FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Non-Manifesto for What is to be Done

The problem of why the US Left is quite ineffectual is because US progressives are not revolutionaries. They are as bourgeois as their anti-Left antagonists. Street theatre like ‘Occupy Wall Street’ is like the clowns are coming to town, slogans like “Black Lives Matter” may excite the cable news flunkies but it is as effective as the similarly vapid slogan “Black is Beautiful”. Cute and bowdlerized versions of rebellion like those of Stewart and Colbert serve to reverse all advancement towards critical enlightenment. Conforming is the most destructive kind of societal coercion, but accepted as a calming influence on the very rebellious inner resistance which all sentient human beings have against being told what to do. It pervades unfortunately much of the US public and by now most of the European one too. It likes little leaders (almost always of the male sex) and nods in agreement about organizing and forming oppressive hierarchies. The US Left is as much a victim of this way of thinking as the most reactionary pedestrian political tour leader. It absorbs probably unwillingly (though that is often doubtful), a poisonous way of thinking along predetermined and prefabricated shibboleths that pop up each time that challenges to rote thinking are being perceived.

True revolution is the result of interrupted patterns of behavior and ideas, not a laming repetition of trial and error in the same direction as is taught by previous generations of the frustrated. The co-optation of liberating thought is like a Taylor band that never stops but it requires from every worker along its line to put in the same pre-patterned screw and if it does not fit is thrown on the dung heap. That is why those misfit screwy ones are the true revolutionaries, not the same old, same old tottering along the party lines. One may blame the herd instinct which assumes security and prosperity by fitting in, whether it is a Left cadre or a mass demonstration, but in fact the reality is that true revolutionaries stand alone and sustain their staying power by their own resources. That is how quite shameless reactionary rebels like Mussolini and now Trump obtain their power.

Emancipation and social, economic and political justice are simply questions of power. And power is not won by argument or even by applying emancipatory laws, because the laws are anyway created and imposed by power groups within what euphemistically are called democracies, places where a majority, right or wrong has imposed its acquiescence to being ruled by a small clique. That elite minority takes its cues from economic power interests which in turn are controlled by big shareholders. The whole system of private shareholding and participating in the collective power that corporate institutions hold is contrary to a sane distribution of labor and wealth within any nation. The bundling of power is openly sought in capitalist societies like the gathered together and bound arrows of the Fascist, US and Rothschild emblems.

A full disintegration of the social contract is the only path towards change as the French and Russian revolutions have shown. The disturbances to civil society are very cruel but necessary to break the hold that fear of dissociation and the law traditions of precedence have over the population. The fallacy which maintains that the mass demonstrations and civil disturbances would have a definitive influence on the political balance has already shown to be untenable by the utterances of Bush Jr during the preparations for the Iraq attack. Civil disobedience is easily contained by the unrelenting and violent forces at hand for the vested interests and should be abandoned because they tend to strengthen those forces each time their intervention is required to shore up the status quo. It is an action/reaction that will tighten and refine control as required. The Russian Winter palace demonstration of 1905 comes to mind and despite its propagandistic consequences had no other result then already, than a concentration of the oppression.

But work interruptions like a general strike are far more feared by the powers-that-be as they tend to flow and ebb into uncontrollable directions. Each time one part of the strike is contained, others will break out at unexpected corners. And work sabotages are much like guerilla war fare. They require solidarity which is a highly dangerous foe to capitalist regimes and therefore is suppressed and treated like a debilitating element in the so-called struggle for daily survival. Solidarity as has correctly been observed forms a sustaining factor in all impoverished communities. And it does not mean slavish conformity but mutual support.

A re-enchantment of the working classes in the US is adamant because they are entirely alienated by the co-optation of their unions. How this can be affected is still in the lap of the gods. It cannot be done by outside radical agitators (the lockstep Left is a non-starter for raising revolutionary conscience) as it must grow from its roots of internal discontent. A problem is that this can take a direction like in Germany in the nineteen twenties and thirties. The US being a very bourgeois society whitewashes (a meaningful expression) after awhile every controversy and every dispute causing a public disconnect between memory and significance. Thus disarmed, the working classes have no recourse except trying to stay afloat in the consumerist race.

Added to the economic malaise presently threatening subsistence in the US is the question of the destruction of the environment. Human hubris avoids the reality that humans are part of nature, part of the rich animal diversity. Maybe it is simply nature’s character that it threatens to depopulate the earth of all flora and fauna after the full blossoming of life. It is hoped that human science will rescue it, but the reality is that the Heisenberg principle of uncertainty in measurement applies equally to expectations of technological solutions for ending a degradation of our earth. The deeper we probe, the more mysterious nature becomes and the more we interfere with natural phenomena.

A thorough reversal of fortune is predicted for this empire of material and ideological conquest, but so far it has been able to maintain its superiority by martial means and by applying economic pressure. That ultimate event will remain a pipe dream for decades as yet to come because any weakness is only relative in comparison to other large nations. But a worker rebellion in the form of strikes, their best weapon could rescue nature as well as re-direct the unnatural over-production of unnecessary artifacts into a more life sustaining direction.

A very large version of the Paris Commune can be envisioned because present day discontent in the cities may well give rise to the type of Canut revolts that supported in the late nineteenth century a revolutionary basis and the interest in non-politicians may predict a change in the public tolerance for being ruthlessly and cynically engineered.

As for the expropriators: “les fourmis vont vous manger” (the ants will finally devour you).

More articles by:

Gui Rochat is an art dealer and consultant, specializing in in seventeenth and eighteenth century French paintings and drawings. He lives in New York.

August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail