We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Occupy the Party: the Sanders campaign as a site of struggle

Click here to access article by Not An Alternative for ROAR. ("Not An Alternative", according to ROAR, "is a Brooklyn-based arts, politics and theory collective with a mission to affect popular understandings of events, symbols, institutions and history.")

I am increasingly skeptical about the new version of ROAR which seems to be transitioning from what was a low budget operation that featured original, incisive left thinking into one which has a slick magazine format, and features article from left sources that seem to be increasingly sophomoric and insipid in their content. Perhaps this trend has something to do with having been taken over by a Dutch based "equity fund", a capitalist form. 

Notice, too, that they seemed to have dropped any reference to the original title which was Reflections on a Revolution. They no longer permit comments from their readers following the articles they run online. And, finally, they are introducing articles like this which play into the Democratic Party's strategy to use Bernie Sanders to lure back into the Democratic Party the next "hopey-changey" generation of youngsters in the expectation that at least some of them will vote for the ruling class's selected candidate--and it will not be Sanders. 

Although Sanders could serve the Empire in their foreign policies as well as anyone, he would be vigorously opposed by nation-based capitalists and thus could not be the party's candidate. Because Sanders has such a long record of advocating liberal type policies (supports unions and good on social equity issues), it would be even more of a challenge than Obama was for the ruling class directors to transform this candidate into one that serves narrow capitalist interests. 

I'm reluctantly seeing in this online magazine a trend which illustrates what I have so often seen before: a truly revolutionary media source that is being intentionally corrupted by the lure of money and jobs to leftists with the goal to contain and tame them. This ploy is one which slowly transitions an organization or publication from a medium offering truly revolutionary thinkers into one that increasingly posts articles from liberals. It is a strategy of co-optation.

I am not impressed with the thesis of this essay which essentially advocates the infiltration of the Democratic Party (dressed up in the latest left rhetoric--"occupy") in order to take it over and serve the interests of working people. This has always been a wet-dream of social democrats, and has always proved illusive and ultimately subversive of any progressive change.

I did a little searching for information about Not An Alternative, and found that it appears to be a spin-off of Eyebeam which is a non-profit arts organization in New York that is well integrated into New York's liberal arts establishment. As such Eyebeam lists accolades from similar sources: Huffington Post, Observer, and the NY Times.

So is ROAR a new and improved version of Reflections on a Revolution or merely a tame, subverted form? Well, I think currently it is both what it was before and what it will be in the future. So in the near future I may very well be re-posting articles from it; but if I am right, you will see it gradually deteriorate into liberal pablum and I will be increasingly ignoring it.

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