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Sun Dec 7, 2014, 04:31 PM

Reprise from 2011: Capitalism is dead. But how many of us is it gonna take with it? Look to OWS

I've seen nothing to dissuade me from the ideas I expressed here back in 2011:


The world economy as currently structured requires growth to sustain it. Capitalism has the same ethics as a cancer, and will just as surely kill its host if left unchecked. The host, of course, is the biosphere.

The species does NOT need growth to sustain it--either in population or in "productivity."

What we need is workable population control and a functional distribution system that ensures everyone has enough so they may live happy, self-fulfilling lives. If we have less attachment to useless, throwaway material possessions, we need to work less. If we have machines that absorb the work of production, then a major portion of the proceeds of that production ought to go to the people.

There is a path to a world in which everyone has the basics such as food, shelter, education and peace. People would not have to work as hard in this world. Everyone would have the time and opportunity to flourish as fully-functional humans. We just need wisdom to get there.

Unfortunately, the wise and fair-minded do not generally rise to power in this system, and perhaps not in any other.

The American Revolution was an attempt to build a more foolproof hierarchical system, based on a division of powers among 3 branches, those 3 branches themselves basing their authority on the consent of the governed.

But almost from the outset, the rich and powerful interests captured portions of the government and bent them to their own narrow purposes. Andrew Jackson & the smallpox blankets. Using cops & Guardsmen to bust strikes. Make up your own list. The point is that by now, the corruption is virtually complete.

So how can you build an incorruptible hierarchical system, one that is impervious to the toxic effects of money? The more I think about it, the more convinced become that you can't build such a system.

When I was a state employee, I used to say that the state's organizational chart consisted of a pyramid of boxes with names in them, each connected to the boxes below it by diodes. The system was designed to pass orders downward from the top, but not to allow any signals to arise into the system from below. It was a classic hierarchy. Shut up & do what you're told.

Nowhere was this hierarchical unidirectionality of communication made more clear than in the old Soviet Union. Right after the revolution, Lenin was faced with decisions about how to modernize his new nation in a hurry to elevate it from its quasi-feudal state. He thought about putting in a national telephone system. But he scrapped this plan. Instead, he wired the major cities for networks of loudspeakers--the ultimate one-way communication device.

Now, contrast any such hierarchical system with the system in place at an OWS General Assembly. In the GA, someone speaks and everybody gives immediate feedback on how they feel about what the speaker is saying.

Then there is the Human Mike. The "mic check" phenomenon is a very interesting one. One person's message is passed on to the crowd through the concerted, self-coordinated actions of those crowd members nearest the speaker. The speaker must have the consent of his "microphone" if he is to be heard. That's sure a bit different than Moscow, 1923. It's also different from any previous protest action in America. In the past, there were always defined leaders, whether Tom Hayden or MLK. Not this time. The power is distributed very differently.

The major difference between previous social actions and the present worldwide upheaval is the nearly universal access to the new social media. The 1% have their broadcast media, just as Lenin had his loudspeakers, and they have gotten very sophisticated in using these tools to shape public opinion. Classically, the public has had little capacity to respond. Oh, you could write a letter or make a phone call, but in general the public was limited to one-to-one communications, while the Mighty had one-to-many communication capability.

But the transpersonal environment is now very different than it has been at any time in the past. Each person has one-to-many capabilities. For example, I'm writing this in hopes that many more than one of my fellow-travelers will read it, and each of them will have the power to respond in kind, i.e. with one-to-many capabilities.

One way of looking at the massive one-to-many linkages among maybe 1 billion of us is that we have created a feedback mechanism unlike anything the world has yet seen. We are escaping the information filters that have always been imposed on us. We are making direct contact with each other around the world and sharing hour common humanity and our common concerns.

Learning occurs in the presence of feedback. Instant learning occurs in the presence of instant feedback. Learning means adaptability, constant change, constant updating of the information banks. No hierarchical system can coordinate an action as swift and graceful as a leaderless flock of birds suddenly executing a change in direction.

This is why I look to leaderless organizations such as OWS as experimental workshops for developing the new society.

