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Note: When this diary was published Galtisalie was still a separate pseudonym from Francisco Nejdanov Solomin. Here's an explanation for the prior separate pseudonyms and the decision to discard the separation: http://www.dailykos.com/...


The thing I most appreciate about the Russell Brand of today, even more than his having found his political voice (while seemingly rejecting electoral politics) is that he is willing to try to be authentic to who he is and to who he thinks he should be--to his past and to what he sees as his duty in the present and the future to dedicate at least some of his mesmerizing brilliance and talent to helping his fellow humans to have a better world. Unlike Mr. Brand, I am not at all jaded about political participation, because I believe it is the peaceful and even beautiful way to effect change, but, like Mr. Brand and Reinhold Niebuhr, I too recognize the limits of democracy. Rather than rejecting democracy, my model is to demand more and more of it, and eventually all of it, making it enter and control the economic sphere of society instead of being cordoned off into the sphere of subjects deemed acceptable in the distracting game of culture wars and divide-and-conquer manipulation favored by the powerful capitalists who exercise great, but not complete, political power in my wonderful but highly imperfect country.

I like how at the end of the Brand interview, he makes it clear he is not asking for permission to speak or to demand change. Similarly, I too am not asking for permission to demand that democracy be real and effective, and take over the economic sphere. But unlike Brand, I also demand the right to not speak. On the introvert-extrovert scale, he is a near 10 I imagine. I am at the other end of the scale. For most of my life, I have struggled to be comfortable socially. I have often feigned an extrovert's smile and laughter. When I look back at photographs of me smiling and laughing, I realize that most of the time, I was acting a part.

I will no longer deny the alienation that my society creates, an alienation that has forced many members of my extended family to lose their lives to drugs, just like Brand nearly did, and just like Brand may still do if he does not maintain his sobriety one day at a time.

Now if I choose to smile or to laugh, I want it to be authentic and not responsive to an outward pressure to deny something authentic I cannot describe that relates to my past. I may choose to smile, if I smile at all, through a bowl of cherry tomatoes. The smokiness of the past sometimes is best explored in silence. By giving myself permission to be semi-silent, I give myself permission to not hurt others or myself with words.

And then sometimes in silence, good empowering things can happen, and this will authentically integrate with my political action:

If I am to be authentically myself and true to my faith as I understand it, my
religion is 100% socialized and focused on needs and not wants. I have learned
to love the desert of my impoverished soul. By learning to love this desert,
occasionally and gradually green pastures have begun to grow with tiny springs
and trickles of water that sometimes become more like small streams. I love this
place. The desert interspersed with sporadic gifts of greenness and water is my
home. I cannot keep any green pastures, springs, trickles, and streams to myself.
To grasp any of them is to see them disappear and to live a false life. I want to
share what I have with others. However, this is not focused on sharing my
religion, which is admittedly idiosyncratic and personal, but on sharing material
things that can benefit others, most of whom have different personal beliefs.
Whatever wealth I €œ"have"€ is not really mine. I worry less and am richer inside
where it counts when I recognize my own poverty and seek to live it as a calling.

This is all valid for me personally. It is my faith. This desert has always been
with me, although I may try to ignore it with a false life. Now I know I am there,
and I accept that I am there. I have learned to be content with what I am, but to
work on improving my stewardship of whatever that is.

This type of faith is, I suspect, at least initially unattractive to most people. It
is grey, stark, and realistic, grounded in openness to all that is real, including
science and whatever resources happen to be available to humanity in our
material universe. Like the desert, these resources, which make up the earth, are
beautiful to me. I am responsible for doing my part to steward them
compassionately and wisely. In the desert, one must be resourceful.

I have learned to love and respect your desert too, whatever it is. I did not
create you, and I do not understand the mystery that is you. I can do my best to
give you deep and true freedom, economic as well as civil, so that within the
context of this freedom you will be in a better position to deal with your own
alienation. For some reason, helping you to have your material needs met and to
be less alienated also helps me to be less alienated. It is a humanitarian loop. I
think it is love between us. I love you now through my active socialism, whereas
before I was afraid of you. I may still get angry with you, but I am less afraid of
you. You cannot do as much harm to me as you did before.

