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Much has been said about the NSA illegal spying activities revealed by Edward Snowden.  And in light of those revelations, most of the criticism or concerns have been related to the government; is it overreaching? Does it really need to collect all that data in the name of national security?  Are there enough safeguards in place to protect privacy rights and prevent abuses?

All along I, and others, have been arguing that what we should really be concerned about is whether powerful corporatist interests have been able to capture government institutions in order to turn them into self-serving tools of oppression and exploitation in the name of profits.  Because if that were to be the case, then what we are talking about is proto-fascism.

I've also argued that one of the most effective mechanisms for the corporatist takeover of our government institutions is the revolving door of corruption, where public servants are enticed to act in the interests of their eventual corporate paymasters.  But what I find really terrifying is when one realizes that when it comes to the type of graft, of legalized bribery that has engulfed our entire system, there is one critical area of government that would represent the most danger to the citizenry, and that is the national security apparatus, including agencies like the CIA, the FBI, Department of Defense, and even local police departments.

A new report by a corporate watch group sheds some light on what happens when the profit motive of powerful corporations merge with the financial interests of individual members of the national security apparatus.

Here's how the Los angeles Times describes the report in a recent article: Corporations increasingly spying on nonprofits, group says.

Corporations are increasingly spying on nonprofit groups they view as potential threats with little fear of retribution, according to a new report by a corporate watchdog group.

The large companies employ former Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, FBI, military and police officers to monitor and in some cases infiltrate groups that have been critical of them, according to the report by Essential Information, which was founded by Ralph Nader in the 1980s.

"Many different types of nonprofits have been targeted with espionage, including environmental, anti-war, public interest, consumer, food safety, pesticide reform, nursing-home reform, gun control, social justice, animal rights and arms control groups," the report said.

The emphasis is mine

Now, before I continue, let me state right now what I find truly terrifying about this situation... If people have been concerned about potential abuses by the government when it comes to illegal surveillance being performed by the NSA and other agencies, imagine the implications of having the dossiers being constructed right now on each one of us being shared with shadowy, unaccountable, mostly unregulated, private/corporate security companies staffed by former CIA, NSA, military, and police departments' agents who regularly engage in all kinds of unethical and even criminal activity with total impunity?

What kind of dangers do activists face if they happen to be targeted by corporations who see them as representing a grave threat to their bottom lines?  Would they stop at only planting evidence, engaging in PsyOps, character assassination, misinformation, or economic ruin?  What other "solutions" to deal with pesky activists could former CIA, FBI, or military personnel could come up with?

I actually read the 54-page report, and although the author (Gary Ruskin) admits that he believes the revelations may just be "the tip of the tip of the iceberg," what he was able to uncover/document is alarming enough.

Let's take for example the case of a corporate private security agency working for Bank of America receiving information from the U.S. Justice Department to help in targeting WikiLeaks.  In 2010 Julian Assange, editor-in-chief (at the time) of WikiLeaks announced he was going to release information related to corruption at Bank of America.  According to the report, HBGary Federal, a computer security firm, along with two other firms (Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies) presented a joint proposal to Hunton & Williams, a powerful law firm representing Bank of America.

Some of the "highly unethical and/or illegal tactics," according to the report, included: the spreading of disinformation about WikiLeaks; the submission of forged documents to WikiLeaks with the intention to later exposing them as false; executing cyber attacks on WikiLeaks; a threat to ruin the career of journalist Glenn Greenwald, if he continued to support WikiLeaks.

The U.S. Department of Justice appears to have played a key role in these events.  The Tech Herald, reported that “Hunton and Williams were recommended to Bank of America’s general counsel by the Department of Justice, according to the email chain viewed by The Herald." If this is true,  it raises the question of whether the Justice Department assisted Bank of America in its battle against WikiLeaks, and how much Justice Department officials knew of and even supported corporate espionage against WikiLeaks and its allies.
Here's one other thing I find very disturbing about these revelations... Many of these large corporations are hiring third-party security companies staffed with former (and incredibly, sometimes active) Secret Service, CIA agents, FBI agents, military and police officers.  Many of these agencies are routinely engaging in outright illegal activities with total impunity.  Some of these people are very high-ranking members of national security government agencies.
One of the troubling aspects of recent corporate espionage against nonprofits is the use of current and former police, current government contractors, and former CIA, NSA, FBI, Secret Service and other law enforcement officers.

Even active-duty CIA operatives are allowed to sell their expertise to the highest bidder, "a policy that gives financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation's top-level intelligence talent," writes Eamon Javers.  Little is known about the CIA's moonlighting policy, or which corporations have hired current CIA operatives..

And because this incestuous relationship between government security agencies and private spy companies there is no incentive to investigate wrongdoing...
Hiring former intelligence, military and law enforcement officials has its advantages.  First, these officials may be able to use their status as a shield.  For example, current law enforcement officials may be disinclined to investigate or prosecute former intelligence or law enforcement agents.  They may be more likely to get a "pass" because of their government services.  In effect, corporations are hiring "pass" and sometimes using it to conduct unethical or even illegal intelligence gathering against nonprofits.
And what are some of those unethical or illegal tactics?  They include hacking into computer systems, illegally obtaining phone records, illegal wiretaps, phone voice mail hacking, theft of computers, disinformation, investigating the private lives of activists (including their spouses, and children) to gain leverage over them, blackmail, and the creation of false dossiers to discredit activists or whistleblower.

Now, think about that for a minute... Why are these "activists" or social justice groups being targeted?  Well, they are being targeted because they are calling attention to abuses, to corruption, to unethical or illegal activities by corporations.  And they are putting their necks out to protect the rest of us from the predations of the corporate state.

And how are they rewarded?  By being infiltrated, investigated, maligned, discredited, blackmailed, labeled as terrorist, harassed.

Folks, this is very serious.  This is the anatomy of the latest version of fascism.  Once people (activists) are branded as dangerous, terrorists, miscreants, it is really not that hard to imagine some of these shadowy corporate spying organizations targeting them for violence or even assassinations.

Many people have been warning about this for years.  I think the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers as well as the activities of hacktivists has given us a glimpse at the machinations of the corporate state, but I agree with the author of the report; I think we've just seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true nature of the system.

Here's what I wrote back in 2011 in my second diary: It's Official: A Corporatist Police State

The neo-fascist corporatist state has been putting into place a highly effective repressive regime under the veneer of security on the one hand, and technological advancement that are purportedly good for you.

Constitutional protections have been gutted.

Almost every single technological tool you are using is being used by the corporatist police state to enslave you.  Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, etc., Yahoo mail, etc., by themselves are just technology tools and services, and are not inherently bad.  But the problem is that with your acquiescence (even if you don't know it), they are mainly being used to enslave you further and further.

It's like a drug.  These tools are put out there, and because of their convenience, and because they fulfill one of human beings strongest desires (connect with other, validation), millions and millions of people open themselves up and share all kinds of thoughts, photos, content, views, likes, dislikes, etc.

In the meantime, "somebody" is collecting every single piece of data being generated by you, and in turn that information is being sent up to the corporate masters, and to the government.

This information in turn is used to control you.  Say something "wrong", and you are blacklisted from employment.  Express a strong political view, and you are branded as a potential radical (or worst).

What many people trying to warn you about this situation are wanting to emphasize is that this structure, this government-corporate arrangement, is the embodiment of fascism; it is evil.

But the biggest challenge faced by those trying to warn us is that unfortunately, for many people to really understand the grave danger we're under, they would actually have to experience having their own doors (or a family member or friend) battered down in the middle of the night, hand-cuffed, hooded, and taken away to God-knows where to be beaten or tortured.

The other day I read an article by Chris Hedges where he talks about how an entire society could fall victim of collective self-delusion: Shielding a Flickering Flame

Edelman noted the collective self-delusion that prohibited the Jews in the ghetto—as it prohibits us—from facing their fate, even as the transports were taking thousands daily to the Nazi death camp Treblinka. The Germans handed out oblong, brown loaves of rye bread to those lining up outside the trains. Those clutching the loaves, desperately hungry and overjoyed with receiving the food, willingly climbed into the railway carriages. In 1942 the underground sent a spy to follow the trains. He returned to the ghetto and reported, in the words of Krall’s book, that “every day a freight train with people would pass that way [to Treblinka] and return empty, but food supplies were never sent there.” His account was written up in the underground ghetto newspaper, but, as Edelman remarked, “nobody believed it.” “ ‘Have you gone insane?’ people would say when we were trying to convince them that they were not being taken to work,” Edelman remembered. “ ‘Would they be sending us to death with bread? So much bread would be wasted!’
Tonight, I watched a very interesting Democracy Now! segment: "Hannah Arendt" Revisits Fiery Debate over German-Jewish Theorist’s Coverage of Eichmann Trial

In it, they talked about the term "the banality of evil," which was coined by political theorist Hannah Arendt.  That also got me thinking; that is part of the problem...  When people think about evil-doers they expect to see "monsters," jack-booted thugs breaking down doors to whisk people away.

But in reality, as corporate state fascism continues to creep in, those doing the spying on peaceful activists, those doing the infiltration of their groups, and illegally breaking in into their offices, and the infiltrations, and the planting of false evidence, and the spreading of misinformation, and the stealing of computers, and the blackmailing, could look just like your average police officer, or FBI or CIA agent... And if or when things escalate to other "tactics," these folks would look the same: banal.

Just average bureaucrats doing their jobs... For Bank of America, or Wal-mart, or JPMorgan Chase, or BP, Chevron, or many of the other corporations that have captured our system government.

And what are the consequences of this arrangement, this capture of the government by corporatist cartels?  Here's how author and scholar Henry Giroux described it during a recent interview with Bill Moyers when he talks about our current system which he calls casino capitalism and zombie politics:


...It believes that social bonds not driven by market values are basically bonds that we should find despicable. But even worse, in this ethic, the market has colonized pleasure in such a way that violence in many ways seems to be the only way left that people can actually experience pleasure whether it's in the popular medium, whether it's in the way in which we militarize local police to become SWAT teams that actually will break up poker games now in full gear or give away surplus material, equipment to a place like Ohio State University, who got an armored tank.

I mean, I guess-- I'm wondering what does it mean when you're on a campus and you see an armored tank, you know, by the university police? I mean, this is-- everything is a war zone. You know, Senator Graham--when Lindsey Graham, he said-- in talking about the terrorist laws, you know these horrible laws that are being put into place in which Americans can be captured, they can be killed and, you know--the kill list all of this, he basically says, "Everybody's a potential terrorist."

I mean, so that what happens here is that this notion of fear and this fear around the notion of security that is simply about protecting yourself, not about social security, not about protecting the commons, not about protecting the environment, turns everybody into a potential enemy. I mean, we cannot mediate our relationships it seems any longer in this culture in ways in which we would suggest and adhere to the notion that justice is a matter of caring for the other, that compassion matters.

