by Abby Zimet
A powerful, furious, concise look at the history of the American empire, then and now. From Class War Films.
We are more than consumers: we are investors. That's what we are, to capitalism. Because, in all likelihood, thats what we are to evolution.
The act of redefining 'we' should not be taken lightly. Pure, irreducibly atomistic capitalism is morally bankrupt because it is blind: it assumes, in its blindness, that there is no individual beyond the single human being or the single dollar. But, recognizing its limitations, we have the opportunity to redefine what 'we' means, to capitalism. And 'we' have the right to redefine value in our morals, communicate that redefinition, and build on it, until it becomes a new currency for our society. Capitalist societies are all about choice: they celebrate 'choice' from dawn till dusk. So, why are these societies offered only ONE measure of 'value'. If you believe in ACTUAL 'free market capitalism'... THAT incongruity should strike you like a nail-studded 2X4.
a shorter less intense video on the same subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7Fzm1hEiDQ
A very forthright film, with many inarguable observations. Too true toward the end, especially when the narrator states that middle class Americans have almost no experience with committed protest. I have given up looking at our culture for ideas about what meaningful resistance is. Almost everything that is being advocated revolves around IT and online networks: what are you going to do if that stuff collapses? No, I recommend studying such actions as the Oka standoff by the Mohawk nations in Quebec, 1990. This was a very serious example of state-backed police action that was successfully resisted... but not without many discomforts and tensions. We must look outside of class and culture to get ideas... our mainstream society is very limited in terms of survival and coping mechanisms.
The Oka standoff worked because the State In Canada was less willing to resort to violence then would have been the case south of the border.
See Waco and Wounded Knee as examples.
Well, in fact there can be no 'perfect example' to refer to: every standoff comes with its own set of conditions and characteristics. Oka didn't exactly 'work': many things had to be resolved afterward outside of that time and space, and the dirty tricks of the army and police were downplayed by the media to such an extent that most people don't have a real idea about the intensity of what happened there over several months.
But I recommend that you look into this conflict more closely: there was in fact a disturbing amount of intimidation and covert violence at work here over several weeks. There were moments of soldiers attacking unarmed resistors; also of police allowing white citizens to assault their neighbors at roadblocks. Many people, including too many Canadians, don't know this story. I myself didn't know so much about it until I looked at accounts written by the Mohawks themselves (I started with Donna K. Goodleaf: "Entering the War Zone")
I very much recommend this film also, which actually follows the incidents taking place on site day by day:
What I learned from this action was that soldiers and police were obviously very interested in escalating tensions and coaxing the warriors to react violently. While those warriors were prepared to do so (with support from the Mohawk women), their elders kept a lid on things at numerous times and quite possibly prevented an excuse for armed forces to open fire disastrously. This was a very heavy situation in fact.
Who are the authors? I could find nothing about Paul F. Edwards and Lanny Cotler. Who is behind class war films?
The Koch brothers ;-)
There is a lot of thoughtful, constructive comment on this thread. One thing that should be kept in mind, though, is the ethnocentrism of most Americans, and probably most people in this day and age. I saw it occur several times in the comments.
We tend to judge every action in the past by our current beliefs. If something is wrong now, it was always wrong. If something is right now, it was always right.
When I read statements that our founding fathers were wrong, evil, grasping, followed by Eisenhower did...Nixon said...Reagan did...as examples, it proves my point.
Thomas Paine (another of my heroes) found out what Cassandra found, long ago. "A prophet has no honor in his own country."
If we want to really criticize the founding of the United States, we should look into the entire culture and mores of the time, and criticize within that framework, not on the current doctrine of political correctness.
Bertrand Russell, writing on the History of Philosophy made a comment which we should all note, as it is valid for almost every aspect of our human "development."
“In Studying a philosopher, the right attitude is neither reverence nor contempt, but first a kind of hypothetical sympathy, until it is possible to know what it feels like to believe in his theories, and only then a revival of the critical attitude, which should resemble, as far as possible, the state of mind of a person abandoning opinions which he has hitherto held. Contempt interferes with the first part of this process, and reverence with the second. Two things are to be remembered: that a man whose opinions and theories are worth studying may be presumed to have had some intelligence, but that no man is likely to have arrived at complete and final truth on any subject whatever. When an intelligent man expresses a view which to us seems obviously absurd, we should not attempt to prove that it is somehow true, but we should try to understand how it ever came to seem true. This exercise of historical and psychological imagination at once enlarges the scope of our thinking, and helps us to realize how foolish many of our own cherished prejudices will seem to an age which has a different temper of mind.”
Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, pg. 39.
Think about it.
Maybe they should call themselves "Anti-Imperialist Films" because there isn't very much class war analysis here.
While I agree with Mr. Crow that the suggestion in the film that state capitalist regimes like the Soviet Union represented a challenge to capitalism or repression is wrong, I disagree with his statement that these regimes represented an "extension" of Marxism. More like a betrayal. I do agree that Marx acted dishonorably toward the anarchists in the First International, but the anarchists were also jockeying for power. But, Bakunin was a great admirerer of Marx and was working on translating Capital. Most anarchists find some use for Marx's critique of capitalism.
I agree that the authoritarian socialist outfits around today are a danger. Maoists, Trots and so on, tend to gravitate toward class collaborationist strategies and to work against the militancy of the working class. But a lot of anarchists engage in flakey failed reformist politics, and totally ignore any kind of class analysis. In fact they're often nothing more than liberals who claim to be radicals. But they keep developing their critiques, especially by engaging in "praxis" be it occupy or other, so I am in no way writing them off, nor am I saying that socialists don't make contributions. I myself find writers like Mike Davis, Timothy Brennan, and Ellen Meiksins Wood to be vital, even though I don't agree with some of their views of socialist history.
