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Messages - Cain

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Historically, with a really big war to remind everyone at the top that they are mortal and not actually disconnected from society.

Our elites have shown that they are uninterested in listening to protest on this and similar issues (violent and nonviolent alike), so I'm honestly not sure what else will do it. I'm also not advocating a really big war, and I'd like to see some other solution... but I'm drawing a blank on what that might look like.

Some of the more intelligent investors out there are actually warning their social bretheren that, if steps are not taken to reform wealth distribution and the economy that, at best, they are looking at a "Baader-Meinhof" solution to become popular...if not a more French arrangement, if you catch my drift.

My suspicion is that political elites already acknowledge this to some degree, hence the massive security and surveillance measures that have been put in place over the past couple of decades.

So true.

I guess my question is, how do we change the system?

Difficult to say.  I mean, I'm a big fan of 1960s/70s managed capitalism - a capitalist, welfare state with strong unions, a robust welfare system and a lot of support for further education and training.  I think a lot of the problems of America's black community are not just racism but classism and lack of prospects which that entails - richer black Americans, in better neighbourhoods, are not generally subject to the same levels of discrimination (though of course there are exceptions).  As such, redistribution efforts are probably the best long-term policy to deal with the problem.

Of course, this is America, where not leaving people to die in the streets because they have the temerity to obtain a tooth infection while being poor, is seen as socialism, so I guess the first step would be to try and shift the terms of the debate with regards to the economy and government's role in it.  This would shift the Democrats to at least acknowledge the left wing of their party and voting constituency, and may force Republicans to the centre to chase votes, especially as their natural voting constituency dies off.

American liberals and leftists are, of course, terrible at communicating, mostly because of their own privileged and/or academic backgrounds. Not to mention the near constant sneering.  So that would probably be the very first port of call - I believe Gramsci referred to such people as "organic revolutionaries", and while we're not All Gramscians Now, he still had some interesting ideas on how to achieve political and cultural hegemony, which should probably be looked at in a more critical and strategic fashion.


Its not just that. Its part of a larger narrative, that the world is run by evil racist old white men, which is the cause of all our problems. So they(mostly trust fund kiddies) by checking all their privs, and purging themselves of racism are preparing to take control from ROWM and usher in the defeat of racism in our time. How thats supposed to solve the groundwater shortage, or peak oil, or Climate Change, or fix the economy is a little hazy, but Im sure theres a TED talk with all the answers somewhere.

Its a moral panic. Stage 3 of grief en mass. The idea that if we all just really really commit to being good people all of our problems will go away. Eventually well all reach stage 5, police driving tanks and 12 hour workweeks for under minimum wage will just become the new normal.

There's definitely that, too.

I just didn't want to go off on one - I'm fairly sure everyone knows my views on tumblr's politics (and how that intersects with neoliberalism) by now  :lol:

I'd try the TumblrInAction reddit for some good examples.  Word of caution - some denizens of TiA are very rightwing libertarians/reactionaries/Nazis using criticism of SJWs in an attempt to undermine social justice as a concept.  Not all of them, not even a majority, but definitely double and triple check what they are sourcing and follow the arguments through the tumblr links, as sometimes the truth is more complex than the snapshot they present.

I used to have a few links, but the people I followed either now have private blogs, or have disappeared offline entirely (which is telling in and of itself).  Another possible resource is Will Shetterly's blog on social justice - he concentrates more on the speculative fiction writers and fandom (he is a science fiction author) but his reasoning can be expanded to the tumblr crowd.  He also references Malcolm X and MLK a lot, which is nice.

Also, a quick word of warning - Cracked has a couple of quite fervent SJWs on their writing staff and in the forums.  You likely already know who I'm referring to (the authors of the article which claimed the new Tomb Raider game and The Last Of Us are sexist comes to mind).  Just don't be too disappointed if your article is, for whatever reason, rejected, and consider alternative venues.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Karen Armstrong Talk
« on: Yesterday at 08:59:32 am »
She also challenges religion's reputation for causing war, pointing out that historians of war always point to multiple reasons for conflict - of which religion is often a small part. This seemed really brave given recent ISIS activities, but then she went on to point out that ISIS's members know roughly nothing about Islam, by and large, and that their appeal likely has more to do with the disenfranchisement and depression endemic to being part of a minority. This made a lot of sense to me; she's not justifying their atrocities, she's saying that if you don't actually listen to and examine the root causes for these people's actions, you'll never stop them. And religion is often only a small part of those reasons.

Yup.  War's a multicausal phenomena - putting wars down to "religion" in a crass, Richard Dawkins-esque way is little more than a fake explanation.  Asking "why" wars happen is a stupid question anyway, if history teaches us anything, its that almost anything, in the right context, can be a cause for a war.  Asking how wars occur is far more interesting and fruitful, the process by which war occurs.