The emphasis is mine

We need to stop being incredulous about the true evil nature of this system.  Only when we come to terms with it we will be able to start defining steps necessary to fix it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (195+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    George3, Kombema, Free Jazz at High Noon, Floande, Jim P, dharmasyd, Evoculture, roseeriter, a2nite, ozsea1, antirove, LaFeminista, Laurence Lewis, DeadHead, hoplite9, caul, run around, markthshark, Louisiana 1976, gulfgal98, The Lone Apple, joanneleon, divineorder, carpunder, catilinus, Forward is D not R, onionjim, lotlizard, yoduuuh do or do not, parse this, bumbi, Simplify, Raggedy Ann, kurt, kharma, Kristina40, cosmic debris, DRo, lenzy1000, socialismorbarbarism, shevas01, cruz, tommymet, sodalis, buckstop, cybrestrike, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, hubcap, Jim R, Haningchadus14, jadt65, Jarrayy, philipmerrill, greenbastard, Habitat Vic, Sam Hill, zerelda, NearlyNormal, CharlesInCharge, SpecialKinFlag, blue91, LibrErica, CA Nana, praenomen, Brian82, Involuntary Exile, Meteor Blades, corvo, shortgirl, Cassiodorus, Polacolor, J M F, nailbender, Oaktown Girl, Lusty, Shockwave, One Pissed Off Liberal, ChemBob, poliwrangler, bastrop, RFK Lives, No one gets out alive, Words In Action, ActivistGuy, quill, Dartagnan, paz3, artisan, BlueJessamine, Mentatmark, CTDemoFarmer, MKinTN, barbwires, Aureas2, lostinamerica, Sun Tzu, angel d, ichibon, Preston S, TracieLynn, Nattiq, Claudius Bombarnac, fixxit, catfishbob, JDWolverton, joegoldstein, most peculiar mama, Publius2008, Chirons apprentice, eru, shopkeeper, Jackson L Haveck, jck, NBBooks, ZhenRen, snoopydawg, ewmorr, pyegar, aliasalias, goodpractice, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, kbman, lunachickie, antifa, NMRed, martini, Steven D, Santa Susanna Kid, tarheelblue, Prospect Park, Indiana Bob, StateofEuphoria, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, tofumagoo, banjolele, AoT, Egg, Tool, enhydra lutris, 3rdOption, where4art, hotheadCA, roses, JesseCW, Pablo Bocanegra, Australian2, Oldowan, Chaddiwicker, sonorelli, Gowrie Gal, JVolvo, Sylv, mkor7, psnyder, slowbutsure, leonard145b, petral, jack 1966, Choco8, rapala, sturunner, BYw, emal, joynow, thomask, tovan, renbear, Horace Boothroyd III, lcrp, arendt, Dianna, bobswern, hooper, The Free Agent, blueoasis, OldDragon, Debs2, happymisanthropy, ceebee7, Alumbrados, Amor Y Risa, Yellow Canary, Wino, marina, magnetics, skybluewater, bluedust, Al Fondy, Anima, priceman, NoMoreLies, glitterscale, Lujane, gerrilea, KenBee
  •  Shouldn't you be watching "Dancing with the Stars" (43+ / 0-)

    rather than worrying yourself about these minor issues and conspiracy fantasies? I mean, I know when someone says "I got this," as Democrats in Washington have, I feel content and complacent. You just need to get over it...

    "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Kombema on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 12:38:15 AM PST

  •  Allowed no memory by the Corporate Media, it's (56+ / 0-)

    relevant to recall, imo, that upon the collapse of the Soviet Union the big debate was "now what are all these intelligence agencies to do?"

    One might remember the consensus emerged that they be shifted to focus on business. Working with business to provide security, and implicitly, steal other nations' secrets.

    Add in the Perpetual War in All Directions since 9/11 and so it's to here we've 'evolved.'

    Exercising the rights of a responsible citizen is a criminal and subversive activity these days in the US. We don't need citizens, we need compliant labor and passive consumers. Anything else is a threat.


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:05:10 AM PST

  •  this is what i try to explain (50+ / 0-)

    to those who so trust the obama team not to abuse these sorts of powers: we will some day have another gop administration. we thought it couldn't get worse than nixon, we got reagan. we thought it couldn't get worse than reagan, we got bush-cheney.

    even those who implicitly trust this administration need to realize that what is being normalized by this administration will be abused to every degree possible by someone. even those who believe that these mechanisms aren't being abused now need to realize that what is happening now guarantees that they will be abused to every degree possible, whether now or later or both. acceptance or acquiescence now is complicity in that abuse, whether now or later or both.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:46:18 AM PST

    •  Obama will abuse them (39+ / 0-)

      and so will every other president. It's not about the person, it's about the institution.

      Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

      by cruz on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 05:49:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  true (6+ / 0-)

        but some will never believe it.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:50:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those "some" remain negative value added to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Indiana Bob, Kombema

          society until such moment they decide to wake the fuck up and stop acting like teeny boppers with a new pop start to drool on.

          They're as much the problem as any tea bagger.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 12:51:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Reducing human beings to debits in a ledger? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laurence Lewis

            You sure you want to say that?

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:10:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am absolutely certain that some people choose (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador, WB Reeves, Kombema

              to harm society more than they benefit it.

              Are you sure you want to disagree?

              Do you think Dick Cheney or George Bush have added more than they have taken?  Mitt Romney?

              "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

              by JesseCW on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:26:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't spend a whole lot of time (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Laurence Lewis, Kombema

                assessing individual bad actors, since the problem, IMO, is in our institutions rather than individuals. There will always be assholes but we can try to insure that they aren't licensed or encouraged by the social structure.

                However, to the extent that we are going to address individual responsibility, I think it better to avoid dehumanizing rhetoric. Particularly bureaucratic forms.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:45:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Bad actors and bad institutions magnify each other (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW, Ray Pensador, WB Reeves

                  It's both that are problems. Bad institutions attract bad actors, but those same actors then move toward further worsening the institutional scourge in order to leverage power and influence. It's a vicious circle of doom. Bush-Cheney made the institution of the presidency even worse than it was under Nixon and Reagan, and then Obama institutionalized much of their bad changes and ratcheted up his own versions of things like the NSA syndrome.

                  "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                  by Kombema on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 02:04:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Institutions are bad only because the people (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy

                  who run them are willing to harm others.

                  Structures do not spring up out of nothing, and they do not support themselves without human activity.

                  I am sorry that you see the statement that Dick Cheney has done more harm than good as dehumanizing.  I see that as shying away from a plain and obvious truth.

                  "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

                  by JesseCW on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 02:19:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Now Jesse, I think you know that I (0+ / 0-)

                    was referring to your use of accounting house terminology, not any specific reference to Dick Cheney.

                    If you really didn't understand that, my apologies and consider this a clarification.

                    Nothing human is alien to me.

                    by WB Reeves on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:06:28 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  they are not choosing to harm society (0+ / 0-)

                they are looking for heroes. there is a difference between the two.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:46:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  And this is why you never see me talking about (9+ / 0-)

      this issues in a partisan way.  You know why?  Because I'm focusing on the real-powers-that-be; the corporate state.

      Also, given what we know so far about how much power these shadowy surveillance/intelligence/security corporatist organizations have, it is possible that any one person in the know who really tries to go after these people, after their power, will be taken down.

      •  given the extremism of the gop (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WB Reeves, Kombema

        i do think it important to talk of it in a partisan way. we need the hardest core obama supporters to support the reform, and in some cases elimination, of these programs. broadening their perspectives beyond the next few years can help get them on board.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:29:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't get me wrong, when it comes to politics (11+ / 0-)

          I'm a partisan (even if that's not apparent by my writing).  I'm a loyal Democrat who have voted straight party line for over 25 years, never having missed one single election, including local and special elections when you only see three people at the voting booth, with the third one being me.

          But that doesn't negate the fact that when it comes to the corporate state, both major political parties' establishments (i.e., the corporatists) have been captured.  The third-way Democrats dominate the party; very damaging Neoliberal policies are being pushed by the Democratic leadership.

          These things need to be confronted; they need to be addressed by us.  We need to put these politicians' feet to the fire.

          •  we may finally be in the middle of a shift (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kombema, WB Reeves

            not using the shutdown and debt ceiling deadline as an excuse for more backdoor austerity was huge. reid wanting the budget deal to last only until january so sequester could be renegotiated as the republicans balk at next year's defense cuts was a good sign. reid continuing to make clear that social security cuts will not be on the table is a good sign. and of course, last year we elected more genuine progressives. this all may be but a temporary bump, or it may signal the beginning of a shift. from a political standpoint, we are in much better shape than we were last year, when the democrats completely played the republican games. in the coming months we will find out if it's for real.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:39:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with the partisanship (16+ / 0-)

          is it generates the illusion one party is the solution, and the other the problem, when in fact elites in both parties are clearly complicit.

          A lot of people get turned off by this, because they feel as if they're being manipulated, and treated as if too stupid to see what's going on.

          The effort to channel all energy into electoral pathways may be becoming passe'.

          The Democratic brand has lost some of its mojo, when it is dominated by extremely wealthy leaders at the top who more and more seem to be part of the problem.

          It isn't that people turn to third parties, they simply turn off to the entire game.

          That's why occupy succeeded in sprouting up in dozens of cities across the nation, and even the world: It wasn't partisan, and did not seek to become a part of the electoral apparatus it was protesting. One can't protest as effectively that which has one's support.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:47:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  meh (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kombema, WB Reeves

            few are under the illusion that one party, or any person, is the solution. yes, the democratic brand has been hurting, and it really goes back to carter signing on to airline deregulation. and yes, chasing an illusory moderate middle has been a fool's errand and an excuse, whereas the real potential votes to be found are those liberals who don't bother. but no one is going to win by turning off from the system altogether. occupy was a brief brilliant flash of hope, and a sign of potential, but it dissolved quickly under a violent crackdown. and if one alienates those one would persuade, one isn't going to accomplish anything.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:43:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Occupiers (5+ / 0-)

              whom you describe as "dissolving quickly", were supporting the labor strike in Oakland today with their feet on the ground.

              Never mind the fact that it was Democratic Party mayors in many of the largest cities who used violence to attack occupiers, significantly suppressing the movement. And let's not speak of the DHS involvement (under the authority of the Obama administration) in helping to coordinate the nationwide crackdown. Alienation indeed.

              So, speaking of alienation, why do you think people don't vote?

              Basically, what has occurred historically is social democrats adopted the attitude (some of this fostered in part by Marx's teaching of using electoral politics to revolutionize the state, which influenced social democrats) that direct action was channeling energy away from electoral politics, and they have consistently eschewed and distrusted this approach, in attempts to coerce people into working for party politics. This became a widely accepted meme (frequently seen here on dkos), which is challenged by groups like Occupy.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 02:28:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  the vast majority of people (0+ / 0-)

                cares not a whit for revolutionary theory. the vast majority tunes out wannabe revolutionaries even more than it tunes out the current political structures.

                people abstain from voting because they feel disenfranchised, and thus disenfranchise themselves. which is a deliberate strategy by the opponents of democracy. and yes, some democrats helped crush the occupy movement, which is not remotely as powerful as it was, but some democrats also supported it.

                the governments that have done the most for their populations were in social democratic forms, from scandinavia to the new deal here. revolutionary governments have almost always created at least as much suffering as the governments they replaced. here's to the new boss, same as the old boss. the only hope for paradigmatic change is for a shift in consciousness, and social democratic means are the clearest path to creating the conditions under which such a shift can become possible.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 02:42:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, but this can change (5+ / 0-)

                  All of your prognostications are true until they aren't. You're assuming the status quo (which your rhetoric helps bolster) will be a constant. If anything, history reveals that every so often, there is sweeping change.

