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Nothing Lasts, Nothing is Finished, Nothing is Perfect

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Peter Lach-Newinsky

Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect – Getting beyond the IOPS Impasse

IOPS is at an impasse. But as the old adage has it, crisis is also another word for opportunity. Can IOPS manage to grasp this opportunity to reflect on itself? Sit a little with the impasse, look at assumptions and visions and drop what needs to be dropped, save what needs to be saved, and move on in a fresh spirit? 

AND, as we do this, can we engage in open, civil discussion without too much aggro, blaming, disparagement, complaint, outright cutting off, curtness, ‘not-good-enough-ism’? (This seems to happen again and again in some IOPS discussions, strangely). Could we be a little more ‘pre-figurative’ of what we are supposedly on about: participatory democracy and a better society? The better society is not just future tense, it starts here. Could we be a little more generous, wide, friendly, magnanimous towards our fellow members? The current vibe is pretty dismal. If we neither ‘pre-figure’ nor actively participate , we should give up right now. A ‘revolutionary’ org without basic solidarity and civility ain’t revolutionary at all from where I’m sitting, just more of the same old competitive shit and ego games. Meanwhile…

Maybe back to basics? Get away from the narrowness of purely organizational questions and navel-gazing, necessary as these may be right now, while the real world further goes down the tube? Can we work on exchanging and developing our shared meanings or narratives as a libertarian org seeking deep social change? Here’s my go at a conceptual base of very general assumptions, a framing of the world situation, and a general vision for IOPS as a basis for discussion (one lives in hope…).

  1. World Crisis. The world is at a major turning point in its evolution. It is in deep crisis ecologically, economically, politically, spiritually. The overriding threats to human or humane survival are climate chaos and weapons of mass destruction. The crisis situation is dire and urgent, as well as full of potential for the building of a post-capitalist, self-managed ‘good society.’

  2. The Cause. The main driver of this global Crisis is the global system of heteronomy, inequality and ecological overshoot called Capitalism and its imperial nation states.

  3. The Potential Solution. There are many forms of single-issue resistance movements to the various aspects of this System throughout the world (anti-austerity, climate justice and environmental resistance, peace, women, GLBT, indigenous and refugee rights, relocalisation/community resilience etc)

  4. The Vision. To overcome this System, these various forms of social struggle need to ‘connect the dots’, both conceptually and practically, i.e. become anti-systemic rather than just single-issue. This connecting would mean the creation of one global, inter-connected Movement-of-Movements with a differentiated but coherent vision.

  5. Bottom Up. From a libertarian perspective, this global Movement-of-Movements can only happen from below, by the increasing self-consciousness and self-organization of the people engaged in struggle themselves.

  6. Urgency. This process of connecting-the-dots needs to considerably speed up if ecological and climatic tipping points (self-reinforcing collapses) and/or wars over diminishing resources are to be avoided.

  7. Dialogue:Revolution. This process can be seen as one of intensified open dialogue between diverse social movements. It will develop its own more specific questions, problems, visions, solutions and self-managing institutions. This evolution is the Revolution.  

  8. The IOPS Potential. This revolutionary process of open global dialogue between social movements can be facilitated by libertarian individuals and organizations like IOPS while active within social change movements.

  9. IOPS Actuality. At the moment, active IOPS members do not share this framing of the general situation and IOPS’ possible role. Whether they do or not, IOPS’ core weakness seems to be that very few ‘members’ seem to have the time, interest or confidence to participate in discussing these general questions or anything else, online or face-to-face, or even in voting in polls made by others.

I’ll close with three specific questions re IOPS.

Can the IOPS project be saved by ‘superceding’ it, i.e. keeping what has been found useful and changing or dropping what has not? (To not let go can often mean certain death.)

Has not the original global mega-organization (‘5th International’) notion for IOPS been given a comprehensive reality check by the absurdly low joining and participation rates? If so, why should it not be dropped?

Can IOPS work out how to become (a) a global website advocating libertarian PD vision and facilitating open dialogue between single-issue social change movements with a view to increasing ‘shared meaning’ and coherence (i.e. global revolution), (b) a participatory global (not just Anglophone) network of libertarian activists working with and in local social change movements?

(Don’t know if this blog might be my last gasp attempt. Thanks to IOPS camerados with whom I have had the most enjoyable online conversations over the last two and a half years: James, Dave, David, Kristi, Lambert, Rick. It’s been a great pleasure.)