Unlike David Graeber, I think it's pointless to keep framing this as "anarchism works, Marxism doesn't," (which I think he did in his piece on the roots of occupy, which he constantly tries to take too much credit for "starting"). Marx's contribution was not to promote the state, or a vanguard, but to establish a base from which we can analyze the material reality facing us, assess class composition, and then realistically decide how to attack the ruling class's stranglehold on our own social reproduction.
For good examples of writers who can use Marx, and anarchism, check out the Situationists, Franklin and Penelope Rosemont, Fredy Perlman, Libcom.org, The Wobblies, Jeremy Brecher, etc. Noam Chomsky has some videos breaking down the difference between Council Communism and Bolshevism. There's more but I think it's a mistake to use anarchism as a cudgel against Marxism, when there is really no inherent conflict between the two, despite historical squabbles. I don't think many radicals would say the Soviet attack on Kronstadt, against the anarchists in Spain, or on Hungarian workers' councils were "Marxist," or that Kim Jong Il is "Marxist," or that Ho Chi Minh's liquidation of the Trotskyist grass roots anti-imperialists on the orders of Stalinists was "Marxist." But I do share Mr. Crow's criticism of such authoritarian regimes, and their current defenders in the Left.
Now you are lying Chomsky and the IWW are opposed to state centralist Marxism.
Spoken like a true ignoramus. There have in fact been countless examples in human history, most of them from prerecorded history. I don't think I can give you anything that will satisfy you here, but i can mention Denmark (Christiania: 1970-present); Bohemia for a time in the middle ages; the landless movement in Brazil; various nomadic indigenous societies in pre-invasion North America as well as in the steppes of central Asia. Official history is not kind to self-organizing cultures and tends to ignore them or dismiss them as failures.
It is not fair to talk about a 'purely' anarchist society either... you will always find a blend of socialist principles and [honest] democratic underpinnings that are bound up within. Many native or aboriginal groups are also often miscast as being anarchist, for instance, when they are definitely not (if they are deeply hierarchical or otherwise based on elite power). There is so much confusion at this point it's no wonder most people don't know what to think.
If you wish to live up to your tagname, reallycurious, I suggest you get to work on finding out the real scoop on this thing that you have so casually dismissed.
You might have also mentioned parts of Spain in 1935 while the Civil War was going on.
Read the anthropology literature. ALL societies up through the "Big Man" model are/were anarchistic.
It's only when the population grows to the point that conflict-resolution is a major activity that the society switches to the "Tribal" model, with a chieftain. Even then, the office is "elective", not hereditary or even of fixed duration. The person designated as chieftain is the one who does the best job of looking out for the tribe's welfare.
Catalonia 1936, Argentina in occupying factories more recently and running them as co-ops without need of the state.
Any questions reallyincurious?
Means of production owned by the workers, NOT by the state and NOT by the corporation. THAT would be true freedom.
Excelente...Now is time to end the video's and join the peaceful actions against the machine...Peace is possible.
" Do all you can
with what you have
in the time you have
in the place you are."
I linked to this on facebook and said this.
This is a longish video presentation. I've taken time out from my kitty cat links and such to link this. My father, who fought in WW2 just so he could feed himself and his family after the banks took the family farm used to say, "More Yankee Bullshit." I understand now. While Canada, Britain, France, Australia and so many others fought fascism the u.s. made money.
To watch the protestsers be gassed, tased, arrested and abused by the military state was a total wake-up call for me. To watch the horror of 911 be used to kill and maim in the name of mindless revenge reminded me of krystal nacht (pardon the misspelling.) To watch our own Canadian police forces be militarized is frightening. I feel it will take shared sacrifice to stop this money machine juggernaut that has infected our leaders, teachers and religious folk.
Canada used to be the peace bringer. That myth I want to be true. That myth is worth dying for to make true. I have lived a life of excess while my world family has suffered. I am ashamed. When asked by myself of my dad if he would want us to join the military he said "Never", I was astonished. My dad and I had many times of disagreement and I regret that. But, this simple farm boy knew the truth.
I am not apologetic for my anger. I am not afraid of the fascists who run our country. I am afraid for our world. Write something. Read something. Argue with someone and listen to them. Bring Canada back to life. Save us from ourselves and the radical rich who want to destroy us and use us as pawns.
Let's bing the world back to LIFE! Let's start valuing the things that matter most not just that are profitable for a few in "high places".
Amazing that Wikileaks should make this information available now. Going to their site today the lead article throws this straight into ones face,
""LONDON—Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :
"[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase" – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez. "
The last paragraph explains the method of eliminating "friction".
Doesn't it just? How many times have we seen the same tactics taken against anyone that attempts to rock the boat. It's played out several times in the republican primaries. just recently. How "Rovian"? The fact that smear campaigns are so successful is testament to superficialities. Illustrative as to how little manipulation is really necessary to elicit direct results. We're so shallow! My dog has more depth than most humans. He's never once ask me which church I attend.
Well worth watching, and spreading on the internet. Corporate media would never air this, the truth is terrifying to the ruling class media, as the piece makes clear. Thanks for having this on your site, Common Dreams rules.
Nowhere do the readers/responders on other political sites offer this voyeur such incredible feedback as CD posters do!
That's because most of us are a bunch of old farts that have seen the same shit over and over decade after decade.
LOL, I am 45, is that old?
Yer a kid. LOL!! Nevertheless I love your postings. I'm 62.
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