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what democracy looks like?

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hey IOPS! some random ass content for ya...

this is a clip of some video i took in June 2017 at an anti-Sharia rally out front Seattle City Hall. counter protests were also planned and executed in much greater numbers, waving signs and creating intentional noise to drown out the anti-Sharia speakers. some related violent exchanges took place in a nearby area a couple hours after dispersal, which is not a part of this clip.

none of the people in this video were official speakers. at least some of them are members of the Proud Boys and some the Warriors for Freedom.

i shared this on FB back then, just asking what stands out, what it makes you think about, what you carry away from it. the answers i got were interestingly uninteresting for the most, but i expect more from IOPS. snapshot of American politics for your dissection... tell me something... share your brain.

Discussion 76 Comments

  • Bat Chainpuller 16th Jan 2018

    Hard to deal with Alex. You can throw all the rational arguments at the “anti-sharia” folk all you like - you know the drill - quietly and gently if you like and they’ll just throw their shit back at ya louder, with a grin and a smirk, I guess. Kind of like family arguments around the dinner table that get out of hand, but no one is going to make up later! Like that scene in History X at the dinner table.

    This stuff makes me lose heart...can’t really hear what they’re saying. My throat hurts listening to it, like listening to Jimmy Barnes sing!!

    Can’t really dissect it, it makes me tired just watching.

    I read an article about the marches because I don’t really keep up with regular everyday events anywhere much anymore and straight away saw this.

    “Chris Achey, 47, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, said he did not hate Muslims but believes that much of Islam is incompatible with Western culture."


    and this one,

    “A Briton who moved to the United States, Mr Sleater said he had decided to go after recent attacks in his home country.

    "People are being run over in the street with trucks and little kids are being blown up," he said, referring to recent attacks in London and Manchester.

    "I don't want that to happen here."

    Hah again...:)

    And an overview,

    Sent from my iPad

    • Alex of... 18th Jan 2018

      personally, everything about that clip fascinates me. it holds so much of the cultural elements and social media frenzy of this recent election, but it IS a bit disappointing re: loss of heart. actually, i thought of you back when i was first looking at it, at the point the guy with the bodycam and lock-up-Hillary-shirt says "so do you want to talk about Capitalism or what?"

      i mean, ya COULD attempt a conversation about economic theory, but i'm pretty sure he's going to fall back on a need to name a country with a different system that's better, which leads to a complex answer or need for exchange, one that's not going to happen in that kind of setting at least. clearly, it didn't start off as just a couple people deciding to ask each other what they believe in and why they are there. he's a bit pissed about getting water thrown on him, but you can see i was just walking up, so don't know quite what happened. maybe in a different setting. there's some common ground in his beliefs... against foreign intervention, mentions treatment of the poor so there's concern for people's well-being, smaller-government.. yes in some ways, but that generally comes with that market-solves-all perspective mixed in, so that's probably the real discussion. plus who doesn't love FREEDOM!!!?

      the Proud Boys on the other hand, in the polo and cock shirts, well, i don't know if you are familiar, they embrace the philosophy of Western Chavinsm. i have some footage of one of them talking about it a bit and it wows me to hear someone say those words with straight-faced conviction. the fourth of a four-degree intitiation process is purportedly to brawl with anti-fascists at a public rally. they've got their own chicken hawks, as Ed Norton called the Stacy Keach character in that skinhead movie, pumping them full of this shit. to be honest, i'd love to sit down and interview these guys. i want to hear their story, how they've arrived at their beliefs. plus i'm very curious about their apparent no-masturbation rule. if that's the true story and one of those guys isn't getting laid, he basically has no choice but to kick someone's ass. bad policy. generally, doing a skinhead thing, but there's no "direct" race motive, it's Western chauvinsm! haha. i doubt they have a huge amount of diversity.

      the light-skinned dude looks to be the most aggressive and dedicated one of the lot for that chapter. he's who i'd like to interview. tangent, it reminds me of a younger day in life, when skinheads were more prominent in Seattle and showed up at a couple parties i was at. i met a guy who went by Little John. he was Asian, and part of a white supremacist group, and it blew my fuckin mind. plus, i was on lsd. if trippin balls around nazis wasn't enough, one of them aint even being white ought to do it. i've still wondered about his personal story, and what became of him.

      back then, rather than antifa, scuffles were often between the nazi types and the sharps. thing is, it never really felt to me that the sharps were all that much different, more like anti-racism was an excuse to pack up and get in a fight. it's a self-righteous brotherhood that offers a sense of family and purpose, with punching. dumb all over? i WAS actually invited by someone, the day before the rally shown, to meet up with antifa peoples prepared to fuck up some nazis. the friend inviting used to be a guy who went to skinhead parties to beat them up 'back when he was an anarchist'. i guess he's kind of mild-mannered now, but still considers that the righteous thing, and was also a bit pumped up in his invitation, whether he was actually planning to get physical or not.

      Trump was wrong when he diminished the fatal event in Charlottesville into 'violence on many sides'. however, it IS true that some antifa show up intending violence or look forward to an opportunity. and, nazi-punching has memed like crazy last year in the mainstream. for a couple months i kept hearing anti-fascist! anti-fascist! this is kinda where i have a problem with the state of the left these days (maybe we can make it great again), in that, even though a lot of people are paying attention to politics, it's largely a reactionary frenzy to find the bumper sticker solution. it's a kind of a mirror, but no self-reflection. i see it a bit as first-timers to a lot of these issues, but a lot of folks who have been engaged in activism for some time are also sucked into it. and people get pissed. they throw out absolutes, and when you ask a question they turn snobby, throwing up their hands like "you just don't get it!" or maybe "you need to check your white privilege!" essentially "you didn't automatically agree with the slogan we all just agreed on five minutes ago so fuck you." obviously that's not everybody, but certainly a pervasive tempo. starts feeling more like that dinner table you mentioned.

      honestly, i question this whole tactic of protesting rallies at all. strangely enough, i happen to hold freedom of speech in pretty high regards. and, for all its shortcomings, this nation is pretty strong on that part of the social contract. i actually took video of the majority of the speaking, maybe the only non-supporter that even listened to them. beyond close, it was all noise-making, as planned, to drown out their voice. ok, sure you CAN exercise your own expression by just making noise, but is that the point? who can bring the most numbers on any given Sunday to drown out the other? but, but.. it's hate speech! well, so fuckin what? if you're advocating specific acts of violence, that's a problem. until then, you're free to say you don't want Muslims in this country and chant USA all you like. what's more, i think those groups left feeling even more pumped up because people turned out against them. i mean, it's a bit ironic that a rally centered on fears of losing their rights, with freedom of speech a recurring theme, is met by the left trying to silence them. is that actually helpful toward cultural progress?

      i understand the argument that we can't let fascism take a foothold.. it started off small in Germany and everyone dismissed it until it was too late. hell, i know folks (from before anti-fascism got so popular!) that claim the anarchist's strategy should be to fight the cops.. we must take out the state's ability to enforce itself.. cops work for the state, they're fascists, we kill them, and then.. i don't know, no one ever wants to talk about that last part. and of course, none of them are actually killing cops. they smash a couple things on May Day, perhaps. so, i see some of my mainstream lefties posting something about nazi punching and it just runs the same course for me. how many nazis do you need to punch before your anti-fascist message gets through? will it be enough? maybe we should identify all the fascists, round them up and give them a little number. sure, maybe people are just venting, but there's a kind of unity around those slogans that, again, feels more and more right-winged in its flavor. fear, anger, identify the enemy, lynch-crowd mentality, and rejection of further critical thought.

      and ya know, i recall that back around the 2008 election, good ol' Chomsky warned against the left ridiculing the Tea Party folks, that as much as some of their aims are misguided, the grievances are real, and the left should really be trying to organize them, particularly around labor. the real danger is that economic pressures can be used to manipulate people into some nasty beliefs. he also mentioned that Palin was the only one in those debates that used the words "working class" ..and it connected. that moment in time really paved the way for Trump's opening, plus eight years of Bill Maher bashing on stupid rednecks. liberals love that high ground, so it's not that surprising to hear rural America react by calling them elitists. and then, they couldn't even handle the Bernie option either.

      i mentioned i posted this clip on FB. the first comment i got from an old friend: "I personally have no interest in listening to their deluded Bullshit. Sorry." yet, i've seen that same person rant about fascists numerous times, about putting an end to it, this needs to stop, and such. well, hell, where is your information even coming from? and what does stopping it mean to you? isn't dismissing these voices part of what got Trump elected? and ya know, when Chomsky talks about organizing them eight years ago, that's real talk. it's not like Obama put out a plan for retraining coal workers into solar manufacturing, and some of these folks feel pretty threatened by the city-dwelling liberal elites shouting about keeping fossil fuel in the ground, as they're not being shown another option for making a living. they feel brushed off and they're not totally wrong.

      bring this up, i can hear some of the judgment in the current climate. it goes "oh, now that it's a white problem, poverty suddenly matters? so sorry to hear some white people feel like they're losing their entitlement? maybe they should consider the last 500 years of genocide and slavery!" and.. done. well, that's not really wrong, but it's the kind of response that truncates possibilities, like those that provide well-being for everybody, like those that replace messages of blame on immigrants. while i may not see much purpose in punching nazis or drowning out anti-Sharia rallies with pots and pans, i'm also not a fan of fascist and racist ideology. it's not about stamping it out to me, it's about understanding why whole groups of people are gravitating toward those ideologies, rather than others. it goes beyond labor, it's about communication, and i'm a bit more critical of left-leaning folks because i expect more from them. if you're taking the higher ground, then maybe be the one who can listen, not just react - imo.

      it's a vicious cycle i guess. rural white folk think everything's turning against them, liberals make fun of them, they become expert trolls with simplistic Breitbartian code, liberals freak out and double-down on PC language, it empowers a movement for a troll for president, and now you're practically a racist for even considering white working class needs into the equation.. it's not PC. some people at the rally and others came with a sign i've also seen in online posts, often showing a Muslim woman, that says "No one is illegal!" i really have my doubts that most, if any, of the people i've seen carrying that message are actually serious about removing borders or an immigration process. they're hearing extreme views about immigration and latch on to the opposite, but it's not a real stance. it just spells "i'm not a racist" in contrast to "build that wall!" problem is, building the wall (or really just extending it) is a tangible focus. unless you are actually for throwing the immigration gate wide open, saying no one is illegal doesn't mean much, and you're not really considering what you DO believe. and ya know, when people post these memes they get all kinds of likes, it reinforces a feeling of being part of the group on the correct side, but there's some risk in stepping outside the box. some folks are quick to throw a catch phrase label on you that gets THEM likes. now you've been shamed and maybe shunned. again, not everybody, but i've seen this shit and experienced a bit too. it creates an atmosphere of fear where simplistic responses prevail. so now it's all simplistic extreme vs simplistic extreme, choose your side. we're vetting Oprah for president now, ya heard?

      i've been seeing PC extremes approached more in comedy recently (and some of that has to do with gender issues as well, which i'm not really discussing here), so maybe we're peaking on some of that after a year of election freakout, but there's another layer to this that could stunt attention to larger reforms or radical change. so, shortly after the election results a friend of mine posted something about Obama and wrote a few gushing remarks about how he would miss him in office. this is someone i've had good discussions about radical change with, though he is more of a believer in Green Party politics as a realistic possibility, something he used to put work into, and strongly supported Bernie. i tried to convince him to see this time as an opportunity, where a lot of people are going to become active that never have before, and will be looking for answers. but he mostly just defended Obama with "at least he doesn't... something Trump does" kind of statements. so what just happened? see, i predicted the new activity in the mainstream, but i didn't really expect the progressive end to fold up so quick, get so Trump-obsessed that they start pining over the days of Obama while clamoring for impeachment and Dems in congress. impeachment? that's a tangible goal, but it's not going to address what got Trump elected. actually, i think it would backlash and leave his voters feeling short-changed with hardened beliefs about the system shutting them out. i suppose it's one of those moments where the right wing just shifted further right so it dragged the left with it. some folks are leaving their notions of democratic socialism behind to just grab onto what they think they have left, it seems.

      it's a kind of protective mode that i see in a few things. lefties are claiming what's American or unAmerican more. like, we have to prove this alt-right is against our nation's values, which funnels into a greater sense of nationalism, which may mean a less critical population. what are the values this nation was founded on? Trump attacks the media as fake news so he can dismiss anything he wants, but while mainstream media isn't just complete lies, it's pretty much full of shit, too. i've seen a fair amount of commentary in defense of etablished media now, and i have the same feeling, that clinging to that might make people less critical, with less call for publically funded alternatives and increased readiness to believe in the major outlets, as long as they are critical of Trump.

      and this all comes after revelations about media collusion with the DNC to shut Bernie out. that's not a time to give the Charlie Brown sigh. like i tried to convince my friend, progressives ought to hold strong and try to guide the upswell, not get dragged in to the center. party politics aint for me, and maybe systemic-change types just need to get their shit together, but i support those trying to run a Bernie thing. i feel like it should have been a no-brainer to choose Bernie with much stronger numbers, like one thing off the bucket list while we're working on the big picture. and as much as he was kept out of the media, people had a choice to rely on the media or actually research who their choices are. i probably blame liberals, haha. there was a lot of regurgitation about sexist Bernie Bros and unrealistic plans, stay the course, stay safe. there's another demographic where Bernie lost bad, southern blacks, particularly older. much speculation on that has maybe been understandably taboo. could equate to white folks blaming black folks for Trump, a couple years into BLM movements, and when everyone's so reactionary in general. some data has shown a lack of familiarity with Bernie in that demographic, and a positive association between Bill and Hillary. from other discussions, those older black voters may be trying to hold on to the incremental gains that have been achieved the past few decades on not willing to take a risk with this guy from a white state promising big change. and that's worth understanding better. it's certainly harder for me to understand what white liberals were so afraid of.

      but, we're all immigrants. haha, so goes an American fable. unless you were brought here against your will or.. ahem, already living here of course. i really hope i never hear that again in attempt to make a statement about our national unity. but here's the thing.. you knew i'd get to one eventually right? well, it's a big thing. the mainstream white left is really confused about race, it's blowing up these days and they're looking for shortcuts. there's been a level of shock at the existence of white supremacist groups, that they have an actual role in current politics, and that such a wide base stood behind a candidate that appeals to those groups.. with racially charged motivations seemingly on the rise. some focus more on the Donald as the real perp, as he dishes out instructions on where to aim those white rural grievances. that may be easier to digest, but it remains that a large portion of the population is ready to quickly hop on board with those instructions. and it's not just a working class thing. i think it's less that white supremacy and racism is spreading, so much as it just got tapped, is feeling empowered, one last stand for the Confederate flag, the south will rise. it goes beyond the south but the former slave states are the primary concentration.

      of course, fear of immigrants and racism aren't the only reasons Trump got votes. when i was in DC for the inauguration i met a black guy staying at the hostel who was all jazzed up for Trump. his support was largely based on the belief that Trump would work some magic on trade deals and bring jobs, and he's not alone. is it troubling that he would accept the totality of Trump's rhetoric in favor of that issue? maybe, but there's a good deal of populism there, a belief in just trying something different. so, we can't call the whole thing racism, but as far as it DOES go i think there's a positive in that it's really just been exposed more than it's on the rise, as is a big fear.

      i've seen numerous folks on the telly making comments like "i just thought we were past this sort of thing" in reaction to rallies and related shit. this is similar to shock over police brutality. some folks were saying "things are getting crazy" but really, it's a combo of having a movement to create that exposure and the fact that virtually every American is walking around with a video camera in their pocket. plus, the internet. and there's where i see a level of racism in much of the white left. black folk aren't shocked at police brutality or the existence of racism. it's like ya, been trying to tell you that for awhile. ya know, a lot of people mean well but have been living in a bubble of entitlement. ya got black friends, listen to black music, voted for the half-black president, so racism must be down to a trickle and certainly has nothing to do with oyu, right? now, you start finding out that things are way shittier than you thought but you still want to contain it as a right wing problem only. get rid of Trump, drown out the anti-Sharia folks, tear down a Confederate statue and stomp on it.. it all looks to me like the shortcut to absolution. if you can identify the racists, then you're not racist. i guess the real shock comes when you realize you might have a responsibility in all this, that this is some deep-rooted long-term shit to deal with. probably natural to resist that kind of revelation.

      no, we're not all immigrants. most of us are on stolen land. and for some of us our ancestors were brought in chains. white people just don't think about that as much as native people and descendants of slavery, those who deal with the resultant modern injustices on a personal level. the increased focus is positive, but i think it's yet to really get very self-reflective, or discussed in systemic terms. hey, maybe white folks will stop out-PCing each other in an holier-than-thou quest to gain the edge on who's least racist, and maybe they'll quit trying to be super-allies by posting angrily about every right-wing racist thing that hits the news cycle. i mean ya, listen to what black folks have been saying. listen to those rural folk, listen to the native people. some of it will be misguided, too. being oppressed doesn't automatically generate an amazing answer, but we need to be able to hear the emotional struggle. me, i think reconciliation implies systemic change. i'm not alone on that, but i'm guessing i'm in a minority. to realize the suffering one group of people endure for the privilege of another is to start seeing the flaws of the system. and as far the historical sacrifice, it goes beyond just shifting some resources. there's relationships and trust to build. we might really have to question what equal opportunity means? how is it possible?

      ok i ranted, but i'll stop there. this isn't really a piece on strategies or something. my comment on the vid just got bigger and bigger, basically some of what i see as the current tempo. good to consider the landscape for us systemic types. if there's anything interesting there or worth discussing, i'm open. cheers for now.

