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A Master Class in Occupation

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Posted on Oct 31, 2011
Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

NEW YORK CITY—Jon Friesen, 27, tall and lanky with a long, dirty-blond ponytail, a purple scarf and an old green fleece, is sitting on concrete at the edge of Zuccotti Park leading a coordination meeting, a gathering that takes place every morning with representatives of each of Occupy Wall Street’s roughly 40 working groups.

“Our conversation is about what it means to be a movement and what it means to be an organization,” he says to the circle. A heated discussion follows, including a debate over whether the movement should make specific demands.

I find him afterward on a low stone wall surrounding a flowerbed in the park. He decided to come to New York City, he said, from the West Coast for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. He found a ride on Craig’s List while staying at his brother’s home in Champaign, Ill.

“It was a television event when I was 17,” he says of the 2001 attacks. “I came here for the 10-year anniversary. I wanted to make it real to myself. I’d never been to New York. I’d never been to the East Coast.”

Once he reached New York City he connected with local street people to find “assets.” He slept in the parks and on the street. He arrived on the first day of the occupation in Zuccotti Park. He found other “traveler types” whose survival skills and political consciousness were as developed as his own.

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In those first few days, he says, “it was the radicals and the self-identifying anarchists” who set up the encampment. Those who would come later, usually people with little experience in dumpster diving, sleeping on concrete or depending on a McDonald’s restroom, would turn to revolutionists like Friesen for survival. Zuccotti Park, like most Occupied sites, schooled the uninitiated.

“The structure and process carried out by those initial radicals,” he says with delight of the first days in the park, now have “a wide appeal.”

The Occupy movements that have swept across the country fuse the elements vital for revolt. They draw groups of veteran revolutionists whose isolated struggles, whether in the form of squatter communities or acts of defiance such as the tree-sit in Berkeley to save an oak grove on the University of California campus that ran from Dec. 2, 2006, to Sept. 9, 2008, are often unheeded by the wider culture. The Occupy movements were nurtured in small, dissident enclaves in New York, Oakland, Chicago, Denver, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Bands of revolutionists in these cities severed themselves from the mainstream, joined with other marginalized communities and mastered the physical techniques of surviving on the streets and in jails.

“It’s about paying attention to exactly what you need, and figuring out where I can get food and water, what time do the parks close, where I can get a shower,” Friesen says.

Friesen grew up in an apolitical middle-class home in Fullerton in Southern California’s Orange County, where systems of power were obeyed and rarely questioned. His window into political consciousness began inauspiciously enough as a teenager, with the Beatles, The Doors, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He found in the older music “a creative energy” and “authenticity” that he did not hear often in contemporary culture. He finished high school and got a job in a LensCrafter lab and “experienced what it’s like to slave away trying to make glasses in an hour.” He worked at a few other 9-to-5 jobs but found them “restrictive and unfulfilling.” And then he started to drift, working his way up to Berkeley, where he lived in a squatter encampment behind the UC Berkeley football stadium. He used the campus gym to take showers. By the time he reached Berkeley he had left mainstream society. He has lived outside the formal economy since 2005, the last year he filed income taxes. He was involved in the tree-sit protest and took part in the occupations of university buildings and demonstration outside the Berkeley chancellor’s campus residence to protest fee hikes and budget cuts, activities that saw him arrested and jailed. He spent time with the Navajos on Black Mesa in Arizona and two months with the Zapatistas in Mexico. 

“What I saw in the Zapatistas was a people pushed to the brink of extinction and forgetting,” he says. “Their phrases ring true: Liberty! Dignity! Democracy! Everything for Everyone! Nothing for Ourselves! The masks the Zapatistas wear check egos. People should be united in their facelessness. This prevents cults of personality.”

“I have no interest in participating in the traditional political process,” he says. “It’s bureaucratic. It’s vertical. It’s exclusive. It’s ruled by money. It’s cumbersome. This is cumbersome too, what we’re doing here, but the principles that I’m pushing and that many people are pushing to uphold here are in direct opposition to the existing structure. This is a counterpoint. This is an acknowledgement of all those things that we hate, or that I hate, which are closed and exclusive. It is about defying status and power, certification and legitimacy, institutional validation to participate. This process has infected our consciousness as far as people being allowed [to participate] or even being given credibility. The wider society creates a situation where people are excluded, people feel like they’re not worth anything. They’re not accepted. The principles here are horizontal in terms of decision-making, transparency, openness, inclusiveness, accessibility. There are people doing sign language at the general assembly now. There are clusters of deaf people that come together and do sign language together. This is an example of the inclusive nature that we want to create here. And as far as redefining participation and the democratic process, my understanding of American history is that it was a bunch of white males in power, mostly. This is radically different. If you’re a homeless person, if you’re a street person, you can be here. There’s a radical inclusion that’s going on. And if it’s not that, then I’m not going to participate.”


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race_to_the_bottom's avatar

By race_to_the_bottom, November 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

That Fox clip was somewhat entertaining in a Bill O’reilly sort of way.

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By ANewWorldsInBirth, November 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nice Marx quote at the end…

Read “10 Days that Shook the World”, or “Red Star Over
China”, or something by Guevara. Do this before you
make generalizations about Marx and Bakunin: study the
experience of some actual revolutions. Then and only
then you will have some data from which to generalize.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, November 3 at 9:09 pm:

‘Anarcissie said:

  “I imagine the writer is referring not to Lenin’s coercive methods but to such policies as ‘state capitalism’ and the NEP.  A view of Lenin as a pure tyrant without any aim but personal power leaves a good deal out, rendering his subsequent influence mysterious and inexplicable.”

What is the point of estimating tyrannical purity? ...’

I think it’s wise to know the enemy.  Did I really have to spell that out?

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By offroadbiker, November 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

Thank you, Chris Hedges.  Once again, you have written a piece that I can understand and relate to.  I appreciate the context that you provide in this history lesson about human uprisings, the groups involved, some of the personalities involved, and the strategies that were implemented.  As I figure out how to increase my participation in OWS, this article, amongst others, is very helpful.

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By Foucauldian, November 4, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, November 3 at 9:09 pm

All I meant, my man, was that the means of production
weren’t turned over to the worker but remained in the
hands of the socialistic, eventually totalitarian,
state, that’s all.  And I understand the reasoning
behind it, because the capitalist powers of the West
were intent on destroying the communist idea and the
Soviet state.

There is nothing in what I said to indicate that what
I called for was greater tyranny.

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By Foucauldian, November 4, 2011 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

entropy2, November 4 at 6:46 am

I’ll let him have it.

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By GradyLeeHoward, November 4, 2011 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

I remain puzzled by that Youtube video where Herman
Cain is singing, “Imagine there’s no pussy; I
wonder if I can. World shaped like a pizza; Eating
all I can. Imagine how I’m leering, with my greasy
lips…
You can say I’m a fascist, but I’m not the only
one.
And we got all the money; and we control the guns.
My wife is in the kitchen; comes up to my chin.
Every person is just like her, except for other
men.
Imagining there’s no pussy is like thinking there’s
no gas.
Herman gonna grab that Earthball and stick it up
the ass!”


I heard he’s gonna go to Paris and rape a French
maid to get foreign policy experience.

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entropy2's avatar

By entropy2, November 4, 2011 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

@Foucauldian—oh, and I forgot…he always needs to get the last word.

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By ardee, November 4, 2011 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Foucauldian, November 3 at 2:50 pm

Delusional? A judgement call. But there is no delusion in the obvious slur against credit unions, a real cheap shot in fact, insubstantial and, basically, stupid. Then, when I do the research and provide the substance you slither back under your rock.

Once a liar always a liar I think. You are guilty of much of what you accuse me of being and doing. Projection is the psychological term for it actually.

I attempted, in my first efforts towards you, to respond as you were, tempered and thoughtful. But, rather quickly, you began to distort that which you could not oppose and ignore that which you could not confront.

You aint fooling me, and ,I think, rather soon you will be fooling no one.

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By ardee, November 4, 2011 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

entropy2, November 3 at 4:40 pm

Thank you for the drivel. Thank you for the display of overweening ego and silly injured pride.

Still living at home with Mommy?

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, November 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said:

I imagine the writer is referring not to Lenin’s coercive methods but to such policies as ‘state capitalism’ and the NEP.  A view of Lenin as a pure tyrant without any aim but personal power leaves a good deal out, rendering his subsequent influence mysterious and inexplicable.

What is the point of estimating tyrannical purity?

I dont know if you are setting up a Leftist rehabilitation of Lenin, or suggesting a philosophical reevaluation of all tyrants generally.

I suspect the former. The latter sounds like something Strauss would do, and his result warns us that an objective evaluation of tyranny is the third rail of political discourse.

Do you also speak up for Hitler too? Like this: ‘A view of Hitler as a pure tyrant without any aim but personal power leaves a good deal out’. Do you soften Hitler’s tyranny by such considerations? I imagine you dont. And you shouldnt.

If you want to rehabilitate Lenin, you will have to step over a lot of dead bodies first. We should not go there, especially now. There are some Occupiers representing for V Lenin. They need to be denounced and escorted off the Occupation, not encouraged. 

Anarcissie, we have discussed Lenin before. Somewhere on Truthdig about two years ago I was providing some of Lenin’s letters and decrees which cast a rather baleful light on Lenin’s methods, policies, and ‘subsequent influence’. You broke that discussion off. I took that to mean that you were as sickened as i was at the evil of Vlad Lenin. Did I misunderstand you? If you insist, i will find that old conversation we were having and we can pick up from there.

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By Foucauldian, November 3, 2011 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

entropy2, November 3 at 4:40 pm

For a while I thought I was going insane, and I’m
surely glad you came along.  Just kidding.

Not exactly new at this kind of thing, my man.  I
hate the term but at times, I’m at a loss for words
and then…

More importantly, I’ll be coming shortly with a
proposal to form a discussion group on these boards,
not necessarily associated with any particular
article but as a stand alone, for people who are
truly dedicated to the process and the movement. 
Once we come up with a well-formed proposal and iron
out the chinks, I’ll make a posting here.  The idea
is to replicate the democratic process in terms of
reaching consensus, etc.  It will be an experiment of
sorts, a primer if you will.

I hope you’ll consider the project and, if you find
it attractive and worthwhile, join.

We live in exciting times.

Till then.