 

 

 

Discussion 20 Comments

  • Rick New 8th Jul 2014

    Thank you for your post, Peter. I'm honored to be included in your list of I'm sure long time camerados.

    I'll read and think about what you've written and try to add/respond/join in.

  • Rick New 8th Jul 2014

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks again for your post:

    When you write:
    > Could we be a little more ‘pre-figurative’ of what we are supposedly on about: participatory democracy and a better society? The better society is not just future tense, it starts here.

    It does seem important to pay attention to how we are forming and reforming right now. Consistently thinking only about the future might be keeping us off balance. As you point out, this could be a good thing if we can see it as an opportunity to respond.

    The 9 points you spell out seem like good soil for continued dialog. I hope you are around to help keep that dialog going. Please let me know if there are specific areas you want to explore further.

    Regards,

    Rick



  • Daniël de Klerk 8th Jul 2014

    Here's some awnsers for your questions:

    "Can the IOPS project be saved by ‘superceding’ it, i.e. keeping what has been found useful and changing or dropping what has not? (To not let go can often mean certain death.)" < Yes and that exactly what we should do if you want to improve beyond our current short comings.

    "Has not the original global mega-organization (‘5th International’) notion for IOPS been given a comprehensive reality check by the absurdly low joining and participation rates? If so, why should it not be dropped?" < I wouldn't say the concept has received a reality check, more the optimistic expectations on how fast this would spread given the means and the start up. So why shouldn't it be dropped? Well personally I don't care about either keeping it or dropping it, we might be somewhat more ambitious in keeping it but if our overall goals and methodology in the struggle are carried out right it won't make a difference to our results. The people who founded this organisation and those who joined early on were probably to optimistic in their expectations for 2 years. But that's all it was.

    "Can IOPS work out how to become (a) a global website advocating libertarian PD vision and facilitating open dialogue between single-issue social change movements with a view to increasing ‘shared meaning’ and coherence (i.e. global revolution), (b) a participatory global (not just Anglophone) network of libertarian activists working with and in local social change movements?" < Every thing can be as we wish it, it only needs the means and effort. So yes to A, if we work towards joining, supporting and even actively organizing for struggles we can. But in an of it self it won't be enough. We need to be constructive in our alternatives and not just be reactionary to oppression if we actually wish to build a new type of social structure. On B, it is possible but it will take more time because this started as anglophone and it retains very little tools and sources for outreaching towards areas that aren't anglophone, the good news is that we do have a presence outside of the Anglophere and we do have the means to change our current limitations with more cooperation and effort using the right means and tools.


    Now for all the other things that you mention I would like to give my perspective on what could be done to continue IOPS.

    Perhaps you are right on the narrowness of organizational questionss and 'navelgazzing' I don't necessarily agree with that 100%. I do for one think there is a legitimate basis for concerning our self with internal organization and participation if said organization has short comings and people have suggestions. We should not however get caught in endlessly trying to reinvent the wheel every time we run into issues.

    I did recently propose a model for internal organization which didn't gather as much comments and discussion as I would have hoped: http://www.iopsociety.org/blog/a-proposed-model-for-participatory-decision-making-within-iops The whole concept itself shouldn't be controversial because the idea isn't really new and I have largely based my idea on similar concepts. I think it would improve the degree of engagement people have within IOPS effectiveness of consensus building and decision making.

    Now as for anything else I think there is a point in doing something more than trying to breath the 1960s and 1970s protest culture. What call negative activism, opposing the existing conditions. Now I don't mean negative in a bad way, quite the opposite, it has to be done because its important. We need to oppose the oppression and inadequacies of the existing social structure no matter what it is. This spreads awareness, mobilizes and empowers individuals, builds solidarity and actually can succeed in both short and long terms solutions to existing problems. But on it's own it is and often remains nothing but a reform which cannot address issues that lay at the very core of our society without a revolution bringing the fundamental structure that causes these issues.

    Now there something that can be done that can help build a new society besides this negative activism, which I call positive activism, which is activism towards building a positive alternative for existent conditions. That can be anything that exists in counter to the established institutions and norms, from small things like helping the homeless and refugees to larger things like trying to create a new economic system within the context of the existing one, large scale coops and trying to build structures and networks that can allow people to essentially exit the existing structures normally systematically enforced upon them to a significant degree. All of which I think should be done and I think IOPS can be an effective vessel towards.

