These are a few selections (most of Kelley's, Ken's and Chuck's  contributions, and others too, for august and september 99) from the
Left Business Observer list:
------ the archive's by author listing run the chronose from bottom to top

 KELLEY VS ANGE so, now, does this mean that ethnography or what have you is useful for revealing the crap that intellectuals pump out which might be a way of moving with the preponderance of the object? that is, academics and researchers at think tanks and the like will pump out work that can tell us about how capitalism works because they're part of 'the preponderance of the object' and that would be useful. but otherwise, ethnography doesn't move with the preponderance of the object and so it can only be useful to those who want to analyze it in terms of revealing the way capitalism works? i took dennis's comment to ken as saying that we can't foget about the operations of capitalism: capitalism has us. kelley =<><<>><>=  Chris wrote: >Indeed of course under >capitalism labour power is a commodity. =<><<>><>=  i think that r. edwards' point in _contested terrain_ is a crucial framework for interpreting hidden injuries: the only thing sold here is the potential for productive labor --employers actually have to wrest the work out of people. so, employers look for ways to sort people by intensely examining the commodity people are selling. i think there are interesting aspects to this interplay between these hidden injuries and the way it operates to ensure that labor power is realized as productive labor. to illustrate but by drawing on the lower rungs of the work hierarchy: in the catering biz, when you need extra staff you call the employment agency for some "warm bodies." what purpose could this possible serve, to pay people $7-$8/hr knowing full well that they won't be productive? it would seem irrational, no? it actually creates solidarity: the 'warm bodies' are ridiculed by both mgmt and regular employees producing a tenuous solidarity that rests on 'us' [hard workers] v 'them' [slackers]. how did this work? whe i was in the biz, my boss had a penchant for hiring college students on vaca from Cornell. she believed they'd be more than warm bodies b/c, on her view, people who went to college (as she had) had a work ethic. this, funnily enough, wasn't generally true. she even knew this. yet, something worked in this scenario. the hostility toward 'slackers' was about the fact that they could resist the demand to realize their labor power for their employers. they had freedom in the eyes of the reg staff. moreover, they didn't suffer the indignities of judgment b/c future college degrees protected them, both internally and externally. whereas the label 'slacker' might work on someone who has no other choice than to demonstrate solidarity with others hard workers b/c, like them, you have no choice, the label 'slacker' and the public ridicule they were subjected to meant little to them for their response was, "i don't have to do this work; i just need some cash for ____." i've pointed out here before that this sort of service work also has important implications for mgmt/worker solidarity and why, i think, it's difficult to organize unions: the enemy is more readily seen as clients, customers, patrons who you are continually told you work *for*. to me, this is important with regard to this new management rhetoric about team work and taking care of customers, particularly as the "who" you are producing for becomes more visible in these industries [see also, larry hirschhorn's altogether too optimistic reearch]. another structural factor that's makes resistance difficult: service work is notoriously understaffed. if someone doesn't show up everyone else must work harder. you screw over your mates, not your boss. solidarity is crucial here yet works in mgmt's favor. of course, we need to look at the structural context, too: how is labor extracted from the regular workers? my boss was also openly uncomfortable about this b/c to do so she had to lie w/ the 'promise' of pay raises/promotions. there was a well-known glass ceiling. once a cook, for ex, reached $8/hr they would often be summarily fired as examples. not all, but some: if you wanted to work your way up, then you'd best not get too cocky about pay raises and you'd best earn them continually. that was the stick. there was also a carrot: the 'work you way up' ethos that is part of this industry overall. somewhat peculiar to this company, but nonetheless i think instructive be/c it is *so* obvious. the CEO and all exec level mgmt, would don aprons, wait on tables, take orders from cranky Cornellians, and slide their arms into piles of leftover food and dirty dishes. people often noted how hard these folks worked: "look at that Mr. M working so hard in front of even his own neighbor, that rich s.o.b. _____." [do note that Mr. M made it a point to work hard in front of rich s.o.b.'s at elite functions well-covered in local press. this was for him, for his well-to-do buds and for us. Mr. M, who started out with the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, had something to prove to himself, the upstart from working class background, and to those with inherited wealth.] indeed, it seemed to reg. staff that exec mgt put to shame the clerical & administrative staff pressed into service as wait staff every weekend. [exacerbating hostilities b/t food service workers and clerical/admin staff, b/t clean and dirty work; b/t those ruled by the clock and those not]. the majority of the folks at the top levels of the corp. had started out at the lower rungs so their message was: we may make lots of money but we're not ashamed to do the same work and if you want to get where we are then do the same. works quite nicely since my ex-husband is at work by 4 do the work a cook might normally do, at 7 works in his capacity as "manager" of the uni cafeteria, often delivering breakfasts and luncheons to the chancellor and prez who insist on being taken care of by the "manager" [no lowly staff for them!]. he doesn't get home til 6-7 p.m., does inventory, the books, and catering on Sat/Sun. he has no dream of advancement, he's just hoping to keep his salaried managerial job. he sure as heck doesn't feel that he's really made 'progress' insofar as he's really quite aware that wearing a tie to work instead of a cook's uniform hasn't brought him any increase in freedom or dignity. he cannot point to mgmt who have the 'freedom' and 'dignity' of not doing 'dirty' work b/c they symbolically demonstrate that even they don't find such work beneath them. this has all been exacerbated by a wider structural context. first, there is the reality of corporate buyouts & mergers with this particular company, which i'd argue is a trend as successful small companies become part of chains like marriot who are expanding into other aspects of the hospitality industry. last i worked in this industry, there was intense competition in this regard. second, there is the widespread deployment of this fear of downsizing in the popular media, which the corp used to their advantage during a 6 month test of who would get weeded out during the merger. as a somewhat personal side note: it's likely that there's more than a slight correlation between the onslaught of this test and my ex's growing concerns about becoming closer to his children, which manifested itself in a child custody battle that was extremely expensive for him. it would seem irrational on the face of it; but one way, as S&C note, to shore up one's identity--sense of dignity and freedom--under these conditions is to turn toward the haven of the family as some sort of sphere divorced from these competitive ethos. [then again, the ex could just be an asshole. a redundant tautology, i know!] still, as kathleen gerson has shown, the cultural turn toward "new fatherhood" and the personal concern with it as an alternative source of identity tends to coincide with fathers' realizations that their avenues for advancement have been blocked. there's no doubt that the father's rights movement has something to do with this, in my view. the food service industry is very much like this all over, since it's built on this work your way up ethos. while there's been an explosion in employment, it has been a step ahead of the credentialization infrastructure necessary to create a firm hierarchy b/t professional v. practical knowledge. there is an old and well-cultivated ethos which suggests that no one can *really* know how to do anything unless they've spent time in the trenches. in this sense, tho, it is also somewhat peculiar and to be differentiated from other service industries, tho i'm not certain in precisely what ways. so max, your daughter may well be put through some severe degradation rituals--especially b/c she's a she--if she wants to prove to anyone that her CIA training is any match for the heat of the kitchen. and you'd best teach her how to use the word fuck as a verb, noun, and adjective because there's a difference between a whisk and a fucking whisk. a fucking whisk produces the best she-she sauces and no ordinary, non-fucking whisk will do. she'll need to stick with the she-she restaurants if she wants to avoid this for they do pride themselves on maintaining that professional training is superior. also, this is by way of suggesting that i'm not sure about the claim that college education, in the states, alters class distinctions simply by virtue of the fact that more folks attend college. while 50% go to college, the number who graduate [25%] hasn't changed since the 50-60s. and, as we can imagine, the burden of 'dropping out' is generally internalized as a personal failure. the 25%, too, was an increase from the 10% in earlier decades b/c the gov't invested heavily in the expansion of the uni system with public uni's which served several purposes. also, these numbers include two-year community colleges which were actually instituted by elite uni's as a way of diverting the unwashed masses who were demanding college educations-- not, however, because they wanted technical knowledge which community colleges are generally mandated to provide. rather, it was for the reasons that frank rissaro seems to suggest. as brint and karabel note in _the diverted dream_ the working class "desire" for vocational training was purposefully imposed on them. liberal arts educations were to be reserved for the elite; vocational training in the expanding service and knowledge industries was for the rest. the point here, too, is that the uni system in the US is in an extremely competitive situation. they *need* to advance this rhetoric of continual training and advancement thru higher education just to keep up with the purported demands of the job market. in the late 80s and 90s, there was heavy competition over a dwindling student market, compared to the baby boom yrs. randall collins calls this credential inflation, though he hasn't explored this aspect of it. for a time, with the explosion in college attendance, there was some leveling in terms of the prestige hierarchy of uni's. but the uni hierarchy is reasserting itself quickly and people are starting to recognize differences between a private and public uni, between a community college and a four year college, between the big three/ivy's and other uni's. though, i must say the common sense understandings still rest on who has the best sports team. so, a bit of a riff on what you'd said, chris, but more anon.... kelley =<><<>><>=  heresy, why I support vouchers k.m. asks > Especially as your comment about things being worse "when teachers >are only seen as workers" would seem to rule out the unions as a likely >agent? =<><<>><>=  no. i would want revitalized unions--see _teaching in america_ for suggestions that i may or may not agree with given what i know to be jerry's thinking. but it's a start. when i say 'workers' i mean that are merely cogs in the system, asked to pump out a product. it's no different than being asked as a prof to focus on the goal of getting good evals, whatever that means, and the right bell curve distribution of grades. so i'd want unions and professional education changed, fundamentally. =<><<>><>= And what will keep the current goofuses (I assume you refer to the >administrators) from being replaced within the current structures, where, >as you say about private schools, " the tendency toward corporate >bureaucratization in the name of efficiency and profit " could and is being >enforced? ------------ eh? --------- >I'll look forward to hearing what more you pick up from your mentor or >elsewhere. =<><<>><>=  ahhhh well i forgot he's vacationing in new england. used to lounge about with jk galbraith himself, even! so there's a hint as to the likely politics of _teaching_ but otherwise, k.m. this is the deal. public schooling needs to remain public. schools--children, ALL children--are our responsibility. that means dealing with all the messiness and unpleasantness b/c there are no easy fixes here. schools suck now. they're not going to get any better under a market model of schooling whether charters or vouchers b/c it's easy to see that we don't get what we need and want in the market and so that's not any reason to think it'll work for schools. the deal is, and brown v. b.o.e. recognized this, that WE are responsible for other people's kids because those kids live in this society and we depend on them--yes, we depend on people we will never know. OTHER people's children. being responsible for schooling means keeping it public. even adam smith knew that the moral logic of "let me keep my own and i will become, without ever thinking about it, my brother's keeper" was an ethos that ought to friggin stay in the market. why import and encourage such an ethos into the dang school system? schooling is supposed to educate for a vocation AND for citizenship. sure, it's a hollowed out, empty notion of what it ought to be--education for a calling and education for real, substantive democratic participation. but i don't see how we're going to get from here, capitalism, to there, socialism or what have you, by turning our schools into damn for profit corporations or NGOs. kelley =<><<>><>= K.M. > >Oh, yeah, mbs was: > >>surprized nobody else blew up at my remarks about >>parents. Guess few bothered to read.  =<><<>><>= I read, but didn't find the remarks remarkable. There are a lot of parents >who don't get involved with schooling -- always have been. =<><<>><>=  if our goal, and it may not be yours, is to move toward socialism, then i do not see how encouraging market competition in the public school system is going to get us to our goal. it simply extends to a new realm the logic of rational choice individualism: we are nothing but consumption machines with knapsacks full of preferences that we whip out every time we're at the market--however that's conceived. that seems to me a way of thinking that will never ever put us on any path toward socialism because socialism, to work well, requires a whole different way of thinking about ourselves and others, particularly if you we're talking more anarchistic forms of socialism. schools stink for reasons that are so complex that there's no way on earth that a voucher system--even for the rather pragmatic reasons max offered for opposing them--is going to work. there are cultural contradictions regarding our attitutudes toward teaching that need to be addressed, there are problems with the fetishization of ever new pedagogies, the problem of deprofessionalization, and so forth. vouchers and charters don't address those problems. your fundamental gripe, it seems to me is that you don't like the schools. so, this is not about marxism or people taking control, it's about how to fix the schools. well i'm all for that, but i'm also for socialism. the privatization and mcdonaldization of schooling isn't going to get us there by any means. as i said elsewhere, there's plenty of money to fix some of these problems. though money isn't all the silver bullet. money is distributed extremely unfairly because of the property tax system. this inequity is just plain wrong--and doesn't even meet USers standards of what constitutes formal, procedural equality of opportunity. vouchers barely make a dent in those inequities. charters schools avoid the problem in the name of some heroic entrepreneurial ethos. we should strive for equity--fairness. not some procedural notion of justice as embodied in either equality of opportunity or in the rational choice model of economic man. kelley  =<><<>><>= CONCLUSION CHAPTER OF WHO CHOOSES? WHO LOOSES? by Richard F. Elmore and Bruce Fuller - These ambiguous findings about the relationship among choice, school innovation, and student performance lead us to the conclusion that introducing choice will not, by itself, result in large changes in educational programs or student performance. It does make sense, however, to think about choice policies operating in tandem with other educational improvement initiatives to foster variation in educational programs and to focus school leaders on student performance. Knowledgeable designers of public school choice programs have, for a long time, argued that choice plans need to be combined with policies that reinforce high expectations that all students will achieve and that pro mote the systematic development of alternative instructional strategies, rather than simply relabeling existing strategies (Fliegel, 1990). The evidence on differences between the bureaucratic environments of public and private schools also suggests that dramatically streamlining and focusing central school bureaucracies on supporting high-quality instruction in schools could result in more attention to student learning.  =<><<>><>= you forgot, "i'm looking for someone greater than myself: an equal." deliciously, kelley  =<><<>><>=  ken wrote: >Excellent! Lacan's lamella, the Alien as pure appearance qua >appearance, Kant's indefinite judgement, Zizek's theory of >vampirism / sublime object of ideology, Schellings beginning >before the beginning, Hegel's retroactive positing of the >presuppositions, Marx's materialist subject without >susbtance, Salecl's "I love something in you more than you" >and Laclau and Mouffe's empty pluralistic democracy... > >ken ????????????? =<><<>><>= excerpt from a post spiked with facts on suicide: a better way of thinking about the issue would be to ask if the suicides rates have always been 'high' in sweden and other countries whch have high rates. if so, then we can pretty much guess that socialism isn't the problem. turns out that sweden's suicide rate has been pretty steady at around 15-20/1000 throughout 20th c., with an upsurge in the 60s and 70s where it got it's rep. for having the highest suicide rate. hungary holds that position now, having achieved a rate in the 40s/1000 in the mid seventies, steadily rising from a rate that was about the same as sweden's and the USA's 50 yrs ago. it seems to me that the rise in rates during the 60s and 70s probably had something to do with sweden's age demographics. =<><<>><>=  Oh, Kelley, you ask such a difficult & profound question that concerns biology, philosophy, and aesthetics all at once! Well, let's see, I say it all depends on the man's diet, but I humbly submit it as a proposition only, to be corroborated or falsified by the collective inquiry of the more learned. I'll say it's a perfect cavil if some see it fit to infer from it my secret allegiance to Nietzsche.  =<><<>><>=  well, i can only say, mmmm mmmm good --in reponse to yoshie's comments, that is--since i certainly am getting my very own taste of vintage yoshie lately. god, i hope this is likewise good for my complexion. certainly save on the expense associated w/ creams and lotions for staving off crow's feet. as for making alternative desposits at branch banks which you speak of below, now there's a case for the positive aspects of the money shot! ken might have some comments about fondue and how to come and still have fun! or maybe a commentary on raw, baked and boiled. ken? now mebbe you 'n' frances can do the dominatrix routine and rilly rilly give doug a heart attack. kelley  =<><<>><>= Speaking of oral enjoyment, I should like to take this occasion to advise those men who think fertilization makes an egg sacred of the wisdom of keeping their respective amoral appendage away from the vicinity of any cunt whose owner is not desirous of a pregnancy. I may be justified in further declaiming the superiority of oral clitoral stimulation to vaginal penetration from many a woman's point of view, even when the morality of the possesser of an amoral appendage does not give off a particularly offensive smell. Yoshie =<><<>><>=  no brainer: abortion is killing. so what? related subject threads: Every Sperm is Sacred"  "Federal Unborn Victims Bill ------ this is the deal. i think abortion is killing a potential life. i've had one and i've been a long time activist for abortion rights, arguing for the absolute unconditional need for abortion. i was almost aborted [drat! huh carrol?] back when it was illegal and yet i still absolutely support legalized abortion. in the spirit of max's initial murmurings and auto-generated, auto-erotic postings on this topic i would say that, as abortion rights advocates, we don't do ourselves any favors by running about telling everyone that having an abortion is like having an appendectomy. not a lot of people agree with this and yet most people still think abortion ought to remain legal. that is, i think we ought to respect the fact that people think this way right now. there's not a whole lot you can do about that and having them read arguments about the history of abortion doesn't make much of a dent. people think what they think right now. in this case, the dominant tendency in the US is for people to think of the issue as a personal, private moral dilemma and that the state ought not be part of it. out and in yer face about it among folks other than the folks at pro-choice rallies is likely to backfire in our faces. one thing we have on our sides is this: the RTLers are in yer face assholes that alienate a lot of people by their actions. i think it's probably wise to keep that sentiment in our favor by not engaging in similarly stupid actions. i liked michael's suggestions about boycotting businesses that support RTL, but terribly in your face stuff will make us look as bad as them. there's a time an place for those activities; this isn't one of them. in that sense, i'd be pragmatic about using the "I'm here, I've had an abortion, get used to it" strategy. I'll use it here on LBO because i suspect my audience can deal with it and be persuaded, perhaps. I wouldn't use it at a welfare rights meetings necessarily, particularly since, at those meetings, there are plenty of women of color who tend not to support abortion. i don't know about you yoshie, but when i used to do the petition thing, women of color slammed the door in my face pretty quick. *none* of them were willing to have their names printed in the local paper in an ad supporting abortion rights as part of our response to RTLers staged their friggin' protests every spring. they didn't go to our counter demonstrations either, though they might privately support and contribute to abortion rights activities. how to defend oneself against the right-to-lifers and the "abortion is murder" argument? it's a no brainer. abortion is killing but it's not murder. in the first place, we already make distinctions about killing v. murder do we not? that is, the legal system recognizes differences in first degree murder, manslaughter, accidents, crimes of passion, self defense, property defense, and so forth. when someone is convicted of killing someone else, they are penalized differently according to the crime and the degree to which the crime was rational, pre-planned [in cold blood], the result of criminal negligence, the result of supposed irrationality/passion, etc. if it is completely an accident or in self-defense then it's not considered actionable as a form of murder or manslaughter or even involuntary manslaughter. given the logic already embedded in the legal system, some forms of killing aren't actionable [e.g., suicide one was punishable whereas now it's generally not]. it is really not much of a leap to argue that abortion is justified and ought not be punishable or considered that big a deal even if you killed another potential life. if it is okay to kill someone out of self-defense, then it is surely okay to have an abortion for absolutely any reason a woman might choose. the person who killed for reasons of self-defense will likely have all sorts of moral quandaries about that act or not. that's okay and we allow that, don't we? then it's okay and we should allow and respect different understandings of what abortion is or isn't. it's rather unfair to impose one's moral beliefs on others by telling them that their thinking about abortion, even if they are staunch pro-choicers, is somehow wrongheaded. the point is that abortion, however understood, is not a moral act for "the state" to punish by making it illegal, even though individuals consider it moral. everything we do or don't do is about moral decision-making. the point is whether the state ought to be involved. in this case, abortion is killing, not murder. as for whether this argument feeds into the RTLers arguments against public funding for abortions, well the orig point of this thread was about making concessions for the sake of coalition building. that's a concession i'm willing to make since it's already the case that there isn't public funding for abortions. as for the issue max raised--political platforms or deal making/negotiations regarding public health care provisions among leftist parties--well it's pretty clear to me that, were such a thing ever to come about, the abortion docs and the medical community would surely want to get a piece of that action. it will be in their interest to make abortions part of a socialized health care delivery system and to keep it