And when you get into that, you find a lot more interesting data, too.  For example, wars often follow social and political upheaval - 50% of all revolutions are followed by a war.  That may not sound like a signficant statistic, but for social sciences, that's a very big number (of course, this data doesn't include civil conflict arising from revolution as war, which would presumably preclude events in Syria from counting as war as well).  Wars are rationally chosen when leaders think they can achieve their aims via conflict rather than via negotiation - Assad's father literally destroyed a city to prevent an Islamist uprising, and the Iraqi government is increasingly despotic and Shi'a in orientation.  Historically, Al-Qaeda in Iraq almost ran an Islamic state out of Anbar province, until the US backed reluctant Sunni tribes in fighting AQI.  ISIS draws its membership from those who are often socially excluded in other countries - Muslims have lower literacy rates and higher unemployment than pretty much any other social or religious group in Europe, and its Middle Eastern members are drawn from the ranks of the impoverished young, from states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, where fat old men with royal connections run everything and there is no chance for advancement.  And of course, the Middle East has constantly been meddled with since WWI - the lust for oil has led to the backing of tyrants who have held their people back.  Alternatives - like Arab nationalism and socialism - have been undermined and discredited.  People want change and the only change that is being credibly articulated is by groups like ISIS.

As a quick example off the top of my head.

It might be paywalled.  I think he has access to some journals, due to his work as a psychiatrist, but probably not the sort of access one would get with a University account or so on.

I initially wondered if this was some kind of elaborate Twitter troll, like kids pretending they didn't know who Osama Bin Laden was after he was killed.

Alas, no.  I found articles going back over 3 years talking about Twitter's "colon" obsession, and at least two Twitter accounts devoted to updating the masses on Twitter's love of colons.


Aneristic Illusions / Re: Rigging the System
« on: November 27, 2014, 01:58:26 pm »
Yeah, in one sense I look forward to UKIP getting some power as, at long last, the spiteful portion of the British public will get the government they asked for.  But in every other sense, it will be horrifying, especially with what follows (since UKIP are destined to fail, while it's voting constituency will not die out).

In regards to Labour...I think at least half of the problems go back to the Blair years.  The Blairites were pretty scummy at times...but they were also media savvy, and fairly ruthless when dealing with the Tories.  All through Blair's leadership, the Tory Party rarely had him on the back foot, and quite often the situation was Blair had them running scared.

However, the Brownites and Blairites alienated each other through their scorched earth tactics around 2006-8, and in such a way that I don't see anyone from that wing of the party, with a longer history of successful government and media relations, sticking their head out for Miliband.  Labour's a divided house, and until they sort out their internal issues, either by Miliband getting some actually useful political advisors or by the party picking a leader who is acceptable to both wings, nothing will change.

Which is sad, because for a PR man Cameron is terrible in terms of public image.  I can think of half a dozen ways to make him look like a prat, and that's just in PMQs.

Miliband has had some success at jerry-rigging Parliament in terms of procedure and debate times, so it's not all doom and gloom.  Expect a few nasty surprises for the Tories in any future large votes - like, say, on Europe - because Miliband is a political nerd and if there is one thing nerds do well, it is game complex systems to become completely overpowered.  But it's hardly sufficient, as a strategy to bring down the coalition.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: Rigging the System
« on: November 27, 2014, 01:14:29 pm »
Sadiq Khan (who is fairly sensible so long as you don't let him near anti-terrorism legislation) has spoken out about - and against - this.

But I think anyone expecting Labour to try and sort out this mess is living in a bubble.  I'll admit, Miliband has had a hard time with a press who are primed and ready to smear and character assassinate him given the smallest chance.

But by the same measure, Miliband has been a weak opposition leader.  The Brownite milieu he gained his political credentials in was mostly good at 1) Keeping information from the Cabinet 2) not upsetting Gordon Brown and 3) leaking shit to the press.   He hasn't got the media presence or the political skills to sustain a broad attack on the government - on any of the public services.  And this is one issue that Labour should be united on - Blair's reforms were a key aspect of his government legacy, and whatever one may think of the man, certainly better than what is coming down the line from the Tories.

But given Labour's general morph into "rich boys club for those who don't hate gays or Muslims", even that may have changed.

I initially wondered if this was some kind of elaborate Twitter troll, like kids pretending they didn't know who Osama Bin Laden was after he was killed.

Alas, no.  I found articles going back over 3 years talking about Twitter's "colon" obsession, and at least two Twitter accounts devoted to updating the masses on Twitter's love of colons.

It is a fun concept.

I'm just leery of screenshots about me being passed around behind my back.  Some Discordians have...previous for such behaviour, and it was not well intended at all.  Had I been consulted beforehand, that would be a different issue.

Um, yeah.

That's a parody group.  Interesting though, that I've not been invited, while my posts are being used.

Use them to write five paragraph essays, of course.

So, people are actually protesting, despite the snow.

I am surprised but heartened by this news.  Also the protests appear to be spreading...a lot.

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