    So for example you can be activity in the (liberal) feminist movement and try and campaign for equal pay and equal responsibility, but you can also create a new work place with gender equality, as well as any other features that would.

    I think both are needed. I think we need to both directly address these issues now and strive to change them from one direction. And on the other actively strive to build a working alternative here right now that at the end of the existing order may serve as the basis of a new social structure.

    I think there are 4 basic things that IOPS work one while we are building groups across the world and expanding those.

    - Education and outreaching: both ourselves and others. Identifying issues, build understanding of those issues and most important of all. Understand what we are fighting, why we are fighting, how it could be different and how we can work towards that and win. To a significant degree this is already done by some members. But it can expand and spread beyond radical circles, empowering the everyday disenfranchised people of modern day societies. As do many other groups of the modern left, from old anarchists to the Zeitgeist movement, they all have alternative visions and ideas but they lack real unity in the face of existing system.

    - Fighting against the government: Both in campaigning and direct action aimed at either opposing government action/policies that stands in opposition to our aims and values. And pressuring the governments and pushing for reforms that work towards benefit our aims and values, specifically if it benefits those fighting for their rights and by extension that would include us. In that we better our lives in more immediate ways and might even gather sympathy and support from resident reformists groups or parties and that could work to our benefit (or not) in expanding the floor of the cage we reside in. And it also helps as a platform for our ideals among those unaware of them. That is one aspect of negative activism. I think this should also extents to social and cultural issues like feminism, racism and LGTB rights activism where government is at worst the facilitator but not the instigator, as many of these things exist as result of the status quo cultural norms.

    - Fighting against the private sector, as modern incarnation of (radical) labour unionism: And I mean that quite literally. Modern labour unions are at least in the west institutionalized, less so in the third world where violent repression in response to working class struggle. I think somewhere along with institutionalization of labour unions they eventually developed into watering down negotiation groups, useful for what they were worth but limited by the wims and wishing of the owner-class and the coordinator class who supports them. Basically expanding worker right within the work place working by established tactics and potentially new ones. By extension if properly applied these unions could act as facilitators of socialization/mutualization wherever that option effectively arises as way forward for a specific work place, they can also act as mediums of education and understanding. Again this is another form negative activism.

    - Building alternatives within the existing structures: That is to say working toward building alternatives operating within the context of current system, both in terms of economics, social relations and political structures. A good example would be to start building worker cooperatives build around our ideals and better of all create network between those to further support and facilitate expansion. Other examples would be to create community owned land trusts for community use and management, housing coops providing affordable homes outside of public housing (if they exist) or putting resources towards efficient sustainable forms of farming. There many possibilities, the point is to create structures and communities that allow people to exit the existing pressures imposed upon them by the capitalist model to put their lives towards their own interests devoid of structural deprivation that enforces wage slavery. Creating the basis for free and voluntary exchange and mutual aid, community planning and devoting resources towards the public good in a participatory way rather than state paternalism. Imagine forms of private education accessible even to those not financially privileged, green energy. This will probably be one of the more harder things and it will develop in baby steps from this point but people have managed to create things similar like in Evergreen Cleveland and Mondragon, although not exactly as I suggested it shows that it is possible. What's very important is that this won't be some kind of 60s hippy commune (not that I oppose it if someone wants that but those are limited in potential) or stay confined to a small insular group of radicals running a coffee shop. It is of absolute importance in my opinion that this spreads everywhere, especially among the underclasses and that it empowers them. Because the point isn't just to create some alternative within the current but to break the cycle of cynicism that there is no alternative. There are many people that are against the current conditions, but equally many people that cannot imagine things being different. That is exactly what we need to show, that things can be different and better.

    I think these are things IOPS can work towards doing as we organize and grow. Above that many of these things exist as separate efforts and initiatives, what we and other organizations can bring into this is to emphasize their mutuality and interdependence. We build alliances that way and we also build new networks between different groups striving for alternatives or engaging in different struggles.

  • Sean Tinney 8th Jul 2014

    Here are my initial thoughts:

    I'm of the opinion that if a rethink isn't had, the whole thing will fall apart. The first thing that is required is a honest assessment of how many people there are prepared to make it work. Basing an assessment of the membership on a count of how many people have filled in a form on a website is ridiculous. I think there is a kernel of a good idea in IOPS, and when you look around the website there is a lot of enthusiasm, especially in the early days. If we can reignite that, then I'm optimistic that something worthwhile could be developed.

