures. And I know I’m privileged and all that.

      I know we are in general agreement, but then part of me says, so what? What is it that the Left, this mythical “we” really needs to do that is different than what it has been doing in a disparate way for two centuries? I think Albert’s right and Jordan is wrong. Maybe I’m wrong.

    • Alex of... 17th May 2019

      perhaps i'm just more of a fan of pithy statements and don't understand all the hullabaloo about em. hell, i think the quotes i pulled from crimethinc are perfectly valid as stimulators for anarcho-values. whatever pokes holes and creates the questions or changes some consciousness. i have interest in that sort of shit cuz i think its helpful. bite-size concepts are good learning tools. simple phrases can carry. i think "democratize wealth" is fuckin awesome. to quote Alperovitz:

      "How, in the specific historical condition of the United States today, do we move toward a more egalitarian society, one that transforms the ownership of capital, one that builds and nurtures community and that is ecologically sustainable? Lay three or four decades on the table: How do we move toward these larger goals?"

      considering where we're at, i mean.. fuck. i mean, i'm not even a tremendous fan of the terms left and right, but it might be interesting to sample the population of those that refer to themselves as "left" to list what they consider to be left values. i wonder how many would actually make reference to hierarchy. so there's part of your "we" argument, maybe. that is, it's not in my experience that most people, left or right or whatever, have much or any familiarity with cooperative concepts or non-hierarchical shit.

      i don't really see people being all that open to giving up their accumulated wealth. plus, there's so many weird power structures in this world and weapons and fuckstick ideologies while resources are collapsing.. i probably don't think the battle we're facing has much to do with utopian visions. hell, i think Derrick Jensen is probably more correct about a lot of shit than i can fully come to terms with.

      fucking battle for humanity's soul.

    • Alex of... 17th May 2019

    • Boulder Dash 17th May 2019

      No hullabaloo about pithy statements. Probably just me. I think I apologised for that anyway.

      The Alperovitz quote is a good one...points to content and substance which is what he’s about. He’s a practical rational man. As is Chomsky. As much as both are not convinced by Parecon, I am, as a practically rational, non-market, non-centrally planned economy. I also think the authors of it are as practically rational as Gar and Noam. But no doubt, Parecon is to hold for the future.

      I think your not wrong about left and right. I don’t much like them either. And I think your right regarding non-hierarchical and cooperative stuff not being in the forefront of most minds. For me, that’s part of the problem...people not selling vision well enough...perhaps. I mean how many have even heard of atheism Next System Project?

      I can understand people not wanting to give up their accumulated wealth when there’s nothing much else out there of coherence to replace the system that allowed them too accumulate it in the first place. I mean what have they heard of to replace it? There’s nothing much, if anything, they have heard about that could do so while fostering a set of shared values that most may be able to agree upon as worthy of fostering.

      The immediate battle now certainly is not about utopian vision...another word I do not much like, utopian that is. It’s about immediate necessary change...a green new deal much like the ideas presented inside The Climate Mobilisation Victory Plan or some such thing. I cannot see any other way...unless Dave gets his rupture up and running perhaps and something good springs from it.

      But for me, vision is important, in the sense that even if one day the US, for some miraculous reason, went down that path, a stringent GND, the revolutionary question still presents...as suggested by union man Tom Wetzel in his essay pointing out that too much centralisation of power in the state is problematic for the future. https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/a-green-new-deal-the-eco-syndicalist-alternative/

      Even if it is necessary to do some serious GND shit to hit the 2030 deadline or 2040 if you prefer...anyone for 2050?, people still have to look at what happens after. His push was toward a participatory society.(I think he is ok with Parecon as well.) Still necessary to break some chains there. So, long term vision is still an issue for me.

      A fucking battle for humanity’s soul and the maintenance of it in the future. It does seem it is easily lost.

    • Boulder Dash 17th May 2019

      Need to correct this,

      ... of atheism Next System Project? ...

      No.

      ...of The Next System Project.

    • Alex of... 17th May 2019

      well, like i said some months back.. not even the organizers of the Next System Teach-In through the UW had any idea what i was talking about when i referred to the Cleveland coops.

      there's no local hub(s) for any of that Wetzel stuff. just this over here, that over there. no connective tissue. General Assembly? Community Council?? Organizational Alliance of the Wee Left???

      OCCUPY MEDINA

    • Alex of... 17th May 2019

    • Boulder Dash 17th May 2019

      Agree. No connective tissue really. Anywhere. The Wetzel stuff is just an essay with a message about centralising power in the State. Typically anarchist but reflective of a need to be vigilant in that regard.

      Can’t really say anything about the NSP membership’s or participant’s knowledge. I can say that Michael Albert offered repeatedly to do some of those teach-ins and they ignored him.

