Underpants Gnomes: A Critique of the Academic Left

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://larvalsubjects.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/underpants-gnomes-a-criti... Subjects</a>

I must be in a mood today&#8211; half irritated, half amused &#8211;because I find myself ranting. Of course, that&#8217;s not entirely unusual. So this afternoon I came across a post by a friend quoting something discussing the environmental movement that pushed all the right button. As the post read,</p>
<blockquote><p>For mainstream environmentalism&#8211; conservationism, green consumerism, and resource management &#8211;humans are conceptually separated out of nature and mythically placed in privileged positions of authority and control over ecological communities and their nonhuman constituents. What emerges is the fiction of a marketplace of &#8216;raw materials&#8217; and &#8216;resources&#8217; through which human-centered wants, constructed as needs, might be satisfied. The mainstream narratives are replete with such metaphors [carbon trading!]. Natural complexity,, mutuality, and diversity are rendered virtually meaningless given discursive parameters that reduce nature to discrete units of exchange measuring extractive capacities. Jeff Shantz, &#8220;Green Syndicalism&#8221;</p></blockquote>
<p>While finding elements this description perplexing&#8211; I can&#8217;t say that I see many environmentalists treating nature and culture as distinct or suggesting that we&#8217;re sovereigns of nature &#8211;I do agree that we conceive much of our relationship to the natural world in economic terms (not a surprise that capitalism is today a universal). This, however, is not what bothers me about this passage.</p></td><td><img title="Step 2 is attack. It always has been. It always will be." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2008/network.jpg"></td></tr></ta...

<p>What I wonder is just what we&#8217;re supposed to do <em>even if all of this is true</em>? What, given <em>existing conditions</em>, are we to do if all of this is right? At least green consumerism, conservation, resource management, and things like carbon trading are engaging in activities that are making real differences. From this passage&#8211; and maybe the entire text would disabuse me of this conclusion &#8211;it sounds like we are to reject all of these interventions because they remain tied to a capitalist model of production that the author (and myself) find abhorrent. The idea seems to be that if we endorse these things we are tainting our hands and would therefore do well to reject them altogether.</p>
<p>The problem as I see it is that this is the worst sort of abstraction (in the Marxist sense) and wishful thinking. Within a Marxo-Hegelian context, a thought is abstract when it ignores all of the mediations in which a thing is embedded. For example, I understand a robust tree abstractly when I attribute its robustness, say, to its genetics <em>alone</em>, ignoring the complex relations to its soil, the air, sunshine, rainfall, etc., that <em>also</em> allowed it to grow robustly in this way. This is the sort of critique we&#8217;re always leveling against the neoliberals. They are abstract thinkers. In their doxa that individuals are entirely responsible for themselves and that they completely make themselves by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, neoliberals ignore all the mediations belonging to the social and material context in which human beings develop that play a role in determining the vectors of their life. They ignore, for example, that George W. Bush grew up in a family that was highly connected to the world of business and government and that this gave him opportunities that someone living in a remote region of Alaska in a very different material infrastructure and set of family relations does not have. To think concretely is to engage in a cartography of these mediations, a mapping of these networks, from circumstance to circumstance (what I call an &#8220;onto-cartography&#8221;). It is to map assemblages, networks, or ecologies in the constitution of entities.</p>
<p>Unfortunately, the academic left falls prey to its own form of abstraction. It&#8217;s good at carrying out <em>critiques</em> that denounce various social formations, yet very poor at proposing any sort of realistic <em>constructions</em> of alternatives. This because it thinks abstractly in its own way, ignoring how networks, assemblages, structures, or regimes of attraction would have to be remade to create a workable alternative. Here I&#8217;m reminded by the &#8220;underpants gnomes&#8221; depicted in <em>South Park</em>:</p>
<span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='640' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/tO5sxLapAts?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&... frameborder='0'></iframe></span>
<p>The underpants gnomes have a plan for achieving profit that goes like this:</p>
<p style="text-align:center;">Phase 1: Collect Underpants</p>
<p style="text-align:center;">Phase 2: ?</p>
<p style="text-align:center;">Phase 3: Profit!</p>
<p style="text-align:left;">They even have a catchy song to go with their work:</p>
<p style="text-align:left;"><span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><iframe class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='640' height='360' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/2_MpZWzXQFU?version=3&#038;rel=1&#038;fs=1&... frameborder='0'></iframe></span></p>
<p style="text-align:left;">Well this is sadly how it often is with the academic left. Our plan seems to be as follows:</p>
<p style="text-align:center;">Phase 1: Ultra-Radical Critique</p>
<p style="text-align:center;">Phase 2: ?</p>
<p style="text-align:center;">Phase 3: Revolution and complete social transformation!</p>
<p style="text-align:left;"><a href="http://larvalsubjects.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/fallen-trees-in-prairi... class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-6506" title="fallen-trees-in-prairie-creek-redwoods-fern-canyon-trail" alt="" src="http://larvalsubjects.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/fallen-trees-in-prairi... height="225" width="300" /></a>Our problem is that we seem perpetually stuck at phase 1 without ever explaining what is to be done at phase 2. Often the critiques articulated at phase 1 are <em>right</em>, but there are nonetheless all sorts of problems with those critiques nonetheless. In order to reach phase 3, we have to produce<em> new collectives</em>. In order for new collectives to be produced, people need to be able to <em>hear</em> and <em>understand</em> the critiques developed at phase 1. Yet this is where everything begins to fall apart. Even though these critiques are often right, we express them in ways that only an academic with a PhD in critical theory and post-structural theory can understand. How exactly is Adorno to produce an effect in the world if only PhD&#8217;s in the humanities can understand him? <em>Who are these things for?</em> We seem to always ignore these things and then look down our noses with disdain at the Naomi Kleins and David Graebers of the world. To make matters worse, we publish our work in expensive academic journals that only universities can afford, with presses that don&#8217;t have a wide distribution, and give our talks at expensive hotels at academic conferences attended only by other academics. Again, <em>who are these things for?</em> Is it an accident that so many activists look away from these things with contempt, thinking their more about an academic <em>industry</em> and tenure, than producing change in the world? If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, it doesn&#8217;t make a sound! Seriously dudes and dudettes, what are you doing?</p>
<p style="text-align:left;"><a href="http://larvalsubjects.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/billysundaypreaching.j... class="alignright size-full wp-image-6507" title="billysundaypreaching" alt="" src="http://larvalsubjects.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/billysundaypreaching.j... /></a>But finally, and worst of all, us Marxists and anarchists all too often act like <em>assholes</em>. We denounce others, we condemn them, we berate them for not engaging with the questions we want to engage with, and we vilify them when they don&#8217;t embrace every bit of the doxa that we endorse. We are every bit as off-putting and unpleasant as the fundamentalist minister or the priest of the inquisition (have people yet understood that Deleuze and Guattari&#8217;s <em>Anti-Oedipus</em> was a critique of the French communist party system and the Stalinist party system, and the horrific passions that arise out of parties and identifications in general?). This type of &#8220;revolutionary&#8221; is the greatest friend of the reactionary and capitalist because they do more to drive people into the embrace of reigning ideology than to undermine reigning ideology. These are the people that keep Rush Limbaugh in business. Well done!</p>
<p style="text-align:left;">But this isn&#8217;t where our most serious shortcomings lie. Our most serious shortcomings are to be found at phase 2. We almost never make concrete proposals for how things ought to be restructured, for what new material infrastructures and semiotic fields need to be produced, and when we do, our critique-intoxicated cynics and skeptics immediately jump in with an analysis of all the ways in which these things contain dirty secrets, ugly motives, and are doomed to fail. How, I wonder, are we to do anything at all when we have no concrete proposals? We live on a planet of 6 billion people. These 6 billion people are dependent on a certain network of production and distribution to meet the needs of their consumption. That network of production and distribution does involve the extraction of resources, the production of food, the maintenance of paths of transit and communication, the disposal of waste, the building of shelters, the distribution of medicines, etc., etc., etc.</p>
<p style="text-align:left;">What are your proposals? How will you meet these problems? How will you navigate the existing mediations or semiotic and material features of infrastructure? Marx and Lenin had proposals. Do you? Have you even explored the cartography of the problem? Today we are so intellectually bankrupt on these points that we even have theorists speaking of events and acts and talking about a return to the old socialist party systems, ignoring the horror they generated, their failures, and not even proposing ways of avoiding the repetition of these horrors in a new system of organization. Who among our critical theorists is thinking seriously about how to build a distribution and production system that is responsive to the needs of global consumption, avoiding the problems of planned economy, ie., who is doing this in a way that gets notice in our circles? Who is addressing the problems of micro-fascism that arise with party systems (there&#8217;s a reason that it was the Negri &amp; Hardt contingent, not the Badiou contingent that has been the heart of the occupy movement). At least the ecologists are thinking about these things in these terms because, well, they think ecologically. Sadly we need something more, a melding of the ecologists, the Marxists, and the anarchists. We&#8217;re not getting it yet though, as far as I can tell. Indeed, folks seem attracted to yet another critical paradigm, Laruelle.</p>
<p style="text-align:left;">I would love, just for a moment, to hear a radical environmentalist talk about his ideal high school that would be academically sound. How would he provide for the energy needs of that school? How would he meet building codes in an environmentally sound way? How would she provide food for the students? What would be her plan for waste disposal? And most importantly, how would she navigate the school board, the state legislature, the federal government, and all the families of these students? What is your plan? What is your alternative? I think there are alternatives. I saw one that approached an alternative in Rotterdam. If you want to make a truly revolutionary contribution, this is where you should start. Why should anyone even bother listening to you if you aren&#8217;t proposing real plans? But we haven&#8217;t even gotten to that point. Instead we&#8217;re like underpants gnomes, saying &#8220;revolution is the answer!&#8221; without addressing any of the infrastructural questions of just how revolution is to be produced, what alternatives it would offer, and how we would concretely go about building those alternatives. Masturbation.</p>
<p style="text-align:left;">&#8220;Underpants gnome&#8221; deserves to be a category in critical theory; a sort of synonym for self-congratulatory masturbation. We need less critique not because critique isn&#8217;t important or necessary&#8211; it is &#8211;but because we know the critiques, we know the problems. We&#8217;re intoxicated with critique because it&#8217;s easy and safe. We best every opponent with critique. We occupy a position of moral superiority with critique. But do we really do anything with critique? What we need today, more than ever, is <em><a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=a%20compositionalist%20ma... </a></em><a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=a%20compositionalist%20ma... </a><a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=a%20compositionalist%20ma.... Everyone knows something is wrong. Everyone knows this system is destructive and stacked against them. Even the Tea Party knows something is wrong with the economic system, despite having the wrong economic theory. None of us, however, are proposing alternatives. Instead we prefer to shout and denounce. Good luck with that.</p>