    My only understanding of the term "international" is that, the group is made up of people from different nations. I think it is important to maintain and develop this aspect, as it will be a major strength in terms of what we can achieve. I'm largely ignorant of the historical leftist organisations that have used the term and wasn't really aware that it was part of IOPS.

    I agree that creating a network is the way to go. I think we need to create something more involved than just a website. We need an online platform that integrates technologies that activists can utilise, and builds support networks of people with expertise that can be called upon and where skills can be learned. I don't necessarily think we should limit ourselves to just bringing together existing groups, but that would certainly be a good thing.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 8th Jul 2014

    Wow, thanks for those extensive comments, Rick, Daniel and Sean. Have just had time to skim and agree with almost all your sentiments. This seems like just the conversation IOPS should be massively having more of, IMO, if it wants to stay true to its potential. Will go into more detail re your responses when I have more time. Thanks again!

  • Jason 10th Jul 2014

    Nice one Peter, Just on organisational issues. This blog post that some (unknown) number of people will read, some (unknown number) of those will engage in comments—this itself is an organisational issue. It’s a great conversation to have but IOPS isn’t managing to be very inclusive. IOPS is experiencing a tyranny of structurelesness where people want to express themselves and have a say but it’s not clear how to participate meaningfully, so we get some stroppiness. I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to fix. Nonetheless, let’s have this talk.

    Good questions… 1. To be a annoying: useful to what end? There’s some division over this. Useful for growing numbers? Useful for developing ideas? Useful for increasing connections between members? Or useful for being exemplary in some sense (such as suspending organisation-wide decision making until certain diversity targets are met)? Or some balance of these. Probably not worth speculating on the detail. Just deal with the problems as they arise.

    2. I’m the international concept should be dropped altogether. A steadfast commitment to it (the cart) should be dropped because I think a strong method for getting there (the horse) is needed first. I reckon shelving it as one of the possible forms the organisation could develop into is the way to go. We’re best to look at the building of IOPS as a process where people join—on the basis of agreement the mission, vision, and structure docs—then we gauge what our collective strengths and preferences are and work out direction and form on that basis. Might sound loose but a good flow of ideas will keep it strong.

    3. a) and b) sound good to me. I don’t see why not.

    I worry about point six a bit. Not about the truth of it but I reckon rhetoric around urgency plays into the hands of authoritarian tendencies: “if it’s a quick fix you need, we’ve got you covered!” Then as the urgency increases, concessions to authoritarian solutions become more accepted, and so on.

  • LedSuit ' 11th Jul 2014

    Hey Peter,

    My own recent commenting exploits have kind of taken the wind out of my sails and reaffirmed old feelings that have left me close to my last gasp as well! The absurdity of it all!

    I feel somewhat inadequate to respond to your blog in any other way than to merely acknowledge that place from which I feel most of your thoughts on matters always seem to spring-"In Japan in the spring we eat cucumbers."

    I will leave you with a little something I have just read of Ben Watson's, another Adorno admirer, from his new book on the late, great Derek Bailey. Thoughts and ideas I myself are often burdened with trying to connect,synthesize and make sense of, born from my own experiences of free improvisation and radical political thought. Perhaps they have no bearing to what you have written Peter, but....

    "For those too young to have experienced the cultural tumult of the sixties, Free Improvisation is a thread of gold spun from the happenings and situations that rocked that period. It's the one art practice that has managed to preserve that revolt as activity and experience rather than image. It lacks the tedious 'irony' that collusion with art-gallery and music-industry alienation inevitably entails. Of course, if a record or a performance concentrates an entire philosophy of opposition to today's society into a running time of forty minutes or an hour, it's hardly going to be easy to assimilate. As much as it changes music, revolutionary art expects YOU [can't do the proper font thingy] to change. People who are happy with the way things circulate in society - those at the top of the heap - aren't going to welcome an experience that tilts assumptions about what constitutes communication and cultural value. Radical? Free improvisation will give you radical!" (Kindle version Loc 160 of 8284 - a virtual book about a very very non virtual form of music making!!)

    another,

    "Free Improvisation is the unalloyed humming dynamo of creativity, the essence of the Hip everyone's looking for, the Holy Grail MacGuffin Poodle Duende Absolute. It's the ineffable spice of life capitalism turns into something you have to buy. No mystery, folks: it's human labour, human activity - maybe it could actually be US [can't do that leaning font thingy]." (Kindle version Loc 170 of 8284)


  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 12th Jul 2014

    Daniel, especially liked what you said about building positive alternatives with a libertarian perspective. This was actually a big thing in the 70s when I was in my 20s, the so-called 'counter-culture' or 'alternative scene'. Very important, although without illusions about changing capitalism/market system... Worthy of a whole separate blog... I appreciate your enthusiasm as a new member at IOPS.