      (also, i wrote this before seeing your newer comments below, so i haven't really soaked that up yet and just posting under your original)


    • Bat Chainpuller 18th Jan 2018

      Thoroughly enjoyed reading this Alex. That it is long and content/idea/thoughts rich stands in contrast to the video I self in a way, and also the penchant for shortness in social media and pretty much everything else out there.

      Fuck, I might try to do an Albert type reply, where you reply to each paragraph...but maybe not.

      One thing that arose in my mind was that at least IOPS, as an org, has in the background, always this notion of systemic change. It is always there, like the background radiation from the start of the universe Big Bang inflationary style...that is if you are NOT an electric universe person! It kind of informs discussion around pretty much anything even if it’s not up front for all to see. I talk to my sisters, I have four of them, my daughters, two, my wife, my cat, also female, about feminism and what they have endured just in a day to day basis over their lives, things I haven’t heard before,that they’ve kind of kept to themselves, and you can kind of see it all connected to the wider picture that renders all that reactionary anti-feminist some-of-my-best-friends-are-women stuff as a maze of minutiae designed to daze and confuse in order, even if unconsciously, to keep what you refer to as “the last part”, out of the picture. Like that no one’s illegal slogan, not many really think through the implications of it on a structural level.

      Maybe you should post this rant on faecebook and see what happens...”fuck man, you writing a fucking book, I got shit to do, I can’t be reading books.”

      Will dwell on it some more.


    • Bat Chainpuller 18th Jan 2018

      Yep, that’s “Barney’s”. Oh my, my fucking throat

    • Bat Chainpuller 18th Jan 2018

      Barnesy not Barney’s. Was lead singer of local aust band Cold Chisel.

    • Alex of... 20th Jan 2018

      hey thanks, glad you enjoyed. i think there's a couple holes in what i said, that could mostly just be explained a little better. there's a lot i didn't get to saying, and some pretty big topics sprinkled in that could be expanded. so, maybe i AM writing a book! to be honest, i would probably feel a bit snobby myself posting that on FB, at least the way it's currently written. but all in all, i think my critique of oversimplified reactionary slogans by the white mainstream left (not entirely limited to) has some general accuracy.

      in part, i watch all this trying to find where the systemic conversation has its openings. it's possible that the blame game has swelled past its peak now, or is just getting there, and more interesting ideas start to surface. some related bits...

      was watching DemocracyNow today with some commentary by author/teacher Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor referring to the course set out through "the racism of Donald Trump and the sort of “alt-right” racism of the Republican Party... to basically explain away the conditions of and the—what I think is legitimate economic anxiety of ordinary white people, and say that it’s the Muslim, it’s the Mexican, and it’s the blacks." further into the conversation Amy Goodman asked about a recent Quinnipac poll showing an "overwhelming percentage of African Americans supporting Bernie Sanders?" she starts her response:

      "Well, I think that, hopefully, it begins to shift the very narrow discussion that the Sanders phenomenon was driven solely by the, quote-unquote, “Bernie bros,” that African Americans are not interested in socialism, African Americans are not interested in Bernie Sanders. In fact, this poll showed that Sanders had the highest favorability rating among African Americans, by a country mile compared to white people. I think it was 43 percent of whites had a favorable view of Bernie Sanders, compared to 70 percent of African Americans and 55 percent of Latinos."

      she furthered "And I don’t think that this is a complicated question. Why is that? Because I think most people understand, black people understand, that if Sanders’ program, the things that Bernie Sanders advocated and argued for—the redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom, universal healthcare, a living wage, so on and so forth, the redistribution of resources, from the criminal justice system to the war machine, to public services and public institutions—that that would have an immediate impact in the lives of black people and in black communities, immediate positive impact. And people know that."

      this is interesting. i might disagree about it not being a complicated question considering the lack of support i mentioned during the primaries. this seems to be a shift after the final election results and perhaps revelations about the DNC's drive to prop up Hillary. i've wondered if the primaries might have turned out different if the process hadn't started in the southern states. it wasn't until Bernie won some of those northern states that the media could no longer discount his support and was forced to report on him.

      i don't have a specific set of data on this, but it seemed to me that i only started seeing stronger black support and organizing attempts mid-way into to the primaries, at a point it was probably too late– observations largely through social media. here i'm treading on dangerous ground again, but i wonder if some of this may be due to the high activity level of the BLM movement at the time, which was decidedly against attaching itself to candidates. the idea as far as i've understood was to keep things critical and autonomous, something that can't be done by doling out political endorsements from the heads. obviously there's nothing monolithic about participants of that movement, or black culture and beliefs, so i don't want to generalize, but i 'm probably safe to say that BLM has been at the center of black issues these recent years. as someone who is highly critical of the system myself, it makes total sense to me to not allow a broad movement to get funneled into party politics, so my question is more about an atmosphere of general rejection...

      it rippled across national media when two young black women, as BLM organizers, confiscated the mic at a small Bernie rally, centered on Social Security, at Seattle's Westlake Park, shortly before his larger offical rally was to take place. as Bernie got off one sentence they had approached the podium and demanded to be heard, claiming they would shut down the event if not. of course, the crowd was not too pleased, booed and chanted for Bernie to speak. Marissa, one of the two activists, shot back by calling them racists and white supremacist liberals, which they didn't like either, Bernie stepped aside and she was ultimately allowed to speak. ok, so i'm not against dispruptive tactics, but it should be noted that it had nothing to do with asking questions or challenging Bernie at all. it was a high profile opportunity for what Marissa called 'agitation work' in a later interview, as well not being for any politician and believes the system should be dismantled.

      on that topic in the following weeks, my FB feed was blowin up with opinions and arguments and people calling each other racists, mostly white for the latter.. plus, a few theories that the activists were paid by the Clinton campaign. a lot of commentary out there simply reported that BLM activists shut down a Bernie Sanders rally, likely leaving the reader to conclude it was aimed AT him. i don't know how much that picture of Bernie, as the person BLM shut down, effected voter opinion directly, though i did see comments out there calling him a racist because of it. what i was thinking is that when the largest concentration of energy for black organizing is going into a kind of apolitical movement, there's not a lot of room for, or that much interest in organizing for a presidential candidate, even one that is likely better for your cause. i haven't come across articles really exploring this stuff much, so it's really just some observations and questions. but, there's a definite contrast in that poll and support during the primaries.

      the gooder news, i've heard a lot more black voices saying something about uprooting and replacing the system since BLM. as far as what Marissa said about not supporting any politician, i'd say it doesn't require support to choose the better option for immediate results. i've of course known others that believe participation with the system or state equates to support, perpetuates its existence and stagnates radical change. but, ya better have pretty serious numbers and ability to institute that radical change, otherwise you're just allowing others to choose which politician without your influence. and, if ya think it doesn't matter which one, because the system sucks... perhaps this past year has changed some minds, haha.

      i guess it all comes back to what systemic change actually means to people.

      so anyways, a little more on some of the landscape as i ponder it. couple other things i was thinking of, but i'll stop there fer now. thanks for sharing the comment on chats with the ladies of your life. its that unconscious part that's the worst.. the manufactured consent and socialized behaviors we have. bit sleepy now. i dunno if you have access to Netflix, or maybe there's a torrent, but there's a couple recent Dave Chappelle releases that are pretty interesting i think. the shorter one - less than an hour, he's doin a little comedy club, and not a routine. he's funny, but he also gets pretty serious. talks about the PC thing, some analogies between black history and the current women's movement, pimps and capitalism, the potential of Trump as a catalyst for positive change. you get to laugh AND think.

      other stuff blah blah blah

      maybe the problem is that people always say uproot and rebuild or dismantle and replace... so everyone is only getting as far as their thoughts on the removal part, and get stuck there. i might be more into replace and dismantle.

    • Alex of... 20th Jan 2018

      DemocracyNow piece reference:

      interesting piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates:

    • Bat Chainpuller 22nd Jan 2018

      Well, there’s a Ted Trainer article about CIC - Catalan Integral Cooperative -


      and how it’s showing the way, at Z, but originally published by - hang on, just going to look - Resilience.org, and now one by George ‘Been Arrested Heaps’ Lakey about the need for vision.

      https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/why-the-resistance-cant-win-without-vision/ .

      But his vision seems to be a kind of Viking economics thing...like the title of his book...some sort of social democracy or is it democratic socialism. Then there’s another, an interview, at Z about some new green deal that’s needed, or interview,(haven’t read it)


      perhaps like The Climate Mobilisation’s Victory Plan. That plan is pretty detailed and scary and it’s just a GND, like initiating major reforms now that can mitigate the problem as soon as possible...and they are full on. So getting something like that up would be pretty major.

      Like it’s hard enough getting people behind major reform or even democratic socialism or even Bernie or Corbyn, let alone anything truly rev like Parecon or some such. Small local community efforts are obviously possible in parts - been doing it since the year dot really - but I tend toward the position of Robin Hahnel in Chapter 13 of his book Economic Justice and Democracy.

      Much easier to dwell on the dismantle or uproot or ‘it’s fucked’ part rather get real serious about how to actually build something that fosters and sustains what ‘we’ all would really like to see or yell at the opposition.

      Like is the CIC what democracy looks like or just what it might look like in a particular region of the world where a small number of people are trying something out? In Spain. How does it translate to larger areas, huge cities and the like? What are it’s drawbacks, where are the critiques? Could aspects of Parecon be of help? Other ‘visions’...although there aren’t that many as clear and coherent as Parecon really. Most others are embryonic, vague or hodge podgy.

      How do we get beyond social democracy? Beyond a green new deal? And if we can, what is it? Some form of market socialism or can we get beyond that and what is that? Parecon? We can wait and see I suppose, wait for it to just self emerge - Michel Bauwens - out of practical ventures like the CIC or p2p ideas, stigmergy? Or is that just grasping in the dark, improvising wth hope?

      Or perhaps things like the CIC slowly get infused with other ideas by other groups or individuals noticing an opening or opportunity to try things out, if people in the community are willing and with their blessing and participation of course? I guess that’s that stigmergic self-emergence thing anyway, or at least how it happens? I don’t know.

      Nut down on the ground now, it’s still mostly just mainstream political commentary or yelling and screaming over single issues or Trump or whoever’s in power. And I’m certainly not sure if engaging the opposition so directly is at all fruitful. Just a kind of energy thing. People just lose their voices. And shit, the left often fights itself and splits off viciously over tactics.

      And it certainly seems difficult for ‘visionaries’ to hangout together in the same room for a long period and try to collectively shape good vision out of the plethora that seem to be popping up, particularly at the NSP. And really, it’s not as if there are a diverse number of ways to arrange an economy around say the values of Parecon. I really reckon most of the ideas are just variations on a theme and only a few or couple are in part structurally different, like Schwieckart’s market socialist model is different to Parecon in very distinct ways. Most of the NSP papers are vague structurally and kind of similar. And ‘experiments’ like CIC, a coops in general, always get preference over models like Parecon because it looks like the new is being built by everyone as the go, democratically and something like Parecon must be imposed from without.

      So yeah, what does systemic change mean to people? Exactly. Really, not many want to have the conversation, it’s too hard.

    • Alex of... 22nd Jan 2018

      ha, it happened again. i was writing a little extension and went to post and you've replied just a little bit ago. i'll think about what you just said more later and just post this as is.

      as i consider what i mentioned about hearing more black voices on systemic change since BLM, i think in part it's just because BLM has generated news coverage and encouraged discussion. i would think there might even be a stronger drive than among white folks given some of the gaps in wealth and privilege, beyond just addressing the systemic police violence. and, as some lefties talk about the atomized nature of movements and issue-based activism, i do see a fair amount of racial division in that regard when it comes to the US.

      as far as my dabblings in local activism, events and groups i've attended have been predominantly white unless specifically organized by black or native people. prior to BLM, black organizing i did notice was more community based- same issues but more contained to the neighborhoods being effected. BLM exposed the systematic nature of police killing across the country, connecting individual events, and blossomed into a broader movement– which naturally opens the space for ideas that go beyond symptoms. but it's still been segregated.

      when i think about the demographic i mentioned, older southern blacks wary of Bernie's big plans or what some have called his color-blind approach to wealth disparity, i've also wondered if black folks often saw occupy as more of a white movement. ya know, white people camping in the streets eating vegan burritos talking like economic disparity is something new. because it WAS some of that, at least around here.

      i've been seeing white people having meetings about money in politics or climate change or anti-capitalist theory, while black people are organizing around issues effecting black lives directly. sure, all those other topics effect black lives, but it could be argued there's more privilege to spend time organizing around them if you have basic life security. if i go to a 350 meeting, it's going to be largely middle class white. i probably have seen the most diversity in the call for increased minimum wage. we definitely have working class struggles in all shades. (arguably, radical black mofo Jesse Jackson laid much of the groundwork toward Occupy through his 80's presidential campaigns on the idea of "Economic common ground", separating race to find "moral higher ground". though whitey didn't quite vote for that at the time, a black led campaign WAS trying to organize white rural america. aint that some shit.)

      since the emergence of Idle No More and the Standing Rock gathering, there's been some natural alliances between the 350 types and native groups, primarily along the eco aspect. but a lot of people did show up for Standing Rock in solidarity over native rights to the land as the priority. some lasting bridges have been built, but as groups depart these events, native people will still need to fight current injustices not faced by many who just get to go home.

      to some degree, a certain amount of chosen separation in activism can make sense. that is, groups or communities being oppressed need to collect their voices and be the ones in charge of their own truth. that applies to gender issues as well. of course, those issues need support to change anything, but connecting cultural divides can be a bit a bumpy sometimes. i might write another little blurb on "white allies", but i'll at least say that white folks need to earn trust to help on race issues.

      i think this confuses some white folks– those who mean well in their approach, feel like they're sacrificing something or have great ideas and then don't get the recognition they expected. they don't get the validation they were seeking. i can also understand some mistrust with white-rooted organizing in general, as black or native groups are not too eager to be co-opted. on top of that, i don't think black and native are always that receptive to the idea that we're all part of the same struggle, the 99% thing, where race just fits neatly in with class.

      so yeah, things are bit dazed and confused on a few levels. and i'd suggest the left should completely ignore Trump for the rest of the year and talk about how to make things awesome, but then there's political shit that's effecting people's lives right now like the whole DACA vs WALL standoff. is part of the difficulty getting to systemic conversations probably, so much energy is needed for the daily struggles. i do think those struggles could be better online connected. and i would like to see activism shift it's focus from less protest to more exploration into solutions. with these large movements, there's new conversations opening up, but some of it's hard to hear through all the shouting. i'll end on that.