Comments

How the fuck does somebody critique academics and in all seriousness use a term like “onto-cartography”. pot call the kettle black much? the quote to be critiqued actually makes sense, and pulled out of context I'm just to believe that this writer hasn't offered any solutions? and yet, not offering solutions does NOT negate the truth behind the critique. If I say that nuclear waste is a problem, but don't offer a solution to the problem of how to dispose it, does that make my critique invalid?

wait your critique of academics is that they use big words? hate to break it to you but that's actually just straight up anti-intellectualism.

no, just pointing at that somebody who uses incredibly academic language is critiquing academics, and using shitty arguments at the same time.

"Anti-intellectualism"...Ugh! I can't stand the fucking term. Leave it to an over educated, college bred turd to cry prejudice when everyone else in the world knows its okay to hate on a pompous douche-bag. Especially if their swinging their fuckin' thesaurus around all willy-nilly (ya hear me emile?)

Seriously though, I think if I ever hear someone whine about "anti-intellectualism", I would be likely to go Pol Pot on a motherfucker....or at least poke em' in the eye really hard

Well what the fuck would YOU call someone who gets mad at people for using words they don't understand, simply because they haven't read enough?

Lol!! and would be "read enough?" I what books must I read? Does nancy drew and Dr. Suess count? I guess as long as its anything other than Das Kapital, you can count me in.
In fact, please explain to me what is an "intellectual". If I read enough books, can I become one too? Will that make me smarter and my opinion have more "value" than a plumber or that of a homebum? Or does it only allow me to write long convoluted essays that essentially attempt to convey a single, simple truth, yet more often than not, fail miserably?

Oops! typos, how un-intellectual of me.

DEATH TO THE WORKING CLASS. DICTATORSHIP OF THE INTELLECTUAL WILL PROSPER.

100 Flowers campaign

Come the revolution plumbers and homebums will line the intellectuals up against a wall and bore them to death.

Likewise, if the revolution fails, the intellectual will bore the homebums to death. That is if their smug douche baggary doesn't get them first.

At least homebums get tired of even their own nonsensical ramblings and eventually pass out. Allowing you a bit more down time to weigh out your options before the final death blow of "YOU WEREN'T THERE!!!!"

Also, at least the homebums are always welcoming, which is rarely the case for the almost as appealing alternative. So called "intellectuals" tend to be a bit fussy and overall territorial. After all isn't the whole point of calling yourself an intellectual to distinguish yourself as superior too instead of the same as?

So I say fuck it! Let me here that old 'Nam story another million times and pass the Listerine, the next bottles on me.

3 stooges real anarchists brah

A critique that is critical of academic critique for being critical

A lil hint, the left either knows what it wants in their head or wishes to experiment to find a working solution or we will cherry pick good ideas from the right and from libertarians, we also use them to try and close off loop holes.

Phase one, the critique, is all over the map. Phase three, the post revolutionary utopia, is all over the map.

It's true that phase two does not exist in any of the various cartographies.

You can hate him like I do but Mao was right about this: power flows form the barrel of a gun. I imagine that phases one and three will crystallize as an armed force determines which phase one will be matched with which phase three. Phase two, in other words, will make itself by force.

In the meantime, anarchism will remain a series of very minor, if nevertheless worthwhile, defensive actions: fnb, elf, alf, ef!, seeds, infoshops, squats, etc.

Time goes by.

Oh yeah--my prophecy. This post will elicit Emile's longest comment yet! It'll be a doozey!

"(have people yet understood that Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus was a critique of the French communist party system and the Stalinist party system, and the horrific passions that arise out of parties and identifications in general?)."

the answer is no, no one has ever understood either of those obfuscating hacks.

1- Do what 'needs' to be done
2- Profit
3- ???
4- We'll see

My understanding is that 'needs' arise out of 'wants'.

People worry too much about developing ideas for "alternatives". Radicals/revolutionaries don't need to create a meta-theory about alternatives. We'll figure that shit out. As we reclaim spaces, communities, regions, etc. we're going to have all of the ingenuity and knowledge of the people who make our world work now anyway. As we reclaim control of our lives we'll be able to figure out how to make our world work in a much healthier way (for humans and the rest of the planet).

It doesn't hurt to think about this stuff and develop plans as best we can, but any plan we have now is probably going to fall apart as soon as we're faced with the real situation of revolution.

the part where designing an environmental high school building is called a "revolutionary contribution."

Revolutionary High School musical.

the author of this article ‘[MIS]frames the problem’ in its focus on 'blueprints' rather than on 'mindsets'; i.e. the analysis in terms of having to critique the current system, identify the faults, and construct a new system in which the faults have been overcome is all about 'blueprints' and nothing about the mindsets of blueprint implementers; .e.g;

“Unfortunately, the academic left falls prey to its own form of abstraction. It’s good at carrying out critiques that denounce various social formations, yet very poor at proposing any sort of realistic constructions of alternatives. This because it thinks abstractly in its own way, ignoring how networks, assemblages, structures, or regimes of attraction would have to be remade to create a workable alternative.”

this is all ‘analytical thinking’ that implicitly points the finger at the 'blueprint' rather than 'values, beliefs and worldviews' and thus misses the point. the point is that ‘analytical thinking is the problem’.

let’s take nietzsche, for example, whose thinking is highly critical of mainstream science and the establishment. does he and others like him fall into the ‘academic left’ bin, or does this article speak to a more constrained definition of ‘academic left’? which is what ???

if everyone were to embrace nietzsche’s worldview, our social dynamic would be radically transformed. for example, the notion of separation of human society from nature would have to go;

“And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income …” –Nietzsche, ‘The Will to Power’, 1067

nietzsche is arguing that space is relational, as mach and others did and these ideas have influenced the 'academic left'. does the author of this article simply cast aside the possibility that a transformed worldview can transform the world-dynamic, the global social dynamic?

no, the author of this article is stuck in the analytical paradigm wherein change can only come about by way of ‘what things-in-themselves do’. this implies that we can start by assuming no changes in the values, beliefs and worldviews of current participants and concentrate on the quality of the blueprints in terms of 'what things do'. the task is then to identify faults in the physical system and construct alternatives that ‘design out’ the faults.

what if the incumbents in every position of authority in government and industry were to be changed out for people who were coming from a different set of values and beliefs; e.g. from the aboriginal tradition or from the newly emerging tradition of quantum understanding [interdependent connectedness of the world], but who were fully competent for the jobs they were going into. in other words, what if new values and beliefs and worldviews were to be infused into the mover-and-shaker positions in the current system?

for sure there would be radical transformation of the current system.

what would then be important is for the ideas encoded in the often difficult prose of the ‘academic left’ to be more accessible to the general public.

this ‘gap’ in the middle could just as easily be due to people not being able to hear the values and beliefs revising message, rather than there being ‘something missing’ in terms of the academic left not “proposing any sort of realistic constructions of alternatives”

if we want to stop capitalism, we don’t need to build an alternative system, we need to stop acting like capitalists; i.e. it is not about constructing a new system, it is about putting a new mindset [values, beliefs, worldview] into the participants of the existing system. who says that all the academic left has to offer is a critique of the current system? the author ‘sets us up’ in forcing this assumption on us. in many cases the academic left is critiquing values, beliefs and worldviews of the typical participant so that the problem will not be found in the ‘blueprint’ of what is being done, but is instead upstream from that in the values, beliefs and worldviews of the implementers of the blueprints.

there is definitely a problem in the ‘general accessibility’ of ideas encoded in academic jargon, but let’s not jump to the conclusion that ‘what is missing’ is the “proposing [of] any sort of realistic constructions of alternatives”. what seems to be missing is the flexibility of the participants in the established system to ‘hear the message’ and to 'relax' and let their current values, beliefs and worldview evolve; e.g. in a decolonizing initiative, there is no hope of success unless the participating collective ‘hears the message’ and relaxes the values and beliefs associated with the secularized theological concept of ‘sovereigntism’.

so, how are "mindsets" changed without taking over institutions such as schools, media, "official pronouncements," etc.? and how are institutions taken over without a plan? it's a very, very dirty word among anarchists, politics, but, there it is. nietzsche's grand politics is, presumably, part of the "firm, iron magnitude of force" that is the world.

Lobotomies and/or quaaludes??????

> Emile

the copernican revolution, the decline of belief in monotheist religion, the green movement have all come about by 'collapse' in over-simplistic beliefs, rather than by deterministic political action. the 'arab spring' associated with a collapse of belief in 'benevolent dictatorship'. western 'operating systems' such as 'capitalism' and the 'monetary system' and 'sovereigntism/authoritarianism' depend on sustained belief. if that belief collapses so does that system. these systems do not collapse into 'nothing', the natural/relational way of engaging with one another and the land does not disappear. what 'goes' is the 'disconnect' between relational engaging, ... and deliberately manipulated, control-seeking ways of engaging that associates with belief-based systems.

the first priority of a decolonizing initiative is to 'erode the intellectual foundations of colonialism'; i.e. to work the mindset side of things. it is not 'designing, constructing, installing' a 'new system' by 'taking over' things [occupying and defending what is occupied is not the same thing].

actually, these go hand in hand. a variety of factors can make it clear that old ideas (mindsets) are no longer relevant. marx was reductionist by limiting these factors to changes in the means of production (not to say that this cannot have profound effects). the appearance of new religious beliefs, new military techniques and technologies, the force of a beauty or luxury in a particular art work or artifact, the availability of new foods. all of these things can set in motion changes in ideas. then those changed ideas create a new current in a new direction.

at some point, a political plan undertaken by individuals and groups who are demanding that the new mindset take precedence is necessary. it is just weird how resolutely anarchists refuse to pay attention to the determined acts of key individuals as if alexander or caesar or napoleon or danton or durutti were of no real significance (just to name a few powerful, world shaping individuals). no doubt they acted within dramatically shifting circumstances. but they acted, more or less in accordance with plans.

for us, the emerging facts of climate change, the crisis in capitalism, the failing social welfare state, radial inequality, and, perhaps, masssive debt crises are creating conditions for changing mindsets. but, wow, for anarchists not to develop some sort of reasonably coherent political plan and, then, simultaneously to think that a revolution will somehow just happen or "we'll make it up as we go along" (without saying who "we" are or what "it" is; this is just laughable and sad.

you evidently do not see that this division between ‘those who want a plan’ and ‘those who do not’ brings forth this basic issue that crops up everywhere in our society; i.e. in the nature-nurture dichotomy, and in the lamarckism –darwinian dichotomy and in the ‘genesis’ – ‘epigenesis’ dichotomy etc. etc. etc.

you speak of napoleon as if he were a ‘world-shaper’ and this, in turn, elicits the question ‘does the man make the times or do the times make the man?’

the question always has this same ‘topology’; was the present state of affairs the causally determined results of causal agents such as ‘napoleon’? as nietzsche said, ‘napoleon was the result of the revolution’.

“The revolution made Napoleon possible: that is its justification. For the sake of a similar prize one would have to desire the anarchical collapse of our entire civilization. Napoleon made nationalism possible: that is its excuse.”

what is typically ‘missing’ in western inquiry is synthetical inquiry. systems scientists like r. ackoff can talk, to no avail, about how analytical inquiry that describes dynamics in terms of ‘what things do’ must be grounded in synthetical inquiry; i.e. what need the system is resolving within the suprasystem it is included in. seen in these terms, the notion that there is a causal agent that is responsible for an outcome dissolves [the notion that ‘the man shapes the world’ dissolves.

as in nietzsche’s above quote, ‘anarchism’ is the enabler of the overcoming of old parochial ways; i.e. the re-emergence of relational interdependent connectedness.

the collapse of the established order opens the door to the self-transcending of that order. this self-transcendence is not an intellectual plan, it is a rising-to-the-occasion, ... it is ‘epigenesis’ in a dance that engenders ‘genesis’.

our western culture is ‘stuck’ in this mode of seeing ‘organizING’ as being ‘determined’ (all genesis, no epigenesis), all deliberate, planned behaviour and no ‘rising-to-the-occasion’ [outside-inwardly orchestrated/induced self-transcendence].

the eroding of established beliefs opens the door for all of us to 'rise to the occasion' and to 'self-transcend', rather than reduce ourselves to pawns in some deterministic 'plan' of our own making.

in other words, you licked assholes covered in shit to get the "power" to make these "profound political moves" of yours

to emile--we are saying the same thing, nearly. i said that both go hand in hand--historical circumstances and changing worldviews. but that, in this mix, determined individuals make plans and take decisive steps. they do it along with the circumstances. both are influencing one another. machiavelli's "virtu" and "fortuna" are relevant.

anarchy is compatible with both leaders and plans. it depends on how it is framed which will be part of the world view. do you think ambition, determination, ingenuity, especially in the face of crisis, will just evaporate? or is this miraculous "all of us self transcending" going to do away with the need for collective decisions? how so?

