148909 ANTI-RACIST ACTION AND THE FREE SPEECH DILEMNA: An Appeal to Anarchists (english) by Outlaw 11:35pm Mon Mar 11 '02 (Modified on 3:04am Tue Mar 12 '02) Please read carefully before commenting. I have put a fair amount of thought into this issue, and I'd like to hear your polite commentary on this. Please address as many of my points as possible when responding, rather than taking the easy 'strawman' approach by attacking the weakest points or points that I didn't even try to make. I wouldn't be half as down on the ARA if I thought that they were just as willing to use equally uncivil methods on the corporate statists who are in a position of power - namely pigs, judges, DAs, feds, drug warriors, gun grabbers, snitches and spooks. As it stands they seem more concerned with silencing individuals who have no more political influence than that poor old mentally ill homeless dude who wanders around telling people the end is nigh (for example ARA and similar groups of anti-racists go after harmless oddballs like David Icke, who thinks the Rockefellers, the Royal family and all US Presidents have been shape-shifting alien lizards [see http://www.davidicke.com - he actually has some good information if you can ignore the really cracked out lizard shit], and the United Fascist Union, who believe in non-racist fascism as well as UFOs, Psychics and all sorts of other similarly cracked out shit that could never, ever garner a following in real life [ geocities.com/Area51/Chamber/7344/ ]. Then they also go after musicians like Boyd Rice and Michael Moynihan, who, despite occasionally using European imagery traditionally associated with fascism, are basically apolitical and are mainly targeted for their 'scary' philosophical beliefs, such as that human life is not worth much, and that all individuals are not magically created with the same intellect and physical attractiveness. As well as going after these harmless guys, they do go after the potentially harmful groups like National Alliance, WCOTC, Aryan Nations, Hammerskins and so forth. The problem is that the way they go after these people is not by arguing and trying to beat them on intellectual grounds, but rather by pelting them with bricks and beer bottles. Now I understand the appeal that comes from commiting an act of physical violence; violence, when done for the right reason and against the right individual can be a honourable, righteous, liberating and thoroughly pleasurable thing to do. For individuals who like to consider themselves anarchists, however, there is an added moral dilemna involved in determining whether an individual is worthy of using physical force against. One must first consider whether the proposed target is, at that moment in time, acting in a violent manner towards innocent individuals. Now, in the case of the 'federal juggernaut' of social-statism, the answer in any case, from the lowliest office worker to those in the White House and Pentagon, is a firm and resounding "YES!". Reason being, the State is actively using violence, explicitly approved by the President and his capitalist superiors, and implicitly approved by all government employees merely by the fact that they are willing to be employed by the warmongering government (and, to a far lesser extent, approved by all willing American taxpayers and anyone who votes for the Demopublicans with full knowledge of their war-like actions). On the other hand, while groups like the National Alliance openly admit that they want, at some far distant time in the future, to obtain a 'racial revolution' (as is their constitutionally acceptable First Amendment right to do), they do not at present engage in actual physical violence, and the very few random attacks we hear about coming from their circle are almost definitely unapproved by the central command, and are probably instead 'loose cannons'. These attacks should therefore be dealt with on an individual basis, rather than outlawing the group as a whole because of them. I freely support the right of all ethnic minorities to keep and bear arms in order to protect themselves from any actual attacks from fascists. In other words, I feel that if a black man is accosted by some fascist thug, he should shoot him in the head and kill him. As for preparing for a defense against any large scale violent attempts at revolution that might be planned by the NA and similar groups, I would advise anti-racists to arm themselves heavily with stockpiles of guns, knives and other deadly implements so that if the other side ever does try to initiate a 'race war' the good guys are ready to blast them down. If that did occur it would be completely moral to obliterate the opposition because they - not we - initiated the war, just as the federal government could arguably be said to have declared war on America at Waco, Ruby Ridge and Kent State and on the world in Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Columbia, Vietnam and Serbia. But to violently accost them when they are merely trying to speak, regardless of how repugnant the views they are trying to get across, is to rob them of the folowing freedoms: freedom of thought, expression, speech, religion (in the case of the Identity Christians and Creators), travel, due process, and so on and so on ad nauseum. Now some people will respond by saying that as fascists, they have given up any right to freedom of expression that they might otherwise have had. This is an Orwellian twist of logic at best. The point of freedom of expression is that it applies to everyone. As soon as you take it away from one group - be it fascists, women, gays, communists, whoever - it is no longer 'free expression' but rather 'limited expression'. Some people will also say that because the fascists want to take away those freedoms for us then it makes sense for us to take their freedoms away from them. More Orwellian logic. This relies on the false belief that authoritarianism can be disposed of by increasing authoritarianism. A truly bizarre notion. I mentioned earlier that anti-racists should engage in discussion with racists in public forums to try to defeat their arguments. Some say this only gives the racists legitimacy, but by fighting them in the streets you are also claiming that they pose a threat, which shows that you already grant them a form of legitimacy. Generally speaking, if your argument is true and sound, and your opponent's is not, you will win the argument in the public opinion. Some claim that this does not apply because fascists use emotion rather than facts. True enough, but anarchists can also use emotion effectively, not as a means of deception but as a means of evoking an emotional respose to a universal truth. For example common slogans like 'Eat the Rich', 'Fuck the Police', etc. exploit emotions whether we admit it or not. The difference is that these emotions are are based on truth; namely that there is a wide gap between the rich and the poor and that police brutality is still prevalent. Finally I'd like to leave you with a question of what your ideal anarchist society would look like. Would no one exist who supported fascism? If not how would you expect to rid yourselves of them? If you would merely 'crush the fascists' then where does that stop? Does not the typical far left orthodoxy also consider the militia movement, and, in some cases, social and religious conservatives, to be 'fascists'? If the answer is to 'crush the fascists' then we will be crushing an awful lot of people, won't we? We would have to set up concentration camps of some sort for such a massive task. Even once these fascists were disposed of, what about when authoritarian ideas begin to creep up again in some individuals, as they inevitably would? And who would go about getting rid of all these fascists? Certainly not the State, nor corporations, which would not exist under anarchism. The only answer is that 'the people' would crush the fascists, probably in the form of some sort of Federations. Does this not essentially amount to 'mob justice'? If this is 'direct democracy' could direct democracy not simply be considered the rule of brute force? What about when differences emerged amongst the anarchists? Would those too be determined by the survival of the fittest? Personally I believe that anti-liberty forces will always exist in a free society; they must be tolerated so long as they engage only in hateful speech, otherwise we cannot truly consider ourselves to love liberty. ----------------- Tough love (english) by profrv@etc 12:07am Tue Mar 12 '02 We should show the loudmouths among these racist nazis the wisdom of louis beams,"leaderless resistance."We should do that by raising funds and killing the fuckers.This is not just jim bell's idea anymore as certain primitivists,cypherpunks and even fabian socialists get with the program."There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, & that is an idea whose time has come."Victor Hugo. -------------------- pools of monies to ponder (english) by poundimpiet 1:28am Tue Mar 12 '02 profr i'm gonna haunt your shit to set it right (in the compost pile where it belongs). And in the same breath I shall answer the polite and well crafted query about what 'my' kind of society would look like. --- First profr: "one thing stronger than armies and that's an idea who's time has come"; nay but armies come when ideas stronger than them are dumped out in favour of putrid power pilings. And besides that, what ethic allows you to quote Hugo in this respect? Was he in favor of AP or is my use of him equally justifiable? What mood and circumstance brought this credo about? --- Yugoyougo: " . . we need to raise funds .. " --- I would like to remind you all of how state monies once were just that: consensed target specific (matter of fact, targets, tasks and duties can now be specified up front) money-pools reserved as only payment for costs incurred for construction and duration of projects; see the work of GFKnapp << Knapp was the champion of the "Chartalist" theory of money, i.e. that the value of money is "created" artificially by State tax requirements. from cepa >> some digital comments and derivatives of which are at my site (below) and who googles up with this site first: salt.org.il/frame_econ.html (looks like a fascinating page in itself but says no more about knapp besides quoting his famous 'state theory of money'; the problem is we now have monies pretending to be state monies and yet they dropped it's essential characteristic: exclusively acceptable as payment of tax) ---- the UvA has all their figureheads on black and white postcards with an 'ponassertion', the one that caught my eye this morning reads: money flows along lines of least fiscal resistance; 0---- guess what I am the closest to offering any substance about Knapp still!!!!! One of my much less visited than expected files (I called attention to it at quite a few of the global justice mov. sites): /guest_appearances/kicking_IMF_addictions.htm 3. The centralisation of the banks of issue as the boundary line in the transition from banknotes to paper money.—Simultaneously with this development, proceeded the centralisation of the issue of notes. The State entered into close relations with one of the banks of issue, granting it privileges, entrusting it with its money transactions, end accepting its notes at its pay offices. The notes of such a bank were bound to gein an undesirable diffusion, which was no longer solely due to the bank exchanging the daily proceeds from the sales of goods and the bills based thereon into a more convenient means of payment, teut also to some extent to the credit of the State. This bank became the "Central Bank of Issue", the other banks of issue either disappearing or losing their old status. This monopoly, which is unapproached in any other field, could never have maintained itself, if it had not offered the Exchequer — as distinguished from the country— immense advantages. Fr. Knapp describes the frequently recurring case where the State, when financially embarrassed, exploits this rich bank as a source of credit. When the Central Bank, half constrained, grants its "guardian", the State, large credits, which have nothing to do with a turnover of goods, the question arises: "How is it eventually to redeern the banknotes ?" It frankly cannot—that is, because the State cannot repay on the day when the notes are presented for payment, after 26 days, say. Knapp continues: "The State is fully aware of this. Accordingly, it decrees that the bank is released from the obligation to redeem them. It declares these notes to be lega1 tender and thus the notes have to be accepted universally at their face value. By means of this amazing procedure, mostly regarded as an unfortunate mischance, the following becomes clear to the disinterested spectator. The money circulation ... does not cease, although the currency has changed its character. It consists no longer of specie, but of paper.... The State economy has deteriorated into a ' paper economy. (4th edition, pp. 120, 129. However, Knapp by no meane opposed to a forced currency which, curiously enough, is to-day regarded manifestly excellent, as until 1909 it was unanimously condemned. Hence Carl Rosch rightly contends in his Kredit-inflation (Jena, 1927), that banknotes which are accepted at public pay offices end are legal tender, not banknotes, but simply State paper money. (p. 24.)) The legal tender, represented by "banknotes" having a forced rate, obeys quite other laws than the turnover bank rhoney of private under, takings described in this paper. It may be, more especially, limitlessly multiplied; it cannot be refused; and is therefore extremely inflational. 5. The abandonment of convertibility and its consequences.— So long as this obligation was in force, or, to quote again Knapp, "so long as the bank is bound to redeem its notes in money emitted by the State, the latter had to take no further steps in order to relegate the banknotes to their accessory position", (p. 125.) That is, in the circumstances other precautions against inflation were unnecessary inasmuch as inflation is only possible where a forced currency prevails. After the abolition of convertibility, special brakes became necessary: the gold brake, or gold cover, and the unreliable and always lagging price statistics; end eventually, when both these had proved unavailing, the foreign exchange brake. Thus the classical conception, whose rehabilitation is an urgent necessity end which looks upon money end credit transactions as an expedient for stimulating the safe of goods, is abandoned in favour of a quite different type of money, i.e., paper money (in contrast with banknotes), whose peculiarity it is to oscillate irresponsibly between inflation end deflation, which alone is liable to the notorious eccentricities of 1923 end 1931/32, and which only attends "casually" to the financing of turnover, necessarily without achieving substantial results. ----------------- http://csf.colorado.edu/forums/pkt/jun98/0186.html (fragment): OK. But then can the government using its monopolist power via a tax > driven currency -- prevent inflation inthe monetized price of all > transactions other than what the government directly buys? ----------- Yes. By constraining the price(s) it is willing to pay. ---------- As per the model in the draft, when there is a single supplier in the vertical component, that supplier is a price setter. A head tax or asset tax is 'easier' to 'trace' than an income tax, as the draft indicates. ----------------- october 2000 web citations on Georg Friedrich Knapp, expert on ... https://poetpiet.tripod.com/  miscs-n-logs/Knapp-print.htm (84K) same doc as this but black on white small font (arial 8 point), margin to margin, treepulp and ... members.tripod.com/poetpiet/  miscs-n-logs/GFKnapp.htm - 72k ------------------ Struggle against fascism, capital, and state (english) by Circuit 1:53am Tue Mar 12 '02 circuitry@onebox.com Here is an excerpt of an email I wrote to a mailing list about this subject. A lot of it applies: ... Third, freedom of speech. Yes, let's masturbate with that theory a little bit more, shall we? Everybody has the freedom to say whatever the hell they want. With that comes consequences. If you are going to talk about the extermination of other races, or even the forced relocation or what have you, you had better fucking believe that people will oppose you. That is the consequence of that speech. End of story. Nobody has any right to police protection, nobody has any right to hide behind freedom of speech if their ultimate goal is the complete suspension of that speech for everyone who is out of line with their authoritarian political agenda. Fourth, the attention issue. Yes, Matt Hale and the like may like attention. Big deal. The purpose of opposing them is not to stroke their egos, or to keep their egos from being stroked. It is to make sure that their organizations do not grow, and based on this, ARA and Anti-Fascists have history on our side. Please provide one single example of street-level fascist organizations being unopposed and subsequently shrinking in size. You can't do it, because there are none. The nazis rose to power because they were virtually unopposed. They had the streets, and that's all that mattered. We need to learn from history and make sure that no fascists ever are able to organize without strong opposition. Furthermore, it has been my experience, that the ARA network grows everytime we successfully confront the fascists. Witness, for example, the strong community involvement on the side of the anti-fascists in the street battles in York, PA a couple months ago. Conversely, the fascists grow every time they are not opposed. Whenever ARA or other groups stop opposing a particular group, they grow, sometimes very quickly. As far distracting us from "the larger battle," again, that's ignorant of how the state uses street-level fascists to their advantage. The best way I can describe it is that fascists are like an attack dog. When times are good (capitalism is strong and unopposed), the state keeps them on a short leash. When times are bad (capitalism is weak or is being strongly opposed), they use them to take a few bites and lash out a little bit. When times are really bad (economic crisis, or society has moved into a pre-revolutionary time), the leash on the fascists is let go. The role of anti-fascists is to make sure that the attack dog that is fascism is a chihuaha, and not a fucking doberman. For an example of this, witness the role of the FBI in using the KKK to assassinate communists and labor organizers in (I believe) Greensboro, NC in the '70's. The fight against fascism and the fight against capital and the state cannot be separated. Fascism is the emergency switch of the rich, and in order for any kind of revolution to occur, we need to make sure that said switch is disabled when it comes time to pull it. Ultimately, whether you agree with how ARA opposes fascists or not, you need to do your research. What you're saying about fascists and how they supposedly "gain" from these kinds of confrontations is really just a regurgitation of what the media and liberal, statist groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center say, both of which have strong reasons for discouraging the kind of effective tactics that we use. I think a debate about this is definitely necessary. I've found a lot of people who start out in anarchism don't fully understand the ramifications that fascism has, and how dangerous it is to not oppose it, both to the community in the short-term, and to society (and our hope for an egalitarian, free society) in the long term. Question: Do you really think that the Nazis went after the Jews first? Wrong. The first order of business was to assassinate the anarchists and anti-statists. We didn't even get the luxury of being moved into ghettos first. We were the first to go. Circuit Aurora Anti-Racist Action. www.geocities.com/aurora_ara ----------------- Poetpiet (english) by pr 2:18am Tue Mar 12 '02 Dear poet,will you haunt these... http://www.indymedia.org/front.php3  ?article_id=148490&group=webcast We must hunt down and destroy all who support terrorism, including GW Bush! (english) by Mark Thomas, New Statesman 11:04am Mon Mar 11 '02 (Modified on 5:08pm Mon Mar 11 '02) AND http://www.primitivism.com/assassination.htm When I speak of raising 'funds'I dont even mean actual folding cash MUST be transferred.I do like the idea of the free market destroying crony capitalism forever but 'money'is not strictly essential.LETS might motivate someone,valueless kudos someone else.Anonymous digital cash is practically here and crypto-anarchy,including APster wont go away...it gets closer every day. "An idea whose time has come."Like it or not. Death to all(visible)nazi's."I'd buy that for an e-dollar!" ------------------ ARA Is Full Of Shit (english) by Makhno 3:04am Tue Mar 12 '02 I have always considered the group Anti-Racist Action to be a huge waste of time and energy, distracting activists from the fight against our real enemies, the State and capitalism. These idiots are just jerking themselves off by picking fights with a bunch of retarded skinheads, neo-nazis and assorted other lunatic fringe types whom no one takes seriously anyway. There are a couple of points where I disagree with the author of this piece. There is absolutely no justification for going after working-class people who happen to be employed by the State; they are just as much victims as we are, and instead of fighting them, we should be attempting to reach out to them, and create solidarity in the fight against the ruling class. Secondly, engaging in serious debate or dialogue with racists or other nut cases is pointless; they simply will not respond to rational arguments. The only two effective strategies to combat them are (1) totally ignore them, or (2) use ridicule and satire against them at every possible opportunity. As for the author's question about an ideal anarchist society, doesn't he understand that such a society - based on lack of hierarchy, mutual aid, voluntary cooperation, and egalitarianism - would only be possible in the first place when the vast majority of people are ready for it, so that any anti-social types would already be a tiny minority at that point? Anarchists have got a lot of work to do before they can convince the public that anarchy is a desirable goal. --------------------- 149013 AGR talks with Noam Chomsky (english) by Nicholas Holt 6:39am Tue Mar 12 '02 address: Asheville Global Report, PO Box 1504, Asheville, NC 28802 editors@agrnews.org Chomsky cuts to the chase by explaining real reasons behind terror war: Keeping US citizens scared while Bush steals from the poor to give to the rich and to set up military bases in Central Asia. Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the most out-spoken and influential critics of US foreign policy and the corporate mass media. His many writings include Year 501: The Conquest Continues, Manufacturing Consent (with Edward S. Herman), What Uncle Sam Really Wants, and 9-11. Having recently returned from Turkey, where he helped in the successful defense of a publisher facing government persecution for printing Prof. Chomsky’s essays (AGR #162, Feb. 21-27), he took time from his very busy schedule to talk with the Asheville Global Report. AGR: Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has expanded US military operations around the world. In addition to Afghanistan, troops are deployed in the Philippines and the Republic of Georgia. Vice-president Cheney has announced “operations underway” in Bosnia and off the Horn of Africa, and additionally, the Bush administration has sought to marry the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terrorism” and increase US involvement in the Colombian civil war. And there is, of course, the “Axis of Evil” with N. Korea, Iraq, and Iran, as well as Somalia, Yemen, Lebanon, and Sudan, all as potential future targets. Does this state of affairs reflect something new in US ambitions, or are we seeing the same old imperialism dressed up in the flashy new clothes of the “War on Terror?” Chomsky: My own view is that the most important change since Sept. 11 is the establishment of what look like will be permanent military bases in Central Asia. So the substantial development in Uzbekistan and several of the other surrounding countries... establishes a new military presence in the world which the United States did not have before, in addition to the already established ones in the Pacific, in the Middle East, Latin America, in fact, throughout the world. That’s a global system, but it had not yet established major centers in Central Asia. That’s important, for one thing, because the resources of Central Asia, while not on the scale of the [Persian] Gulf, are nevertheless substantial and there’s a good deal of jockeying for power. This is what in the 19th century used to be called the “Great Game.” In those days it was mainly a conflict between the Russian Empire and the British Empire, which were both expanding into that area. There was a lot of fighting over Afghanistan about that. Now it’s taking on a new form, the major concern now being energy resources and other material resources in the region. China doesn’t like what the US is doing, it’s right on their borders, Russia doesn’t like it, its on their borders. They’ve regarded it as their sphere of influence. Iran certainly doesn’t like it. In fact, what drives it has nothing to do with terrorism. What drives it is control over resources, and that’s important. It’s not just oil. For example, another major resource, which people don’t pay enough attention to, is water. That may turn out to be as important or more important than oil in the coming years. The major sources of water in that region happen to be in eastern Turkey, which I just came back from, and which happens to be the region of some of the worst atrocities and ethnic cleansing of the 1990’s, thanks primarily to Bill Clinton who provided the arms and military and economic support for it. These are Turkish atrocities, massacres, and so on, in the Kurdish areas of eastern Turkey, which is primarily important. I meant a lot of strategic importance, but part of it is because it controls some of the major water resources in the region. That’s where there’ve been big struggles over dam building and many other things. So that’s part of it as well. Water resources are localized. Central to them is mountain tops. That’s where they come from. The UN just put out a big report warning that most of the wars going on in the world now are in mountain areas, like in Afghanistan, and they’re having a devastating effect on potential water supplies. But these are big problems, so, if you want to consider military deployment, my own view, at least, is that the most important one, so far, by a good margin, is the establishment of what look like permanent Central Asia military bases. Of the other cases that you mentioned, the one in the Philippines, in my view, is for domestic consumption. Actually, Kristoff, of The New York Times, had a pretty fair article on this a few days ago. They’re going after a criminal gang, which probably has a couple of dozen people, and no connections to any form of international terrorism. They’re criminals, undoubtedly. What’s probably needed is a couple hundred Philippine troops, but the problem with the Philippine troops is, the military there is probably involved in the same criminal activities and may not go after them. US Special Forces and the rest of it has nothing to do with anything. It’s very important for the Bush administration to get people here frightened. The last thing they want is for people in the United States to pay attention to what the Bush administration is doing to them, to the fact that its working on a very substantial transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. That’s what the tax cuts are about and all the rest of the shenanigans. They’re destroying the environmental protection system. Just this morning there was the resignation of one of the top EPA officials, [because] they’re not willing to regulate and that means destroying the environment in which our grandchildren will be able to survive. They’re trying very hard to undermine what remains of welfare programs, Medicaid, Social Security, and so on. All of these [cuts] are extremely harmful to the population and very beneficial to their rich supporters. They certainly don’t want people to be paying attention to that or to the Enron scandal and Cheney’s dealings with oil companies, and that sort of thing. So the best way to prevent that and to carry through this agenda, which is what’s really important to them, is to get people to be frightened. The best way to control people is to frighten them. Sept. 11 was just a gift to them and to other harsh and repressive elements throughout the world. That was evident instantly. That was the first thing I said when I was asked by reporters what I thought the effect would be. And, yes, that’s what it is. They have to keep people frightened, keep having scares come, make it look as if they’re doing something bold and courageous to defend the American people from international terrorism. And the best thing to do is to pick up cheap targets which are not costly and where you can strike dramatic gestures and so on. What’s better than a couple of criminals running around some island off the Philippines? So I think that’s what the Philippines operation is about. Colombia is just a continuation of Clinton policies. Maybe it will step up a little, but it’s the same counter-insurgency programs that have been going on for actually 40 years, stepped-up extensively under Clinton, under the pretext of the “Drug War,” which has very little to do with it, and now extended further under Bush. So that’s a continuation. Of the various potential military operations that you mentioned, the one that I think is serious is Iraq. Again, that has nothing to do with international terrorism. The Iraq policy is also a kind of continuation, but it could change. They may consider this to be an opportunity to reestablish control over Iraq, which is extremely important. Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, much of it under-developed or undeveloped. Saudi Arabia is the major one, Iraq is second, and it’s substantial. It’s estimated to be huge, way beyond the Caspian, East and Central Asian region. You can just be confident that the United States is not going to allow that to stay out of control and certainly not to fall under the influence of its rivals, like, say, France and Russia, which have the inside track now on Iraqi oil. So one way or another, the US will do what it can, and it can do a lot, to regain its control over those resources. It has nothing to do with terrorism, it has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein’s atrocities. We know that for certain. The reason we know that is because, you hear Clinton, [British Prime Minister]Tony Blair, Bush and [former Secretary of State] Albright, and the rest of them talking about what a monster Saddam Hussein is, we can’t let him survive, he used chemical warfare against his own population and he carried out major massacres and so on. All of those charges are correct. But they’re just missing three words, namely: with our support. It’s true, he carried out all these atrocities, developing weapons of mass destruction -- with our support. The US and Britain supported him, and continued to support him well after the atrocities, continued to provide him with technology to develop weapons of mass destruction, as they knew, at a time when he was really dangerous, much more dangerous in the 1980’s when this was going on than today. So the charges are correct, but they’re plainly irrelevant. And they’re just pure deception. Unless one points out, yeah, he did all these horrible things with our support, then this is just worse than lies. So it’s not because of his atrocities, its not because of terrorism, to which he may have connections or not. (they haven’t even tried to show anything). It’s in order to regain control of, primarily, the oil resources in a very rich area. And that involves a lot of complications. It involves Turkey, for example. A very live issue in Turkey right now is whether to agree to US pressure for Turkey to provide the ground forces for an invasion of Iraq. [The US] have to have some kind of ground forces. They have nothing comparable to the Northern Alliance there and it’s a much more substantial opponent. Turkey, of course, has a huge army, and according to discussion inside Turkey, and a little bit here, they are being pressured to agree to send their military forces in to take over northern Iraq, something which they have mixed feelings about. The negative side is that they’re going to get a lot more Kurds under their control and they have plenty of problems dealing with their own Kurdish population, which they treat extremely ruthlessly -- with US support. That’s how they can get away with it. The last thing they want is a bigger Kurdish population. On the other hand, the positive side for them is that Turkey has always felt, with some justice, that what’s called Northern Iraq should really be inside Turkey. A lot of the population is Turkish. The border between Turkey and Iraq was just established by the British. It had no meaning. It was established in order to ensure that Britain would keep control of the oil resources of Northern Iraq and that they wouldn’t go to Turkey. The Turks aren’t exactly delighted with this, obviously... If Turkey takes it over, it means the US takes it over, because it’s a client state, and the US would somehow take over the rest. You can be fairly confident that plans of that kind are being considered very seriously and might be implemented. If the other [potential military actions] are implemented, I think it would be kind of like the Philippines, just for domestic purposes, to frighten the American population, make them huddle under the wings of the great hero who will defend us from evil and so on and so forth. That’s a way to control people and to keep them from seeing what their great hero is doing to them, which is pretty ugly. AGR: Speaking of the domestic front, many people have become concerned about threats to civil rights in the US as we engage in what seems to be an endless “War on Terror.” The USA PATRIOT Act, passed by Congress in the name of “homeland defense,” expanded the government’s freedom to tap phones, detain suspects, monitor internet communications, and conduct secret searches, while at the same time reducing judicial oversight of such actions. Additionally, President Bush has passed an executive order to keep all presidential records since 1980 locked away, and Attorney Gen. Ashcroft has urged various federal agencies to actively resist Freedom of Information Act requests. You’ve remarked a number of times that Americans have greater access to internal government records than perhaps anyone else in the world, a resource that is obviously very important in the work you do. What are your concerns regarding these issues of civil rights? Chomsky: There are concerns. I’m less concerned about them than a lot of other people are, because I think there’s too much resistance to it domestically. But one is certainly right to be concerned. One instantaneous reaction to Sept. 11, predictable and instantaneous, is that every harsh, repressive force in the world, virtually, regarded it as a window of opportunity to pursue their own agenda. So in, say, Russia, it meant stepping up their atrocities in Chechnya. In Turkey, it meant increasing repression against freedom of speech, particularly against the Kurdish population, and in Israel it meant sending tanks into refugee camps. In the United States, Britain, India, and other such democracies, it means increasing efforts to control the domestic population. The elite groups in the political system, the economic system, and the ideological system despise democracy, for perfectly good reasons: they want to control things. They don’t want the people to be involved. So, if they can find ways to marginalize the public and to protect state power from public scrutiny, they’ll naturally use those methods, and the Bush administration is using them. There’s not unanimity within elite circles. This group that happens to be in power now is toward the more authoritarian, and, if you like, quasi-fascist, side of the spectrum. It’s not new. The Reagan administration, for example... [U]nder the laws you are supposed to release documents after a 30-year period. After that, the government is supposed to release declassified documents, not all of them, and with some internal censorship, but most of them are supposed to be released. And there’s the committee of historians, pretty conservative historians, from the academic world, who supervise this process for the State Dept. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. The Reagan administration was supposed to be releasing documents from the early 1950’s that included the US coup in Iran and the military coup in Guatemala. Those are the major, crucial ones. They didn’t release them. They apparently destroyed them. This was so blatant an act of quasi-fascism, that the historians’ board resigned in public protest. That had never happened before. And these are very conservative guys. Well, that was extreme, but the Bush administration is the same people and they would like to do the same thing. They do not want the public to have any idea what the state is doing. They claim to be free-market people, and all that kind of stuff, but that’s nonsense. Like the Reaganites, they believe in an extremely powerful state which serves the interests of the rich and which is immune to inspection by the public. That’s their faith. They want to have that. I don’t want to suggest that it’s just them. That’s the general consensus, but they’re at the extreme end. So, yes, they’re using this opportunity to try to protect state power from public scrutiny. That’s part of trying to make the public more obedient and submissive. The so-called PATRIOT ACT, (anybody who looks at the name knows exactly what to expect) yeah, that’s aimed at the same direction. They would like more control over people, more surveillance, more obedience, more fear, general marginalization. That’s the way you can get away with that. You can ram through policies you know the public is opposed to. Take the international economic treaties, the things that are called “free-trade agreements” -- they have very little to do with free trade. They know the public’s opposed to these things, strongly, so therefore, you have to do it in secret. It’s amazing the way it works. Today’s New York Times, for example, in the business section, which people usually don’t read, but should, there’s an article which is mostly about accounting, the Anderson scandal, and Enron, and that sort of thing, but if you look inside it, it says that there are new principles being implemented under GATS, the General Agreement on Trade and Services. Then the author says that the GATS negotiations have attracted none of the public attention and protest that has been directed against the World Trade Organization. I can’t say the guy’s lying, because he probably doesn’t know, but that is the main focus of the protests. You could only find that out if you ever listen to what the people are saying at the protests, but it’s a point of principle The New York Times, The Washington Post, and everywhere, that you do not pay attention to the proposals, discussions and concerns of the protesters. You focus concern solely on the fact that someone broke a window somewhere. And since that’s the law from the editorial offices, and it’s understandable why, the reporters probably don’t even know that this has been the main focus of protest. To know that they’d have to pay attention to what people are saying. You can’t do that. It’s been the main focus of protest for a very good reason. The GATS is a major assault against democracy. And you see that as soon as you ask what “Services” mean. Services doesn’t mean just accounting practices. It means just about everything that is in the public arena. So, education, health, control over resources, welfare, communications, and the post office -- that’s services. Those are things that, in a democratic society, the people are supposed to have something to say about it. Well, one way to completely undermine democracy is to hand all of that over to private power. Private power is unaccountable. Except by congressional subpoena, you can’t find out what’s happening inside one of the private tyrannies, like General Electric or Enron or any of the others. They’re tyrannies, and they’re mostly unaccountable. So if you can transfer the public arena into their hands, you can have formal elections and it doesn’t matter. It’s kind of like formal elections in Russia in the old days. There’s nothing at stake. This is called “Trade and Services” -- but it has absolutely nothing to do with trade -- in order to put it under the framework of the various international agreements. That’s in the main focus, like at the protests at Quebec last April at the Summit of the Americas. That was one of the main themes. But in order to know that, you’d have to pay attention to what the protesters are saying and what’s going on in their meetings and so on and that is ruled out. So, therefore, you can have a report like this. But the government knows, and elites know, that the public is really opposed to the things they’re trying to push through and they have to do it in secret for that reason and they have been able to do it to an extent after Sept. 11. One of the first things they did was to push through what’s called “fast track” legislation, which is supposed to have something to do with free-trade, but it actually doesn’t. It has to do with democracy. The issue is whether the executive branch of the white house, can make international treaties without Congressional participation and without public knowledge. According to fast track, Congress is permitted to say “yes.” That’s the degree of its participation, and it happens without the public knowing it. So that’s kind of like the Kremlin in the old days. That’s the way Stalin made agreements and the Duma, the parliament, could say “yes.” The most ardent free-trader would be opposed to this if they had any commitment to democracy. Its called “free trade” because that’s the only way, without public interference, that the government and business can push through their own international economic agreements, which are not free trade agreements. They’re investor rights agreements. So yes, they used the Sept. 11 opportunity to get that through and if they can keep the public ignorant and frightened and involved in something else, there are opportunities to do other things. Take what’s called “privitization of Social Security,” which they want desperately. That’s extremely harmful to the general population. It’s great for Wall St. It’d be a bonanza for Wall St. They’d have huge amounts of money on their hands. As far as the general population is concerned, it’s a very chancy operation, much worse than plenty of other alternatives. For one thing, the whole Social Security crisis is mostly a fraud. In fact, they are trying to increase the Social Security crisis right now by sending the government deeply into debt with tax cuts for the rich and huge Pentagon spending, which is going to force them -- in fact they concede that there’s no debate about it -- to deplete potential Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid funds. If they can drive the Social Security system into a crisis, which it is not in right now, they will be able to frighten people into handing it over to Wall St. It’s just going to make people at the mercy of the stock market, hardly a means of gaining security as Enron employees know very well. But also it has a deeper purpose. Suppose