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, November 19, 2014

The One Party Planet: an analysis of the world today

Click here to access article by James Wan from Reflections on a Revolution. (At 1 PM and then at 5:15pm (Seattle time) I did some significant editing. I was unusually distracted today by personal affairs.)

This article is essentially an introduction to a 60 page pamphlet entitled "The One Party Planet" published by an activist organization called The Rules. The latter organization sponsoring it proclaim this as their mission: 
The Rules is a global movement to bring power back to people, and change the rules that create inequality and poverty around the world.
Wan's introduction whetted my radical appetite to read the pamphlet. He writes:
From American CEOs to Chinese party officials, and from African presidents to Russian oligarchs, there is an overwhelming consensus that unrestrained selfish competition is not only the best, but the only possible, way to organize society. This is not a conspiracy concocted in dark smoky rooms, and the individuals at the top don’t share some grand master plan. But the internal logic of their actions is one and the same, and this has contributed, the pamphlet argues, to a situation in which an unelected elite wield incredible influence over politics and inequality has reached outlandish levels.

In response to this, The One Party Planet culminates in a carefully argued call for a global uprising.
This "hook" grabbed my attention which motivated me to read the pamphlet.

I read and partly skimmed the pamphlet which purported to examine the system identified at various times as neoliberalism and capitalism. Unfortunately, the pamphlet is in a JPEG image format so I can't cut and paste various excerpts to illustrate my points. 

The reader is greeted with a huge smiley on the first page, and then it begins with remarks about the value of pamphlets,  how they have a glorious history having been used in many great revolutions. Following this, it launches into a discussion about some philosophical aspects of truth, some general observations about the immorality of neoliberalism, how the system rewards psychopathy, and lots of data about inequality of wealth and power. It also addresses the issue of climate change. They make clear that they are not proposing a conspiracy theory for all the problems in today's world, instead they argue that the problems are a result of the logic of the system. This appealed to me.

After reading this lengthy pitch, I was a bit disappointed that I didn't find much about the fundamental dynamics of capitalism, most especially the capitalist construct of economic property ownership by individuals and anything to do with the labor theory of value. It was all rather tame intellectually, while being heavy on the immorality of neoliberalism. I certainly wasn't aroused enough to go out and start a "global uprising". I began to think that I was being too cynical.

Then I perused The Rules website, and at the bottom of their Movement page I found the source of their funding: Purpose, the New Venture Fund, The Open Society Foundations, and crowdfunding. The Purpose Foundation looked very mainstream to me, the New Venture Fund was listed on Tides which is sort of a clearing house for numerous charities. Rich people and corporations give to Tides which in turn doles out money to various charities and non-profits. The Open Society Foundations is a creation of super-capitalist George Soros who is widely known to have been a sponsor of the "color revolutions".
As several former Soviet republics slowly 'opened' their societies, Western-funded NGOs and civil society organizations flooded in, with powerful financial backers. Over the course of years, funding, training, organizational support, technical and material support was provided for a number of organizations and political groups that helped overthrow regimes in Georgia (2003), the Ukraine (2004), and Kyrgyzstan (2005). Not only were there government funded NGOs involved, but also private foundations, such as billionaire George Soros' Open Society Institute.
While reading the pamphlet, I was experiencing the uncomfortable feeling that I was being seduced. Now, I don't mind being seduced if it leads to an exciting erotic experience, but I do object to being intellectually manipulated. This information about funding increased my suspicions that The Rules organization's main purpose is to guide radical students on US campuses toward "constructive" action projects that will not seriously interfere with capitalist rule, and possibly to keep an eye on such students. Could it be that Soros and establishment-funded people like Gene Sharp (see this, this, this, this, and this) are using their skills to contain effective radical political actions of US students? Am I being too cynical and suspicious? 

Since writing this commentary, I now find another article about this pamphlet posted on Common Dreams and re-posted on Raging Bull-Shit.