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Reprise from 2011: Capitalism is dead. But how many of us is it gonna take with it? Look to OWS (Original post)
Jackpine Radical Dec 2014 OP
RKP5637 Dec 2014 #1
Jackpine Radical Dec 2014 #2
RKP5637 Dec 2014 #4
Jackpine Radical Dec 2014 #10
moondust Dec 2014 #3
RKP5637 Dec 2014 #6
moondust Dec 2014 #7
RKP5637 Dec 2014 #9
Albertoo Dec 2014 #5
sabrina 1 Dec 2014 #8
Scuba Dec 2014 #11
Jackpine Radical Dec 2014 #13
Leopolds Ghost Dec 2014 #12
ellenrr Dec 2014 #16
Leopolds Ghost Dec 2014 #19
ellenrr Dec 2014 #27
Leopolds Ghost Dec 2014 #28
ellenrr Dec 2014 #30
woo me with science Dec 2014 #14
randome Dec 2014 #15
ellenrr Dec 2014 #17
The2ndWheel Dec 2014 #18
Rex Dec 2014 #20
Jackpine Radical Dec 2014 #21
Rex Dec 2014 #22
The2ndWheel Dec 2014 #23
Leopolds Ghost Dec 2014 #29
Rex Dec 2014 #31
woo me with science Dec 2014 #24
woo me with science Dec 2014 #25
Kalidurga Dec 2014 #26

Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 04:38 PM

1. It could sway the collective consciousness of the nation to recognize what is going on in this

nation and how drastically it has changed from the schoolbooks over the years. "No hierarchical system can coordinate an action as swift and graceful as a leaderless flock of birds suddenly executing a change in direction." I had hoped this would have occurred in 2014, but got thrown a curve ball. Hopefully, 2016 will be better.


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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 05:03 PM

2. Something very new is a'borning.

It's still finding its way. It's a new universe, a new consciousness that is taking form.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:16 PM

4. Excellent description. A rebirth of the collective unconsciousness into something new? n/t

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 08:13 PM

10. I can go with Jungian thinking--

including the Jung-Pauli collaboration (Synchronicity theory).

But yeah. One can also go the way of brain metaphors and the ways in which neural cells send out axons & dendrites as they take form. The many-to-many communication model is something new in the world. It will be interesting to see what forms it will take in the future.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:08 PM

3. Good read.

Along those lines, I think Germany has the right idea with codetermination--labor representatives on boards of directors. The "participative management" idea gained some popularity in the U.S. in the 90s but then faded, perhaps squelched by Wall Street and corporate media. Had they been adopted in the U.S. long ago, those kinds of egalitarian ideas probably would have prevented a lot of labor strife, exploitation/predation, and inequality--as seemingly demonstrated by the German example.

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Response to moondust (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:23 PM

6. I was a big fan of participative management, the companies I worked for seemed to

encourage that style, and then it disappeared and draconian management styles because more prevalent, at least where I worked.

The lack of this IMO creates much of the strife today which spills over from the workplace into many other areas and results in this cut throat environment we have in many areas of the US today of social injustice.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 07:03 PM

7. Did anybody say anything

when the management style reverted back to the old autocratic ways?

It does stratify and divide people in all aspects of life. "Partnership" is a much better idea--unless you're a greedy autocrat type.

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Response to moondust (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 07:30 PM

9. Yes, many complained, but the top of the management hierarchy had different ideas and they

brought in a slew of executives with the same mentality. I had this happen with a couple of huge corporations that were once great places and now they are all gone. And even as senior/middle management, one got so they did not give a fuck about the company. I saw it as the rise of the sociopaths, now commonplace in much of American business and similar in other countries too.




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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 06:22 PM

5. History, God and Capitalism are resilient

 

Nietsche said that God was dead, and the notion is still around
I suspect Capitalism of being equally resilient.

Work and Capital are just production means, with no moral/political agenda.
Letting banks lend according to ROI is efficient.
BUT politicians should make sure it doesn't come at the cost of the average Joe or of the environment.

Right now, banks are working (kind of), it's the politicians that aren't nearly enough.
leaderless organizations such as OWS could become experimental workshops if they made tangible demands on politicians to take practical steps to make the system work for the average Joe.

In short, what I suppose I'm saying is this:
- saying down with capitalism won't work
- telling politicians your vote for them depends on them supporting laws to make big corporations pay their share would work.

I don't see enough of this type of down to earth demands made.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Sun Dec 7, 2014, 07:03 PM

8. Great post, thank you. The media was desperately trying to get OWS to name a leader.

But they couldn't do it. They tried everything. Can't go after the 'head of the snake' if there isn't one.

OWS is a brilliant movement. Which is why the sent out the military to try to shut them down. They are doing great work in their follow up phase btw. And are fantastic at getting people out on the streets when necessary.