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By entropy2, November 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

@Foucauldian - I would have given you the heads up about ardee, but it’s hard to describe his particular strain of trollery. For all his pretensions at open-mindedness and his pseudo-radical rhetoric, he has a pretty hidebound and pedestrian worldview—basically a repackage of shopworn social-democrat rhetoric. A couple of things to remember:

- He won’t (can’t?) answer challenges to his facile assertions.
- He’ll ignore every point you make and focus on his (mis)interpretation of one or two random lines.
- He’ll get progressively more pugnacious as you realize that your interaction with him is a futile circlejerk.
- When you start ignoring him, he imagines that he has “won” an argument.

There are many here who simply scroll past his drivel. It is too bad that he tends to hijack otherwise decent threads.

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By truedigger3, November 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Re: By RayLan, November 3 at 10:44 am

RayLan wrote:

“BTW I am a he not a she - another one of the dangers of creative ad hominem. My ‘Avatar’ is male - Orpheus”
———————————————————————-
RayLan,
If you are a “He” and not a “She” why did you choose such confusing “avatar”?! That “avatar”, definitely looks like a “She”. Bear in mind not every one is well versed in Greek mythology like you or are yor trying to tell us how ignorant we are!!
Even your name is cofusing and give the impression that you are “She’.
What is going on here?! Are you trying to deliver information about yourself here that nobody really cares about or are you just playing games and telling us how ignorant we are??!!

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By Foucauldian, November 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

ardeem you’re delusional.  Rather than dealing with the
fallacy of your argument, now you’re resorting to cheap
shots.  I haven’t suggested you are “buddies” in any
personal sense, only ideologically.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, November 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

If I might add Trudigger3, ‘China’ is the government which provides access to it’s labor force for the benefit of whom exactly? 

We often focus on nations, which are what exactly, nations?  Anything more than tools of super-national groups?  My hats off to those Nations who have kept their focus on bettering the well-being of the citizens of said nation.

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By Foucauldian, November 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

Sent a message to your PM.

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By ardee, November 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, November 3 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

I can see, RayLan, there are real cliques operating in here—ardee and Dillon are buddies.

Having a breakdown no doubt? Never met the guy, never responded to any post from him/her, but I do understand that, after exposing yourself rather badly (fly still stuck down?) you now resort to sophomoric responses.

I guess this makes you and IMax buddies now.

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By truedigger3, November 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Anarcissie, November 3 at 9:22 am

Anarcissie wrote:

“That was then, of course; now it looks like the U.S. may become the satellite of China. “
————————————————————————-
Anarcissie,
I surprised that a smart and knowledgable person like you write such nonsense.
Without US and its satelites (EU and Japan)‘s   manufacturing plants in China, and without providing the markets for these products of these plants mainly in US, EU and Japan, the Chinese economy will be in deep trouble.
With the first whif that China is not “toeing the line”, these manufacturing plants would be moved else where and the markets are colsed for any Chinese products
Besides, China owns about 1 Trillion Dollars of US treasury notes! Didn’t you hear the saying that if you owe the bank a thousand dollars, the bank own you and if you owe the bank one million Dollars, then you own the bank!!
Do you get the picture??!!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, November 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

auspiciousbunny, you are going in a good direction but must apply your thinking to all technologies, not just the ones from Best Buy. 

People also die slow deaths due to over-eating, drugs (script and non), cigs, drink, and violence.  We may be conditioned to be addicted to emotional thrills (dopamine) because it allows the ‘masters’ to operate without us being able to elevate our intellects to the point of having any higher realizations.

I’m sure the OWS prople mean well, but all I’m seeing is re-discovering the wheel of the ‘60’s without anything really new.  Extremely minor variations and improvements on inconsequential things.  The Peoples Mic….what a joke.  Robertspierre is right when he suggests ‘radical’ thinking.  ‘Radical’ doesn’t mean violent.  It’s a word which has been poisoned because truly out-of-the-box thinking, ‘radical’ thinking, has been suppressed by the ruling classes and indeed in the education systems for the masses.

Go figure how to abandon special interest groupings and how to work toward the invisible non-discriminatory good without recognizing groups.  Something like that.

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By Foucauldian, November 3, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

I can see, RayLan, there are real cliques operating in
here—ardee and Dillon are buddies.

Keep that in mind so you know who your enemies are.

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By Foucauldian, November 3, 2011 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Didn’t think there was anything snide ‘bout it, Dillon. 
Sorry that’s how you perceive it.  If you had an ax to
grind while posing that question, you should have spit
it out in the first place.  I took it in the most
straightforward way I could.

And no, I haven’t just walked in.  But even if I have,
are you upset about it?

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By auspiciousbunny, November 3, 2011 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

I believe life is sacred, that includes all of human life.  I would like to see every human on earth have the conditions necessary not only for bodily health but to act on their highest spiritual and intellectual purposes on earth. 

I think we who are involved with Occupy Wall Street need to better address the problem of where our much-embraced technology comes from.  All these laptops, smartphones, etc, are made by people living under regimes that do not have acceptable codes of labor and do not respect human life.  These regimes and the corporations such as Apple and Dell that work within them exploit human life and human need on a fundamental level.  A few people profit and become viewed as gods while the insignificant people who make these things slave away.  This is our real electronic world right now.

People such as myself become vegetarians because they do not want to support animals tortured under terrible conditions in corporate factory farms. Yet our electronics are the product of corporate electronics farms where the livestock = people.

In some electronics factories people are paid around three-dollars a day.  Excessively high suicide rates have been well-documented at factories that make Apple and Dell components.  One factory finally erected a giant net to catch the dozens who were electing to jump off the roof.

Now I have a computer and use it right now, so I am speaking as a culpable part of this problem.  But I have been thinking more and more about this.  We need a solution.

Humanity will not be free unless we have the innovation to build our own reality outside this colonial electronic model.  We are existing within a “colonialization” of our communication with each other, and are dependent on the products of human exploitation and near-enslavement in our efforts to obtain democracy. 

It’s just not right.  Our fight for democracy is illusory if it depends on stuff made by people trapped working under these unfair and sickening labor conditions. 

Either we develop the skills necessary to build our own hardware (as well as open source software), our own wireless technology, and the skills needed to deal with highly polluting materials, all of which is 100 percent possible in my opinion—-

Or we develop a localized approach and a willingness to abandon corporate electronics in favor of communicating outside a world created by major electronics corporations. 
 
Thank you for your time.

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Spire's avatar

By Spire, November 3, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

@RayLan
geeez. Dude looks like a lady. smile

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, November 3, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Capital’ism’ is a flag, which, as a word and ideology, hoisted too high distracts our attention from (and I quote a great writer and thinker of our age), “productivity and the real costs of production for any given technology and sustainability”.  I will add we are also distracted from a complex, contentious but essential topic, namely some basis for an equity in distribution.  Marx had a gem there in the ‘to each…from each…’ 

Look, we’ve glorified Capital’ism’ to the point the absolutely parasitic and counterproductive ‘capital holding/controlling classes’ destroy and enslave lives and lands with impunity.  The US is particularly guilty by suggesting the ultimate reward for risk taking must be unlimited wealth!  This sends signals to the least moral (most greedy and cuthroat) among us.  Progressive taxes are a tool here.  But damnit, you can’t waste those taxes on the slothy ones at the other end of the spectrum of human maladies.  We must educate, influence and ultimately enforce toward a society where all members take their responsibility quite seriously with regard to contributing to the whole.  That takes a government (People) which will not allow outside agents to interfere with it’s mission for the People.

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, November 3, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

@ardee
I’ve hardly retreated and my wounds are just in your fertile imagination - I see nothing in the history to contradict the view that the rise of the corporate state which forced the USSR to embrace quasi-capitalist strategies under Gorbachev precipitated the collapse - except an extensive discussion about communism is not relevant - It was just a footnote and single comment I interjected
BTW I am a he not a she - another one of the dangers of creative ad hominem. My ‘Avatar’ is male - Orpheus

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By ardee, November 3, 2011 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

I am heartened to see such knowledgeable folks come to post on this subject. Now that Raylan has retreated, licking her wounds and suddenly swearing that the topic is not at all about what we have discussed in numerous exchanges, I find your additions to an important topic actually, whither capitalism and what is to replace it, to be most pertinent.

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By Anarcissie, November 3, 2011 at 9:22 am Link to this comment

The U.S. went through a phase of China-hate in the 1950s and ‘60s, as I recall.  At least, the government and the boss media did.  However, they were not seen as much of a threat; no ICBMs, no carriers.  More traditionally, the U.S. leadership has seen China as a huge market and a possible ally or even satellite.  That was then, of course; now it looks like the U.S. may become the satellite of China.  Westward the course of hegemony takes its way.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 3, 2011 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Foucauldian:

Thank you for the snide remark. We’re always impressed when some guy swaggers into this site and sets out to impress us with his overwhelming grasp of the world. I usually find they don’t know shit but like to impress all of us anyway. They usually disappear after a few weeks when someone hands them their ass. Let’s see how long you last.

Why would you automatically assume the Chinese are “smart” while everyone else is not? Smart because they realized there was lots of money to be made subjugating their people? Smart because the party owns an obscene number of those companies selling us their cheap crap? China is headed for their own crash when the present real estate bubble blows up in the next few years. Their banks are heavily leveraged and will get burned big time. And they are terrified by their own people who will, one day, rise up and destroy them.

I know China pretty well. I was in China one year after Tienanmen Square. I was working on some of the early joint ventures being formed. I wasn’t impressed with how smart they were ... just how greedy they were. They’d stab you in the back just to make a few bucks. They’re still that way just more savvy.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 3, 2011 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

A little soviet history:

Having to live in the former Soviet Union, I’ve spent a bit of time studying the history and, more importantly, the direct, on-the-ground impact of ‘the party’ on this part of the world. I’m convinced Lenin (and his cohorts Stalin and Trotsky) had no intention of actually forming a worker’s state as designed by Marx. The language of the worker’s struggle was a powerful weapon in the hands of the great orator Lenin. After the fall revolution, Lenin did, in fact, create the basics for a worker’s government with power vested in the people’s congress consisting of elected representatives of all the labor federations and the military divisions. The politburo was to assist the general secretary in implementing policy as designated by the people’s congress. Until 1924, that’s how it worked but Lenin’s shadow influenced everything they did. Most people were in awe of him. But Stalin, who succeeded Lenin, had no interest in sharing power with anyone. He inverted the relationship, making the politburo into an advisory council to the all powerful general secretary (himself) and the people’s congress acted as a rubber stamp for his decisions. Thus the dictatorship began and remained until the union fell apart in 1989. So, at least in the USSR, communism never really existed.