you are a working person and your pension depends on what happens in the stock market. If you’re concerned about your pension you’re going to have to act in ways which support profits for major corporations because that’s what your future depends on. In other words, you will be committed, throughout your life, to working against your own rights. You’ll have to be committed to working against the rights of working people, poor people, union rights, labor rights, anything. You’ve got to be against that, because being against that is what increases profits for the rich, and your future is going to depend on profits for the rich. It’s a terrific way to control people. In fact, that’s probably its main purpose, to undermine possibilities for struggling for your own rights and for human rights in general. That’s privatization of Social Security, and if they can manage to drive the perfectly sound system into a crisis, well, maybe they can push that through by appropriately frightening people, by the right kind of propaganda. It’s possible. Those are the kinds of things [they don’t] want people to pay attention to or to think about. What [they want people] to pay attention to is that there’s a criminal on an island off the Philippines and our brave forces are helping attack. AGR: After 9-11 and the subsequent military actions, there was, of course, a massive increase in patriotic expression. You saw the pro-USA paraphernalia, the ubiquitous flag stickers on automobiles, memorial images of the Trade Towers, and the not-uncommon “Love It Or Leave It” T-shirts. Within the anti-war movement itself there was some debate over the role of “love of country” in resisting state violence. Some ascribe to the “peace is patriotic” approach, while others take the internationalist position that nation-states themselves are impediments to peace. Could you comment on these positions and on the challenge of maintaining fidelity to one’s ideals and convictions -- in your case anarchist and libertarian-socialist -- while fighting practical battles in the real-world to, as you’ve said before, “widen the floor of the cage?” Chomsky: First of all, I don’t see any conflict. It seems to me, the general principal is you say what you believe. Keep true to your beliefs. That’s the only way to reach people. Not only is that the right thing to do, but itss well worth it. I talk to every imaginable kind of audience, unions, activists, peace activists, whatever they are and I say basically the same thing... You have to ask yourself what the flag waving is about. To the extent that it’s about concern over major atrocities that were carried out against the United States, which were, and commitment to try to find the perpetrators, I share it. That’s what ought to be done when criminal actions take place. It’s what I think ought to be done against US leaders, for example, who were involved in criminal actions all over the place. For example, Turkey. So go after the perpetrators of the crimes in south-eastern Turkey, right up to Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. That would be exactly right. And the same in this case. I think people understand that. They don’t hear it, naturally. But when they hear it, it rings a bell. Honesty usually rings a bell. And in that case the patriotism is okay, but it’s, I think, skin deep. Right beneath it are decent human beings who want to do the right thing. And the right way to appeal to people is on that basis. It’s not only the honest thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do. And I think yes, we should focus, as I always do in fact, on the nation-state as a major instrument of violence and oppression. I mean, take a look at the wars going on around the world. They are the result of the effort to impose nation-state systems where they don’t belong. The biggest war in the world right now, and in the last couple of years, is in the Congo. A couple of million people have been killed there. Nobody pays much attention -- just a lot of black people killing each other. But what’s that about? Well, it’s the effects of the imperial states imposing boundaries which have nothing to do with the populations. In fact, Europe was the most savage place in the world for 500 years in its own effort to impose the nation-state system. It’s been a horrendous system. The history of the United States is an example. Just establishing the national territory was a brutal, murderous affair. So, yeah, I think we ought to point that out and I think people should understand it and can understand it. Asheville Global Report: www.agrnews.org www.agrnews.org ------------------------------------------------ Yoshie: >It seems moralistic to me to argue against the commodification of cleanig >houses, while we have already accepted the commodification of sewing, >bread-making, laundry, eating at restaurants, child care, geriatric care, >etc. Why say the former is bad while the latter is OK? What's next? >Shaming feminists who trust their old parents with a nursing home? ------------- If you had finished the article, you would have noticed that she brings this all up. It seems to me she's highlighting a contradiction of a certain kind of feminism. Feminists, rightly, battled men over what share of the work in the private sphere they perform. When men wouldn't give in, the compromise entailed hiring a maid. Peter -------------------------- During the welfare "reform" debate, some argued that men owe women a giant amount of child support and that many men are neglecting their fair share of parental responsibilities (both of which are true for some men, while other men may simply have no or little income or are in prison). Neoliberals invoked a feminist-sounding argument: we should make men pay, instead of having women & children dependent on the state. I don't think this is a progressive argument at this point in history, though. The same for household labor, I think. I'd rather *socialize it in a non-gendered fashion* (and/or leave it undone to the extent it's possible), rather than keep it private and try to divide it equally between genders, as Ehrenreich has it. Better Engels than Ehrenreich. >Show me the line where she says guilt falls exclusively upon the woman. It appears to me that the target of shaming is better-off feminists (even the titles of the articles say so), rather than better-off men who are married to them or in relationship with them. Hence the absence of Zoe Baird's husband from the Ehrenreich article in _Harper's_, for instance. Further, what about single men who hire cleaning services, eat out at restaurants where "illegal aliens" wash dishes, etc.? Where _are_ they in the articles? There is an interesting article titled "Rejecting Zoe Baird: Class Resentment and the Working Class Mother" by Diane Simpson in _"Bad" Mothers: The Politics of Blame in Twentieth-Century America_, eds. Molly Ladd-Taylor and Lauri Umansky (NY: New York University Press, 1998). You might check it out. >Did you skip the part about how much of what we do by way of consumption >would be morally equivalent to hiring a maid? Ehrenreich says: "Why should housework, among all the goods and services we consume, arouse any special angst?...[B]ecause we all sense that there are ways in which housework is different from other products and services" ("Maid to Order: The Politics of Other Women's Work"). I for one, though, think that housework shouldn't be sentimentalized into a morally different category than other kinds of labor & that household work should not be considered as a "haven" from commodification & rationalization, for such sentimentalization makes for a bad class & gender politics. Why argue against the commercialization of cleaning service, while child care, geriatric care, sewing, and other kinds of domestic labour for social reproduction have been commercialized and/or publicly provided in part or on the whole? What's the difference? Lastly, as Carrol & I already said, a moralizing critique of consumption per se is futile & pointless, not to mention anti-hedonistic. What's the point? Ask the working class to consume less? How? I don't set store by individualistic "lifestyle" changes. Why not focus on unionizing industrial cleaning workers and/or starting cleaning workers' cooperatives, instead of telling feminists it's a shame to hire commercial cleaning services??? Moralism doesn't help cleaning workers, does it? Less consumption, less work under capitalism. Depending on the nature of labor, commercialization can be ecologically destructive (though this point does not apply to most kinds of work of social reproduction), but it _cannot_ be otherwise under capitalism; there is no such thing as ecologically sustainable capitalism. Only under socialism does it make sense to try to make rational decisions about consumption. Yoshie -------------------------------- YF: . . . During the welfare "reform" debate, some argued that men owe women a giant amount of child support and that many men are neglecting their fair share of parental responsibilities (both of which are true for some men, while other men may simply have no or little income or are in prison). . . . [mbs] Underpayment of awarded child support is huge, even though the awards themselves are grossly inadequate. This is pretty important. The main obstacle to better outcomes is the failure of state governments to coordinate enforcement, which stems from 'states rights' politics (don't go interfering in our splendid state judicial system). My sister-in-law is owed about $40K, not counting ten year's worth of interest by her ex. He's in a different state. The IRS managed to nail him once by snatching his tax refund, but since then nothing. Dealing with the state gov of his residence (FL) has been a gross exhaustion of time and effort. >>>>>>>>> Neoliberals invoked a feminist-sounding argument: we should make men pay, instead of having women & children dependent on the state. I don't think this is a progressive argument at this point in history, though. The same for household labor, I think. I'd rather *socialize it in a non-gendered fashion* (and/or leave it undone to the extent it's possible), rather than keep it private and try to divide it equally between genders, as Ehrenreich has it. Better Engels than Ehrenreich. >>>>>>> [mbs] Looks like you're to my right on this one, feminist-wise. Why should the state subsidize irresponsible behavior by men? mbs ------------------------- Max: >YF: . . . >During the welfare "reform" debate, some argued that men owe women a giant >amount of child support and that many men are neglecting their fair share >of parental responsibilities (both of which are true for some men, while >other men may simply have no or little income or are in prison). . . . > >[mbs] Underpayment of awarded child support is huge, >even though the awards themselves are grossly inadequate. >This is pretty important. The main obstacle to better >outcomes is the failure of state governments to >coordinate enforcement, which stems from 'states >rights' politics (don't go interfering in our >splendid state judicial system). > >My sister-in-law is owed about $40K, not counting ten >year's worth of interest by her ex. He's in a different >state. The IRS managed to nail him once by snatching >his tax refund, but since then nothing. Dealing with >the state gov of his residence (FL) has been a gross >exhaustion of time and effort. ---------------- Those who can should pay, but I'm talking about poor fathers, who can barely support themselves, may have no income, and might be even incarcerated already. There is a question of efficiency, too. Taking much time & spending much money to try to collect little from poor dads doesn't help poor women & children, does it? Have you studied the ratio of collected child support to tax expenditure in collection enforcement? Have you guys discussed this subject on Femecon? It's a topic in which feminist economists should be interested. And where is an EPI paper on the matter? I suspect that there is no empirical evidence for an argument that collecting delinquent child support is better for poor women & children than public assistance is. Also, there is a problem of escalating the trend toward increasing criminalization & surveillance of the poor. ***** The Independent (London) July 1, 1999, Thursday SECTION: COMMENT; Pg. 4 HEADLINE: The Left Is Creating a New Scapegoat: 'Deadbeat Dads'; Strip Away the Moral Rhetoric and You Will Find That Finance Is Driving This Issue BYLINE: Helen Wilkinson IF SINGLE parent mums were the target of the right's moral disapproval for much of this decade, now a new scapegoat is in danger of being created. Deadbeat dads and feckless fathers have begun to exercise the energies of New Labour. Today, after heavy leaks, the Social Security Secretary, Alastair Darling, will unveil Government's plans in its White Paper to criminalise fathers who are delinquent in paying child support. Delinquent payers, we're told, may be banned from driving and, potentially, sent to jail.... Strip away the moral rhetoric though, and you will find that finance is driving the issue. Rising rates of divorce and relationship breakdown have produced more and more lone parents dependent on benefits, and more and more children in poverty. Welfare-to-work in America and the New Deal for lone parents in Britain tackles one half of that equation - by encouraging single-parent mums to get back into work - but child support reform, getting non-resident fathers to pay for their offspring, tackles the other. The proposals, right down to the language of deadbeat dads itself, have a distinctly American flavour. But the infringements of personal liberty and the tactics chosen by many American states are quite shocking. Massachusetts has led the way, with among other things, the power to revoke driving licences when faced with non-payment of child support. More controversial still, posters adorn the Boston subway with photo identikits asking you if you recognise any of these "criminals". Closer inspection reveals them to be dads delinquent in their payment of child support. The hard-hitting campaign in Massachusetts has been effective, and child support collections have risen dramatically. Partly as a consequence, other American states have followed their lead, encouraging worthy neighbours, friends and even family "to do the right thing" and snitch on those dads who are not accepting their moral (financial) responsibilities. There is no doubt that this kind of punitive approach has its virtues. It has certainly worked to shame some dads, predominantly middle class ones, into accepting their responsibilities. Quite right too. But the American approach also has its weaknesses. It can alienate and stigmatise those who are unable to pay, perpetuating vicious cycles of exclusion. Many "deadbeats", as Americans like to call them, are actually poor. More and more research has come to light that it's not so much that they won't pay, as that they can't. Poverty, that unfashionable word in the late Nineties, stands in the way, and posters which name and shame the poor and disenfranchised simply reinforce their sense of exclusion from a society that seems reluctant to accept its moral responsibility to them.... ***** You don't mean to say that poor British & American dads can all go The Full Monty to make money, do you, Max? That only happens in a movie. :) >>>>>>>>>> >Neoliberals invoked a feminist-sounding argument: we should make men pay, >instead of having women & children dependent on the state. I don't think >this is a progressive argument at this point in history, though. The same >for household labor, I think. I'd rather *socialize it in a non-gendered >fashion* (and/or leave it undone to the extent it's possible), rather than >keep it private and try to divide it equally between genders, as Ehrenreich >has it. Better Engels than Ehrenreich. >>>>>>>> > >[mbs] Looks like you're to my right on this one, >feminist-wise. Why should the state subsidize >irresponsible behavior by men? Guaranteed public assistance beats being dependent upon individual men, whose incomes are not reliable sources (sometimes because men in question are irresponsible, but often because of unemployment, underemployment, sporadic employment, etc. which are beyond their control). BTW, besides promoting the rhetoric of "personal responsibility," welfare reformists have had an ideological agenda of promoting marriage & women's financial dependence upon individual men, to which feminists -- even liberal feminists -- are opposed: ***** Los Angeles Times November 11, 1999, Thursday, Home Edition SECTION: Part A; Page 1; National Desk HEADLINE: House Votes to Boost Poor by Teaching Fatherhood; Legislation: $160-Million Bill Hopes to Expand on 1996 Welfare Reform bu Prodding Absentee Dads into Marriage. BYLINE: Melissa Healy, Times Staff Writer DATELINE: Washington The House of Representatives, seeking to reverse decades of surging out-of-wedlock births, on Wednesday approved a $ 160-million effort aimed at boosting marriage among the nation's poor by teaching fathers who are absent from their children's homes to uphold their parental responsibilities. Urged to "make dads count," lawmakers swept aside objections from the National Organization for Women and civil libertarians and passed the measure on a broadly bipartisan vote of 328 to 93. Rep. Nancy L. Johnson (R-Conn.), the measure's chief sponsor, called the legislation "a giant step forward" for poor children and their fathers. For the first time, she said, welfare-related legislation "is going to recognize that dads do count and that we can help dads to be better fathers and better providers." Indeed, the measure marks a significant first step toward achieving a key social goal of the welfare reform law of 1996. Many of that law's chief architects hoped that it would help reestablish the tradition of marriage and two-parent families in the nation's poorest communities, where more than two-thirds of children now are born to single mothers. But the 1996 law avoided language that enshrined marriage as an explicit objective of programs for the nation's poor. And until recently, virtually all welfare reform programs and money have been used to help wean mothers with dependent children from public assistance. Except for initiatives cracking down on fathers who failed to pay child support, few welfare reform resources or services have gone to fathers who are absent from the home. The House measure would begin to change that. It would establish an organization to make five-year grants to groups that commit to "promote marriage" as well as "good parenting practices, including the payment of child support" through counseling, mentoring and job training of noncustodial fathers. The grant-making body envisioned by lawmakers would operate separately from the government's welfare system, which many believe has done much to discourage marriage among the poor. Passage of the "Fathers Count Act" comes at a time of broad political attention to the challenge of drawing absent fathers into their children's lives. Backers of the bill estimate that 23 million children live in homes without fathers, a tripling over the last 40 years. Recent federal figures show that unwed birth rates have dropped in 12 states, including California, although they have gone up elsewhere. Vice President Al Gore, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, has proposed his own package of aid to encourage marriage, support fathers' involvement with their children and shore up two-parent families working for low wages. President Clinton is expected to sign a version of the House measure into law, although Senate action on similar legislation is not expected until next year. The fine print of the House measure also contains a provision that could spare California as much as $ 300 million in future federal penalties. Echoing legislation passed earlier this year by the Senate, the House bill would waive further federal penalties on states that fail to meet targets set out by the 1996 welfare reform bill for establishing central systems to handle child support enforcement. In October 1998, California failed to meet a key target laid out in the law: to establish a single statewide office for the disbursement of child support collections to custodial parents and their children. By the letter of the 1996 law, that failure should mean that stiff federal penalties already incurred by the state would be doubled. By waiving the double-penalty provision of the 1996 law, the House and Senate measures would spare California many hundreds of millions of dollars. The "Fathers Count" grants would go to state agencies as well as religious and independent social service organizations. The likelihood that many of the grants would be made to "faith-based" organizations drew considerable criticism in Wednesday's floor debate. Several lawmakers warned that, as churches and religious missions use federal funds to do their work, there would be an unconstitutional breach of the firewall between church and state. But House lawmakers rejected two amendments that would have placed significant restrictions on which religious organizations would be eligible for funds and how a religious group could use them. "To claim that our Founding Fathers were for separation of church and state is either rewriting history or being very ignorant of history," said House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas). "It is simply impossible and it's unwise to try to separate people and their government from religion." Wednesday's measure had the backing of groups across a wide range of the political spectrum. Along with the broad backing of the House Republican leadership, it won endorsements from such liberal-leaning groups as the Children's Defense Fund and the Center for Policy and Budget Priorities in Washington. But one notable voice of dissent came from the National Organization for Women, which argued that giving money to programs for noncustodial fathers would undermine