                  One thing that history doesn't support is the notion you can get the wealthy class to wake up one day, realize the errors of their ways, and with the dawning epiphany, turn their power and wealth back to the people from whom they've been thieving it for several centuries. They will never do this, and this notion they will ever allow the process of representative democracy (not exactly representative when most elected officials are wealthy) to include the poor.

                  That has never happened in history. Even Sweden is privatizing rather fervently as of late, and has people rioting in the streets, complaining about lack of economic equality and racism.

                  The system you support rather inexorably, even if with a few bumps in our favor along the way, leads to more and more control by the wealthy.

                  Thus, working outside of electoral politics with direct action is worthy of support, and all of your belittling of this effort, at this juncture, is serving the wealthy class.

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 02:54:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  actually (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT, WB Reeves

                    history is replete with examples of the same revolutionary rhetoric either failing miserably or leading to revolutions that are mere shifts in who controls the reins, with the average person being no better off, and frequently worse off. non-violent direct action is usually worthy of support, and i never belittle it. i supported occupy on the front page, and i support the possibility of it rising again. and yes, as austerity and privatization movements arise and persist, they need to be opposed. sweden will suffer if it abandons its very successful recent social democratic history. that doesn't change the fact that social democratic movements have been greatly successful, but they are but evolutionary steps.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:49:39 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  See the various responses below (0+ / 0-)

                      by myself and others. There are better ways to structure society, but when the capitalist and fascist powers combine to insure the failure of non-conforming social organizations, its rather convenient to claim success on the part of the violent, hegemonic states, and the failure on the part of people who these same states set out to destroy through violence.

                      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                      by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 06:04:09 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  People abstain from voting because they (5+ / 0-)

                  are disenfranchised. When no party that has a chance in hell of winning represents you then you are effectively disenfranchised. And that's the situation in the US right now.

                  revolutionary governments have almost always created at least as much suffering as the governments they replaced.
                  Well, as the old saying goes, government is government, and all government is violence.

                  If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                  by AoT on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 03:09:24 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  if the forty percent who don't vote (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    got off their asses and voted, the republicans would implode completely, and the democrats would have to make the choice of embracing the liberal wing or splitting. that can't happen when people disengage. disengagement is a weak excuse and the weakest possible political tactic.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:52:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If liberals stopped pushing voting as a cure (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ZhenRen, Ray Pensador

                      the people might take other action to build a real progressive movement. People voting doesn't change things if there isn't the candidates to vote for. Or if the shitty candidates cheat their way into office, as I've seen more than once. I didn't say that not voting was a great plan, I said that people don't vote because they're disenfranchised, it's a huge difference.

                      People at this site go about thing ass backwards. You build a movement and then you worry about voting. I haven't seen a single democratic presidential candidate who is really worth voting for in my life. And then 75% of the party shits on you for daring to say that, present company excluded. But the idea that everybody just voting would actually change things is overwrought.

                      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                      by AoT on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 05:44:13 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Even if they all voted... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador

                      I doubt that the membership would change as much as you assume. There would still be a proportional representation from blue dogs, conservatives, etc.

                      Look at Obama's candidacy. So many thought he was the best candidate in decades, that he would really use his mandate to effect change. Si se puede.

                      And he displayed a completely different persona after winning the presidency. Why would more like him change anything? The owning class control the electorate sufficiently to keep the truly progressive candidates out of control.

                      And this mantra of "if only everyone would vote" has been chanted for decades, with little improvement.

                      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                      by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 05:49:24 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, AOT is right (3+ / 0-)
                  revolutionary governments have almost always created at least as much suffering as the governments they replaced.
                  Lawrence is referring to "revolutionary governments" of Marxist states, based on Marx's authoritarian influence of "dictatorship of the proletariat" and elite Communist Party vanguardism.

                  He isn't familiar with non-state revolutions, exemplified by Anarchist Spain during the Spanish Revolution.

                  There, the people were benefited with better working conditions, better pay, an increase in consumption, more economic equality, more food (they were starving under the democratic republic), better health care, democratic self-management of the community and workplace.

                  So, yes, some revolutions don't create as much suffering as the governments they replace. Some don't replace the state with another state, but with a bottom-up system of federations of participatory communities.

                  And this would work far better than the faux democracy of "representational democracy" of republics, because it is true, direct democracy, by, for, and of the people. Libertarian socialist Spain demonstrated it can work.

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 03:25:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Also, the government in the USSR (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ray Pensador, ZhenRen

                    was good after the revolution, at least compared to the Tsarist government. It wasn't until years later that it got pretty bad. But it was a definite improvement for the first 30 years or so.

                    If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                    by AoT on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 03:31:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  True (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AoT, lostinamerica

                      But remember the attacks and suppression of peasants seeking social equality in Kronstadt, and the attacks on the peasant anarchist-communists (the Makhnovists) in the Ukraine. These were essentially anarchic peasants, who wanted to self-determine and self-manage their own communities.

                      Marx (and thus Lenin) had no respect for the peasant class, thinking them to not have revolutionary potential, and so, the Bolsheviks took their food (which the peasants had produced) to feed urban workers, thinking them to be a better class to spur into revolutionary fervor. The Kronstadt rebellion ensued, in 1921, which the Bolsheviks attacked and suppressed.

                      http://libcom.org/...

                      Similarly, the Makhnovists, who were anarchists, and who had raised a peasant army of 50,000 in the Ukraine, were attacked and decimated, in 1920, not long after the revolution.  

                      http://libcom.org/...

                      The authoritarianism of Marxist-Leninist revolutions has probably set back the socialist cause for decades.

                      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                      by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 03:48:58 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  it was inept (0+ / 0-)

                      learn your history. that was why it was so easily overthrown. the first thirty years or so included the brutal purges. learn your history.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:54:34 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You're not one to be preaching about history (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Ray Pensador

                        Lewis, is the US a success by your definition?

                        I'd love to hear your defense of the country that, 100 years from now, will be seen as the unscrupulous, violent, imperialist, hegemonic, racist, out of control power in the history of humankind, and which will be blamed by what is left of our children's children for the enormous role in failing to use its power to stop the destruction of the earth through climate change, due to its capitalistic addiction to cheap energy.

                        Lawrence... what the hell has happened to you?

                        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                        by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 05:33:13 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  until the 80s (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          serendipityisabitch

                          the new deal and great society had a consistent record of making life better for the majority of americans. it had far to go- ted kennedy's 1969 national health insurance proposal would have been a good next step- but despite fits and starts, things were getting steadily better. it's been downhill since the early 80s.

                          what happened to me is that i know my history, and i know that while political theorizing can be fun, it doesn't touch people's lives. al gore was right in 2007: we need a paradigm shift. traditional theories of revolution are as stale as are traditional theories of capital and labor.

                          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                          by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:41:22 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You really don't know your history (0+ / 0-)

                            You see it from the perspective of the ruling class (who publish the history books).

                            And now you're making excuses. The problem with acts of legislation is they can be undone when the wealthy elites get tired of them, which is exactly what is occurring.

                            That's what you get with a system of democracy for the wealthy (otherwise known as representative democracy). Once in a while a rich leader has an egalitarian streak, but this is soon followed by a wealthy leader who reverses the trend. And all the while, the State inexorably gravitates to greater and greater disparity of wealth, and greater concentration of power in the hands of the rich, which is exactly what is occurring in Sweden, as well as the US.

                            Regardless, we can do far better for the working class than the moderate advances of FDR (now being reversed by such things as Gram Leach, signed by Bill Clinton, no less), and even liberal nations like Sweden can be much surpassed.

                            The only reason anyone should object to libertarian socialism is if they are part of the wealthy class and fear a somewhat lower standard of living. What? No maid to do my laundry for five bucks?  Yegads! Otherwise, most persons would enjoy more freedom, a greater voice in their community, and in many cases a far better standard of living. What's not to like?

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:00:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                            acts of legislation don't work. far better to have dictatorships of the former suppressed, so they can suppress the former suppressors, while the bulk of humanity continues to suffer from the flip side of the same paradigmatic coin.

                            i know this is hard, but i see it from a perspective that transcends the very concept of class, which is itself one of the defining characteristics of the paradigm of which traditional revolutionary theory is a bulwark.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:46:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh my... (0+ / 0-)

                            You don't understand the concept at all. Have you read nothing of the topic?

                            For fucks sake, it isn't suppression to oppose suppression. What you've just stated, unwittingly, is that by ending exploitation upon the working class by the rich, who can only sustain their wealth by that very exploitation, they are being exploited by the poor.

                            Lawrence, are you well off? Because this new response is an argument posed by the most right wing capitalists.

                            You're basically positing that if the rich can't exploit the poor, they are being... mistreated.

                            As to class, there are very stark, clear divisions that define them. This is not some abstract construct.

                            Have ever thought at all about how the concept of property came to be? About how huge tracts of land are appropriated by fiat, by decree? For example, George Washington, the wealthiest American of his time, was given land the size of a small state by British royalty. Whose lands were these? The Indians, of course, were in possession of the land (they had no concept of titles and ownership, but rather a more enlightened concept of possession).  

                            This is how property was acquired by Europeans. Basically, it was acquired through violence of the State (whether that of monarchs, feudal lords, dictators, or American Presidents, or a local thug with a following).

                            Thus, ownership of property (as opposed to use and possession) is based on unjustified authority. Such property can be bought and sold, rented, used to build personal wealth, rather than for purposes of living off the land.

                            Similarly, certainly precious resources are of vital interest to the public, and should not be privately owned simply due to decree of the rich and powerful. And yet, oil, gas, coal, even water, is often privately confiscated by the wealthy to sell on the open market to those who are in need.

                            This is how the minority who control the wealth (the land, the resources, the means of production) are easily able to enslave the workers, without whom they would lack labor to produce the marketable products the owning class uses to acquire an income, paying the workers not a fair return of the products made, but simply a wage, at the lowest price the market will support.

                            That is theft. It is extortion. It is based on false authority through threat of violence, based on European concepts of private property, and enforced by the police, and it is in fact a form of human slavery. The minority class "owns" the property that the majority class needs in order to survive. They are thus held in bondage to the class which has the means by which people acquire the necessities for life.

                            This is one of the worst forms of violence that can possibly be inflicted upon people, and is in violation of their right to live, as human animals born from the earth. It is dehumanizing, and wrong.

                            So this is the clear difference between the minority wealthy class, and the rest of us. And you now assert that ending this exploitation, this slavery, would be a "paradigmatic flip of the coin"?

                            Have you any idea what a horribly cruel vision of humanity you have espoused?  This is why it is not violence when a people, thus exploited, rise up and cast off the yoke of dominance. It is self defense.

                            And this reasoning is sound, and beyond dispute. And to suggest this is some sort of "flipside" to suffering, as if forcing the rich to survive without resorting to this violence upon humanity is unfair, is a monstrous,  point of view. It is treason against one's own species.

                            So, you think have "transcended class"? No, you have not. It cannot be transcended simply with a haughty flip of your free hand (the one not holding the glass of $30 per bottle pinot noir).

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 01:10:19 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  uh (0+ / 0-)

                            no. this is really hard for you. try again.

                            revolutions frequently lead to the former suppressed turning to exploitations of their own, or the former suppressors co-opting and returning to power. violent revolutions do as a rule. liberation from exploitation has been accomplished without massive violent upheaval, from the american labor and civil rights movements (despite both being subject to violence) to post-war/pre-austerity europe.

