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Certainly there's got to be a lot of thinking going on.  Human beings are the most versatile species to ever appear on planet Earth, and one of the foundations of our versatility as a species is our ability to perform acts of higher-order thinking.  So there's what, 7.2 billion of us right now?  That's a lot of thought.

One question that might inspire us to think further, however, is that of whether or not our thoughts are clear.  Are our thoughts organized in pursuit of worthy goals?  For a great period of time we thought they were.  In support of our hubris we were inspired by short texts such as the Marquis de Condorcet's "Sketch" -- it told the story of how human reason, despite the many barriers facing it, triumphed in the end and led us out of the dark ages of superstition into the pure light of reason.  

And that was the story for human civilization since the "Sketch" was published in 1794, because the concept of "progress" has since been hard-wired into the world-society we've built to promote it.  The problem, of course, is not merely limited to the barriers faced by reason in its pursuit of progress.  We've defeated monsters like Hitler, who are now in the dustbin of history.  Rather, the actual content promoted under the heading of reason and progress is now severely suspect.  I will pick one example to illustrate this point initially.  The international war machine, as it continually funds the proxy force for the transnational capitalist class into ever-continuing wars under the heading of "we can do no wrong," rests upon the rational pillar of an argument that world society is somehow threatened by a fictional "terrorism" that kills 1/390th of the people who die in traffic accidents each year.  And do any of the activities of this vast machine which occupies a good chunk of Africa at this point do anything besides encourage blowback?

Every once in awhile, however, one sees and hears attempts to break through the great wall of magical thinking which counts as what the Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci called "hegemony" while parading itself as the essence of reason while its patrons act as the public relations auxiliaries for what the elite powers-that-be regard as progress.  One such attempt is now up at Counterpunch -- it's titled "Capitalism and Climate Change" and it's written by Alyssa Rohricht.  Rohricht lays it on the line:

In this series, I will examine how the capitalist system has brought us to climate disaster, and why it cannot get us out of it.
So what's the fundamental problem with capitalism?  The author continues:
Yet reducing our consumptive habits is antithetical to the capitalist enterprise, which functions only if the economy is growing. We have created a world system where economic health is directly opposed to environmental health. Capitalism necessitates ever increasing resource use, while the natural capacities of the environment require a severe cutback in consumption.
Oh, but I know!  The problem is climate change deniers.  Right?  The problem can be solved by more "renewables and efficiency."  That way we'll just automatically "reduce carbon emissions."  We don't really need to change anything otherwise.  Magical thinking is da bomb y'know.

This last piece of magical thinking appears in full stripes, although sweetened a bit, in Tom Hayden's piece, "The Great Unifier: California Against Climate Change."  Hayden's thesis:

My dream is that California under Governor Jerry Brown's leadership will become a multi-cultural world-class economy powered entirely by renewable resources and energy conservation, and a model to which President Barack Obama can point during the critical global talks on climate change in December 2015.
The problem, of course, is that it's nice to have two drops in the bucket instead of one to show off to your world-ruling friends at the big conference, but what really needs to happen to mitigate climate change is an effort to shut down the oil and coal companies and to cease the production of fossil fuels altogether at some point while maintaining basic life necessity guarantees to ordinary people.  Fossil-fuel capital needs to be abolished, which ultimately means that all of capital needs to be controlled.

Meanwhile the state of California is weighed down by an immense financial commitment to a prison-industrial complex and a university system that exists largely to pay off the fat salaries of administrators while giving the students a University of California education which the US News and World Report can no longer recommend.

We can see how thoroughly Hayden's vision is compromised by his commitment to Governor Brown's vision:

He is going to increase the percentage of our electricity generated from renewables, now at 23 percent, to at least 33 percent by 2020.
Nice, but not climatologically meaningful.  The problem is that Hayden's language is that of "stimulus" and "New Deal," when the problem is that we really need a smaller economy with less throughput that, simply put, consumes less.  We need, in short, a revolution, to replace the regime in which "progress" meant more of what Schumpeter called "creative destruction" with a regime in which "progress" is measured by the perfection of the arts of ecological stewardship.  Ecological economy, instead of capitalist economy.

Now, it's easy to credit Hayden with good intentions.  He is, after all, in favor of the fossil fuel divestment movement and the anti-fracking movement, as am I.  But he seems to have missed the main virtue behind these movements -- they attack capital, which is the primary impediment to the art of ecological stewardship.  On the positive end of this, we need to emphasize that there are plenty of ways to "put people to work" that don't depend on capital -- let's stop kissing the feet of the hegemonic philosophers who insist that all reform go through the "private sector."

And to some extent Hayden recognizes that there is an economic barrier to the realization of his magical thinking; so for instance he says that "Every environmental organization will need to assure that communities of color are allocated a fair share of the resources for renewable energy and conservation programs."  But this is still a matter of two drops in the bucket making better PR than one.  Here's the nitty-gritty.