    • Bat Chainpuller 22nd Jan 2018

      I apologise Alex, that my recent reply kind of drags towards system change more specifically.

    • Alex of... 24th Jan 2018

      oh, no worries there. i didn't really have a goal on what i'd write and ended up needed to roughly complete a thought. when i posted on FB i was more curious what kind of general reactions or focal points would come out. just gauging the room i guess. as for what i wrote here, it does start to question where all these cultural collisions might be flowing toward.

      it IS a hard topic. if we were Vulcans, we'd have some kind of broadly-understood, mutually-beneficial organizational structure in place, each of us driven to maximize our personal potential to contribute to the well-being of the species, while maintaining optimum balance with our ecosystems. but, they were more emotional too once.

      if we suddenly mastered logic as a whole species, then maybe we'd immediately shift our talents and personal resources into creating a roadmap toward the highest universal living standard we can conceive based on actual planetary ability, maybe put a max on the population, and start reshaping the way we live. to quote that Victory Plan:

      "Nevertheless, while you’re reading this plan many thoughts will occur to you, as your mind tries to reconcile the huge gap between what you read is needed and today’s reality. You will consider how “unrealistic” it is, how you “can’t imagine” political leaders acting in this way or how the incumbent business community “will never accept” this level of economic transformation. Before that process begins, I’d like to establish one idea very clearly in your thinking:

      A mobilization on this scale is the only rational response to the level of economic, security and social risks posed by climate change. Anyone who looks at the evidence objectively would conclude that — and historians will look back and wonder why it took us so long to accept it. So be clear — a mobilization on this scale is simply inevitable, with the only question being when we get started.

      Hard to imagine? Yes, it is."

      sometimes i've heard support for the statement that all white people are racist. it's supposed to get you to realize that racism isn't just about prejudice, it's systemic, and if you're white you have extra privilege, have gained and still do gain from the exploitation of another group. some white folk might react "hey, i grew up in a trailer park and no one ever handed me shit!" or feel that way on more subtle levels. and statistics are argued back. but opportunity also does vary case by case, so the bigger picture doesn't always feel relevant to the individual. the point made is that as long as white privilege exists, to be white means a duty to recognize and change it.

      there's some truth to the statement, but at the same time i could say the same of being American. i mean, what's our duty toward the rest of the world? to live inside the imperial power, our living standard is built on a history of slavery and conquest, many forms of which have simply been exported. here's a 'controversial' list that got some publicity after the Charlottesville killing. https://www.leoweekly.com/2017/08/white-people/

      some of this focuses on a form of voluntary reparations. not hard to predict that some white folks are just going to freak out about how hard they've worked for what they have and don't owe anybody nothin, or that they can't afford a house themselves, or go further to say that BLM is a racist movement all about black supremacism and socialists that want to steal your shit instead of earn it themselves– probably things you'd imagine the average Trump voter saying. but, as much as middle and upper class white liberals want to land on the correct side of the argument, i don't really see them offering up houses either. maybe important to remember that many of those same people chose Hillary in the primaries, who thought publically-funded college tuition was unrealistic, and has leaned toward an idea of "inclusive capitalism", which encourages corporations to invest more in employees and communities as a long-term economic approach, rather than on short-term gains that fatten shareholder wallets today at the expense of stability. this leads me down a couple lines of thought.

      what DO black people really want? given the segregation of movements i've mentioned, as well how much of the discussions on systemic change are rooted in white authorship, i'm not sure how diverse a serious radical left actually is. is that important?

      Hillary won about three-fourths of the black vote in the primaries. Bernie won close to three-fourths of the vote under 30 across the board. unlike the older demographic i mentioned, the black vote was fairly even under 30. beyond some of the potential reasons for the Clinton black vote i mentioned before, there's also been numerous commentaries that state that many black voters saw a Clinton administration as an extension of the Obama administration. Obama was also a defender of capitalism who repeatedly invoked the concept of global competition, and believes in some amounts of government intervention to give everyone " a fair shake".

      again, there's nothing monolithic about the motivations and views within racial categories, but polling and media trends at least raise some questions. Cornell West, who endorsed Sanders early in his campaign, has also called Obama "the first black head of the American Empire", and he doesn't mean that as a compliment. but what about Oprah for president, anyways? she was considered to be a major influence in the black vote for Obama vs Hillary with her endorsement for the former, but when it came to 2016 she stayed out until the end of the primaries, as did Obama, then endorsed Hillary as a "seminal moment for women" that "says anything is possible when you can be the leader of the free world."

      in her Golden Globes speech she shared a childhood story about seeing Sidney Poitier receive an Oscar: "I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that. I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people's houses... In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award."

      this is deflating for me. sadly, it's some kind of milestone for a black person or a female, or a black female! to achieve the same recognition status in this country as a white, male, or white male. in that regard, we're measuring some kind of progress. but progress to what? become a billionaire just like white males? become the leader of the free world, which apparently wasn't actually free enough to even make that a possibility until now? yes, i understand how completely fucked it is to see nothing but white male faces in positions of power, wealth and accolade. it says you don't matter and it's crushing. it crushes all kinds of aspirations. that's real. it says there's nothing to strive for, accept your place, you are less and always will be. but it's also a trap. like i said, being oppressed doesn't automatically create amazing answers. if there has been something to answer... THAT, if in an unfair competition, the underdog has equal or greater potential, can win with odds stacked against, i'd like it to be put to rest as already done, already won. the game was played, now let's change the game.

      it aint really about white and black now is it? that'd be a bit black and white. life aint just checkers, and aint just chess neither, from the pain in my chest to a lecture, lessons expressed in confession booths boozing in the ether.

      James (i mean Chains), if you'll allow... that's half a thought, and i'd like to post another half to what was set up, question marks with some things to loop back through. maybe i'll do that tomorrow, but it just takes grabbing the time to write. so... dot dot dot, k? course, i'll jot anyway.

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Jan 2018

      Enjoyed this one too. They flow nice Alex. Will ponder it all some more, but really I just enjoy the read and it gets me little head away from so much boring banal poot.

    • Bat Chainpuller 25th Jan 2018

      Look forward to 2nd half.

      Thought I’d quote this from those academic dudes who like to use phrases like ‘a pluralism of subjectivities’, and of course refer to the usual philosophers along the way and Marxist thinkers, which if I did, while talking to friends and shit, would probably result in me getting shit from friends! Anyway, there’s stuff in here that seems to relate to what you seem to me to be relating, circumlocuting. And I don’t mean you are being complicated or beating round the bush at all, quite the contrary, I just wanted to use the word as it popped into my head.

      (Another example of how the language faculty is a strange beast that seems to operate quite comfortably on its own, that it throws out random sequences of seemingly understandable patterns of atoms and molecules, words and sentences, and leaves some other faculty to sift through it, or maybe it does it itself, maybe unconsciously or sub-consciously editing, grabbing stuff and ignoring other stuff, and building a verbal representation of the world that is just as obscure as the representation one built one sixtieth of a finger snap before (karma, the Buddhist kind?), and that this is an ongoing process- only because the language faculty evolved - that we assume is reliable and true, only because we are grabbing stuff that correlates with what others are grabbing and ignoring, editing out, the shit that doesn’t...something like that...I’ll give this more thought and hope Lambert doesn’t read it! )...


      Negri and Hardt.

      “To investigate this historical being, let us return to the experience of the movements often characterized by encampments and occupations of urban space in 2011, which exploded again in 2013 in Turkey and Brazil with strong echoes in Israel and Britain in the summer of 2011, Quebec in 2012, Hong Kong in 2014, and in the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States beginning in 2014. These struggles emerged in very different political contexts—whereas they overthrew authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, for example, they confronted center-left governments in Spain, the United States, and Brazil—and their protagonists have very different forms of life. Why, then, do we consider them as part of the same cycle and as figures of the same lived reality? One obvious continuity among these movements is that they share a protest repertoire. They play, so to speak, off the same score, involving in many cases encampments and occupations that temporarily make public space common—openly accessible to all and managed collectively according to innovative rules that are often decided in assemblies or forums. Another shared aspect, which is more complex but nonetheless real, is the demand for a new democratic system, often thought to be prefigured in miniature in the governance of the encampments themselves. 7

      Behind these shared practices and aspirations is a more fundamental fact: the plural ontology that the movements express. Small groups and communities focused on specific neighborhood issues—police brutality, high rent, mortgage defaults, sexual violence—link together in powerful networks. These connections and the common languages that support them are essential. The movements (whether or not they are conscious of this) find support in federalist models—not, clearly, those in the federalist traditions of state sovereignty but instead the federalist modes of association and articulation. Without renouncing their own autonomy and difference, a wide plurality of groups and subjectivities are able to form coalitions and cooperate in common social and political projects. It should come as no surprise, then, that repressive forces have focused on breaking these associative logics. In North Africa religious fanaticism is often an effective wedge to create divisions; in Brazil and Britain racist campaigns often successfully split urban and suburban groups; in North America provocations to push some protesters toward violent acts creates rifts; and everywhere old-fashioned police repression and media campaigns are reliable tools for breaking connections.

      These movements affirm a beating heart of plural ontology. A pluralism of subjectivities, multiple models of temporality, and a wide variety of modes of struggle, which emerge from different traditions and express different objectives, together form a powerful swarm held together by cooperative logics. Their aim is to create a model of constituent democracy in which differences are able to interact and together create new institutions: against global capital, against the dictatorship of finance, against the biopowers that destroy the earth, against racial hierarchies, and for access to and self-management of the common. The next step for the movements thus promises not only to confirm this will to animate and incarnate new human relations but also to participate from below in the construction of new institutions. Whereas up to this point the movements have primarily constructed a “politics of plurality,” now they must set in motion an “ontological machine” of plurality.

      We use the term multitude to name the agent of this plural ontology. We have emphasized elsewhere that multitude designates a radical diversity of social subjectivities that do not spontaneously form together but instead require a political project to organize. 8 Multitude, understood as a political project, is the hinge between the plural social ontology and the possibility of a real democracy. We cannot, however, fully understand this plural ontology or arrive at this political project if our vision remains fixed on the political terrain, even when we analyze the most powerful protests, rebellions, and uprisings. The movements themselves are only symptoms of a deeper social reality, embodied in the daily practices and capacities of the multitude, and its circuits of social production and reproduction.”

    • Alex of... 26th Jan 2018

      well, i probably speak with more concision than that gate-keeping jew Chomsky. shit, maybe he'll read this. wait, are jews white? i still don't know. but yeah, that quote is probably the long version of my little rhyme. i dated a girl who said ontological to me once, but i put her in her place by getting drunk and puking on her couch.

      the other half of what i intended to say is probably already morphing as a result of the quote, but the last lines probably hint at the underlying content, or perhaps the trap i'm attempting to escape offer:

      "We cannot, however, fully understand this plural ontology or arrive at this political project if our vision remains fixed on the political terrain, even when we analyze the most powerful protests, rebellions, and uprisings. The movements themselves are only symptoms of a deeper social reality, embodied in the daily practices and capacities of the multitude, and its circuits of social production and reproduction."

      there's a depiction i mean to approach, for one thing. white people (of the leftish type) form these eco and anti-capitalist groups often with a mindset of "what kind of future am i leaving for my kids?" ..while what we call minority groups or POC are forming groups that say "how am i supposed to raise my kids like this?" the former indicates that life right now is ok for me, but i'm moral, so concerned with a bigger picture. the latter says life is not ok for me right now, that's why i want change.

      if we're being rational, which is more important? if human-caused changes to our ecosystem mean wiping out billions of people plus the fuckin freak-out that happens in migration and resource conflict, then isn't that a bit more important than a few people getting killed by police? or from a feminist perspective, a comedian pulling out his wiener? and yet, that wiener might have something to do with our inability to answer any of it at all!

      there were numerous commentaries about how Marky Mark did the right thing by giving money in Michelle Williams' name, but i don't see a lot of questions over reasonable payments in that industry vs your every-day restaurant worker. no, we can see the pants-wetting expressions of Meryl "we're all Africans" Streep that mutually acknowledge with Oprah that time is up even beyond Hollywood. this probably has a cultural and tangible impact– to some degree good, but doesn't really send a critique beyond an idea that conditions hold you back from becoming a billionaire or leader of the free world.

      dot dot dot

    • Bat Chainpuller 27th Jan 2018

      These are the things that frustrate Alex. How to push the conversation further into the wider perspective. Like pay equality conversations within industries to pay equality across industries as you suggest. As soon as you do that you are confronted by fucking markets...markets do their thang and not many people can conceive of non-market allocation and as soon as you try to illustrate a possibility, you get some kind of variation on the, “what, you want communism?”, and communism is always the Soviet Union, China, North Korea and Cuba and you get dragged down into political minutiae, and shit.

      I read L.A Kauffman’s book, Direct Action, which is really good. Easy to read history of f the last fifty or so years of activists doing good shit. But at the end you just get the feeling that the wider picture was always shunned at the expense of the single issue focus. There was nothing to tie all these efforts together that suggested real systemic change was the end goal and all these separate efforts are directed towards it, part of that drive.

      Albert’s RPS/2044, while not being the greatest read as fiction, in my opinion, seems to start where Kauffman stops. Albert basically outlines fictional individuals involved in the kinds of actions Kauffman’s real history describes but who see the need to come together under some banner, or umbrella, called revolution for a participatory society. Much like this place was supposed to be. The “bloc” thing he describes in the Fanfare series, I think vol 3. Groups coming together somehow, acknowledging each other is working in the same direction, pushing for long term vision, connecting program and strategy while not compromising on their individual focus or issue, which is their strength.

      I see the book Assembly, where the quotes are coming from, as trying to do a similar thing, to unite diverse actions and groups and shit, they call it a pluralism of subjectivities requiring and “ontological machine” of plurality. I think that might be similar to Albert’s “bloc” notion.

      This awareness of a gap in left activism, or is it an emptiness, that has existed for over a century is something that needs to be stoked. That gap between what Kauffman describes and actually took place and what Albert fictionally describes taking place and what Negri and Hardt are trying to show might be possible in bringing diverse movements, groups, together into a stronger force, with strong long term vision, program and strategy.