But please do not harm others, especially children and those who are poor
and oppressed and unable to defend themselves or their rights. That is cause for
me to not be at all tolerant. I will, as I am able, rise with righteous action to be
on the side of Spartacus and not on the side of the corrupt wickedness of Rome.
I will be on the side of the North in the U.S. Civil War. I will be on the side of
the Allies in World War II, as was Orwell.

I will, as I have wisdom to do so, be against a war that will kill more
innocent people than it will save. The duty to have informed debate and to have
a democratic €œ"declaration"€ of war as being just before it happens is important to
have a moral world. Where political democracy is available or reasonably might
become available, I march peacefully with Dr. King. Where political democracy
is not available and will not reasonably become available, I will, like Niebuhr and Orwell advocated, and Bonheoffer gave his life for, use any means necessary to prevent Hitler'€™s genocide. ... I did not create this corrupt and fallen world, but I will not stand on the wayside while it is being further corrupted. I want to participate in the mess that is our world to the best of my species-being ability.


I realize that the positions that arise from my semi-silent authenticity will not engender unanimous agreement with other members of society. But if I cherish the shiny things that a materialist society says I am supposed to cherish, and laugh when it says to laugh, and smile when it says to smile, I am denying myself, including my political self, who can be one of the millions of agents of world system change.

Mon Oct 28, 2013 at  3:33 AM PT: After I posted this diary, I made a decision to turn the computer off all Sunday. As a Buddhist relative told me, "Abandon all hope of fruition"--I want to try to do the best I can and then not place ownership in any results. Thanks to those who have read this diary, and especially for the comments, which are insightful. I really appreciate them. Some I do not completely agree with on the details, just like I don't agree with Brand on all of his details, especially the prescription for not voting. I wish you all well. May we all be as engaged as Brand, each in our own way as we feel is right. I put a couple of additional thoughts below, especially in response to Tailgunner30uk. I am on the left side of what is possible, but I also believe very strongly in trying to drastically redefine the possible. Thus, I believe very strongly in GOTV, voter protection, etc., but I also believe we have to be demanding system change from democracy-lite. If we simply accept the status quo of democracy-lite, we are being dishonest to the magnitude of the problems and the extent of the human suffering going on all around us, every day. Peace.


Originally posted to Galtisalie on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 02:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

    by Galtisalie on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 02:57:07 AM PDT

  •  Love, love, love this diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini, Galtisalie

    You have an amazingly rational outlook. Thanks, SSK

    "Hey Clinton, I'm bushed" - Keith Richards

    by Santa Susanna Kid on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 03:35:09 AM PDT

    •  I really appreciate your kindness. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Santa Susanna Kid

      Thank you. It means a lot to me.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:54:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I do wonder whence comes the impulse to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Galtisalie

    change the world.

  •  While I do not agree, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsmechanic, Galtisalie

    With Russell Brand's position on not voting, I understand his point.

    At present there is precious little to distinguish either side in the political arena. In many cases, adherents to either cause could switch sides with nary a moments hiccup in their discourse. And therein lies the root of the problem.

    Russell Brand offers a solution, not voting. This voluntary disenfranchisement is meant to remove the veneer of democracy from the corporate owned political establishment. It is a call to revolution, when a significant proportion of the populace actively refuses to participate. Not the passive "Don't disturb me, Dancing with the stars is on" or "I don't bother because both sides are the same, and my vote doesn't matter."  But rather the standing up in a Presidential or Election debate and declaring "I will NOT vote, because you all are irrelevant to the needs and welfare of the country, and I will not legitimise your failure." At that point the only remaining authority is force and that is revolution.

    I prefer a different way. There was a diary here a few days ago, documenting an unknown person trying to enlighten others about the American Care Act.  A few lauded this action. Many derided it. I believe this was a worthy effort. That maybe, a few who read that comment looked further and saw a little more. When, as a community we laugh and point at the miss-spelt sign, could we not achieve more, by offering the hand of friendship. It may be slapped away, but we should try. I have laughed at the signs, derided the nonsense, commented on the naivete, but perhaps now it is time to choose a different path.

    "Get a brain, Morans" is not harmful to us, but pointing and laughing insults us all.