                            you cannot even conceive the vision of humanity i espouse, because you remain wedded to 19th century materialist conceptions. the very notion of property and labor are 19th century. even without a paradigm shift in consciousness we are already evolving beyond the concept of labor, but of course because we as a culture are still wedded to 19th century materialist conceptions, we remain unprepared to deal with or even understand what is happening as traditional conceptions of labor become obsolete.

                            the nature of society needs to be rethought. the nature of community needs to be rethought. the concept of property cannot continue. the concept of wages cannot continue, because there will not be enough traditional jobs for all those who would be seeking them. the labor and property theories of value are obsolete. you continue to argue from the perspective of someone who reads 19th and 20th century theorists, whose theories never amounted to any significant social or political changes, and you fail to see that such theorists and theories no longer apply. and more than anything, you continue to ignore the real reason for political apathy, which is that most people just want to live their lives, and don't care who is ostensibly in charge. you ignore that it is increasingly possible to allow people to do that, if the concepts of work and property and community are completely reconceived.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:49:46 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ridiculous (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador

                            Despite your notions of anarchism being a 19th century philosophy, there is nothing about unequal power relationships that "go out of date," as if the exploitation of yesterday is different from the exploitation of today. That is shallow, pseudo intellectual gibberish that may feel smart as the words pass your lips, but is stupefyingly mindless.

                            It's akin to saying water, as a beverage, is so paleolithic. Or that oral communication is so 20th century, now that we have texting. Or that taking a crap or having sex or doing anything that humans have been doing for eons is oh, so yesterday. Some things are so innately human, that we will still be discussing these same issues several thousand years from now (if we manage to survive capitalism in this century). Human relationships come down to certain basic dynamics, and these dynamics will always be part of lives in one shape or another. Power, hierarchy, equality, democracy, are not going out of date as issues anytime soon, and likely never will.

                            And anarchism is not wedded to a fixed concept of sociopolitical theory. It has its sources and thinkers, and antecedents, but since we don't pin all of our theory on a personality (which is why we don't name our approach after, say, Proudhon, or Bakunin, and we don't call ourselves Bakuninists - which the Marxists tried to name us). We do not give any person that kind of sweeping control over our philosophy. Thus, we are able to move and change our approach with the times.

                            And then you wrote this:

                            the concept of property cannot continue. the concept of wages cannot continue, because there will not be enough traditional jobs for all those who would be seeking them.
                            No kidding? Thanks for making my point for me. What do you think anarchism has been getting at for the past 150 years? You obviously haven't studied even a few pages of anarchist theory and I can't force you to realize anarchism isn't the same as all the "revolutions" you've read about which were based on authoritarian approaches of Marx. The theory you're familiar with is obviously Marxist. And you clearly haven't read anarchist theory, which is quite different. I happen to think Marxist theory -- with its over-reliance on highly arcane, elaborate definitions, replete with a highly complex, sometimes impenetrable jargon which is often mystifying to the average worker, and is so involved that even Marxists can't seem to find consistent agreement -- has set the socialist movement back for decades. And some Marxists agree with that.

                            And it seems you're thinking of the vanguardism and "dictatorship of the proletariat" concept of Marx, which is absent from anarchist theory.

                            Anarchism is not based on Marxist concepts, is not an offshoot of Marxism, and in fact is a separate form of socialism developed independently of Marxism, with its own body of theory.

                            Anarchists do not support forcing a way of life upon unwilling people. They support the people liberating themselves from the yoke of exploitation, since they see the conditions of the working class under capitalism as a violation of rights, and as a form of servitude and slavery. They do not support a vangaurd force subservient to a Party apparatus that would liberate people at the point of a gun. They do, however, support the workers' right to self-manage the workplace, the right of people to self-manage their communities, without central authority forcing its will upon them (-- ironically, something you defend -- make up your mind, are you for authoritarianism, or not? Is it okay when capitalists do it, but not okay for people to liberate themselves from exploitation?).

                            These are different goals than what revolutionary Marxists generally have in mind. Marxists and anarchists were in disagreement over these issues from the beginning. In fact, it was Marx who got his inspiration from Proudhon, but he took the study in a different direction, and eventually Marxists cut off all cooperation with anarchists, all over the issue of authority. Bakunin predicted the Marxist form of socialism would become unbearably dictatorial, and he was proven right.

                            And you wrote this:

                            and more than anything, you continue to ignore the real reason for political apathy, which is that most people just want to live their lives, and don't care who is ostensibly in charge. you ignore that it is increasingly possible to allow people to do that, if the concepts of work and property and community are completely reconceived.
                            Gee, really? This is your big revelation? Where have you been? This is exactly what anarchism addresses. As to people not caring about who is in charge, I've found that to be presumptuously false notion that could only be conceived by someone completely out of touch with workers. And I find that notion to be revealing of your mindset. People don't want power over their lives? Really? They actually want to be herded, like sheep? My god, what a misanthropic view you have of humanity. The poor working class I speak with everyday, even those who are right wing, don't agree with you. They are disgusted to their cores. I do think most of these would take to anarchist society like fish to water, because for the first time, THEY WOULD BE FREE of exploitation, of being ordered around, of being treated like goddamn shit by the owning class. Just because they have been coerced into working against their own interests doesn't mean they wouldn't wake up when they experience a community that gives them exactly what they need and want for the first time in their lives. Better pay, a sense of autonomy, a real voice in every aspect of their community, free association, liberty, and a far better standard of living, better housing, health care, better schools, more vacation time, possibly even a five hour workday.

                            No, you don't speak for the working class. You aren't one of us. You are simply incapable of understanding us.

                            What is really occurring is that people have been, for so long, so completely deprived of having authority over their own lives they don't expect to have any real voice in anything. They've given up. What I've perceived is when people are given the right to self-mange their workplaces, their communities, with direct democracy via community and work assemblies, they love it, and they wake up, feeling more motivated than ever before, they want to go to work, and life becomes a joy. This is what people reported in Spain. Watch that video on Spain I posted. I challenge you, watch the fucking thing. Listen to what participants in that revolution reported. Do some reading on the anarchist collectives of Spain. Several books are available. This isn't one of the Marxist-Leninist revolutions you've read about.

                            Ironically, in our discussion here, it is your side of the debate that uses force and violence and trickery to maintain power and unjustified authority over a populace, and it also uses tactics of pitting the working class against itself in a horror of divide and conquer that has the working class acting against its own interests. Corporations pit employees against their own communities, pit them against competitors, and pit them against their own families. They prey on human loyalty to the workplace, and on the previous centuries of indoctrinated acculturation to State authority of one kind or another. There is willful manipulation of educational textbooks, using propaganda to indoctrinate children in schools, and subliminally fascistic imagery and nationalism keeps attention off the massive exploitation of workers.

                            If any approach is out of date, it is capitalism, but undoing the cultural indoctrination will probably require some monumental cataclysm in the economy to begin the process. But there are murmurings, such as polls which indicate young generations are beginning to open their minds to socialism, and the unexpected emergence of OWS all across the country.

                            Perpetual wars keep the working class mind on vague enemies of one fashion or another. Constant propaganda of exceptionalism and superiority over the rest of the world are commonly found in public discourse and news broadcasts. A flag waving, us-against-them frenzy is fostered. And when anyone gets out of line, the police rush in to insure that capitalism maintains its cruel authority over the public. Most crime, by far, involves violations of property "rights".

                            So you rosy world of capitalism isn't so rosy, unless you're well-to-do (as you seem to be).

                            The meme that humans are selfish and mutually competitive, as the predominate trait -- which is a complete distortion of anything Charles Darwin ever wrote -- has pervaded modern industrial society. None of that is factual, but people parrot this nonsense at the first mention of socialism as if it is scientifically proven fact, which it is not. This meme arose in the 19th century, and continues today (speaking of being stuck in the past). It is capitalism that is 19th century. My god, Lewis, you seem to think you know history. The age of true socialism never came, with the exception of Spain and a few other examples, and no, Marxism sadly hasn't fostered the real thing, so far.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 11:59:29 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  people who see the world as power relationships (0+ / 0-)

                            see the world as power relationships. they also tend to want but to reorder those relationships. consciousness evolves.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 01:40:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Only a privileged person (0+ / 0-)

                            doesn't understand being at the bottom end of power. Unequal power relationships are basically the cause of most social problems.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:01:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  only someone trapped in stale paradigms (0+ / 0-)

                            wouldn't understand that being at the top or bottom of a given power structure is the cause of most social problems. oddly enough, many of those working to evolve consciousness as a means of social change are not themselves remotely wealthy. and they don't care about wealth. they don't see the world in terms of wealth.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:08:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  clarification (0+ / 0-)

                            ISN'T the cause. it is a symptom. until you understand power structures and the focus on power structures as but SYMPTOMS, you will not begin to be able to identify the real problems.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:17:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Goes both ways (0+ / 0-)

                            Hierarchy is kept in place by violence. The State keeps its place by violence. No matter whether it is a symptom of consciousness, or the cause of it, or even circular, it is still maintaining the status quo by the force of violence.

                            When enough people begin to awaken from the hundreds of years of history that have acculturated them to accept dominance, they will oppose it. This is what occurred in Spain. They had decades of preparation due to activists who helped educate people to what became known in Spain as "la idea".  Spain was different than the rest of Europe in embracing more widely anarchism rather than Marxism.

                            The way this process can be helped along is by forming organizations, unions, and assemblies according to the model we would like to see in place in society. If our organizations are built on hierarchy and top down leadership, it reflects, whether you want to acknowledge this or not, an authoritarian mindset.

                            We must create organizations which reflect who we are, what our consciousness is. And through these organizations, we can help to inform people of better alternatives.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:48:33 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  let me make this very simple for you (0+ / 0-)

                            the status quo IS violence, whether overt or through disenfranchisement and forced poverty and all other deliberate social ills. and that status quo will not be changed merely by musical chairs. of course, some don't really care at all about real change, and only want their chance at a chair.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 03:30:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Very good! (0+ / 0-)
                            let me make this very simple for you (0+ / 0-)

                            the status quo IS violence

                            You've just lectured me with my own philosophy, a premise that has been part of anarchist theory since the inception.

                            At least we agree, now, on one issue. What we don't agree on is that an egalitarian, non-hierarchical system would be the same thing. It wouldn't. Self defense against oppression? Certainly. Violence to force people into freedom? Not at all. Is defending the revolution against an insurgent ruling class who wants to bring back wage slavery violence? No, it is self defense against violence.

                            Takes a bit of time to absorb new things, but think on it. Do some reading.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 05:07:42 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  as i said (0+ / 0-)

                            theory sometimes accurately identifies the symptoms. it won't cure the cause.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 05:18:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                            The answer isn't to support the disease because you think there is no cure. Circular logic.

                            If the disease is authority sustained by violence, then the answer is to work toward a non-authoritarian, egalitarian  system that gives respect and freedom to citizens.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 05:50:27 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  missing the point yet again (0+ / 0-)

                            the disease is not authority and violence. those are symptoms. the answer is to stop using 19th century miracle elixirs or symptom-numbing opiates and start focusing on the causes.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Fri Nov 29, 2013 at 12:47:15 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But their privilege blinds them (0+ / 0-)

                            just as you are blinded. And being blind, of course you think you're all seeing. So, what is your definition of "consciousness" and "evolving consciousness"? Fair question.

