[A-List] The nature of WSF rhetoric
adsl675281 at tiscali.nl
Mon Jan 30 09:45:44 MST 2006
>The question is not what you want, but how you must do you to get what
Quite. "How to" skills are important. But the goals are surely just as
important. We cannot establish a reasonable relationship between means and
ends, if we don't have both. The worry in contemporary politics is that
there are no clear goals and that people talk about all sorts of stuff that
they haven't seriously researched.
>Some people, all self-styled liberals, rave about what they
world do if they have a million dollar to make the world better, but
have no idea how to go about making a million dollars under or outside
That's fair comment, though not all are liberals. I wouldn't mind making a
million dollars, but it's not easy these days, because not only do you have
to ingratiate yourself with sundry people, you'd also attract a gravy train
of people wanting their slice of the wealth (this is incidentally the
problem rich people talk about all the time, i.e. what is the justification
of claims to wealth, everybody wants your money for no good reason at all,
etc.). So really, you have to make much more than a million dollars, to
really own a million dollars that you could spend on worthwhile projects.
But that's just by the way. Point is, if a US, European, Australasian or
Japanese worker on average earns $25,000 constant (i.e. inflation adjusted)
dollars every year of his working life (a fairly realistic assumption), he
has actually individually earnt a million dollars. Simple math. Except, it
isn't sitting in the bank, he or she has spent most of it, and part of it is
taxed. In addition to that, he or she has earnt close to an equivalent
amount, on average, for the employer, who wouldn't hire him/her unless his
labour made money for him as well (I am just following the data here, and
assume a 100% rate of surplus value for arguyment's sake).
>US liberals ought to stop telling the rest of the world
what to do, and starting opposing their own government at home with some
real rigor, like Ramsey Clark. Unless US liberals show some concrete
revolutionary achievements in their own country, they have no status to
give advice to those who have made concrete achievement by blood and
sacrifice and yes brutality.
Probably, they think similar to Bill Clinton. Here's a Davos clip:
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton told corporate chieftains and political
bigwigs Saturday that climate change was the world's biggest problem -
followed by global inequality and the "apparently irreconcilable" religious
and cultural differences behind terrorism. (...) "First, I worry about
climate change," Clinton said in an onstage conversation with the founder of
the World Economic Forum. "It's the only thing that I believe has the power
to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it, and make a lot
of the other efforts that we're making irrelevant and impossible." (...) He
also said the current global system "works to aggravate rather than
ameliorate inequality" between and within nations - including in the United
States, where he lamented the "growing concentration of wealth at the top,"
alongside stagnation for the middle classes and rising poverty. (...)Clinton
won frequent enthusiastic applause - not a common situation at the annual
gathering in the Swiss Alps - for articulating a global vision more
conciliatory and inclusive than the one many of the assembled tend to
associate with U.S. politics. Clinton called on current world leaders to
seek ways of easing the "apparently irreconcilable religious and cultural
differences in the world, that are manifest most stunningly in headlines
about terrorist actions but really go far beyond that." "You really can't
have a global economy or a global society or a global approach to health and
other things unless there is some sense of global community."
>Now that some in the oppressed Third World
are beginning to show concrete results from their hard-earned
anti-imperialism struggles, these First World parasites who never were
even able to even moderate the systemic oppression in their own country,
let alone stop it, are now trying to tell those who faced death and
economic sanction how to be more perfect, as if the fact they came from
the US and its rotten academic institutions automaticaly annoint them
That's probably a trifle too polemical. The vast majority of First World
people are just ordinary workers raising families and so on. Most of them
aren't parasites, they're caught up in a world system beyond their control,
and, even then, they're often struggling to have some real control over
their own lives. The big problem of academia as far as I can see is that
they often don't really know what to study anymore, i.e. what really matters
from a global perspective
>Their own understanding of the US system and
how the evil operates in it is pitifully inadequate, kept in the dark by
their self comforting posture of being ideologically purer than Third
World real fighters in the field.
The first part is probably true. Most people are rather honest and
preoccupied with the good, not with evil. That is why, when they're
confronted with bogeys such as "Islamofascism", "Rogue states" and "Axes of
evil", they might gullibly believe that. But how can we validly judge who
are the real fighters? People fight in different ways, with different means.
I've often ""fought" just writing mails, possibly a slightly futile
activity, but okay. People fight anyway they can, if they have to.
>Types like Bond opposes brutality and
promotes "democracy", but they seem to do that with more passion in
their criticism of revolutionary forces than they do of the imperialist
Well I don't want to get caught in the crossfire between Henry and Patrick
here, but is this really fair? Self-criticism is as much part of the
revolutionary endeavour as is social criticism. If it is true that as you
say "Some people... have no idea how to go about making a million dollars
under or outside capitalism" (or at any rate make a substantive productive
contribution) you really do need to criticise your own people also. Notice
how Marx said that "proletarian revolutions, like those of the nineteenth
century, constantly criticize themselves, constantly interrupt themselves in
their own course, return to the apparently accomplished, in order to begin
anew; they deride with cruel thoroughness the half-measures, weaknesses, and
paltriness of their first attempts, seem to throw down their opponents only
so the latter may draw new strength from the earth and rise before them
again more gigantic than ever, recoil constantly from the indefinite
colossalness of their own goals"
passage implies that self-criticism is very much part of the revolutionary
>Revolutions are movements of stages without ultimates. To condemn the
lastest revolutionary stage for not reaching yet the ultimate stage is
to protect the obsolete stage now under siege.
I don't really see how this logically follows, because you can both
criticise the limitations of the past and criticise the limitations of the
present, without any assumptions about stages.
>China is not perfect,
Venesuela is not perfect, but the progress these countries are making
does not warrant the biased attacks from the like of Bond, and not for
the hidden-agenda arguments he tiresomely makes.
But how could we not be biased about China in some sense, a country of over
a billion people? You yourself make plenty criticisms of Chinese policies.
Of course, it's better if Chinese people criticise China because at least
they know what they're talking about. But, surely Chinese do some good
things and some bad things, and if they do some bad things, i't's legitimate
to criticise that? I have no indication that Patrick is anti-Chinese or
anti-Venezuela, I would think that doesn't even make sense to him. Patrick
makes the point that the Chinese are interested in foreign resources (e.g.
oil), and what he's concerned with is whether this does Africa some good or
not - whatever the lofty policy statements might say. And that is something
he can investigate and query, what's wrong with that?
>Not a word about the
progress toward the elimination of poverty, the defeat of imperialism,
but lots of noise about brutality and repression. How many on this list
really buy Bond's anti-communist line? Or that if the "repessive" CPC is
overthrown, the poor in China would be better off? Be serious.
I have no indication that Patrick has an "anti-communist line". I do know he
is very concerned with "the elimination of poverty, the defeat of
imperialism" and so on. But fact of the matter is that the CPC has not been
averse to some brutality and repression. Probably they regret a lot of it
now. It's very unlikely that the CPC will be overthrown in the medium term.
But a lot of state employees in China were thrown out of their jobs, ending
up standing on street corners trying to sell their labour for a pittance.
It's not as though the CPC is always "all for the workers". Personally, I
admire the Chinese, and I admire you, Henry, but I think you're getting too
polemical. It's better if you present a nice knock-down argument based on
fact. At the end of the day, you and Patrick mostly share the same ideals.
The question about "brutality and repression" is important, because how can
people liberate themselves if they are brutally repressed? How can brutal
repression lead to people freeing themselves, and making a good life?
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