    In all of the world's problems religion has never been the solution

    by Tailgunner30uk on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 04:16:14 AM PDT

    •  Thank you for your comments. You said a lot in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dannyboy1

      a very sensitive way. I am a pragmatist in an imperfect world. I believe in getting all the good that is obtainable, and I would never encourage anyone to not vote. We need high voter turnout to do all the good that we can. I think that there are important differences between the two parties, and I believe that President Obama generally tries to get the best he can from the bad situations we face given our democracy-lite and the numbness it has produced in a large portion of the electorate. But let's face it: without a doubt the political system is broken--except that it never worked to begin with.  

      It seems to be all coming to a head with the food stamp issue. President Obama has sometimes said that he needs to be pushed to do the right thing. I believe in pushing from the left within the Democratic Party in the system that we have. But I am glad that Brand has come onto the scene like a voice of one crying in the wilderness saying the truth--that the problems we face completely outpace the change that the current political system can produce. To me the political system desperately needs to change to be much more democratic, and the economic system also must become controlled by the people. I won't try to write a book here on those things.

      I also appreciate your validation for those who try to express ourselves the best we can. Peace.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 02:57:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I withdraw my consent to (6+ / 0-)

    the fraudulent political show our oligarchs mount for us. But I must continue to vote or my silence will be registered as consent.

    •  Which is part of the problem, don't you think? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, ZhenRen, delver rootnose

      Making a selection from a pre-approved list really doesn't do much for the process.

      I, therefore, suggest two small changes to the process:

      1. Include a "None of the above" option on the ballots, which will also be counted and reported, and
      2. Present all results as a percentage not only of votes cast, but also in relation to the total potential votes that could have been cast.

      We'd certainly stop seeing landslide victories and we might even get a decent choice or two along the way.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      by achronon on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 07:39:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. We must have the right to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        achronon

        vote No to "any of the above."

        Meanwhile we will vote for the less undesirable, less dangerous candidate but abandon the expectation that any greater good will come from electing him/her.

        And we reorganize our lives so as to minimize dependence upon any of the false choices imposed on us. That may mean ending any serious emotional investment in electoral politics and concentrating instead on improving civil society by building mutual aid networks.

        •  Also, a very viable option and certainly one (0+ / 0-)

          worth pushing forward:

          improving civil society by building mutual aid networks.

          None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

          by achronon on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 01:48:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I believe in doing both: building mutual aid (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            achronon

            networks, but also in demanding system change to have a deep democracy.

            My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

            by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:05:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  we desparatly need... (0+ / 0-)

      ....a 'none of the above' option on every ballot.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 02:23:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great diary, wonderful voice (or silence !) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, martini, Galtisalie

    One of the things that impresses me most about R. Brand's interviews is the way he is able to be so true to himself, so grounded, even while ranting away at 60 MPH !

     He gets carried away by his passion, but never seems to lose track of where he's coming from. Or his sense of humor. I admire him very much.

    “Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate!” Julian Bond

    by Dvalkure on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 11:13:13 AM PDT

    •  I agree completely. nt (0+ / 0-)

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:05:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I neglected to say thank you for (0+ / 0-)

      your kind comments about the diary! It really means a lot to me. Peace.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 06:57:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reinhold Niebuhr (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini, Galtisalie, Be Skeptical

    would have found some humor in being paired with Russell Brand I think.  He was not just a philosopher, he was also very practical, working in Hell's Kitchen in NYC and writing the prayer that AAA uses.

    Serenity Prayer

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.
    Amen.
    --Reinhold Niebuhr, 1934

    So glad that you brought him into this discussion

    "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

    by CorinaR on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 12:03:36 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for pointing these things out! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Be Skeptical

      I had forgotten the Serenity prayer connection between these two oddly-connected human beings. Peace.

      My avatar is a photograph I took in 2008 of the headwaters of a waterfall in the imperiled Parque Nacional de Garajonay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on La Gomera, birthplace of my paternal grandfather, in the Canary Islands near the Sahara Desert.

      by Galtisalie on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 03:09:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would disagree with.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini

    ...Mr. Brand if it were not for the fact that by the time a ballot gets to my hand most of the decisions about who is there has already been made.  And it is being made more difficult all the time to get access to the ballot.

    Of course I have no hope things will change until it is more acceptable to talk politics in a bar than it is to talk about your sex life.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 02:27:31 PM PDT

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