support for custodial parents, mainly women. The measure's requirement that the promotion of marriage be an explicit goal of funded programs also irked leaders of the prominent women's group. "Pressuring a poor woman to marry the father of her children--without regard to his character--could do great harm," said Patricia Ireland, president of NOW. "Congress is telling women that the way to get out of poverty is to find a husband." ***** Yoshie ------------------------------ YF: Those who can should pay, but I'm talking about poor fathers, who can barely support themselves, may have no income, and might be even incarcerated already. . . . You are implying that court awards are excessive in light of some fathers' incomes. This could be, but I doubt it. Awards have been found to be paltry, not excessive, though it's possible the topic could stand more research. If awards are not excessive, then all the angst re: poor fathers is irrelevant. Obviously if dad is in jail already, there's not much child support enforcement can do to him as far as docking his wages goes. The article you quote alludes to evidence that awards are excessive but provides no specifics. If the poor fathers were living with their poor family, they would still have to make such payments. It's even possible, if one takes a jaundiced feminist standpoint, that the family-minus-father gets more of his dough with a child support award then if he is still in the home. As for efficiency, collections more than justify enforcement expenses, though collections could improve significantly. I don't know if this has been discussed on FEMECON, and I'm not there any longer. >>>>>>>> . . . I suspect that there is no empirical evidence for an argument that collecting delinquent child support is better for poor women & children than public assistance is. . . . >>>>>>> The question is not easily informed by empirical evidcence. One would have to compare the existing, patchwork system with two imaginary alternatives: one where CS enforcement was very good, and another where the now extinct AFDC was back and in reasonably good health. The latter is much less likely than improving CS enforcement. >>>>>> Also, there is a problem of escalating the trend toward increasing criminalization & surveillance of the poor. >>>>>>>> If you have a new law you have new enforcement and new criminals. The question is whether the law is appropriate or not. It is true that the 'deadbeat dad' thing has been a safe haven for faltering liberals, but we don't want to blame victims (abandoned families) for the deficiencies of their would-be political champions. >>>>>>>>>> Guaranteed public assistance beats being dependent upon individual men, whose incomes are not reliable sources (sometimes because men in question are irresponsible, but often because of unemployment, underemployment, sporadic employment, etc. which are beyond their control). . . . >>>>>> Yes but this is exactly what we don't have and are not likely to see for some time. >>>>>>>>>> BTW, besides promoting the rhetoric of "personal responsibility," welfare reformists have had an ideological agenda of promoting marriage & women's financial dependence upon individual men, to which feminists -- even liberal feminists -- are opposed . . . >>>>>>>>> Marriage promotion has been a theme, but better child support enforcement is not exactly a marriage promoting device. In principle it could discourage some marriages, since for the man the union becomes more financially binding. After the fact, effective enforcement puts less pressure on the Mom to remarry. The bill you cite is purely symbolic bullshit. $160 million is a meaningless number in the context of any national issue. NOW's point that it could reduce money elsewhere in an $1800 billion budget is ridiculous. As far as income goes, two-headed households are better than one. Obviously there are non-monetary factors that could work against the economic benefits, but these factors can work in both directions as well. Big social policy is usually done with blunt instruments, sort of like bread, peace, and land. There are casualties in all such endeavors, but on the whole at this point in time I don't think you have made a case that less child support enforcement would be better than more. In your follow-up post, you say: Max, take a look at this, too. Allowing the welfare reformists to have work & child support substitute for public assistance has increased the problem for poor mothers. Yoshie >>>>>> CS payments have always been used to offset welfare payments. What's new is rising enforcement. As for paternity, social workers explained to me a long time ago that determining paternity was good for children, besides helping the state do collections. Think about the difference between growing up knowing or not knowing the identity of one's father. Also the potential effect on the father of knowing that he is known. To administrate you need rules, and rules are usually drawn imperfectly. Obviously if benefits are based on mothers providing information they are unable to provide, this is a problem. It is plausible that the state would draw rules to squeeze an extra percent out of the caseload, or trim benefits. Neither is it surprising that in the process of reorganizing huge systems, including the participation of profit-thirsty contractors, there have been and will be huge screw-ups. This does not mean the underlying principle -- the state should be informed of paternity to facilitate child support enforcement -- is wrong. cheers, mbs --------------------- >You are implying that court awards are excessive in >light of some fathers' incomes. -------------- court awards are never excessive on poor men. there's a standard forpetesake and they take into account the need for a non-custodial parent to take care of themselves. these "reports" are shite: they're being pumped out by the father's rights groups in this country on the basis of shoddy data in an effort to work up a frenzy against tougher CS laws which aren't especially tough on most poor men--unless they already in trouble with the law for some reason. and the father's rights initiative that are going after the CS laws are funded primarily be men who *can* afford to pay. the uniform child support and custody act passed in 1992 which was supposed to help make the states more uniform in the way they award support and organize custody. the standard is 17% of gross after FICA for 1 child, 20% for two, blah blah. this roughtly is about 1/6 of gross. it's pretty standard for the divorce agreement to go w/ that. this is not excessive. this is easily afforded by a noncustodial parent on minimum wage, but i suspect most noncustodial parents are making more than minimum wage. the stats used are notoriously unreliable (see kathryn edin's work on this). most poor people hide their incomes. this includes fathers who maintain that they are too poor but who make their living doing other thing--hustling, working off the books. sorry to break the news folks, but i've lived in this world. people "cheat" the welfare system all the time and they should. but noncustodial parents shouldn't cheat their kids--out of time, attention or money. and if they can't afford that then they can do what my sister's ex did: he did the daycare and did the shopping. there is no reason why there needs to be an opposition between demanding that parents take responsibility for the children they produce by sharing their incomes with them and also pursuing more generous welfare and un/underemployment benefits. but we absolutely have to make sure that noncustodial learn how to share their incomes even if they don't live with or see their kids as often as they might like. they need to learn to share their incomes with others without feeling that have to have some kind of control over how that money is spent and/or assuming that it can only be spent for the wrong reasons. if noncustodial parents aren't paying, it is often because they feel they don't have control over the money or don't see their children. now, tell me, if that's the case, then why would anyone thing your average joe taxpayer's going to want to spend money on more generous welfare bennies administered through the monolith of the state? and for all the rhetoric of child support enforcement i can assure that it doesn't happen in florida. *it takes three months to get an appointment. during they time, you get sent letters for no reason telling you that you must contact them for non-compliance. the CSE had no reasonable explanations for this letter. *if you go to welfare which is what someone told me to do given my weird circumstances, you are not eligible for housing or food assistance if: --you have cash/car assets over 4k --you are not eligible simply because you're unemployed and ineligible for unemployment benefits --you are not eligible for free food from the charities/govt surplus b/c they'll only take if you're eligible for foodstamps first. --they do not take account how much you might owe in credit card debt, student loans, etc --if you have a mortgage, forget it (and most people would) --ostensibly welfare is supposed to go after the deadbeats but they don't. given the larger political climate--that of a rising father's rights movement which, theoretically, i support in so far as i think fathers need to be more than wallets -- we are up against a growing tendency to view child support as some sort of rip off. it is also an attempt to wrest away and shatter any and all advances we have made. the fact is, we can not expect a state policy or economy that respects and rewards the work of children/family/home if we do not encourage individual men to respect that work and those responsibilities. that's all there is to it. imagining that we can simplly side step this by only ever pushing for change at the macro/state level is a grave mistake. what must also happen is that noncustodial parents recognize their obligations to the children they create. for if they cannot respect those obligations and the work involved therein, they cannot ever develop an understanding of the division of labor of a complex interdependent economy. and that, to me, is a prerequisite for building a socialist society. if you don't recognize obligations to those who you know, how can we create a socialist state built on a sense of obligations to distant others? we can't. people who view paying child support as some kind of burden are simply symptomatic fo a wider cultural propensity to reject paying for anything that doesn't immediately affect you or is in your interest --as we see in the rejection of taxes for public schooling or of any govt spending really. noncustodial parents who see paying child support as a burden do so because they somehow think they're paying the custodial parent and supporting his or her lifestyle and have no control over how that money is spent. we need to address that. kelley -- Occidit miseros crambe repetita magistros "that cabbage hashed up again and again proves the death of the wretched teachers." --Juvenal, 1st century AD ------------------ kelley wrote: > > and for all the rhetoric of child support enforcement i can assure that it > doesn't happen in florida. -------------- This would seem to be the point at which analysis should begin -- and the framework for such an analysis might be provided by Kenneth Burke's category of "Political Rhetoric as Secular Prayer" -- essentially, that political rhetoric points in the opposite direction from political practice. He gives the following example: . . .when Roosevelt, some years ago, came forth with a mighty blast about the death sentence he was delivering to the holding companies, I took this as evidence on its face that the holding companies were to fare quite favorably. Otherwise, why the blast? For if something so integral to American business was really to be dissolved, I was sure the President would have done all in his power to soften the blow, since he would naturally not go forth courting more trouble than he would be in for already. To use language consistently in such cases, rather than for stylistic refurbishment, would seem almost like a misuse of language, from the standpoint of it use as a "corrective" instrument. And I think that a mere treatment of such cases in terms of "hypocrisy" would be totally misleading: it would not be judicious, but litigious. *Grammar of Motives* (1945), 393 (Such ironic discounting is powerful in the proper context, but it too needs to be discounted, as Benjamin DeMott argues in his fine Hudson Review article, "The Little Red Discount House." Irony can operate as a sort of universal solvent of meaning, reducing human discourse to mere babble.) If Burke is correct (and in this case relevant) then we can be assured that as long as "all the rhetoric  of child support enforcement" continues there will be no great change in the behavior of noncustodial parents and children and custodial parents will continue to suffer. So what to do? What are our priorities, and how are those priorities Perhaps a beginning would be to drop the rhetoric of individual responsibility and attempt to generate a rhetoric of collective responsibility -- but perhaps that would not feminist enough for Kelley. :-) And perhaps it would not be moral enough for Barbara Ehrenreich. It would be morally repulsive to be so concerned with the immediate and practical problems of children and their mothers that we failed to concentrate on keeping our feminism and our moralism pure. Carrol --------------------- >So what to do? ---------------- firstly, not buy every piece of tripe that comes off the newswire. (just as an aside: i just got involved in a world i know nothing about --information security and technology--which actually makes me a good tech writer (articles, background, fact checking, newsletters, etc) because i can translate complicated stuff to the general audience that i'm writing for. that's actually how my boss "sells me and my services" to our clients: "jerry, meet kelley, she doesn't know anything, but she writes real good" heh. it's fascinating to me how these media "stories" are spread as i do the research and check the facts. and it all happens because reporters are hungry for predigested info provided by "experts". hold yourself a press conference, add some charts and "data" and all of a sudden. interested readers should check the canadian news btw for the results of this process in terms of the recent suicide of a guy who couldn't keep up with his child support and alimony payments. it's scary how they're exploiting these so called "think tanks" ------------ > What are our priorities, and how are those priorities ----------- my priority right now would be to make sure that CSE works. that would be, well, what i'm doing: writing an article about my experience in the nightmare of TANF so that ordinary lefty type gets a klew. (like you, carrol, i don't bother with the idiots who don't and won't ever care.) let's say i was eligible for welfare. i should also think the ex should pay. he makes 32k. family income is 70k (which ironically includes 7k from the father of his step daughter PLUS child care expenses pro rata.). his mortgage is on a house worth 85k. so he's not paying out the nose for housing. he's not bad off, iow. but he has a father's rights atty who'll encourage him to do anything. he should be paying, even if i were eligible for welfare, don't you think? yeah, socialism would be nice. but we're not there yet. furthermore, while i presented a bleak scenario, let me also say that the advances we have made also saved us. when the dork of an ex tried to reduce cs pymts even though he's making more than he used to make, the courts--while they initially accepted his application for a reduction--quickly changed their tune once i filed my own letter noting the circumstances: that he'd paid up what he owed and yet canx payment on the checks without telling me in an attempt to punish me be/c he thinks it's taking to long for me to finish the diss (and by all measures i'm far ahead of most people! idiot). hell, when my bank asked why he did it, he said, "oh i have the money, i just want my canx checks before i'll give it to her. now, you'll think he's an asshole. but the fact is, he paid his child support to his other children when i was married to him. the only reason why he's being an ass now is the father's rights movement. he's got a lawyer that encourages him to do whatever he can to get out of paying or pay less. so discourage and fight that tripe at every damn turn. i spoke to CS people where he filed on the phone and they were very kind and very understanding and were outraged that my ex had tried to do what he did. they had his expense papers that you have to fill out and his income taxes right in front of them. so they knew that he was an idiot. right now, he's refusing to pay day care money according to our divorce agreement. while it's a pain in the ass and i've got to wait. i do have a good chance of making him pay what he owes. it's just that it is an incredible pain to do. lots of paperwork, lots of waiting around in offices. we should not encourage the spreading of these rumors about the hardships of fathers unless we have real solid evidence. so, what should we do? make all divorces require child support agreements in which non custodial parents have their wages immediately garnished. very simple. you'll get rid of a lot of problems that way and you'll eliminate the enforcement bureaucracy. you can encourage employers to hire men by reimursing them for bureaucratic or adminstrative overhead. right now, a non paying father ends up paying by sending his check to a social service agency who, in ny, charges him 4 bucks per week or pyment for such overhead. the agency then mails check to custodial parent. get rid of that middle man and give the 4$ or even half that a week per child custody paying dad to the corp. believe me, corps love that stuff. it's like gravy or free money to them. ---------------- >Perhaps a beginning would be to drop the rhetoric of individual >responsibility and attempt to generate a rhetoric of collective responsibility >-- but perhaps that would not feminist enough for Kelley. :-) And >perhaps it would not be moral enough for Barbara Ehrenreich. It would ---------------- i disagree. we're not at that point yet. people who don't think they're responsible for their own children be/c they don't have control over how "their" money gets spent will not be capable of understanding collective responsibility. we're just not there yet. talking about it as if we aren't won't get us there. people learn collective responsibility by starting out small. just as you once argued to me carrol that people will be persuaded by the solidarity you and others exhibit, you already understand this. you already understand that rational argument doesn't necessarily persuade. what persuades are role models of decent behavior and practices of commitment to something larger than yourself. if that is encouraged in terms of one's own family we have a better chance of creating the kind of people who understand responsibility for the collective good and for others whom they do not know. finallly, i don't think any of this is funny. if it weren't for a lucky break and the fact that i have a whole bunch going for me that a lot of people just don't have, i could have found myself with utterly no food in the cupboard, no money for gas and no way to get any but by stealing. i sat there at one point contemplating prostitution because i did not know how i was going to feed my kid otherwise. so, if you can find the time to type away at lbo, i'm sure you can find the time to organize people into some sort of coalition to provide help to people who need it. kelley -- Number six reason why Beer is better than Jesus..... When you have a Beer, you don't knock on people's doors trying to give it away. -------------------------------- kelley wrote: > my priority right now would be to make sure that CSE works. that would be, > well, what i'm doing: writing an article about my experience in the > nightmare of TANF so that ordinary lefty type gets a klew. -------------- Whoa there. You ignore the whole of my argument in which I attempt to set a context for this question. Let me put it this way: On the basis of the information *you* have provided, the proposal that we can help children and mothers by "making CSE work" is as totally unrealistic as would be a proposal for socialism now. You have fallen into the academic trap (an honorable trap as academic traps go, but a trap nevertheless) in believing that one need merely state the truth and all will be well. Who is going to make sure CSE works? Why hasn't anyone done it already. If the powers-that-be were even minimally sincere in their rhetoric of responsibility this would be an accomplished fact already. Why hasn't it happened? Why has TANF happened but CSE languishes? On what basis do you think that merely exhibiting the rightness of making CSE work will contribute to making it work? You would think I was insane were I to write a 10k expose of the suffering of the Brazilian people under imperialism and conclude by with the following: What should we do? We should stop imperialism. But this is exactly the post you have written. The whole ruling class offensive for the last 25 years has had at its core the rhetoric of responsibility. And yet "they" have not carried through on that rhetoric in perhaps the one area where it might have made sense. Clearly they are not about to just because you write stinging articles. Carrol ------------------- carrol, i proposed a very reasonable solution. did you read that far. when people get divorced, provisions should be made for the noncustodial parent to fork over 17% of gross after FICA. garnished right from his or her wages. earlier i also said, fight to bring back the social safety nets. that will immediately help lots of people and it will eliminate the temptation for men to not pay. you know where i got the idea? from reading child support chat