    • Alex of... 17th May 2019

      well, i think those Teach-Ins ought to be about bringing existing entities together, and city modeling.. community wealth concepts. the steps in the now to lay foundation. i don't really think Albert is the guy for that.

    • Boulder Dash 17th May 2019

      Yeah, maybe. Who knows. He may have, in those contexts, much to offer. That’s what he told me anyway.

    • Boulder Dash 17th May 2019

      And those kind of things, community modelling and community wealth are the things that need to be done together, at the same time, in conjunction with, concomitant to, simultaneously, in parallel with a GND...I reckon.

      https://thenextsystem.org/learn/stories/patterns-cooperative-networks-and-associations

      I mean, in some way, this sort of stuff outlined in the above link sounds similar to the idea of a Partner State, or heading toward it, talked about at CommonsTransition. An institution, containing subsets, that aids in and supports cooperative building.

      As far as Albert goes, I see no issue in trying to find all the similarities between ideas presented and Pareconish ones. However the language can be really disconcerting at times and can make you feel like you are in a room full of suits rocking back and forth in their Italian leather shoes...all the inside jargon.

      I’d like to see how what the Next System Project promotes is similar to things CommonsTransition talks about and I’d like to see how close the kinds of community modelling and wealth being described in the article is to ideas in a Parecon. As transitional moves. Like how far away are things like anchor institutions and such, even participatory budgeting, to a full blown participatory planned economy. No harm in that. Until those kinds of connections are built, between different visions, everything can look like just a bunch of different ideas floating around.

      I suspect that the language kind of hides many of the similarities between different approaches. I also suspect good things would come from simpler language being used and people like Albert, Hahnel and even Wetzel, and many others, being involved in these things to, like the article linked above does, highlight pros and cons with respect to their visions and ideas, which may, I suspect, expose the greater agreement, rather than difference, that may exist between all these people’s ideas.

      Perhaps this is being done. I don’t really know.

    • Boulder Dash 17th May 2019

      “One option for effectively scaling a worker cooperative while maintaining directly democratic self-management is to simply create semi-autonomous working groups or departments within a larger structure, devolving as much decision-making power as desired to these internal units within a shared overarching governance structure.”

      Like this quote sounds like trying to create self-management where decisions are made, inside workplaces, in proportion to the degree they are affected. Smaller councils inside bigger ones.

    • Boulder Dash 17th May 2019

      http://inthesetimes.com/features/green-new-deal-public-control-of-coal-fossil-fuel-industry.html

    • Boulder Dash 17th May 2019

      EXAMPLE: This article from Shareable details how Stocksy, a rapidly scaling international platform cooperative for stock photographers, is developing processes to manage democratic decision-making in a membership base that includes hundreds of people spread across the world. For instance:

      “Members can initiate the resolution process in two clicks by posting an “idea for discussion” on a specialized platform on the Stocksy intranet. When an idea is posted, a round of voting begins automatically and a discussion space for that idea is created. “This first round of voting indicates whether or not membership believes the idea is one worth additional attention, providing a quick way to assess and prioritize ideas,” Cook says. “This gives all our members a chance to read, translate, talk about, and think about our resolutions.”

      I mean, as I read the above I thought, that is the dort of thing that could have happened here if most of the Big More Experienced Knobs of the Left, BMEK-L, who wrote testimonials for IOPS, spent a bit more time here, even just on the site, regardless of building chapters. But perhaps I’m just wrong thinking that. They were just too busy. Perhaps they actually had nothing beyond organising very specific actions.

      Like also, what about unions? Do unions or have they, connected with what the NSP is doing? Is that a worthy thing. I mean, Wetzel is a union person (I think) and I know Bill Fletcher is. It’s hard to know all this stuff. Is it worth knowing about. I mean, how’s an average punter tomreally know what actually is happening if there is really no central hub alerting them to these things.

      Connective tissue.

    • Alex of... 18th May 2019

      well hey, i wouldn't undervalue your own ability to layout/organize some of the information you research. the similarities, differences, gaps and questions.

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

    • Alex of... 10th May 2019

    • Alex of... 10th May 2019

    • Alex of... 10th May 2019

  • Sarah Owens 6th May 2019

    "Is that a description of this place?" No. KMUZ.

    "The hardened heavy immovable grey-black asphalt is IOPS?" Not what Jo had in mind, I don't think. Could be the flower is IOPS and the asphalt is the world. Or capitalism.

    "The crack represents an opportunity from which something could still grow?" Well, you can't really garden in the asphalt, can you? You might for awhile think you're doing something, but it can't thrive. The circumstances are just too limiting.

    The blooming (literal meaning, not colloquial slang) flower is the Salem Chapter? Not really. Maybe the chapter project?