legal. so, it seems to me that prioritizing might not be such a bad thing. first, fight for unconditional access to abortion whenever possible second, fight like hell against attempts to undermine abortion access. third, concede on the public funding issue in order to get socialized health care delivery in the first place __IF that's what is necessary. fourth, when that magic day comes [and even before] start working with the medical community to get them on board with the idea that abortion should be part of publicly subsidized health care. that's a no-brainer and it will be easy, for the most part, to get such a powerful community on board with that one. fifth, abortion rights activists, right now, ought to work toward getting the ratfucker HMOs to push for maintaining and expanding abortion services and access too, since their damn logic is all about preventative health care. ps., the whole woman rights vs. child's rights is a big fat duh. the issue isn't about that, it's about a woman's right vs. the *STATE's* interest in protecting a potential life. the state has no interest in protecting an unborn child's life. the viability issue is a canard that would be pretty much meaningless under a different set of social conditions. pps., bullshit blahbedeblah about moralism is it's own godamed moralism in which you simply impose your own "you should think this way and act that way" on others in order to condemn their arguments by exposing them as not good enough marxists. iow, there's a question about how to do or think about something and, as such, it's a moral fucking issue. get over it already. that's why aristotle and plato called it "the ethical-political". so, yes it's really about struggle, but denying that it's about the ethical doesn't get you very far because when you say struggle and political you also say ethical./moral. kelley =<><<>><>= marta wrote >I don't like having the RTLs on this side of the issue, believe me, it is not >my cup of tea. One problem we have is distinguishing the disability >perspective from the RTL (who by the way are always eager to portray us as >RTL). I agree with you that abortion is a serious matter not like having an >organ removed. =<><<>><>= yeah, agreed that i wouldn't be happy about that either! but pramatically, it is true that this would make an argument like singer's dead in the water, even were we to have different views about infantacide.  =<><<>><>=  I support abortion but take the Adrienne Asche's position that it crosses the >line when one aborts because one does not like the characteristic of the fetus >(sex, disability, hair color, whatever else they will know about us in the >womb) rather than having the abortion because the conditions in one's life >makes that choice necessary to abort ANY fetus. This way I challenge >assumptions about disablement as one would challenge the assumption that having >a boy is more desirable than having a girl. I realize many many people view >disability as a primary reason to abort. Trouble is the more market oriented >our society becomes, the less willing parents are to have a non "perfect" baby. -------------i do understand where you are coming from. as i stated at the outset of my entry into this, my mother almost had an abortion with me. so i've had to think carefully about this. the thought doesn't loom large in my mind--at least not the way the rtlers would like to believe it does! but nonetheless. now, she felt she couldn't have me because of public judgment not really because of economic circumstances. she was working three jobs, living at home and could continue to live at home, had no thought of going to college, though she completed her training as a beautician at the local beauty school and so had a skill that would support both of us at the time. the biggest trouble was illegitimacy and fear of judgment. she was so fearful that she never told anyone, save for one friend, and hid it til labor day and i was born 20 day later. amazing , huh? my point for teling this story is that attitudes toward what is and isn't desirable change. and another point is that there may be reasons for having an abortion that have nothing to do with economic constraints. a woman should be able to have one even if she's a wealthy 25 yr. old. which leads me to my concern about asche's argument is that, while i think it's wrong to abort simply because one is unhappy with the looks of a child, such views question the motives of an individual and judge them rather than viewing it as a social problem that is produced systematically by the capitalist, sexist, racist social relations in this society. in other words, the *cause* of those feelings and attitudes lies elsewhere. individuals are reponsible for producing them, yes. but changing those attitudes, i don't think, will come about by constraining access to abortion in the months after it might be possible to find out eye color, hair color and i think what you want to say is, whether or not the child has a disability. that's really the most important issue for us, right? as i recall, you worry that devaluing the disabled by allowing abortions because parents don't want to raised disabled children is a problem because it contributes to and strengthens the kinds of attitudes we'd like to eradicate. but, i just can't see why constraining access to abortion will necessarily promote the oppression of the disabled. it seems to me that this oppression is rooted in many other places and is primarily and fundamentally located w/in capitalism though not entirely so insofar as it is a form of cultural imperialism. so i would say that perhaps it isn't so much a tradeoff b/t women's rights and the rts of the disabled. if you say that aborting because of eye color is a problem b/c it's frivilous does that open the door to say that a healthy, married, employed women with a husband who does half the housework, and with plenty of money to hire help, who owns her own business and won't suffer from the mommy track is therefore frivilous for not wanting to have a child? people have thought that my abortions were frivilous because we could have raised children. it would have been hard but i would have finished my phd, gotten a job and things would have a-ok. and, they're right. i just didn't, ultimately, want to raise a child at that point in my life, even though my partner was really pretty good about housework and the like. also, what about, and there are plenty of people i know who say this, they don't want children because they don't like children that much? does aborting b/c you don't like children encourage anti-child sentiments which some think are pretty darn real in this country given what we allow to happen to a lot of them? i guess i'd want to take a two pronged approach to the concerns you've raised here before. 1. changing the perception of bodily, physical perfection through education, media criticism and the like. 2. changing the conditions which make it diff for those who may not be so much concerned with 1 as they are concered about the difficulty in raising a disabled child. i'm sure i don't have to lay them out for you, but i will for others reading: better services, better education, new forms of parenting that don't lay the entire burden on the parents, obviously adequate incomes, sexism that means that women bear the burden of the mommy track and bear the burden of primary care more often than not. kelley >Disability activists have only recently inserted ourselves into the issue >whereas before the "professionals" always spoke ABOUT US WITHOUT US. There is >still lots of confusion about how best to get our message out there without >seeming RTL. And as within any identity group, (as with women) there will be >some people with disabilities who do not favor abortion under any >circumstances, but I am not one of those and neither are most advocates I know. > >Marta =<><<>><>= Charles: I'll agree to that if you agree that it is an imperfect kind of perfect knowledge.  =<><<>><>= Yoshie: I think that a non-Hegelian view of knowledge and reality, as advanced by Roy Bhaskar (and Marx himself for that matter), obviates an alleged equation of planning with the presumption of "complete or perfect" knowledge (which I don't think Charles is presuming in any case, I may add). =<><<>><>= well apparently so given charles reversion to perfect knowledge in the above. i'm a fan of bhaskar and critical realism. but, having sparred with ange recently, i'm guessing that this isn't quite the same thing here. simply acknowleding, as Bhaskar does, that we create objects that become for us objects of investigation does not actually obviate the problem angela is raising which i'd guess is the dream of deliverance that is nestled in here: simply acknowledging that knowledge is incomplete isn't the same thing as a lacanian formulation of subjectivity and the consequences that has for us. bhaskar, then, is something akin to a humanist psycholgoy which says, oh yeah, human desires change and we don't always know what we want nor is what we want always predictable. so grow with the flow by trying to be as knowledgeable about ourselves as possible even while recognizing that complete knowledge isn't possible. this is quite different from a lacanian formulation in which the very process of trying to be as knowledgeable about ourselves as possible is the very process in which those desires are generated and which obscures to us the political character of those desires because it must. =<><<>><>= hey brett, take a look at the archives and the parecon thread last fall we started out on this one! sick ain't it? anyhoo i shall post which means maxhunkhoney will have to wait for my response. but i do want to say to max that i realize i came off a bit cantankerous. so thanks for cutting us some slack on that one.  =<><<>><>= 1) Permanent hierarchy must be avoided. Ideally the process will be mechanical at the top, i.e., the planning process will follow a set of pre-defined rules  =<><<>><>=  Either I'm really lousy at explaining my position, or people read their >preconceptions into my words. Probably some of both going on. ------- yep. ----- >Where did I say anything about technocratic administration? If anything I >said this should be avoided. > >These rules should most emphatically _NOT_ be pre-defined, unquestioned and >depoliticised. This was an assumption you made, not a position I stated. >In fact, I support exactly the opposite - the rules should be subject to >implementation and change through the (democratic) political process. =<><<>><>= there is where you said yourself that rules are pre=defined. yes, they may have been democratically decided on and they may be open to change. this does not, tho, necessarily prevent them from become instantiated in such a way as to be naturalized. moreover, this is exactly the technocratic logic of bureaucracy. bureaucracy operates according to a set of pre=defined rules that have either been politically or scientifically determined as the best and/or objective means for achieving a given end. authority is in the rules. they, as you say yourself, ------------>>>must be adhered to in order to take the human >>>factor (and thus authority) out of the planning process. ------------ that is exactly why bureaucracy emerged in the first place: to take the power of charismatic leadership which operates according to power as embodied in a person or persons to one in which authority is embodied in the rules. both are forms of authority. charismatic leadership is authority embodied in a person who's rule is seen a natural because of birth or class position or family. as with aristocracy, authority passed from god to king to nobility. bureacracy emerged w/ enlightenment thought as an ostensibly more democratic means of legitimating such authority thru the supposed objectivity of science which, as you must know, itself operates according to pre-defined rules which must be assumed and taken for granted if we are ever to get the work of science done rather than standing in a corner gazing at the lint in our navels and just-a-wonderin about it all. the mistake is to assume that the political is in the human and it's absent in 'the rules'. it's not absent at all. so, it all may be solved by the qualifications you offer as to what you meant to say. weber's work others suggest that it's not. now, anyone who paid attn to my convo w/ ken on bernstein and habermas will recognize that i took your position in that debate and said what you say. as i said, i'm pressing for clarifications and answers ---------- I don't know anything about Weber or Lacan, so I don't know what you're >referring to. However, eliminating private property will certainly not >eliminate the need for administrative duties of one sort or another. It >doesn't even have to make things more equitable. But, you can't keep >private property and achieve an egalitarian system. The hope lies in >finding institutions which, after private ownership of the means of >production is eliminated, do produce an egalitarian society. ---------- yes, and this