For most people on the street, the Soviet Union was a good place to live. Free flats, free utilities (other than the phone which was very cheap but hard to get), free medical treatment and free education at all levels were the big draws. Food was exceedingly cheap. Most labor councils had sanitariums in the Crimea so workers could get a few weeks of vacation on the shore (basically free again).  Most families could live very comfortably on the meager wages they received from their government jobs. It was an easy life according to my wife and many friends. But it wasn’t the worker’s state by any means. Orders came down from the top (planning bureaus in Moscow) and local labor councils and managers simply worked to plan.

Was this an efficient society? At its peak, it was matching the west weapon for weapon, was paying for revolutions around the world, was supporting other struggling communist countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere and was keeping the people busy at home. What seems to have happened was stagnation in the party leading to corruption everywhere. Corruption is part of society here and part of the culture going back hundreds of years. But the party, when it worked well, kept the corruption under control. A local party functionary who got out of control could go to prison and that happened often and very publicly. But, the politburo couldn’t let go and, over time, they elected a string of old, crusty leaders starting with Brezhnev. He literally died in office followed by Andropov (who lasted a few years) and finally Chernenko who died just weeks after assuming office. Gorbachev was a last ditch effort to save the whole mess and it was too little, too late. During this decline, the country also went down the drain until it was basically dead. The 1989 revolution was just the last gasp of a dying party.

The USSR was not Communism (and certainly not socialism). Neither was China nor most other Communist revolutions. They were based on a strong personality and the language of the worker’s struggle. Most were brutal dictatorships (often by a small group but still controlled rigidly from the top).

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By Foucauldian, November 3, 2011 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Sure, Dillon, but that’s a no-brainer.  First, the
Chinese are smarter, rarely resort to threats.  Two,
the West’s relative decline.  And now, since they got
us by the balls, we’ve got to say thank you and like
it.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 3, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

RayLan:

The soviet union died in 1989. The comment you select for your argument that the communists went towards capitalism is false. That comment talks about the post communist Russian Federation under Yeltsin and Putin. During the time of Gorbachev there were limited movements toward small, private businesses but the government was tightly in control of the system until it collapsed in ‘89.

As for the comment about elites, I agree. Many of the current economic and political elites were members of the soviet bureaucracy or the comsomol (young communists). That same dynamic is at work in many of the former client states including Ukraine where I live. Unfortunately, the party’s complete control of the political process precluded other political entities and thus, when the union finally disintegrated, only the party could provide the functionaries who could keep the governments working. As I’ve said in the past, the communist party bosses took off their communist hats and donned capitalist, democracy hats. But underneath, they were still very much the old, corrupt cronies that had run the place before the collapse. Putin was KGB from St. Petersburg and East Germany. The president of Ukraine was a party thug from Donesk (spent a while in prison for assault).

As for communism/socialism ... who gives a damn. As others have said, the communism practiced around the world had little connection to Marx’s communism. I have a question for all of you: have any of you wondered about the massive dichotomy between the west’s treatment of the USSR and China? America was prepared to go to war to destroy the USSR and we spent lots of our treasure (human and capital) to do just that. We were committed to destroying that system no matter what the cost. And yet, here we are, in 2011, married at the wallet with the Chinese communist government. Why? What’s the big difference between the USSR and China? Any guesses? Both started out socialist but one, China, made the wise decision to become a capitalist economy. We destroyed the USSR because our capitalist class feared, to the point of crapping in their pants, the idea that a socialist economy might actually be successful. We did everything we could to destroy that economic idea (and also the same with Cuba and some of the emerging socialist economies in South America) but had no problem with the capitalist economic system of China, despite their vicious human rights record and predatory economic policies of their capitalistic system. We never feared communism ... our elites feared socialism and it’s direct challenge to their control. No one wanted the workers actually making decisions or having any power.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 3, 2011 at 5:57 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, November 2 at 6:36 pm:


  “What’s the point of invoking the Marxian model if   you’re not ready to go all the way?  You’re making
  the same mistake that Lenin and other leaders of the
  Bolshevik revolution were guilty of – not going all
  the way –”

A person couldnt go much further than Lenin, unless he was willing to kill absolutely everyone.(That sound you hear is untold millions of eggs cracking)’

I imagine the writer is referring not to Lenin’s coercive methods but to such policies as ‘state capitalism’ and the NEP.  A view of Lenin as a pure tyrant without any aim but personal power leaves a good deal out, rendering his subsequent influence mysterious and inexplicable.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, November 3, 2011 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

Perhaps those ‘educated’ and ‘informed’ writers are obfuscating the underlying issues with their fancy language us peons don’t quite get?  And the half-smart ones get wrapped up in. 

Yes, I call BS.  If people don’t look at underlying issues such as productivity and the real costs of production for any given technology and sustainability, it’s BS smoke and mirrors.  Shove the ‘ism’s’.

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By RayLan, November 3, 2011 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

@What is progress
“What kind of double-speak malarky is this?”
The answer is that it is no kind of malarky - neo-liberalism and globalization are terms that are used by many educated and informed writers - look it up.
Just calling something BS is no argument -
childish name-calling.

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By RayLan, November 3, 2011 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

The horse and the cart.

The rise of neoliberalism collided with the communist regime to its (comunism’s) destruction.

But we know that in the 1920s, under conditions in which the Soviet working class retreated from political activity and the majority of the leadership and cadres of the CPSU adapted to the growing influence of the bureaucracy and the new bourgeoisie — the “Nepmen” — the danger of capitalist restoration increased.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, November 3, 2011 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

“rising globalism or ‘neoliberalism’”  What kind of double-speak malarky is this? 

Why Ardee, do you let yourself get caught up in these exchanges regarding theoretical ‘ism’s’ which these ‘ideological tools which the various patriarchies use to f___ us all? 

So what do I do?  Get caught up in the same BS.  Here we go…globalism equates to ‘neoliberalism’ my sweet Aunt Fanny’s arse.  ‘Globalism’ is global free trade.  ‘neoliberals’ are no longer the laisse-faire liberals of old.  The so-called ‘conservatives’ are the ‘free traders’, i.e. the ‘globalists’.  The words have been battered enough that they are completely useless other than as slurs.  It’s like a word association without meaning, ‘Neoliberalism’ has the word ‘liberal’ in it, which by now means ‘those dirty dog Democrats’, which might as well be commies. 

Cut through the crap.  Here’s a shot at it:  Plenty of people know the population can’t control it;s growth, and that the pipe dream that technology can solve the problems has been vaporized by the shear numbers of people and amount of usable land, water and energy.  Smart people get it and started accelerating the accumulation and hoarding of wealth years ago.  Modern global systems, financial, marketing, distribution and force projection have allowed the pressures of ‘accumulation and hoarding’ to be spread throughout resulting in local eruptions of strife and legitimate fear about the future. 

This is a ‘come to Jesus’ (not literally) moment for mankind.  But will we recognize our very nature is at the core of the problem?  Our instinct for self preservation and all the nasty social tools which allow us to band together to take resources from others before they do likewise to us?  Heck no.  We’ll crash our population like a colony of bacteria in a petri-dish called earth.  The only difference?  We have allowed language, that tool of communication, of passing knowledge, of doing discovery and engineering to be used by the ideologs, the politicians, the evangelical preachers, and the lazy.  These creeps will keep us occupied with the study of the various ‘ism’s’ whil they rob us blind and keep us occupied with the lowest common denominator of our nature, service to the self.  And we have little defense.  We are internally leveraged toward self awareness and preservation.  The ‘ideologs’ use our ‘Me first’ hard wiring to efficiently override any tendencies we might have to give priority to the larger group, mankind. 

The relationship between money, promises, faith, our nature and our diversity is a marvelous and wondrous thing.  The unfortunate fact is 99.99% of us will never understand or get above it. 

Sarcastically: Good luck OWS.  Another tool.  A un-unique ‘movement’.  Look at the ‘80’s following on the heels of the 60’s and 70’s.  What is lasting and new within the OWS movement?  It’s going to be ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’.  Sorry OWS folks, you gotta do a hell of a lot better, damn fast.  But, good luck.

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By RayLan, November 3, 2011 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

@ardee
Actually , speaking about relevance,apart from your presumptions about personality, the article is not about communism but capitalism. You launched your personal diatribe only on one sentence of my post which was primarily about the failure of corporate globalism, inconsistent with any form of socialism.

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By ardee, November 3, 2011 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

As to Raylan

All I can do is repeat and reiterate:

An unnecessary and rather pointless remark having nothing at all of relevance to the conversation. I am rather conversant with the difference as I am with the fact that you:

1. have put the cart of economic results before the horse of the huge military expenditures that actually toppled the beast.

2. will , in apparent desperation possibly, or perhaps you just have that sort of pugnacious personality, as do I in fact, insert bullshit where reasoning is called for. I ask you do specify where I have used “obtuse conflation” (hee) in erring in my definitions of the two forms of government.

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By ardee, November 3, 2011 at 4:46 am Link to this comment

Then, you’re constructing a straw man, suggesting that I somehow approve of “corporate ownership of our government.” Nowhere in my remarks present or past was there even a hint of any such thing, so I must view your retort as nothing but an exercise in empty
rhetoric.

You are certainly free to call my responses by any name you wish, but twisting my words, as is your wont shows you in a rather bright light. I rose to oppose the “inevitability of capitalism” or rather the undue influence thereof in a government run as a social democracy.

Though you hold this comment up as gospel:

‘Ardee/Raylan: The obvious historical truth
demonstrates that nothing will be allowed to coexist with capitalism. The “business mind”obliterates everything else. That’s how the USA became totalitarian and abandoned any ambition of representative democracy. The vehicle of capitalism is not the state but the private tyrannies we call corporations.

I find it the rather weak rantings of the typical utopian, for that is basically what anarchism boils down to. ...it is also an attempt to deflect from the truth that regulatory powers, if enacted and administered with vigor, eliminate the abuses of capitalism. Most, if not all, of those abuses stem from the undue influence of the wealthiest corporations on our govt. A point that I have made and you and your cohort in Utopia have consistently ignored.

Lastly, this quote by you:

Well, this is the
Marxian model, ownership of the means of production by the worker and capitalism is as good as gone.
What’s the point of invoking the Marxian model if you’re not ready to go all the way?

illustrates best that you really do not read what I have posted , seemingly so self involved that you refuse to see, a pity for you and an apparent waste of my time.

I have noted, time and again, that social democracy is a stepping stone to get from where we are to where I believe we should be. I am rather astonished at your continuing to miss this point, but ,perhaps, you simply refuse to lose a debate and will descend into dishonest portrayal of another s points in order to “win”.

I must close with my disappointment with your debating style, but understand your difficulty in supporting anarchy, without actual claiming to be an anarchist. I am most disappointed , however, in your skipping over that which you cannot oppose and distorting my points to make one of your own. Very dishonest of you.