1) Let's say we want to replace all of the gas guzzlers.  First off, we'll have to make a bunch of new cars to replace the old ones; there's a fossil-fuel commitment for you.  Then there's the money-production angle for you.  You're going to pay people to make electric cars that don't run on fossil energy, so you can give them away.  You have to give them away.  People in California pay absurd rents and make paltry wages and can't afford new cars.  At any rate, the potential for fraud and corruption goes way up when you've got that going.  The same problem arises if you're going to give everyone a solar panel.  So you need a solution that is insured against fraud and corruption.  What you need to do is to create a communist infrastructure -- a commune of communes, or a cooperative of cooperatives, where all are insured against ripoff because all are granted power and responsibility.

2) You want a "progressive" solution.  Right?  Tom Hayden argues that "Since the nature of the unregulated market is to widen inequality, only progressive public policies will galvanize majority support for the full transition to a clean energy future."  But the point of "progressivism" in this era is to sell everyone on "realism" and corporate-friendly pseudo-solutions.  Did any of you see fellow marxist Slavoj Zizek's critique of Thomas Piketty?  Piketty, as you may recall, criticized capitalism for favoring the rich, and then turned around and recommended more capitalism, except this time with higher taxes on the rich.  At any rate, here's the core of Zizek's critique of Piketty:

This is another aspect of his utopianism, my claim is that if you imagine a world organization where the measure proposed by Piketty can effectively be enacted, then the problems are already solved. Then already you have a total political reorganization, you have a global power which effectively can control capital, we already won.
Zizek's reasoning applies just as firmly to Hayden and the other "capitalist reform" solutions to climate change as it does to Piketty here.  If you can imagine a world society that can successfully mitigate climate change, then in that society capital can be controlled, the revolution has been won, and why would we, triumphant over capital, stop with progressive reform?  If we had the power to enact progressive reform, we'd also have the power to do so much more -- why not phase out fossil fuels, end hunger and poverty, reduce crime to near zero, humanize education, end the military, and begin the ecological regime of proper environmental stewardship?  Wouldn't that count as "progress" too?

And I'm sure that I've been accused of magical thinking many times myself.  What's magical thinking is the notion that, when the rich folks have electric cars and the poor folks have a voucher for 2/5 of an electric car each, we're all spontaneously going to stop using fossil fuels because we want to be kewl.  What's magical thinking is the idea that we're going to solve the environment problem while dragging around the capitalist ball-and-chain into the indefinite future.  Alternative energy markets do not displace fossil energy markets spontaneously -- therefore we must push fossil fuel capital out of business through political action.  And this can only happen through a revolutionary change in our mode of governance -- from government as a handmaiden of capital to government as a conduit for public survival.  Everything else that poses as a solution is magical thinking.  Half-baked pseudo-solutions that serve as nice public relations are "realistic," but runaway climate change leading to a second Venus in orbit around the Sun is also a "realistic" outcome.

(also on at FDL)

Originally posted to Postcapitalism on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Changing the Scrip, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well here's the old reform vs revolution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    dichotomy. A false one in my opinion; predicated on the idea that reforms inhibit revolutionary developments.

    This can only be true if the posited reforms can, in fact, resolve the crisis they are intended to meet. You argue effectively that they can't. It follows from this that they cannot staunch the forces, social, political, economic or environmental, tending towards revolutionary transformation. Implementing such reforms, by your own analysis, could only result in demonstrating their inadequacy and the need for more radical measures.

    Given this, the question logically arises; what is the point of attacking such reforms and their proponents rather than those opposed to any modifications whatever to the existing Capitalist order?

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:40:59 AM PDT

    •  No, it's actually the top down v. bottom-up (6+ / 0-)

      dichotomy, and it's not false, since the reforms from the top down are public relations measures whereas bottom-up revolution intends to replace the old, collapsing order with a new, viable one.

      Given this, the question logically arises; what is the point of attacking such reforms and their proponents rather than those opposed to any modifications whatever to the existing Capitalist order?
      We already know that the global warming deniers are lying through their teeth, and for the most part they know it too. That whole discourse is kept alive through ExxonMobil money.  We also know that the Republicans suck -- every front-page article here screams it at maximum volume.  They babble whatever nonsense is necessary to keep themselves in money while attempting, however lamely, to play the role of "opposition" to the other capitalist party in power.

      As for Hayden and his friends, I've already answered your question here in the text of my diary with substantive reasoning.  To quote Yoda: "Hear you nothing that I say?"

      "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

      by Cassiodorus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:08:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Okay, I see no reason to get bent out of shape (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage

        over this. Just point out what I missed in your substantive reasoning as pertains to Tom Hayden.