to shitty ass-licker: history, especially the history of anarchism, demonstrates that there are always those who say "lick this ass" and always those who are willing to lick and that this fascistic combination always kicks the shit out of anarchists. (diggers, paris ommune, spanish civil war, etc.) why? because anarchists have not figured out how to develop a truly effective counter force. all they do is bray their utopian fantasies. oh, the anarchists are pure as the driven snow. but then the snow turns blood red as at kronstadt.

of course i acknowledge the value of ‘leadership’ but as with nietzsche’s point, there is ‘leadership’ that inspires by inspiring one to ‘rise to the occasion’ and there is ‘leadership’ based on teaching [imposing] ‘theory’ which directs one's behaviour as in a common-belief-based collective [as in nationalism; i.e. fascist leader-follower organizATION].

therefore, i don’t agree with your framing of the problem;

“[fascist leadership-followership] always kicks the shit out of anarchists. (diggers, paris ommune, spanish civil war, etc.) why? because anarchists have not figured out how to develop a truly effective counter force. all they do is bray their utopian fantasies. oh, the anarchists are pure as the driven snow. but then the snow turns blood red as at kronstadt.”

what you advocate is an ‘organized anarchism’ that acts in a coordinated fashion, such coordination arising from the need;

a) to physically overcome the fascist leader-follower organizATION that seeks to impose ‘common belief’ in the corporatist/capitalist state.

what the decolonizers put into first priority is

(b) to erode the intellectual foundations of the colonizing corporatist/capitalist state.

nietzsche’s point about napoleon being the product of the revolution [even the irish joined napoleon's ‘Grande Armée’ as a means of liberating themselves] and ‘nationalism’ being its excuse continues to apply to today’s ‘mindset’.

e.g. ... 'the story of the United States';

people in europe got pissed off with the fascist leader-follower style of organization that was being imposed on them and they buggered off to north america, ‘the land of opportunity’; i.e. mentally liberating themselves from being captives/slaves within fascist regimes created a situation where the time was right for allowing oneself to ‘rise to the occasion’ and self-gather into a new form of organizING’. these people who were ‘rising to the occasion to transcend their former captive-selves put on stars-and-stripes armbands [figuratively speaking] to signal their anarchist intentions of transcending their former identity as compliant followers in a fascist leader-follower regime.

then, they were challenged by the indigenous aboriginal peoples and by the kings of europe who intended to turn the new collectives into ‘colonies’ subject to the same leader-follower structures, ... and pretty soon, the stars-and-stripes armbands turned into the equivalent of electronic dog collars committing them to nationalist fascist leader-follower organization rather than persisting as symbols of self-transcendence and ‘rising to the occasion’.

here we have the ‘mindset’ problem that nietzsche is talking about, that continues to ‘infect’ western culture; it crops up everywhere, in darwinism versus lamarckism, and in systems science, in ‘analytical inquiry versus synthetical inquiry’.

the armband wearers start off as people whose behaviour is organized from the outside-inward by the opening of possibility in the unbounded relational [natural] space they share inclusion in. this is their ‘anarchist’ beginning. the leadership is initially ‘inspirational’. soon ‘political organization’ takes over, assisted by some real or imagined threat to the group’s continued freedom or 'imminent extermination'.

politicians thrive on keeping the collective in a state of fear and thus in a leader-follower organization designed to be another one of these ‘local national entities’; i.e. accepting a nation-state identity and actually cheering/celebrating the trading of their anarchist stars-and-stripes armbands down the drain for electronic dog-collar stars-and-stripes armbands.

the full cycle in the 'napoleon' example started with ‘revolution’ in the sense of an erosion of ‘belief’ in the fascist leader-follower state [common belief is the only thing that holds the leader-follower state together]. in this phase, the people are ‘rising to the occasion’ [letting themselves be organized outside-inwardly by the opening of possibilities in the relational space they share inclusion in] and transcending their former slaves-of-fascist-nationalism selves, ... but because this did not happen on a global basis, the threat of attack induces regression back into the leader-follower fascist organization whether or not under the guise of ‘a democratic leader-follower state’.

thus ‘revolution’ in terms of common loss of belief in the leader-follower system of organizATION, aka, ‘anarchy’, opened the door to a return to the primacy of natural outside-inward orchestrated organizING,.... followed by threat-of-attack induced regression to the ‘leader-follower system of organizATION’.

compare this to the ‘revolution that wants to happen’ which is non-local (global) where people might be inspired within a relational web that wraps over and around the globe like an algal matte such as the IWW. there is no local inside versus outside in this topology; i.e. it is like the storm-cell in the atmosphere wherein its internal inside-outward asserting influence and its external outside-inward orchestrating influence are conjugate aspects of the one dynamic 'organizING'; i.e. the continual transforming of a relational spatial-plenum. you can’t isolate, surround and eliminate an algal matte that wraps over and around the globe, and you can’t pressure the participants of a nonlocal relational web to regress into a local leader-follower fascist organizATION.

[this was the point in anarcho-communism; i.e. that it had to arise 'globally' rather than 'locally'. 'local anarcho-communism' doesn't make any sense since it cannot then be a relational 'organizING'; i.e. if it is 'local' it is a 'local organizATION'.]

meanwhile, your proposed strategy is inherently ‘defensive’ and submits in advance to a leader-follower theory-driven organizATION structure to defend against its fear of being surrounded, cornered, and exterminated. you are asking anarchists to put on electronic dog-collar ‘A’ armbands from the get-go, as the leader-follower fascist ‘means’ [strategic-plan-directed 'means'] to get to an ‘anarchist end’.

psychologically, you arbitrarily present the anarchist initiative as starting off from a local point source, from ‘LOCAL’ valiant bands or 'LOCAL' cells of courageous anarchists that seek, PHYSICALLY, to overthrow the ‘LOCAL’ fascist leader-follower state organizATION; i.e.

“[fascist leadership-followership] always kicks the shit out of anarchists. (diggers, paris ommune, spanish civil war, etc.) why? because anarchists have not figured out how to develop a truly effective counter force. all they do is bray their utopian fantasies. oh, the anarchists are pure as the driven snow. but then the snow turns blood red as at kronstadt.”

instead of proposing a nonlocal revolution that never sets itself up as a 'local target', you retain the notion of ‘local revolt’ [this is not the same as revolution in terms of a widespread collapse of ‘common belief’ in leader-follower systems of organizATION], and you further propose the expedient, intermediate ‘fascist-means-justify-anarchist-ends’ strategy of forming a theory-driven leader-follower organization that will be able to defend against challenges to its local existence and growth.

those who buy into this ‘political-organizATIONAL strategy’ and become card-carrying members of a fascist-anarchist organization [become living oxy-morons] merely set themselves up as local targets for the established fascist forces to crush and eliminate.

option (b) does not offer itself up as a ‘local target’ as does option (a);

(a) to physically overcome the fascist leader-follower organizATION that seeks to impose ‘common belief’ in the corporatist/capitalist state.

(b) to erode the intellectual foundations of the colonizing corporatist/capitalist state.

the IWW type algal matte that wraps over and around the globe and adopts the (b) strategy can dissolve the very fabric of local fascist leader-follower organizATIONs.