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By RayLan, November 3, 2011 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

@ardee

I am neither ranting nor combative - YOU responded to MY comments initially- with a tirade of personal remamrks. Your opinions were the furthest thing from my mind.

As I have studied the decline of the Soviet Union, the Cold War features as the least significant, lasting as it did for decades.

Reputable historians attribute the death blow to rising globalism or ‘neoliberalism’.

many aspects of Russia’s economy currently suggest that it is moving towards a corporatist market, characterised by corruption and driven by a class of oligarchs whose primary goal is to increase their personal wealth.4 The influence of economic globalisation forces has not created an open free market in Russia; instead, it has consolidated a corrupt class of elites that was largely in place under the former Soviet system.5
http://www.global-politics.co.uk/issue6/Calla/

There are many ‘facts’ about the Russian communist history -  but the most important in its failure are not its Cold War expenses - but how it adopted capitalist corporatist strategies, especially under Gorbachev.

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By OzarkMichael, November 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

What’s the point of invoking the Marxian model if you’re not ready to go all the way?  You’re making
the same mistake that Lenin and other leaders of the
Bolshevik revolution were guilty of – not going all
the way –

A person couldnt go much further than Lenin, unless he was willing to kill absolutely everyone.(That sound you hear is untold millions of eggs cracking)

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By Foucauldian, November 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

ardee, November 2 at 3:13 pm

PART II

In closing, let me cite a comment by Anarcissie, with
which I totally concur:

Anarcissie, November 1 at 11:00 am
GradyLeeHoward, November 1 at 10:28 am:

‘Ardee/Raylan: The obvious historical truth
demonstrates that nothing will be allowed to coexist
with capitalism. The “business mind”obliterates
everything else. That’s how the USA became
totalitarian and abandoned any ambition of
representative democracy. The vehicle of capitalism
is not the state but the private tyrannies we call
corporations. ...’


I think a coherent definition of the state is going
to require that corporations and other institutions
created and upheld by the government and ruling class
be included in it.

As for coexisting with capitalism, lots of things
coexist with capitalism.  The genius of liberalism is
its ability to comprehend paradox and contradiction. 
However, capitalists will not easily yield their
place as rulers of the community.  In fact, they tend
to capture regulators and redistributors.  Hence
attempts to transition to socialism or communism
through government intervention seem doomed.

End of quote

I couldn’t have said it any better.

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By Foucauldian, November 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

ardee, November 2 at 3:13 pm

PART I

Getting rather touchy, ardee.  No need to.  First
off, there’s no moving target to speak of.  As I
stated at the conclusion of my last comment, I stand
by what I stated in my original comment to you, about
the necessary collusion between corporatism and the
state.  But are tyrannical institutions and the
relationship is symbiotic.  No moving target there,
shoot at it if you will.

Then, you’re constructing a straw man, suggesting
that I somehow approve of “corporate ownership of our
government.” Nowhere in my remarks present or past
was there even a hint of any such thing, so I must
view your retort as nothing but an exercise in empty
rhetoric.  Further, you assert that my rejection of
your argument or refusal to entertain your POV is
evidenced by my admission that linls aren’t all that
pertinent.  Again, another misrepresentation.  I
reject your argument, links and all, because I
consider it flawed; there is no other reason (and I
believe this too I stated clearly).  The only
misrepresentation I may be guilty of is that
presuming that, indirectly at least, you’re defending
capitalism.  But if it’s your “vision” that you
defend and how to get from point A to point B, then I
withdraw.  Everyone’s entitled to their vision.

However, there still remain a number of rough spots
about your account, points of friction (in not utter
contradictions in the Marxian/Althusserian sense)
which need tending to yet you don’t – such as the
necessarily exploitative character of the capitalist
system of production and the resultant class system
(however bening the face of capitalism or however
well-regulated it may be).  You speak of the failure
of the socialist experiment in the past for not
following the Marxian model.  Well, this is the
Marxian model, ownership of the means of production
by the worker and capitalism is as good as gone. 
What’s the point of invoking the Marxian model if
you’re not ready to go all the way?  You’re making
the same mistake that Lenin and other leaders of the
Bolshevik revolution were guilty of – not going all
the way – yet you’re blaming them for the ommision
while absolving yourself. 

In essence, your entire argument rests and falls on
the tentative presence and relative well-being of
four Scandinavian nation-states, still more or less
unaffected by the sea of turmoil all around them. 
But I can’t accept a mere epirical fact, and a
tentative fact at that, as the sole basis of a full-
fledged argument.  For me to do that, you’ve got to
do better than that.  You have to argue for the
inherent stability and continuity of those nation-
states well into the future.  And to be able to do
that, you must provide a cogent analysis of the
relations between institutions, an analysis that
would ensure perpetuity as it were.  Thus far, you’ve
done nothing of the kind other than assert that by
their very existence in the present, they’ll do so
into the future.  This is nothing but an article of
faith unsupported neither by analysis nor evidence. 
Come tomorrow, if perchance these states will begin a
slide towards an eventual decline, and who is to say?
your entire argument will collapse no sooner than a
deck of cards.

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By ardee, November 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, November 2 at 2:53 pm

It is difficult to hit a moving target.

You refuse to consider another point of view, obvious if only by your admission that you thought reading the link unnecessary.

You continue to distort and mis-define the relationship between socialism and the people, as with this particular glaring admission:

All that aside, perhaps the greatest objection I have to any socialist type of solution has to do with the kind of relationship that naturally accrues in all such arrangements – a relationship
of dependency.

So, then, you see as dependency what is ,in reality not that at all. I think we have unearthed a clue both as to how exactly you feel about welfare and how you will not see the reality of socialism.

One may be dependent upon that which one owns I suppose, but socialism is not welfare, instead it is ownership of the government by the governed. So then you must,perforce, believe that corporate ownership of our government is a fine and dandy example of the “American Way” ( accompanied by martial music and much confetti).

Our current form of governance has landed on the people like a ton of bricks, bricks made, of course, in offshore factories by non union labor. But you can find only such a tenuous and incorrect assumption as this?

Further, and lastly, your insertion of the “opinion” that my efforts are all a “defense of capitalism” is pretty damn silly. What I “defend” is my vision of how to get there from here; there being a democratic socialist state, and, of course, I am forced to continually defend against your mis-characterizations and outright fibs ( perhaps they are not such, but I must say what I see) as to my meaning and my words.

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By ardee, November 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Are you serious? Bankrupt by the Cold War? No. The US consumer culture was irresistable.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am very serious. Also MY facts are on straight:


http://history.howstuffworks.com/cold-war/communism5.htm

The Fall of the Soviet Union

The Cold War ultimately brought the Soviet Union down, but it took nearly half a century to accomplish this goal. In 1945, around the end of WWII, the Soviet Union and United States waged this war of threatening words and fear. The Cold War was a top concern on the international affairs front. From communism opponents’ perspective, its purpose was to contain communism and avoid nuclear conflict. But the Soviet Union aimed to spread communism to the United States, if not the rest of the world.

These two powerhouses disagreed over political, cultural and economic differences. The United States began developing retaliatory weapons, should the need to use them arise. These weapons were called the Strategic Triad and included long-range bombers, submarines and land-based missiles. This led to the first nuclear arms race, during which the two governments stockpiled as many nuclear weapons as they could in order to keep the other government in line. Luckily, nuclear war was avoided, in large part due to the scare tactics of the Cold War.

In the 1950s, the Soviet Union and the United States engaged in the space race. Both countries wanted to be the first in space for a myriad of reasons, particularly because their defense and military capabilities stood to benefit from a successful space program. The space race was fueled by the ever-intensifying rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union won that contest by launching the satellite Sputnik into orbit on Oct. 4, 1957. But the U.S. was the first country to successfully land on the moon. You can learn more about the race to the moon in How Lunar Landings Work.

The tension between the United States and the Soviet Union wasn’t just restricted to the nuclear arms race and space race. Many Cold War-related crises erupted over the years, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis.


The Soviet Union’s arms race, space race and continued support of the communist regime (all of which cost a lot of money) resulted in a stagnant economy with virtually no growth. When Mikhail Gorbachev was appointed to the presidency of the Communist Party in 1985, he became an advocate of change. Gorbachev laid his goals out: rejuvenate the long-lagging economy and accelerate economic development.

I emboldened the pertinent portion of the article presented in case your attention span wanders while you pretend interest in what someone else has to say while awaiting your turn .


Realize the difference between communism and socialism without obtuse conflation.

An unnecessary and rather pointless remark having nothing at all of relevance to the conversation. I am rather conversant with the difference as I am with the fact that you:

1. have put the cart of economic results before the horse of the huge military expenditures that actually toppled the beast.

2. will , in apparent desperation possibly, or perhaps you just have that sort of pugnacious personality, as do I in fact, insert bullshit where reasoning is called for. I ask you do specify where I have used “obtuse conflation” (hee) in erring in my definitions of the two forms of government.

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By Foucauldian, November 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

ardee, November 2 at 6:29


PART II

All that aside, perhaps the greatest objection I
have to any socialist type of solution has to do
with the kind of relationship that naturally
accrues in all such arrangements – a relationship
of dependency.  However happy and content the
denizes of Sweden or Norway or Denmark may appear
to be, one can’t help but wonder.  True happinness
consist in being active and living an active life,
in being productive and sharing in the fruits of
one’s labors, in contributing to the well-being of
one’s community and those around you.  And while I
don’t doubt that there are many who work for
another, people who, by virtue of their position,
happen to meet that standard, I’m also convinced
that many don’t nor ever will.  I suppose the point
I’m making is that happiness goes beyond having
one’s basic needs met.  Perhaps it’s in this
respect that we differ.  I hope not.

You’re a tough cookie, ardee, and your defense of
capitalism is subtle enough to have me worked hard
for my money; which is all to the good, for we all
need to articulate our positions and re-articulate
them again.  But as of this point, I’m afraid my
views, as I’ve expressed them in my previous
comment, still stand.

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By Foucauldian, November 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

ardee, November 2 at 6:29

PART I

There is no scintilla of fatalism about my views,
ardee, only a realization that we’re quickly
approaching a rendezvous with history, and I’m
looking forward to that moment with inspiration,
brave heart and hope.  The fatalism that you see in
them is a chimera, a product of your own
imagination in order to protect you from ideas
which happen to threaten and upset your own
cherished notions and favorite way of looking at
the world.  As to inevitability, I plead guilty as
charged.  I’m not a prophet.) 

You’re right of course in that all views are based
on certain ground-level assumptions, but let me
assure you, none of the things you identify as such
meet that criterion.  They’re but conclusions from
the original premises, premises concerning which we
apparently disagree; but that’s a subject for
another time and place.