      I don’t know. That’s what I’m gleaning from the books which is probably really just my own penchant for things, my bias, seeing shit in stuff where it isn’t.

    • Bat Chainpuller 27th Jan 2018

      ...requiring an “ontological...

    • Alex of... 27th Jan 2018

      haven't really read your comment yet. just a little late again with my follow up. i AM trying to get to a couple comments on organizing, but have still been establishing a little background on the way. i think it comes in the next one :)

      but here's this...

      if i was being a bit more conspiratorial, i'd suggest Oprah is being put forward intentionally to make sure the black and women's movements don't fall too far from the tree– parental controls guiding toward conclusions that access to the system and individual faults are the elements of progress to be worked on, and we can avoid wider implications about the historical origins of these problems and more serious concepts of equality. as long as black folks are included in the one percent, the system is sound. if an actor and an actress BOTH get a million bucks for a few days work, a fig-leaf is offered for the waitress cleavage– resounding applause. progress has been achvieved, and order maintained, now that masters of the house are diversely represented, not just token upper management.

      but i think this is not so much an actual plan, but lies more in that unconscious element. i'm reminded of the post-civil war historians' re-writes of the history of slavery into something benevolent, the civilizing of the savage.. it was a gift! you weren't being exploited, the embarassed complex says, you were ripped from the jungle to be introduced to a better way of life. it just takes some hard work for you to catch up (never mind we won't even let you learn to read etc). hey, the Proud Boys first rule of Western Chauvinism is no apologies for creating the modern world. or maybe we can bomb the shit out of another country under the guise of democratization, or making Christians.

      there's a form of feminism that's alway irked me, the kind that advocates so heavily on women achieving positions of power, through wealth or politically. it's not that i'm feeling intimidated or resentful of this destruction of my content little boys club. it's disconcerting if that achievement says, sure, i'll bomb the shit out of a struggling nation just like the next guy. it's been noted before that the dominant demographic attracted to American Libertarianism, for example, are white males. it supports a fantasy that your greedy competition is actually a benevolent cause to whittle down to the best ideas and people to serve humanity, very similar to the founding father's notions about men of best quality as the guardian class, which was of course them, as they designed a set of rules to protect their interests as the plantation owners and bankers.

      yes, i do think that there's such a thing as healthy competition, but when it comes to what might be missing from that in our service to humanity, perhaps i'd like to leave it to the women to let me know what that is. and i'm not so sure the best female voice for that is the woman that was able to achieve the same as, or out-compete her male competitor in a game that has often been producing the worst quality of men, imo– see senor Trump. of course, that might mean better listening devices as well!

      i hear what Oprah said about seeing Sydney Portier as a little girl. but i may not know what she means. to me, the importance is to prove that the game was bullshit in the first place. women, black folk, have never been inferior, but forcefully placed into an inferior position. there's a deeper, harmful psychology to that, where one comes to believe in that inferiority, or largely as a culture. lift that force, the psychology may still remain, as well less forceful forms of domination of institutions and culture afforded through the history of force. this can be further demoralizing, as an individual told you are free and yet still come out on the losing end. now you might REALLY believe it was all true. even without force... you are truly less. plus, it can perpetuate nasty ideologies among the lower economic tiers of the oppressive culture. then someone comes along and works five times as hard as their not as oppressive-any-more oppressor and proves it all wrong. it's uplifting as a culture and opens new possibilities. but does this prove that you just went from savage to civil? or, that something was wrong with the game? bit of a danger zone when it comes to liberation, imo.

      i think part of why i also see more radicalized white people, is because that space has been more open.

    • Bat Chainpuller 28th Jan 2018

      Alex, this is just a repost of a comment, longer than the essay, I posted under a Michael Albert article I largely agree with. May be of some relevance to what we are talking about here, or the bush and shrubbery we are beating the shit out of :). Feel a bit slack doing it because I prefer the to and fro conversational style, which I think you are pretty fucking good at. Anyway...

      If the goal for change isn’t clear, a vision for the future if only modestly or tentatively put up, with associated program and strategy, and constantly reaffirmed, then much activity, newly taken up by many who are becoming more fucked off and aware of the need for change, then it is certainly true that falling back towards less radical program or out of activism all together is likely.

      If it isn’t constantly made clear that there are actual real ways to rearrange economies and polities, in equitable ways, that foster solidarity, diversity and self-management, with well worked and described program and strategies to get there, then the giving up is likely.

      If it isn’t shown that pay disparities within industry is deeply connected to those across industry, and that that conversation is as important if not more so, and that they are deeply connected with racism and sexism and that these are reinforced further by existing institutional structures within all spheres of society and that to tackle one is to tackle the many, and that every effort in one specific area, no matter how small, has its place within and is connected to the wider goal of building a better world and arriving at that place, then it is likely that those new to activism may fall away, disappear or focus on just reforms here and there and then go home after a victory.

      I think Michael is pointing to a lack in the approach of the radical writer, not that of the liberal or not so progressive. There is something they persistently ignore or tackle only occasionally or acknowledge fleetingly or only at the back end of their book in that last chapter out of fifteen, or the last two short paragraphs of an article. The rest focused possible on much of what Albert knowingly says in the above, because he is involved in publishing such stuff and reads more than most ever will.

      Most say, “we need a mass movement, we need vision, we need a new economy, we need a new polity, real democracy...etc..We need someone to come up with all this stuff, eco-socialism”, but then, nothing. I look for the next chapter, the next instalment, yet find nothing. I have to look myself elsewhere and that is difficult and time consuming and many a person new to activism via a specific focus or issue, more than likely won’t make that effort, mainly because they don’t know about the existence of other things beyond their specific focus, mainly because the people they read, some of whom may be radical writers are not informing them of these things, and are not helping them go further, dig deeper, and look larger and towards vision that is possible and can be attained through associated program and strategy.

      Many are not made aware that Lakey’s call to vision and Albert’s put them in the same room together. That Wallerstein’s call for it puts him in that room also, along with Alperovitz, Schwieckart, Hahnel, Olin-Wright, Trainer, Kovel, Bauwens, Siefkes, Fotopoulos and other’s. Many are not made aware that working backwards from coherent, clear vision helps connect the reform dots, the specific single issue dots, the electoral dots and the inter connectedness of them all, not in a mystical airy fairy way, but in an institutional structural way, a material way that enables newbies to see that fighting for that pedestrian crossing for their kids is a step towards fighting against police oppression, state oppression and repression, and alternately a better polity and economy and world.

      Most radical writers know of the Spanish revolution, it’s successes and its failures. I see them written often. But I rarely read or hear of de Santillan and his effort to clarify institutionally an economic vision for an anarchist society. Rarely do radical writers talk of Castoriadis and his efforts, or Fotopoulos, or Albert and Hahnel or even right now, even among those writing of the need for vision. Rarely do I read of the NSP and it’s efforts and it’s attempt at “meta-analysis” of the plethora of published visionary ideas (yes, apparently something like this is being done but I only know because I emailed them), that to me all appear to be much the same apart from the writing style and a few words here and there.

      Murray Bookchin felt he failed in his attempts for libertarian municapalism or social ecology, towards the end of his life. Janet Biehl, his partner and biography, in the bio wrote that she has jumped the radical activist ship, over to the electoral one of social democracy. Why? Perhaps the reason is exactly what Michael is suggesting, a lack of support for those out there offering vision, program and strategy. A lack of material offering the insights and tools needed to sustain a push for actual societal change and not just incremental shifts disconnected from the larger picture or system and Trump bashing.

      If radicals of Bookchin’s stature and experience, a lifetime of hardcore activism from the age of nine, and Biehl, feel failure or fall away, what hope is there for newbies placing their toe into activist waters for the first time?

      Radical writers so often stop right where they are meant to pick up the baton and keep going, and it appears to me, perhaps wrongly, who knows, they don’t much like to talk to one another and cannot hang in the same room for very long. Paul Street, in a personal email, felt most of the hardcore left leadership needed therapy to deal with the ego tripping, but even that, at least to me wasn’t helpful at all. It was just acknowledging what Michael in a different way is suggesting above. There is a lack among radical writers that needs to be addressed and soon.

    • Bat Chainpuller 28th Jan 2018

      I just wanted to add this, for fun.

      For me it is asking why does Marky short-ass Mark get paid 1.5 mill for a reshoot while Williams gets a $1000 per diem - working on memory here and that I read an article right!- ? What the fuck! Straight up bullshit. But then, why does Williams even deserve her per diem when most workers don’t even get close to earning $1000 a week, doing shit they never signed on for when they were still at school. Their dream was to be an astronaut, only to realise by the time they were sixteen Macca’s was the more likely career destination.

      I mean where is that fucking conversation among radical activists rather than just capitalist bashing? If you have that conversation all of a sudden you are in the area of asking why is it we get paid what we do? What are the institutional reasons for pay disparity. Institutional reasons come into focus. Markets must come into focus and their fucked up nature. Labour markets, financial markets and goods and services markets. Then the move towards what institutional structures to replace them with. But not many go there, and make it a priority.

    • Alex of... 29th Jan 2018

      ya, the fig-leaf thing i said is based on numerous articles popping up about the pressures on women to dress sexy in the service industry by their employers. of course it's good to get the Harvey W's off the toll booth, and it's good to use this (which i think has surged in part from the pussy-grabbing-statements-then-elected-moment-in-time) to put more light on pay differences, but the relationships, or even facts! are often missing.

      for one, i've spent plenty of time working in the service industry, and while i'm sure it exists in some places, i've never known a single woman that felt pressured like that by her employer. i HAVE known plenty of women that understand the service industry is based on minimum wage plus tips. i've also known some highly intelligent women that spent some time stripping. one woman i know is lesbian and someone who has built a career on helping people– something that needed investment money. as she explained, stripping was the shortest or most available path she saw to attain that investment. she was well aware it was a hustle and viewed that a bit like an acting role. she could approach a table and ask for a cigarette, work it into money on their hopes for more intimate interactions that woud never be made available. said she learned how to use her lack of interest into attraction/dollars.

      some girls don't play that game at the bar/restaurant, and get tips closer to what guys do- less in most environments. some girls love attention toward their boobs, and we could hem and haw about cultural pressures, but there's more than economics in all that– dudes and their muscles, or just plain human nature. whatev, i'm not interested in the Harvey shit becoming a left version of conservatism where guys pretend they don't like tits, whether that's crusades to mask beauty or labelling every form of lust a part of rape culture. fine lines to consider, yes. blanket moralities, no thanks.

      while i can say that women are often making more money (not Marky-money) than men in service industry front-of-house positions (and Mexicans are often making the food in the back for a slightly higher wage but no tips so far less than FOH), as many guys are also willing to line up their trucks to wait longer for a cup of coffee at a bikini espresso bar where they pay twice as much plus tip to interact for two minutes with a sexy-dressed girl before they go off to the construction site AND women don't tip quite as desperately as far as the larger pop, i can also say that only one of my service industry jobs of about a dozen had female ownership.

      what's it mean? are women dumb? are they being kept out? i can easily find an article like this: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/women-are-owning-more-and-more-small-businesses/390642/ which hypes growth of small business ownership up to 29 percent female in 2015 from 26 percent in 1997, and gives credit for government intervention that restricts competetion. but, while not some depthful radical perspective, this is interesting: http://www.businessinsider.com/battle-of-the-sexes-do-men-or-women-make-better-entrepreneurs-2010-11?op=1/#men-start-companies-to-better-balance-their-work-and-family-lives-1 as it deals with differences on rationale for running a business between sexes.

      if i'm to accept the basics of the study... even within all the market potentials, women tend to be less motivated by wealth. that could mean to me that it takes tremondous, more than ever likely, amounts of regulations to adjust for that imbalance of ownership. that is, women as a larger demographic may be less interested in whatever it is that kind of life is all about. defining that is probably a big topic, but it raises a question if access is the only obstacle for ownership or equality, and... maybe even influence within radical discussion.

      i haven't looped though a lot of things at this point, and may or may not for some. part of what i've said in comments is not really toward you James– you know many of the things i'm referring to or hinting at, and you've dropped some relevant resources, can't say everything all at once, and i've probably NOT been all that conversational as i've been trying to get through some kind of backdrop, but i'm shifting to a more conversational thang and might include some of said loops on the way, and i also have time limits... so sometimes if i keep yapping, i might just throw something down that i'm thinking of, but i won't come at direct too soon. just sayin.

      just sayin cuz i agree with a bunch of stuff, have some thoughts on others, and i know it won't always be too clear without identifying all that. i've painted some huge generalizations, much of which requires isolating elements to get all fuckin serious, and yet those have a way of finding their way outside of isolation.

      pulling one thing, sort of. there's an element of choice i'm hinting at here and there, and thinking about right now just because of a line of yours. i probably know what you mean in the context, but it's the idea that 'markets do their thang'. i look at markets a bit like guns, in that expression that guns don't kill people, people do. techinically speaking, markets are neutral, no? it's the decisions people make. all the billionaires and millionaires of the world could invest in research tomorrow toward those Vulcan plans. everyone could approach business from notions of equality. a Hollywood liberal could realize that their struggle as a black woman in America is nothing compared to children dying each day from lack of clean drinking water. and me? do i ever waste my dollar on something i don't need that could help someone actually survive in a situation out of their control?

      lots of directions of thought from there. hey, i think of capitalism as more of a mindset in the way people often refer to it. but.. what do you think is the biggest motivation for people to abolish markets?

    • Bat Chainpuller 29th Jan 2018

      Have to think about that! I’d answer, right now, no, markets aren’t neutral and they actually by their nature work in a way that undermines fair outcomes. They can’t be otherwise, unless restrained, which is controlling them, which one could argue is a form of planning which is not markets. If you keep, adjusting for more and more fair outcomes, equitable outcomes what happens to markets? The mechanism looks less and less like a market. What would it even mean to talk of them? Graeber said this weird thing once that markets in the future may not even look like markets now, in an equitable future. Well, if that’s the case, they aren’t markets so don’t call them markets because the only thing people know as markets now are the ones we got, and THEY are what people know as markets.

      People aren’t given the info to make right decisions, markets naturally move toward misinformation or bullshit, in order to outcompete. I reckon, logically speaking, to approach business from the perspective of equality, fairness, justice, solidarity, diversity, requires planning not competitive markets. You just have to ask questions before you produce and before you know it you in a labyrinth of planning complexity. That’s why markets are preferred, easier, yet disastrous but they allow for bullshit, for parallel illegal black markets...money’s money. So, you regulate, or police them, but only to the degree that competitive market integrity is maintained, otherwise you’re heading towards planning.

      What kind of planning does one want? Who makes the plans? The “planners” or everyone? How?

      So of course people gravitate to winging it through coops and land trusts and public banks and community gardens and new forms of digital money and simpler living, stigmergy, open source this and that, sharing, under a somewhat misguided notion, to my mind, that from all that, the people, the multitude, the pluraty of subjectivities, will somehow build a coherently run world and by that I mean world and not just some pocket of it.

      And with that little soapy boxy bullshit said, I will further say that the biggest motivation to get rid of markets is that they are fucked and haven’t fucking got close to delivering anything even vaguely resembling anything really fucking good over the last century and we are more fucked up now than ever, so fuck them off and start thinking about a system that fosters equity, fairness, solidarity, diversity and self management. Winging it hasn’t worked.