is where i try to make my escape as well. i said at the tail end of some other thread and referred to comments you'd made on a similar topic re workplace democracy that i think that the issue is changing institutional imperatives. one thing i think we need to worry about is the idea of individualistic, rational choice decision making. how to accomplish that is another problem. ------------>How is this a critique of democratic planning? People behave in their >self-interest. Everyone wants to better their situation. So what? ---------- that is a dangerous assumption. that is assuming a human nature that is historically constituted and particular to capitalism. it hasn't always been the case and is not now the case that people only ever operate in their self interest. adam smith even argued this and wrote his treatise, _a theory of moral sentiments_ arguing that rational choice decision making in pursuit of one's self interest was a logic --a set of rules--that worked best in the cap. market but not elsewhere. he offered a kind of tripartite system of checks and balances, very much a part of scottish enlightenment thought in which there were different spheres operating according to different moral logics, the state, the market, civil society. as for an empirical example that feminist offer to counter your claim that people act in their self interest: do we think that, ideally, family and friendship relationships should operate according to the pursuit of self-interest? chicago school economists argue that it should and they set about trying to explain how people do operate in this way and yet they always run up against a steel wall because it turns out, much to their consternation, that people don't. so why is that? ------------- This >will be true in a socialist society just as it is in a capitalist one. >This is in no way an argument against socialism or an argument for the >market, it is simply a statement of how people behave. ----------but that statement rests on a whole set of assumptions that can't be empirically proven and do not accurately reflect how people do in fact behave. that's where chicago schoolers had to come up with the concept of optimizing rather than fully satisfying and achieving one's self-interest. apparently, not even complete and full understanding of all information at hand leads ppl to maximize their self interest, they merely optimize it. the trouble i have is that i don't think that it's private property alone that is the problem. it is precisely the notion of self interest, the language of incentives and so forth that are problems. why are people incented to do one thing and not another? what are the hidden and very political assumptions that undergird these claims. one reason why this is a concern is that there as long been a feminist and marxist critique, among others, regarding the language of self-interest, choice, and incentives. moreover, one need only look at the way self interest operates in the polity to see that this isn't exactly a great system since what we so often decry is interest group plurilism dominated by single interest groups pursuing singular self interests. indeed, peter kilander, if you're reading, you might want to jump in here w/ regard to the author you interviewed not too long ago. i'd be interested in how you make connections between what he had to say wrt to political life and citizenship and what i gathered from your convo with him was a bit of a rejection of the idea that democratic participation needed to rest on something other than self-interest. [to those familiar w/ this line of thought: uh huh, i'm also aware of the drawbacks of my competing concerns here.] ----------------- >I wish I could have a conversation about this, as opposed to email - it is >much easier to flesh things out that way. Its too difficult to explain and >discuss the whole idea on this list. ------------ frankly, over beers and various types of hard liquor and a mimosa or two would be even better. [right rob!!] but alas.... i don't mean to frustrate you. it's just a topic that i'm interested in and one, in fact, that ken and i wrangled over a bit more abstractly but there i offered an account of workplace dem'y not much different from yours. i'm taking a different tack here because this is such a stumper and i've gone back and forth for many years trying to figure out how it's possible to put these ideas into practice. i can't put it all into one post either. so i guess patience is in order eh? but if i get to be too much of a pest i'll stop. deal? kelley > --------------- >I predict that in about three weeks, a certain Brit named Mark Jones >will >experience some modest pangs of embarrassment. The first person who >can remember why will be awarded some of the spoils of war, assuming >Cmde. Jones is a honorable man and there are some spoils to be had. > >Nostradamus -------------- > i know this one! i know this one! coz i had been subbed to this friggin list for a month and it was the first sign of humorous life i stumbled over. an entire month i whined to doug daddy that i was running out of toothpicks to keep the lids from drooping. and you, max, were cracking me up b/c all these wanker economists were going ga ga over the possibility of world revolution b/c some wall streeters might lose a few pair of their $100 socks! i'm O-L and at the risk of pissing doug off yet again i must get in on this one. the bet was over whether the world would crumble over the market crash and a case of some sort of scotch rested on it as i recall. laguvian or something far too rich for my blood i think. that's when, max dearest, i just knew you was the man for me! too bad you're taken. i think i should get a bonus for remembering that it was a case of scotch. kelley =<><<>><>= Well, if this is what Adam Smith said, then I agree with him. Classical economics isn't completely wrong. People do respond to incentives, and people do want to improve their lives. I'm not offering proof, just speaking from (just barely) 30 years of experience. This is my opinion, but everything I've seen supports this hypothesis. And I don't see how this notion is somehow incompatible with socialism. Brett =<><<>><>= alex: Well, if this is what Adam Smith said, then I agree with him. Classical economics isn't completely wrong. People do respond to incentives, and people do want to improve their lives. I'm not offering proof, just speaking from (just barely) 30 years of experience. This is my opinion, but everything I've seen supports this hypothesis. And I don't see how this notion is somehow incompatible with socialism. my family immigrated from the soviet union back in 1980, so whenever i discuss this stuff with them i always hear about how the problem with communism (soviet style) was that lots and lots of people had no incentive to do or be anything more than drunk. whenever talking about socialism they point to that experience to tell me why it would not work. the argument that i see always bandied about when discussing socialism is that it will kill the human impulse for self improvement and growth. socialism needs to be reframed to mean that it will promote people's incentive to do and be more and to lead more fulfilling lives. =<><<>><>= concrete example of a permutation of the planning/chaos bizzo ange has been ranting about. it's a doozy so WATCH OUT. snit is in a mood. well if everyone pursues their self interest, then who the hell is going to attend to their self interest? b/c presumably everyone else is looking for their piece of the action too, no? oh wait wait wait. there will be people that get satisfaction out of fulfilling other people's self-interest b/c its in their self interest. dandy. i mean women scrub the fucking floor because they enjoy it right? they get a sense of satisfaction out of keeping that floor spic and span. and slaves, well we all know they're dumb and they like pleasing massuh. ---------- jesusgodamnchristalmighty. how should we divide up the housework? or any shitwork for that matter? well you do what you like and what you're best suited for. hel-lo. these parecon people want to build an entire social structure on people calculating their self-interest. not only that, the idea is that all organizational structures have a self interest to pursue as well. everything! including --and whathefuck this is scary--whether art is in the interest of the community b/c why should the community support [dist resources to] an artist who produces art the community doesn't like or want. well hallelujah!! i wanna live in a world like that? no fuckin way. imagine that community full of mostly people that you don't particularly admire. weeeooooo. i'm in a cranky mood today so take it with a grain of salt coz most of the time i think people are better than that and i actually trust people to get it right most of the time. but not today and not the way people have been behaving like on this ratfucking list lately. let me just rant some more. dlete now coz it's more o the same o same o. i do not want people to support abortion coz it's in their self interest to do so [eg., 1967 abortion act in britain was passed because middle class thought it was in their self interest to stop the working class from having babies w/o being properly ties tot he ole ball and chain]. i don't want men to support abortion because it's in their self interest to do so--that is, responsibility free sex for them [which only means that responsibility is on women for getting the abortion, taking care of the bc, and of course nothing has necess changed re the madonna/whore complex in this society which means a woman who has sex is, in the end, a slut] no no no. and i don't want my partner to do their fair share of the housework because she realizes that it's in her self interest to do so. like my father who does it merely to avoid the haranguing and not because he truly understands why and what needs to be taken care of. does anyone get the difference here? this is the problem. this is what ange has been talking about. these are very concrete examples of what she means. this idea--this assumption of a binary between self-interest/altruism-- is exactly the kind of dualism that ange was talking about that gets produced here when you posit a natural human nature. is self interest such a fucking good thing when it comes to choosing whether you'll have a disabled child or not? is self interest a good thing when it used to meant that people sold babies for a buck? if you have a partner, would you like to constantly think about all the ways s/he might have chosen you in order to please whatever self interest s/he might have had. i mean do you sit around and say to yourself, my partner loves me because of my wallet, or my nice ass, or my between the sheets manner, or good looks or perhaps even my plain looks, or because of what you do for her or tell her or make him feel or whatever? you want a world completely ruled by self interest so that it's acceptable to think of everything that way: what the hell do I get out of it? won't you just be a little bit ticked if you'd invested quite some time in that rel. only to learn that his self interests had changed and someone or something else meets those needs now? say you have children and it meets your self interest when its an infant b/c you like infants and it pleases you to be a proud papa. but 5 yrs down the line its not so fun anymore, they're not so cute and it's in your way coz you want to spend some time developing your talents at learning to play the piano and you just don't have time for a kid and you've got new friends who don't like kids. so dump the kid cause its in your self interest. why not? your friends don't like kids what would they care. no one's going to judge you really. i'm off to have a few beers which i probably should have had two days ago. --------------------- sorry to overpost--and i'm not going to be around much longer anyway so chill and i'll be outta everyone's hair soon enough-- but i just had to jump on this one: read adam smith. he said the same dang thing. i think it all quite "classical" bourg economics to think this way. i'll post more later b/c some of this ties into civil society and the binary opposition of state/market, individual/society an' all that. [and do note that i did say the economy operated according to a "moral logic" so i don't mean self-interest in quite the way you think. but here's a thought to chew on: "To be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency and approbation" are the driving force of "all the toil and bustle of the world...the end of avarice and ambition, of the pursuit of wealth" so adam smith was the first chicago school economist. btw, did i get that optimizing v. satisficing or whatevA the hell it is right? i can never recall all that./ kelley =<><<>><>= 1) Permanent hierarchy must be avoided. Ideally the process will be >mechanical at the top, i.e., the planning process will follow a set of >pre-defined rules which must be adhered to in order to take the human >factor (and thus authority) out of the planning process.