rooms last month. you know who said it? a man who'd tried to get out of paying but who was forced to have his wages garnished. you know what he said, "look guys, it's better to have your wages garnished b/c then you don't see the money and you learn how to live without it" just like taxes. you just know that they're going to be taken from your paycheck and you budget accordingly. CSE: you do not understand it. when getting divorced you make arrangements for child care expenses and child custody and visitiation. everything else between a man and woman are separate. most people transfer the cash directly without state intervention. the data that those articles drew on is for those people for whom this arrangement doesn't work. child support enforcement was always typically only ever handled through the state when people were poor. so the data is screwed, more on that below. CSE *does* work, as max said and as i said. clearly you didn't read anything i wrote. you missed that spot. i said it works. if it didn't my ex would have kept on not paying. just the threat of it made his shape up. he is only messing around with the child care b/c he thinks he can. if that were automatically transferred to, he couldn't. (no duh, we should work on gov't provided child care. but we're not there yet. if we can't get parents to take care of their kids; how do you propose to get people to pay taxes to take care of others?) CSE WILL, I REPEAT WILL will make sure that my ex pays what he his kid. it will act as a threat to make sure that he pays up. for most men, that's all it takes. as i said, i firmly believe that one of the biggest problems is the father's rights movement. confront that head on. those are things we can do--by exposing it and by exposing shite statistics. we can do it right here, right now by countering the negative publicity. CSE has always been around. the reason why it's a problem now is that it is a bureaucracy and it moves slowly. do you have any answers to help women out right now? what will it take to get this to move forward, these plans you have? huh? individual responsibility is taking care of yourself. taking care of your kids IS a form of collective responsibility that is not much different than the collective houseing, cleaning and childcare that has been mentioned. it's only your lack of firing synapses that make you see it otherwise. you will say, oh i mean collective responsiblity on a grander scale. all you're advocating kelley is small scale collectrive responsibility to one's family conceived a privated bourgeois family. okey doke. tell me, how do you propose to explain to someone why they should support a socialist welfare system? what will you appeal to? why should they prefer that approach and not what we have already? what do you think will persuade the average joe sixpack and suzi winecooler? why should they join you? oh yeah, and what about racism. why is racism wrong? why should people be anti-racists? why, indeed, should they be communists? why is captalism wrong or, as charles would say, "incorrect"? why was the diallo trial outcome wrong? what would convince the average jack scotch 'n' cigar and helen pinot noir? self-evident is not an answer. you've still not explained to me what the practical outcomes are that make it matter whether we support activities for moralistic or for not moralistic reasons. in other words, you have not explained why getting people on the socialist bandwagon is a bad idea if it plays on their moral sense that they should fight injustice. so what is it that makes the sense of fighting injustice so horribly fatal to the socialist future? also: people cheat the welfare system because they were trying to survive. so they didn't report fathers' incomes so the fathers could help them out. as you must know, no one could survive on welfare bennies. the "data" your studies relied on relied on that research where they found that men weren't making enough to get by, but that's because they were underreporting income for a reason. so good i'm glad they cheated the government. but cheating your children is not the same thing as cheating the government. cheating the govt in order to get welfare bennies AND help from the father was to help your children have a better life. cheating your child by maintaining that you don't make enough money is doing it for your own selfish reasons. i don't care about the history of welfare reform. it's done and over with. i know all about what happened and i did what i could at the time to stop the nonsense: we organized teach ins and ralled people between 94 and 97 trying to fight the rollback of welfare. btw, the feminist push to get men to take care of their children was around long before welfare "reform". blaming it on anything other than the operations of capital is nonsense. you engage in nonsense when you criticize attempts to help people right here and now. as ehrenreich said, how convenient for you. in the end, i cling fast to that old fashioned notion that men need to bear the responsibility for the consequences of sticking their dicks in places that might create a child. (right now, at a hacker list i'm subbed to, i'm listening in on a convo about macking hoes) women already know what that responsibility is. we need to create practices that reinforce for men that same responsiblity. and that means that they need to bear the burden of supporting that kid--practically first and foremost, but materially if circumstances (like abusiveness and complete inability to get along) mean that they cannot. poor and working class families are the leaders in building alternative collective family arrangements, please see judith stacey's _brave new families_. they really have some insights that the enlightenederati might try to learn from. i absolutlely think that right here, right now men need to learn how to bear the very collective responsiblity associated with raising a child. that's not an individual responsbility, that's a collective one. and btw, if you're so big on collective then why the fuck are you living in an efficiency whining about your low income? move into or do the hard sweaty work of creating a collective where you help take care of other women's children and make it work and provide a real alternative that can be built on in the socialist future. i'll bet if you try real hard you can dig up some men and women that will be more than happy to work it out. there were such collectives in the backwoods hole i lived in, replete with war protestors who didn't pay their taxes. i'm sure you can find them in ohio. if you want to get rid of the bourgeois privatized family, then you have to start working on developing alternative ways of having families and living together. why should only parents create collectives? single people should be involved too. my part in this convo is over. i find your position morally repugnant as well. what shite. everything you stand for relies on moralizing about capitalism and racism and sexism, it's just that somehow or other you think it's not moralizing. well, sorry, bzzzt. wrong: it is. -------------------- lley wrote: > should be made ------------- By whom? How will they get the power to make the provisions. When you talk about change you have to use active verbs or you are merely talking to hear the tinkle of your own voice. You don't have to convince me that such provisions would work. All sorts of things including pure communism would/will work if they can be brought about. Power! Kelley, Power! And that has to be built -- and it doesn't make any difference whether the goal is socialism or a school crossing sign, just showing the need won't help -- no one will listen to you until you build a political force. The more long (and totally convincing) arguments you write showing that fathers should be made to pay child support the more you also convince me that you aren't serious politically. Forget the need and the justice of it. I agree. Show me how the force to put it through is to be generated. I don't think it can be. I don't think you can get women organized on this basis. If you can, I'll say I was wrong. It is a worthy goal, as is the destruction of imperialism or the eradication of cancer -- but like those goals not a goal that can be won by showing that it is a worthy goal. Get down to organizing arguments by the second paragraph or I'm not interested in reading an encylopedia to find the crucial material hidden away someplace in the middle. Carrol ----------------------- Carrol wrote: >Why has TANF happened but CSE languishes? On what basis do >you think that merely exhibiting the rightness of making CSE work >will contribute to making it work? ------------- How can CSE be "right" for feminists, though? Unless one accepts that poor women have a responsibility to establish paternity of their kids, must allow the state to track records of their sex lives, etc.? Is a poor woman supposed to extract the social security number, driver's license number, etc. from a guy before she fucks him, even if it's just a one-night stand? This gives a new meaning to the word "scoring." :) ***** Los Angeles Times March 24, 1997, Monday, Home Edition SECTION: Part A; Page 1; Metro Desk HEADLINE: MOTHERS PRESSED INTO BATTLE FOR CHILD SUPPORT BYLINE: CARLA RIVERA, TIMES STAFF WRITER New lines are being drawn in the battle to improve the collection of child support for millions of children nationwide. But the latest confrontation features an unlikely set of combatants: poor mothers and a government that believes that too often the women are unwilling to help obtain the support payments that could help lift them out of poverty. The dispute is being driven by federal welfare legislation that requires mothers to do more than they've ever done to help find the absent fathers of their children. That means providing detailed information, even if the mother doesn't have it. The new federal guidelines, as well as proposals being considered by California lawmakers, are designed to jump-start a child support system that nearly everyone agrees is ailing. But they are also likely to push the responsibilities of mothers--and fathers--into uncharted realms that raise a host of troubling questions about privacy and the punitive nature of many aspects of welfare reform. Government officials say it is all about raising the level of personal responsibility and providing the financial security and male role models that are lacking in the lives of so many poor children. Critics, however, say that welfare mothers, already in dire straits, now face a host of new problems: They could be denied assistance if they cannot dredge up the minutiae of a relationship that may have been short-lived and ended years before; and under tight new welfare time limits, which call for most mothers to get jobs within two years, many of them will soon begin to be shut off aid anyway. Although the paternity provisions have received little public scrutiny, the issue of child support looms large in any discussion of welfare reform because most everyone agrees that improving support collections could help reduce the welfare caseload. Under new federal standards, women on welfare must provide a Social Security number, an address, a driver's license number--something more than just the father's name, or risk a minimum 25% reduction in the family's cash grant. States that do not sanction a family for noncooperation could lose millions of dollars in federal funding.... ***** For the entire article, see my post titled "More on Child Support." ----------- >*How many* fathers of kids on welfare make 32K, have the family income of >70K, and a house worth 85K??? That's what I'd like to know. Empirical >stats please. > yoshie ----------------- well, thanks to child support enforcement, very few. in those situations, they make sure that men cough up the lousy 5200$/year plus pro rata childcare. with that and 10k as a fulltime adjunct we can live quite well, thank you. did you miss the part about how most people can't get TANF or what? child support enforcement isn't about welfare. the feminist movement to insist that men pay did not have anything to do with welfare initially. it had to do with making sure that men took care of the children they brought into the world and for keeping women out of poverty--which doesn't mean you collect welfare. that is NOT the issue re child support enforcement. child support enforcement is for ALL women and children regardless of how much they make. got that? kelley --------------------- You are not answering my question, though, Kelley. You don't imagine that most fathers of kids on welfare make 32K, do you? What works for you, because of the income level of your ex, doesn't work for other poor women, does it? ***** The Plain Dealer July 8, 1999 Thursday, FINAL / ALL SECTION: EDITORIALS & FORUM; Pg. 9B HEADLINE: ECONOMY BOOMS, BUT WAGES FALL; DROPOUTS SUFFER MOST, HIGHLY EDUCATED AVOID INCOME EROSION BYLINE: By Mark Cassell and Amy Hanauer Conventional wisdom says the economy is booming. And it is true that inflation and unemployment are low and the stock market and corporate profits are high. But if you think that you're struggling more financially than your parents did, you're probably right. Our just-released "State of Working Ohio, 1999" found that 80 percent of Ohio's workers make less money in real dollars per hour than comparable workers 20 years ago. Men in general, black men in particular, high school dropouts and those earning less than median have been especially hard hit. Vast inequalities remain with women lagging behind men, minorities lagging behind whites and those with less education lagging behind those with more. The poor have become poorer. But so has the middle class, and both lie further than ever from the wealthy. To abuse a clich: The rising tide has not only failed to lift all boats, but it has left most Ohio workers toiling harder than ever to just stay afloat. Real wages have dropped for the typical Ohio worker - the person right at the midpoint - from $12.47 per hour in 1979 to $11 in 1997, a 13 percent fall. While the drop was steeper during the 1980s, the wage continued to erode over the decade of the '90s. Women still earn considerably less than men in Ohio. This "gender gap" has narrowed over the last 20 years, but the narrowing is due to a drop in men's wages, rather than an increase in women's. Women's real median wages have continued to hover just above $9 an hour since 1979. Men's real median wages were more than $15 an hour in 1979 and fell to just $12.66 by 1997, a significant drop, but still 37 percent above what women earn. Minority workers in Ohio also get by at a substantially lower wage. Ohio's black male workers have been hardest hit, with a 28 percent plunge in their real median hourly wage, from $13.88 to $10. Because of this dramatic decline, a race gap continues to exist and indeed to widen in Ohio, despite drops in white male wages. While white women's real wages increased slightly between 1979 and 1997, black women's real wages declined over the period. Workers without high school diplomas - a full 24.3 percent of Ohio's over-25 population in 1990 - saw their median wages plunge from $11.17 an hour in 1979, to a dismal $6.75 in 1997, a 40 percent drop. Though dropouts struggle most, workers in every educational category through college completion lost earning power between 1989 and 1997. Wage inequality grew dramatically between 1979 and 1997 in Ohio. Although wages eroded for workers across almost the entire income spectrum, those who were already earning less had steeper declines. The lowest earning 10 percent of workers had the largest median wage drop, 17 percent from $6.47 to $5.36. But all workers below the middle had wage drops of between 14 percent and 16 percent.... ***** If they are regularly employed at all, I'd think that most fathers of kids on welfare earn wages which fall into the category of the lowest earning 10 percent of workers, making about $6.00 or so. That's barely enough to support one person, it seems to me. >most people can't get TANF ------------- Thanks to tight eligibility definitions, end of entitlement, etc., legitimated by the rhetoric of personal responsibility. -------------- >child support enforcement isn't about welfare. the feminist movement to >insist that men pay did not have anything to do with welfare initially. it >had to do with making sure that men took care of the children they brought >into the world and for keeping women out of poverty--which doesn't mean you >collect welfare. that is NOT the issue re child support enforcement. >child support enforcement is for ALL women and children regardless of how >much they make. got that? -------------- As the subject line shows, I'm not talking about ALL women and children; I'm talking about the rhetoric & reality of child support collection in the context of welfare reform. I've already said that those who can pay -- like your ex or the ex of Max's sister-in-law -- should pay. Yoshie ------------------- At 07:18 PM 3/26/00 -0600, you wrote: >Kelley, > >I'm overposted. > >The debates on this are (I have come to believe) almost exactly >the same as those over "free speech for racism." I don't believe >in free speech for racists, and I don't believe in fathers not >helping to support their kids -- and in neither case is it either >desirable *or politically possible* to get the law to do it for you. > >Do you have enough friends to beat your ex up? Or to put up >a picket line outside his place of employment? Or to sit near >him in restaurants talking loudly about what a creep he is? > >Your idea of getting the state to do it is as utopian as would >be the request to wait for socialism to do it. You condemn >one kind of daydreaming and substitute another. > >Those who say wait for socialism for women's liberation destroy >the movement for socialism. Those who want the capitalist state >to perform the functions of the socialist state come to treat >enemies as friends -- and sabotage both the movement for >socialism and the struggle for necessary reforms under capitalism. > >Make enough trouble for enough non-paying fathers (and for >everyone else concerned) and Fathers Rights Groups will be >demanding an effective CSE. Campaign for an effective CSE >and nothing will happen except to reinforce the rhetoric of those >who blame women. And if you don't have the strength to do >the former, you certainly dont' have the strength to do the >latter. > >The principle is, don't fight for reforms that can only be won >if one is strong enough to get something even better. It only >leads to piddle and empty theorizing. > >Carrol --------------------- jesusfookingchristalmighty 1. get off your ass and help poor women and others right now. that was one of my first statement. create alternative institutions. can't any one read? i was NOT expecting the state to take over and that was exactly my point in the first godamned place re the ehrenreich debate. the state isn't our friend here. so work on alternative institutions 2. it is very reasonable to try to get a uniform law passed for garnishing wages or at the very least make it *automatic* that it goes through the social service system, rather than direct payment. that would be very simple and a very effective way to get men to pay. when my ex was one day late paying his ex wife when we were married, the collection agency was on his ass the very next day. he was never late after the first time they embarassed him 3. work on wider social change as well 4. really put your hands and feet where you mouth is and go out there and take care of other people's children. the two of you have a lot of nerve to call the above piddle and empty theorizing. this stuff can work. i did the sharing child care stuff when my kid was little. we formed a collective. then we decided to make a bigger community wide one in which people could pay full price or defray by contributing: legal assistance, meal making, cleaning, teaching, accounts, grant writing, computer skills, typing, etc. these things work. go out and do them. yes, i know, it sounds all third way. but you know what? i don't care if you do them while also fighting aginst third way nonsense you will have built the foudations for a better society because people will have been building the capacity for engaging in real collective enterprises in which they learn how to work to gether, to share burdens and joys of doing something together, they will know what it really takes and experiement so that we will create a ferment of people activiely shaping that very alternative world. oh screw it. i have more fun arguing with ken about zizek. all i know is that from all i've read on this list, i'm ashamed to call myself a marxist anymore. thank god for ken l, patrick, and mike yates because they give me hope that marxist also have a sense of integrity and outrage at injustice. and a sense that and i've called myself a marxist since i was 16 when i saw some goofy flik in social studies class and said to the teach, "hey what's wrong with that" kelley is this that difficult to follow. am i that bad a writer that you cannot figure this out? jesus. i sure hope someone was reading and understood. man. -------------------- Kelley: >1. get off your ass and help poor women and others right now. that was >one of my first statement. create alternative institutions. ------------------- I've been involved in the Ohio Empowerment Coalition, a statewide welfare rights coalition (which is supposed to be low-income people's organization, though its agenda is often set by a non-recipient organizer). The OEC is now organizing the "Stop the Clock" campaign, demanding, among other things, that (1) Ohio implement a moratorium on time limits if Ohio enters a recession; (2) Ohio extend its three-year time limit to what is allowable by the Federal government; (3) Ohio change its sanction policy, ending a sanction when the recipient complies; etc. Alas, the agenda just doesn't go far enough, though (which has been the source of frustration for some OEC