* * * Part II ... ‘the general pattern’ * * *

the above ‘problem’ is a particular case of a more general ‘problem’ with the western acculturated mindset.

the mindset that is common in western culture is one in which people see ‘local organizATION’ as being the source of dynamics rather than ‘non-local organizING’. therefore western acculturated people tend to think that desired future states are causally determined by the assertive actions of participants in a purposeful, goal-oriented initiative.

as systems scientists such as russell ackoff have noted, this mindset derives from analytical intellection that ignores the view of synthetical inquiry in which analytical inquiry must be grounded.

if one considers ‘ecosystemic organizING’ in the relational space of the ecosphere, analytical inquiry has us put the equivalent of stars-and-stripes armbands on each of the bones of a dinosaur and we come up with an ‘organizATION’ that is local and stand-alone and we build a story of ‘its dynamic’ as if it were a ‘thing-in-itself’, notionally with locally originating, internal component/process driven and directed behaviour’. in other words we ignore, in this analytical intellection dominated mindset, the relational space or ecosystem in which the participating constituents [that have common armbands] constitute an ‘organizING’ that is relationally [outside-inwardly] orchestrated. as ackoff points out, the analytical intellectual must be grounded in synthetical intellection which acknowledges that the collection of common-armband participants is an outside-inward orchestrated ‘organizING’ within the larger suprasystem it is included in.

ecosystemic organizING in a relational space is ‘circular’ and organizING is orchestrated outside-inwardly from niche openings of relational possibility that develop as a mutually interdependent connectedness; e.g. phytoplankton feed on sunbeams, plankton feed on phytoplankton, small fish feed on plankton, larger fish feed on smaller fish, grizzlies and humans feed on large and small fish, the soil feeds on humans, plants feed on sunbeams and convert the nutrients in soil into food for animals and insects, and the whole dynamic is constituted by an interdependent relational web of connectedness. it is not a ‘mechanical system’ where the ‘common armbands’ identify components in a local ‘organizATION’ or ‘mechanism/organism’. that is, the common armbands DO identify constituents in a local ‘organizATION’, however the concept of a ‘LOCAL ORGANIZATION’ is pure idealization/abstraction born of exclusively ‘analytic intellection’ that is not grounded in ‘synthetical intellection’ [the outside-inward orchestrating influence on aggregate ‘organizING’; i.e. the ‘rising to the occasion’ of opening possibilities in an unbounded relational space].

ackoff’s point can be equivalenced with Mach’s principle, which describes ecosystemic organizING within a relational space, in the manner of storm-cells in the atmosphere; i.e. “the dynamics of the nonlocal/relational habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the local inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the local inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the nonlocal/relational habitat.”

in other words, the common armbands on all the participants of one ‘organizING’ can be understood as common components of one ‘organizATION’, ... or as having in common their attunement to outside-inward orchestrating influences. in the case of stars-and-stripes armbands, revolution in europe deriving from pandemic erosion of common belief in fascist/nationalist leader-follower structures fragmenting the terrain of europe liberated individuals who ‘rose to the occasion’ and attuned to the opening of possibilities in the relational space they were included in that could energize their transcending of their former slave-to-fascism-selves.

the initial gathering of european americans wore a common armband that was implicitly ‘anarchist’. but, intellectually, they had a mindset bound to the western european thinking tradition which started and stopped with ‘analytical inquiry’. therefore they regressed into believing their their common armbands signified their being participants, together, in an inside-outwardly asserting causal machine. thus, as in nietzsche’s comment on napoleon, ‘nationalism’ became their ‘excuse’ for what was going on with them. they were inspired by the possibilities opening in the relational space they were included in, which brought many of them together in a vast ‘land of opening possibility that could energize and bring forth assertive potentialities in them’, ... the combination of ‘green-and-left’ of the zapatistas and aboriginals, ... but, unable to shift out of their western european mindset, their ‘excuse’ for their ‘organizING’ or ‘explanation’ of their collective behaviour was in terms of their commitment to nationalism [to an ‘organizATION’]; i.e. to their co-constructing of a LOCAL voluntary/democratic leader-follower [political plan directed] fascist ‘organizATION’.

the prevailing western european mindset is one which opts for ‘analytical intellection’ only, which interprets the common armbands as identifying common participants in a local ‘organizATION’ that is understood as having machine-like powers to locally jumpstart ‘their own’ assertive action determined ‘outcomes/results/achievements’; i.e. as if the organizATION was a powerboat with its own internal process sourced drive and direction, rather than [as a cell in the relational flow-space of the ecosphere] a sailboat that derives its drive and steerage from the relational space it is included in.

politicians exploit this weakness in the western mindset, that takes a collection of anarchists who rose to the occasion by renouncing their commitment to their local fascist leader-follower state organizATIONs, convincing them that their power jumpstarts from out of themselves, as in ‘analytical intellection’ ungrounded in ‘synthetical intellection’. thus they see themselves as part[icipant]s in a local machine whose power is jumpstart-causal-assertive-determinist, obscuring the larger view in which they are ‘cells’ in the relational space of the global collective, or ‘anarchist organizINGs’.

unless this debilitating weakness in the mindset of western european acculturated people is ‘eroded’, any local anarchist collective whose psyche’s have been ‘conditioned’ by western thinking is exposed to falling back into this way of thinking of their ‘self’ and their collective as ‘part[icipant]s in a ‘powerboater’ machine that jumpstarts its drive and direction out of itself; i.e. from out of its own internal processes as if it were a local, independently-existing 'thing-in-itself' that inhabits an absolute fixed, empty and infinite operating theatre/space.

what is needed is the erosion of belief in this one-sided analytical-intellection view of self and collective as a 'LOCAL ORGANIZATION'. this can be achieved by understanding ‘mutual aid’ in terms of a relational matrixe of organic algal matte that wraps over around the globe, as with an IWW type organization, whose 'inside is its outside' and whose 'outside is its inside' as characterizes relational space, the inherently nonlocal, interdependent connectedness space of physical phenomena as understood in modern physics and in the understanding tradition of aboriginal cultures, zapatistas, the green-and-left combining initiatives and etc.

Why don't you write a book.
Honestly, someone will help you publish it.
Not that I'm a fan of yours but I would read it.
You drop whole essays in these comment threads.
Clearly you have a lot to say.

emile is on a one dimensional track. don't distract him. i make a few simple points and it's off to the races. when people on a comment thread write chapters in response to simple comments it shows a lack of good will or an inferiority complex or a wannabee academic arrogance. whatever, i'm done.

in our western culture, the language standard for dialogue embodies a euclidian space assumption. this is how dynamics, social dynamics, material dynamics, evolutionary dynamics, human behavioural dynamics are reduced to terms of ‘what things-in-themselves’ do. dynamics expressed in these terms are ‘perfectly logical’ and thus bear little resemblance to ‘physical-phenomenal reality’. as mach and poincaré have said, the euclidian space based rendering of dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ is simplifying abstraction. as mach says, euclidian space based rendering of dynamics derives from the pursuit of ‘economy of thought’, not from trying to capture the full complexity of our physical experience.

“Finally, our Euclidean geometry is itself only a sort of convention of language; mechanical facts might be enunciated with reference to a non-Euclidean space which would be a guide less convenient than, but just as legitimate as, our ordinary space ; the enunciation would thus become much more complicated, but it would remain possible. Thus absolute space, absolute time, geometry itself, are not conditions which impose themselves on mechanics ; all these things are no more antecedent to mechanics than the French language is logically antecedent to the verities one expresses in French.” – Henri Poincare, Science and Hypothesis

my commentaries acknowledge that space is NOT euclidian, but is instead ‘relational’ [non-euclidian]. relational space is the space of our physical experience, according to Mach, Poincaré [see ‘The Relativity of Space’] Bohm, Schroedinger, Nietzsche . there are no such entities as ‘things-in-themselves’ in relational space [there are relational forms in the flow]. therefore there are no such processes as ‘cooperation’ and ‘competition’ which imply the local independent existence of ‘things-in-themselves’ with their own locally originating, internal process driven and directed behaviours. instead, as mach says, in a relational space, the dynamic figures and dynamic ground are conjugate aspects of the one dynamic of a ‘continually transforming relational space’. in a relational space, the space of our physical experience, one can only LOGICALLY separate out the ‘dynamic figures’ from the ‘dynamic ground’. in terms of physical phenomena [the physical phenomena of our experience, mach’s principle applies; “the dynamic figures are conditioning the dynamic ground at the same time as the dynamic ground is conditioning the dynamic figures.’. in other words, in a relational space, the dynamic figures are to the dynamic ground as storm-cells are to the atmospheric dynamic. the former are logically separable from the latter, but not physically separable.

this has been written about in books. all of the names i mentioned have written about it. but it is not so common to use the more complex ‘relational space’ based language in ordinary dialogue because; the enunciation would thus become much more complicated, but it would remain possible.

my writing uses the assumption of relational space and this requires more complicated language constructs’. the disadvantage is that it is more complicated. the advantage is that it captures ‘relational effects’ that go missing in the standard euclidian space based dialogue, ... the dialogue that renders ‘dynamics’ in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’.

as einstein observes [in ‘Geometry and Experience’], dynamics in relational space [non-euclidian space] incur ‘reciprocal disposition’ or ‘reciprocal back-reflection’. as soap-bubbles expand, reciprocal back-pressure exerts outside-inward shaping influence that transforms their spherical shape into a hexagonal cell shape. this is in accordance with mach’s principle.

it is not hard to recognize language constructs that assume relational space since they imply ‘reciprocal back-reflection’; e.g.

