February 13, 2007

Party Like It's 1934!

In a few recent posts (see here and here), I've indicated that significant changes in the ways our governing class conducts its business (primarily in foreign policy, although the same is true in many other areas) will never occur absent significant, continuing public protest, probably including civil disobedience. A number of people have written asking if I have specific ideas about possible action. Yes, I do, and I'll be writing about them soon. (I'm referring here to changes with regard to specific policies, such as the war in Iraq or a possible attack on Iran. More general changes will occur only over a period of decades, and will result from many additional factors. Much of this involves difficult and complex issues, and I'll be offering further thoughts about these subjects soon.)

However, please let it be noted -- and I underscore this at least five times -- that the following is NOT AT ALL what I had in mind. In a post with the most tragically, ludicrously lamentable title in perhaps the entire history of blogging, "Why Movements Move Me" (words fail), Chris "They Call Me Mr., Although Commandant Might Do" Bowers writes:
Throughout most of my life, I have been enamored by the idea of movements and revolutions. ... History has always been a favorite hobby of mine, and my favorite topics are invariably revolutions: American, French, Russian, Irish, Indian, Cuban, Eastern European--you name it. Also, no matter how many presidential candidates, members of congress, Democratic Party leaders, or other national figures I meet and talk with, my favorite moments in political campaigns are always large rallies (preferably those organized by volunteers, or those convened to celebrate an electoral victory). I want to be there at the moment when history happens, when the world changes, when consciousness shifts, and when the people rise up and throw off the shackles of the elite, the status quo, and the comfortable. I have wanted that for a long time. Before that happens, I want to be an active member of the small clique, coterie or circle that identified the possibility for massive change and precipitated its manifestation. Whether it is a revolution of the sort Ben Franklin or Tristan Tzara would identify, I want in. As William Wordsworth wrote in The Prelude about witnessing the world change up close during the French Revolution "bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven." Man, do I ever envy young Wordsworth. I want working for a candidate to give me a taste of the revolutionary feeling for which I long, and I want my regular job to do the same thing. For a long time, artistic and intellectual endeavors provided me with that spark, but when they ceased doing so I moved onto a career where that feeling was quickly re-establishing itself: online progressive activism. If I am willing to upend my entire life to search for that feeling, the least I should expect from the candidates I support most fervently is that working for them will allow me to sense it.
It is impossible to say what aspect of this is most sickening: its monumental historical ignorance (and history is "a favorite hobby"!), its maudlin, cheap sentimentality, the hackneyed phrases and ideas, or any number of other elements. But this is probably the worst:
I want to be an active member of the small clique, coterie or circle that identified the possibility for massive change and precipitated its manifestation.
And there is the naked admission of the primitive, deadly desire that runs throughout Bowers' pathetic essay: the desire of the person who longs for power over other human beings. You may rest assured that, after "the people rise up and throw off the shackles of the elite" (save me, dear God: "shackles of the elite"), Bowers will be a key member of the new "small clique, coterie or circle" that calls the shots. He'll also help determine, with immense enthusiasm I'm sure, just who is sufficiently "loyal" to the new order -- and who isn't. And you aren't going to throw off his shackles -- for his are good shackles.

I have to say this is one of the most shocking blog entries I've read in the last several years. Given the nauseating content that we all come across daily, that's saying a lot. Either Bowers has absolutely no idea what he's revealed here -- or he knows perfectly well, and also knows that no one who "matters" will identify its true nature and call him on this kind of violent and lethal bullshit.

Also see Patrick Nielsen Hayden who has more, and IOZ, who has lots more.

In the latest part of my Dominion Over the World series, I offered some serious criticisms of the liberal-progressive "netroots"; I don't think I'm giving anything away to say more in that vein will be coming in the near future. In that connection, and despite the fact that I now feel I need to take several showers, I sincerely want and hope to see more posts like Bowers'. Whenever "leaders" of the progressive "netroots" let the mask slip this way, it makes my work that much easier.

And like, dude, 1934 was a totally awesome year!