        You might start with this:

        Tom Hayden argues that "Since the nature of the unregulated market is to widen inequality, only progressive public policies will galvanize majority support for the full transition to a clean energy future."  But the point of "progressivism" in this era is to sell everyone on "realism" and corporate-friendly pseudo-solutions.
        What's the "substantive reasoning" that determines that "the point of "progressivism" in this era is to sell everyone on "realism" and corporate-friendly pseudo-solutions."? For that matter, what is the "substantive reasoning" that demonstrates that Hayden either accepts or operates from your asserted definition?

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:23:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I critique Hayden (5+ / 0-)

          for the same reason Zizek critiques Piketty over in Europe.  The point is that even nice, moderate-sounding solutions to our problems (e.g. Piketty, Hayden) require a substantive change in the nature and identity of power, and that's the same revolution we'll need if we want to do a lot more nice things (a lot more than what the progressives have in mind) in support of the versatile beings of Earth, to make life (in the words of the comedian Bill Hicks) a "better ride":

          If the revolution is necessary, we should get a lot more out of it than that little that Hayden has said he wants.  

          But, yeah, Hayden may indeed (as I said above) have good intentions.  But the point of progressivism is to sell us on the corporate-friendly solutions because, absent any real, fundamental movement to change the nature and identity of power, we're going to see even Hayden's/ Jerry Brown's numbers continually watered down while special interests move in to snatch up money (a phenomenon Hayden fully recognizes) until the whole thing is in fact a sham.  

          They've done this in election after election -- sell us on "progressivism," promise us that the beneficent leaders will serve it all to us on a silver platter, and then drop the serious news on us during the election run-up that we'd better vote for the lesser of two evils because the Republicans are worse.  You'd have to be blind not to see this political pattern.

          "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

          by Cassiodorus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:59:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Frankly, the fact that you can make this argument (6+ / 0-)

        and have it be so clearly accurate:

        the reforms from the top down are public relations measures whereas bottom-up revolution intends to replace the old, collapsing order with a new, viable one.
        is the fault of both the Presidents, the people behind them and working for them, and a great many of the Congressmen and Senators who have been in power from 2000-the present.

        I remember when reforms enacted by Congressional law did create changes in society, even good ones. Not sufficient ones, and they didn't reverse the plutocratic drift of our society, but they did do good.

        Now we sit down at a table to compromise--and what the other side gets is the policies it wants. What we get are speeches we like.

        There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 05:42:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Reforms don't necessarily inhibit revolutions (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, Simplify, thanatokephaloides

      although they sometimes do, as FDR once said, with admirable intelligence and honesty:

      The great social phenomenon of this depression, unlike others before it, is that it has produced but a few of the disorderly manifestations that too often attend upon such times.

      Wild radicalism has made few converts, and the greatest tribute that I can pay to my countrymen is that in these days of crushing want there persists an orderly and hopeful spirit on the part of the millions of our people who have suffered so much. To fail to offer them a new chance is not only to betray their hopes but to misunderstand their patience.

      To meet by reaction that danger of radicalism is to invite disaster. Reaction is no barrier to the radical. It is a challenge, a provocation. The way to meet that danger is to offer a workable program of reconstruction, and the party to offer it is the party with clean hands.

      This, and this only, is a proper protection against blind reaction on the one hand and an improvised, hit-or-miss, irresponsible opportunism on the other.

      There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 05:36:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In other words, sometimes reforms (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        o76, linkage, thanatokephaloides

        not only can prevent revolution; sometimes, like FDR said, they are absolutely necessary to prevent revolution.

        That's assuming you want to prevent it. Much as I like FDR, I'm forced to conclude from 80 years down the pike, that the New Deal, which I love, was a mistake. It was a good-hearted, creative mistake with many admirable qualities, but it was a mistake.

        You can't make deals with this:

        in prior times I would have considered it completely irrational to identify the kings of business and finance with Sauron the Dark Lord, but they've convinced me otherwise.

        There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:00:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What inhibits revolution is not the reforms (5+ / 0-)

      but the ways in which the system wastes massive amounts of activists' and well-meaning people's energy, resources, and time, at a historical moment when the available energy and time are in terribly short supply.

      There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 05:38:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You make some excellent points (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage, Simplify, thanatokephaloides

        but none that really meets the fundamental reality: reforms cannot forestall a social revolution unless they are successful in addressing the systemic crisis. If they are inadequate to this task, they will succeed in doing nothing more than demonstrating that inadequacy.

        As for wasting time, energy and resources at the "historic moment", this presumes that one can discern the "historic moment" on a social scale by some means other than the manifest failure of the system via the failure of reform. What would that means be?

        Social revolutions cannot be willed into being by some putatively "enlightened minority". They can only come about through the conscious self mobilization of a broad mass of society. That requires a process of democratic political education through material experience. Struggles for reform have historically been intrinsic to this process. All attempts at short cutting this process have proved failures in the long run.

        I'm having trouble following your argument vis a vis the New Deal. It sounds as though you're arguing that without the New Deal we wouldn't have experienced a 30 plus year drive to dismantle it. No doubt that's true but it's hardly evidence that the New Deal was a mistake. More likely the mistake lies in the failure to effectively defend and build upon that foundation.    