    • Alex of... 30th Jan 2018

      i might be playing just a little devil's advocate, but i'm viewing the definition of markets on a simple level where it just refers to a method of determining value for goods and services, a quantified means of exchange. in that sense, there's what we know as markets (sort of ) and what that form of exchange could look like if we chose to operate it differently. i realize there are also definitions that mark contrasts between market and planned economies, but maybe Graeber was referring to a basic exchange definition?

      sometimes when people object to capitalism, i think what they are really talking about is greed. they object to people making billions while others struggle... and others that don't object have justifications for that kind of wealth accumulation or why some are struggling. as far as choice, it remains, that nothing about markets or the system as we know now is forcing anyone to accumulate that much. as things are now, there are certainly choices an individual is faced with when it comes to making a living. what is profitable is not always true to one's heart, or may not be satisfying all social needs. you will make more money as the ceo for coca-cola than as a nurse. sure, people want a coke, but that's something that can be mass-produced. you can't up your value as a nurse by replicating your product.

      sometimes people say 'market' or 'capitalism' as synonymous terms, but i view capitalism's core quality to be private ownership, which is the biggest difference in what covers much of our current 'exchange system' and more collective applications or theories for the future. we have already found many things that don't seem to work well at all if privatized. it doesn't really make sense to pay a toll for a road every time you need it. does it make sense to somehow determine an annual fee based on individual usage or just put a flat fee as part of the region, or world's work? so with a little democratic influence, we use taxes to allocate for some things. what people call democratic socialism isn't fundamentally different than what america's doing right now, it just leans heavier on socializing various aspects to coexist with the privatized market exchange.

      it's all just ways we define our human output and needs, with different beliefs on what is most attractive, and so the institutions or decision-making at play. forgive me if i'm wrong, but don't Albert and Hahnel both remind nay-sayers of planning that many elements of planning already take place, even within corporations trying to determine how much any particular product should be invested in based on seasonal or other known trends? don't they also believe that if certain jobs we've determined to be beneficial are not being met, it makes sense to up the remuneration. there may very well be better ways to make those determinations compared to our current decision-making processes, but it still comes to incentivizing to generate skill sets or dig ditches if those are needs not being met.

      there's also not directly quantifying anything.

      there's some other related thoughts, but i just wanted to see if that much is understandable or in any way agreeable.

    • Bat Chainpuller 31st Jan 2018

      I reckon markets are knackered. On my reading of Hahnel’s critiques of them and Albert’s. I wrote a long response to the above, responding to paragraphs or sentences but then realised it was too serious...did me head in. Could post it if you want.

      Little Dicky Smith from System Change Not Climate Change reckons we need more participatory planning. Alperovitz says the same. Trainer talks of a mix of all sorts of shit. They seem to leave the door open to a certain amount of market allocation with a planning component. Somewhere in my little head I can’t find clarity in their ideas. How much market (Erik Olin Wright thinks much same), how much planning? What proportions and why? And why the fuck is it that I have read that any kind of market and planning mix throws out pricing efficiencies, wherein the pricing is meant to carry the info of social costs and benefits. Planning can do that but markets are between buyer and seller only and fuck that shit up...they don’t carry the cost of pollution from car sales because it’s insignificant between a buyer and seller but devastating when collectively added. Planning can impose a wealth of info derived from consumers and producers and all sorts of areas to the point of including qualitative info like psychological effects of working in a particular industry...ie, the worker entering the workplace, input, the worker leaving, output.

      Alperovitz’s models aren’t nearly as clear as Parecon’s when it comes to planning participatorially (and fuck me, when you read through Fotopoulos’s planning idea in Inclusive Democracy he on a few occasions makes the statement like, the planners will take care of that. Shit, considering the grief Parecon gets when it mentions things like IFBs, merely collating information I would expect Fotopoulos to get a whack across the ears for making such flippant statements). Perhaps partly because he may not have thought through the pricing implications of a mix of planning and markets and partly because he doesn’t want to get into a deep economic discussion with ordinary people, you know, too complicated for ‘em. Schwieckart type market socialists are similar. It’s as if THEY are the ones doing the consulting and advocacy and THEY will handle the complicated shite.

      Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Who cares as long as there are no longer huge disparities in wealth. Well, who is doing the critique of these pluralist commonwealth new system ideas? The real tough ones. Where are the comparable critiques that Parecon receives from so many, which Hahnel and Albert invite? Alperovitz can say that participatory planning is too big a thing, not feasible, as he did to me, but besides him just saying that (and I’m thinking actually he probably hasn’t really closely looked at it, even as close as myself, more than likely out of bias) but at the very least Parecon is all out there institutionally regarding allocation, for all to see, iteration facilitation boards and all. It’s clear what it’s pricing mechanisms are, what it’s remuneration method is, what balanced job complexes are for, what self management actually means and how it is all supposed to integrate as a TOTAL system, open to cultural and regional textural variations, open to diversity and solidaritous relations and compatible hopefully with non sexist non racist relations. But Alperovitz, and coop collectives all over the world, the Chiapas, Kerala are all just community and local efforts, all worthy and good but extremely short on clarity when it comes to remuneration, allocation on a necessarily wider level than local, essentially how are all these local regional community levels to economically speak and coordinate efficiently with each other, how to deal with hierarchical divisions of labour and the effects they have on decision making ability and confidence of workers/consumers and extremely vague on how markets and planning will mix. At least Trainer admits to this in The Simpler Way.

      I don’t get it.

      I’m a fucking free improvisor. I make music up by collapsing the wave function every sixtieth of a finger snap again and again. I have no clue how this fifty minute improvisation will end or or what it will sound like other than a basic knowledge of my own musical proclivities and dispositions and some knowledge of my partner in crime, Konk Zuben. We make shit up as we go. But there is little or no money for 99.999999999999% of all free improvisor because most people hate the music. They don’t even think it is music. That’s markets for ya. The music my heart is in forces me to get a job full time, a day gig, in order to survive. This is effectively what I call a barrier of entry into creative pursuit. Over time, one can become very despondent due to the lack of time spent doing what you most want to do. Most people just say, oh, poor boy, you don’t get to do what you want all the time. Well, wake up and smell the concrete dude, that’s life in the big smoke. Alex Honnold climbs rocks for a living only because he was one of the lucky ones, born with great fear control and free solos - no rope or gear climbing - shit like Free Rider on El Cap, so gets publicity and therefore a sponsor. One dude becomes a professional climber, thousands of others do not and need a day job. Markets.

      As a free improvisor zinunderstand self emergence. But I’m talking music and not usually more than four to five people playing together at the same time. Nor do I have to concern myself with what other improvisor sin other regions are doing and why. Fuck ‘em. Music making like all creatitivity is self indulgent first. It cannot be otherwise. You make shit you like and then if others like it, great, if not, too bad (markets would say, identify your audience and make music accordingly). Building a better society needs that structure and clarity and communication between communities and localities and coherent inter community/local/regional structures that foster and support local activity. So, Alperovitz talks of participatory planning to bring that structure. Who’s making the plans? And why on earth would you somarrogantly use that phrase participatory planning and not mention Participatory economics whose main feature is its participatory planning mechanism.

      See, I just go down this road all the time. Get all serious and then tired and shit. I don’t really know if any of this is relevant to anything you said at all anymore. My feeling is that it isn’t.

      Oh well...

    • Bat Chainpuller 31st Jan 2018

      Thank god for intellectuals,

      “When we return to Machiavelli and Foucault, however, and look more closely, we can begin to see how the relation of force can be overturned and how “power” can recompose “Power,” forcing us to reinterpret and relativize the distinction. The key is to recognize that Power on its own is weak and insufficient, that it can live only from the relationship, sucking the vital energies from those it seeks to rule. Whether conceived in terms of the lion or the fox, as force or cunning, beast or human, technique or machine, and so forth, all these images hide the fact that Power faces a living and indestructible adversary. And yet Power is not only a villainous reality. The struggle against Power, which takes place within the relationship that defines it, is not only an effort to unhinge the current characteristics of Power (command and domination), not only an effort to break the structural (economic and state) physiognomy of Power, and thus to set in motion strong processes of the subjectivation and liberation of labor. It is also a long march that destructures the relationship between Power and power, to the point of overturning the balance and posing the concept and the reality of power at the center of the relationship, thus giving it priority and hegemony.

      We thus arrive at a third call. After the first call to give the responsibility for strategy in progressive and liberation struggles to the movements and limit leadership to a tactical position; after the second call to develop new institutions animated by the constitutive action of the movements beyond the traditional mechanisms of representation and regulation through which the dominant modern tradition has understood democracy; and keeping in mind the first and second responses, which rest on the cooperative networks of social production to read the coalitions of political organizing, which create a plural social ontology, we are ready for a third call: to take power, not simply by occupying the existing offices of domination with better leaders, but instead by altering fundamentally the relationships that power designates and thus transforming power itself. Identifying the means at our disposal to accomplish this will be a central task of part IV.”

    • Bat Chainpuller 31st Jan 2018

      And solved,

      “Before we can confront this problem directly, however, we will have to investigate how the crisis of the relationship of capitalist power must be read from a dual perspective. In part II we will consider, from below, from the standpoint of the subordinated, how today the multitude not only opposes the capitalist organization of command but also invents modes of life and forms of production and reproduction that go beyond the capitalist capacity to exercise power. In part III we will see how capital and its institutions have sought to respond to these developments, adjusting their mechanisms of exploitation and developing modes of financial command that constitute the basis of neoliberal governance. Analyzing how even at the center of these transformations are born resistances and struggles will also be part of our task. Part IV, finally, will have to close the circle and delineate the paths for resistance and subversive practices to lead to the construction of a new, sustainable, democratic organization of society, the Prince of the common.”

    • Bat Chainpuller 31st Jan 2018

      Me musical partner in crime Konk sent me this that I reckon clarifies the above quite obviously and simply.

      “In Traugott's view, subjectification is a semasiological process in which a linguistic element's "meanings tend to become increasingly based in the speaker's subjective belief state/attitude toward the proposition". From Langacker's standpoint, "an expression's meaning always comprises both subjectively and objectively construed elements, and it is individual conceptual elements within an expression's meaning that, over time, may come to be construed with a greater degree of subjectivity or objectivity".[3]”

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      This post is to clarify the post “Me musical partner...” which, in fact, doesn’t clarify anything because the word subjectification does not appear in the quotes above it, it is meant to clarify. But there is the word ‘subjectivation’, which appears at the start of the third line from the bottom of the first paragraph in the quote from the post “Thank god for intellectuals...”. Here is a definition that may clarify any confusion.

      “Subjectification (French: subjectivation) is a philosophical concept coined by Michel Foucault and elaborated by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. It refers to the construction of the individual subject. The concept has been often used in critical theory, sometimes with Louis Althusser's concept of interpellation.”

      So subjectivation appears to be the French for subjectification. This I hope has clarified any confusion the post from “Me musical partner...” may have caused, which doesn’t make it clear that subjectification is the same as subjectivation.

      But I am sure everyone got it from the get go.

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      To clarify interpellation,

      “In Marxist theory, interpellation is an important concept regarding the notion of ideology. It is associated in particular with the work of French philosopher Louis Althusser.[1] According to Althusser, every society is made up of Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs) and Repressive State Apparatuses (RSAs) which are instrumental to constant reproduction of the relations to production of that given society. While ISAs belong to the private domain and refer to private institutions (family, church but also the media and politics), the RSA is one public institution (police/military) controlled by the government. Consequently, 'interpellation' describes the process by which ideology, embodied in major social and political institutions (ISAs and RSAs), constitutes the very nature of individual subjects' identities through the process of "hailing" them in social interactions.”

      And then this for hailing,

      “To illustrate this concept, Althusser gives the example of a friend who knocks on a door. ... This is made possible through Althusser's notion of interpellation or hailing which is a non-specific and unconscious process. For example, when a police officer shouts (or hails) “Hey, you there!””

      So we are no doubt clear now.

      These are the wonders one comes across when one decides to read academics with a continental philosophical bent like Negri and Hardt.

      No wonder, Frank Zappa made it clear, when Ben Watson visited to read some of his Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play to him, he didn’t want people thinking he sat around all day reading the sort of stuff Ben was referencing, like the plethora of Adorno, along with much else. But he did find it amusingly entertaining enough to suggest to Ben that he do a reading tour of universities and record him reading it. The latter I have no doubt would have been interspersed with wonderful musical morsels enhancing the book, which is wonderful, and emphasising the importance of Poodle Play!

    • Alex of... 31st Jan 2018

      it's relevant, but hard to respond if we don't have some common definitions. i gave a possible definition of markets and attempted to describe very basic differences in what people mean when they refer to them and related elements. from what i can extract of main points: you feel they are broken and done with, do not consider them to exist if planning exists instead, and is the reason why some people get to do things they want while others do not. there's some other bits, and the accuracy is just as i read it perhaps.

      but i don't actually know what you consider a market to be. can you tell me how you define a market, excluding the effects of your market definition? that is, i'm feeling clear that you are saying a market is bad, but i can't follow the logic if we've started with different definitions. help please.

    • Alex of... 1st Feb 2018

      just to note, we may have been posting at the same time but that third quote was not there when i posted, or maybe you posted after and has something to do with how the site's replies work. so when i just read it, i was not sure if it was a response to my last comment or what it was referring to as "the above"

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      The post above your post “it’s relevant...” was posted post your post “it’s relevant...” but pre your post “just to note...”, and pre my post “An actual or nominal...” which is the post posted to posit my views on markets post haste.

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      “An actual or nominal place where forces of demand and supply operate, and where buyers and sellers interact (directly or through intermediaries) to trade goods, services, or contracts or instruments, for money or barter.
      Markets include mechanisms or means for (1) determining price of the traded item, (2) communicating the price information, (3) facilitating deals and transactions, and (4) effecting distribution. The market for a particular item is made up of existing and potential customers who need it and have the ability and willingness to pay for it.”

      The above is a basic dev from some business site. And below is link to Robin Hahnel



      I just went with your simple def of markets but it wasn’t really clear to me what you really meant. To me a market is a market is a market. If it looks like a market, smells like a market, then it probably is a market. But of course you can have markets with planning but it, according to Albert, fucks up pricing and pushes them towards inefficiency in terms of social costs and benefits. Markets do it anyway. So Inwant people, whoever they are, when they say you can have a little bit of this and a little bit of that, this being planning and that being markets, that that can be efficient and Albert and Hahnel are wrong. I want someone, whoever they are to show me that that mix can work for an economy federated on a national and international level, not just locally or regionally. I want someone to do that and they rarely do. They actually just say to me, you can have a little bit of market and planning. But I have read that that is a problem regarding pricing that carries the info concerning costs and benefits.

      You may plan aspects of an economy within a small local area, town, region, but goods are coming in from outside whose prices are determined via supply and demand through markets and then those are being used inside this town or local area whose economy is planned and planning effects prices too I suppose. Shit really one should be talking about this to Hahnel or Albert because they ARE economists but I have heard Albert point to the inefficiencies of mixing the two.

      I want to know about a little bit of entrepreneurial activity and how that effects things like remuneration, or what happens when one removes financial and labour markets but keeps goods and services markets, but socialises the means of production as Schwieckart suggests. Schwieckart likes markets and fundamentally disagrees with market abolitionists like Albert and a Hahnel. I am swayed by Albert and Hahnel and not convinced by say Erik Olin Wright in his convo with Hahnel when it comes to this problem of planning and markets. Although Hahnel does concede ground in this area to Wright in the book

      But fundamentally Hahnel is a market abolitionist.

      Pat Devine also introduces a mix but a small essay of his does my head in.
      As far as commons folk and solidarity economics folk and Simplicity folk go, the eschew or are extremely vague in this regard and offer little to convince me their ideas can be implemented beyond the local.