members); the OEC is settling for this because this is what HB 578 says (introduced by Rep. Dale Miller of Cleveland). The OEC held a speak-out on time limits on March 23 at the Statehouse, but only about fifty people showed up. (Sad, given that _on paper_ the "Stop the Clock" campaign has been endorsed by Ohio Council of Churches, AFSC, SEIU Locals, NARAL Ohio, NAACP, etc., literally dozens of organizations; why couldn't more people show up???) We got stuck in the map room on the lower level, while, at the same time, the American Bar Association was having a cocktail party, which in contrast attracted perhaps about 300 guests, on the 2nd floor. The OEC will have a Lobby Day on Thursday, April 13 at the statehouse. If anyone in Ohio is interested, call 513-381-4242 or e-mail the Contact Center at . It is also sponsoring the Statewide Welfare Conference on April 13 & 14 at Lenox Inn, Reynoldsburg, Ohio. I wonder if Tom Lehman could help the OEC, hooking them up with the steelworkers. BTW, Ohio has $733.9 million in unspent TANF funds! They don't even fucking spend the money they got!!! I'm all for alternative institutions, but I don't think they can meet the needs of poor women and children in Ohio (especially if recession comes). Why not make the state pay? They got money! Yoshie -------------------------- Yoshie Furuhashi: > ... > I'm all for alternative institutions, but I don't think they can meet the > needs of poor women and children in Ohio (especially if recession comes). > Why not make the state pay? They got money! ---------------- The problem is that Welfare simply confirms the position of the ruling class, and as long as there's a ruling class they are going to play with Welfare in the time-honored manner. It is true that alternative institutions cannot, at this time, meet the needs of poor women and children in Ohio, but that is substantially because most people still believe in bourgeois social democracy. That being the case, it's much more fun to show up at a cocktail party of the Bar Association than a meeting about defending the rights of the poor, and in fact more meaningful -- if one is going to have a bourgeois state one might as well hobnob with the bourgeoisie and write a check or a letter to one's favorite politician in the morning if one happens to feel like it. One has drawn a line, one is inside the pentagram, safe from the devils. So, while it is certainly a good thing to try to shake more money out of the government, one shouldn't be under the illusion that anything is being changed -- it's a temporary measure against problems which can be actually solved only by anarchy and communism, organized from the ground up. Gordon ------------------------- Max, Kelley, & Carrol: Max replied: >>>>>>>>>>> >Guaranteed public assistance beats being dependent upon individual men, >whose incomes are not reliable sources (sometimes because men in question >are irresponsible, but often because of unemployment, underemployment, >sporadic employment, etc. which are beyond their control). . . . >>>>>>> > >Yes but this is exactly what we don't have and are not >likely to see for some time. ---------------- Maybe we should start off with a point of agreement rather than disagreement. All of us agree that it's better for poor women & children to have guaranteed public assistance than being dependent upon individual men. Given this agreement, I'd like you to recall that the idea of enforcing child support (fathers' personal responsibility), along with that of enforcing work (mothers' responsibility), created a *wedge* that divided potential opponents of the Welfare Reform: some wanted to *nix* the Welfare Reform totally, while others thought that they could *tinker* with the whole package to *make the Reform work*. The rhetoric of stepped-up collection of child support from fathers of kids on welfare came in very handy for the Welfare Reformers, for it helped them to put a "feminist" gloss on it: fathers, not just mothers, must take responsibilities for kids. One of the reasons why folks couldn't *nix* the Welfare Reform, I think, is that a lot of them thought they could *fix* it to their liking. The hegemony of the neoliberal rhetoric of personal responsibilities is exactly the reason why guaranteed public assistance is "what we don't have and are not likely to see for some time." It follows that we gotta fight this rhetoric, *refusing* to think that the burden of social reproduction should be *privatized*, be it carried by mothers, fathers, or both equally. ------------------- Kelley wrote: >the stats used are notoriously unreliable (see kathryn edin's work on >this). most poor people hide their incomes. this includes fathers who >maintain that they are too poor but who make their living doing other >thing--hustling, working off the books. sorry to break the news folks, but >i've lived in this world. people "cheat" the welfare system all the time >and they should. but noncustodial parents shouldn't cheat their kids--out >of time, attention or money. and if they can't afford that then they can >do what my sister's ex did: he did the daycare and did the shopping. ---------------- You hold two practically contradictory positions: (a) "people 'cheat' the welfare system all the time and they should"; but (b) "noncustodial parents shouldn't cheat their kids--out of time, attention or money." How does the State collect child support from fathers who are "working off the books," cheating the system? Cheating the system allows them to cheat kids. Also, some women can't afford to welcome fathers' attention due to the history of domestic violence. Remember that one of feminists' objections to the Welfare Reform has been that it makes it difficult for women to leave abusive relationships. ------------- >if noncustodial parents aren't paying, it is >often because they feel they don't have control over the money or don't see >their children. now, tell me, if that's the case, then why would anyone >thing your average joe taxpayer's going to want to spend money on more >generous welfare bennies administered through the monolith of the state? ----------------- Recall the rhetoric of stepped-up child support collection enforcement has been used to suggest that taxpayers should not foot the bill for raising illegitimate children -- that's parents' responsibilities. Some people bought this rhetoric -- hence weak oppositions to the Welfare Reform. Under capitalism, what is personal responsibility is _by definition_ what is not social responsibility. You can't have both. The idea that you can have both at the same time under capitalism probably explains the success of Clinton, Blair, etc. among liberals. Yoshie ---------------- Just sent this to Doug offlist, but I can't stop laughing at Lou, so figured send it on to y'all. And in a previous post to his list, Lou says C of C, is "mired in the Democratic Party." Huh? The CPUSA sure is, even DSA has gotten much more agnostic. C of C, at least here on the West Coast, sure isn't, at least the newsletters I get don't proclaim the necessity to be a delegate to the Ca. Democratic Party or join a Democratic Party club. Though a stalwart of C of C here was a staffer for Tom Ammiano in his run for Mayor of S.F. recently. Course the local Burton-Brown machine, does everything possible to fight the more left elements of the local Democratic Party scene. Michael Pugliese P.S. And Jared Israel! (Borba) Fine talk from one published in TruthInMedia, a far right, anti-NWO rag from Arizona. "The question is, if a leaf walks the tightrope from east to west, does anybody tremble?" RE: The Suicide of New Left Review (posted by Doug Henwood to LBO-Talk) From: Louis Proyect (lnp3@panix.com) Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 15:36:37 EDT Next message: Carlos Eduardo Rebello: "RE: The Suicide of New Left Review." Previous message: Louis Proyect: "Re: TURN OF THE CENTURY LAND GRABS IN EAST AFRICA" In reply to: Mark Jones: "RE: The Suicide of New Left Review (posted by Doug Henwood to LBO-Talk)" Next in thread: Borba100@aol.com: "Re: The Suicide of New Left Review (posted by Doug Henwood to LBO-Talk)" Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ] >Where will Doug get published in future? I have an old roneo machine I could >lease him. > >Mark Jones But given Doug's drift, wouldn't the NLR be just the kind of place that he'd find eager to print his articles? Truth to tell, Doug has never written an article incorporating his new politics, not even in LBO. It's mostly semiconscious bleats, not worthy of print. Frankly, I don't think that Doug could "write" prose like Zizek, Bourdieu or Butler if his life depended on it. Doug, of course, is an expression of the hopelessness conveyed by Perry Anderson's piece. His crusade on behalf of the execrable Zizek would even make him more comfortable with this crowd. On the other hand, he seems genuinely excited by the Seattle and Washington protests, neither of which somebody like Perry Anderson, who lectures in the department run by Robert Brenner at UCLA, would have bothered with. I think Doug is a classic example of the middle-class intellectual who is attracted to the workers movement, but not part of it. Like the leaves on the tree, they tremble in the wind from the east or the west. The wind has been blowing from the west for 25 years now, but there are signs that things are changing. That is why he walks the tightrope between Zizek and Seattle. (Too many metaphors? Shoot me.) Louis Proyect ---------------------- On Thu, 04 May 2000 06:03:38 -0700 Michael Pugliese wrote: [Regarding Doug] His crusade on behalf of the execrable Zizek ... -------------- Doug, do you have any possible explanation why people are loosing their vision / patience / solidarity [??] because of your tacit interest in a Lacanian social theorist? It seems to be that the very effort to read a particular theorist has lead to a widespread break in party ranks. The issues used to be, how might we improve the lot of the majority of the population of the planet, what about food distribution, unionization, the critique of transnational capitalism. Now, the more relevant question seems to be: have you read Zizek? Has this every happened before? A theorists considered such a threat to a political organization that anyone who even touches on his work is deemed suspect? Pretty soon we'll be a beleaguered bunch, hiding our Zizek essays between copies of Brecht, Lukacs or Lenin (we'll have to wait and see about Bloch and Merleau-Ponty and Agnes Heller). Theorists on the run, darting from library to library... copying essays in tattered form and scuffing them between Adorno and Althusser. Psss... have you see in? His new book on Lynch. It's been banned. It fills your mind with complications, sharpens the senses and engages the critical mind. No wonder they hate it! Shh... they're coming. Quick, into the cellar!!! Bring Kant. Shouldn't someone be embarrassed about this? ken --------------------- Subject: RE: The Suicide of New Left Review (posted by Doug Henwood to LBO-Talk) From: kelley (kwalker2@gte.net) Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 12:34:55 EDT sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ] Next message: Michael Perelman: "Re: Pavlovian marketing" Previous message: Reese: "RE: Zizek's (Cockburn's) Lenin" In reply to: Doug Henwood: "RE: The Suicide of New Left Review (posted by Doug Henwood to LBO-Talk)" Next in thread: Rob Schaap: "RE: The Suicide of New Left Review (posted by Doug Henwood to LBO-Talk)" Reply: kelley: "RE: The Suicide of New Left Review (posted by Doug Henwood to LBO-Talk)" >It's pretty weird. As even LNP3 conceded, the stuff I write about hasn't >changed much, nor has my prose style. I still care about economic and >social polarization, exploitation, the despoilment of the natural >environment, etc. etc. - all those issues of "real" politics that the >enemies of the "merely cultural" disparage. Apparently any sign of >interest in the psyche (a distraction that leads us from the struggle, >even if many people don't perceive any need to struggle), or gendering >(aside from what Carrol characterized as the exploitation of women, as if >that were a self-evident, straighforward field of analysis), or sexuality >(nothing material about that, of course!), or discourse (plain speech, >unambiguous slogans, that's what we need! forget Marx's interest in Hegel) >makes you a wanking dupe of the bourgeoisie. > >Doug well, i post again since ken lawrence made it clear that he didn't reject the early marx. marx certainly didn't call for slogans and banners, though i guess lenin did. well, i don't get the hero worship and necrophilia myself but hey it takes all kinds! but it seems to me that the passage below explains how engaging in both practical and theoretical debate is important and the reasons for doing so should be historically founded (based on the specificity of time and place, culture, etc) " "For even though the question "where from?" presents no problems, the question "where to?" is a rich source of confusion.... [W]e wish to influence our contemporaries [earlier he notes the importance of recognizing particular historical exigencies within each country that critical theory must attend to and take seriously]...The problem is how best to achieve this. In this context there are two incontestable facts. Both religion and politics are matters of the first importance in contemporary Germany. Our task must be to latch onto these as they are and not to oppose them with any ready-made system such as the _Voyage en Icarie_. [...] Just as religion [by which marx means theory, philosophy] is the table of contents of the theoretical struggles of mankind, so the political state enumerates its practical struggles. Thus the particular form and nature of the political state contains all social struggles, needs and truths within itself. It is therefore anything but beneath its dignity to make even the most specialized political problem--such as the distinction between the representative system and the Estates system--into an object of its criticism. For this problem only expresses at the political level the distinction between the rule of man and the rule of private property. Hence the critic must concern himself with these political questions [which the crude socialists find beneath their dignity]. By demonstrating the superiority of the representative system over the Estates system he will interest a great party in practice. By raising the representative system from its political form to a general one...he will force this party to transcend itself--for its victory is also its defeat. Nothing prevents us...from taking sides in politics, i.e. from entering into real struggles and identifying ourselves with them. This does not mean that we shall confront the world with new doctrinaire principles and proclaim: Here is the truth, on your knees before it...We shall not say: Abandon your struggles, they are mere folly; let us provide you with the true campaign-slogans. Instead we shall show the world why it is struggling.... [...] Our programme must be: the reform not through dogmas but by analyzing mystical consciousness obscure to itself, whether it appear in religious or political form. It will then become plain that the world has long since dreamed of something of which it needs only to become conscious for it to possess it in reality. It will then become plain that our task is not to draw a sharp mental line between past and future but to complete the thought of the past. Lastly, it will become plain that mankind will not begin any new work, but will consciously bring about the completion of its old work. 1844, from Letters from the Franco-German Yearbooks--a reply to Ruge's claims about the futility of engaging in actually existing political struggles." -------------------- Aw, c'mon, you blokes! Can't we just think Zizek is an often appalling writer, who chooses to be ambiguous when the need for ambiguity is not apparent, whose metaphors maybe intrinsically pretty but whose relevance to the text is not apparent, who quotes Althusser's worst bits too often, analyses all the fun out of shagging, rejoices in some sorta Lacanian denial of agency just before he tells us how to exercise it, and hides his occasional sledgehammer points (I like it when he has a go at Foucault and his acolytes here and there) amidst a thick porridge of glutinous verbiage. I mean, a lot of us have to read a lot, and we should demand the right to get cross at writers who gratuitously make that hard to do. Edward Thompson, Raymond Williams and Marvin Harris knew how to write about culture - so that people within the cultures they were discussing could understand 'em! For my part, I kinda wish Doug would write about Zizek a bit more. Mebbe I'd get a kahlew what the bloke's on about ... him and that even more outrageous torturer of readers everywhere, Jacque if-you-reckon-philosophy's- hard,-wait-till-I-psychologise-it-for-ya Lacan. And, Doug. Is there any chance of transferring my LBO subscription to the electronic option? I feel so out of it having to wait for the clipper to ply the South Seas ... Cheers, Rob. -------------------- skip threads ----------------- > Apsken@aol.com wrote: > > >We can read here literally hundreds of posts on the nuances of sexual > >desire and satisfaction, which are taken oh so seriously by our scholars, but > >not one serious discussion of, let alone a declaration of support for, the > >brave Austrians who have battled selflessly on behalf of immigrants whom > >their bourgeoisie and their country's fascists have terrorized. This is > >Marxism? Bullshit. It is narcissism, no matter how much windy dialectical > >mystification is appended to it. ----------------- Oh, pulllease... You're very good at informing people that there are things you do not understand, and you are very good at insisting that because you do not understand something it must be dangerous. And since both statements together do not make a lot of sense to me, I can only think that you are scaring yourself unecessarily. But when you try real hard to scare other people, it gets a little more than I can possibly bear. Let me put it another way: you return again and again to Zizek and 'desire', but haven't shown much interest in border politics, and certainly not much knowledge of the political campaigns in the EU on this. When Ken or I have argued why the antiHaider protests will not fulfill what you claim is their content (defending migrants, anti-racism), you just trundle along with another post -- can we set the calender by the next one? -- about that darned Zizek. In other words, it's all really a backdrop to some foolish argument about 'leadership', where content is little more than a passing reference. Mack suggested you can have the emperor's clothes... You seem to have taken a few twirls in the outfit already. I think the keyword here is 'desire'. ciaou, Angela - ------------------- skip threads --------------------- Doug wrote, > You know, Ken, I admire all the activist work you've done over the > years,I really do, but this constant anti-intellectualism, which I > supposed is meant to heighten the contrast between people who've done > real politics, like you, and those who are just a bunch of academic > wankers - well, it gets very tedious. Alienating and pointlessly > divisive too. ------------------- Being an intellectual myself, and with many comrades who are professional scholars, I am not anti-intellectual. Opposing scholasticism and academic aloofness is something quite different, and is a fundamental stance of every revolutionary intellectual. The problem affects not just intellectuals, but declassed professionals of every type. Some scholars, lawyers, doctors, etc., put their skills at the service of the working class, the poor, and the oppressed, by joining them in struggle, learning the ways in which those skills can be useful to the struggle, and doing so. For a splendid example, read Arthur Kinoy's autobiography, or Conrad Lynn's, or any biography of Karl Marx, or C.L.R. James, or the scholarly writings of George Rawick (forced out of three tenured professorships because of his involvement in the movement), and many others. But the most vocal academic participants in LBO-talk are the other kind, who presume to wag fingers at masses in struggle rather than joining them or working in solidarity with them. Most obnoxiously, the two most vigorous proponents of Zizek's writings, Ken M and Angela, are the very ones who argue the principle of abstention, unless the mass movements measure up to their standards. Philip Ferguson's observation about Zizek's racism, which I forwarded to LBO-talk earlier, is directly pertinent. No scholar who is truly connected to the insurgent movements of today could have dared to write such a phrase. It is symptomatic not only of Zizek's detachment from mass struggle, but also his contempt for those who are engaged. --------------------- > Which mass movement? Organized how, towards what end? Where are the > front lines drawn? What's the response on those front lines when the > folks on the other side fight back? If you have any answers to these > questions, then you've got a theory, whether you like or acknowledge > it or not. What did Marx write? Manuals of revolutionary praxis? ------------------------ Of course I have a theory, and I have been upholding Marx's theory and practice. Yesterday and today I specifically cited Marx's (and Engels's) writings on the Paris Commune, which they regarded as the greatest revolutionary advance in history, only to see those references disparaged by the Zizek-worshipping Mackendrick, who wants no part of Marx's revolutionary doctrine, but professes to admire Marx's "philosophy." (The Civil War in France is one of the finest handbooks of revolutionary practice, and the stance of Marxists, ever written. But our LBO-talk scholars can't take the time to read that small book.) I spelled out the strategy of dual power, and its importance, by which workers and oppressed people learn to view themselves