=<><<>><>=  yes, and this is where it all breaks down. technocratic administration, the naturalization of the rules which are pre-defined, unquestioned, depoliticized. it is right here where the fantasy erupts to obscure from us the fact that authority asserts itself in the pre=defined rules as much as it asserts itself elsewhere. i don't know how to get around this either brett but everyone into planning ought to take a great big huge dose of weber if you can't stomach lacan. will getting rid of private property really rid us of the insidiousness of technocratic administration? all of the below looks suspiciously like the market with inputs, outputs, checks and balances and even appeal to pre=defined rules which is none other than the pre-defined and naturalized rules of the market: everyone operates according to individualized, rational self interest. this was, i'm afraid, max's critique not too long ago. i'm pushing it here because i want to press people, not because i'm an enemy, but because having had to try to explain this when i talk to students/family/friends, the questions i'm raising have come up in my own mind. so i'm pressing the issue in hopes of collaborating here, not trashing the entire project. oh and interesting that planning is predictable but now some forms of planning and even the planning of planning are unpredictable. weeeeeooooo. i have very much enjoyed the very retro parody of the Sonny and Cher Variety hour lately though. kelley =<><<>><>= That is, local >groups provide inputs as to what they want and so forth, but the output >(the plan itself) is generated based on pre-defined rules. There might be >multiple iterations before a final plan is reached. The danger is having >an elite group dominate the planning process with the attendant >inequalities in income, prestige, and social position which will result. > >2) Planning should be as decentralized as possible. Small groups and >communities should be given as much latitude as possible. Of course they >will have to operate under some constraints, but within those constraints >there should be wide freedom to choose how to tailor their economic >activity. There should be little or no orders from the top of the "You >will get X and like it" variety. > >3) everyone should have roughly equal input into the planning process > >Some of the things you address are impossible to answer without going >through the planning process itself. For example, how many resources to >devote to health care depends on the general level of health and the >relative importance people place on health care vs. other possible uses of >the same resources. > >Brett > >

 more scary malthusian research from the chicago boys.] Study links abortion, low crime rate Updated 11:30 AM ET August 8, 1999 CHICAGO, Aug. 8 (UPI) Two scholars are making the controversial suggestion that legalizing abortion in the 1970s has contributed to the falling crime rates of the 1990s, reports the Chicago Tribune. Their research not yet published in any scholarly journal _ contends that the unwanted offspring of teenage, poor and minority women were aborted in disproportionately high numbers in the years just after abortion was legalized, reducing the number of "kids who are going to lead really tough lives," according to University of Chicago economist Steve Levitt. In their paper, Levitt and Stanford University law professor John Donohue III argue that legalized abortion may explain as much as half the overall drop in crime from 1991 to 1997. Abortion, says Levitt, "provides a way for the would-be mothers of those kids who are going to lead really tough lives to avoid bringing them into the world. They're the ones who are most likely to have been unloved by their mothers, to have faced intense poverty, to have had tough lives." As evidence for their thesis, the authors cite an earlier fall in crime rates in five states that legalized abortion three years before the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision. They say places with high abortion rates in the 1970s experienced greater drops in crime rates in the 1990s, independent of other factors. According to the authors, each 10 percent increase in abortion led to a 1 percent drop in crime in subsequent years. Their 45-page paper cites studies in eastern Europe and Scandinavia that say children born to mothers who wanted, but could not get, an abortion were significantly more likely to be involved in crime. The authors say their findings do not constitute an endorsement of abortion, and they concede their research could be interpreted as encouraging abortion among specific groups, an idea they say they do not advocate. The paper has been circulated among academics and law-enforcement officials. Most have been cautiously positive, pointing out that the authors are respected scholars. One law professor called the paper "striking, original, rigorous and persuasive, although not conclusive." Another said it would have been more convincing if the authors had also linked abortion to other social phenomena, such as education and employment rates. A New York-based research organization, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, says one in four U.S. pregnancies ends in abortion today as compared to 1980, when the figure was one in three. Researchers at the institute say greater contraceptive use is largely responsible for the decline. They say women who are under age 25, separated, never married, poor or members of a minority group are roughly twice as likely to have an abortion as other women of childbearing age. About half of all pregnancies are unintended, and half of those end in abortion, the institute says. Cory Richards, vice president of public policy at Guttmacher, said of the paper: "This is not an argument for abortion per se. This is an argument for women not being forced to have children they don't want to have. This is making the point that it's not only bad for the women, but for children and society." David O'Steen, executive director of the National Right to life Committee in Washington, D.C., described the thesis as bizarre. "I can't believe that any significant percent of the population would argue that we should kill unborn babies to affect whatever they say is being affected," he said. A spokesman for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League declined to comment until members of the organization had had the opportunity to study the paper. "No one will like it," said Levitt, but "I don't think it's our job as economists or scientists to withhold truth because some people are not going to like it. I just think it's important to understand the impact of social policies." =<><<>><>=  And I'm with Chomsky on Lacan, Ken. A good-humoured charlatan is the former's take on the latter. I always wondered, for instance, how Paglia gets so hot under the collar about poor Foucault (a far more interesting thinker, for mine), yet so often refers favourably to Lacan, who'd make a much better target for the sorts of slings and arrows she launches at Michel (whom, incidentally, I defend only relatively). Oddly enough, Foucault and Chomsky are in the same boat. Both place themselves in a position which denies the existence of the Freudian unconsciousness (hell, Habermas and Butler are in this boat too - it's a regular theoretical party boat). I'm not sure why so many people are interested in liquidating the role of fantasy in politics. I mean, almost no one agrees with Rawls these days, but everyone just assumes he's right when they deny the phantasmic elements of the unconsciousness: original position behind the veil of ignorance - reason can do anything we want it to.... there are almost no limits to what we can know. So where does desire come from? (and why are all these folks trying to liquidate its affect?). When you sit at the computer on email, aren't you (we) "making" desire vitually transparent? You read a name, and put a picture to the face, imagine someone elses place of dwelling... you adopt a persona that you might otherwise not adopt at a dinner reception... And when uncle buck comes for a visit, and instead of saying "pass the peanuts" you say, "you ruined my life you bastard" is this simply a synapse that misfired? or has something else spoken for you - the Other (lacan), the truth (freud) ? ? ? And why do people experience "guilty pleasures" ... And where does the presupposition that reason fits with the world come from? (if not a *moral* imaginary) (we can be reasonable because we must be reasonable!). Doesn't this denote, at some point, the omni-presence of a divine engine? ken  =<><<>><>= Come on guys. Evolution doesn't need shit from god. If Lacan thinks so, he is out of his tree. Or in a more academic tone, could you please explain how god is required as a prerequisite to evolution? Chuck Grimes In the evolutionary porcess God goes unnamed throughout, he (always he) is literally omnipresent. An evolution that insists on deducing from continuous process the ascending movement which reaches the summit of consciousness and thought necessarily implies that consciousness and that thought were there at the beginning. It is only from the view of an absolute beginning, which marks the origin of the signifying chain as a distinct order and which isolates in their own specific dimension the memorable and the remembered, that we do not find Being always implied in being, the implication that is at the core of evolutionist thought (Lacan talked about this in the 50's - I suspect that some evolutionists have shifted from a teleological model) (like Gould's contingency plan). Creation ex nihilo is the only place one finds production as an original domain. Consciousness pulls itself out of the swamp by pulling on its bootstraps. It wasn't the scientists who "disproved" the existence of God, it was the theologians. The most profound materialist understanding of God, which brings about the death of God (not the invisibility of God) is to be found in Schelling's Ages of the World. In the beginning... which was not *the* beginning, but a beginning that must be presupposes because there is a gap separating ground from existence. Ground is always a retroactive process. In effect, Geist must have been outside of itself in order to start the entire process of creation. The origin here lie in the creation of something from nothing. And this is precisely what subjectivity is. A numerical matrix so complex that it literally becomes self-aware (self created out of an abyss). Rob, as for Chomsky on Lacan, well, what can I say. If you ditch the Freudian unconsciousness you have hell of a lot of explaining to do. Chomsky, a good Kantian, argues that language is hardwired. Well, that may be so. But it doesn't mean anything until set in motion within a contingent context. It could equally be argued that the word, the internalization of the speech of the other which "fits" this hardwired grammar, kills / replaces the existing program by replacing it with another. And even if this isn't the case, there really isn't much of a contradiction here between hardwired and contingent. I'm tempted to say that hardwiring stretched to the limit leads to determinism... Painfully abstract, ken =<><<>><>=  A couple of people now have made the claim that Nietzsche is a realist. Let's see what Uncle Fred says in Twilight of the Idols: "In so far as the senses show becoming, passing away, change, they do not lie. . . . [N's ellipses] But Heraclitus will always be right in this, that being is an empty fiction. The 'apparent' world is the only one: the 'real' world has been lyingly added. . ." And in discussing the myth of the unitary ego, he notes that Man "always discovered in things only that which he had put into them! --The thing itself, to say it again, the concept 'thing' is merely a reflection of the belief in the ego as cause. . . . And even your atom, messieurs mchanists and physicists, how much error, how much rudimentary psychology, still remains in your atom! --To say nothing of the 'thing in itself', that horrendum pudendum of the metaphysicians!" When I read passages like the above in Nietzsche, in which he emphasizes how we impose order on the world and then claim the resulting object is a manifestation of the "thing in itself", I have a hard time understanding how anybody would call Nietzsche a realist. Sure, he claims the senses don't lie, but what does he mean? He does not mean that if I see an orange on the table, there really is an orange on the table [a Kantian thing in itself]: rather, he claims that senses provide fleeting information that we deceptively simplify in order to perceive a recognizable object such as an orange. I like this view of human perception: humans are creative meaning makers, they're not just dutiful scribes dully transcribing the text of Nature. And if this Nietzschean view is considered realism today, hey, count me in! Miles "wandering far afield instead of grading summer final papers" Jackson ----- mommy michael wants a ref: --- "Against positivism, which halts at