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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Dismal Science: #Occupy And Economic Alternatives To Capitalism

Gilded Age

This interview of Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy, by Richard Wolff at Truthout, Economic Alternatives To Capitalism is worth a read/listen.

Discussed are, of course, alternatives to free-market capitalism with its usual considerations of the ownership of capital, and some important points about ideological rigidity against anything that smacks of "socialism," and how new, yes, "socialist" arrangements are popping up organically in this country under pressure of the failures that our current brand of market worship is bringing us.

There are some good points in there about how to talk about these things in the face of the very effective propaganda that has equivalenced "socialism" with "Stalinism" in the American mind. The inference I got was that these "ways of talking about it" are crucial, in the interviewer's and author's minds, to adopting these alternate systems.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Living Religion X: Benefficiency And The Blinking Red Self-Bullshitting Meter

The Botany of Desire

(I'm pleased to include this essay in my much-neglected Living Religion series, last entry having been made nearly 5 years ago.)

How (and why) I judge myself is an excellent and precious marker on how (and why) I judge all of you people.

I feel guilty because I don't have a job right now. I'm a "looter" - not on society in general because I live in Arizona and it will be a cold day in, well, Arizona before this state gives up any benefits to the likes of me. I'm a looter of my family, at the moment.

Intellectually, I know this is a wrong feeling. I know this because whenever I imbibe huge amounts of psychedelics and cocoon into my isolation tank and wake up naked and smeared with blood next to the steaming carcass of a zoo animal...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Earthworm's Portion Of Fate: Love, Work, And Dissent

Occupy Hazmat

Excerpted from a must-read piece by Phil Rockstroh at Common Dreams, Love, Work, and Dissent in a Time of Hazmat Suits and Political Hypochondria:
Mortified by [individuals engaged in the messiness of life], authoritarian personality types are obsessed with the fantasy of scouring (a panopticon/predator drone mode of mind) life of all disorder. Not only making the trains run on time but demanding that the passengers on said trains psyches be cleansed of impure thoughts…sanitized for their protection, then covered in a sort of societal prophylactic plastic to safeguard the principles of societal propriety--in short, have the populace rendered Body Bag People....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chris Hedges Responds To Curious Critic J.A. Myerson

Oakland Violence
Image from Washington Post's blog Post

J.A. Myerson, at truthout, gives Chris Hedges a call and asks some provocative questions regarding his criticism of the Black Bloc.

Two things I take away from this. One, is that Mr. Hedges is an emotionally committed pacifist who dares not call himself one (excerpts):
Myerson: seems like part of your objection to black bloc tactics is less strategic-tactical than almost spiritual.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spring Is Near, And Let's Talk About #Occupy Violence

Oakland Violence
Image from Washington Post's blog Post

[Update: Morocco Bama at Ian's place provides a link to a clarifying talk by Harsha Walia on YouTube (1 of 3, all of which are embedded below, after the break).]

In the wake of Chris Hedges' controversial take-down (The Cancer in Occupy) of the Black Bloc "anarchist" phenomenon (why I use scare quotes), I've been engaged in conversation at blogs somewhat more popular than this one (apologies to TBogg, "a somewhat popular blogger").

I am generally come-down on the side of non-violence.

The Hedges piece referenced above is a pretty visceral take-down of the BB "anarchists":
The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state...