as potential and rightful rulers of society. You cannot approach mass struggles for proletarian emancipation as though ordering from a menu at a restaurant, selecting this tasty one, avoiding the other. When they erupt, you join them, in actual presence or in solidarity, regardless of specific criticisms you may harbor. They may not always choose the best tactics. Engels wrote, for example, "The most difficult thing to understand is the holy awe with which the Commune reverently stopped before the portals of the Bank of France. This was also a serious political error. The bank in the hands of the Commune -- this would have been worth more than ten thousand hostages." But this was written in the context of his unconditional support for the Commune. That is the attitude I'd like to see expressed by LBO-talk's scholars, but so far it has not been manifest by most of them. Ken Lawrence ------------------- Which ones? Surely you're not about to join the Michigan Militia or the Christian Coalition, which are mass movements in at least some sense.So you are choosing the tasty one over the tasteless one. The Million Man March would be a bit more problematic, but you'd have to think twice about it at least, no? Compared to, say, Justice for Janitors, which is pretty hard to say no to. Queer Nation? Would you have joined that mass movement, when it was one? You're acting as if the definition of "mass struggles for proletarian emancipation" were self-evident. I'll bet there were lots of non-proletarians in the anti-Haider marches; I'll bet too that lots of proletarians voted for him, and got a thrill when pointy-heads denounced Haider. I'm just guessing, extrapolating from the way folks like George Wallace and David Duke work here, but I'm also guessing I'm right about this. So where does the true proletarian come down? Doug ------------------- This seems like sophistry to me. It's true that no constructive discussion can occur if the participants are not agreed on the meaning of words. But with the exception of Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, and a handful of tiny sects, I can't recall many socialists having difficulty sorting out which struggles reflect the true interests and aspirations of workers and oppressed people. All such struggles attract the participation and solidarity of others who sympathize with and support their aims, and often involve contradictory pressures, and even some parasitic participants. Not every proletarian impulse is progressive -- witness the chauvinistic currents at the Seattle mobilization, for example -- and participants in genuine mass struggles often fiercely disagree on tactics, but those are always the realities of authentic struggle. Not every mass protest of proletarians reflects the actual interest of the class, either, and some have to be actively opposed, not ignored, such as racist strikes. The abstentionists on this list remind me of the liberals who deserted the civil rights movement after SNCC raised the slogan "Black Power!" I can't recall any Marxists who departed, although there were many who opposed SNCC's turn to self-reliance and separatism as the road to Black liberation. That does not mean that every specific action of emerging movements require endorsement, especially when internal conflicts within the movements are still playing out, but that is a far cry from abstention. As far as I know, I have never been gay, but every year in Jackson I joined the Gay Pride march and gave a speech in solidarity at the rally. This did not oblige me to choose among the conflicting currents within the Mississippi Gay Alliance. Ken Lawrence ------------------------ > Do you have any evidence for this? How do you know what people do or don't > do? ---------------- I have no personal knowledge of people's activity, so I do not discuss it. I address their arguments. When these lovers of theory and philosophy vigorously oppose taking to the streets, I believe they mean what they write, and respond accordingly. Ken Lawrence -------------------- thread skip -------------- Kelley: oh yeah, and btw, it was the Come as You Are masturbate-a-thon yesterday. i had a hard time raising any money, no one would sponsor me. I figure that this wanker list was quiet yesterday raising money and other things for a good cause, eh? kelley (doing my job to ensure that this list is frivolously concerned with eric's sox, whether yoshie favors spitting or swallowing, if ken still favors throwing paint and wearing latex and sparklies, if justin's hairstylist *really* knows, if doug daddy's porcelain is far out, if pugliese will ever do the hustle with me, just why it is that max wants me to buy him lunch of pieroges and kielbasa, whether the two carrols date and which is top and bottom and if he's considered a third wheel, and just what chaz means when he says he's a black woman). Principles of Self-pleasure Leah Rumack April 26, 2000 -------- ---- -------- In the early 1900s, schoolboys were terrorized by social purity educator Arthur W. Beall and the Women's Christian Temperance Union on the potential damaging effects of "self-abuse," including lesson number 9: "The more you use the penis muscle, the weaker it becomes." And much to Beall's horror, there could be a lot of weak willies in the wind soon (leading to nervous degeneration and insanity), because the second annual national masturbate-athon is coming on May 7. Chronic masturbators should take the day off work to raise money for the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention. "I think of it like Mother's Day," says Sandra Haar, the co-owner of Come as You Are, one of several sex shops across North America participating in the marathon. San Francisco's Good Vibrations, the big mama of the funky sex shop universe, declared May National Masturbation Month five years ago. It is not, however, in The Farmer's Almanac. Masturbation, says Haar, has poked its head out of the social stigma closet, but it still needs encouragement. "It's seen as an adolescent thing -- like if you're an adult and doing it, you're kind of a loser." Historically, masturbation has certainly been dealt a bad hand. In Genesis, God condemned Onan for spilling his seed on the ground rather than conceiving an heir by his widowed sister-in-law, Tamar. In the 16th century, a famous anonymous treatise entitled "Onanaia: or the heinous sin o f self-pollution, and its frightful consequences in both sexes considered, with spiritual and physical advice to those who have already injured themselves by this abominable practice" set the tone for the anti-"self-abuse" diatribes of later generations. Ills thought to be brought on by masturbation included stunted growth, cowardice, causing one's eyes to have a "dull, sheepish look" (well, duh), blindness, nymphomania and death. "We are socialized to look at our bodes as a site of sin rather than a site of pleasure. Masturbation allows us to be in unity with all of who we are," says Juanita Smith, executive director of Black CAP sagely. Joan Marsman, a sex therapist who runs orgasm support groups for women, says she encourages masturbation as a nice way to get to know yourself, but "if it causes you anxiety or nightmares, than don't do it. It is optional." But if you think that just because the era of seeing masturbation as a sign of insanity is over, you try to get people to pay you -- by the minute -- for a masturbate-athon. (Is that a sponsorship form in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?) It is fraught with social peril, as is evidenced by the prompt response I received from the first person to call when you're trying to raise money for a cause -- Mom. "No. Go away. Get lost, you meshugina. What do you want from my life?" Also included in the litany of responses were: several comments (one from boss) to the effect that "this could get expensive," two requests for pictorial evidence, one offer of webcam services, one offer of "No money, but you can fantasize about me," three mentions of my likely relative expertise in the area, and po lite quantitative inquiries as to length of my personal record before committing to a per-minute rate. "Maybe they're worried you'll wear yourself out," offers Haar helpfully. I am truly devoted, but so far I've only raised a sorry $45. So c'mon, Mom. Puleeze. Your donation will come in handy. ---------------------- on slogans 0661 and this (0899): >From *Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan* We must combat the counter-revolutionary talk of a "movement of riffraff" and a "movement of lazy peasants" and must be especially careful not to commit the error of helping the local tyrants and evil gentry in their attacks on the poor peasant class. Though a few of the poor peasants leaders undoubtedly did have shortcomings, most of them have changed by now. They themselvesd are energetically prohibiting gambling and suppressing banditry. Where the peasant association is powerful, gambling has stopped altogether and banditry has vanished. In some places it is literally true that people do not take any articles left by the wayside and that doors are not bolted at night. According to the Hengshan survey, 85 per cent of the poor peasant leaders have made great progresds and have proved themselvesd capable and hard working. Only 15 per cent retain some bad habits. The most one can call these is "an unhealthy minority," and we must not echo the local tyrants and evil gentry in undiscriminately condemning them as "riffraff." This problem of the "unhealthy minority" can be tackled only under the peasant associations' own slogan of "strengthen discipline," by carrying on propaganda among the masses, by educating the "unhealthy minority," and by tightening the associations' discipline; in no circumstances should soldiers be arbitrarily sent to make such arrests as would damage the prestige of the poor peasants and feed the arrogance of the local tyrants and evil gentry. This point requires particular attention. *Selected Works*, Vol. I, pp. 23-24. Kelley merely despises democracy and therefore sneers at all the methods by which democracy can be made an actuality rather than of leaders swaying through advertising and *her* kind of manipulative slogans rather than the leninist slogan which summarizes and gives focus to the practice of the people themselves. Her boorish sneering at slogans while utterly ignorant of the history of their political use gives the lie to her claims of extensive political practice. She has rather engaged in bureaucratic dominance based on intellectual charisma. The comparison of political slogans to tv advertising or to the campaign slogans of a political party is mere historical ignorance. Slogans *summarize* practice, and cannot be formed except in the context of a particular practice at a particular time and place. They are the polar opposite of naive attempts to "reach people" who aren't listening through the brilliance of one's individual command of smart rhetoric. They express in corrigible form the practice of those already to some extent involved in the struggle. U.S. slogans are apt to be poisoned by the spontaneous identification of slogans with advertising. Fore example, the proto-slogan, "Nix don't fix" is clever, but it does not even contain a gesture towards formulating the experience of those whose practice generated it. If the movement it sort of summarizes continues to grow, growth will both come through the debate over reformulating that slogan and in the forging of more complex slogans in the course of expanded practice. But even this primitive slogan, with its rhyming echo of the ad jingle, can serve to remind people acting on their own intiative in this or that particular locality and context of what can connect their action with that of unknown thousands around the nation or the world. Carrol ------------- ---------------- Kelley: i did say a thing about slogans carrol. i didn't sneer one way or another except to laugh at people who i knew would reject slogans and yet engaged in their use in a game of oneupmanship. so, i conclude that the meds need to be adjusted coz you're hearing voices again. as for my take on democracy well here it is again from my post on working class civil society of which you've heard some about from patrick bond, except adapted for the US. if you think the below, which is about how to foster the building of demcratic practices and institutions is undemocratic, you've got some strange notions of democracy. somday, try looking into the solidarity movment because much of what we did in the community of which i speak was modeled on that experience. -----paste----- for one thing, ehrenreich is being pragmatic and she's asking people to engage in political practice. get involved and *do* something that will help people and in the process you might bridge the consumer divides, instead of investigating one's navel for lint and classifying it according to some ossified typification of real politics, to wit: > I know it sounds scary, but it will be a lot less so if we can make >sharing stylish again and excess consumption look as ugly as it actually >is. Better yet, give some of your time and your energy too. But if all you >can do is write a check, that's fine: Since Congress will never >redistribute the wealth (downward, anyway), we may just have to do it >ourselves. --------------- yoshie: >Ehrenreich is the Martha Stewart of progressive politics, for Ehrenreich >thinks that housework is a _moral_ issue _for women_, a spiritually >uplifting testimony to women's industriousness . actually, she's talking about how the *shared* experience of gendered labor in the form of housework--the social conditions of labor--gave us something in common. now, the division of labor and the commodification of what was once unpaid labor presents us as enemies, as she astutely notes. the answer, at least one, for her is to create alternative political practices, as i mentioned above. no, it's not radical or marxist as you would have it. but if we sit around waiting for the time to be right for radical, marxist change we'll be sitting around forever. marx surely didn't say that we could only pursue radical political practices, but must take a side in the struggles and wishes of the age and move them progressively forward. she's drawing on an approach that in sociology is evident in the lit on "civil society". it is in civil society--in the practices of commitment to something greater than one's self (in union struggles, in organizing, in volunteering, etc) that we create shared lifeworlds (habermas) with people we might not ever come in contact with otherwise. in the process we learn to see the world from the perspective of someone besides our selves and those in our "chosen" lifestyle enclaves. in the process, (and this is habermas's schtick) we learn to create alternative social institutions in which *we* negotiate the rules through which we decide to live together. these are social practices that might, just might, present real alternatives to the colonizing logics of the market and state. this involves morality. the market encourages a morality of self-interest maximization. "let me keep my own and i will become, without ever thinking about it, my brother's keeper". the state encourages a morality of obedience to rules said to be in the service of the greater good: people who one does not know, but nonetheless depends on through vast intricate divisions of labor. (when that division of labor breaks down through strikes or disasters we realize just how much we need people all over the globe in order to enjoy modern conveniences) civil society, on the other hand, creates and is sustained by practices of reciprocity and we learn how to create, for ourselves, the rules by which we are to live together. (and this, i think, is what sam, brett, eric, i [and maybe angela] often are on about: where do people fit in? where do we, in this coming utopia, become part of the process of deciding how it is that we ought to organize our lives. which is why i think brett's parecon model is interesting but also problematic ] we might get involved for all the wrong reasons, too. moralistic, selfish, whatever. my students, for ex, talk about working with the special olympics simply because they wanted to put that work on their applications to college. however, in the process, they learned about a world they never would have known existed and that turns them into people who are much more sympathetic to the daily lives of the disabled. to bore frances to tears, i'll mention, yet again, the anti nuke dump protests. while people started out protesting from a NIMBY position, their involvement in that struggle put them in contact with people engaged in similar struggles all over the world: latino communities in texas, ukrainian communities, etc. rural whites were in contact with those from worlds that, from a distance, they could easily ignore and belittle. but the shared experience of capital/state oppression made them realize connections they would never have realized had they not gotten involved with. they can no longer take the view of observer and ignore and belittle. "those" people are no longer "those" people. as demonstrated by numerous social movement studies done on that community and others, these people went on to get involved in other environmental issues. issues they might never have cared about before. also, their NIMBY critique turned into a larger critique of, at first, the state and then of capitalism -- a critique of the capitalist economy that produced nuclear waste in the first place. a critique that recognized that it was power companies who were trying to shuffle the cost of doing business off onto taxpayers, who were make us pay for the disposal of waste. people also got involved n issues they might not have cared about were it not from direct involvement--involvement that they took up themselves for selfish, moralistic, pious reasons to begin with. this had real consequences when plant closings hit the communities. 1. they were much more cognizant of the rippling effects of the economy and much more concerned about the people in mexico who were the would be beneficiaries of the relocation. this, i would contend, is very likely a direct result of their political engagement in the anti nuke dump protests. 2. their active engagement in struggle meant that they felt a sense of efficacy--that they could accomplish something, that it was do-able. a decade of such struggle and involvement, in turn, meant that the last time a plant announced that it would be closing up shop, the workers walked out on the spot. just up and left. and, unlike earlier plant closing announcements, many more people spoke out against the practice. and many more people were on the side of the workers who were working for minimum wage in a plant that had promised all kinds of things to that community in order to get tax abatements: we tore down houses, an entire street, at county expense for that plant and they paid not one red cent in taxes. five years later, they packed up and left. a normally very docile community was radicalized by their involvement in alternative institutions in civil society. twenty years before, a community sat idly by with a "fuck us over we like it attitude" toward corporations. twenty years before, the town fathers posted a billboard on the highway that pretty much announced to the world that we liked getting fucked over. no more. not after the nuke dump protests. no more, not after the engagement in protests against the last plant closing. and those engagements in protest were made possible by civil society *and* by the work of people thinking about ways to strengthen civil society and to create public spheres of active, practical engagements with the struggles and wishes of the age. yes, that would be lousy shit fer brains social scientists, often involved because they needed the r.a. monies or the research experience or the publications or because they wanted to piously demonstrate their moralizing concern for the down trodden. whatever. they couldn't have lasted long in that project without being affected by it and without learning to see what it's like in another world-- a world of the rural working poor that they often disparaged. it was civil society that provided the foundation for the community's engagement in political practices to begin with. what were they? voluntary organizations that people often joined out of a sense of pious moralism: churches, little leagues, the grange, the ywca, book reading groups, women's league of voters, quilting circles, etc etc etc. how were they the backbone of a (comparatively) insurrectionary struggle against the state? these organizations provided the resource and practical infrastructure that enabled that protest to get off the ground in the first place. they provided a group of people who were used to donating their time for this or that project. people who were willing to do the shit grunt work, like typing letters, licking envelopes, making phone calls, digging up info. people who knew how to interact with people they didn't always get along with. people who brought you donuts and hot coffee when you were standing outside the county office building freezing your tail off waiting from some government official. while enrenreich ought to go further in advocating such an approach, she at least did hint that it wasn't enough to write a check out to an organization. perhaps doug couuld press her on this. nonetheless, i suspect from reading ehrenreich carefully over the years, she is coming from the above analysis of what it takes to make social movements work and why it is necessary to engage in and strengthen alternative social institutions and practices rather than denouncing them as insignificant. that may well be true in the long run. i don't know. but my hopelessly optimistic side, one nurtured by witnessing the transformation i witnessed above, makes me suspect it's worth a shot. ------------------- snitgrrRl.exe --repeat performance: This does not mean that we