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:45:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think this is what FDR was trying to say: (3+ / 0-)
          : reforms cannot forestall a social revolution unless they are successful in addressing the systemic crisis.

          There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:07:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Demonstrating inadequacy doesn't (3+ / 0-)

          automatically equal fomenting revolution, or making it inevitable.

          Revolutions don't just happen; riots can just happen, but not revolutions. They require work, planning, effort. Inadequate reforms can result just as easily in exhausting and discouraging people as anything else. Or they can teach and train people to accept crumbs rather than substantive change.

          "historic moment" is not what I meant, not in the sense of Ooh this is a really important historic moment. I just meant this moment, right now, in history. Nothing more. I wasn't talking about being able to identify some special moment.
          What I was talking about is that right now, largely because of climate change, we have a lot less time than we ever have. And right now, because of many many factors, we have a lot more exhausted and discouraged people than we have for a long time. Long, grinding struggles for crumbs of reform or, more likely, watering down damage caused by bad legislation so it's not as bad, is going to use up the meagre energy and limited time we've got. Hell, I already regret spending the nineties trying to convince capitalists that they should go green. I wasted over 10 years trying to convince them that Amory Lovins and Van Jones were right, and all the while, Big Business wasn't even negotiating in good faith.

          There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:16:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you spent 10 years trying to convince (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            linkage, thanatokephaloides

            capitalists to behave themselves, I can understand if you feel burned out. Better to have spent that time convincing the general public to demand they go green.

            You're right that there is nothing inevitable about revolution, which is why it can't be willed into being or sparked by some audacious minority. It won't happen without a broad social base for it and there really isn't any substitute for building one from the ground up.

            I don't know how long you've been at activism but this is hardly the lowest point I've seen in my lifetime.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:38:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's what lobbying the government (0+ / 0-)

              is:  trying to convince capitalists to behave themselves.

              It's also, at this point, more or less what passing laws is.

              As far as "convincing the general public to buy green," do you have a multi-million dollar media corporation you could loan me? If not, how exactly do you expect that "convincing" to take place?

              In fact, movements do exist who have limited access to the MSM who have been pursuing exactly this course (trying to convince consumers to "buy green") in tandem with the attempt to "convince capitalists to behave themselves." Both those efforts have been pursued extensively through the 80s, 90s and even into this century. Lots of work been done there, to little avail. As Archie Goodwin once said, we're short on avail.

              That could be because we don't have a multi-million dollar corporate media structure to do the work with, or it could be that changing people's individual buying patterns is inadequate to the task. Or it could be because if you don't make it convenient for people to buy green, they won't, which means you need a change in infrastructure, which costs money. I'm guessing it's all three.

              There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:29:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is a new twist for me (0+ / 0-)

                I've never heard of the coercive power of the State and Law being equated with persuasion. At least not outside the doublethink of totalitarian regimes.

                Did you actually mean to say that?

                I'm not suggesting that building a mass movement for radical change isn't a massive challenge. I am saying that there really isn't any alternative. So we can either put our hands in our pockets and kibitz, or we can roll up our sleeves and get to it. Without guarantees.

                Kind of like life itself.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:01:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What I'm trying to say (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  WB Reeves

                  is that this has already been done for the past 25 years. Actually the past 35.

                  The "roll up your sleeves and get to it" mantra ignores history and pretends that we're not repeating what we just did that didn't get us where we wanted to go.

                  Sort of like the calls to "reform the Democratic party and make it move left."

                  There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

                  by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 10:12:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well it's clear that we have different readings (0+ / 0-)

                    of history regarding the last twenty five years. I haven't seen all that much in the way of serious movement building, which isn't the same thing as reforming the Democratic Party. The latter would have to be an outcome of the former, not vice versa.

                    Nothing human is alien to me.

                    by WB Reeves on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 12:23:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  What I'm saying about the New Deal (5+ / 0-)

          is that I love it but it's now pretty clear that the right course wasn't preserving capitalism, because capitalism is well on its way to getting us all killed.

          There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:18:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think that it was the New Deal that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            linkage, thanatokephaloides

            preserved capitalism. WWII and the Marshal Plan had far more to do with it, IMO.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:41:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  All right, Keynesianism then. (0+ / 0-)

              If you want to claim that the government spending on WWII and the Marshal plan wasn't "spending" somehow, be my guest--it seems to be the favorite refuge of people who want to attack the New Deal from the right.

              There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:21:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Excuse me, that's not the point at all. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SouthernLiberalinMD

                Yes, spending is spending but what you're spending on does matter.

                The New Deal had fundamentally different priorities and much lower outlays than the aggregate of WWII and the Marshall Plan. Which suggests that, had the New Deal been pursued with same vigor and commitment, it would likely have been a complete success, without saddling us with a military/industrial complex and a warfare State.