phenomena--'there are only facts'--I would say: No, facts is precisely what there is not, only interpretations. We cannot establish any fact 'in itself': perhaps it is folly to want to do such a thing. "'Everything is subjective', you say; but even this is interpretation. The subject is not something given, it is something added and invented and projected behind what there is. --Finally, is it necessary to posit an interpreter behind the interpretation? Even this is invention, hypothesis." Will to power, 1967 Kaufman ed, p. 267. The more I read Fred, the more I question the originality of most of the recent pomo literature (e.g., Zizek, Butler). =<><<>><>=  Miles Jackson wrote: > >The more I read Fred, the more I question the > >originality of most of the recent pomo literature (e.g., > >Zizek, Butler). doug wrote: > But you're reading him backwards, through them. =<><<>><>= miles, remind me of when either butler or zizek claimed their stuff was original. and, more specifically, i think you couldn't actually have read much zizek, since he consistently declaims against 'postmodernism'. but doug's point still stands: you can't read nietzsche now without bouncing his work through (what perhaps is still a fantastic) reading of butler and zizek, or some imagined 'postmodernism'. in any case, zizek is not a nihilist -- far from it. Angela 0 =<><<>><>= Actually, I read N. long before I had ever heard of "postmodernism". It's just the opposite way around for me: I read Butler et al. through Fred. I guess I sounded snottier than I meant to be with my 'originality' aside; I like a lot of pomo stuff, Butler especially, but I hate the way some of her fans overemphasize the originality of her analyses (e.g., symbolic interactionists and ethnomethodologists in sociology have been making her "gender as performative" argument for decades!). True, I'm no Zizek scholar. But isn't N's stuff on the multiplicity of subject and will related to Zizek's perspective? What does Z think of Fred? And lastly, who brought up nihilism? I don't consider anybody mentioned above a nihilist. Or is anyone that interrogates realist philosophical assumptions a nihilist? Miles =<><<>><>= by angela  =<><<>><>= Zizek doesn't talk much about Nietzsche, for a very singular reason: Lacan doesn't talk about Nietzsche. What Nietzsche denounced as a 'nihilistic' gesture to counteract life-asserting instincts, Freud and Lacan conceive as the very basic structure of human drive as opposed to natural instincts. Zizek notes, without much argument, that Nietzsche cannot accept the radical dimension of the death drive - "the fact that the excess of the Will over a mere self-contended satisfaction is always mediated by the 'nihilistic' stubborn attachment to Nothingness. For Lacan, Nothingness is constitutive of the metonymy of lack, a stand-in for Nothingness. Zizek has noted that Nietzsche can be claimed by three positions: traditional (aristocratic warrior), modern (hermeneutics of doubt) and postmodern (play of appearances and differences). He notes that all three share the sanme reduction of the political to a pre-political ethics (the same charge I had made against Bernstein earlier). ken =<><<>><>= On Fri, 6 Aug 1999 20:23:28 -0500 (CDT) C. G. Estabrook wrote: > Hence Augustine could talk in a way that later seemed quite evolutionary, and Aquinas could contend that one could not prove that the universe was not eternal. Creation was not a change or a cause like any other, and therefore there were no "marks" on the universe that showed it was created.  =<><<>><>= Augustine and Aquinas (and their Muslim and Judaic interlocutors, e.g., Ibn Sina and Maimonides) would agree that "evolution doesn't need shit from god." In the case of Aquinas, God is the author and man (always man) is the writing instrument... God causes the effect, but the quill is responsible (I love that argument) (not to mention that idea that heaven is the place were the chosen celebrate each and every torture of the damned) (angels rejoice because the damned are getting what they deserve). And Augustine, you have to admire his Confessions and his slippery privation of evil argument (evil is merely the privation of good... purely good things exist, whereas purely evil things do not). Come to think of it, yeah, they both kind of click with evolution - only insofar as God is first cause (which I'm sure both would go along with) (after the Fall, everything is mechanics anyway). F. Jameson has an interesting essay, On the Sexual Production of Western Subjectivity; or, Saint Augustine as a Social Democrat in Salecl and Zizek, eds., Gaze and Voice as Love Objects. ken =<><<>><>= Piet:  I am adding a number of Chuck Grimes Posts here since he says fun things about gravity in relation to gravity but I am not sure he understands 'reactionary' the same way I do: "Like Mein Kampf, Being and Time should be studied, of course. But it should be studied for what it is: a philosophical reworking of the main themes of German reactionary thinking".  ------See? This is what I mean about confusing linear sequences with telos. As for an unnamed omnipresence, I consider this identical to being, nothing, and ether: an imaginary medium that appears contemporaneous with other elements and relations that appear to require such a fiction. Remember the saying sometimes a cigar is just a cigar? On the hard surface of the world were everything is as it appears, the most mysterious thing is that there is no back door, no escape, no underlying depth. The world is completely opaque. And worst of all, there are no hints. So I take these rules to circumscribe the universe of discourse since they seem given in advance. Within this arena, which could be called an empirical naturalism, it is amazing to me how few scientists are willing to follow their own rules all the way down. Even Gould has his moments of weakness. In _Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes_, Gould goes to great lengths to analyse some apparently inexplicable morphologies and adaptations of living things and how these features have arrived through evolutionary processes. Of course I could say this about any of his numerous book. But there is always something missing in his accounts. Quite simply, the non-biological world is missing. That is, he fails to mention that for many items on a physiological manifest there is a corresponding physical element or process in the world. In mathematics such correspondences between elements constitute a mapping, a morphism of some sort. So, let's ask an obvious physiological question. How can we explain the topologically similar morphological symmetries that exist across species and phyla? I think I can frame an answer to this question. Would you like to play a game? Chuck Grimes  =<><<>><>= Okay. There are several pieces to this idea and the relationships will not be obvious at first. Try and bare with. There is a biological problem trying to explain how plants and animals have taken on their generalized shapes. By shape I mean a crude symmetrical form. For example, we have a bilateral symmetry and starfish have a radial symmetry. Although the shapes make sense in a functional way, and for animals this is usually explained in terms of mobility, there doesn't seem to be any biological principle involved. In other words, in biology it is any form that works. But this just kicks the question out the door. What determines what works? While the detail varies in the extreme, the general symmetries do not. Flies and bears are symmetrical in the same way. If you cut them in half along their longitudinal axis you get two sides that mirror each other. Most higher plants on the other hand have arranged themselves around a central axis. It is this last observation that provides a clue. The central axis colines with a gravitational vector or line of force. The apparent functionality of this arrangement is that, trees for example don't fall over--most of the time. In terms of energy, a point or colined axial symmetry, is a position of minimum potential energy or maximum stability in a field such as gravity. But the same physical principle appears in electro-magnetic fields. There are a variety of protein aggregates that form symmetric configurations which are the result of both the rigidity of the particular protein molecule and their mutual attractions. In these cases the field or attraction is based on electro-magnetic properties, and again the minimization of potential energy or maximum stability seems to be the principle involved. Some examples of this phenomenon are the formation of aggregate protein coats for viruses which create symmetric shapes. Here the symmetries are spherical or point symmetries, and helical symmetries, that is radial turns about a linear axis. So how is it that these phenomenon have taken on what appears to be the classical shapes from elementary geometry? Some are platonic solids no less. There are also many examples from chemistry (molecular steric number), in particular crystal formations that generate the same abstract symmetries. In fact the whole field of crystallography is devoted to examining these shapes. And, the way we know what various proteins look like is to crystallize them and then make x-ray photographs of their structures. What is going on here? The organizing principle is the attractive point, axis, or field line itself that determines the possible arrangements of form in space. The point or field line acts as an invariant under the possible rigid transformations in that particular configuration space. It turns out that these symmetries are the result of the number of unique point or axial permutations possible in a particular finite set of spatial dimensions. [This is the group theory part. I am describing the polyhedral groups which compose a subgroup of the full symmetric group. The common representation of S(n) is to write out all the possible permutations on (n) elements. For example, given four elements the possible permutations there 4! = 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 = 24. The polyhedral group representation takes the form a tetrahedron in three dimensions where the invariant is the center point or null element. In two dimensions the representation of four points is a square and the null is the center or the axis of rotation and reflection. With the loss of one dimension of rotation, the resultant rigid motions or transformations are reduced to 8 or D(4), the dihedral group order four.] The connection to platonic solids requires some explanation. These three dimensional shapes and their two dimensional analogues are created following the rule that you must divide a sphere or circle into equal parts with a rule and compass. The figures and shapes that are created when the division points are connected yield the platonic figures. This geometric idea of an equipartition of a sphere or circle is equivalent to the idea of stability or minimum energy in the sense that all forces present are equalized to cancel each other out. In other words, there is zero relative motion. A similar equalization of force principle exists in both the atomic and molecular worlds that result in the same symmetric arrangements. To return to the gravitational world, then a colinear point or axis is the position of maximum stability and determines the maximum number of unique finite permutations about that axis. In the case of continuous and infinite point to point transformations in three dimensions the result is a sphere. However, if a lateral motion (or transformation) perpendicular to a radial axis is introduced, then the result is a loss of some rotational degree of symmetry. This means that motion across the grain of a gravitational field produces forms of bilateral symmetry as a consequence. An ellipse is a geometric example of a circle that has been dilated or under gone a transformation in the direction of a diameter to produce a major axis. So an ellipse has a bilateral symmetry or a reflection through its major axis. Now it depends on how much further you want to go with how a gravitational field has determined the evolutionary parameters of biology. I just read Ian Murray's current post to the effect that gravitational forces are nil for microorganisms. Well, most of those that move around under their own steam are in fact ellipsoids. When you rotate an ellipse through its major axis you get a ellipsoid. With a random choice of ends, pretty soon a head and tail end appear and before you know it, we are talking salmon like the one I just caught, cleaned and ate last night. The more important point about gravity is to remember that as a vector it has two components, one of magnitude and the other of direction. While the argument that small floating organisms can barely be effected directly by the force or magnitude of gravity, they are always subject to its directional component. And while relative to an external medium like water, perhaps the surface forces are negible. However, the internal components are still subject to the same field forces. For example, if