shall confront the world with new doctrinaire principles and proclaim: Here is the truth, on your knees before it...We shall not say: Abandon your struggles, they are mere folly; let us provide you with the true campaign-slogans. Instead we shall show the world why it is struggling.... carrol sez: >Hint: How do 10 million people, > not in communication with each other ^^^^^^^^ vewy vewy carefuwee? carrol, how the fuck can a slogan work if there's no communication whatsoever. are you stark raving? are you stark nekkid even? anyhoo, i'm in snitgrrRl.exe mode because i feel like max: just reposting the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over again. loop detect. ------begin paste------ well, i post again since ken lawrence made it clear that he didn't reject the early marx. marx certainly didn't call for slogans and banners, though i guess lenin did. well, i don't get the hero worship and necrophilia myself but hey it takes all kinds! but it seems to me that the passage below explains how engaging in both practical and theoretical debate is important and the reasons for doing so should be historically founded (based on the specificity of time and place, culture, etc) "For even though the question "where from?" presents no problems, the question "where to?" is a rich source of confusion.... [W]e wish to influence our contemporaries [earlier he notes the importance of recognizing particular historical exigencies within each country that critical theory must attend to and take seriously]...The problem is how best to achieve this. In this context there are two incontestable facts. Both religion and politics are matters of the first importance in contemporary Germany. Our task must be to latch onto these as they are and not to oppose them with any ready-made system such as the _Voyage en Icarie_. [...] Just as religion [by which marx means theory, philosophy] is the table of contents of the theoretical struggles of mankind, so the political state enumerates its practical struggles. Thus the particular form and nature of the political state contains all social struggles, needs and truths within itself. It is therefore anything but beneath its dignity to make even the most specialized political problem--such as the distinction between the representative system and the Estates system--into an object of its criticism. For this problem only expresses at the political level the distinction between the rule of man and the rule of private property. Hence the critic must concern himself with these political questions [which the crude socialists find beneath their dignity]. By demonstrating the superiority of the representative system over the Estates system he will interest a great party in practice. By raising the representative system from its political form to a general one...he will force this party to transcend itself--for its victory is also its defeat. Nothing prevents us...from taking sides in politics, i.e. from entering into real struggles and identifying ourselves with them. This does not mean that we shall confront the world with new doctrinaire principles and proclaim: Here is the truth, on your knees before it...We shall not say: Abandon your struggles, they are mere folly; let us provide you with the true campaign-slogans. Instead we shall show the world why it is struggling.... [...] Our programme must be: the reform not through dogmas but by analyzing mystical consciousness obscure to itself, whether it appear in religious or political form. It will then become plain that the world has long since dreamed of something of which it needs only to become conscious for it to possess it in reality. It will then become plain that our task is not to draw a sharp mental line between past and future but to complete the thought of the past. Lastly, it will become plain that mankind will not begin any new work, but will consciously bring about the completion of its old work. 1844, from Letters from the Franco-German Yearbooks--a reply to Ruge's claims about the futility of engaging in actually existing political struggles." --------expect repeat performance for dull and fuckwitted-------- -----------
http://CyberspaceCapital.org/CC-012.html <many links througout> CYBERSPACE CAPITAL Building the patterns of sustainable relations between individuals, unbounded by real time and place, "many-to-many" "anytime, anywhere" in virtual space. TRANSFORMATION OF GLOBAL CAPITAL: Breaking Free of Ideology in Cyberspace, Part II of II By Vigdor Schreibman PART II. A. Managing systems design With the support of key systems design methodologies, which are now available, it has been demonstrated that group action collocated face-to-face can be democratically disciplined. Networked communications, similar to communications face-to-face, can also be disciplined to create cyberspace capital, with the support of systems design methodologies. The "Delphi Survey," a well known systems design methodology used in structuring group communications with pen and paper, has also been adapted for a computer based process, as reported by M. Turoff and S.R. Hiltz. This has opened the opportunity to experiment with multiple group Delphis in a computer environment. However, while Delphi was originally used by some practitioners to build consensus between participants, this is not the purpose of Delphi, according to Turoff and Hiltz. Nominal Group Technique (NGT), is a key systems methodology used to build a structured workshop/meeting/process, including recognized consensus building capacity, usually facilitated by a "third party." NGT has been successfully used in the conduct of group meetings via Internet Relay Chat, described as an Electronic Town Hall (ETH) at various sites, August 1995, see also Use of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in Distributed Consensus Forming (PDF), as reported by Professor Billy Vaughn Koen of the University of Texas at Austin (also Dean, Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology, The Tokyo Institute of Technology). Electronic polling of the members of a group can be performed to aid the process of structuring priorities in collective thought and action using a variety of electronic voting systems. In addition, when richly facilitated, utilization of the Internet to create "asynchronous learning networks" (ALN), has confirmed that "collaborative learning approaches can make online learning at least as effective as the traditional classroom." However, not much of this activity is reported in the open literature, and the readily available opportunities for use of systems design methodologies for betterment of online dialogue by the general public are limited. The two key methods that might be most helpful to introduce the public to the benefits of systems design methods if better software tools to support broad participation were available in electronic format, include, Nominal Group Technique (NGT), and Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM). Another channel of innovation seeking to inject civil spirit into public works is an initiative of The Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS). This initiative has established broad electronic links to partner and affiliate civil institutions, which hope to develop resources and networks "to interactively disseminate new knowledge focused on sustaining, renewing, and improving the nation's infrastructure system." The specific goals of ICIS, which this writer was invited to consider at a forum held in Washington, DC, Aug 14, 2000, are "to integrate a broader range of perspectives and disciplines into infrastructure planning, engaging users and communities that host infrastructure services and facilities." Business consultants who serve Fortune 500 firms are also opening shop to earn the lucrative profit that can now be generated from "Virtual Teams" and "Collaborative Learning Networks," armed with an array of virtual collaboration software tools, and other strategies, such as collaborative study groups used extensively in large Japanese business firms. However, flexible business networks in virtual space, which are grounded in the pursuit of material gain in the global marketplace guided by the logic of reciprocity and the "morality of the marketplace," do not fit the success model of the Italian Emilia-Romagna community, which business network managers speak of emulating. The pursuit of material gain in a business network places one's primary interests in satisfying their own needs as a "private good," or conventional capital, whereas in the genuine civic society one seeks social capital as a "public good"! [Putnam, infra at 170-171]. In a well established civil society government and business function out of a wellspring of public trust and cooperation, which obviously does not come into play in a bare business network. The attempt to establish large business networks based on mutual trust and cooperation can most likely be expected to breakdown under its weak civil foundation of trust. One cannot capture the beneficial impact on business transactions of the trust and good will arising from a strong civil society, where social capital is lacking and without recognizing the social responsibilities upon which a genuine civil society is predicated. B. Breaking free of the laissez faire framework. John D. Rockefeller, Sr., described as "the fiercest Robber Baron," in Ron Chernow's biography, TITAN (1998), was among the first during the industrial revolution to realize that business success was not to be built upon the myth of competitive individualism but from the practical benefits of competent consensus building and cooperation between corporate managers. Id., at 153-154. So also Virtual Teams and Collaborative Learning Networks provide a viable strategy for sharing knowledge and skills between members of an industry group, which can add value and increase the profits of participants. Nevertheless, without a radical change in patterns of power sharing and moral relations between insiders and outsiders, rich and poor, natural capital and technological innovation such private collaborative networks and virtual teams will not improve responsible actions by government and big business; they will not remedy the growing crisis of social inequities; they will not prevent the continuing collapse of ecological integrity. These beneficial outcomes can only come from strong civil communities not mere business strategies. The backbone of the existing problem situation is supported by the nine million most educated families in the United States with incomes above $100,000 annually, who are known as "the establishment." Despite high praise by political leaders for the economic prosperity of "the establishment," the large majority of the American people who are on the middle and lower rungs of the economic ladder suffer from a profoundly unfair structure of political power., and an ever widening gap in income inequities in the United States, with admittedly rising levels of absolute poverty in the world. And these "afflictions of inequality" lead to unhealthy societies, which cannot be sustained. Well regarded scholars from a wide spectrum of viewpoints have verified this appalling condition over the past decade or more, see e.g., Isaac Shapiro and John Springer, The Not-Rich Are Getting Not Richer (Oct 2000), reprinted in Common Dreams News Center, from Los Angeles Times; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, The Widening Gap: Income Disparities in the 1990s (1999); George Soros, The Crisis of Global Capitalism (1998); James K. Galbraith, Created Unequal (1998); William Greider, One world, ready or not : the manic logic of global capitalism (1997); Edward Luttwak, The Real Masters of the Universe: Alan Greenspan and Other Dogmatic Bankers Keep Inflation Low and Pain High, in The Washington Post, Feb 2, 1997, at C1, col. 1; Kevin P. Phillips, Arrogant Capital (1994); Kevin P. Phillips, Boiling Point (1993); Kevin P. Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor (1990). Moreover, the situation is likely to get much worse before it can be turned around by any possible global countermovement. A 68-page report released by the CIA Monday, Dec 18, 2000, Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts, predicts that most of Africa, much of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South, Central and Southeast Asia, and South America, especially the Andean countries, "could well be left far behind the wealthier and more technologically advanced countries, led by the United States. (Globalization's) evolution will be rocky, marked by chronic financial volatility and a widening economic divide," according to the report which resulted from 18 months of consultations between the official intelligence community and non-governmental experts. C. Breaking free of ecological myopia. The most severe global ecological problems are now well beyond all professional debate: depletion of irreplaceable habitat and concomitant destruction of biological diversity; global deforestation; pollution and waste production; depletion through over-fishing of the shared seas and oceans; depletion of the Earth's ozone layer; depletion of arable lands; depletion of water resources viz., rivers, lakes and aquifers; depletion of fossil fuels; global warming; melting of polar ice caps and Antarctic ice shelves; unsustainable and increasing global population, fundamentally causing virtually all of these problems. The historical trend viewed with alarm for more than a century is inevitably leading toward a catastrophe of overpopulation, according to data provided by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, now on display in a Public Broadcasting series. Presumably, the great loss of human life expected from overpopulation will naturally fall most heavily upon the poorest developing nations and their predominant non white populations. There is also the expectation of massive biodiversity loss (see e.g., Habitat Loss, and Red List of Threatened Species), in which, at the lowest estimated rates, "about half of all species could be extinct within 100 years." This desperate situation is further exacerbated by the quibbling of the US Senate and Administration of US President George W. Bush, over implementation of the international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as the Kyoto Protocol. The decision by American political leaders guided by an ethic of unabashed greed shaped by narrow economic self-interest, was sharply condemned by the great weight of opinion by commentators and global leaders -- in religion, in science, in governments of other developed nations, and in global media reports by the US Information Service. At a White House news conference March 30, 2001, Mr. Bush defended his rejection of the climate treaty, "because it exempts many countries from compliance and would cause serious harm to the American economy," insisting that he would "place America's economic interests over diplomatic efforts to control climate change." A note of sympathy for the US position was also added by the US Information Service, reporting the observations of the Hong Kong daily: "plenty of lip service, but scant progress." The official defense of America's economic interests by rejection of the manifest global interest in the survival of the biosphere of the Planet Earth, is unsustainable. Jan Pronk, the Dutch environmental minister and chair of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 6, subsequently announced an agreement of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol that participating nations will sign on July 27, including 178 nations. The accord by delegates to an international climate summit in Bonn Germany, July 16-27, was described as a "watered down climate treaty" by environmental and public interest advocates, in a report July 26, 2001, by the Independent Media Center, Washington DC. A report on "American isolationism" published online by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 27, stated that "The United States was the only holdout" refusing to join the Bonn accord. The increasingly urgent struggle for survival of ecosystems in the biosphere of the Planet Earth, exacerbates the inequities and rigged structures of power in the world. Much of this also is the outcome of pathetically irresponsible pretense and failure of major leadership groups. On this conservative and liberal pundits can agree. The paradigm shift that one expects in a movement away from ecological myopia is quite simply, stuck in a rut. We are lacking a definition of a new paradigm principally because of a deep seated reluctance to name human overpopulation as the root cause of the ecological dilemma. Presently it is merely considered an ancillary afterthought. With this fundamental admission constructive action will begin. David Brooks wrote an amusing little book, BOBOS* in Paradise : The New Upper Class and How They Got There (2000). "BOBOS" means "Bourgeois Bohemians," and as Brooks explains, infra at pp. 61-70, radical changes in the behavior of the most educated American class have emerged by integration of the life styles of the Bourgeois and Bohemian, the historical roots of which began in the early 18th-century with the first glimmerings of the industrial age. BOBOS recognize a movement in thought away from laissez faire capitalism, but as Brooks reveals, these changes in life styles of wealthy Americans, are hilarious pretensions of sensitivity without serious commitment to civil and ecological responsibility. The dark side of unbridled capitalism in Africa, another global flash point, is portrayed by John le Carré in his new novel, The Constant Gardener (Scribner 2001). He sounds this alarm, "(I)t’s time educated men and women had some balls to speak out for truth instead of cringing in the shithouse like a bunch of craven cowards." Id., at 365. Though a work of fiction, in the Author’s Notes le Carré observes, "As my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realize that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard." Id. at 489, 490. Insight into the reasons for such paradoxical behavior is offered by Harvard Professor Chris Argyris, in his book, Reasoning, Learning, and Action 23, 191, 182-183 (1982). Argyris observed that in dealing with "hot issues" that are emotionally ladened and politically sensitive, "basic changes are unlikely ... unless someone can violate [existing] norms and rules with impunity." Moreover, Argyris writes, people are unable to produce transformative action, "even if they espouse it, wish to learn it, and practice it." The basic assumption in transformative action is that people require others to help them discover, invent, and especially produce new actions. It is not, for example, sufficient to help ... the client ... become aware of his counterproductive aggressive actions. It is important to help him alter those actions. But this will not occur overnight; it will require many experimental tries; it will depend on iterative learning. Hence, learning is not an individual activity. Double-loop learning [i.e. learning involving deeply seated values] especially requires the help of others and a particular facilitative organizational milieu. Such conditions confirm once again the essential role of civic organizations in the republican form of government. Responsible government and big business can be secured only by the constructive power of the main body of citizenship, as Mary Parker Follett observed early last century, by "the living democracy of a united, responsible people." Indeed, the wisdom of moving a "united, responsible people" into full democratic citizenship is now viewed as a pragmatic response to contemporary societal needs. Management guru Peter Drucker observes in Post-Capitalist Society: (T)he greatest contribution that the autonomous community organization makes is as a new center of citizenship. The Megastate has all but destroyed citizenship. To restore it, the post-capitalist polity needs a "third sector," ... It needs an autonomous social sector. Id. at 171. Clearly, voluntary action by "the establishment" alone cannot be expected to turn the existing situation toward democratic sustainability; rather, the possibilities for genuine transformation must also come from "the People" themselves. A massive buildup of cyberspace capital is needed to secure a rebirth of the core promose of America. Taking to the streets of major cities around the world, as reported by Independent Media Centers, ordinary citizens are demanding fundamental changes in the established order. However brutal the resistance by "the establishment" the world citizenry will not be turned aside. Responding to these formidable pressures, and evidencing an attempt to put life into the rhetoric of the "New Dreams and Promises" of global leadership institutions, work has begun in cooperation with the United Nations to: reduce global poverty; and unite the power of markets with the authority of universal ideals. The work of legitimate social transformation is not a process either of top-down command or bottom-up protest but may best be achieved by constructing a global network of "the People" in all desirable dimensions of professional training and perspective -- systems designers, sustems insiders, systems outsiders. All together "the People" may apply their creative abilities to adapt available or obtainable key systems design methodologies, which can most likely maximize the interdependent collective use of the networked communications process toward betterment of humankind. Back to PART I CYBERSPACE CAPITAL AND DEMOCRATIC SUSTAINABILITY VIA INTERNET Federal Information News Syndicate, Vigdor Schreibman, Editor & Publisher, 18 - 9th Street NE #206, On Capitol Hill, Washington, DC 20002-6042. Copyright 2001 FINS. Integrated Phone/Fax/Voice Mail: (202) 547-8715; Email: fins2000@mindspring.com Browse Fins Information Age Library at URL: http://sunsite.utk.edu/FINS/ Republication authorized for nonprofit use only, provided message is kept intact.