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

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Climate of Class Rule: Common(s)er Revolt or Common Ruin (another leftist dilletante argues that we need an "eco-socialist people’s revolution here on the planet itself."

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch. (Thanks go to an activist for alerting me to this article.)

I've long followed the writings of such people as Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, etc. Actually the longest was Alexander Cochburn, the co-founder of this website. (I've been thinking that it is past time that I added Paul Street to this list.) This list consists of people of the highly "educated" upper-middle class who have, on the one hand, written articles critical of the capitalist ruling classes, and on the other hand, pursued careers which served these ruling capitalist classes. I see them as severely compromised by the many benefits that they have enjoyed in their careers. 

Some have hidden behind leftist rhetoric of resistance to capitalist rule much like CounterPunch or The Nation; some like Chris Hedges (author of The Cancer of Occupy) late in their careers found their duties and/or their masters so distasteful that they could no long pursue such careers. Some like Alexander Cockburn were compromised by the riches of their inheritances from former ruling classes. I consider all of them as leftist dilettantes who write and speak in leftist rhetoric but have always refused to seriously engaged themselves in revolutionary activities against the capitalist ruling classes. In this article, I think that Street unintentionally offers such an illustration by describing an incident involving Douglas Ruskoff, another highly educated person who occasionally was critical of the ruling class:
In an essay bearing the suitably appropriate title “Survival of the Richest,” the leading academic “media theorist” and “digital economics” professor, lecturer, and documentarian Douglas Rushkoff tells of an invitation he accepted last year to “a super-deluxe private resort to deliver a keynote speech to what I assumed would be a hundred or so investment bankers. It was,” Rushkoff writes. “by far the largest fee I had ever been offered for a talk — about half my annual professor’s salary — all to deliver some insight on the subject of ‘the future of technology.’”
Notice that Rushkoff had no difficulty accepting such a rewarding invitation; and even though he felt deceived to what the rich were requiring of him, he continued to offer his expertise in order to keep the generous fee.

I began to reflect on all these do-gooder, pretentious leftists and my experiences with them. I remembered how the sociology material we were given in the "higher educational" institution I attended in the early 1960s always portrayed the working class as inclined to authoritarianism (fascism) and motivated by short-term goals--hence, they were disparaged. Weren't Rushkoff's experience and that of most all of the other well-educated well-trained academics illustrations of people being motivated by short-term rewards? And I remember that when Bill Moyer asked Chris Hedges about an apparent contradiction in the latter's life (see segment from 41:20m to 43:30m in this interview), Hedges fumbled around to concoct a self-justifying explanation.

I've concluded that we should not take these compromised people seriously because in the end they will always be loyal to the ruling class that sustains them in a relatively luxurious lifestyle. Likewise, no serious revolutionary organization should ever let such people take leadership roles.