    I don't think people often punch others on instinct. Have your daughter read some Albert Ellis. A little dated, but very practically rational.

  • Dave Jones 6th May 2019

    Practical rational is a worthy approach but you have to work with the humans, a far-from rational species. They have a sub-conscious often refusing to do the rational thing. Radio stations have Boards, gardens have voles, revolutions have neurotics and sociopaths. So you come up with some work-arounds, right?

    Our chapter has morphed a number of times and now we are ecosocialists inserting ourselves into DSA and Extinction Rebellion. Fooled with the idea of a radio show but put it on hold. I am meeting lots more committed radicals right now, far more than back in the Occupy days, so that's good.

    • Boulder Dash 6th May 2019

      I’d argue Dave practical rationality is the only approach. The work arounds and the getting alongs and the dealings with neurotics and sociopaths is the practical rationality at work. What else is there? A board may sack some volunteers disc jockeys in what they see as a practical rational decision, within the limited confines of current shitty relations. The asphalt of capitalism and concurrent political relations. But you don’t ditch practical rationality because of that in favour of something else. What would it be anyway. And anyway, it actually isn’t practically rational for the KMUZ board to have done what they did, or whoever it was, when looked at from the wider perspective of better future social relations for the many. It was only beneficial within the confines of current relations designed to benefit a few. And what’s really shitty is they fucking know it too.

      Rupture isn’t practically rational.

      Occupy may have been practically rational up to a point but it wasn’t what could be at all. It wasn’t what Democracy looks like. It wasn’t a vision. It was empty of that. Beyond some point of success, or failure, practical rationality came to a halt.

      A zone to defend may be practically rational at a time. Bring worthy victory, but the world is littered with such victories and the memories of them. To construct communal, as free as possible lives in zones to defend may be practically rational up to a point but then it stalls. Vision beyond is nowhere to be found. Some other kind of behaviour takes over.

      If practical rationality cannot deal with the human species and it’s psycho shit then what can?

      The supposed post-modern narrative has given our species nothing in terms of vision. The subconscious won’t even have a future to manifest in our neuroses or sociopathologies unless we deal with the very practical and rational process of building a sane economy with a sane ecological approach.

      I am quite certain that does not just miraculously arise or self-emerge, out of rubble, chaos, rupture by the improvised loving communal collective actions of some mythical “we” working together out of the moment, shed of all previous knowledge or practical imaginings of what could be. That’s a complete pipe dream built of romance and notions of love that have been around since day one...and quite frankly I am quite sick of it.

      Deep down, everyone knows what needs to be done but everyone is so full of fear born of twentieth century socialist failures and the coordinator class, they just don’t want to set foot inside the utopian, but practically rational, kitchen, much like Marx was reluctant to do so, but for opposite reasons. They think it kills everything else that makes us human. All that shit that impedes progress must be saved from practical rationalities tendency toward greyness. As if saving our psycho crap and neuroses that give us our characters, our personalities, our wonder, our dreams is more important than practically and rationally organising production, consumption and allocation because all previous examples of doing so, including capitalism have been shown to destroy it all when it did nothing of the sort.

      I like Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism, but only up to a point. Where the sentiment, the romance leaves the practically rational or practical rationality, I leave it. Like Russell Brand’s book Revolution. Where the spiritual, enters I exit.

      Look inside a zone to defend, a place to inhabit, and isolate the economic institutional structures that make it such a fantastic place to live and defend. I bet they ain’t new. I bet they are universal ideas that have been around of centuries. They aren’t dissolving past ideas or ways, they are naturally gravitating toward them and new ones individuals or small groups may be thinking up.

      Then extend that thinking out and see if all those things, those new institutional relations can apply or work in areas with bigger or huge populations. In semi-rural environs, in urban environs, in cities. For all people, of all persuasions, with all their neurotic dispositions and psycho-bullshit, that on some base or minimal level both accommodates all that and is ecologically sane.

      Everyone knows that a green new deal, a stringent one, is a must now. Of course as catastrophe gets closer and fear amps up more people join the cause. Extinction Rebellion may be necessary but it’s really a late charge because winter is coming. That’s reaction as action. But real significant coordinated reorganising of the economy, of markets, of production, of consumption and allocation is what’s required now. There is nothing else to do.

      Everything else has to put on hold otherwise it all just becomes a fucking mess, a continual to and froing, and I’m already a fucking mess thinking about my daughters and their futures and I’m fucking sick of mess.

  • Alex of... 7th May 2019

    sounded like maybe the Mayor just didn't want to keep being quoted on questions he wasn't prepared for, as he probably just doesn't have good answers for them anyways. need time to craft a response. kinda sounds like the budget just aint there for all the homelessness projects. generally aint.

    don't know if you were "good team players" or not, but i guess politics is about positioning. maybe better results can be had with more personal control over the format, but probably severed some access.

    would be interested to hear more about what y'all consider to be the best local solutions as far as the homelessness projects go.