                            Did you really mean to repeat what I'd stated? So, you're in agreement?

                            only someone trapped in stale paradigms (0+ / 0-)

                            wouldn't understand that being at the top or bottom of a given power structure is the cause of most social problems.

                            And as to not seeing the world in terms of wealth (which to the middle class and poor means having enough food to eat, living in a decent neighborhood, in agreeable housing) only a class privileged person would say that:
                            they don't care about wealth. they don't see the world in terms of wealth.
                            My god, you can't be serious. When one is poor, and struggling daily to have enough and keep one's head above water, like it or not, you think about class, about wealth, about the power structure that insures that the poor stay poor. There is no separation between consciousness and the social organizations and structures we create. The two go hand in hand, and if they don't, then it really isn't consciousness at all.

                            If your "consciousness" ignores the horrible, enslaving effects of social and economic hierarchy, it isn't consciousness, and it certainly isn't evolved.

                            Material conditions have a profound influence on consciousness. One can't loftily transcend this in any workable, sustained way. Miserable conditions are what they are. And if you have experienced miserable material conditions for any duration, you would be conscious of why it is important to achieve social and economic equality.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:37:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  what you fail to understand (0+ / 0-)

                            is that millions of people work high stress, low-pay, high social value jobs because it makes society better. others sit around theorizing and feeling self-righteous, dreaming of when they can flip the power structure and they can be on top. while the millions who work high stress, low-pay, high social value jobs because it makes society better will fare little if at all better under the new bosses.

                            here's a clue you should be able to understand: the nsa spying, the militarization of the police, the drones, the increasing power of the religious right within the military... who do you think wins in a traditional revolution? even under your own 19th century terms, your 19th century aspirations cannot be realized. the only type of revolution that can work is one of consciousness, because the predominant power structures cannot even perceive it. nor, sadly, can traditional wannabe revolutionaries. and a good number of those millions of people working high stress, low-pay, high social value jobs- who care not a whit for revolutionary theory- are doing more to foster that change in consciousness and that only possible revolution than a century's worth of revolutionary theorists.

                            some people dream of change so they can be the ones who will control the reins. others create change, every day, and don't care about the reins one way or another.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 03:28:09 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You still don't get it (0+ / 0-)

                            This is tedious. You are so filled with innacurate notions of my suggestions and of what anarchism is, and so incapable or unwilling to learn anything new about the philosophy, that it is nearly impossible to not answer with long post which you obviously don't bother to have enough respect to read. Seriously, just slow down and try to digest a concept or two for a change. Your over-confidence is getting in the way of understanding new concepts.

                            First, there wouldn't be any new bosses in anarchic social structure. There wouldn't be new leaders holding the reins. I've explained this to you before, and you just ignore it. For a realistic idea of how this has worked in real life situations, do some reading about the Spanish collectives. They were successful. It seems you fear a new leadership, but you'd be surprised how well an organization can work using direct democracy. Or perhaps you fear direct democracy, and want to old order to prevail.

                            while the millions who work high stress, low-pay, high social value jobs because it makes society better will fare little if at all better under the new bosses.
                            some people dream of change so they can be the ones who will control the reins. others create change, every day, and don't care about the reins one way or another.
                            The fact is, polls reveal that most Americans hate their jobs. Most are not working in positions they applied for, and many feel they need more vacation time, more flexible work schedules, far better pay, and far more of a voice in the work environment. Are there some individuals who would prefer to turn authority over their lives to others? Certainly, and obviously, you have made that choice. You want a boss. And in a collective, you would be able to simply leave the democratic management and delegation of positions to the rest of your fellow workers, if you were disinterested in participating in that way. No one would force you to do anything. Your life would not change much in that respect, if that were your disposition, although you would likely be able to work fewer hours, have more time off, and better pay, and better, more reliable benefits. If you didn't want the benefits, certainly you would be able to refuse them. If you wanted to work more hours, certainly you would be allowed to do that. If you wanted someoen to tell you what to do, that might be a problem. It would be a new world, and you would find yourself with freedom that you might be unaccustomed to.

                            What you would not be allowed to do is lord over others using a higher position in a hierarchical structure. Maybe that is what you find threatening?

                            As to revolutions and your strawman notions of them, which you keep trying to erect in place of my own arguments, no one has said social consciousness isn't a key factor. It is always a key factor. There are ways to educate, using social justice movements, to help generate awareness in the public. And by preparing in advance, its possible that sometime in the future (impossible to predict) an opportunity may arise. If the people are not prepared, the opportunities can be lost.

                            Revolutions can occur without firing a shot.  It may not matter how much the authorities try to clamp down, if enough people get fed up. Everything changes when Americans are asked to fire upon their own families. Systems break down, and in the vacuum which follows, change occurs. The irony is it is far more likely anarchism will prevail than democratic socialism, since one depends on cooperation of the state (which has never historically occurred), while the other would replace it entirely (which has historically occurred).

                            What the Spanish anarchists found is while not all were dedicated anarchists in the anarchist regions of Spain, there were enough present to move the rest to try out the ideas, when the State was paralyzed into inaction. People went along, and most were quite happy. Those who weren't (generally owning class) were allowed to continue without joining a collective (if they had a small family business or farm, and didn't hire wage-labor). Many of these who continued as individualists eventually joined the collectives to take advantage of the efficiency of collective effort. Many who weren't anarchists nevertheless went to assembly meetings, and found the ideas to their liking. I can almost guarantee that the poor right wing persons I know would love anarchism once they experienced it. I've talked with them, and I know what they want, and I think anarchism would give it to them.

                            So, we will see. I know how I want to live. Maybe we can allow each other to enjoy our preferred way of life. But I am steadfast in one thing: Capitalist domination of resources, imposition of slave wages, and hierarchical control are a violation of my rights. And I will oppose them, and oppose you in your authoritarian support of them until my last dying breath.

                            I promise that to you.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 04:50:20 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  yes (0+ / 0-)
                            I know how I want to live.
                            and it might not have anything to do with how the majority of people want to live. but continue to indulge in your theorizing, while others are busy trying to make the world a better place here and now.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 05:17:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not at all true (0+ / 0-)

                            There are more of us than you think, and our numbers are growing. And coalitions can be formed with groups of like mind. Things can change. People can change. We each have a right to work for workers' rights, and put an end to unjust authority. Civil rights are not a matter of obtaining permission. They are rights, whether permission is granted or not. If we don't speak out, because of naysayers, how can anyone ever learn of new ideas?

                            And just who is making the world a better place? Democrats? Really? Ask the civilian drone bombing victims about that, or the poor without jobs, or the people who've lost their homes, or the underpaid workers.

                            Sorry, no thanks.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 05:57:27 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  here's where you continue to miss a key point (0+ / 0-)
                            If we don't speak out, because of naysayers, how can anyone ever learn of new ideas?
                            a good number of people don't care one whit about political ideas. a good number of people see political theorizing itself as an indulgence of privilege. but go for it. meanwhile, some of us will be working with people to make people's lives better here and now.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Fri Nov 29, 2013 at 12:43:30 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We're now repeating ourselves (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ray Pensador

                            I haven't look at any other recent replies you've made, but I think it's safe to say at this point we've each made our points.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Fri Nov 29, 2013 at 05:42:01 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  anarchist spain (0+ / 0-)

                    was crushed by the fascists. find an example that was successful, then get back to me.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:53:18 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

                      Not only crushed by fascists, but the fascists were aided by Germany (Hitler), Italy (Mussolini), the US (FDR), England, France, and the USSR.

                      Chomsky, when asked who were the most important anarchist thinkers, named the anarchists in Spain:

                      It was so terrifying to every single power that they combined to crush it. Fascists, Russia, liberal democracies, put aside their differences, to insure that this would be crushed, and after they crushed it, they went and fought the war as a war of succession. They[the Spanish anarchists] were probably the most important anarchist thinkers.

                      That's what a threat to Power and Capital the anarchists were.

                      The American Indians were crushed by... the United States. Were the Indians a failure too?

                      Is success determined by who has the best army? Who is the most ruthless? Is that the kind of world you support? Are these your values?

                      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                      by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 05:27:44 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  as i said (0+ / 0-)

                        find me a successful example. here's a clue: however pure and righteous something might feel, if it has a consistent record of failure, it's a failed model. the only model that has a consistent record of making lives better is the post-depression social democratic model.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:31:40 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Puerile nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                          To ridicule these ideas as the province of what is "pure" and righteous" and how something "might feel", is to suggest that living in poverty and misery is some sort of capitalist duty for the working class.

                          My god, what class privilege on display in your attitude.

                          Gee, how stupid and idealistic for workers to want a better, more humane life free of exploitation from the rich.

                          I'd like to know, Lewis, just what your income level is. You seem completely out of touch with the working class, and clueless as to why anyone would want an alternative to capitalism. Apparently you've bought into all of the cold war rhetoric against communism, and are one of those commie haters.

                          A model isn't failed simply because the world powers, controlled completely by wealthy elites, would use any degree of force necessary to basically murder people who would try to throw off the yoke of dominance.

                          Your replies give a whole new meaning to the word smug.

                          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                          by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:03:00 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  You're ignoring some historical precedents. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ZhenRen, lunachickie, Ray Pensador
                  the vast majority of people cares not a whit for revolutionary theory
                  That's not really the question, is it?

                  The issue is whether the vast majority of people have any confidence in what you like to call "democracy."  (And I'm sure you know better than to call this system with such extraordinarily limited citizen participation in actual decision-making "democracy.")

                  We're living in a time most similar to Russia as the First World War wound down and to Spain and Germany in the 30s.  Sham "democratic" systems in all three were failing miserably to meet the desperate need of the vast majority of the people for radical change.  Instead, electoral games lamely attempted to mask the oligarchs' control of all players in the political scene.  Confidence in existing political structures dropped.  Support for those promising radical, revolutionary change rose.

                  History teaches that support for the collapsing status quo is no answer.  Instead, now is the time to counter the very real fascist threat by increasing solidarity through education and community building.  Pushing electoral involvement beyond the most local level only undermines the credibility of those advocating that approach.

                  •  Yes - thank you n/t (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ezekiel in Exile, Ray Pensador

                    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                    by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 03:55:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                    the past thirty years of economic policy are undermining everything good about this country. which is why the democratic party needs to relocate its modern keynesian roots, and build from there. russia and spain and germany didn't turn out too well, did they. they'd all have been much better off with social democratic governments.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:56:58 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Germany didn't turn out well. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ZhenRen, AoT, Ray Pensador

                      Spain and Russia are a lot more complicated.

                      Anarchist Catalonia turned out beautifully until all the world powers united to defeat what Orwell called a place where one could "breathe the air of equality."  When you have Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Stalinist Russia and the Capitalist "democracies" united against you, it's tough.  Still, it took years to stamp out the CNT/FAI.

                      In Russia, there were many wonderful possibilities initially.  Even Lenin clothed himself and the Bolshies in libertarian language, promising worker self-governance, because he knew that's what the people longed for.  Kronstadt and the Maknovists in the Ukraine are examples of what the revolution initially produced outside of the the Bolshie sphere of inluence.  Again, the Capitalist world attacked the revolution, and the ruthless Leninists were the survivors, double-crossing their Anarchists allies as Stalin did a generation later in Spain.

                      Still, worker governance survived to an extent sufficient to impress the Reuther brothers in the time they spent at Gorky.