      I believe, when it comes to a world wide economy it has to be coherent and institutionally sound and clear because shit the s coming from everywhere and markets can easily hide shit, bad shit, and a participatory planned economy doesn’t, is built so as to be completely above board, transparent and make it virtually, or impossible, to manipulate it for personal gain, and actually designed to foster a set of values that as far as I can see and tell, 99.99999999999999999% of people desire.

      That’s my position for right or wrong. My rational brain doing its thing. My definition of markets is classical. That’s what most people define as markets, be they simple or complex. Not a ‘market place’ which is a distribution point, like when you say you are going down to the market or supermarket to get shit. And yes there is a second hand market and a black market which operate according to the same mechanisms,

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      Need to clear out the head with musical interlude.

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      If that didn't relax ya, then try this,

    • Alex of... 1st Feb 2018

      the second track works for me. or i for it. the business definition is essentially what i'm saying as a market definition, but the last line is assumptive on the elements that influence the decisions. that's not me saying i'm for putting a price on everything we do to make life be, but that part of life as we might find useful or not is what i was calling a market, at least as the direct economic side goes. maybe if do some curls or pilates it ups my value– marketability. where that applies is more to the story.

      the hahnel piece does not define markets, it asks what's wrong with markets and starts to justify those bad elements with "When capitalists hire workers..." which is about ownership, and to some degree attitude– as far as other basic defintions i've mentioned working with. sure, there's lots about the intentions there i agree with. i think you know that.

      i haven't watched the video, but is it necessary that i do to understand what a market definition is? the problem for me is, if you say something about a mix of markets and planning, the difference becomes confusing if we're equating one thing with another. we might even agree on something that's being confused by those definitions. if i want to convince the human world to change, and my premise is market abolition, and markets to one person means freedom or to another disparity, it's hard to chat till we get past or at least morph like power rangers.

      it gets confusing if at one point markets are subjective and then at another they are the core of separation. maybe what i call markets should be called something different, but i'll have to understand that's not just about objections to things i don't think have to do with that definition. plus i like pizza.

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      For me it’s clarity and Parecon gives me clarity and most other things, while good and of value, don’t present me with any idea of where things could end up. That’s most other things. And I get the market critiques of Albert and Hahnel which in turn help me define markets by understanding what they actually do. But I guess that’s just me and by the by.

      I think most other things, what people call visions aren’t actually that and what they call diverse or pluralist aren’t actually that, they’re variations on themes that have been around for ages, decades, maybe centuries and aren’t all that different. The thing to me is, regardless of them being around and people being attracted to them because they dislike the current system, the current system thrives.

      I just can’t at the moment digest the idea of many alternatives. I do not think there are many ways to skin an alternative economic cat. If there are, then the idea of “revolution” is useless, it’s more about localism or tribalism or something. The Simpler way or voluntary simplicity comes across like that to me, as does localism and transition towns or Catalan coops. I have no clue as to where they are going and I have no real clue as to how participatory the decision making truly is unless I actually live there.

      To convince many people, like a mass, that change is necessary and can be done and a better way organised means for me clear and coherent alternative structures capable of sustaining and fostering a better life. Just about everything else other than Parecon I have read doesn’t do that for me, it merely confuses me and leaves me uncertain with hundreds of questions that one cannot ask because there is nowhere to do so and all these fuckers don’t get back to your emails unless your name is !icharl Albert.

      My views are as you say subjective. I have a proclivity towards certain things much like others just cannot and never will embrace something like Parecon and lean elsewhere. If there is a multitude or plurality of subjectivities then dragging them together requires serious and clear work or discussion and debate in order to figure out how to do it. Otherwise I just see shrugging shoulders and people just going local or perhaps regional but not much further than that really. That’s just what happens anyway. But to combat global warming, bigger thinking is needed. I think tackling the economy is the same...can’t be done just winging it locally hoping things will self emerge. It’s a world problem.

      But again, that’s just me and I wouldn’t trust myself as far as I could throw myself. But I feel drawn to the rationality of Albert and Hahnel’s economic alternative but not to the principled position of anarchists and many others of a practical disposition or the voluntary simplicity folk or the complicated ideas of p2p folk. But I agree with Hahnel community economic work is a necessary step but useless without a clear coherent long term visionary goal, on an economic level. And lots more of people are coming up with shit and writing books and essays but most aren’t talking to one another like adults who realise they had better all do this together really.

      It’s like the plethora of visions at the NSP. Fucked if I can remember them all. I was told by Joe Guinan that some sort of meta analysis of them all is going on....

      I’ve just hit a wall here Alex...I just stopped...it’s really pointless me saying all this shit...just circles. Better to go on a march and yell at the enemy, at least it’s simple and makes ya feel like ya done something. But I guess you gotta be young to do that...better to go simple and vegan, join a coop or whatever, that way I don’t need to try to figure all this other shit out or try to understand it.

      I betcha Negri and Hardt’s book has no impact on anything. Just another book. Like LA Kauffman’s or Albert’s or anyone else’s. Marx said, the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it, or something...it’s just no one has a clue or can even agree on how to do it.


    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      I meant unless their name is Michael Albert.

      And that’s it for me Alex, I am thoroughly sick of the sound of my voice and what I write is just total shite, fucking really bad repetitive bullshit.

    • Alex of... 1st Feb 2018

      sorry if i'm confused but i don't know what you are arguing at. i haven't advocated any particular vision or strategy. i still don't know what you consider to be a market even though you want it abolished.

      "Markets include mechanisms or means for (1) determining price of the traded item, (2) communicating the price information, (3) facilitating deals and transactions, and (4) effecting distribution."

      while limited in scope as just one piece of combined elements, what of that is not actually part of the parecon equation? if i say putting a trade value on needs/wants and labor is a "parket" does that work better? not to be an ass, but what should i call that? is that not an element to identify?

    • Alex of... 1st Feb 2018

      we can hit pause if you like. much love.

    • Alex of... 1st Feb 2018

      there's other thoughts in my head of course but i can alway just post a bit of that with no feedback needs

    • Alex of... 1st Feb 2018

      i have some questions...

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      Yeah, me to like what does this mean,

      “A new orthodoxy was thus formulated that posed, as Gramsci wanted, Marxism against Das Kapital, prying open the fetish of scientific objectivity to release the dynamics of class struggle as an ontological power and a dispositif of constituent subjectivation.”?

      Or just that end bit, disposition of constituent subjectivation? And these guys think they may be onto something that helps bring a radical movement for change together, or at least that’s what I gather from what Inhavecread so far and the title of the book, Assembly.

      I can’t even define markets myself so resortvto mainstream definitions which don’t help the matter. Now I realise I should be redirecting my thoughts towards ontological power o and a dispositif of constituent subjectivation which is the French for subjectification.

      Mush easier just to yell at someone, “what have you done to actually help people or change shit”, or “you’re just a racist and sexist arsehole” and constantly let people know you know Trump is a dick and that you are much smarter than he is...I reckon. Facebook it, or instant gram the thing or whatever, then hit the clubs or dumpster dive.

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      Lots of thoughts in mine too...the language faculty working overtime doing its thing.

      Not the least this, which just arrived in my inbox from Academia.edu that sends me stuff all the time like heaps of the easily understandable, practical and useable philosophy of Tim Morton, which got me thinking.

      “This article reviews the concept of semiotic ideology and its implications. Semiotic ideol- ogy refers to people’s underlying assumptions about what signs are, what functions signs serve, and what consequences they might produce. Those assumptions vary across social and historical contexts. But semiotic ideology as such is not a kind of false consciousness, nor is it something that some people have and others do not. Rather, semiotic ideology manifests the reflexivity that is inherent to the general human sign-using capacity. It ties general semiotic processes to specific judgments of ethical and political value: to take a sign a certain way is to take seriously the world it presupposes and, often, the life that that world recommends. Two examples show how attention to semiotic ideologies sheds light on the articulation of general semiotic processes with particular social, cultural, and po- litical ones. The analysis of social class helps show some political implications of semiotic ideologies. Clashes over the status of religious signs reveal the ontological and ethical en- tailments of semiotic ideologies, in which the very existence of a sign’s object may be in dispute. Such ongoing semiotic processes help endow social existence with much of its constructive, uncertain, and conflictual character.”

      “A sign does not function as a sign unless it be understood as a sign. —Peirce MS 59, 32 (quoted in Parmentier 1994, 4)”

      The first bit I left in there is merely to serve as an intro to the last single sentence bit from Pierce, whoever they are!

      Perhaps one could change the word sign to market.

      “A market does not function as a market unless it be understood as a market.”

      That will do.

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      Maybe, but I tend to keep going even when I have cultivated the feeling most of what I say is fucking plain stupid or incoherent. So here’s a bit that helps clarify things even more. Coincidentally I just got to a passage in the Negri and Hardt book that makes things real simple. My sisters and friends will get this immediately. Much easier to understand than giving a definition of markets.

      “In History and Class Consciousness, Georg Lukács celebrates the way that Rosa Luxemburg returned to the young Marx and developed his capacity to engage the economic and legal categories of capitalist development through the construction of revolutionary subjectivity. As Lenin did in State and Revolution, Luxemburg resolved a central paradox of Marxist theory that, posing freedom and necessity in opposition, seemed to reduce the prospects of revolutionary action to some kind of nineteenth-century mechanicism and, in so doing, negate its potential. Whereas Lenin was subsequently embroiled in the tasks of constructing socialism in Russia, Lukács continues, Luxemburg was able to renew Marxist “orthodoxy” and thereby overcome the dominant modern conception of power, which is absolutist in the sense that it views power as one and indivisible—a conception that also infects much communist thought. In the wake of Luxemburg, according to Lukács, “Western Marxism” was able to break from the mechanistic ontology of the Second and Third Internationals, which was inevitably catastrophic. A new orthodoxy was thus formulated that posed, as Gramsci wanted, Marxism against Das Kapital, prying open the fetish of scientific objectivity to release the dynamics of class struggle as an ontological power and a dispositif of constituent subjectivation. The power of capital exists against the working class; the taking power of the working class must be posed against capital; the concept of power and the substance of capital are thus defined in a condition of duality and conflict. That puts an end to the modern (and theological—that goes without saying) conception of power as one and indivisible.

      Reading Marx and reinterpreting Hegel, Lukács positions philosophical action as the interpretation of the totality. After 1917, that totality was refigured by the revolutionary process of the soviets and the working class organized in the communist movement. This process transforms the totality in two ways: producing it and being its product, as subject and object. The proletarian subject is not simply the product of a historical process, a “thing” produced and dominated by capital, but also a mode of ethical and political conduct, liberating itself from within capitalist relations to go beyond capital. Revolutionary praxis reveals the coordinated power of the diverse singular modes of conduct of the struggle. This is how Western Marxism is born, and even though it was suffocated by Stalinist dogmatism, it was reborn stronger than ever after the Second World War and, especially, after 1968.11

      Note that what is Western about Western Marxism is its contrast, conceived strictly in provincial European geography, to the Eastern dogmatism of Soviet scientific socialism. There are numerous other powerful and creative currents of twentieth-century Marxist theory that are located outside of this restrictive European map, equally non-Western and non-Eastern, including, just to give a few names to indicate the diversity, Roberto Schwartz in Brazil, Álvaro García Linera in Bolivia, Wang Hui in China, Ranajit Guha and Dipesh Chakrabarty in India, Cedric Robinson in the United States, and Walter Rodney in Guyana. Socialist feminist authors, even those in Europe and the United States, such as Christine Delphy, Mariarosa Dalla Costa, and Nancy Hartsock, should probably also be considered another “non-Western” territory of Marxism. The contributions of these various non-Wests to Marxism have been extraordinarily significant, but allow us to limit our view here to Western Marxism conventionally conceived to appreciate some of its theoretical riches as well as its limits.

      There is no shortage of critiques of Lukács’s ideas, and it is easy (and correct) to reproach him, on the one hand, for transforming the working class into a sort of Prometheus, the author of an ideal revolutionary process, and on the other, for seeing the working class as the only subject capable of liberation. And yet the realism of Lukács’s reinvention of Marxism is also undeniable. He envisions a social subject, which restitutes the world to a free production, the totality of the desire of workers. “A political revolution,” Lukács writes, “does no more than sanction a socio-economic situation that has been able to impose itself at least in part upon the economic reality. … Social revolutions, however, are concerned precisely to change [the social] environment. Any such change violates the instincts of the average man so deeply that he regards it as a catastrophic threat to life as such, it appears to him to be a blind force of nature like a flood or an earthquake.” 12 This is where Lukács’s Prometheus acts, defeating both assumptions that the current order is natural and necessary and idealistic conceptions of change. This is not an ideal subject but a mass reality, constituted by the power of revolutionized labor and driven by the spirit of a working class that seeks to revolutionize all of life, the totality, and that has seen in the Bolshevik Revolution the seeds of a new world.

      After 1968, Western Marxism was reborn by recuperating intensively the concept of totality and developing it in time: history as a process and continuous mutation of the capitalist mode of production; the action of the working class as a movement that implies the production of subjectivity between social revolution and political revolution. Maurice Merleau-Ponty anticipated 1968 in some respects by translating this new experience of historicity—as product and as productive—into language and into the proletarian practices of the second half of the twentieth century. With explicit reference to Lukács’s History and Class Consciousness, Merleau-Ponty incorporates the subjectivity of history and liberates subjectivation from Lukács’s Prometheanism, while maintaining intact its power:

    • Bat Chainpuller 2nd Feb 2018

      And for those continental cup of soup inclined rather than philosophy, his a simplified reinterpretation of the above re Lukacs,


    • Bat Chainpuller 2nd Feb 2018

      ...here's a simplified...

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      i know this wasn’t the point of the blog, but I dragged it there because I just do that shit and I realise you haven’t advocated anything but this just makes me feel like an idiot...seriously. I just found that definition somewhere and it seemed appropriate because you asked. The Hahnel what is wrong with markets, while directly not a definition of markets, does point to mechanisms that create certain outcomes that he thinks negative or bad and he calls those things markets. If you want to call them Parker’s go for it but in conversation none will know what you are talking about or at least Hahnel wouldn’t because he calls those processes markets and thinks they are bad.

      I suppose I get to here, that I drag this conversation here, because the video you initially posted shows people who I assume are part of some kind of movement that wants change for the better and in the end I think, because of the sort of person I am, that requires clear coherent alternative models to present economic relations particularly, otherwise you’re gonna keep having these fucking hassles. I don’t arrive at this shit because I work it out, I just read it from others who seem to make sense to me, like Chomsky, like Albert, Hahnel, Alperovitz and many others, but then I notice I lean towards certain things. I should just grab relevant passages of Albert or Hahnel from books and just drop them then I don’t have to do the “arguing” or whatever it is that I do that makes no sense.

      Maybe there are no such things called markets or no one actually knows what they are at all but all I know is that for some who seem to have knowledge about such things and how they work think ther are these things they call markets that cause harm and should be gone and so advocate a new set of economic relations that don’t cause that harm, that in fact are supposed to cause or foster good shit and that I thought that was a good thing worth trying to advocate for but over time have also realised that many do not think so and Inreally do not have the capacity to change their view because they are just as tough or tougher regarding their position which is sort of like the original video you posted which just shows people yelling at each other which continues for a while until the video stops and reaches no resolution which is pretty much how I find most discussions I have end probably more because I thought something like Parecon was pretty good and what was needed and everything else was vague but really Parecon is just as confusing and unclear as everything else so I can see why so many just want to form coops or community land trusts or transition towns or Rojavan, like experiments or Zapatista like experiments or occupy type experiments or anarchist type experiments without having to bump into dicks like myself who don’t even know what the very thing they think should be abolished is.