Furthermore, you’re also right in that, prior to my
initial response to you, I didn’t bother to check
your link.  I didn’t think I’d have to, for I dealt
instead with the structure and content of your
presentation; and it’s long been my experience that
whatever documentation people tend to provide by
way of bolstering their arguments are but footnotes
and rarely if ever alter the logical structure of
the original text, let alone radically.  So yes,
this time I did take a look at your link, which
only confirmed my long-standing view about such
things.

A couple of observations.  First, to compare the
relative successes of socialism in Cuba to the
abysmal failure on the part of the US to deliver to
its own people falls short of being convincing.  At
best, it’s “we’re better off than them” kind of
argument.  Second, the Ibsen quote, “The strongest
man is he who stands alone in the world,” is all
well and good but it pressuposes a lot:  (a) that
the four Scandinavian nation-states will be able to
withstand the eventuality of global economic crisis
which is facing the West (the UE, in the event of
Greece’s default, being the latest example); and
(b), that, if they sever the link with the falling
economies all around them – including a break with
the global monerary network, it goes without saying
—in order to remain insular and unaffected,
(supposing for now it was a real possibility),
could their combined economies be self-sufficient
and sustainable over the long haul and, more
importantly, vibrant enough to deliver to its own
peoples on the same scale they’re delivering now?

Second,  you state “there has never been a
socialist state if one uses the guidelines of Marx
as reference.”  Good for you, and I concur.  But in
that case, we’re talking about communism pure and
simple, not any lukewarm or benevolent version of
socialism with bits and pieces of regulated
capitalism thrown here and there.  One of the
defining points of communism is the transfer of the
means of production (along with right to dispense
with or distribute the surplus) from the capitalist
to the worker, which arrangements would do away
with capitalism but only as a consequence; the
second, and Marx was somewhat vague on this, is the
eventual withering of the State.  Both the Soviet
Union and Cuba have only succeeded in ridding
themselves of capitalism, but they failed in the
remaining and crucial respects:  the state remained
as strong as ever, and the worker, well, instead of
one boss he simply got another. 

So although you’re right, ardee, as regards your
criticism of the socialist experiment for not
following Marx’s prescription, your defense of the
Scandinavian nation-states as supposedly
representing an improvement on socialism along
Marxian lines is inaccurate and misleading.  An
improvement it may well be, but it’s got nothing to
do with Marx, and it has to be argued for on some
other grounds.

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By genia, November 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

and, obviously, getting money out of politics is the ONLY partial hope we have at a
START of real democracy.
that wealth be the deciding factor in all matters of import societally has been
made pretty clearly anathema to OWS and those of us that support them.

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By genia, November 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

hi Spetrie,

the aforementioned is simply the revolution in values that MLK spoke of so long
ago. if we are to continue as a species, we will adopt it. if we cannot, we do not
deserve to survive and the planet will be better without us.

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By spetrie, November 2, 2011 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

@genia, I agree 100% with what you say but those are a complex set of values
that everyone should embrace and it would be nice to have them adopted
through social metamorphosis, and they can spread that way, but they
complicate the message, have no clear definable focus, and they are not things
that the government can legislate, henceforth the confusion and ineffectual
lack of focus that the movement has been criticized for and even been joked
about.

But one thing, one change in our political system that can be legislated and that
will work to accomplish this is the constitutional Separation of Corporations and
State, just as we separated the Church and the State over 150 years ago and
most nations have also done. It’s a natural follow through in our evolution, and
the fact that it was done perviously with the meddling of religion in our
governments over the centuries, it is not difficult to conceive of the notion that
the same should be done with corporations.

Instead of a multi-message platform of ‘peace, love, greed is bad, down with
corporations’ type of image, that many see as a flashback to the hippie era by a
bunch of disgruntled have nots, the middle and upper classes will be able to
better understand a single message of, ‘separation of corporations and states’
as a model for how our system should be structured, that will definitely be
more more simple and may be more acceptable to them.

And it’s a clear, doable objective that the government can implement and will
help to achieve most of the changes that almost all of the demonstrators are
wanting to see.

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By genia, November 2, 2011 at 11:52 am Link to this comment

clear demand? ok, how’s this

an end to the worship of money, domination and war

and a “new” value system
based on “do no harm"and “the life force is sacred”

of course these people have been saying this all along,
not their fault that this is incomprehensible to most.

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By spetrie, November 2, 2011 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

It seems to me that the Occupy movement would benefit from a concise clear
message or demand, and one thing above all comes out as the winning
message and that is that we should be embracing ‘The Separation of
Corporations and States’.

And any movement will benefit from a simple, clear, easily reproducible icon
that conveys this perfectly sensible message and the demand for the
elimination of corporate control of our governments.

I need to get in touch with you, (Chris Hedges) to send you a proposed concept
I have to achieve this that will help solidify the movement worldwide and will
likely, and hopefully, attract the involvement of greater numbers of citizens
from all class levels. Being a professional in branding and communications
design for 25 years has given me the skills to help create this and see that
there is a benefit for all movements that can be had from simplifying, clarifying
and making a message and purpose more compelling and strong.

No-one can dispute that when we eliminated the church from involvement in
our governments in the days of Thomas Jefferson it was for greater fairness and
freedom from moral discrimination. It is time we all demanded the same thing
with respect to the financially immoral involvement of corporations in the
policies and functioning of our governments.

If you can send me a private email, I would like to pass this on to you and get
your critique, advice, suggestions for improvement etc before disseminating it
through social media and blogs.

Or if anyone else here knows how to reach Chris, please reach me privately at
my email above.

Thanks, Scott Petrie (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address))

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By balkas, November 2, 2011 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

ardee,
imo, you’re are not correct in calling equality building [at least on interpersonal and
econo-military-monetary-politico-educational levels; which what actually
communists of usssr did] “bastardation of socialism”.

socialism in application often differs from socialism on ideological level.
how/when/where it is applied or put to use depends on many factors. the biggest
deterrent to building a society in which people wld gradually become more, much
more, or idyllicly equal in achieving an equal pay for equal needs, right to
healthcare/schooling, were and still are at least 30-70% of people.
they just don’t want equality.
as to why that is so, some other time?

in u.s, i think 98% have to date strongly rejected any such equality building.

islam, christianity, and mosheism, buddhism, hinduism vehemently oppose any
such transformation of society from that of servitude to liberation.

marx, lenin must have known that. lenin must have known that building equality in
ussr can be achieved only if he&co; vigoroulsy denounce ‘religion’, kulaks, and
priestly class.

thus, the looney and antihuman dissidents like scharanski, solzhenitsin had to be
put away s’mwhere.
these were the people who approved of arms race, aggressions against korea and
vietnam, rampant fascism, emplacement of wmd around ussr borders, etc.

i also believe that good 70% of cubans wld defend with their life their own ‘poverty’
[not in spirit: peace, interdependency, trust, respect, love],
that’s success to me and especially cubans living so close to one of the most evil
and destructive empires we had known to date. tnx

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By ardee, November 2, 2011 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Ralph Kramden, November 1 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please get a different format, one where people may comment (no corporations please) and reply to one another. This format is an unmanegeable one. I refer you th the Independent UK as a model. This one stinks, it is all disemboweled, incoherent, chaotic.

An excellent suggestion and I thank you for voicing what many have undoubtedly thought .

Foucauldian, November 1 at 5:58 pm

I wish to state great admiration for the way you express your opinions. I also must reject your assumptions and presumptions contained within this effort. You are certainly entitled to your opinions but I find no merit or ultimate truth within them.

You can’t separate the state anymore from the corporate world.  Both can thrive only on collusion, and both end up equally tyrannical.

I am both sorry for your fatalism and sad that you either did not read the link supplied or rejected it out of hand. If you confine your “truths” to only those nations, and, admittedly, they are numerous at present, in which capitalism has usurped government then your fatalism has a basis in reality.


I took some pains to point out that this is not an inevitability, and the satisfaction of the citizens of the three nations mentioned seems to have failed to impact your seemingly rigid stance on the matter. Or more precisely you dismiss it out of hand, sad really.

That we disagree on only the point of inevitability and fatalism should be kept to the fore in any further communications between us. I simply cannot function, politically speaking, while maintaining this position of despair for any form of government being free of the taint of exploitative capitalism. How then do you? Or do you?

One last point, if I may. I wonder how you find an alliance with the berserk twins, IMax and Ozark? (OK a cheap shot) You have repeated a false mantra, namely;

The socialist experiment has proved a
failure, whether in Cuba or the past Soviet Union,and all it does it transfers power over production and productive resources from the capitalist to the bureaucrat.

despite my having noted, and with accuracy I might add, that there has never been a socialist state if one uses the guidelines of Marx as reference. Disparaging socialism based upon the failures of the bastardized versions we find is a silly position to take, especially silly considering how obviously intelligent you are.

One might, of course, point to the successes found within even such a distorted socialist state as Cuba.

The highest literacy rate in the Americas, including our own.

Free and universal education ,including higher degrees.

The most doctors per capita of any nation extant.

The fact that one can matriculate in a Cuban Medical School for free ,regardless of country of origin or citizenship by signing a pledge that you will return to your own nation and work, for a three year period, among the poorest there.

Reject, out of hand, as you will. I will find blindness in that reject instead of the supposed universal truth you attempt.

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By RayLan, November 2, 2011 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

@ardee
“. Setting aside the fact of the impurity of that regimes “communist” nature I would note that the USSR bankrupt itself in spending ever more on the Cold War and nothing much on its economy or the needs and wishes of its people.”
Are you serious? Bankrupt by the Cold War? No. The US consumer culture was irresistable.
The virus was deadly

Gorbachev began his reforms by criticizing incompetence and corruption in the governmental bureaucracy. He also attacked alcoholism and drunkenness, which were endemic problems in traditional Russian society. Most importantly, he began a series of programs to restructure the Soviet economy to see that it met the needs of the populace. This program, known as perestroika (“restructuring”) provided for easing of government controlled price controls on some goods; more independence for state enterprises; and allowed private cooperatives to provide consumer services at a profit; a notably capitalist arrangement. The reforms had only limited success; and by 1988, widespread shortages of consumer goods threatened Gorbachev’s reform program.
http://www.historydoctor.net/Advanced Placement European History/collapse_of_communism_in_eas.html

Realize the difference between communism and socialism without obtuse conflation.

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By cclauson, November 2, 2011 at 4:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow, great article, so much to comment on, really all kinds of people at OWS.