    • Alex of... 7th May 2019

      from Portland last August:

    • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

      There ya go, practical rationality in action! Solves all problems.

    • Sarah Owens 7th May 2019

      Hey, Alex. Thanks for the comment. About the local solutions question, not to be glib, but the best local solutions are those that are specific to the local people experiencing homelessness and the local community where they live. Best I can do without writing an essay. Hope you're doing well, thanks for helping keep IOPS alive.

    • Michael Livingston 7th May 2019

      On the "team player" question, follow "The Radio Days" link in the blog.

      The "best local solutions" for the homeless begin with an honest assessment of the outcomes currently achieved in the community for the most vulnerable homeless individuals -- e.g., how many have been placed in permanent housing in the last year. In our community, we have twice the national average of "chronically homeless" persons, primarily because,for many years, local social service agencies have devoted more of their resources to homeless persons with relatively moderate, or low needs. In other words, the limited resources are not going to those most in need. The four podcasts of our interviews with Jimmy Jones (posted on our MidValleyCast.com website linked in the blog) focus on that problem and what can be done about it.

    • Alex of... 8th May 2019

      maybe better off without KMUZZLE.. or it was those damn DJ meetings! with the Mayor i guess i wonder if you feel his heart is in the right place, but has the wrong approach to homelessness, or doesn't grasp available assessments. that is, can he be influenced, or considered a potential ally on the issue? does he feel like he's being treated as an enemy?

      i listened to part of this one: https://midvalleycast.com/2019/03/11/jimmy-jones-5/

      same kind o' stuff as: http://allhomekc.org/system-performance-2/

      honest assessments and limited resources. hear ya.

      Kshama Sawant, along with council member Mosqueda, pushed for a "Head Tax" on big biz in Seattle, you might be familiar:

      https://crosscut.com/2018/06/seattle-repeals-controversial-business-tax

      big biz flexed, threw some money at a counter-campaign "No Tax on Jobs" which caved the council majority.

      there's been ongoing disputes over various projects in this city. i don't think the Head Tax push made very clear how the money would be used, and that is at least part of the problem when it comes to community support. a lot of objections i saw, say, following comments on live stream coverage of City Hall for one, come through some monolithic perceptions of homelessness. that is, not a lot of differentiation being made between someone who lost their job and moved into an RV and someone addicted to meth who stole your bike last weekend. different problems there. plus vets, youth, schizos, difference in vulnerability of women (including being raped by other homeless) etc.

      two concerns come up a lot.. massive rent hikes from the Amazon influx, and the influx of homeless from other regions.

      say, is my "Job Tax" money going toward those working or trying to work but can't afford a place to stay to hold down a job? or is it going toward anybody who shows up in Seattle with personal problems? i think it might have had a better chance of success targeting the former with clear programs like Rapid Rehousing. attach rent hikes to those on the cusp and seeking a way forward. seek different revenue sources for different problems.

      hell, former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper advocated decriminalizing drugs and prostitution to move money toward social services. at least WA state is now generating tax money from marijuana with a large chunk going toward medicaid for low-income residents, and not burdening jails and court systems for smoking a joint.

      for a bit more right wing, "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" perspective:

      https://www.city-journal.org/seattle-homelessness

      bit over the top, but there's some shreds of truth. some of the numbers don't match up with other sources, for one. but, it highlights some of the fears of creating dependence on assistance, creating encouragement to move here for that assistance, thus requiring yet more money. that is.. so i work my ass off to pay for people to come here and get free tiny homes to shoot up in?

      good on ya for explorations. i would only encourage that proposed solutions have clarity. this money.. that project and here's why.. in a way the public can understand.

      i supported Nikkita Oliver here for mayor. but seriously.. those who would have benefited the most from her presence have the lowest voter turnouts.

    • Alex of... 8th May 2019

      awkward sentence:

      "attach rent hikes to those on the cusp and seeking a way forward. seek different revenue sources for different problems."

      that is, make the correlation. not, jack-up rents on those teetering at the cusp.

    • Alex of... 8th May 2019

      Sleeping under rays, your teeth crumbling away, say goodbye
      To all responsibility, you never wanted it man

    • Alex of... 8th May 2019

  • Boulder Dash 8th May 2019

    Been listening to your podcast Michael and reckon you might like this



    Frissell was a jazz guy who kinda moved into any kinda music’ll do. Nashville, the album, includes some great country players. Go Jake has some great little solos with a pretty bitchin’ Jerry Douglas dobro one.