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Grassroots activist, feminist, sociologist, poop talk pro, future foster mom, travel whore, thrift store junky, music and food consumer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reform or REVOLUTION???

A memo dated August 23, 1971 and authored by Lewis F. Powell, Jr was sent to the then chair of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr. Powell went on to become a Supreme Court judge and the world that was "changing" so far to the left reversed and did a 180 to the right. Of course, one has to always insert things like "One cannot be completely sure..." or "One cannot show a direct causal relationship...", but regardless of how much the elite are willing to admit the impact this memo had on what became the future, any analysis of this memo has to call it what it is: a plan for business elites to follow.

This memo dates back almost 43 years!!! The amount of time it took the left to come up with a corresponding agenda....*tic toc, tic toc*...The left tend to gear toward a democratic operation of sorts, in which consensus voting is highly regarded. However, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) illustrated how that model is an epic fail for orgs of a larger capacity.This democratic stance tends to prevent a maximized productivity (Did I just use business language?). A maximized productivity requires specifics, but one of the things criticized in the Neoliberal model used by conservatives is their insistence that every problem has a technological solution, which means a prescription by an objective and rational neoliberalist can solve any problem. Aw yes, when describing the other, you are describing yourself. Point: Neoliberalists have a solution for everything, and that solution is the same regardless of demographics and geography. However, those opposed to Neoliberalism --- Socialists, Commies, etc --- believe in local solutions. So leftists avoid agendas that incorporate specific solutions to overcoming Neoliberal ideologies. The majority of leftist agendas will not contain specific mechanisms meant for everyone to engage in.

I wish it were so easy as to go back to the 60s and do all the things that pissed off Powell and his buddies in the first place, but since the elite have used Neoliberalism to reconstitute their power, most of the  venues have been closed off, closely guarded, left political liberalists too afraid to fight back, or slowed innovation in social movement tactical innovation. In fact, Powell's memo could be summed up in 3 words: BUSINESS IS GOD.  Even still, I found myself pondering the change I would like to see and, well...I didn't consider how my training in "rationality" is why I was thinking in terms of "a" solution for the world.

The biggest problem I ran into in trying to develop feasible alternatives to Neoliberalism was acknowledging the difference between ideals and practice. For a world to exist without inequalities of any kind, all of the adults would need to be massively slaughtered, characteristics of greed and selfishness would have to be eliminated via self-destruction, and a new planet untouched by Capitalism/(Neo)Colonialism would be required. I started with the question: Most people are moderates and prefer a dialogue based on reform, but should we be talking revolution? By definition, Capitalism does not result in wealth or increased wealth for everybody. Polanyi already wrote a book about this and theorists have followed suit and compiled articles and books about how the State has to be involved with the "market" to protect against the pitfalls of Capitalism. But then economic liberalism injected heroin in its veins and transformed into Neoliberalism, and the rest is history. Laws have been changed to support Neoliberalism, governments have been cuffed to it, the IMF, World Bank, and WTO are its demon spawns and the bulk of the people of this world get the pitfalls of Capitalism in continuously interesting ways: GMOs, microfinancing, genocide, too big to fail transnational corporations, Monsanto being declared as above the law, and austerity measures that would shock the devil himself.

When coming up with alternatives one has to also think about repression. For example, if a local community tries to survive outside of the economic and political structure they could easily be framed as a cult. Local solutions are difficult to generate when any conduct outside of the structure is considered a threat to the structure. Bauman has pointed out in nearly all of his writings that waste is inherent in design. There is no "perfect" solution to  Capitalism, Neoliberalism, Neocolonialism, and Globalization. By perfect, I mean that any "solution" will include a deficit of some kind or another. At least local solutions means that the people being affected can choose how they're affected.

Criticism of the left: Why are you playing defense instead of offense?

Reply to critics: If this analogy is to be used, then the critic using it should know that only one team can play offense at a time. And when the game has been bought out or rigged in the other teams favor, there are no (objective) referees to keep the playing field fair. All calls are made in favor of the offense. How does one win a game in which the adversary makes all of the rules?

Offense: Business elites
Defense: Political liberals
Referees: Government/The State

So back to that question about whether we should be talking revolution or reform... 


  1. nothin's after attrition. It's the natural pace of change, and works in the favor of those that control the narrative of succesive generations. "If you want to defeat your enemy bring up his children"

  2. Perhaps you should explain what "you" mean by attrition...

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