you are flying in an aircraft and don't jump out, you still walk down the isle instead of float. But in more concrete terms there are a whole variety of internal cell components that respond to unidirectional forces like gravitation or omnidirctional forces like pressure. Actin and tublin are examples. These are the molecular equivalent to muscle and bone and provide the structural and/or motility components of most cells. In even more primative contexts, you also have to remember that gravitation partitions matter by density, that is creates environmental sedimenations, which are thought to contribute to various molecular arrangements in a primodial soup. Chuck Grimes  =<><<>><>=  stacatto interspersion by Ken lbo-talk/9908/0607.html  =<><<>><>= Got any references Chuck? =<><<>><>=  For others interested in this stuff, "The Self-Made Tapestry" by Philip Ball is a great place to flex your dendrites (too bad the photos are only in b/w) ian  =<><<>><>= Not really. Gravity studies in biology have a bad reputation. The main reason is that the field depends heavily on physiological phenomenology, which is already suspect in advance. In other words, you can observe various physiological features and processes for years and gain no insight on what is going on at the molecular level. This is why genetic mutations are considered important. The mutation that appears at a physiological level can then be tied directly to a molecular-genetic process. In any event, the most suggestive references are the studies on protein and macromolecular topology--how proteins and large molecules are formed and folded in space, and how these configurations are dependent on the electro-mechanical properties of the constituent parts. These do not bare directly on gravity, but rather suggest that space symmetry is an effect of directed forces, or the consequence of the general properties of fields. All I have at the moment is an old biophysics text, _Biophysics_, Hoppe W, Lohman W, Markl H, Ziegler H, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1983. In this monster, there are a variety of articles that bare on the subject, but the one I used to check for virus coat assembly was, "Structural Organization of Proteins", Schulz, GE (384-94pp). This was no doubt a short synopsis of his book, _Principles of Protein Structure_, Berlin: Springer, 1979. So, all the specific material is very old. Chuck Grimes =<><<>><>= chuck: Doesn't geometric shape have something to do with adaption? - a series of small improvements over time. But this doesn't explain the symmetry. Right? =<><<>><>=  I looked this up: Farmers sprayed insecticide, and blowflies soon evolved resistance to it. The mutation conferring insecticide resistance also disrupted the developmental system, producing asymmetry which is maladaptive. Strong selection for insecticide resistance lead to increasing developmental asymmetry. ....Over time, mutations at other genes ("modifier loci") evolved to restore symmetry, while maintaining insecticide resistance. The developmental system adjusted to the necessity of carrying the mutation conferring insecticide resistance. So your question is why symmetry? (right?). What pulls it all back together. One might be tempted to suggest genetic adaption. It is advantageous to be a mirror. But then this rings in the problem of inorganic life. Why are particles symmetrical? (am I with you?). Perhaps biology and physics are secretly collaborating, a symbiotic relationship. If like struggles to be geometical, then this could be read as life imitating physics. So the question isn't a genetic one. It's a cosmological one. According to the big bang theories, this is one of many possible physics. Perhaps it is the only physics that permit 'life' to emerge. Perhaps this one universe within infinity that 'lucked out' by creating a physics that was cabable of developing an organism that could raise the question. Maybe other life forms have the same question. But you are interested in the effect of gravity on lifeforms. Is the idea of advantage and adaption a plausible explanation? ken -------------- chuck: Ken, Again this makes the assumption these are questions. "...Over time, mutations at other genes ("modifier loci") evolved to restore symmetry, while maintaining insecticide resistance. The developmental system adjusted to the necessity of carrying the mutation conferring insecticide resistance." Who knows what the genetics were. The usual explanation is that there are naturally resistant members present, who under the regime of insecticide merely replaced the population. So the insecticide acted as a selective factor, eliminating the non-resistant. What I was trying to theorize was a lot more general (and perhaps empty) which was how the evolution of body symmetry is an expression of evolution in a gravitational field. Once these general forms and their symmetries were established, their maintenance was highly conservative, have persisted in time and range over a broad spectrum of plants and animals. These observations about conservation of general form indicate the presence of a highly stable environmental constant. "It is advantageous to be a mirror. But then this rings in the problem of inorganic life. Why are particles symmetrical? (am I with you?)." First, remember that an advantageous adaptation doesn't explain its origin, only its persistence. The larger point was to show how evolution of form doesn't require genetic or biological creation out of nothing. Gravity is a given, so the question is what is biological evolution doing in relation to that given. As for atomic and molecular configurations, these have spatial symmetries because of their electron arrangements. These arrangements follow a physical principle of tending to the most stable configuration available--whatever that is. In general, stability is defined as the minimization of potential energy (everything balances). "Perhaps biology and physics are secretly collaborating, a symbiotic relationship. If like struggles to be geometrical, then this could be read as life imitating physics. So the question isn't a genetic one. It's a cosmological one." Remember that physical principles are abstract descriptions of physical conditions. So living processes and organisms don't struggle with physics, they express physics. There is no collaboration. The more general point is that life doesn't struggle to be anything. So, symmetric body shapes are not a struggle with gravity, but merely follow as a consequence of evolving within such a physical system. This relieves some part of biological evolution of a telos of design. But I should add what I presented was completely theoretical. It is something I cooked up while working on unrelated gravity studies. There are a lot of problems with it. The basic idea grew out of arguments and discussions over how organisms orient themselves in space, which is a whole other problem. ---------------------
pc and identity politics ------ when i go to a conference and a woman argues in the course of presenting a paper that adrienne's rich's concept of "the lesbian continuum" is historically specific to north america/the west and is inapplicable in other contexts and that woman gets called on the carpet in front of 200 ppl because a contingent in the room wants to know if she's a lesbian or not because, on their view, she has no right to do such research or make such arguments unless she is a lesbian, then i say that this is PC bullshit and a form of academic identity politics. when, in that same room, linda alcoff presents a paper in which she describes the eagerness with which faculty awaited a talk to be given by a well-known ps/pm theorist only to be greeted with his claim that he was going to speak about pomo architecture because he felt that, as a white upper middle class man, he couldn't not speak to oppression, then i say that's PC bulllshit based on an indefensible epistemology that grew out of some rather shallow readings of theorists in the postmodernist/post-structuralist tradition. a truly odd, essentializing sort of identity politics, eh? when i teach a course on the family and public policy and choose, in a particular incarnation of the course, to focus on recent reforms in welfare policy and, in doing so, don't find the space/time to take up gay/lesbian families and i'm called on the carpet for that, i call this a form of bullshit PC/identity politics. it happens a great deal in the social sciences when, because of their 'identity', a researcher's work is considered suspect. the critique is one which is often made in the name of the work of various authors lumped w/in the pomo-poststruc tradition, but it is an extraordinarily essentialist, humanist conception of identity that ends up being deployed in practice.i'm not asying that this critique is wholly wrong; rather, i'm saying that all too often i see it applied in facile ways. dismiss these, if you will, of mere anecdotage, but there are far too many examples of such floating around to dismiss all of this as nothing but crap pumped out by conservatives. as much as it is the case that conservative wield PC and identity politics in ways intended to belittle leftist scholarship and poltics, they didn't just make it up. furthermore, while theorists themselves may not be advocating the actual positions taken by individuals and groups on campuses, the fact is their work IS taken up in the interest of pursuing rather poorly thought out political positions/practices/policies *on* campuses. i agree w/ jim./ange about the strain toward identity politics w/in marx's thought. however, i think both miss the point insofar as there is a distinctly different twist because marx was speaking to the *structural* realization of the proletariat as a class--the proletariat as a class actor. i don't think marx gave a flying fig if individual workers embraced their identity as workers in quite the same way, say, that people often argue that various oppressed groups ought to embrace their identity--that is, to retrieve and revivify a positive understanding of what it means to be a member of the black community, or the queer community [noonan? ya wanna jump in here with a scathing crique of the concept of 'queer' community?], or the latino/a community, etc as a way of fighting against the negative valuation of those identities as an aspect of structural systems of oppressions--what iris young calls cultural imperialism. speaking of which, did it escape everyone's attention here that entire books have been written on the subject of identity poltics--what the publishing industry preferred to call "the politics of difference" and so forth? i mean what the hell was laclau and mouffe's _hegemony and socialist strategy_ if a tract advocating an anti-humanist form of identity politics? iris young, too, wrote _justice and the politics of difference_ in which she argued for the absolute necessity of focusing on differences, of building a politics of difference [identity politics] based precisely on identity groups. she goes to great pains to explain precisely what a group is: "I should allay sev'l possible misunderstandings of what this principle of group representation means and implies. First, the principle calls for specific representation of social groups, not interest groups or ideological groups. By an inter. group I mean any aggregate or association that seeks a particular goal, or desires the same policy, or are similarly situated with respect to some social effect--for example, they are all recipients of acid rain...." Social groups usually share some interests, but shared interests are not sufficient to constitute a social group. A social group is a collective of people who have affinity with one another b./c of a set of practices or way of life***; they differentiate themselves from or are differenteiated by at least one other group according to these cultural forms. By an ideological group I mean a collective of persons with shared political beliefs. Nazis, socialists, feminists.... The situation of social groups may foster the formation of ideological groups, and under some circumstances an ideological group may become a social group. Shared political or moral beliefs...however do not themselves constitute a social group [...] Second, it is important to remember that the pricniple calls for specific representation only of oppressed or disadvantaged groups." and to buttress jim's original point, young does very much end up dismissing a marxist conception of class *exploitation* as a basis upon which to build a politics of difference. her policy proposals in that regard focus only on a reformist politics within the work place. and, i argue, this tendency to elide a serious engagement with the way in which capitalist exploitation is fundamental to 'groupness' and 'identity' results precisely because of the what she, herself, calls a postmodern critique of the logic of identity and the metaphysics of presence [sumps together kristeva, adorn, irigaray, derrida. in sum, my point it is that it is rather facile to