It's obvious that people in general cannot handle power, it seems to corrupt even those you wouldn't expect it to corrupt.

I like leaderless movements also. No one's ego gets too inflated for one thing.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 08:48 AM

11. Another great post from one of DU's finest posters. No doubt our "one to many communications" ...

 

... is the reason TPTB are so opposed to net neutrality.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 10:25 AM

13. Re: Net neutrality, most certainly.

They want to restore unidirectional communication. No good can come of letting the peasants spread their insolence around.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 10:20 AM

12. I totally disagree. Just look at DU, or any other forum... The left has never been more dead in US

Just look at DU, or any other forum online or offline. The left has never been more dead in the US.

I can't even FIND a group of people that agrees with me on the most basic of progressive principles
or wants to start a "progressive / populist" club, and I live in what used to be one of the most liberal
towns in the us.

And the amount of vitriol directed against left-libertarians and traditional progressives on DU is stomach-churning. It's one of the reasons I rarely post anymore.

Then there's the fact that you can go among the most radical left people you choose to, and ask them about history (say, Occupy, or the Seattle movement, or the 60s) and they will draw an absolute, ignorant blank. Then you have their parents and wives and husbands and partners, moderate liberals and "secularists" and "centrists" and "mainstream folks" who are equally ignorant of civics, economics, social justice, or basic human morality.

The fact is that our world is fucked. Primarily thanks to global warming but still.

Did you know half of all the animals in the world died in the last 20-40 years?

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Response to Leopolds Ghost (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 10:59 AM

16. I agree with you, Leoplds Ghost, the world is fucked. But I don't agree

the left is dead.
Where do you live?
In my town we have a lot going on:
prison, immigration, anti-war.
Some people closed a highway last week around the cop issue.

The numbers are small and the members are mostly 'gray-heads' like me, (except for the cop killer march - which was mostly students.)
but people are fighting.
We recently formed a group to do direct action, 30 people came, which is good for where I live in NJ. Many different organizations represented.

I no longer think any of this is going to change the world, but I still do it, bec. what else am I going to do?
and bec it's fun, and bec. I like being around these good people.
I'm sorry you don't have any activity where you live.

I also am deeply saddened all the time by the Sixth Great Extinction which should get at least as much attention as killer cops, but doesn't.
I guess it isn't as dramatic, at least to us humans. At least not yet.

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Response to ellenrr (Reply #16)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 11:25 AM

19. Elenrr, we should stay in touch

Unfortunately I don't give out where I live on DU anymore, because I'm active in my community and the lack of privacy from political harassment in the US, coupled with the fact that I'd get laughed out of my "super progressive" community for half the things I post on DU, makes it problematic. But I suppose I could send you a message.

I'm hard at work trying to get something done in my community and the less popular my political beliefs (and vaguely countercultural demeanor) become, the harder it is for me career-wise and in terms of what I'm trying to accomplish. And half the problem is my fellow "activists" many of whom are barely progressive except on boilerplate social issues. I've had arguments with someone who's pro-occupy who is now highly paid and relentlessly pro-gentrification.

So you have to look at what I call the "nihilist online activists" in the millennial generation as well, many of whom exude the same sense of disaffected entitlement that our forebears, the baby boomers did (I recently discovered an article that said baby boomers were actually more conservative than their parents, it was them who voted for Nixon and each subsequent generation has been more conservative than the WWII generation. People like my parents who were Kennedy liberals seem to have been a minority, my mother doesn't understand her neighbors. The antiwar folks were in a minority and as I know personally from my hippie friends, many antiwar hippie activists who never signed on to issues of race or sensitivity to others, became more conservative the minute they left the counterculture. They were just generally social liberals, the equivalent of the pocketbook libertarians you have in blue cities.)

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Response to Leopolds Ghost (Reply #19)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 04:01 AM

27. sent you a pm. btw

my favorite quote from Leopold:
(assuming this is the same Leopold you are referencing)

"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds"

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Response to ellenrr (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 04:09 AM

28. Different Leopold actually. I like that one too. :)

Mine was reference to a poem about King Leopold of Belgium, who oppressed the Congo and converted it into rubber plantations. There was also a book written about it.

It's a rather dark poem.

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Response to Leopolds Ghost (Reply #28)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 05:35 AM

30. oh, you were referring to the "bad" Leopold. :) nt

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 10:34 AM

14. Which is why corporations are working for both surveillance and control of the internet


The internet is the vehicle through which this flock of birds resonates.

