Snowball

NOTE: This is an archived site. EVERYTHING here is very dated. Articles — all — are written now and then for highly select readers, for particular purposes. Not knowing proper context can be puzzling or misleading, even off-putting. So… please not read anything here which has not been recommended to you. What’s below is UNEDITED. This is written primarily for the Contributors listed on KPFA’s APEX site. For Governor Chang, Governor Choi, Governor Choy, Governor Jagbandhansingh, Governor Lozada, Governor Kaloy… it doesn’t matter. If anyone on that end can get it sufficiently (from this piece) to take the initiative to set up a rendezvous, we’ll have a shot at creating a watershed in history. Again, this is UNEDITED.

Snowball
by Ox and K.S.

Special note regarding serendipity: Tonight (26 November, 2011) — after completing this article — my partner told me a story about a frozen Christmas treat from her youth, a delicious dessert with shavings of coconut flakes… like snowflakes. It was apparently popular in the early 60s in San Francisco, delivered to households by the Foremost Man. She mused that it must have pagan or solstice-connected origins. See what it was called.

It was in a snowstorm in a dream that my recent reading of http://www.zcommunications.org/rank-and-file-slate-takes-over-giant-ca lifornia-campus-local-by-marie-choi came back to me, and Gina Hotta and Derrick Jensen beckoned to me… to take some steps against the daunting weather.

In May, 1812 Turner’s Snowstorm: Hannibal’s Crossing the Alps went on exhibit for the first time. Some of the swirling turmoil and rolling rebellion that was affecting Britain at that time — courtesy of the (today, much maligned and misunderstood) Luddites — can be seen in the painting. See http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=14750, heartbeats permitting.

Almost every historian of the period agrees that if there was ever going to be a revolution in Britain, it would have been at that time, somewhere within the fifteen-month period of turbulance which took place November, 1811-January, 1813.

There was:

a. a prime minister slain;
b. distress across the land;
c. crop failures four years in a row;
d. overseas trade and industrial production almost at a standstill;
e. soldiers and resources siphoned off to a ceaseless war on the Continent;
f. an obdurate government heedless of any means of redressing grievances;
g. a lawless insurrection into its seventh month destroying machines and their owners alike;
h. and a military police force unable to restore order in the industrial heartland.

“Then, if ever,” wrote historian F.O. Darvall (not one to overstretch such a case!), “a revolutionary attempt would have had a good chance at success.”

In nineteenth-century England then there were not only grounds for revolution, there were hopes for improvement only in revolution. And just as important, there were chances for the success of revolution.

For many reasons — many of which I would like to discuss with the reader in person — it did not happen. And many of those reasons are germane to my notion that the Occupy Movement — as it is presently configured, with its present agenda — will not produce the institutional changes which are at the very core of its spine, fundamental to its primary priorities long term.

But all of those negatives could be turned around virtually overnight. And the fight for institutional change could be kept from descending into simply being a fighting of the good fight. Which is what is going on in virtually all of the well-intentioned, experienced, passionate little alternative corners where very atomized groups and individuals are each doing their own good thing in lieu of taking any action whatsoever on a macroscopic scale together; the only solidarity across these lines comes to some degree on relatively rare occasions — like on a March on Washington along traditional lines — but these intermittent gatherings come and go without making any significant dent in our horrid momentum.

The present OCCUPY groups are not slated to stir up anything long or short term that will lead to sufficiently meaningful institutional change. The current conditions for the revolutionary changes that the OCCUPY people cry for are less conducive — much less conducive — to radical transformation than what the 19th-century followers of General Ludd had going for them. The conditions for much of the populace are arguably as bad (though not nearly for as much as 99%), and the condition of our biosphere/Mother Earth is certainly worse locally and globally, BUT… the conditions for revolution of any kind are much less impressive, to say the least, by any standards.