    Sean: seems we mostly agree about everything. You said: "I think we need to create something more involved than just a website. We need an online platform that integrates technologies that activists can utilise, and builds support networks of people with expertise that can be called upon and where skills can be learned." As I'm an old pre-digital fogey, wonder if you elucidate what you mean a bit more, as it sounds very interesting?

    Jason: Yep, agree with you on the org issues. Just wanted to point out that how we organize ourselves (website, chapters, virtual chapters, spokescouncil etc) depends a lot on what we conceive IOPS to be, both specifically and on a more general theoretical level of 'shared meanings'.That is, for example, if we are NOT an '(5th)International' in spe, as you and I agree we aren't, then we do not need to be 'representative' of anyone but ourselves, and can thus scrap all those silly preconditions. Being 'pre-figurative' is then a matter of our internal spirit and decent, friendly relations, not of conforming to some parliamentary representative model as in the present pre-conditions. Think we agree on that, camerado, so thanks.

    Re point 6. You say: "I worry about point six a bit. Not about the truth of it but I reckon rhetoric around urgency plays into the hands of authoritarian tendencies: “if it’s a quick fix you need, we’ve got you covered!” Then as the urgency increases, concessions to authoritarian solutions become more accepted, and so on." I see where you're coming from but can't share your distinction between 'truth' and 'rhetoric', i.e. one truth for you and me ('urgency', 'climate chaos'), another for people we are trying to reach. This is a common problem with some in the left, I reckon. You can't have two truths, and remain 'true' (authentic). People sense it at once when you're not authentic, and are, rightly, turned off.

    The same has often been the case for progressives when they got/get themselves in knots instead of sticking to their own sense of the truth on issues like Soviet Communism/Cuba/Maoism. Instead of clearly saying something like: 'yes I'm anti-communist too because I am against all oppression and totalitarianism', they'll prevaricate or even defend the indefensible for fear of 'strengthening the right' etc, which actually ends up immeasurably strengthening the right, and so all truth is lost in a merry-go-round of 'left-right' half-truths and utter confusion... That people may go/are going for authoritarian 'solutions' the worse the crisis gets, is exactly what we are up against: huge majorities with authoritarian dispositions and the heteronomous mindsets of voluntary slaves. Holding back or having 'two truths' will just make all that worse as it just accepts that voluntary slavery as given instead of challenging it with what we consider to be the truth about the System and its crisis.

    Sorry about going on so long, Jason, but it's also because I so admire your efforts down there in Bleak City. Take care.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 12th Jul 2014

    James, good to hear from again camerado. Yep, impro is of the essence, n'est-ce pas? Could connect with revolutionary-libertarian notion of self-organization and spontaneity (versus top-down mechanical 'organizing'), the 'autopoesis' (self-organization) of general systems theory, the 'autonomy' of the true work of art in Adorno, the 'wu wei' (disinterested non-action) of Taoism and Zen... Am working a little on some of this at the moment (essay on inner connections between anarchism and mysticism). In Japan in spring we do indeed eat cucumbers.

    Re 'last gasp': last developments/comments at IOPS pretty crappy, and am thinking of maybe having a bit of a sabbatical from IOPS for a while.

    'Ma literacha is sufferin, ma paintin and writin too, how can I create any works of art when all i do is screw [around with IOPS]; i got no time for dozin, six of ya gotta go..' [The Fugs]

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 12th Jul 2014

    'i got no time for A dozin, six of ya gotta go...'

  • Kristi Doyne-Bailey 12th Jul 2014

    Peter, thanx as always...for your reflections...
    i’m hoping you don’t give up on iops entirely...your comments always take things to that level beyond the simply organizational...looking forward to hearing about those connections between anarchism and mysticism...