                      Representative democracy is an invention of Capitalists to legitimize their seizure of property and political power as monarchism was crumbling.  It's a farce.

                      •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                        a traditional revolution provoked backlash and infighting, and the most ruthless and bloodthirsty prevailed. how novel.

                        representative democracy was opposed by the founders, and they constructed a constitution specifically designed to prevent it, to protect the wealthy minority. but it's nice to see that you're belittling the idea of representative democracy.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:45:33 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Spain had a leftist democratic government (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador

                      who wasn't feeding its population, and was caught off guard by the fascists, whom the anarchist unions fought off with their own militia, without which, the fascist coup would have been over in weeks, with no thanks from the non-interventionist policy of the US, which did allow some industries to help the fascists, despite the policy.

                      You simply haven't studied this.

                      Here's a video of the history of the anarchist period in Spain (not really expecting you to watch this, but others here might benefit):

                      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                      by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 05:40:07 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  which side prevailed? (0+ / 0-)

                        excuses are excuses. when models consistently fail, it's time to look past the excuses. the fascists, the capitalists, and the crazies always will be better armed. now more than ever.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:48:33 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  So, clearly (0+ / 0-)

                          you think might makes a model socially superior. So if some big brute takes a punch at you tonight, and you end up crippled, you would be an inferior model? Social Darwinism applied on a regional scale is still social Darwinism.

                          Not exactly a sane or logical basis for determining how to best organize society.

                          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                          by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:34:11 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  try again (0+ / 0-)

                            it's not a question of social superiority- as much as wannabe revolutionaries so often have self-justified by believing, and so often self-justified their own failures or, when they prevailed politically, their own morphing into that which they defeated- it's about what does and doesn't work. i happen to think it's socially superior to help create the conditions that allow people to improve their own lives. the new deal, despite its many flaws, did a much better job of that than any revolutions. scandinavian socialism has done a better job of that than pretty much anything.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:40:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  This is illogical (0+ / 0-)

                            You can't even compare, realistically, a system which has prevailed historically through force to systems which have been overcome through force.

                            That doesn't make any sense, Lewis.

                            As to the slur of "wannabe-revolutionaries" which really is a mindless putdown, if we can't even discuss alternative systems without them being summarily dismissed because they are simply not conventional at the moment, how could humankind even conceive, ever, of anything better?

                            Even if this better approach to organizing society -- which has a track record of working -- never comes to be, it is still important, vitally so, that we as social beings explore and discover more livable, satisfying arrangements, so as to have a concept of what to work toward.

                            If we cannot do this, and are eternally stuck with the conventions of the moment, and forever barred from anything better, then we are condemning ourselves to a static, miserably unchanging world.

                            We can't move forward if we can't even have the discussion due to a closed mentality. And that closed mentality is distinctly conservative in the classic sense of the word.

                            Studying social anarchism, or for that matter various alternatives to capitalism, helps us to be able to  create models to from which to learn, even if only to have something to which we can compare our present system.

                            Doing this is therefore not some brainless, useless exercise of dreamers, but rather a highly intelligent endeavor of the most useful purpose known to our species, that of envisioning a better way of living.

                            I'm sorry, Lewis, but your condescension is way out of line. And you're not approaching this debate with the best of your abilities. You're smarter than this.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 12:06:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  actually it does make sense (0+ / 0-)

                            if you recognize cycles of violence as inherently self-defeating to any prospect of promoting social good. which i do.

                            yes, different modes of living should be explored. but that's only the most basic way of expressing it. we need to promote the development and evolution of different modes of consciousness. anything else will but repeat historical patterns.

                            what you continue not to face is that traditional modes of revolution and social change are not different. not historically different, nor even different from the power structures they are trying to bring down. socialism is vastly different than capitalism, but all economic systems and theories only touch certain aspects of the human experience, just as the hubris of political theorists tends to ignore the realities that most people live. which includes an indifference to all political theorizing, whether the official mythologies of the current power structures or the ideals and idols (and in some cases deliberately false ideals and idols) of those who would replace it in their own images.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 01:00:34 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh, that's claptrap (0+ / 0-)

                            The way in which we organize profoundly affects every level of human society.

                            Our way of relating to each other changes according to the economic system in such fundamental manner that I'm astounded at your dismissals.

                            One system is based on mutual economic warfare, dog-eat-dog competition, the other on mutual aid, sharing, and cooperation.

                            Capitalism and hierarchy pits us against each other in horribly insidious ways. The hierarchy is everywhere, from the workplace, to the apartment complex (the manager/owner vs the tenants), relations with fellow workers, which pit them competitively against each other for raises and favors from the boss, the mistreatment of people in lower levels of work hierarchy by higher ups, dealing with the police, and other forms of state authority, all of which alienates people from each other from a multitude of directions.

                            And workers are forced into begging for employment (the application process), begging for housing (credit checks, income requirements), begging for raises, begging for time off, begging for better houses (qualifying for a mortgage), begging for entrance into better schools... all of which is competition of citizens against each other.

                             And lets not forget the 870,000 homeless, the poverty the people going without food, dental care, and other needs.

                            I could write on for pages about all the ways our system causes conflict, increased crime (most crime involves property), envy, and a pandora's box of various emotions which lead to incivility.

                            In an egalitarian society most of this would be eliminated, and done so quite easily.

                            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                            by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 01:34:09 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  here's a clue (0+ / 0-)

                            similar economic systems exist in cultures with vastly different social structures. to be most obvious, that's why you can have american neoliberals in both the theocratic and socially progressive camps. i'm sorry, but kropotkin couldn't have imagined the world we now have. and hierarchies exist in all manner of economic systems, and all lead to disparities and injustices. that's the problem with conceiving the world- and people- in self-limiting economic and materialistic terms. we could all but eliminate poverty and hunger within a year, and it would have nothing to do with employment or wages. but it won't happen through the traditional means of self-righteous theorists, who in the end merely want to replace one hierarchy with their own.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 02:56:27 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

        •  No. (8+ / 0-)

          Among the many adverse things about "partisanship", one of the worst is that it has been exploited primarily to divide us.

          As long as we're divided, we will never, ever overcome this. Lawrence, you must think bigger than that. The government has become the tool of the Corporate. It is that simple.  

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:52:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  divided from whom? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kombema, WB Reeves

            the republicans and libertarians have no one with whom i care to associate.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:44:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Other Americans! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Choco8, Ray Pensador

              Why do you persist in talking completely past the point being made, by continuing to reference "political party labels", Lawrence? Are you being deliberately obtuse, or are you seriously unable to think of American Human Beings as anything other than Democratic or Republican (or Libertarian or whatever)?

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 02:33:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador
              the republicans and libertarians have no one with whom i care to associate.
               
              "A house divided against itself cannot stand."--Abraham Lincoln
               
              This is a really basic, easily-understood concept for most people. I tire of the pockets of resistance to it, because that resistance is becoming dangerous.

               

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:27:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  They're people who have, like teabaggers, (4+ / 0-)

          surrendered all responsibility for rational thought and every shred of personal accountability for their own political choices.

          You have absolutely no chance of persuading them to support any reforms the President opposes.

          The 40% of the population disgusted with the entire political process present a much better pool of potential allies.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 12:53:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kombema

            the teabaggers need to be left on the margins. their punishment must be that their children and grandchildren will get the quality educations they didn't get. and yes, the more boldly liberal the democrats get, the more they will galvanize voters. this isn't complicated, and many of us have been saying so for years.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:45:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  While we don't agree on everything (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Kombema, native

        I agree with you on this. Partisanship is a tactical necessity but it must be consistent with political reality. When the reality is that both parties are colluding on policies that undermine Democracy, the facts must be recognized and criticized.

        Complaining that partisanship breeds a credulous belief in one party seriously underestimates people's capacity for tactical thinking. Complaining that it's a source of division mistakes symptom for cause.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:28:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually Obama explained the same thing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, AoT, happymisanthropy

      I recall a town hall meeting back in 2008 when a question got him talking about the Unitary executive powers and why it was so important to end them
      He got into even if he is president and you really trust him it still doesn't make it okay. You don't take it on faith that powers won't be abused by current president or next president. Liking them or not is not the issue...
      He said someone always has to watch the watcher

      (Of course he didn't spell out what to do if we are watching and don't like what we see.)

      Ex and current intelligence agancy people helping corporations is sad and creepy but not new.
      The CIA and MI6 overthrow of Iran's elected prime minister Mosaddegh was in reaction of his decision to privatize their oil fields. British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known as British Petroleum or BP) even gave sums of money to help with the bribery costs

      I am horrified that we so blithely screwed up a nation...but we did it on behalf a private for profit company? The CIA and MI6 works for the oil companies? Mosaddegh was no threat to our countries, the welfare of our nations...
      just to private oil companies.
      Creepy and sick

      •  obama said a lot of good things (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, WB Reeves

        in 2008. and what we did to iran was just the beginning. the dulles brothers were so proud of their work that they next set their eyes on guatemala, and a new paradigm in american foreign policy was established by the supposedly good republican, eisenhower. and for the record- truman (for all his many problems) and his secretary of state, dean acheson turned britain down. as i wrote:

        President Harry S. Truman and his Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, sympathized with Iran's nationalist ambitions, and believed the best way to thwart Soviet expansionism was to side with the legitimate aspirations for freedom in less developed countries. Truman tried to mediate, but he and Acheson both were appalled by British intransigence. The British appealed to the World Court, and lost. Mossadegh was an international celebrity. But in late 1951, the British returned Winston Churchill to Downing Street, and in 1952, the Americans elected Dwight Eisenhower to the presidency. History was about to change.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 05:02:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bill Moyers shines the light on what's (29+ / 0-)

    happening in our country.  He'll be off the air in January.  What a disaster.  It's people like him that keep us informed; that get the truth out.

    I watched this interview twice.  It's frightening to actually see what we all know is happening.

    You're correct, Ray.  When will Americans have enough? When will Americans take a stand?

    11:11 being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:34:39 AM PST

  •  NSA goes after Sex - politicians watch out (26+ / 0-)

    sex used as the universal means in this culture to discredit people

    and tie sex in with radicalism and there is perfect target for NSA and the surveillance state

    WASHINGTON -- The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority.

    The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger. “A previous SIGINT" -- or signals intelligence, the interception of communications -- "assessment report on radicalization indicated that radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the document argues.

    Among the vulnerabilities listed by the NSA that can be effectively exploited are “viewing sexually explicit material online” and “using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.”

    Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit 'Radicalizers'
  •  And those groups were so close to winning! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Shockwave

    That's the exasperating part.

    My comments are coming from a place of love.

    by Rich in PA on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 06:14:47 AM PST

  •  Ray - a new form of protests (17+ / 0-)

    New momentum for anti-capitalism protests?
    Decentralized protests instead of large rallies - this is Blockupy's modus operandi. At a meeting in Frankfurt, the critics of capitalism are planning new demonstrations against the EU's strict austerity measures.

    "I think that the future lies in simultaneous, decentralized protests," said Nachtwey, adding that Blockupy has successfully used this strategy in the past year, organizing synchronized protests in about 70 European cities.

    This increase in pan-European protests is new and remarkable, said Nachtwey. "They have reached an intimacy and synchronicity that hasn't been seen since World War II." Even more astonishing is the fact that Blockupy has achieved this without a central leadership. The principles of one or a few leaders cannot be enforced on a higher level, said Nachtwey, adding that these groups have reservations when someone tries to be the star.