It is the rare sympathetic commentator acknowledging that basic, all-important fact. And it is the vast majority of alternative writers misleading readers regarding the potential of OCCUPY, most pumping up self-congratulatory sentiments to the point of being victims of Ostrich Syndrome. [Heads in the sand, happy to have coverage of any kind to any degree, thrilled to be able to vent in the public spotlight on an ongoing basis from a new angle, oblivious to the history of similar efforts, ignorant of begged for analogies. Content to plant seeds, to follow a politically correct process... as they process their imaginations to death, following obsolete, unnecessary parameters laid out by the powers that be.] My God! Why is it so very difficult for so very many to see that the old model of suffering, including massive arrests and massive concussions are not necessary — should be avoided! — in trying to traumatize state-supported one-percenters? That question posed, this is not to say that OCCUPY has no value. Rather it has great value, BUT BUT BUT… it must be tweaked, and transformed more quickly than its General Assemblies will allow as presently configured.

The Labor Movement — the subject of Choi’s article — is one of many groups which can be a point of departure for my main point here. The Second Industrial Revolution has kicked in for quite awhile now, courtesy of cybernetics, and no group, including labor, can — if they are in their right mind — be happy about their progress or their prospects for progress. For progress today and for the forseeable future, as things stand, means more and more power to machines and less advances to labor, guarantees, in fact, our demise.

Worsening conditions for everyone on earth, and dire consequences for one and all… even if workers on UC campuses secure their desired wages, benefits and (understandable) on-the-job safety-related demands is clearly not the way to go, and yet virtually all union foci ignores that Big Picture. Talk to any worker involved in necessary union activity, any union official and I”ll wager you won’t hear a word about our horrid environmental momentum, if you ask what major issues concern them. Ditto for too many participants in the present OCCUPY realm who are focusing on economics… in a narrow sense.

This does NOT pertain exclusively to labor or people primarily focused on Wall Street rip-offs. It is true for the vast majority of left-of-center activism. And when you look into the environmentally-centered groups and individuals doing good work in their little isolated corners… as mentioned before, there is a virtually zero profile when it comes to connecting with like-minded citizens in other corners. In short, there is no solidarity that is going to culminate in our collectively making life on Mother Earth worth living for.

I have a plan for action which follows a new paradigm which would address all of the above*. As per my recent dream it is focused on the folks at http://apexexpress.wordpress.com/contributors/, but it could just as easily spotlight the people of El Teatro Campesino or Cutting Ball Theatre (as per previous posts). Or any one of a great number of others who I have attempted contact with during the last several years in various realms.

*http://oxtogrind.org/archive/892 [This link is dated, and it was written for a very specific group for purposes which have passed... but, still, it provides a decent introduction of sorts under the Features section.]

Chellis Glendinning, in her “Notes Toward a Neo-Luddite manifesto,” says:

“Like the early Luddites, we too are a desperate people seeking to protect the livelihoods, communities, and families we love, which lie on the verge of destruction.” She cares deeply about other species, natural systems, the environment too, and in addressing effective resistance to our Big Picture destruction she adds that necessary action “requires not just regulating or eliminating individual items like pesticides or nuclear weapons” but “new ways of thinking” and “the creation of a new worldview.”

On that count, she set out three basic principles of neo-Luddism. I can provide them for interested parties upon request, but I am not going to take the heartbeats to delineate them here and now to simply have the satisfaction of rounding out an article. The coda can wait. For we are documenting and justifying and delineating ourselves to death, and my obligation at this very moment is to find other souls with whom the basic message above resonates. To take action that out-Hannibals Hannibal.

There is a snowstorm raging, and I urge readers to not follow any Hannibal in a blizzard of self-righteous activity… which is the order of the day. I pray that the reader will see that their little corner crevice is not enough, and that there is nothing else on the horizon for consideration. That my little snowball here — thrown in the face as we face oblivion — will intrigue the reader enough to contact me ASAP. For a discussion of anti-Empire details in private… which is where/how plans must be laid among a core group of people without elephants.

The thought that discussion in General Assemblies is the primary way to go (with the powers that be capable of taking in every word) is tantamount to believing that Hannibal would have done well to announce his trek across the Alps in advance to Roman forces.

Richard at aptosnews@gmail.com