dismiss this all as nothing but the crafty work of conservatives. there is a very real body of scholarship out there that has and does advocate identity politics and one which derives precisely from the post-structuralist critique of humanist feminist, marxist, etc theory/practice. it tends to be more sophisiticated on the page but [i think] that it is too often put in practice in rather facile ways --though that practice really doesn't get altogether that far away from the campus. HOWEVER, i have written here before about my work among people fighting the colonization of the lifeworld by the systems rationalization of the state andmarket: an anti-nuke dump campaign, an anti toxic dumping campaign, and a struggle against a plant closing. each of these struggles were divided in so far as, in broad brush strokes, one faction wanted to engage in politics as usual [fighting within the system] while the other faction wanted to engage in non-conventional politics. so, for ex, when they strategized about how to fight the nuke dump, one group insisted on fighting a consitutional battle and using the mechanism provided within the law to resist the siting. another group splintered off because they rejected politics as usual. they choose to stage parades and town meetings celebrating their rural identities in an in-yer-face way when ever polticians and bureaucratic officials hit town. or they'd go to meetings at the state capitol dressed as mutant farm families and dairy cows, engage in various antics designed to disrupt the meetings, antics which played on the "white trash" identity often assigned them. [that is, one of the major reasons for the siting in certain areas of the state was that the people that populated those areas were seen as backward, conservative farmers too ignorant to fight the state. pretty insulting and yet what prompted their ire and impelled much of their early protest and involvement.] that is, these three movements divided precisely down the lines of whether to focus on and taken common cause around a shared sense of identity or to engage in conventional interest group politics in which the idea is to shed one's identity at the entrance to the forum. see also shane phelan's workm_identity politics: lesbian feminism and the limits of community_ chaz, i think you misunderstand completely what catherine means by having the right questions to ask her answers. she's not suggesting that she just doesn't know the answer or is disingeuously posturing as if she doesn't. rather, she's suggesting that it's important how and what sorts of questions you *ask of your answers* --what you focus on, to put it quite simply. finally, the term PC did not emerge in the women's movement. the following if from a list debate a couple of years ago, a number of prominent members specialize in contemporary usage. Ruth Perry "A short history of the term politically correct" in Aufderherde, Patricia (ed.) _Beyond PC: Towards a Politics of Understanding_. --Marxist-Leninists: to conform to official policy (c. 1930s_ --Maoist usage: the same (1950s) --Maoists in N.A.: same (1960s) all of above refer specifically to the correctness with regard to politics, politics conceived as a public issue relating to policy stands taken by the party, as well as how to be a good party member--the official line to toe. but the meaning today has shifted to one in which the 'personal is political' takes on a new twist to include political correctness in one's behavior in the entirely of one's life: dress, language, courses one takes, books on one's coffee table, etc: and started being used this way in early 1980s. the use was serious, not ironic, even up 'til late 80s. but mid-80s saw a shift to the mostly sarcastic use of the term as a put down of leftist academic idiocies of which my fave is the following, dedicated to julian ????  =<><<>><>= At 10:55 PM 9/20/1999 -0400, Rakesh Bhandari wrote: Just to restate the point of my last post: there seems to be a resurgence of demographic explanations, i.e., those that take the size and/or composition of the population (however it is partitioned in the management of populations as statistical objects), to be the fundamentally explanatory variable of various social phenomena: secular stagnation from declining population growth; social security crisis from a greying and more dependent population; anti Keynesianism from a greying population; social degeneration from higher reproduction rates of racialized populations (with their lower means to which they putatively regress as a result of heredity conceived as a natural equilibriating mechanism), etc. I am quite uneasy with explanations of economic, social or political phenomena based fundamentally on changes in the size and/or composition of the population. But have never thought out what my criticism really is. Any suggestions? Yours, Rakesh > =<><<>><>=  the statistical analysis of quaisicausal correlations doesn't capture "social structure" demographic stats are about individuals, not social structres or groups. they are, rather, models of statistical theory and, as such, have little to do with social theory. as such they are complicit with and produce social engineering knowledge that reproduces the status quo. [habermas, fay, etc] the approach, then, is fundamentally at odds with a critical social theory which focuses on society in terms of the systemic and social relations which constitute it. subjects are subjects in relations with others and with and within forms of social organization. individuals, that is, participate in groups, communities, classes, institutions, discourses, etc. statistical modeling abstracts individuals from this social context and creates abstract aggregates of various populations characterized by certain "variables" thought to be salient. this has nothing to do with social structure, again, but statistical modeling. the only thing captured by such research are discrete individuals and their "opinions" or educational attainment" or "health" or whatever indicator happens to be popular as a "trace" of individual behavior and, in turn, it is assumed "social health" etc. moroever, the 'individuals' that compose the "sample" are, by definintion, independent of one another. etc etc. by definition, then, they aren't understood as fundamentally constituted by social relations but only become objects of investigation by abstracting them from such social relations. there are ways of doing quantitative analysis--mathematical modeling of social structure--so i'm not providing a blanket condemnation of statistics/demography. i have refs from my methods chap if you want them rakesh, but i am too lazy right now to retrieve them. let me know. Kelley  =<><<>><>= Why are there so many sacrifices associated with mothering? Do you think that there are reasons other than fear that might motivate a woman not to become a mother, or become a mother again? Like go to college or learn how to sculpt or, heaven forbid, trade junk bonds? Do you think that maybe men should make a few more sacrifices and women a few less? Or is it just their fate as women to sacrifice? Doesn't fear of not being able to go to college register on your meter? Or fear of not being able to partake of social opportunities? Do you think that all fear is the same as your fear? If fear is too loaded a term for your sensitivity I provided a few alternatives such as "unwillingness". Seems like you're in debate mode and I was merely offering an idea. You could have said "No thank you." instead of accusing me of wanting to gas babies, thank you. Uh, you mean feminists haven't used free abortion on demand as a galvanizing issue? Or that feminists don't count? Sure it's a divisive issue. Lots of issues are divisive and rightly so. The critique of capitalism and imperialism are divisive issues. The abortion issue divides people with different views about the social role of women. Bridging all of the sectors is the concept that I was presenting, not galvanizing the members of one particular sector. I don't have any particular ideas about the social role of women that I can distinguish from the social role of men, but as far as gender roles within the species - bearing children is the role of women. When they are unwilling to bear children because of social dynamics then you have an issue that can galvanize *all* sectors of the society regardless of their views of abortion as a particular violation of human rights of women or children. An issue that "galvanizes" *all* sectors is the particular feature of using "the abortion issue" as an index/barometer of social health. I'm certainly not the best spokesman for a point like this because I've managed to mis-communicate what is a simple and lucid concept. But unfortunately this wasn't the correct forum for what I was trying to do. fin, Martin  =<><<>><>= basically, martin, you have managed to choose words that convey certain meanings, intended or not. it's hard to understand why you'd use the term fear or even unwillingness in the first place. by doing so you psychologize [render the issue distinctly a product of an individual psyche shaped by society rather than a product of-intrinsically, deeply and complexly constituted *by* --society. there's a huge difference there and, as ange often points out, the difference has tremendous implications because it positions you in certain ways such that you are blind to a whole host of issues, issues that people have been trying to point out to you but you blithely ignore as unimportant. [e.g., the sexist posturing in your comments] furthermore, if you hadn't grasped, like chaz, what catherine's expression, looking for the right questions to ask my answers, means then i think if you reflect a bit on what questions you are asking your answers you might come to see that absolutely nothing in your discourse is self-evident and you might even come to see that you could ask entirely different and much more productive questions. why, for ex, conceive of it as a fear of mothering? perhaps women have abortions simply because they don't want children and never have. maybe they're not the least bit afraid of mothering but chose to do something else altogether. maybe she has everything in the world going for her--money, prestige, time, etc etc--and simply doesn't want children. that's what abortion on demand means--abortion for any reason whatsoever. and what did you mean by 'unwilling'? hmmm? why posit it as something negative like that. you can see the difference between characterizing someone as unwilling to do something as opposed to choosing not do something? eh? you wonder why people have assumed sexism here? furthermore, you did assume early on in *this* thread that children raised by mothers who did n't want them grew up to have criminal proclivities. your position demonstrates a profound indifference to the ways in which crime is socially constructed--crime rates are not objective, brute facts but reflect a society in which certain activities are defined as criminal and a world in which certain activities are penalized and prosecuted more among some groups than among others. [e.g., crack v. coke possession and punishment, targeting neighborhoods, driving while black, white collar crime v. crime conventionally defined, etc] and just how did you make this leap anyway, what makes you assume that it is primarily because mothers are unwilling to bear children or are afraid of bearing children that this has some sort of impact on proclivity toward crime? why bother to go the same route as the wankers from the chicago school by linking crime [and people's fear of crime] with abortion and, to top it off, by engaging in a discourse that presumes that women must be afraid or unwilling to have children if they have abortions. moreover, how is it possible for you to read minds now? you seem to think that if a woman initially doesn't want a child that if she has that child she'll continue to not want that child even after it's born. finally, who cares. if you're looking for an indicator of "social health' then i must say that abortion rates are pretty piss poor indicators. i mean, if that's the model you want to go by, measuring society according to demographic data etc, then there are plenty of indicators that do a much better job of measuring social health than abortion does: educational attainment, monies spent on ojt, tax monies spent on schooling, quality of training in hospitals, daycare centers, schools, hours worked per week, subjective measurements of happiness and well being, etc etc. . to sum it up: you want to measure social health, but you seem to think that "willingness to mother" is some kind of measure of social health. there's quite a big gap between "social health" and "willingness to mother" and thus it's not a good indicator. it is also a sexist indicator insofar as the position you take assumes that willingness to mother is something we, as a society, ought to worry about. again, if you are really worried about "social health" then there are plenty of other things to measure. -----------------