A few intersections with my own life—when I lived on the SF Peninsula, I was close friends with someone who’d mastered the art of urban survival, which I actually thought was pretty admirable, but in his case it was completely apolitical, not like the individual profiled here.

When I moved from the SF Peninsula to Seattle, I probably looked a lot like this guy—everything I owned was in a backpack, I spent some nights on the street, I did not have a professional resume/skillset/degree, I was reading Chomsky and Bakunin and also trying to teach myself Latin and Greek, and was also trying to figure out who was doing what in radical politics in the area.

Long story short, I ultimately got a service job and worked through the education system, and am now not far from graduating with an engineering degree.  This is a very common story—Seattle is full of people like me who cram in from nearby states and try to work their way up through the system—possibly Seattle is one of the last places that’s still possible the the US, and maybe not for much longer.

But anyways, I’m rambling, the point of this is that even though the SF Peninsula is *not* Orange County (very obvious to me every time I run into someone here from around there), I definitely recognize someone of my own generation here.  Kudos.

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Spire's avatar

By Spire, November 2, 2011 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

@greglorious

“Anger at injustice is the political expression of love.”
-MLK
I choose love, godammit.

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

Also, comments should be numbered for ease cross
reference and ease of navigation.

Perhaps the first thing to do is to get sufficient
consensus and then bring the matter to the management.

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

I second, Ralph.

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By Ralph Kramden, November 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please get a different format, one where people may comment (no corporations please) and reply to one another. This format is an unmanegeable one. I refer you th the Independent UK as a model. This one stinks, it is all disemboweled, incoherent, chaotic.

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

You can’t separate the state anymore from the
corporate world.  Both can thrive only on collusion,
and both end up equally tyrannical.  The geopolitical
reality is such that the state, by virtue of its
competition with other states, eventually is forced
to abandon whatever premises it was founded upon, and
to that end will use all means at its disposal to
ensure its own survival—even if it (eventually)
means violating the rights of its own citizens as
well as duplicitous relations with the corporate
sector.

The examples you cite, e.g., the Scandinavian
countries, do not constitute and exception.  True,
the problems addressed above are still more or less
masked by virtue that these nation-states are not
superpowers.  Nonetheless, those states still must
align themselves with superpowers in order to ensure
their own stability.  Look at Sweden, for example,
it’s extradition treaty with the US and its attempt
to deliver Assange to US authorities on what may well
be trumped up charges.

As to your last point, arguing for capitalism well-
regulated, any such arrangement is bound to result
more and more in statism and, eventually, in
socialism.  The socialist experiment has proved a
failure, whether in Cuba or the past Soviet Union,
and all it does it transfers power over production
and productive resources from the capitalist to the
bureaucrat.

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By Perros, November 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

I am in favor of these protests as necessary means of change, but I’m not interested in
exchanging the old boss for a new one that is worse, exchanging an old system for
another old system. Do you really want the homeless running things? I like Hedges, but
he’s an idealist through and through. This movement has real potential to move people
beyond either/or dualisms and decentralize the power of a corrupt state. I’m with many
of protestors - ditch the Marx and Bakunin and all those old European revolutionaries.
America is evolving beyond any traditional white power structure. Real change will
happen locally. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

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By ardee, November 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

GradyLeeHoward, November 1 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Ardee/Raylan: The obvious historical truth
demonstrates that nothing will be allowed to co- exist with capitalism. The “business mind”
obliterates everything else. That’s how the USA became totalitarian and abandoned any ambition of representative democracy. The vehicle of capitalism is not the state but the private tyrannies we call corporations.

Thank you for your opinion on this subject. I must state that I do not agree with the far too sweeping generalization it contains. I could point to places like Scandinavia wherein corporations do quite well in tandem with socialist governmental practices.

But I prefer to say that, in my own opinion, the problem is not capitalism per se but unregulated capitalism. When corporations are treated as people, are allowed to corrupt government by flooding the election process with money, thus corrupting the newly elected immediately, are given license to flood our seats of government with thousands of lobbyists paid great sums to co-opt and corrupt our law makers we have the current problems we face.

A well regulated business community is a necessity to a healthy nation. Do not seek to throw the baby out with the bath water so quickly. Certainly, all things being equal, I would stand firm for a true communist society, one in which the workers own the means of production. But small steps are in order and one might consider where we are and where we need to go then decide how to get there.

here is a link to what I noted above:

http://www.eons.com/groups/topic/1652945-Successful-Socialism-thriving-countries

Successful Socialism, thriving countries
I know this will feel counter-intuitive to conservatives, but you can’t argue with reality. Here’s four socialist country who are thriving in really bad times.

“The happiest taxes on earth” view link
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says people in Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands are the most content with their lives. The three ranked first, second and third, respectively, in the OECD’s rankings of “life satisfaction,” or happiness.
There are myriad reasons, of course, for happiness: health, welfare, prosperity, leisure time, strong family, social connections and so on. But there is another common denominator among this group of happy people: taxes.
Northern Europeans pay some of the highest taxes in the world. Danes pay about two-thirds of their income in taxes. Why be so happy about that? It all comes down to what you get in return.
Read the link for more information on what they get for their taxes

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

Well, you should find the first lecture by Harvey
enlightening.  You might even enjoy it.

Also, Wolff’s seminar, “Capitalism Hits the Fan” is
entertaining as well.

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By genia, November 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, Faucauldian.

not sure what your first sentence means, but thank you for the links.

I am not sure Marxian theory is or should be at the top of my list these days, but I
will stash, either under “activism” or “writers”. (?)

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

However, Genia, Marx’s reliance on the working class,d
to the exclusion of the lumpenproletariat, doesn’t bear
out today.

For easier time with Das Kapital, try David Harvey’s
lectures, http://davidharvey.org/reading-capital/

You might also want to visit Richard D. Wolff’s own
website which also features good videos on many
practical applications of Marx’s theory, e.g. class
analysis:  http://www.rdwolff.com/

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By genia, November 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Having just finished Mary Gabriel’s “LOVE & CAPITAL” on the work and lives of Karl and Jenny Marx, I think the statements
made on page 2 here do not ring true to me. The major difference between Marx and Bakunin, is that Bakunin was in favor of
violent revolution, and Marx was not. Further, the poverty and attached agonies that Marx suffered to complete his work as a
service to mankind and a committed revolutionary, generally, were severe. I did not get an impression, reading this work, of
snobbery or “escape” at all.

Bakunin “the end justifies the means” and “the worse the better” (on destruction and revolution)
compare with Marx
“Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinate to it”
and, on “revolutionary transformation”.... “a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but (highlighted in
the text) the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat”.

Throughout this work, Marx’s solidarity with the proletariat is highlighted again and again, though it is true he tried to
position his daughters in a more conventional position, having no desire to have them experience the agonies of poverty he
had experienced as a result of commitment to revolutionary ideals.

I had tried to slog through “CAPITAL” before and it was agonizingly difficult. I was glad to get a more humanly
understandable take on his work through this book. Highly recommend.

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

For your info, Grady, here is the link to my writer’s
profile and list of articles published with Blogcticis:

http://blogcritics.org/writers/roger-nowosielski/

just in case you’re interested where I’m at.

Sorry about the form of the link (forgot how to make
hyperlinks on this site.

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By ejreed, November 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

“Occupy” Demonstrators Prepare for Winter  
Protesters camped out for the “Occupy Wall St.”
movement in New York City buckle down for an early
winter. http://www.newslook.com/videos/366984-occupy-
demonstrators-prepare-for-winter?autoplay=true

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Grady,

At least one person responded (so far), and thank
you.  I cut my teeth on The Man.  I’ve been on these
threads before, for a stretch at one time, which is
where I ran into Anarcissie (a true gem, and I’m glad
you’re singling her out) and Shenonymous (who has
since disappeared).

It’s a grim picture, you’re presenting, because I
should hope that forums such as these should serve a
higher purpose than that of people merely parading
their egos and spouting their stale, however up-to-
date views.  We should all be able to learn from one
another so as to be on the cutting edge of thought as
far as theory and practice are concerned.  We live in
the times where sharpness of mind is a dire
necessity.  And whether or not we shall be able to
affect the direction as to where we are or should be
going, we must, in the least, develop strong voices
on behalf of effective revolutionary action and
thought.

I’ll definitely avail myself of the personal info you
provided, for which I thank you—if only because
I’m quickly finding myself a long voice in the
wilderness (I’m in no position right now to become
personally engage with OWS):  except from Anarcissie
here and few other folks from another site, it often
seems like I’m talking to myself.  Very discouraging.

I’m posting this comment on this forum in public
interest.  I’m certain you understand.

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By entropy2, November 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

@What Is Progress

The State must come to represent the peoples common good

There’s the rub.

Now, before I start, please don’t assume I’m advocating greed and selfishness as virtues - I AM NOT.

But what, exactly, is the common good?

For example, I happen to believe that everyone should have three meals a day, shelter, clothing, health and safety from aggression. Now, under those circumstances, shouldn’t the state take away everything anyone has over and above that basic level and pass it along to those who don’t have it yet? After all, the “common good” is an absolute, no?

If not, then is the “common good” something we must agree on? (Now, if you and I agree on our specific common good and decide what we need to contribute to it, then fine…that’s easy.) But, otherwise, how many of us need to agree on “the common good” in order to have the moral authority to impose our view on someone who doesn’t agree? Two out of three?...nine out of ten?...ninety-nine million out of a hundred million?

Is the common good the same for all seven billion of us on earth? Even if we could agree on a huge rulebook to cover us all, who could we trust with the power to administer the common good effectively and fairly?

My point is, the “mega” problems of the human race are ONLY going to be solved (if they can be at all) on a “nano” level…through voluntary and intentional associations and mutual aid among individuals. The more power we concentrate in anyone’s hands, the state, corporations, religions, etc., the more abuse of that power will be inevitable.

To see where I’m coming from, check out the work of E.F. Schumacher and Leopold Kohr.

I guess you’d call me a “nanarchist.”

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By GradyLeeHoward, November 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian (maybe Foucaultian?):
I’ve found over a year of taking this forum
seriously that people here are not buddies. Some of
them know and truly despise one another. Others are
cloaked and dare not de-mask. It’s not like we can
make deals like Craig’slist and get a ride here or
there, ideologically or spatially. I’ve given my
email address (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) but I think
most are not seeking any back channels or
adventures. I am laid up right now until after
Thanksgiving but I try to be a documentary
filmmaker. The other issue you had about clarifying
specific points and not rehashing is precluded
under the egoistic attitudes I’ve described. Now if
Anarcissie were ever in New Jersey she could visit
our house and Gladdie and I would be interested in
her talk. That is true of many of you.