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      Or they just want to have on the fly yelling matches with those on the other side of their fence or confrontations around very particular or singular issues whilst hurling in all sorts of other crap that just pops into,their head that may or may not have some relevance to the original particular or singular issue but certainly makes it more and more complicated and confusing much like what I have done here.

    • Bat Chainpuller 1st Feb 2018

      Personally I reckon we have covered a fair bit of ground, so I was wondering,

      What does democracy look like?

    • Alex of... 2nd Feb 2018

      so, what do you consider to be the first step toward achieving a parecon? and if answering, can you please sum that up in one or a few sentences without quotes and links.

    • Bat Chainpuller 2nd Feb 2018

      No idea.

    • Alex of... 2nd Feb 2018

      if you will, indulge me on a logic process so i can understand your outlook a little better– i may need to ask a few questions. if not that's ok too, and i won't know the questions i choose really until each response.

      parecon is the vision of the future of humanity you advocate. you don't like a lot of things about the results of our current human processes, and parecon gives you clarity on how they could be different. it's a world you'd prefer to live in.

      now, what if i say that in the world i want to live in, there's no need to attach a numerical value to our labor, goods and services. we can all just work equally according to principle for the benefit of the whole once we realize that. would you say that is not possible or possible?

      that's just a binary question. possible or not possible?

    • Bat Chainpuller 2nd Feb 2018

      Probably possible. Albert and Hahnel probably started from the same place as did/do many others. Then they try to see how it could be done institutionally. So they grapple with that and develop an economy that can deliver on those values or principles. Not many others do that. They just say what they want, say it’s possible and then kind of start hoping to build most of it as they go.parecon is not an economy I prefer, ut’s an economy that tackles issues institutionally and tries to show how values can be sustained and fostered through economic institutions. It shows me it may be possible down the track. Practical on the ground stuff going on now is all good and necessary as a Hahnel points out but diesn’t show where everything may be headed nor what’s coming. It seems more hope based.i perhaps feel, being an improvisor, such things can be far more easily manipulated or corrupted.

    • Bat Chainpuller 2nd Feb 2018

      I know I’m overstepping the rules of the binary question, but the words advocate and prefer are both words I would agree with in a non-binding way. I prefer to advocate Parecon because I haven’t seen anything as clear, and through a bit of work, understandable, and if you are confused, access to, at least, Michael Albert, to try to clarify those matters, is easy.

    • Bat Chainpuller 2nd Feb 2018

      And just by the by, I am big on pushing projects like the NSP.

    • Alex of... 3rd Feb 2018

      ok, that was far from a binary response, not that we're made of checklists but there was a request. you introduced quite a number of things that influence your answer, which opens the door for many splits on what i can take up from there. i was trying to isolate one thing and then ask you questions toward your reasons, not get a set of multiple reasonings from the get-go. discussion formats are also something that many people have grappled with. so do i ask eight questions or hone in on one thing? or try to combine everything you said into one question? how productive will the results be? and, if i ask a question it might just be a need for clarification on how you've stated it. no agreement to how that works might be a problem.

      so? it's probably possible that we don't need to assign a numerical value to the labor/goods exchanges, and because Albert and Hahnel and many others have grappled with that question, you have been shown that through the same required values for that, it may be possible to get there through the economic institutions they-(which emphasis?) have developed (though parecon is not an economy by your preference but is an economy that accomplishes those values). that's one extraction, but is not based on everything you said, holds some bits of confusion in style, and isolates closer to the original question than some of what you did say. but, that's some of what i end up with since the binary question had no agreement as something that could further my questions.

      a question i could ask regarding that extraction: when you say what may be possible down the track, is that referring to an exchange that requires no numerical assignments to labor/goods or do you mean the theory of parecon which does describe methods of that assignment? (is that a fair binary question? or perhaps binary with a little bit of room for clarification, attempting not to introduce much more to it? maybe you mean parecon is a step toward a vision where there's no more numerical assignments. leads to a couple questions.)

      and, i wrote that before your last two coments. to be clear, i still didn't advocate or indicate preference for any particular vision or strategy. i was asking you a couple questions, not Albert. suggesting confusion and how to solve that relates to part of a different question about your reply to a first step.

      how shall we proceed? shall we just wing and improv our discussion style? am i allowed to ask a binary question and get a binary response? or, do you have a particular preference for discussing aspects of vision or strategy in some moderated level, or moderated discussion in general?

      that last part about proceeding is the only thing i'm directly asking right now, not some of the other potentials in above statements.

    • Bat Chainpuller 3rd Feb 2018

      I cannot answer the binary question conclusively. Possibly possible is probably better than probably possible. But it is based on an assumption. I am assuming no numerical value also means no other kind of measurement or evaluation. I am assuming you mean people just working and taking stuff. From each to each but just kind of doing and taking by principle, as you say, or some sort of honesty system. No vouchers, no other system, just people producing shit and shit being made available to take.

      The reason I say possibly is that I haven’t seen anyone show it possible on the sort of scale Parecon is set up to deal with. Usually people just claim that it can be done rather than show it.

      The only other answer I could give is I do not know. There are sharing and gift economies, but they’re not convincing for large scale, national, international economies.

      Another assumption I have to make is that maybe people claiming it can be done, should be done arevthinking small scale, community economics only. I don’t know.

    • Bat Chainpuller 3rd Feb 2018

      Further, I am only assuming Albert and Hahnel grappled with the possibility of making shit “free”, which I assume is what you are getting at. But deep down I do not think they would have seriously thought that a possibility.

      “it's probably possible that we don't need to assign a numerical value to the labor/goods exchanges, and because Albert and Hahnel and many others have grappled with that question, you have been shown that through the same required values for that, it may be possible to get there through the economic institutions they-(which emphasis?) have developed (though parecon is not an economy by your preference but is an economy that accomplishes those values).”

      I am not sure I understand what you are saying here. If you are saying one may be able to get to a non numerical no prices economy using Parecon institutions, or that I think that possible, I would say, I have never even thought about it and would say, no, because Parecon institutions are premised on the idea that an economy needs something, some measurement or accounting system to help allocate the social pie equitably.

      “that's one extraction, but is not based on everything you said, holds some bits of confusion in style, and isolates closer to the original question than some of what you did say.”

      Not sure, well, uncertain as to what you mean above.

      “when you say what may be possible down the track, is that referring to an exchange that requires no numerical assignments to labor/goods or do you mean the theory of parecon which does describe methods of that assignment?”

      Down the track was referring to Parecon itself being possible not an economy without numerical value attached to goods, services etc.

      “and, i wrote that before your last two coments. to be clear, i still didn't advocate or indicate preference for any particular vision or strategy. i was asking you a couple questions, not Albert. suggesting confusion and how to solve that relates to part of a different question about your reply to a first step.”

      I no you haven’t advocated anything or that this blog was meant to go down that track and I realise I took it there. And I know you are asking me questions. The “you” in connection to accessing Albert was not meant to refer to you Alex, but anyone in general. I should have said if anyone is confused about Parecon, they can access him fin r clarification.

      I understand, by your responses and questions, that it seems most of what I write, from your side, is fucked up and confusing and I’m getting the feeling that maybe I should just remain silent on matters and let the good communicators take care of business. Maybe that has always been the case with me. Clear thinking and communicating is important and maybe I am not cut out for this sort of shit. But I’m giving it a go.

      “how shall we proceed? shall we just wing and improv our discussion style? am i allowed to ask a binary question and get a binary response? or, do you have a particular preference for discussing aspects of vision or strategy in some moderated level, or moderated discussion in general?”

      Aren’t we winging it already Alex. And I did answer the binary question straight up, just added some shit...you can ask whatever you want or proceed in whatever way you wish and I will try my best to answer. That is all I can do.

      I type with one finger on this iPad and make a lot of errors, and often my thoughts just go too fast and I am certainly no Lambert or Peter Lach. But I must say that this does feel like a grilling and I am trying to hold up my end with some confidence but that confidence does wane at times. I am starting to feel like an idiot.

    • Alex of... 3rd Feb 2018

      dude, of course you shouldn't be silent on your passion for change. i'm asking if it makes sense to use some formalities sometimes to exchange ideas. you've said it doesn't make sense to just wing it, in many ways. so is it possible that part of our deficit is winging it too much in our forms of communication?

      sure, i like to say whatever to anything sometimes. it's hard to contain really. ask my third grade teacher. and art. i dance on the street corner and either you into it or i'm thinking of a nietzsche quote on that if you aint. that dance is for me and the music i hear... and to the degree anyone connects is cool or absent. fuck it, express yourself.

      you are feeling grilled, but i also think you spend a lot of time grilling. and no (imo), you didn't really answer the binary question straight up because you added to it. that changes everything about my ability to ask questions in that way. those potential questions are both to understand you better and also require that you care enough about how i'm asking. that's not to say my request style for one thing is some absolute way, but it was asked.

      that doesn't mean that i don't think you care either, but even in this last set of responses of yours, i had asked about how to proceed a discussion style and you added many other thoughts about the previous points on the table which i said i was not asking about at that point.. unless that wasn't clear. was it?

    • Bat Chainpuller 3rd Feb 2018

      You asked if it was possible or not. I’ll answer I don’t know.

    • Bat Chainpuller 3rd Feb 2018

      I didn’t change my answer to don’t know to end the conversation. Was thinking you could start the questions from there.

    • Alex of... 5th Feb 2018

      James, thanks for your response with option C added.

    • Bat Chainpuller 5th Feb 2018

      Well, really it’s more true than possibly possible. That was just me hedging. I don’t know where the ‘don’t know’ came from in my last post, it’s not meant to be there. Make option C option A.

    • Bat Chainpuller 5th Feb 2018

      This just came to mind. One could probably find similarities in Parecon’s allocation system and classical definitions of markets. Someone may tell me that what Hahnel and Albert have come up with is still a market or one of sorts. I am operating from the position that I trust two people who are economists who characterise markets as they do and are market abolitionists and who have come up with an allocation system that arrives at ‘prices’ that enable fair and just exchange which they call participatory planning, which, they say is not what markets are or do and that abolishes the negative outcomes of market exchange, as they characterise it, which from their perspective is antisocial to say the least. So if you are saying here that Parecon’s allocation system is merely doing the same as what most know as markets do, so therefore is different only in name, I would have to disagree.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 3rd Feb 2018

      Alex, re: "there's a form of feminism that's always irked me, the kind that advocates so heavily on women achieving positions of power, through wealth or politically."

      maybe this:

      "I didn't fight to get women out from behind vacuum cleaners to get them onto the board of Hoover."
      - Germaine Greer

    • Alex of... 5th Feb 2018

      and hi Peter :) - long time...

      not much interested in serving on that board either, eh? got a couple thoughts yer thinkin of?

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 5th Feb 2018

      hi cobber camerado, yeah long time no type...workin on a writing project for last year or so, so not much time to participate in the above voluminous thread...

      Also been working at a Powerpoint images-music-text thingo possibly for local use called 'Waking to One World', in two parts: 'The Nightmare', 'The Dream', about 30 minutes each... Also using poets like Rumi, Blake, Whitman, thinkers like Alan Watts, Joanna Macy, Brian Swimme... Aim: to get the immersion-feel-motivation for One World - One Humanity rather than too much rational explanation...Dunno how to get it online tho, cept maybe to bore the pants and skirts off youTube.

      Warm regards, Alex.

    • Alex of... 6th Feb 2018

      sigh, volumes. when to turn it up a bit in methods of madness. rationale toward.

      the project sounds wonderful. there's a nascent collaboration that may have some similarity in its calling, rooted in some familiar faces. i don't know if there's reason to connect you to that or if it would be helpful for extending your current effort. but that is something i may ask you about elsewhere.


  • Bat Chainpuller 17th Jan 2018

    Some excerpts from Assembly (Heretical Thought), Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

    “In contrast to leadership, identity continues to play a central role. Schmitt grasps the most enduring characteristic of right-wing movements, in fact, in the mandate to restore or redeem the identity of the people, which is constantly under threat from those alien to it. 5”

    “Right-wing movements operate on the logic of a clash of civilizations defined primarily in terms of religion, race, or both. Such civilizational identity, Schmitt asserts, is the psychological and ontological basis for political interest and desire: “Down, inside, to the deepest and most instinctive stirrings of his emotions, and likewise, in the tiniest fibre of his brain, man stands in the reality of this belongingness of people and race.” The primary political obligation, then, is to defend one’s own kind against aliens.”

    ““An alien wants to behave critically and also to apply himself shrewdly,” Schmitt writes, “wants to read books and to write books, he thinks and understands differently because he is differently disposed, and remains, in every crucial train of thought, in the existential condition of his own kind.” 6 The central point is that the unity of the people is always characteristic of the (real or imagined—sometimes primordial) past social order that the right-wing movements seek to defend against aliens, to reclaim, and to redeem. These movements are populist in the strict sense that they focus on the identity of the people and the exclusion of others.”

    “Tea Party supporters, according to Christopher Parker and Matt Barreto, should be considered not “conventional conservatives” but “reactionary conservatives” because in addition to their libertarian economic arguments they seek to “turn back the clock” and restore an imagined national identity that is primarily white, Christian, and heterosexual.”

    “The Tea Party’s core mission—and this is key to understanding contemporary right-wing movements in general—is to affirm the unity of the people and to defend or restore it against all who are alien. Sovereignty can be achieved only in those terms. Even when right-wing movements don’t preach racist slogans openly, turn over the rock just a little and their core mission to defend the racial, national, or religious identity of an imagined people against aliens creeps out.”

  • Bat Chainpuller 17th Jan 2018

    Not sure if relevant but here’s some more...I’ve never read these guys before...heard of ‘em and some of it seems relevant. At least contribute to dissection.

    “The two qualities that most centrally characterize contemporary right-wing religious movements, as we said, are, on one hand, their aim to construct identity and defend its purity and, on the other, the resentment of wrongs at the hands of outside political forces. The focus on the purity and stability of identity is why religious movements often tend toward dogmatic closure, expressed both in theological and political terms, and why religious movements can communicate and mix so freely with movements based on racial or civilizational identity. Some claim that the depersonalizing and alienating effects of globalization have contributed to the resurgence of religion in the public sphere and the increased power of religious identities along lines of the long tradition of the politicization of faith. It is not surprising that such identities return in periods of instability and crisis. Such movements typically shift quickly from morality to politics, and soon—once they gain hegemony—transform faith into an instrumentum regni.

    These identities are activated and consolidated by mobilizing resentment and indignation regarding the humiliations suffered or the poverty imposed by foreign powers. Sometimes the wrongs invoked are quasi-mythical events but often they are very real. Many contemporary religious movements focus the attention of believers on the misery created by the politics of neoliberalism and others highlight the legacies of and continuing forms of colonial domination by Europe, the United States, and the current supranational power structures. These are echoed, in effect, by the resentments regarding the racial forms of exclusion and subordination in European cities. “We are not facing a radicalization of Islam,” writes Alain Bertho, with regard to the poor suburbs of Paris, “but an Islamization of the anger, disarray, and hopelessness of the lost children of a terrible era, who find in Jihad the meaning and weapons for their rage.” 17 We have to recognize, on the one hand, that such resentment and indignation cannot be eradicated by fiat because there is some truth to it. On the other hand, however, this indignation, even in reaction to real injustices, even when it echoes the reasoning of liberation movements, is enlisted in projects of another form of enslavement. The cult of identity, religious fanaticism, and social conservatism are interwoven in a deadly and explosive mix of sad passions that nourish violence and totalitarian tendencies.