                The point is that the New Deal wasn't an unqualified success and it is impossible to know what would have been the outcome absent the outbreak of WWII. It follows that we cannot lay the blame for the effects of a militarized state and the consequent rise of oligarchy at its door.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 01:19:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Hi Cass, great diary (3+ / 0-)

    and yeah, let's get rid of the old ball and chain!

  •  and we also know that if we.... (3+ / 0-)

    ... push really hard from the left, we can move the national dialogue, in the same manner as the extreme right pushed really hard from the right and moved the national dialogue for the past three decades.

    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

    by G2geek on Fri May 30, 2014 at 01:47:44 PM PDT

    •  I see a lot of people here -- (4+ / 0-)

      pretending that they're "push(ing) really hard from the left" without having any effect at all upon the electoral process.

      Remember that DailyKos.com is designed, in an important way, to make the left pointless -- Kos has banned serious conversation about third party candidates, and so you are supposed to vote for the Democrat regardless of who that Democrat happens to be.  Thus you have diaries such as this one -- which argues let's invent silly excuses to leave Andrew Cuomo alone, all the while pretending that it's for "more and better Democrats."  DailyKos.com is founded upon magical thinking.

      "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

      by Cassiodorus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 03:37:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the link (3+ / 0-)

        but I don't see anything in the diary that argues for leaving Andrew Cuomo alone. Quite the opposite in fact.

        It does seem predicated on the belief that Cuomo can't be effectively challenged for re-election though, if that's what you mean.

        Hasn't Kos been publishing diaries critical of Cuomo?

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Fri May 30, 2014 at 04:26:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wake me up -- (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          linkage, thanatokephaloides
          Quite the opposite in fact.
          when Kos allows us to write diaries advocating for Howie Hawkins.  Then we'll talk about not leaving Cuomo alone.

          "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

          by Cassiodorus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:21:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If your standard is the advocacy of third party (3+ / 0-)

            candidates, sure. Of course, that's an impossible standard to meet on a site that is and always has been dedicated to working within the Democratic Party.

            That you may categorically reject the possibility of a challenge from the Left within the Democratic Party doesn't make it so. It just makes it your opinion. It certainly doesn't entitle you to characterize an argument for forcing Cuomo to dump his preferred pick for Lt. Governor as an argument for "leaving him alone".

            This is another ancient debate on the Left; whether or not to work within the existing party structures. I'm sure we won't resolve it here.

             

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Fri May 30, 2014 at 07:18:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  . (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              linkage, thanatokephaloides
              That you may categorically reject the possibility of a challenge from the Left within the Democratic Party
              Is someone running against Cuomo from within the Democratic Party?  It's not like I can "categorically reject" something that isn't there.

              "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

              by Cassiodorus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:18:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Cass, you're intentionally ignoring the actual (3+ / 0-)

                substance. Forcing Cuomo to dump his pick for Lt. Gov. is not "leaving him alone."

                Conflating this with an entirely separate point doesn't alter the fact.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Fri May 30, 2014 at 08:29:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  . (3+ / 0-)

                  If you still want to "work with the Democratic Party " by Markos's standards, you're still voting for Cuomo.  Remind me again on how powerful a Lieutenant Governor is?

                  "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

                  by Cassiodorus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:28:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well I'm not a New Yorker (3+ / 0-)

                    so I won't be voting  for Cuomo in any event.

                    I've two questions for you. Do you actually believe that the Green Party candidate can be elected? If not, are you prepared to tell New Yorkers that they'd be better off under a Republican Governor?

                    Oh and one more; do you live in New York?  

                    Nothing human is alien to me.

                    by WB Reeves on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:54:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Voting is not all there is to politics. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      linkage, thanatokephaloides

                      Especially when the absence of a movement to improve things grants the voter two choices:

                      Democrats: we're doomed.
                      Republicans: we're doomed.

                      Pick!  And quickly -- we haven't got time.

                      The candidates, however, can support movements to improve things -- and I would judge each candidate by her or his support for such a movement.

                      Let's go back to my question again: is anyone in the Democratic Party actually opposing Cuomo from the left, outside of this little Catholic schoolboy gesture of proposing to elect a Lieutenant Governor who claims not to like him?

                      "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

                      by Cassiodorus on Fri May 30, 2014 at 10:12:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You didn't really answer any of my questions. (3+ / 0-)

                        So I'm not certain why you'd think I'd be obliged to answer yours. I'll leave that aside, though I doubt you'll accept my answers.

                        First off, you are again conflating two separate questions. The point regarding the Lt. Governor was that the diary you linked to advocated forcing Cuomo to dump his preferred choice. Whatever else may be said about this, it is simply not accurate to describe this as leaving Cuomo alone.

                        Regarding the second point. I addressed the issue of a Left challenge within the Democratic Party as a general strategic perspective, not as part some jerry-rigged analysis of NY State politics. That construction is entirely your own creation for your own purposes.