What a fantastic piece you just wrote. Thank you for this. I am going to be rereading and thinking about it.

To the Greatest Page.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 10:49 AM

15. So for 4 years you've been waiting for something to happen?

 

The 'model' of a leaderless organization is a failed one. I think it's just too bleeding obvious. http://www.wired.com/2012/12/a-eulogy-for-occupy/
[hr][font color="blue"][center]Stop looking for heroes. BE one.[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 11:01 AM

17. I find it ironic that you call yourself a radical, and you critique capitalism, and you advocate for

OWS-
and you support Eliz Warren, a total tool of Wall Street, and a supporter of US imperialism around the world.

how is that?

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 11:05 AM

18. I think you focus too narrowly on capitalism

Humans were growing and expanding well before any sort of official economic system was in place. It's difficult to internally limit our growth. I know we're smarter than the average bear and all that, but we are still just another form of life. All life grows until it can't.

What we need is workable population control and a functional distribution system that ensures everyone has enough so they may live happy, self-fulfilling lives. If we have less attachment to useless, throwaway material possessions, we need to work less. If we have machines that absorb the work of production, then a major portion of the proceeds of that production ought to go to the people.


Ought is the key word there. That's a subjective word, so expect disagreement.

There is a path to a world in which everyone has the basics such as food, shelter, education and peace. People would not have to work as hard in this world. Everyone would have the time and opportunity to flourish as fully-functional humans. We just need wisdom to get there.


So human beings would get to enjoy all the products of the work that we wouldn't do, and have more free time to make use of those products? It sounds a little like more people might end up being the trust fund babies that we all love so much.

Not only does the biosphere have to deal with human beings, but it has to deal with machines too? Machines that would be undergirding a global civilization with all people with the opportunity to realize their full potential? That sounds like growth. Who's going to be the check and balance on that? Nobody.

It's not just capitalism.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 11:41 AM

20. OWS is the biggest movement since the war protests of 2003, except this one is permanent.

 

I love the fact that OWS has saved thousands and thousands of families from living under a bridge. I see they have a permanent setup now and I have to say probably is one of the most significant movements in modern American history.

It is great to see OWS still alive and growing into a bigger social giant with each passing month. I love how it has the greedy money crowd poo pooing their pants over how totally effective it is and will remain. This movement will be significant for years to come.

Great links here to a very alive and active movement changing the country and the world;

http://www.occupiedStories.com
http://www.occupyTheory.org
http://www.occupyStreams.org

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Response to Rex (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 11:46 AM

21. Yes, exactly.

Occupy Lives!

It's just that it changes its shape and surface characteristics so quickly that it keeps dropping off the map of the Establishment.

But it's still there. Evolving like a flu virus to survive whatever antibodies the Establishment can manufacture.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 11:50 AM

22. That's why the PTB and operatives hate it so imo.

 

OWS moves like a liquid and had no centralized leadership that can be assassinated, bought out or destroyed from the inside...it really has agent mike pissed off to no end.

What really gets me is that they HATE the fact that OWS is saving thousands of families from an early grave. The money crowd hates everything about OWS - OWS has saved so many lives, while they have destroyed so many lives. And yet no matter how many millions the owners spend to shut up OWS...it just gets louder and more important with every year that passes.



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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 12:06 PM

23. The moral of the story is, don't get vaccinated

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Response to Rex (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 04:25 AM

29. I'd like to believe this, I really do.

I am trying to work with ex-Occupy folks in my area and believe me, it's hard to motivate them.

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Response to Leopolds Ghost (Reply #29)

Tue Dec 9, 2014, 11:28 AM

31. I think it might depend on the generation.

 

At least you have some ex-Occupy folks in your area, I live in south Texas where OWS is considered a terrorist group.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Dec 8, 2014, 10:18 PM

26. It takes just under 50,000 a year currently...

and that is just from easily cured disease if you have money and access to health care. There are thousands more that suffer permanent damage from our current culture of greed. We seem to be a society that values money over all else and people who are born into poverty are seen as lacking morals, drive, and talent. All these things are necessary for a person to be valued. If a person lacks even one thing on the list of the judgement class (the 1% and their lackeys) they will be regulated to economic slave status or even worse (in the eyes of TPTB) they will become part of the taking class and deserving of nothing but scorn even if they are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability.

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