    Daniel...i like the clarity of defining the differences between negative and positive activism...and how both are essential...i think the former is primarily what most people are prone to over-emphasize thereby creating a kind of deafness/tuning out by their audience overwhelmed by the negativity and feelings of helplessness...

    so that’s where the positive activism, in the form of creating values based institutions, facilitates balance and the possibility for change...that’s how i view it anyway...

    on the one hand, i wish i had more of an established organization to reference for more direction...and on the other, i think a big organization will just get authoritarian...
    but that’s what people are used to...looking for others to make the decisions...

    maybe we need some minimalist structure while folks are transitioning to taking personal responsibility for learning about alternatives to capitalism...let alone how to implement them in their lives...
    this tyranny of structure-less-ness, jason posted...is definitely taking away from doing the positive work...

    not all of us have the same clarity and conviction of how iops should work...like the originators...but it was the values we resonated with that brought us here to begin with...unfortunately, like peter points out, the same old competitive shit and ego games are creating problems...

    maybe too, we underestimate the confidence factor in learning about alternatives, economics and how it’s all connected holistically...not just the single issues people are familiar with...

    took me a long time to appreciate improv james...and i still like melody too !

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 14th Jul 2014

    Thanks, Kristi. Hope you've well 'survived' Kentucky?
    Gotta take a break from IOPS AND find it hard to do after two and a half years... Not sure the org's for me, don't share the delusionally Monty Pythonesque mega vision of IOPS ITSELF 'creating' the post-cap society (!), little resonance...virtually virtual virtually virtual
    meanwhile back in the 'real' world 18 million subscribe to Smosh, celeb gossip site TMZ gets 30 million visitors per month, 54 million follow Katy Perry and 44 million follow Obama.

  • Kristi Doyne-Bailey 14th Jul 2014

    Just got back, mental survival was tough in the land of plenty...driving between florida and kentucky...i saw a lot of that disconnect from reality, countered with folks telling me I'M the one whose delusional, utopian, futile...makes one question...how can humans possibly evolve to an equitable vision...yet...hope springs eternal right ?!

  • Lambert Meertens 15th Jul 2014

    One argument for urgency, stated in point 6, is the risk of ecological and climatic tipping points. Another well-known one – although the perception of that appears to have moved to the background – is of course the continuing risk of a nuclear war.

    I see and fear yet another reason to consider the need for fundamental systemic
    change quite urgent. Today we live in a state of almost total surveillance wildly surpassing Orwell's nightmares. There is an encompassing obsession with security that has given rise to a new security-industrial complex (with many of the same players as the military-industrial complex) and a general complacency with ever tighter state-sponsored security measures. Also in nominally democratic countries even non-violent actions of resistance are increasingly labeled as criminal acts, by the authorities, by the media, and through repressive legislation. Soon "they" will know you are contemplating a deed of opposition to the System before you know it yourself and will have the legal authority to step in to prevent you from acting, as in Philip K. Dick's story "The Minority Report". Then we can say goodbye to our dreams of overcoming this System. In that world, to speak with the Borg, "Resistance is futile".

  • Lambert Meertens 15th Jul 2014

    Points 1 through 8 offer a clearer and more compelling presentation of why IOPS (or IOPS 2.0) is needed than anything I can find in the centrally produced documents on the IOPS website.

  • Fred Curran 15th Jul 2014

    IOPS 2.0? I agree that point 6 could expand, maybe a consideration of the potential dangers of technology can carry both concerns of nuclear war and the surveillance state and more, maybe not.



  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 17th Jul 2014

    Thanks Lambert, Sean, much appreciated.

    Lambert, totally agree about huge danger of the increasing 'national security state' aka police state aka surveillance state aka friendly fascism. Have written about it elsewhere. The new twist is how very few people care about the abolition of hard-won freedoms like habeas corpus, presumption of innocence, due process, privacy etc. This is mostly left to just another 'lobby', the 'civil liberties lobby'. Our '1984' is of course much more sophisticated with the state/corporation synthesis of surveillance/data mining and most people even keen to be surveilled via their 'smartphones' so they can get those 'personalised' ads and 'bargains'. Sort of a blend of Orwell's authoritarian state and Huxley's Brave New World of total consumerism. (BTW I refuse to have a smartphone, be on Fakebook or Twitter and don't even use a mobile. But then I'm an old fogey luddite.)

    re nuclear war danger, I totally agree and that's why I had it there in Point 1 as WMDs and implicitly in Point 6 as 'resource wars' (which can go nuclear at any time).

    Sean, thanks for the many links, will check out when I have time. (But will leave more reflection and discussion of those things for those into the cyber-techie stuff).