    The military developments in Syria and Iraq from 2014 to 2015 organized by ISIS and factions of al-Qaeda represent an extreme example of this explosive mix of resistance and domination in the name of religion. Religious sectarianism intersects here with popular resentment against some real wrongs, including the territorial organization of the Middle East in the twentieth century established univocally (with long-term effects) by colonial powers and subsequently the twenty-first-century foreign interventions, especially the US war on terror and its occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. The amalgam of religious extremism and anticolonial sentiments makes meaningless, in the abstract, political designation of these forces as belonging to the Left or Right (even though they do explicitly reject those powerful socialist and secular tendencies such as Nasserism that emerged in the region in the late twentieth century). Don’t think that because we recognize that some of their resentment has a real foundation we are “sympathizing with terrorists” or justifying their actions. No, the only effective way to oppose them is to disentangle the strands of truth from falsity and separate the elements that at least ape projects of egalitarianism and emancipation from economic misery and colonial subjection from the barbaric and totalitarian framework of the movements as a whole. It is impossible to say at this point whether people’s desires for freedom and autonomy can be extricated from the fanatical religious regimes that now dominate and can then be redirected toward projects of liberation—or whether such projects could be conducted on the religious terrain. Even if they were possible, there remains the strong possibility, we fear, if they still center on the construction and defense of identity, that they would only lead to the reconstruction of barbaric and fascistic states.”

  • Bat Chainpuller 9th Feb 2018

    Not voluminous enough. 70 comments is to few.

    Let’s get back to the original question this blog raises.

    Is the video above what democracy looks like? I would answer no, although, I have to qualify that with the admission that I am not really certain what it would actually look like.

    So, brushing that admission aside, I will state that the video is nothing more than a group of people arguing with another group outdoors whilst standing up, and on the move, which often makes conversations look less amicable. In fact, really, it is one person at a time saying something that another individual responds to with others jumping in and saying stuff over the top, who then may become the major recipient of a response from someone else from the other side...and so the argument, discussion, debate or screaming match continues.

    There does not appear to be any reason for the “discussion” other than it being a spontaneous event, with a view to some sort of decision to be made in the future that bears on their or other people’s lives. It could be viewed as some kind of preliminary discussion to some sort decisionmaking on some such issue at some later date, but that isn’t made clear and seems unlikely. But here I am assuming that democracy is more than just people saying their thing, more than just free speech, although because I have admitted I am not sure what democracy would look like I can’t be certain.

    What seems likely is that the individuals in the group will continue their little discussion up until the point where most feel there is no longer any point, or they all, or a majority of the major participants just get tired or someone just gets hungry and heads off to get something to eat. More than likely with most feeling like nothing much has been achieved, possibly with some feeling like they nailed their opposition.

    I often read that Occupy was what democracy looked like and Tahrir Square or the Chiapas or Rojava or Kerala but I wouldn’t really know...haven’t been there. And I am not sure whether what Occupy was, was democracy or just a bunch of ever growing numbers of diverse people trying to maintain some kind of coherence to an action through add hoc processes of decision making that had varying degrees of success. It may have at the very least shown how difficult it actually is to achieve real democracy...further considering there may not have been a real consensus on what real democracy really is among all the participants, or even among those who formed what was probably the main leadership contingent.

    I in fact once said to someone just that, that Occupy is what democracy looks like merely because I read it a fair bit and thought those saying it probably knew what they were talking about. I kind of regret saying it now feeling a bit like an unthinking sheep.

    Some call, I have read, direct democracy real democracy. Where people come face to face to make decisions taking the whole lot into consideration I guess. Others call democracy a voting procedure where majority rules after everyone gets one vote, distinguishing it from self-management where people make decisions proportionate to the degree they are affected by them. Then there are ways of achieving an outcome, methods of voting or decision making procedures. Some hold to democracy as representative democracy like we have here in my country or colony. Some more radical, advocate for federated nested councils and decision making from the bottom up utilising recallable delegates that “represent” members of lower level councils, with varying degrees of power of discussion or none at all, with some saying that those with no power to debate or discuss issues further could be replaced with machines. Something like that. Have read a fair bit but often the details get lost to memory. So much.

    DiEM 25 want democracy in Europe by 2025. One could, and I have but would have to revisit, read what and how this group thinks democracy is and can be achieved. It is not dissimilar to a bottom up kind of approach but I am almost certain there would be great radical thinkers out there who would question aspects of it...but then, maybe not. What would I know. Perhaps what they have in mind is what democracy actually looks like.

    I’ve had plenty of slinging matches like in the above video and they usually just end up making me feel like a dick and I certainly never felt afterwards that that was me involved in some sort of democratic process. Usually just two people going at it and usually storming off, both feeling like nothing has been achieved. Although I can’t really testify to what the other was feeling or thinking so perhaps should not have said it.

    Perhaps this is why people write. It creates some sort of distance between protagonists and that kind of shit occurring. It slows the “communicative” process, and can avoid the emotional, get it under control or so they think (evil laugh). Then the author can pick and choose when to engage with a critic or not at all. Much more civilised, or so they think (more evil laughter). Or is it just me thinking that?

    But the problem with writing, well in fact all externalisation of language, is understanding. With face to face talking no one really has time to stop and consider exactly what someone has just said - although in settings designed for that purpose it does take place -and so often just blurt out some response that may or may not be relevant or even coherent and may or may not just complicate or fuck the whole process. Much like the way I write, ironically (See, I’m not even certain whether I have used the word ironically properly), and often, at these things called meetings, that many on the left like to organise, much time is often spent on getting the formalities right, less the communication of ideas than necessary procedures, with the more experienced becoming more frustrated at the newcomers lack, which often leads to dislikes, and sometimes bloody arguments. This can go on for weeks and weeks.

    So writers write alone in a room away from other’s prying eyes, criticisms and advice and employ varying degrees of complexity in their essays or books. Some writings are fairly clear while others are often quite impenetrable eliciting all sorts of critique from those who feel the incomprehensible nature of the writing is completely unnecessary, which, in most cases appears to be so, in my very humble opinion. But further, while misunderstandings may abound among people after having read essays X, Y and Z, any subsequent discussion around whatever was the point of the essays read, more than likely to be an infrequent event if it occurs at all, which is more a reflection of the essay’s popularity, or its marginalisation (I have many conversation regarding the Swans chances of winning the flag in 2018 but very very very few regarding Parecon or other alternative systems and virtually zero regarding what democracy actually looks like and many other things ideas on the margins), is also likely to be screwed by those misunderstandings and the subsequent ones arising from the problematic externalisation of thought.

    So not only do people not understand what shit others are pooting out about everyday events and things, which affects their own interlocutional abilities, often the conversations regarding much of what they are reading or subjecting themselves to, that exist only on the margins, are in fact not taking place at all or rarely. Something that doesn’t bode well for clearing up those pesky misunderstandings.

    However, when those infrequent conversations regarding marginal essays X, Y or Z or the ideas that may be expressed in them, even if people involved in the conversation haven’t read any or all of the essays but feel confident to participate, do take place, they will be full of stated misunderstandings and clarifications that elicit further questions regarding understanding that someone thought they had cleared up but in fact had not, and even complete bamboozlement along with, at times, heated exchanges that can and will get out of hand. Sometimes, on rare occasions, one can find complete agreement and well mannered conversation making one feel quite good about oneself...until while on the drive home one starts to doubt one’s own contribution, question whether one was being agreeable just for the sake of it or any number of things that slowly creep into one’s mind, like, “we’re they having a go when they said that...?”, undermining whatever certainty and confidence was there. Fucking great.

    All in all it seems to me the urge to talk, to write or to just blurt shit out is an urge that most have and have control over to varying degrees, which itself causes all sorts of shit between people, like, “you just fucking talk too much”, or, “you don’t think before you speak or write, you dweeb”’ or “stop bothering me with your incessant stupid pesky inane ignorant questions”. The urge, however is probably due to the incessant internal noise that the language faculty creates and its acting on, the result of genetic endowment. As the great linguist and “gate keeper” Chomsky has pointed out, internal language probably constitutes 99% of language with externalisation constituting the rest and even then it is possibly just a bunch of fragments that manage to find there way to the motor sensory part of our body. (Talking to yourself is natural and always, whilst talking to others is a precarious activity fraught with all kinds of danger.)

    Those fragments may or may not be fair verbal descriptions of thoughts and ideas which are usually so much more than just a bunch of lexical items being placed in a linear sequence following innate knowledge of structural hierarchy, knowledge which is then used by the listener to reinterpret what has just been said or written, with, I suppose, tacit understanding that what they have heard or read is more than just a few fragments of an original thought, but more than likely also with an intuition that it is in fact just a bunch of left overs verbally handed to them giving them but a small taste of what it really was that appeared in the speakers mind, thereby making the conversation possibly nothing more than a form of entertainment that takes place constantly among humans, merely because the language faculty evolved and incessantly goes, as does the mind, creating over and over, urges to unload, otherwise we feel our heads will explode, making it probable for some that they will be locked up for constantly talking to themselves, and yelling at fictional characters in their heads, out loud, as they annoy to the point of major distraction, all those other people in the same cafe trying to have coherent understandable conversations quietly with their friends or whoever, who subconsciously or unconsciously or intuitively know that the such conversations are just hotbeds of bullshit beyond true comprehension being nothing more than time killing entertainment masquerading as intelligent communication.

    Is that one of the longest sentences written? Probably not, but we know now don’t we, how to make it longer and longer?

    So the question remains, what does democracy look like and will we know it when we see it? That was two questions.

    • Bat Chainpuller 9th Feb 2018

      Problems. Oversight which adds to misunderstanding.

      “There does not appear to be any reason for the “discussion” other than it being a spontaneous event, with a view to some sort of decision to be made in the future that bears on their or other people’s lives.”

      Should be, I think, “...without a view to some sort of decision...” and I did reread and correct shit and still shit gets past that could cause problems.

    • Alex of... 10th Feb 2018

      hmm, that voice sounds strangely familiar...

      how playful or... bizarro! life's weird, eh?

      i'll take up the last question of yours for some chit-chat and reference a little bit of the last conversation. if ok.

      likely obvious an idea like democracy is very subjective, and i'd say pretty organic as well, so the truth of what it looks like can shift in mind and form. i believe we'll know it much better when, in whatever processes we use to improve it, we can hear the voices of those who have been oppressed or kept from participation the most. fair enough at that much?

      and if you don't hear from me for a couple days, it's just because i got other shit i do as well, or maybe i even want to reflect on something.

    • Alex of... 11th Feb 2018

      thanks for the opportunity to move through this much of our conversation. nothin nailed, but good shit for the replacements in our basement. i'll be available in the ether.

    • Bat Chainpuller 16th Feb 2018

      Everything does seem to fail, doesn’t it. Things pop up then disappear. Some look promising but kind of go nowhere. Nowhere seems to be the destination of so many things. One could try to list them all but why bother. Where’s that gonna get us? Probably nowhere.

      Occupy this, start that, infiltrate those, radicalise them, confront that discourse, write about this, think through that, debate them, discuss this. This idea, that idea. Yep, on and on and on and on. Nowhere bound.

      “Structural change?”

      ” Yes thanks.”

      “Any particular type sir? What about this amorphous nothing or maybe a couple of vague notions. A little bit of hope? What about our delicious utopian dream or…”

      “Or what if I have that really juicy looking well done idea here, that looks pretty darn nourishing”

      “Oh, I’m sorry sir, that vision’s not available at the moment. Caused some commotion it did. We’ve yet to remove it from the menu. We found most people just couldn’t digest it. It’s a little on the rich side. Perhaps sir would prefer this slightly under done maxim over here? A vague notion sir I know, but a rather popular one with our regular customers.”

      “Ok. That will have to do.”

      “Good then sir. And where are you off to tonight sir, if I may ask?”


  • Bat Chainpuller 10th Feb 2018

    “Precarious life, however, also reveals a crucial resource of wealth. The vulnerabilities that we share, Judith Butler argues, are the basis for social bonds that can generate real security. To be vulnerable is not merely to be susceptible to injury but also and more important to be open to the social world. “To say that any of us are vulnerable beings,” Butler asserts, “is to mark our radical dependency not only on others, but on a sustaining and sustainable world.” 39 Vulnerability, she continues, can be a form of strength when it is mobilized with others. On the basis of our shared vulnerability we can begin to construct institutions of the common, social institutions that can provide real security and prosperity. This must be not merely the passive complement to neoliberalism that continually compensates for the damages and seeks to fill the holes left by the retreat of welfare structures, but instead an aggressive strategy that also destroys the noxious forms of precaritization and institutes in their stead secure social bonds. 40“ (Assembly, Negri and Hardt)

    Maybe true or real democracy is an expression of our vulnerability. In Buddhism, well Tibetan, there was this notion of the open wound that is that place where one’s true nature resides. A place of compassion, the relative, which is the other side of wisdom, the absolute. Both are in or are the open wound, not separate. One doesn’t try to mend it, remove the wound, protect it, fortify oneself against further pain or death or even the Other, but rather leave it open as proof, as realisation of our vulnerability, as a way to connect with the Other and everything. Compassion isn’t something developed, it is spontaneous right action free from fetter.

    It’s all very poetic and maybe decades or lifetimes of meditation practice will get you there, but not everyone is that virtuously patient. There are people more karmically disposed than others toward exploiting vulnerability. And sometimes that vulnerability is used to bond with others and look for security within tribal groups whose collective vulnerability is expressed in the notion of “our people”. Here vulnerability has been used to separate rather than unify.

    The above video could be an expression of vulnerabilities on both sides, and vulnerability as a human trait, common to all is being overlooked in favour of demarcations: our people versus your people.

    Timothy Morton, someone who usually writes in ways impossible to understand and about things most don’t two hoots about, wrote this in his new book Being Ecological,

    “But if we don’t figure out how to say we , someone else will.”

    Perhaps this “we”, that the left often refers to also, is really, a subconscious recognition of “our” vulnerability. This is what “we” notice or intuit, that bonds us all, an open wound we all carry. The reason perhaps a separation of the “we” occurs creating a whole stack of different “we’s”, tribes, groups, organisations, football teams, regions, states, nations, is that most of “us” don’t like wounds. “We” want them healed and covered over, cleaned, so they do not get infected and weaken us more than they already have. “We” want “our” open wound, “our” vulnerability gone and “our” individual strength restored so “we” can go about making sure “we” never get sick and vulnerable again.

    The individual fight against a common wound, a wound that makes “us” all human becomes the separating factor, the individualising factor that eventually lead us away from the commons toward the faux security of private property to be sorted and acquired within the competitive marketplace.

    “Fuck you, this is “my” way of lessening “my” vulnerability dude, and you can’t do anything to stop “me” or take it away from “me” because “I” have worked and fought fucking hard to get this strong and “I” only want to and will get stronger. So fuck off.”

    “The common, as Ugo Mattei rightly says, “can only really be defended and governed with the physicality of a mass movement ready for a long and generous battle to retake its own spaces.” 44 Humanity needs a push in order to leap over the precipice into the common.”

    The commons as expression of an open wound that is what it means to be human.