Sunday, December 18, 2005


Arvin and Spartacus

July 13, 2005

Spartacus O'Neal:

Let's face it, liberals live a sheltered life. Maybe not in Texas. Still, anyone who still thinks they can reason or negotiate with the right-wing in the US has a lot better drugs than we do. I mean, even when they finally see the light on the Far Right fascists, they for some reason maintain that the US is a functional state having a few technical difficulties. Can you imagine trying to explain to Iraqi university students how American liberals think? Bound to raise a few eyebrows.

Arvin Hill:

Liberals, I'm convinced, are pathetically slow learners, especially in matters of the human condition. Conservatives are, too, but their ideology depends on ignorance, so it's to be expected. Despite all evidence to the contrary, we're gonna cling to our obsolete notions of citizenship like poison ivy on a live oak. They're comfortable, romantic and thoroughly ingrained ideas, and we're loathe to consider alternate possibilities, good or bad. The pressure of conformity is so great, it's nothing short of invisible. That must surely be a hallmark of all propaganda states.

July 12, 2005

Spartacus O'Neal:

Walter Karp lays it out in his book Indispensable Enemies, but for those averse to libraries, his thesis is your's: the two parties in America are part of a system of elitist collusion against the interests of both the American people and self-governance throughout the world. The evidence is all there staring us in the face: from the Vietnam War to Iran-Contra to NAFTA and Iraq; the US citizenry have always been considered the enemy of the ruling elites. Read Howard Zinn; read the Congressional record; use mind-altering substances; try mucking with the system. We can begin the process of preparing ourselves for governing, or we can continue believing in fairytales.

July 9, 2005

Spartacus O'Neal:

It's interesting that people have developed so many self-imposed psychological barriers to involvement in public affairs. No one does it right the first time, unless they're lucky. But they have a lot better chance at learning from their mistakes than those who don't try do from books. Thinking shouldn't be a barrier to action, but rather a guide.

Your comix fan is a good example. I never worried what people did for a living if they showed up, helped out, and tried to avoid doing something stupid. Fact is, we kicked ass on the racists and militias with a handful of amateurs who were determined to put these people out of public office and in jail where they belonged. You might enjoy the occupational mix of our motley crew: Myself, I was a carpenter; another was a landscaper; followed by a farmer's wife, a dentist's wife, a retired naval commander's wife, a banker's wife, a former nun, a furniture salesman, a realtor, a sewer engineer, and a Goodwill drop box rag-picker, who, by the way, was the smartest of the bunch.

July 8, 2005

Spartacus O'Neal:

Loved the "moo-cow demonstrations" phrase. But that's what the socialists over at ANSWER have come up with, again. Sometimes I feel like we're trying to show a bunch of cows how to do politics, when all they want is their udders yanked.

Hard to tell who's reading this stuff and what, if anything, they think about it. Once in awhile I get an e-mail from someone who says they really dig my blog and appreciate all my work, but they never comment. I wonder how many consumers versus participants there are out there. It's what they've been trained to do, I know, but I kinda hoped they'd feel encouraged to join in more.

I did a little looking around and couldn't find any blog network or sites focused on the practicalities of social change. Not one. Maybe there's no market for it. There's certainly no career in it. I also liked Black Commentator, though I don't agree with their view that Black Power will rise again to lead a liberation movement in the US. Too co-opted. Only the Indians retain a religiously-based firm commitment to values opposed to those of the mainstream establishment. I expect that's why we're seeing such animosity toward them at present.

July 7, 2005

Spartacus O'Neal:

People and cultures with short attention spans and little understanding of history tend to want instant gratification (i.e. change) in the form of legislative or electoral or judicial fiat that clears away the rubble of complex and complicated conflict. But, as you note, it doesn't happen that way. Others, out of genuine frustration I suppose, want to avoid all institutional processes and just take it to the streets where they can acquire quick credentials in the form of rubber bullet pelts and baton bruises.

But social movements are not synonymous with a series of politically-motivated street festivals--although that can be one way of expressing solidarity--but rather a critical mass of social support for values internalized as a result of thoughtful consideration. I write more on this in the Research link in your sidebar, so I won't repeat myself, but suffice to say that movements are methodically constructed, and, like buildings, are susceptible to failure if based on a shaky foundation.

In the Recommended Reading link of my sidebar found in the Curricula section, there are two books your readers might want to look at: People Power Change by Luther Gerlach (a formal academic work), and Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (a more popular approach to social education) to get a sense of what is meant by my assertion that a society must be prepared for mobilization--through research, education, and organizing--prior to taking action, if they want to succeed in claiming power. (A shorter, sort of condensation of my Research report is the presentation I made at a peace conference titled Models of Engagement, also found in my sidebar, and elaborated on in my book Salvaging Democracy, which I intend to republish soon under the title War of Ideas.)

While the urgency of our many grievances often compels us to act without thought, we would do well to learn from the example of indigenous peoples who have struggled for centuries to maintain their authentic cultures and philosophies while preparing their youth--through education--to continue the ongoing effort at communicating their rights and values in opposition to the overwhelming force of nation-states.

As a movement encompassing some five hundred plus years, they have learned a thing or two about change. Not to belittle the spiritual growth that has taken place in the Euro-American counter-culture over the past decades, but we now need to discipline our hearts with strong minds, minds strengthened by studious application--not slogans.


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