Foucault, I came to believe after studying media
analysis in Switzerland as an older adult, was
focused on the technologically derived discipline
used by the ruling class to cap the behavior range
of the masses. While Michael Foucault claimed to be
interested in the application of these powers at
the level of specific implementation he also
offered theoretical essays positing that older
forms of legitimacy (sovereignty) were being
displaced by the manipulative totalitarianism he
described so well. And while this “science” worked
well using great force it remained pseudo-science.
So Foucault includes by implication the dissolving
of the sovereignty reserved to the People in
representative democracy.
If one is discussing the prison industrial complex,
gender relations, medicine and the asylum, and even
the hegemony over various areas of knowledge (such
as history) it is always clarifying to re-examine
the writings of Foucault.

So my best hope is that the person I’m addressing
has a knack for Foucaulting any claims or theories
presented here as a means of parallel testing of
hypotheses. And Foucault (the experimenter in the
pleasures of being disciplined) was certainly no
stranger to real experience, but not a ramparts athlete, unlike Bakhunin. So share your
archaeology as well if so inclined. And please feel
free to contact me if it pleases you. Having
suffered in the movies and on TV I am shy of social
netwoking. I prefer handwritten and face to face
communication. I hope to join Occupy in Washington
by December if the opportunity remains available.
The original hope, I’d heard, was for an ever
larger crowd in the seat of power: too many to
police.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, November 1, 2011 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

The state of the State is ever-changing.  Which groups have influence changes.  There are three levels of ‘The State’ in these united states, and as we’ve seen, the representation and influence of the thousands of represented groups is dynamic.  The constant is that the represented groups do indeed use the power of the state against the unrepresented. 

The cruel joke of our democracy is that so may of us think we belong to one of the special groups that will be ‘taken care of’.  In reality, we sell our special interest group souls for the price of our common humanity. 

The State must come to represent the peoples common good, not corporations or special interest groups.  Then it will be as good as it can be.  Still very imperfect, but not on a trajectory for disaster. 

OWS must reject the idea of a rainbow coalition.  Radical thinking means no special interest groups, especially those defined by corporate person-hood.

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Correction:  an awful waste ...

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By Foucauldian, November 1, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Just a little suggestion to see how it flies ...

I think one way we could improve this thread (any TD
thread) would be if made greater effort trying to
engage each other.  Compared to other sits, TD, by
virtue of its comparatively radical stand, tends to
attract many like-minded people, more so than those
who are dead-set against any kind of radical program. 
That’s my impression at least, and it’s a great
beginning.  What I find frustrating, however, is
locating important focal points on which to zero in. 

Many comments, for example, address Mr. Hedges
directly.  I understand it’s a polite form, but Mr.
Hedges is not part of our discussion.  If he were,
I’d say by all means, and we’d be all happy for the
fact, to have the article’s author participate.  But
that’s not the case, and we all know it.

Well, I find those comments which address Mr. Hays
directly, as it were, somewhat distracting but not as
regard to content—only with respect to the flow of
conversation.  IMO, they make the site not as easy to
navigate and become part of the discussion.  In fact,
I see those comments as points of disconnect.

Wonder what you all think, or what other improvements
can we make.  There are plenty bright, intelligent
and dedicated people here, and it seems to me an
awful was that at times we’re just like ships passing
one another in the night.  I think we certainly we do
better.

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By gregorylkruse, November 1, 2011 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

People are having a lot of hope over these protests, and surely the old protesters could and should teach the young.  But if I get an accurate feel from the attitudes of commenters to this article, it seems like the tired old rehash of political theory that has never taken us anywhere.  There simply has to be enough people out on the street to immobilize the police and scare the rich, or the whole thing will come to nothing.  Winter is coming to New York.  Since Kent State, many violent but not lethal means have been developed to disperse crowds with few police personel involved.  I don’t see any way to overwhelm the protection of the criminals on Wall Street.  While OWS and other protests around the world are impressive, and they have changed the conversation somewhat, unless they become much bigger, there is little hope that the criminals will pay for what they have done, or that they will be somehow be restrained from doing what they plan to do in the future.  The criminals know that there will be a limited number of winners and a great number of losers in the coming decades.  To think that a limited peaceful protest will cause them to join the losers is delusional, in my opinion.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 1, 2011 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

bpawk—If you think something should be done, why don’t you do it?

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By Anarcissie, November 1, 2011 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

GradyLeeHoward, November 1 at 10:28 am:

‘Ardee/Raylan: The obvious historical truth
demonstrates that nothing will be allowed to co-
exist with capitalism. The “business mind”
obliterates everything else. That’s how the USA
became totalitarian and abandoned any ambition of
representative democracy. The vehicle of capitalism
is not the state but the private tyrannies we call
corporations. ...’

I think a coherent definition of the state is going to require that corporations and other institutions created and upheld by the government and ruling class be included in it.

As for coexisting with capitalism, lots of things coexist with capitalism.  The genius of liberalism is its ability to comprehend paradox and contradiction.  However, capitalists will not easily yield their place as rulers of the community.  In fact, they tend to capture regulators and redistributors.  Hence attempts to transition to socialism or communism through government intervention seem doomed.

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By GradyLeeHoward, November 1, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Ardee/Raylan: The obvious historical truth
demonstrates that nothing will be allowed to co-
exist with capitalism. The “business mind”
obliterates everything else. That’s how the USA
became totalitarian and abandoned any ambition of
representative democracy. The vehicle of capitalism
is not the state but the private tyrannies we call
corporations.

Chris Hedges: With all the looming lethal problems
how do we find time for roses and dances? Are roses
and dances a metaphor for new means of problem
solving? A dropout from California being a
teacher/facilitator sounds like an old Bertolt
Brecht play (Caucasian Chalk Circle).

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By bpawk, November 1, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

The occupiers must be more forceful and go to washington.  This is serious business, taking on the ruling elite, and the rules and regulations are made by the ruling elite in Washington, not Wall Street - they are not going to give up their power so easily. The occupiers need to organize millions of people to descend on Washington on one particular day to get the government’s attention - Americans are all potential voters - use your power to sway your government representatives - after all, they use your money, put them to work for it!

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By ardee, November 1, 2011 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

RayLan, November 1 at 2:50 am Link to this comment

Communism failed because it could not co-exist with a largely capitalist Western economy.

An interesting, if a bit obtuse, comment, RayLan. I am assuming that, by communism, you mean the old USSR. Setting aside the fact of the impurity of that regimes “communist” nature I would note that the USSR bankrupt itself in spending ever more on the Cold War and nothing much on its economy or the needs and wishes of its people.

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By Paul Upton Watkins, November 1, 2011 at 9:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Its so beautiful when ordinary people find their true voice.  Its a voice that speaks without hesitation, a voice driven by clarity, honesty and a human intelligence, not an academic intelligence, which is something learnt but an intuitive intelligence which is found deep within.
Through history events have sparked these human perceptions which somehow gives us an automatic sense of clear perspective…The difference from what is fundamentally right and just to something fundamentally wrong.  At this particular moment in time we find ourselves entering one of these historic events.
Today’s events are driven by an elite who
somehow have become detached from their own clarity and honesty and subconsciously replaced it with extreme forms of vanity, ego and greed.
Its surprising how moral principle and truth are
quickly dispensed with in the face of crude personal gain.
Today, we find ourselves in a whirlpool of institutionalised economic corruption which has revealed the ugliest truth to the ordinary hard working man…That honesty and belief in your own democratically elected government doesn’t always pay…Its time for your true voice to speak.

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By whitedog, November 1, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

We know things are way out of wack. Not just financially but socially, oh in every way. I support the Occupiers for so many reasons. Now, because of this article, more than ever.

I have lived on the edge for many many years. Lived out of dumpsters, food banks and Salvation Army stores. I reach out to the activists in my town but get no where—even from Mr. Hedges when he showed up for a speech; he was abismal to me, laughed and looked dirisively, but I had been openly derided by my local group for asking him what he thought about the psychiatric stand against spirituality, the rampant athiesm so distructive in our world. That in and of itself is the most evil of influences, destructive and chilling in its cruel disregard of truth and all its potential glorious effects.

So I have lived-live among the poor, and grew up among the wealthy, and need to feel not just the complaint but the protective voice which wants to understand and reflect that those in need are vulnerable and have big dreams like those who have and those who have are doing what they were taught to do. All want to eat well and feel secure in their homes and knowledge of the world, are smart and capable. I want to know that all their children are thought of, won’t go down in some temporary fracture of the heights of political and material hording.

Its human nature to vy and run with the gold and diamonds of the day. But its not our best nature. The wealthy aren’t happier, in fact they are insidiously unhappy, know somewhere there is something screwed up in their agenda but can’t find the way to put their finger on it.

So my efforts are to inject even now the spiritual values of Crazy Horse and those who have lived as regular guys and succeeded. Those who gave of themselves and lead with the courage of the ages to protect the helpless ones. Those who have lived by the greatest vaues to the end (those very scandalous ends). It is time that we protect and lead with our best selves. Protect this courageous young man and his colleagues who are good providers and speak their minds from the heart in public for all to witness.

Why can’t we be decent and practical? Why can’t we have the world we want? One where noone is preyed upon to provide for someone else an elegant life at the expense of their happiness and dreams.

I’m looking for a spiritual revolution. One where the guides are relevant, the voice one of calm understanding and true wisdom leading.

Fearless change is good for some strong young people, but all must come in and be thought of to truly succeed.

The wealthy are mostly clueless, have no idea how to move forward into a world where their foremost asset can become something great as a resourse for the good of all. To suggest to them that they must give up everything is too rough, how about give up enough to make things harmonious for everybody? H Annnnd, how about transparency in finance? How about a functional work place where one doesn’t have to become someone else, bereft of family and personal needs? How about a society where the first things out of someone’s mouth isn’t an insult or complaint, but a suggestion or compliment, or offer of help. Or .......something new. Who knows what can happen when everybody helps out? When things change out of good heart, thoughtfulness and observation.

The opposition to Occupy isn’t the rich its the bank of experience that drives all our actions. Gentle thoughtful persuasion and other influencing can do so much.

Peace and happiness exist, they are real concepts like anything else and can have their times.

I’m writing a screen play and in it a woman asks what a place would be like with “healed” as a quality. So I’m throwing that out there: What would the world we want be like as a constant? What would peace be like as a constant?