    I added the bold

    As they say, On The Other Hand, governments cracking down on protests with new laws

    From Quebec to Spain, anti-protest laws are threatening true democracy
    The clash between neoliberal austerity and popular democracy has produced a crisis of 'ungovernability' for authorities

    The Spanish government's punitive anti-protest draft laws are, critics say, an attack on democracy. That is precisely what they are.

    In a number of recent front lines of popular protest, state capacities have been reconfigured to meet the challenge. In some instances, as in Greece, this has meant periods of emergency government. In Chicago, in Quebec and now in Spain, it has meant the expansion of anti-protest laws.

    In 2011, the Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, requested that the city council pass "temporary" anti-protest measures in response to the planned protests around the Nato and G8 summits. The laws included a $1m insurance mandate for public protests, heavy policing and greater obstacles to obtaining a protest permit. By early 2012, the legislation had been made permanent.

    I added the bold as a link to the Obama administration and the use of the law to attack democracy here in the US in Chicago
    •  I don't think that protests are the answer (7+ / 0-)

      The media doesn't properly cover them and most people, even if they know about them, tune them out, if not right away then eventually. I think that more specific and direct action is necessary, like boycotts of companies that engage in or politically support such activities, or publicly outing and shaming people and companies and people that engage in or support such activities.

      I.e. doing to them what they seek to do to those they want to destroy.

      E.g. if Facebook is found to be helping the government, or other companies, spy on people in ways that go way beyond what they have knowingly consented to reveal on FB, then the word has to go out that FB is doing this, and people should be urged to stop using FB, even for innocuous stuff, both out of principle and to protect oneself. And if FB retaliates by censoring such attempts to get the word out and take action against it, it will only make things worse for itself by confirming peoples' fears about it, and it will find usage of its site and services dropping, especially internationally, where people take such things more seriously, as people start using more ethical sites and services to do their social online networking.

      Transparency is democracy's best friend.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:34:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd go with both. The protests (9+ / 0-)

        may not get the press they should, but the people most supportive notice and bond and get energized, and some portion of the broader public can't help but see something's going on. Last, if the numbers grow large enough, the media becomes irrelevant. Clog D.C. with people milling about for a month or two. Things will change.

        Trust, but verify. - Reagan
        Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

        When the rich have tripled their share of the income and wealth yet again, Republicans will still blame the poor and 3rd Way Democrats will still negotiate.

        by Words In Action on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:47:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ichibon, AoT, mkor7

          But I think that they're too diffuse to do much specific good. If you look at the history of progressive social, political and legal change in the US, it's usually the result of targeted action, e.g. strikes, boycotts, sit-ins, etc.

          So, instead of "down with Wall St." protests, how about targeting Goldman, JPM or Citi and their top execs for public shame, and boycotting their services?

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:09:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Occupy actually did this sort of thing as well (9+ / 0-)

            when it challenged people to use credit unions rather than banks.

            It doesn't have to be either/or.

            And there are numerous benefits to the efforts to build decentralized protests. It returns self-governance to people, builds social movements, and inspires participants to become involved. When everything is decided by party or movement elites, people feel as if their energy is manipulated by a small few, and they eventually lose interest. The whole problem in making change has been building a movement strong enough to make a difference. All of the efforts to quell direct action to channel people into electoral politics, and nothing else, have failed.

            That's why occupy occurred. A new generation is fed up with the old stalwart naysayers, and they are finding new approaches.  And they are using collective, decentralized action, which is an empowering approach to everyone involved.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:29:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Nonsense (8+ / 0-)

        I was watching some mainstream television episodes on netflix the other day, and in both of the popular series, watched by millions, the script used the "1%" meme generated by Occupy.

        This notion that protests and direct action don't work is a tired old attitude generated by weary social democrats whose purpose was and is to channel all effort into the electoral process. So they discourage at every opportunity direct action.

        Protests do work, and throwing the wet dishrag on them isn't helping. When the electoral process is so dominated by the wealthy, we must support other avenues of action.

        This doesn't mean creativity can't be introduced. But consider that Romney might well be president if not for his answer to the "1%" accusation leveled by Occupy, when he raised the issue of the 47% that rely on government for support. He failed as a result.  

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:22:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They do work. If you study the leaks (7+ / 0-)

          documents about the actions of the police state you'll notice the focus on thwarting protest actions.

          My next diary is going to be about this...  

        •  Conflating the two is a mistake. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, ZhenRen

          Occupy worked because people didn't go to a rally on Saturday afternoon and leave when the permit expired.

          It wasn't a protest.  It was Direct Action.

          "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:05:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, Ray Pensador, lostinamerica

            I see protests (but not all protests) as a form of direct action. I define direct action as an action initiated directly by the people, without intermediaries (which exists in electoral politics, and top down organizations).

            Direct action does not seek:

            1) Permission from the state

            2) Permission from Party officials

            3) Permission from any external authority or organizational hierarchy.

            Voltairine de Cleyre says this very well:

            Every person who ever thought he had a right to assert, and went boldly and asserted it, himself, or jointly with others that shared his convictions, was a direct actionist. Some thirty years ago I recall that the Salvation Army was vigorously practising direct action in the maintenance of the freedom of its members to speak, assemble, and pray. Over and over they were arrested, fined, and imprisoned; but they kept right on singing, praying, and marching, till they finally compelled their persecutors to let them alone. The Industrial Workers are now conducting the same fight, and have, in a number of cases, compelled the officials to let them alone by the same direct tactics.

            Every person who ever had a plan to do anything, and went and did it, or who laid his plan before others, and won their co-operation to do it with him, without going to external authorities to please do the thing for them, was a direct actionist. All co-operative experiments are essentially direct action.

            Every person who ever in his life had a difference with anyone to settle, and went straight to the other persons involved to settle it, either by a peaceable plan or otherwise, was a direct actionist. Examples of such action are strikes and boycotts; many persons will recall the action of the housewives of New York who boycotted the butchers, and lowered the price of meat; at the present moment a butter boycott seems looming up, as a direct reply to the price-makers for butter.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:23:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  A protest is direct action if the goal is to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZhenRen, WB Reeves

              secure the right to protest. If not then it's symbolic action. I think that symbolic action can be very useful but it isn't direct action.

              •  A protest is direct action (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ray Pensador, AoT, lostinamerica

                if it is directly initiated by the affected persons, with no intermediaries or permission from authority.

                But you're welcome to your own definition. Any differences we have are minor here.

                "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:31:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  A direct action is the opposite of a symbolic (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ZhenRen, Ray Pensador

                  action. It is an action meant to directly bring about the change sought. I think it's an important distinction because the term is increasingly used to mean any action that can be made to appear as being radical. I see a similar drift in regards to the term "Civil Disobedience" which is increasingly used to mean "An action where someone plans on getting arrested."

                  I know we're generally on the same page on these things, but this linguistic creep is part of the recuperation of effective protest tactics. I make an effort to dispute the drift because it's important that we have a way to discuss these things in a way that hasn't been retooled by the powers that be.

                  •  Okay (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT, Ray Pensador, lostinamerica

                    But I see this as a spectrum, ranging from mild to rather strong, and I laud anyone who does any act to stand up to power, regardless of what it is called.

                    For some individuals, standing on a street corner yelling is direct action, if they are breaking through years of conformity and restraint, disobeying the authoritarian voices in their heads.

                    I think de Cleyre nails this kind of free, unfettered behavior when she says, "Every person who ever in his life had a difference with anyone to settle, and went straight to the other persons involved to settle it, either by a peaceable plan or otherwise, was a direct actionist."

                    If the intent is standing up to power, it is always seeking change, or a person would not be doing it. The difference is that in so many events, the entire process is strictly dominated by a few elites, and they don't even bother asking the people they would lead for input, and this is rather weak and symbolic, and certainly not directly acted upon. Protestors are thus not in control, and simply following orders.

                    I was never big on getting bogged down in semantics... unless it is a serious breach of meaning. I do understand what you're getting at. My particular beef is with the historically wrong use of anarchist and libertarian by the right wing.

                    But if the word protest bothers you and Jesse, I will consider what you've said. Thanks for taking the time to explain your view.

                    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                    by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 02:03:32 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  More on Voltarine de Cleyre (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, Ray Pensador, lostinamerica

              For anyone interested:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:28:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I'll think about this Jesse (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ray Pensador

            I have a lot of respect for you, brother, and your perspective matters to me.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:13:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Protest is seeking to inform people who don't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        know there's a problem.

        Right now, the plan for change most are following seems to be

        1) Educate

        2)???????

        3) Restrain Capital, Protect Workers

        Now, I have no problem with 1) or 3).

        But 2) has only one answer, and it's fucking scary and hard to get people to risk.

        Direct Action.

        When 100 of us give up our Thanksgiving to go sit down and hold hands inside the fucking Wal-Mart blocking the registers and aisles, we'll start making a difference.

        "I read New republic and Nation/I've learned to take every view.." P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:04:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's the way to go. I'll be writing something (4+ / 0-)

      about it in my next diary.

    •  Decentralized, leaderless protests (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, lunachickie, AoT

      Wonderful! This is a potent, empowering approach.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:35:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  it will get worse (13+ / 0-)

    as more and more of our lives are tied to our virtual worlds, it will get easier and easier for govt's and people who wish us harm to destroy us and our reputations.  I mean spiking someones cloud files with some "illegal or disgusting" content will not be too difficult, then your brought to face charges, and that point it doesnt matter what a happens next, you have been discredited and labeled and smeared. Ruined.  All by simply someone or something conveniently dropping then spotting some digital files.

    •  I think that it's much more likely (9+ / 0-)

      that what doesn't happen to "undesirables" will be worse than what does happen. For every such person who finds themselves the target of a smear campaign, there will be ten or a hundred or thousand who will suddenly find it much harder to keep or get a good job or promotion or qualify for a loan and such, and they'll never quite know why. I think that the people and entities behind these surveillance activities have learned from the past and realize that stealth and silence are their best weapons. They're not going to risk exposure and censure by being blatant in how they retaliate against and otherwise try to undermine people they view as politically undesirable. They will do it quietly, slowly, subtly, to it'll be hard to see it coming or know what happened.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:24:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It'll be both (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, mkor7

        it doesn't have to be either/or, not really. You can still have the "public" smearing while the "private" one goes on behind the scenes.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 11:06:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I never said it wouldn't be both (0+ / 0-)

          But you can only smear so many people publicly before it becomes obvious what you're doing and create a mass backlash, at which point it loses its power to scare people into self-censoring and remaining passive. It's much easier to do the other thing to most people. It's much harder to see, object to, be bothered by and fight against what you can't see or point to. The most dangerous enemy is an invisible and silent enemy.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 01:25:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  BLOWBACK continues unabated (5+ / 0-)

    This began a generation ago during/following WWII, and there was always a partnership between the Natl Intel-Security State and US Big Corp, which has grown to make our Republic more of a ceremonial cover than the actual authority.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty~Ben Franklin

    by RWN on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:10:41 AM PST

  •  I'm sure that Ray Kelly's looking forward (10+ / 0-)

    to his post-NYC Police Commissioner career working for some prestigious "security" firm making seven, maybe eight figures, leveraging his inside knowledge and connections to help companies "enhance" their "security" apparatus. By firing him, de Blasio's doing him a huge favor.