                        I don't pretend to any expertise in the politics in the empire state. I don't claim to know things I do not know. So I'm not competent to judge what prospects, if any, there were for a Left challenge to Cuomo.

                        This is one reason why I asked if you thought the Green Party candidate actually had a chance. Since you touted his candidacy, it seems reasonable to assume you have some idea. It's also a reason why I asked if you lived in NY. These are questions you've chosen not to answer.

                        At the end of the day, none of this is really pertinent. Your characterization of the diary was inaccurate on it's face. The strategic perspective of working within the Democratic Party doesn't stand or fall on a single Governor's race. Not even in NY.

                        All that said, I think any candidate's attitude towards popular movements for change is a valid criteria. It's importance, relative to other criteria, is something only that candidate's constituents are competent to determine.

                         

                        Nothing human is alien to me.

                        by WB Reeves on Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:55:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Got any more goalposts you'd like to move? (nmi) (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          SamanthaCarter

                          "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

                          by Cassiodorus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:57:24 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You're projecting Cass, you couldn't point to (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gramofsam1

                            where I moved a goal post if you tried. Which you didn't bother to do since you couldn't.

                            Nothing human is alien to me.

                            by WB Reeves on Sat May 31, 2014 at 09:05:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Let's see. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SamanthaCarter

                            You started with the assertion that electing a Lieutenant Governor who claimed he didn't like Andrew Cuomo was somehow "putting pressure" upon Cuomo when the strategy was coming from people who were going to vote for Cuomo anyway.  Then I was said to have "categorically reject(ed) the possibility of a challenge from the Left within the Democratic Party" when such challenge didn't really exist.  Then you wanted to know if the main third party candidate was "electable" when that wasn't the point of voting for him in the first place and when you dodged my question about the actual power of New York's Lieutenant Governor.  Is there a point to this?

                            As far as I can tell, the whole point of you being political is so that you can fortify your own self-image while revealing through goalpost-shifting that the rest of us just don't measure up to that self-image of yours you've erected.  Done anything important lately?  Joined any movements lately?  Written any powerful diaries lately?  Any of that would be far more important than this pointless "dialogue" you've engaged in the comments section of my diary.

                            "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

                            by Cassiodorus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 10:31:05 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'll give you points for imagination and ingenuity (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gramofsam1

                            if not accuracy.

                            Here's what I actually started with:

                            Thanks for the link (2+ / 0-)

                            but I don't see anything in the diary that argues for leaving Andrew Cuomo alone. Quite the opposite in fact.

                            It does seem predicated on the belief that Cuomo can't be effectively challenged for re-election though, if that's what you mean.

                            Hasn't Kos been publishing diaries critical of Cuomo?

                            Please point to where in this you see:
                            the assertion that electing a Lieutenant Governor who claimed he didn't like Andrew Cuomo was somehow "putting pressure" upon Cuomo when the strategy was coming from people who were going to vote for Cuomo anyway.
                            It isn't there. The only "assertion" contained in my comment was actually an observation. To whit: the diary was not arguing for leaving Cuomo alone and your characterization was simply wrong, just as your claims regarding my initial comment are equally inaccurate.
                            Then I was said to have "categorically reject(ed) the possibility of a challenge from the Left within the Democratic Party" when such challenge didn't really exist.
                            Again, no. You explicitly raised third party advocacy as  your standard:
                            Wake me up -- (2+ / 0-)

                                (snip)

                            when Kos allows us to write diaries advocating for Howie Hawkins.  Then we'll talk about not leaving Cuomo alone.

                            Are you now disowning this?

                            My reply:

                            If your standard is the advocacy of third party (2+ / 0-)

                            candidates, sure. Of course, that's an impossible standard to meet on a site that is and always has been dedicated to working within the Democratic Party.

                            That you may categorically reject the possibility of a challenge from the Left within the Democratic Party doesn't make it so. It just makes it your opinion. It certainly doesn't entitle you to characterize an argument for forcing Cuomo to dump his preferred pick for Lt. Governor as an argument for "leaving him alone".

                            Note the bolded qualifier. That indicates a supposition rather than a positive assertion. It invited correction if in error but it was an entirely reasonable supposition, given your clear declaration that nothing less than third party advocacy would satisfy you as a challenge from the Left. So did you challenge this supposition at the time? Not really. This is what you said:

                             

                            That you may categorically reject the possibility of a challenge from the Left within the Democratic Party
                            Is someone running against Cuomo from within the Democratic Party?  It's not like I can "categorically reject" something that isn't there.      
                            I suppose you could quibble over whether there is any meaningful distinction between denying that there was any challenge from the Left within the Democratic Party and denying that it is a possibility but given that your stated standard for such a challenge is advocacy of a third party candidate, it is a distinction without a difference.

                            Moreover, you could have stated explicitly that you didn't reject the possibility of building a Left challenge within the Democratic Party but you chose not to. Why is that?