The North and South American continents are called the land of peace by the spirits. We should be able to pull this off

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By Noman, November 1, 2011 at 6:59 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges,

Ending your most recent column with a quote by Marx, it is stated that a
proletariat revolution would succeed where the bourgeois one would not.
However, a Marxist proletariat movement is far different from the revolution
supported by Bakunin. Marx favored an elite vanguard composed of the
proletariat leading the rest of the masses to revolution. Bakunin, on the other
hand, favored a revolt of the masses lead by the peasant and working classes
themselves, a leaderless revolt that would mirror the desired non-hierarchical
state. Simply put, Bakunin supported a revolution lead by the popular classes
while Marx did not trust said popular classes to lead a revolution, instead
opting for a proletariat elite to overthrow the bourgeois, albeit with the aid of
the masses.

It seems that you are equating the revolution Marx desired with Bakunin’s,
which is far from the truth. Although Bakunin heartily supported Marx’s
economics interpretations of capitalism, Bakunin never supported the
revolutions of Marx and vice versa; both would overthrow the bourgeois but
with far different means. Mr. Hedges, the revolutionary goals of Bakunin and
Marx are not the same as your column suggests. Your readers are being
subtlety deceived by your writing, which should be of chagrin to an otherwise
great political educator as yourself.

-Noman

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By Oceanna, November 1, 2011 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

The 1% clearly see themselves outnumbered and vulnerable to the the collective
strength expressed by he Occupiers.  So the crackdowns and media distortions
have ensued. 

I think the politics of power abuse and the responses/reactions to it do repeat
some historical patterns.  Hopefully, the Occupy outcome is an enduring hybrid of
the old and new.

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By ardee, November 1, 2011 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

Duppy Durruti, October 31 at 3:47 pm

I rise to both thank you for your latest effort, to assure you that I responded only to ask for more in depth reportage of the infighting you claim and , lastly, to note how “cute” is OM to think to find an ally in you.

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By RayLan, November 1, 2011 at 2:50 am Link to this comment

Communism failed because it could not co-exist with a largely capitalist Western economy. By then the tentacles of global corporatism were completing their grasp, centered in unregulated US financial practices.
Now the end of capitalism as a democracy-sustaining system is imminent. Unless the social forces it has oppressed push back and re-structure it, we are facing the collapse of the free world. Since capitalism is predatory on a large consumer-base, and that consumer base is gradually being impoverished like a parasite killing its host, global corporate hegemony is fragile and can only be short-lived.

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By EmileZ, November 1, 2011 at 1:35 am Link to this comment

Body Count - Masters Of Revenge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpr1smzNQBs

Happy Halloween Mr. Hedges

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 1, 2011 at 1:20 am Link to this comment

I qualify my input with the disclaimer: I’m not a philosopher but an engineer. I’m used to dealing with concrete things, with problems of a physical nature needing to be solved. Thus, I’m not well read in the great writing of those who dedicated their lives to deeper things. There are many on this board who have studied these writing and I defer to them in matters of historical context and revolutionary thought. This is just one man’s opinion:

All I can say is OWS is but the latest manifestation of an anger that has been growing around the world for some time. Since the 70s and globalization, people have been getting more and more upset with the status quo. There have been manifestations of this anger everywhere ... the Arab spring, Madison, the anti-war movement but there has not been a critical mass until now. Perhaps OWS in yet another step along the long path to change and will, with the coming of winter, peter out only to reform when spring arrives. The important thing to note is the cohesion and anger are growing. More people are coming out to express their disgust with the powerful. So whatever happens, the revolution has started and, I think, can no longer be stopped. People have seen the state’s reaction to the OWS and they are pissed. They now see the police state in its fully glory and they are pissed. They have seen the political backlash to the occupations and they are pissed. This depression is not going away and that will only make more and more people angry. Seeing the elites live like kings while the vast majority of the world’s citizens starve or struggle cannot go on forever. There will be a revolt.

As for communists, socialists and anarchists ... those fights have been going on forever. Read the excellent stories of the 1917 revolution and how those same forces fought and battled for control. Revolutions always start from the margins ... the canaries in the coal mine that indicate something is wrong. The canaries are now fully involved, screaming that society is sick and filled with poison. Now it is time for the masses to engage and add their thunder to the raised voices of the marginalized. I think the middle class and labor are starting to listen and to comprehend what is going on. As the country falls deeper and deeper into depression, they will come out in droves and then the battle will be on. It will be messy but there is no turning back.

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By EmileZ, October 31, 2011 at 10:22 pm Link to this comment

@ Foucaldian

RE: Do you think Foucalt would disapprove of OWS?

Beats me!!!

RE: Marx wasn’t a postmodernist.

WHO OR WHAT IS A POST-MODERNIST!!!!

ARRRGHH!!!!

@ rumblingspire

Is there a balance
Within these Truthdig rants
As one might find in magnificent artificial breast implants?

Or are we destined to prance
As if in a trance
Obsessing about the cans and can’ts
Some of us taking a stance
Others sowing seeds that grow into plants?

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By rumblingspire, October 31, 2011 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

its all a dance
its circumstance
if left to chance
its circumstance

beware anarchy
embrace anarchy

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By rumblingspire, October 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

the revolution will be open sourced!  open source guarantees popularity by its very nature.

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By rumblingspire, October 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

never again vote for the lesser of two evils!
we would rather effect change by other means!

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By ghostofwatergate, October 31, 2011 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

I apologize in advance for the rambling which is about to
commerce here, but my thoughts about everything are probably as
jumbled up as anyone’s, excepting a few posters on this board.

The days are young yet and there is plainly no crystallization
as to specific goals or demands, spurious, leaked, outrageous or
reasonable, whatever the hell that might mean given the fucked
up state of elite control at the present time, so liberal
complaints on this board are just more of the same bullshit
we’ve seen since at least 1900.

For those who have not been to an Occupation, I suggest they go
and spend some time talking, and more importantly, 
listening. Presently, you are way out of your depth.

Hedges is becoming the historian of this movement, perhaps the
only one really qualified out of innumerable commenters and
reporters that I’ve been reading for the last couple of months,
since he obviously has the critical broad historical knowledge
and sympathy to bring us insights into what is transpiring, or
perhaps empathy is the better word.

We already know what his opinion of the liberal take is, so as
liberals keep whining about “radicals”, on this board as well as
elsewhere, I say, shut up and listen. Of course there are
radicals at the core of the movement, homeless people, the
unemployed, the pissed off, and people with strong opinions.
What the hell do you think a revolution is about? Liberal
gradualism and whining as opposed to action is what got us into
this mess in the first place. The only way out of this mess is a
radical break with the past, a radical re-thinking of the
paradigm, and that requires some strong talk.

It will shake out, so I say, bring it on, radicals, and keep it coming.

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By Ralph Kramden, October 31, 2011 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges 10/11/2011. Am I the only one? If so I must really be stupid. Chris Hedges is all over the place. He loves Bakunin and hates Marx, probably because Marx had no use for religion and Hedges is some sort of believer. I do recall Hedges a few weeks back going gaga over non-violence. As Bertrand Russell noted, non-violence would never work against a Hitler. Bakunin was anything but non-violent. So Hedges worships the man of action and despises those who spent their time at the “British library.” Yet he
ends the piece with a long quote by Marx. My friend Hedges, Marx was a revolutionary, he not only suffered poverty and misery throught his life
but he did it while organizing and providing invaluable evidence about the evils of capitalism. If it hadn’t been for Engels,Marx would’ve starved. With his talent and genius, Marx could have been a wealthy man all he had to do was to suck-up to the rich. It is heroic to man the barricades but it is also heroic to organize cells and provide the reasons why to the revolt, otherwise it is just a mindless fury. Marx provided the evidence against capitalism, something that has never been refuted. As to non-violence in this USA, you know the government that was aghast at Gaddafi using force against an armed rebellion? Do any of you have the slightest doubt that our
government would not use force against any type of armed insurrection?

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By OzarkMichael, October 31, 2011 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

Durruti your last post was very honest. If the Truthdiggers would be that honest we would get along better. I might even lend support to aspects of what they want. I am not a fan of using deceit and force to get what we want. I dont see how that leads to more truth and more freedom in the long run.

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By Duppy Durruti, October 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

@ardee

  I apologise if I wasn’t clear. I have no inside knowledge whatsoever regarding New York. I was merely speaking about the similarities regarding factions in the St. Paul’s encampment in London- where I’m at now and where I’ve been consistently for the last week. Prior to that I was going home at night so I could clean myself up and cook and bring back food. The kitchen facilities here were not nearly as useful in the first week as they are now.

  I imagine the “Durruti” aspect of my login makes it clear as to which faction I’m most comfortable with, but I’ve been stunned by the games that have been played by all sides. It seems no trick is too dirty when you passionately believe in what you’re fighting for- everything ranging from accusations that those you disagree with are agent provocateurs, right down to petty attempts to hinder messaging and coordination within groups, such as theft of phone and laptop chargers.

  I understand that your experiences in the sixties and seventies make these types of conflicts seem commonplace, but I’m afraid that may be the point exactly. The accomplishments of the 60s and 70s fall far short of what we need today.

  It’s difficult to believe deceit and ego driven politicking is a “normal part” of any successful non-violent movement. It seems far too poisonous and contentious to yield healthy results. But you may well be right, perhaps it’s my inexperience with such things that makes them seem so shocking.

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By Foucauldian, October 31, 2011 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Disagree, Morpheus.  Protest is the message and
occupation the medium.  It’s the process of direct
democracy that’s being re-discovered anew.  We’re
still in experimental stages, and the people are
getting primed and hardened as in the furnace of fire
for times ahead.  It’ll take time before the African-
Americans and other minorities, women and gays, all
who are part of the 99 percent, will join in the
struggle.  First we must demonstrate the iron will.

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By ardee, October 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

I am about a week from recovery from hip surgery sufficiently to join the Oakland protest. Hopefully the police will not riot as I am unable to run yet. wink

I believe, as much as I can understand what is happening without actually being there, that we are seeing the evolution of a movement, a rather natural occurrence despite Hedges overly dramatic portrayal.

Despite the nonsense spouted by Ozark ( doesnt he understand that his ridiculous posts lend more credibility to the OWS by making the opposition seem ludicrous?) I think we can not yet despair.

I would recall the post of Duppy Durruti, October 31 at 1:03 pm who seems to have, or at least claim, inside information as to a struggle between factions within the OWS. At least in the London encampment anyway. Though this poster paints a bleak picture of both communist and socialist, and seems to set them against the anarchists, I can draw upon my own experiences in the sixties and seventies and note this is a normal part of the growth of any broad based political and social uprising.

I will, hopefully, know better after visiting Oakland and San Francisco when I can walk without the darn cane. My friends who have been at the SF gathering have reported only a deal of organization, good vibes and good helpful people. I hope this is more the case than others report.

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