Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oil, Obama and tea... tea everywhere and not a drop to drink

As one should expect from a natural phenomenon, failure is fractal—observable at every scale. The same pattern of maladaptive strategy leading to untimely demise constantly replays itself at the level of viruses and bacteria, and all the way to individual plants and animals, populations, societies, countries and civilizations. Dimitri Orlov

Bogus and misdirected as the Tea Party movement is, in one respect it has an authenticity that the left lacks: it is angry and it's prepared to translate that anger into action. It is marching, recruiting, unseating, replacing. We talk, they act.  George Monbiot - Guardian
David Seaton's News Links
Globalization allows or forces all people to ask themselves, "what benefit do I derive from the state I pay taxes to?"

When we see that the only real power in the world belongs to the "markets", we all wonder what need our particular nation state fulfills that wouldn't be better served by a soccer team.

I repeat, that this is a question that stares everyone in the face today, both left and right, but only the far right seems to be addressing it, all backwards, but addressing it.

As Monbiot says, the Tea Party
(...) voices the resentments of those who sense that they have been shut out of American life. Yet it campaigns for policies that threaten to exclude them further. The Contract from America for which Tea Party members voted demands that the US adopt a single-rate tax system, repeal Obama's healthcare legislation and sustain George Bush's reductions in income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. The beneficiaries of these policies are corporations and the ultra-wealthy. Those who will be hurt by them are angrily converging on state capitals to demand that they are implemented.
So obviously they are thick as a brick, but they are a living example of people who are on their feet, getting well organized around what they believe in and taking it to the streets and the political campaigns.

This a movement. Misguided, manipulated, wrong headed, whatever, but as Woody Allen said, 90 percent of success is just showing up.

So the only ones showing up are the ultra-right.

Let's not put too fine a point on the word ultra-right, let's just loosely define it as some sort of ad-hoc mix of xenophobic, chauvinistic, populist-militaristic idiocy whereby globalization's walking wounded blame their troubles on a variable geometry combination of Islam, homosexuality, abortion, elitism and ruccola, instead of the financial industry (for example).

But funny enough though,  for incipient fascistoids they don't seem to be yearning for some Duce, Caudillo, Fuhrer or The One to lead them passively to the promised land. They are not cutting anybody any slack: pragmatism, charisma and "stories" don't seem to make much of a dent in them, its all program, program and God help the politician that deviates from their orthodoxy.

Why can't the left seem to show such initiative?

George Monbiot has put his finger right on a major problem for the American left or for the left in most developed countries for that matter: the left has become the default wimp option.

This certainly is not a law of nature, they hardly ever came more alpha than Joe Hill,  Che Guevara or Lenin, but in the USA, and most of the rest of the developed world, the left has somehow come to be vaguely represented by ruccola, white wine and librarians. Who knows, perhaps it's something they put in the water or feed to the beef cattle.

But maybe, just maybe the worm is turning, Katrina vanden Heuvel the editor and publisher of the Nation, one of America's leading progressive voices, wrote the following in the Washington Post:
Now, with resistance imperiling the Obama's change agenda, there is an understanding that it is time for progressives to mobilize independently once more. It doesn't matter whether you think Obama has done the best that he can or that he has compromised too easily. What's important is to alter the balance of power. And that means recruiting and mobilizing to unleash new energy into the debate. (...) The tension between Obama and the progressive movement isn't a threat to the president. Rather, it may be needed to save him.
Well, I'm of the opinion that if it will have to threaten him, and threaten him much more than the corporate "constituencies" do in order to "save" him.

Because this is really more about saving his proposed or
implied agenda than it is about saving him.

It's about wanting to save what people were wanting to want before they got what they got. DS


Harry Haller said...

Good point, the whole left-wimp thing is very annoying... but what's that thing with ruccola? I really like it with my salad ):

stunted said...

I have no idea what Katrina vanden Heuvel is talking about. Obama's change agenda? What could that possibly be when he has surrounded himself with Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Bernake, Bush jr.'s Defense secretary and, as foreign policy expert, the uber-Israeli apologist, Joe Biden, while meticulously shutting out any leftist input in his policy considerations? There never was a change agenda to resist. The man the tea baggers see as an outsider is the consummate insider, as are all his advisers. The "change" was just the electoral talisman trotted out every election cycle. Americans demand it. This is a country that now accepts as gospel that Washington is the problem, so politicians eager to join or stay in the village have to play at being outsiders with big brooms for clearing out the muck. Being a right-of center politician, it is perfectly coherent of Obama to ignore the left (save a few verbal scraps tossed its way from a pulpit now and again) and to seek compromise with the right. His implied agenda, as you accurately call it, was just that and vague enough to be a perfect marketing device for progressives to swallow the bait with gusto. There is no left in America, save in acadaemia, some labor organizations and ex-politicians like Cynthia McKinney , and they remain as marginalised under Obama as they have always been. There are only liberals, or progressives as current taste would have it, and they are just as thick as the ultra-right and make no more sense; they just use a more varied
vocabulary. They are seen as wimps
because they are Republican-lite.

Tea baggers seem to be a fin-de-race expression of caucasian fear. They see "their" America disappearing in an undertow of special interest groups. Obama's presidency has been the impetus for the birth of the baggers because of the color of his skin. Of course, he also has a scary name and an unusual (thus scary) upbringing (madrassas, and all), but above all, every time they look at him on TV they can see that he is different. It's only common sense, therefor, to think that he is out to take from them all that they hold dear. Never mind that any administration would have bailed out the banks and that private insurance and pharmaceutical companies are the big winners of healthcare "reform"; they know that he is out to impose socialism on us all. So, yes, they are hopelessly thick and would do far better to worry about global warming's real threat to their race, via melanoma, than fear some tidalwave of browness coming to drown them, but then they don't believe the planet's climate is changing, let alone that our lifestyle is a major cause of it.

If what's important is altering the balance of power, it will only be done in the real world, not one fueled by hope or delusional fears. I don't think it will happen here because Americans are addicted to founding myths, American exceptionalism and the cathartic experience of ownership. The thinking; the analyses of current events, their causes and possible repercussions are clouded by magical thinking, to be polite. There is no sense of community, no social contract to ground a common path. In fact, the common path is seen as socialism--we all know how nasty that is.

It's always a pleasure to tune in to your site, David. If you'll excuse me, I gotta go out to the garden bed and pick some ruccola for tonight's meal.