                            All of this amounts to nothing more than a labored diversion from my criticism of an inaccuracy on your part.

                            I don't know why you feel compelled to engage in this kind of revisionist obfuscation and I wont speculate. I'll only observe that doing so undermines your credibility, which is unfortunate, since you clearly have valuable contributions to make.    

                             

                            Nothing human is alien to me.

                            by WB Reeves on Sat May 31, 2014 at 12:14:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Well, and in fact, (4+ / 0-)

        we are a shadow (heh) of our former selves.

        Even in the darkest Bush days, we debated about which Democrats to support and which to abandon, or even challenge, based on policy. When's the last time you heard a discussion like that on here, rather than another rundown of somebody's poll numbers, or electability, or inevitability.

        There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:02:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also, something really ugly has happened (3+ / 0-)

        we have, by degrees, been pushed to a place where we've nearly admitted that we can never expect to get the policies we want, and that we should instead be grateful that we're not being punched as hard as we might be.

        So we do political work, not to realize our goals, but because if we work really really hard we might get people above us who pull their punches a little bit rather than beating us senseless.

        There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 06:05:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not exactly sure (3+ / 0-)

    that economics vs ecology is quite the right frame, yet at the same time capitalism's desire to maximize its profits--hell, its need to do so--is obviously in opposition to survival. I think that would be true even without climate change because capitalism is a machine that requires infinite resources put into it and the only place it has to get those resources is from a necessarily finite planet. That doesn't, in the long run, add up to survival. The "villain" in this Star Trek episode is, I think a good metaphorical rendering of capitalism:

    yet at the same time, economics vs ecology is the frame of the capitalists, especially the disaster capitalists.

    whereas the more sensible way of looking at it, from my point of view, is that economics might not be separable (strictly speaking) from ecology, and, in any case, what is good for one is often good for the other.

    There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 05:33:56 PM PDT

  •  Now this is brilliant and about halfway in (3+ / 0-)

    the same rapper plays the CEO of Verizon, a federal judge, and the head of the FCC. It's one of the clearest depictions of what capitalism looks like right now that I've ever seen:

    There is no way for a citizen of a Republic to abdicate his responsibilities. ---Edward R. Murrow

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 30, 2014 at 05:54:38 PM PDT

  •  Exponential growth of capital in "Limits to Growth (3+ / 0-)

    was about the industrial capital of factories and machines that we could use to make the things that kept our civilization going. This one is not as obvious to me as the others: exponential growth in world population, pollution, food production, and resource depletion all have pretty clear limits to growth. Industrial capital then was considered to be the actual means of production. It seems to have been perverted to mean only the money now.

    I've got a pretty good hammer that my grandfather used a hundred years ago. With a few new handles it might last a thousand more, maybe longer. When capital become money instead of tools it went from making things that last to making sure they don't last. How the hell would they ever sell me another hammer?

  •  Disturbing implications (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whimsical

    based on your claims of "what's magical thinking".

    By your standard, it's magical thinking to believe that a young man (under 30, say) can get his threescore and ten, or that he can have any children at all. it's magical thinking that 90% of the human race doesn't have to die childless, or die within the next few decades.

    That's where abolishing fossil fuel consumption gets us. The conservatives fear that there simply is no way to provide any kind of living for our population with entirely renewable resources and energy; we will find that no technology will allow it.

    For the record, I will prefer to believe that hope is still possible. That there is a path to life for all.

    The debate rages on.

    •  What is your ideal long-range energy plan? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides

      You've given voice to conservatives' "fear," and you've claimed you are for hope and a path to life. Is dependence on coal part of your hope and path to life? I don't think the atmosphere can afford that.

      I also don't think it's natural gas. The extraction process is leaky and environmentally-destructive, so it winds up being very bad for the atmosphere too, as well as imposing risks to groundwater. Thus, I think that natural gas as an energy source is foolish in the long run. Moreover, beyond the environment, natural gas will be needed for hydrogen in the Haber-Bosch process to make nitrogen fertilizer for the 9 billion people that will be on the planet. Even if we get the population under control and people convert to predominately vegetarian diets, as much as I am an avid supporter of organic food production I think we should save the natural gas for food production rather than burning through it in 50-100 years to cool our houses.

      That leaves nuclear power. I don't like this alternative. Dangerous stuff. But, probably unavoidable to use it to some degree. But it is finite too. So it lasts for a couple hundred years, what then?

      It's back to the need to be responsible and rely on renewable energy as much as possible while providing for everyone's basic needs. Whether or not conservatives fear this, it is the truth. Humans have to adapt to the truth sooner or later, and I hope it's sooner.

      garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

      by Galtisalie on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:34:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The energy problem will solve itself (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Galtisalie, thanatokephaloides

        when the capitalism problem is adequately addressed.

        "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

        by Cassiodorus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:54:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  energy problem (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Galtisalie, NoMoreLies
          The energy problem will solve itself when the capitalism problem is adequately addressed.
          That's true. Why?