“In extending his living space in a manner that destroys the space of others, he destroys his own space. Not initially his inside space, his ‘self’, but his outside space, this real outside-of-self which nourishes his ‘inside-of-self’. The protection of this outside space now becomes the condition without which he is unable to pursue the growth of his own powers of being.” — Frédéric Neyrat, ‘Biopolitics of Catastrophe’

this agrees with our physical experience; i.e. nothing in the standard language based on euclidian space, which assumes logical separation of ‘figure’ and ‘ground’ [‘inhabitant’ and ‘habitat’] and is in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ will inform us about ‘reciprocal back-reflection’, real physical phenomena that is addressed in neyrat’s above statement. in our standard language based on euclidian space and which is in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’, we can specify what the internal combustion engine does in terms of ‘its inputs’ and ‘its outputs’ without bothering about mach’s principle and relational space. if we multiply the inputs and outputs ten trillion times, we get ten trillion times the results [inputs, outputs etc.] we got with one engine, ... if space really were euclidian [absolute, fixed, empty and infinite]. in reality, the dynamics of the engine [‘inhabitant’] are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the engine. in a relational space such as the finite and unbounded ‘biosphere’ space on the surface of the earth, the ‘habitat’ is not only both the source of the inputs and the receptacle of the outputs, but it is the source of the engine and the receptacle for the engine.

in any case, in the relational space of our physical experience, it is insufficient to speak of dynamics in standard ‘euclidian space’ based [logical] terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ since this ignores ‘reciprocal disposition’ or ‘reciprocal back-reflection’. we use ‘euclidian space’ based terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ when we speak of ‘the growth’ of a storm-cell though this is pure visual form-based abstraction rather than physical reality [there is no local ‘thing-in-itself’, only a resonance feature within the dynamic ground]; i.e. the physical reality is that the relational space of the atmosphere is continually transforming.

many people who are adept in dialogue and debate couched in euclidian-space based language constructs do not want to allow their debating skill [neat and tidy logical manipulating] to be ‘undermined’ by more complicated relational-space based language constructs, never mind that ‘relational space’ based language captures real physical effects that are missed by eucidian space based language constructs that are in terms of ‘what things in themselves do’.

as already mentioned, books have already been written on how euclidian space based language leads to over-simplified understandings of dynamics that drop out real physical effects that relational space based language does not miss.

what remains to be done is to translate real physical social and political issues into relational space based language so as to expose ‘what goes missing’ in our ‘standard’ euclidian-space based language constructs.

that is where my writing is ‘coming from’.

"many people who are adept in dialogue and debate couched in euclidian-space based language constructs do not want to allow their debating skill [neat and tidy logical manipulating] to be ‘undermined’ by more complicated relational-space based language constructs, never mind that ‘relational space’ based language captures real physical effects that are missed by eucidian space based language constructs that are in terms of ‘what things in themselves do’."

so, this comment thread is a debate society and with your superior, "relational-space based language constructs" you participate in an alternative, non-manipulative linguistic realm. uh, right. "mc's act like they don't know."

your comment suggests that you are more interested in obfuscation than contributing discursive value. but just in case, i will clarify the intent in my above comments, that you have distorted;

(1.) through inquiries into the ‘anatomy of organizing’, together with others and linked to the findings of Mach, Poincaré and others, and, as well, to the observations of sapir, whorf et al, that the architecture of our language-constructs shapes our ‘view’ of organizing, some insights have emerged that i am trying to share [because i am convinced that these insights can be valuable to our collective effort which for me is best described as ‘decolonization’].

(2.) i am participating in this forum since ‘organizing’ is common to discussions on ‘anarchism’; e.g. how organizing works in nature and how it is distorted by politics and used to enslave the masses, and how we, with our diverse perspectives and experiential situations, can co-cultivate ‘de-colonizing’.

(3.) the insight, available to any of us, identified by Mach and others, is that ‘outside-inward organizing-sourcing influences’ are physically real. the second ‘half’ of this insight [sapir/whorf] is that standard european language constructs deliver a mental model of organizing-sourcing that ‘drops out’ the outside-inward organizing-sourcing influence and gives the impression that organizing is sourced fully and solely by inside-outward asserting influence. this leads directly to the notion that ‘hierarchies’ are essential for constructing and sustaining ‘organization’. this leads directly to the perceived need for a ‘common belief’ that can be dictated top-down through the hierarchical layers to create and sustain ‘organization’.

(4.) the net effect of (3.) is that the supporters of hierarchical control- and politics-based ‘organization’ have a huge advantage, thanks to the discursive medium being european language-based, to convince people of the inevitable need of hierarchy and politics to sustain ‘organization’ in the social dynamic.

(5.) what is ‘different’ about european languages, from aboriginal languages, is their implicit ‘euclidian space’ framing that results in mental models of dynamics in terms of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’. only in euclidian space can there be ‘things-in-themselves’. ‘things-in-themselves’ DO NOT EXIST in relational space, the space of our physical experience according to modern physics. as both mach and poincaré point out, ‘things-in-themselves’ are convenient abstractions [e.g. the ‘hurricane’, the ‘convection cell’, the ‘continent’, the ‘island’, ‘the mountain’, the ‘valley’ [‘crest’ and ‘trough’] as things-in-themselves]. it is convenient to construct a mental model of dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ over time and thus to avoid having to address the physical interdependent connectedness of relational space. “Science itself, … may be regarded as a minimization problem, consisting of the completest possible presenting of facts with the least possible expenditure of thought” –Ernst Mach”

(6.) politicians, even in the anarchist community, use european languages such as english to make convincing arguments as to ‘what can be done’ in [euclidian space-framing] terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ [all-inside-outward organizational sourcing, no outside-inward organizing sourcing]. the notion of a ‘national economy’ is a case in point. in a relational space, mach’s principle would apply; “the dynamics of the inhabitants [U.S., EU, China etc.] are conditioning the dynamics of the global habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the global habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants [U.S., EU, China etc.]” In a relational space, dynamics are understood in terms of an interdependenent connectedness or ‘relational web’ or ‘resonance-feature’ wherein the ‘dynamic form’ [aka ‘thing’], rather than being a ‘thing-in-itself’ is the nexus of outside-inward orchestrating influence and inside-outward asserting influence [i.e. the mediating milieu or ‘transforming relational spatial-plenum is the primary dynamic]. in other words, political rhetoric portrays a national collective as a collection of ‘things-in-themselves’ that are their own local jumpstart source of causal agency that delivers results; i.e. as a powerboat whose power and steerage is fully and solely inside-outward sourced, rather than a sailboat whose power and steerage derives from the dynamic milieu in which it is situationally included. politicians talk about ‘what we are going to do’ in the sense of ‘make happen’ as if the power and steerage were all ‘on-board’.