    I think that one of the more pernicious effects of this trend is that a lot of otherwise highly qualified and talented people are going to find themselves unable to get jobs they should be able to get, and be forced to work at ones beneath their abilities, not because of a tough job market, but as punishment for their activism, as a warning to potential activists, and because companies fear that they'd spy on them if they hired them, a la Snowden (the latter fear is probably a real one, as some of these companies are doing some really nasty shit, including what this diary discusses, but also environmental destruction, illegal labor practices, product safety issues, fraud, etc.).

    The more that companies know, or can know, about a prospective or current employee, including their online and political activities, the easier it will be for them to fire or not hire them, or keep their career paths in check, and the more likely it will be that they do so. And there will be no easy way to know if and when this happens. It'll be the 21st century equivalent of redlining or hiring quotas, with little recorded officially that could be investigated (assuming government was interested in such investigation or the courts were willing to grant standing for discovery to potentially harmed parties, the courts being increasingly packed with either RW ideologies or neoliberal corporate proxies).

    Thing is, by refusing to hire, employ and promote people you view as politically undesirable, you're inevitably going to hurt your company, as smart, productive employees often tend to be libertarian and/or progressive, and these are the kinds of people who tend to engage in "politically undesirable" activities. By selecting and promoting only compliant and unquestioning human robots, you will inevitably degrade your own company's competitiveness over time.

    To succeed in business you have to hire the best people and take calculated risks, and this goes against that. So this will only end up hurting companies that engage in such weeding out of political undesirables, as other companies, not so paranoid and authoritarian, gain competitive advantages over them.

    The core problem of the fascist company or state is creeping incompetence and stagnation, rotting it from within. To seek to be too controlling is to undermine oneself over time. Of course, this takes years or decades to unfold, and is of little comfort to those caught within its grips. Waiting for reality to do its thing is not necessarily the best strategy, especially in such situations.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:18:48 AM PST

  •  Ray Pensdor you do great work (14+ / 0-)

    and I appreciate it very much.

    We have been spied upon and infiltrated and sabotaged. The labor spy has a long tradition in American capitalism and the same tactics are now used against any group that would change how business is practiced.

    “ To stop a union proponent—a pusher, in the anti-union lexicon—the [union] buster will go anywhere, not just to the lunch room, but into the bedroom if necessary. The buster not only is a terrorist; he is also a spy. My team and I routinely pried into workers' police records, personnel files, credit histories, medical records, and family lives in search of a weakness that we could use to discredit union activists. ”
    Martin Jay Levitt, 1993, Confessions of a Union Buster[22]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...
  •  so let me get this straight (3+ / 0-)


    corporations conduct espionage against non profit groups and hire people with intelligence credentials gained while they worked for government agencies such as the DoD and NSA... and that means - the government and for-profit corporations are 'colluding to bring down social justice agencies'?  There are those who are not necessarily within the NSA or have a stake in the NSA who would find the logic here mind-boggling.  Your logic is similar to the logic applied to a situation where a large number of men were military police while in the service and due to that experience, are hired for private security jobs when they get out of the service, and so therefore, the military is colluding with private companies to beef up private police forces to use against the citizenry.

    Maybe it's simpler than that: maybe people in public service as intelligence officers tend to go into intelligence work in the private sector when no longer employed by the government.

    And to use Wikileaks as an example of a 'social justice organization' is just ridiculous.  Wikileaks has, by its own admission, dumped huge amounts of classified government documents (not only of the USA but of foreign governments) into the public media, and broken not only domestic but international law.  To go from this extremely soft logic with heavy qualifiers such as "may lead to" and "might be found to be" - you leap to the huge conclusion that private companies and the government are targeting organizations on the political opposition in order to undermine them.

    Tell me, does this include organizations such as the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center?  name a group other than Wikileaks - a known extralegal organization involved in crimes against the government.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:14:01 AM PST

    •  Nice overt defense of the status quo. Now, let (9+ / 0-)

      me ask you something... Did you read the report?

      Also, are these practices okay with you: Illegal wiretaps; breaking and entry; dissemination of misinformation meant to malign discredit and render social justice groups or individuals powerless and ineffective; illegal surveillance on individuals, spouses, children, family members, and associates.

      All these activities are crimes and people committing those crimes should be charged, prosecuted, and if found guilty, imprisoned.  But since these folks have a foot in both worlds--the illegal corporate spying world, government, and national security--they have no incentive to investigate.

      Do you approve of these things...

      Finally, the attack on my "soft logic" and on WikiLeaks remind me of this:

      Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can ‘argue’ with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.
      You are taking a swipe at my logic (calling it soft).  Then you attack WikiLeaks, and try to use that attack (strawman) as a way to invalidate the entire issue.

      This is the only message I'm going to write to you in this thread since I don't get into the thread-jacking games.

       

      •  what i am asking you is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch


        what other 'social justice' organizations are supposedly identified as 'targets' other than the extra-legal (and admittedly extra-legal) Wikileaks?

        No, I didn't read the report.  Your quotes from it gave a high enough ping on the BS register to not interest me in looking further.

        "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

        by louisev on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:25:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  and with no jobs, keep doing intelligence & police (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, ZhenRen

      work

    •  the First Amendment (4+ / 0-)
      And to use Wikileaks as an example of a 'social justice organization' is just ridiculous.  Wikileaks has, by its own admission, dumped huge amounts of classified government documents (not only of the USA but of foreign governments) into the public media, and broken not only domestic but international law.
      vs
      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
      A publishing organization can't be charged with the crime of publishing anything.  If they stole the documents themselves, yes, but if they are provided with them they have the right to publish them whether you like it or not.

      To the NSA douchebag who is reading this: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

      by Indiana Bob on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 11:37:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wikileaks has broken no US law (6+ / 0-)

      And in fact have never been accused of such. To the contrary, the government has sworn up and down that they won't prosecute Assange despite reports of a grand jury.

  •  Plans of action are better than manifestos. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, serendipityisabitch

    Everyone wants to build a fire. No one wants to build a bridge.

    I am happy to support awareness and action campaigns like those against Pink Slime (victory) and Flush Rush which is a runaway success that will fell his sugar daddy broadcasters as well.

    What I will not support is handwringing using overly charged emotional tones, Godwins, fallacies, and anything that tells me that a person is more interested in feeling better about themselves than they are about accomplishing a goal. The world has enough armchair whatevers, thank you very much.

    •  Hey, you've been here over 2 years and have (6+ / 0-)

      only published one diary (which you then unpublished)?  Have you garnered any supporters?

      This post of yours kind of reminds me of this:

      Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent’s argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.
      And this:
      Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could so taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.
      It's kind of weird, isn't it?
    •  Yu have to point out the problem before (4+ / 0-)

      your can do anything about it. You seem to avoid taking a position on this specific problem and instead engage in ad hominems("arm chair whatevers") without addressing anythign of substance. I'm sure if he gave some suggested action you'd find some goal post to move to avoid talking about the issue as well.

      And if you do want action on this issue then I'd suggest you figure out an action to take instead of doing what you complain about others doing, which is just complaining.

      •  I will take the time to correct you... (0+ / 0-)

        Some people love speaking in loud bellicose tones that make themselves feel better, such as the diarist did. Those same people don't often engage in any meaningful action.

        I'm sure if he gave some suggested action you'd find some goal post to move to avoid talking about the issue as well.
        My goal posts have never changed. And everyone loves to shout "someone should do something!" Ok do something. Not a moved goalpost. It's the same goalpost I've always had, you just aren't honest enough to debate on honest terms. You prefer rhetoric over reason. You operate under the same fallacies and posturing that the other side engages in.
        And if you do want action on this issue then I'd suggest you figure out an action to take instead of doing what you complain about others doing, which is just complaining.
        When I want your suggestions, I'll solicit them.
        •  So then what are you doing other than complaining? (0+ / 0-)

          Or do you not realize you're guilty of the same thing you accuse the diarist of.

          And seriously, you're ignored the various attempts the diarists has made to organize people. Some complete flops, but some less so. Unless you think it only counts if is wildly successful, but I think you're more reasonable than that.

          And I've done plenty as well.

          That's why I accuse you of moved goal posts. Because the people you're talking about have bee doing something. It just doesn't count because you haven't seen it? Or because it isn't the specific action you haven't specified.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 06:01:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You accused me because you had no better argument (0+ / 0-)

            so you just decided to write a fantasy and apply it to me. You don't have the maturity to disagree in a structured way so you accuse me of many things and try to censor me, or rather get me to self-censor as if you have that kind of persuasion.

            It just doesn't count because you haven't seen it? Or because it isn't the specific action you haven't specified.
            None of what I just quoted has anything to do with what I've said. From now on, quote what I say directly since you obviously have a penchant for inventing positions I've not taken.

            My original post stands. Actions beat manifestos every time. You think Wal-Mart and corporations are writing diaries like the one above? No. They're enacting plans of action and they have it down to a science. And you'd better believe they salivate at people like the diarist, whose emotionally charged fallacies they can exploit endlessly.

            You don't believe your posts at this point. You just think falling on your sword for your hilariously wrong position is the same thing as integrity/strength.  It isn't.

            •  You did nothing but accuse (0+ / 0-)

              And then you get up on your horse and claim others are doing the same thing.

              None of what I just quoted has anything to do with what I've said. From now on, quote what I say directly since you obviously have a penchant for inventing positions I've not taken.
              That's funny, because I thought what you said was "Plans of action are better than manifestos." Which is why I brought up the fact that Ray has had plenty of plans of actions and you've had none. You have done nothing but talk shit. Unless you have some other account where you've written action diaries that you just don't want anyone to know about. You haven't addressed the actual issue I brought up, and instead use the same tired fucking anti-leftist bullshit that so many do.

              So then let me ask you again, what exactly is wrong with the actual plans of action that Ray has come up with that they don't meet your threshold of actually counting as a pan of action? I bet it's that you don't agree with them, not that they don't exist. But keep on pretending like he's never had a plan of action. Not like you, you have a clearly laid out pan of action right... uh.. right here? Oh, oops, nope, you just criticize. That sounds surprisingly like the criticism you're leveling against Ray. But change the subject again.

              Unless you know of a way to fix things without pointing out the problems. Which was the original point I made, that you chose not to address.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:47:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Fascism (10+ / 0-)

    When the corporations and government work together to keep you underfoot.

    Great diary.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:50:57 AM PST

  •  Well done, Ray n/t (4+ / 0-)

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:37:44 AM PST

  •  This is exactly why (7+ / 0-)

    Corporations are Persons now.

    We have got to move beyond "political parties" and all the divisions that we've had foisted on us and understand that the ONLY -ISM threatening the sovereignty of this nation starts with CORPORATE.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:55:15 AM PST

  •  RIP Judi Bari, treehugger (0+ / 0-)

    bombed by the FBI

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 06:48:42 PM PST

  •  RIP Bank of America, Isla Vista branch (0+ / 0-)

    burned by the FBI

    ...ransacked by a crowd manipulated by COINTELPRO/FBI agents, then fire bombed when the bank only smoked and smoldered because all there was was paper, metal, and brick..and the 25' high plywood roof...the FBI came back in the wee wee hours and finished it...with the active complicity of the state and county police and public administrations who aided, abetted, and let it burn.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 06:52:52 PM PST

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