          Because unlimited population growth is capitalism's ugliest downside, the ultimate Ponzi scheme.

          Once we can break humankind's addictions to overpopulation and war, we can tailor our baby-making habits to a world in which we really can expect to raise them all. And then we'll be sufficiently small in number that renewable resources will be more than sufficient to meet our needs.

          Our choices are two: do we do it voluntarily while we still can, or do we wait, trusting in some people's blind beLIEfs that everything will somehow work out OK on their own, until genuine reality bites us hard and we are forced to do it?

          "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

          by thanatokephaloides on Sat May 31, 2014 at 11:26:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We can manufacture enough energy for people. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thanatokephaloides, Galtisalie

            The energy appetite of capital, on the other hand, is boundless.  This is why capital will never allow us to shut down the oil fields and coal mines.

            "What used to pass for education now looks more like ignoration/ Take the people's money and slip it to the corporation" -- Bruce Cockburn

            by Cassiodorus on Sat May 31, 2014 at 01:46:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  By the way, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thanatokephaloides, lehman scott

        I left off oil. I don't think conventional supplies, which have already peaked, will be around to stimulate the world capitalist economy much longer. Reliance on non-conventional oil sources will signal a total disaster for the atmosphere and humanity. We could theoretically extract X amount of oil from beneath the Artic Circle, but what kind of world would be left?

        I also am largely against biofuels. Putting aside the environmental costs, we cannot in the long run be using humanity's limited arable land, ever more threatened by climate change, to grow fuel. People need that land to produce food.

        garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

        by Galtisalie on Sat May 31, 2014 at 08:57:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Very helpful diary and comment thread. (4+ / 0-)

    There was insight into reform and revolution, and their relationship, and the limitations of reform. There wasn't a clear discussion of the means to "system change." Talk of revolution is not the same as revolting, and supporting third party national and subnational candidates, even the rare winning ones, will not alone change the system. I'm on the left wing of the possible, but I want to dramatically change the definition of what's possible. Gramscian cultural hegemony insisting on pre-Global disaster system change will not arise spontaneously. We have to bring about a worldwide system change soon, not wait another 50 years of dithering. But how do we actually DO this?

    There are IMHO four fronts we should focus our limited revolutionary energy and ability on. I list them here not in any priority order, and as individuals we should deploy where and how we can do the most good. On some level, we should all be engaged on all four fronts. (I will below give a link to a diary where I discussed how we each need to become "cat herders," which is symbolic of the difficulty of the challenge to each of us.) They are all important. We need to know our rights and our fights:

    1. National and subnational elective branches: In terms of elective office, in general elections, I support the leftmost candidate who can win, which will usually be a Dem, except for a jurisdiction like Seattle where a race can sometimes be won by a third party left candidate. I support the most leftward Dem primary candidates, who often lose but carry a progressive message, if not a socialist one, but I never don't vote, and I never vote for a third party candidate who will take votes away from a Dem in a potentially winnable race. I don't want another W elected president, etc.

    2. National and subnational judicial branch:  I don't want Republicans appointing judges. I want the national and subnational constitutions interpreted in the most leftward way.

    Fronts 1 and 2 are frustrating and, because they are the very political system capitalists designed to retain power, will only produce limited at best system change. As Neibuhr said, they are inadequate to bring justice because they are not sufficiently coercive of the powerful. But we should never abdicate power here. Things can actually get worse by doing so, and some incremental improvements are possible. We have to control the branches of national and subnational government as much as possible.
    3. Grassroots: Mutual aid, sustainable stewardship, and ultimate wresting of control, of the land, resources, and means of production from the capitalists. Means for wresting control include direct action such as general strikes, workplace occupations, and labor organizing and stoppages. Forced changes to laws and constitutions from below may also result.

    4. Global deep democracy: No institution of global deep democracy exists. The people of the world have to create one. The nation states can no longer receive our allegiance.  We must become in solidarity with the other workers of the world, not just those within our tribe or nation state. Lest this be an amorphous front, in the below linked diary I identify a particular UN committee where we should be agitating for our economic and other rights. Pointing out the committee's nation state-imposed weaknesses and limitations can become part of a worldwide dialectic to create the global deep democracy we need as peacefully as possible.

    garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

    by Galtisalie on Sat May 31, 2014 at 07:44:32 AM PDT

    •  Here's the link to the diary I was referencing. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides, lehman scott

      At the end of the diary is a diagram of the "four fronts." The diary also identifies and discusses the UN committee I think we should focus on.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      If you can make it past the cat-herding talk, you will hopefully obtain some valuable information. And perhaps you will get something out of the cat-herding talk too.

      garden variety democratic socialist: accepting life's complexity|striving for global stewardship of our soil and other resources to meet everyone's basic needs|being a friend to the weak

      by Galtisalie on Sat May 31, 2014 at 07:53:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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