(7.) the systems sciences have made clear that every ‘system’ is included in a ‘suprasystem’ and that mainstream science commonly errs in using analytical ‘in-and-back out again’ inquiry to explain the behaviour of the system in terms of its internal components and processes, when all systems are, in physical reality, ‘gatherings’ or ‘organizings’ within a larger suprasystem. since european languages are architected for expressing dynamics in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’, they are tuned to delivering mental models in terms of analytical ‘in-and-back-out-again’ – ‘what things-in-themselves do’ representations. what gets ‘dropped out’ in this analytical ‘inside-outward-only’ view is the ‘outside-inward orchestrating influence’ that is continually gathering and sustaining the ‘organizING’ feature [aka ‘system’] within the suprasystem.

Summary: this ‘bias’ built into european language, that drops out acknowledgement of outside-inward organizing influence gives the supporters of hierarchy-and-politics sourced organizing an advantage in their rhetorical arguments. the one-sided, inside-outward asserting only view of organizing has also been embodied in western institutions of justice and commerce, so that no matter how much abusive [or other] outside-inward orchestrative sourcing of behaviour there may be [e.g. by relentless monopolization of access to land], the actions of a protestor are still seen to be solely inside-outward sourced, as if there were no outside-inward inducing [provocation] of his actions.

mc's act like they don't know. dig, emile, it's some relational space based language. or isn't it? or does your metanarrative lack the clarity to make a distinction?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnI8JEW7Ty4

mc’s perform. relational space language is for understanding what lies beyond creative repartee. the finger is not the moon.

oh, you poor thing--understanding and not creating. beware the scholars; before them no bird lies unplumed.

i take your point. there’s an ojibwa saying that goes something like;

“they kept ripping things apart to see what made them fly,
and all the while a great wind was blowing them across the sky.”

the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through god for the pulling down of strongholds.

i understand the point, and agree, but what's your solution then? you're basically saying that if the people with the power to implement the systems by which we live, had different world views, then the world would be different. that's kind of obvious.

but how do you propose these people come to that position of thinking?!

do you expect the world leaders to read Nietzsche (and others), then suddenly be transformed and do 'the right thing'? i.e. change their policies for the betterment of mankind and the earth? I highly doubt it. at worst, we need new leaders, and, at best, a complete restructuring of the system. our current leaders won't restructure anything because they like having three houses in different countries paid for by our taxes, and they enjoy turning us against each-other by saying 'anyone not working is just lazy' and the majority of the population is too stupid and too comfortable and apathetic to see the problems with that kind of thinking, and those that do feel powerless to change it. forums like this for discussion are good. but the problem is apathy, people are too lazy to do anything about the shittiness of capitalism, and half of them half-believe in it.

the author states (and i'm paraphrasing) that we can't solve any problems without having a plan. i agree.

moaning about everything that's wrong with the world serves a purpose; being, that it points out what's wrong in the world/culture/society. but we do need a step two. we need a way to get the people who think (in my view) rightly into power, at the very least, we do need solutions and possible blueprints otherwise how are the people (who's support you need for a revolution) going to believe in the revolution? everyone needs answers to the questions of 'how are we going to live in this new system?' without those answers without those blueprints, the arguments and criticisms of the current system become little more than just words.

somebody else posted that you can't always plan for things, and you can use systems that are already in place so you don't need to come up with step 2, this is true and a fair point, but you can't just say 'we want a revolution cos this is all shitty' then ditch out when asked things like 'what's the point? how are you going to change things? will i have a place to live? what about school? what about food? what about tv? what about waste desposal? what about benefits? what about health care?' etc et etc people need answers and solutions and plans, and they need those plans to be different in some way. and this is something that no one seems to agree on, or even be able to discuss properly? how do you come up with a plan? how to you restructure everything in a country so it works more towards the collective goals of that inhabitants of that country so they hungry are fed, the homeless housed, the sick cared for, etc while also dealing with every day mundaneness like when the bins are emptied?!

the key, i think, is to look at what came before, study it, exampine it, examine all the socialist regimes which failed, look at the ones which succeeded, what did they do right? what did they do wrong? what is capitalism doing wrong, what is it doing right? (i know it's hard to think that capitalism has ANYTHING right but still, i'm sure if you look hard enough there's something there lol) and propose structures and change based on such analysis. then discuss the flaws in those porposed plans. then do it anyway, even if there are flaws, because you can't achieve perfection immediately, we're human, we fuck everything up because we're just so much meat and bone and brain-matter, all we can really do is make educated guesses and when it doesn't work, examine why and make appropriate changes.

i personally think that's what needs to happen.

But a huge obstacle to this change is viewpoint as several have stated already!

*sigh*
rant over
have a nice day :) lol

my view is that there is not such a clean split between ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’ as you seem to depict;

“our current leaders won't restructure anything because they like having three houses in different countries paid for by our taxes, and they enjoy turning us against each-other by saying 'anyone not working is just lazy' and the majority of the population is too stupid and too comfortable and apathetic to see the problems with that kind of thinking,”

in the 19th century there was napoleon, then garibaldi who were the product of revolution and who inspired people to think in terms of breaking out of their fascist leader-follower entrapment. the italian diaspora in the late 19th century sourced a surge of ‘anarchist’ thinking that is described as an ‘international proletariat’. the global pulse of this ‘international proletariat’ has been showing itself in the ‘arab spring’ which is toppling governments. socialist leaders like hugo chavez, and the persistence of a socialist regime in cuba are like spots of mould/fungus in the global web of social relations. the ‘leadership collective’ is not immune to infection by the anarchist hyphae. more later.

you say;

“the author states (and i'm paraphrasing) that we can't solve any problems without having a plan. i agree.”

this doesn’t make sense. our experience is that when we find ourselves in challenging situations, we ‘rise to the occasion’. this is the way that communities have evolved. the evolution of communities was not ‘planned’, it was outside-inward orchestrated, first by the oasis or fertile valley or protected harbour, and secondly by the exciting emergence of human community that presented itself as an adventure that induced others to participate.

it is only our analytical thinking that flips this upside down and portrays this development in the reductionist terms of ‘what things-in-themselves’ do; i.e. in 100% inside-outward asserting cause-effect terms.

do you really believe that what happens in the community is the result of what ‘the leaders are doing’? does the man who tosses a cigarette butt into the forest ‘cause the fire’? or does this depend on the condition of the forest? if the forest is wet and passive, he can flick his butts into the forest with impunity. so, if the forest ‘bursts into flame’, was he the cause of it? sixty years ago a white man could walk into a crowded southern city street and say; ‘hey nigger, ... you boy, ... come here and polish my boots.’, with impunity. managers [all male] held their business meetings in exclusively male clubs with impunity, oil companies used to spill oil with impunity, Mubaraks and other patriarchs used to herd their sheep around with impunity.

so, we have witnessed this ‘change’ in our social dynamic. but can we say that ‘the behaviour of leaders has changed’? is that how we should interpret this change?

this is like watching a white dot moving across a pixel screen and saying ‘the dot is moving’. it is not the dot that is moving it is the configuration of pixels that is transforming. each movement of the dot corresponds to an updating of the entire pixel field so that the change is in terms of the transforming configuration of the pixel collective [the spatial-relational web].

the small view is in terms of ‘the dot moving’ the more comprehensive view is in terms of the transformation of spatial-relations. the colonizers of north america saw themselves like the ‘white dot that is moving’; i.e. as moving from europe to north america [one can see the little white dots of their boats moving east-to-west across the atlantic] and these white dots went on to become, in their view at least, the creators/constructors of new cities and infrastructure. the indigenous aboriginals didn’t see it that way. the change that they saw included the destruction of the forests, the wanton slaughter of buffalo, wolves, bear, fishing streams, the clear-cutting of forests and associated erosion of soil and polluting of streams; i.e. they saw ‘transformation’ of the relational space that they and the colonizers shared inclusion in.

do you believe that the colonizers moved from ‘west to east’ [europe to north america]? that would mean that ‘absolute motion’ is possible. but absolute motion depends on a notional absolute space as reference grid; i.e. it depends upon the collective that the ‘white dot’ is moving through as being ‘passive’. there is no such thing as ‘absolute space’ and the pixel collective is what is changing and it is changing ‘relationally’ as in ‘transformation of a relational spatial-plenum’. the relational space of the earth’s ecosphere is continually transforming and just because our attention focuses, for the purpose of discussion, on colonizers in boats that move from east to west, this does not mean that that is the ‘real physical dynamic’. Mach's findings in physics says it is a feature of the ongoing transformation of the relational space we are included in, and this is also the understanding of aboriginals.

what do you say? we can only select out the colonizers as ‘things in themselves’ with ‘their own locally originating behaviours’ if we impose a notional absolute space reference frame/grid over them so as to refer their movement to the grid rather than to the relational-spatial transformation they are included in. we do this for hurricanes and tornadoes etc. all the time. as Mach says, it produces an ‘economy of thought’. nevertheless, the hurricanes and tornadoes remain, in physical reality, relational features [resonance structures] within a continually transforming relational space.

