November 29, 2004
"Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it."
(Swans - November 29, 2004) Only external force can make the U.S. change its policy. We have to lose a war.
Conditions must deteriorate significantly -- such as the Euro takeover William Clark writes so convincingly about, (1) draining oil wars and "terrorist" attacks in the U.S. -- so that the "sorry" crowd, (2) who are mainly Anybody-But-Bush Democrats, become radicalized into forming a strong 3rd party with Nader or a similar authentic alternative; and the invisible inactive electorate becomes radicalized into an ABB "sorry" crowd; and the REDland rank-and-file become disillusion with their lives in a depressed economy and the many losses of sons and daughters in unending inconclusive faraway military actions while the plutocrats prosper -- so they simply rebel and actually walk out of their churches and actually listen to the "liberals."
Of course, this would have meant that the current sliver of left radicals here now would probably have produced an even smaller population who cross the line into armed revolt in Che Guevara and Fidel Castro style. I am as much against violence as any of you, but I do not see change being possible without compulsion overwhelming the will to power and control at work today. Read Orwell's critique of Gandhi.
The entire non-violent peace movement may simply be another psychosis, a group form of denial about their helplessness to do anything other than act out in public because their lives are economically exploited from cradle to grave however they try to act, and their psychology and consciousness is controlled or at least manipulated throughout their lives. They can't "not buy" and "not live" in a completely controlled economic system, rigged to their disadvantage.
The logical response to this is as Anatole France wrote near the end of his novel-length satirical fable Penguin Island -- the young man with no future plants bombs to blow up factories during lunchtime when the workers are out. Absolute control leads to suicide bombers. What could this be other than protest against the lack of options? One can imagine a suicide bombing as a speeded-up version of the Buddhist immolations of the Vietnam War, now a rapid immolation with surprise guests. It's all pointless -- that's the point.
The ABB peace-movement crowd of today is still well-off First Worlders, and not happy to sacrifice the comforts of good lives in a pretty pointless oppositional activity. Who wants to get clubbed by police, locked up and roughed up in jail for a few months, lose their job and then be shunned by the money-possessing strata of our society, solely to make a public political point. They won't treat you like Thoreau, and most aren't willing to live like Thoreau had chosen to live even before he protested.
It is easier to take to the streets after you've lost these comforts, and perhaps a son or husband in the imperial foreign legion. The people who marched into machine gun wielding troops in Rumania in 1989, and who defied the brutal Stasi in East Germany to tear down the wall (see the movie "Goodbye Lenin," just out -- funny, inspiring, perhaps even a look into the future) wanted a better life, they were hungry.
This is why I can only see what I don't wish to see, that a severe worsening of the conditions of daily life is probably the only force that can effect political and foreign policy change in America.
Do you recall the movie "Doctor Zhivago" (based on Boris Pasternak's novel)? The Russian Army is manning a long line of trenches facing the Germans, to the west. It is winter, bitter cold, and these troops have little food, warm clothing, or relief. They are dying in large numbers from exposure, disease, starvation, and battle. They wonder, "why are we here, dying far from home, killing Germans soldiers who are poor slobs just like us, and while the Czar and his circle sit back in warm palaces eating French food and holding balls. Why aren't we back there, killing them that sent us here?" Which, of course they proceed to do.
There is no way around the fact that to effect political change, it will mean disrupting our lives. Whether enough Americans can voluntarily decide to take on those consequences to produce enough of a compelling social force, or whether we must simply allow the decay of circumstances to create a large pool of disillusioned from whom revolutionaries will spring in sufficient numbers, is unclear. My calculation is that the latter is more likely. This is the slower and bloodier possibility.
What we Americans must also learn is that regardless of how quickly or slowly we transform the country -- even if by magic, puff! Nader was suddenly our leader and all RED attitudes were instantly transformed, and the entire US policy reversed with socialism triumphant -- we would never have any great degree of appreciation from the rest of the world. From their perspective, we would finally have stopped our offenses, and were now just like everybody else. We have to get over the illusion that after we stop stepping on others' toes they will be effusive in expressions of joy.
We will be alone, but finally a mature, responsible nation.
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1 William Clark, "Iran is the Next Target: The Emerging Euro-denominated International Oil Marker," 27 October 2004, http://globalresea rch.ca/articles/CLA410A.html (back)
2 America Is Sorry America, http://184.108.40.206/gallery/1/ (back)
US Elections & Democracy on Swans
Manuel García, Jr. is a graduate aerospace engineer, working as a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He did underground nuclear testing between 1978 and 1992. He is concerned with employee rights and unionization at the nuclear weapons labs, and the larger issue of their social costs. Otherwise, he is an amateur poet who is fascinated by the physics of fluids, zen sensibility, and the impact of truth.
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