““Science itself, … may be regarded as a minimization problem, consisting of the completest possible presenting of facts with the least possible expenditure of thought. –Ernst Mach (the emphasis is Mach’s)

do you believe that the proposition ‘the colonizers moved from east to west’ TRUMPS ‘the continuing transformation of the relational space of the ecosphere was highlighted, for us humans, by a reconfiguring of the distribution of human forms in the ecosphere’. what exactly was it that was ‘moving from east to west’? babies were bubbling up on board the ships and people were being recycled into the sea; i.e. the spatial medium was in a natural primacy since human forms continually gather and are regathered within it, as in Mach’s principle which in turn accords with relativity and quantum physics. the journey could conceivably be longer than the human life-cycle so that no-one who boarded the ship on its departure from the east would disembark from it on its arrival in the west. what, then, 'moved from east to west'?

in terms of real physical dynamics, the notion of absolute movement is abstraction that does not ‘trump’ the physical reality of the transformation of the relational space.

so, returning to ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’, you seem to be saying that the ‘leaders’ have to be the ones that ‘change’ rather than ‘the people/pixels’. this is a ‘darwinist’ view rather than a lamarckist view; i.e. it is all genetics, no epigenetics; i.e, you say;

“i understand the point, and agree, but what's your solution then? you're basically saying that if the people with the power to implement the systems by which we live, had different world views, then the world would be different. that's kind of obvious. but how do you propose these people come to that position of thinking?!

what happens to people who continue to toss their cigarette butts into forests when the forest is like a firebomb ready to ignite? these people are ‘epigenetically’ removed from the gene pool, right? this is the lamarckist view of evolution rather than the darwinist view. who says that change has to be a darwinist construction that is ‘all genesis’ and no ‘epigenetics’. what happens to the white man who steps out onto a street in long beach today and says; ‘hey nigger, ... you boy, ... come here and polish my boots.’. he is epigenetically removed from the ‘gene pool’, right?

what happens when an oil company that used to spill oil with impunity, when it goes out into the gulf of mexico today, and makes a big spill and says, ‘this is just a random occurrence that is part of doing business, a business whose positives far outweigh its negatives’?

would you say that what is changing is ‘management attitudes’ in the sense that 'the managers are evolving'? ‘is it the white dot that is moving’ or is it the pixels reconfiguring [relational transformation]?

if your thinking is ‘darwinist’, of course, you have only one choice; i.e. it is the white dot that is moving; i.e. the darwinist view of the change we are looking at is that management is evolving and becoming more considerate of the environment and of the people who live and work on the gulf coast whose welfare depends on a healthy environment. and so it is too, in 'darwinist' thinking, that those that cast their cigarette butts into the forest are becoming more wiser and more considerate of the environment. this notion that change will come about entirely by ‘genetic evolution’ of the leader, so that we somehow have to get the leader to 'read nietzsche' etc. is the standard ‘western darwinist view’.

the lamarckist view would be that the ‘pixels’ or ‘people’ are not passive, but are the source of epigenetic evolution which manifests via a new outside-inward orchestrated shaping of the style of leadership. the male chauvinist that continues to toss his butts, like ‘keep those bitches pregnant and in the kitchen’, into a forest that is now like an incendiary bomb ready to ignite, is going to be removed from the leadership gene-pool, NOT because of some deficiency or shortfall in ‘his internal genetically-determined fitness’, but rather from the outside-inward orchestrating influence of the relational space he is situationally included in, which always was the source of the leadership’s power. [the leader is like a sailboat that derives power and steerage from the relational space he is situationally included in, ... he is NOT like a powerboat whose drive and direction jumpstarts from his own internal components and processes].

the ‘bottom line’ is that 'we-the-pixels' [the spatial-relational matrix or web-of-life], have the power to, and are in the process of, epigenetically transforming the genetics of leadership.

Ees usual, here, tis' the whining of the booj. As the nemesi of JH Kunstler proclaim:

Give us solutions!
en
You can translate it as, "How can we get there from here without me having to give up my tricycle, video games, ice cream, Disney World, the interstate highway system, my aircon, my wife's hummer, Hollywood movies and digging chicks at the mall on sunday afternoon. How can we sell it?"

Guess what, eddie haskell?
We can't.

No booj will buy your program, your mama and auntie ain't comin along for the ride. And neither is your sunday school class.
None of that is in the program or nor should it be.

Furthermore how you and your people organize your business post-apocalyp ain't mine. And if we meet on the road we'll discuss things then.

OK get back to smoking trees in Colorado and have a nice day

There are plenty of ideas about stage 2, though people like the author as well as academics avoid them because they are distasteful. These ideas involve

a)destabilizing social movement
b)general strike
c)armed struggle, guerrilla war, clandestine insurgency
d)convince everyone to love and hug each other then start doing it

I'm not saying that these ideas are the right ones, but the problem is not lack of positive programs. It's capacity to enact any of them, and that capacity has nothing to do with critique, nor critique of critique, nor elaborating new programs. It has to do with doing shit, out there in the real world. That's why this author remains mired in intellectualism (we just don't have enough ideas!) despite his anti-intellectualism.

Also, this guy is profoundly uninteresting. Why does he get syndicated here? There are many more academic writers who are smarter and more interesting than this fool.

fucking realists ruin everything

this is the fucking trap, clearly laid out: "What is step 2?"

anarchists are constantly assaulted to provide "blueprints" to "how do we get there" and "what is to be done" but we should be rejecting this question outright, to accept it at base is to enter into politics, and if anarchy is to mean anything substantial, anti-political is what it must be.

there is no such thing as "anti-political." humans are social. they form groups. in those groups there are rules. the rules are oriented to some good. there is force behind the rules so that the good is attained or approximated.

the forms this might take are vast from primitives' anti-hierarchy to moderns' hyper-hierarchy. but the social, which we are, takes some form.

maybe i am wrong. what is the anti-political?

if antipolitics means anti-strategy, then i'd suggest it won't amount to much. you can be strategic and act to increase freedom without engaging in politics in the pejorative sense.

i hear you. politics is confused with the strategizing by which a minority exploits a majority and is as old as civilization. but primitive peoples had a politics as well which disallowed separation of an individual or group from the collective. some such politics can be re-created as anarchism.

instead there is the endless fantasy of revolution without any plan or content or direction; a future utopia without any plan or content or direction. it's mind boggling in its naivete.

Gloria Steinem is a moron

Did I miss something or is this just a totally random comment?

Many if not most of these people you are criticizing do have a Phase 2 (or are forming one or even carrying it out). Like how close-minded can you be? WE ARE IN PHASE II RIGHT NOW.

Yeah, if the author of this screed had actually read any of the book on green syndicalism that he misuses by snippet, he would have seen that it is precisely about moving from critique to action, the so-called Phase 2. But why bother actually reading someone's work (much of which has been written for movement publications and made available online) when it might interfere with your self-serving blog rants.

The best part is that the larval academic behind this rant is all worked up that the green syndicalist criticizes green consumerism as if that is the only alternative (or any alternative at all). Green consumption or bust. Pretty sad commentary on the would-be commentator.

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