Nine years ago I began writing about hope, and I eventually began to refer to my project as “snatching the teddy bear of despair from the loving arms of the left."... To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart. There are really only two questions for activists: What do you want to achieve? And who do you want to be? And those two questions are deeply entwined. Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style. (http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175598/tomgram%3A_rebecca_solnit%2C_we_could_be_heroes)Quite instructively, there is nothing there about that old question. "What needs to be done?" Bolshevism is out. Awesome is in. You just are, and the power of positive thinking, or hope, which consists of imagining the world as you want it--like those corporate hopefuls who go to sleep listening to tapes that repeatedly say "I'm smart and charming, and I inspire confidence,"--will simply transform the world in your image. How long before Walmart hires this up and coming Jedi Knight as a motivational speaker for its workforce?
Mind you, this awesomest manifesto chides the left for not thinking about strategy. Because you see, Awesome does have a strategy. Vote Obama! That's the bottom line. So much for putting lipstick on a junk bond.
But Awesome supports Obama. Not, to be sure, because he too is, let's just face it, so awesome. Although maybe that's a factor. On the contrary, as she says, "every four years we are asked if we want to have our foot trod upon or sawed off at the ankle without anesthetic." Thus, in the end, all this positive thinking produces the ability to choose one's poison. Nothing more. We cannot possibly aim at something better, because that would be a failure to recognize the little joys that life, no matter how terrible things are, still offers, like the joy of watching Romney concede live. And what a joy that would be? Because, you see,
We are facing a radical right that has abandoned all interest in truth and fact. We face not only their specific policies, but a kind of cultural decay that comes from not valuing truth, not trying to understand the complexities and nuances of our situation, and not making empathy a force with which to act.What a crock! So the whole thing we thought that the problem was power we were totally wrong. The real problem is that people just aren't awesome enough!
Romney is the big danger we face? Romney is a villain from Central Casting. Lex Luthor would have been a more viable candidate. When the plutocracy really wanted to win the elections on a Republican ticket, they chose candidates like George Bush and Ronald Reagan, who were fake alright, but who were also good actors. They knew how to look like they cared. Romney doesn't even have Bush's capacity to pretend he's human. His job description was to lose while scaring the * out of people. If he has a real shot for getting elected, it is because the US presidential election is becoming like a bad version of "the Producers." But Solnit can't see behind appearances. That would be, again, to fall for that old leftist past time of "critique," which only leads to bad drinking habits, personality disorders, and just a general inability to enjoy life.
Who really is the enemy of truth and fact, a plutocrat who represents plutocrats or a fake progressive who uses radical slogans in the service of destroying everything that threatens Wall-Street profitability? If truth is what matters, isn't Obama, who campaigns on false promises and a completely bogus record, the real enemy of "truth and fact"? If cultural decay there is, is not the Republican bible thumping the negative of progressives who champion the power of vapid positive thinking while acting as Wall-Street's vote aggregators? The right has nothing to offer. And never has. Who wants to live miserably? Who wants to be poor? Who wants to be ignorant? Who wants to live in constant fear? The only real promise of the Right, its real force, the source of its ability to mobilize, has always been that it was the lesser evil. That's not a very new argument. St. Augustine makes in his 'City of God'. We're just not good enough to enjoy freedom and so we need to be oppressed to save us from ourselves. And who makes that argument better than a Left that gives up all claim to speak the truth, that cheers for someone who spent four years making hell more hellish for billions of people, in the name of opposing "cultural decay"? Is there something more toxic, more corrosive of a culture, of truth, than passing in silence the mass murder of strangers because it is convenient? Is there something more destructive for a culture of truth than shilling for a servant of the 0.0002% in the name of helping the most disadvantaged, as Solnit does?
this page's 300 likely readers reading this cannot harm Obama's chances, but I sure wish it would. Romney isn't the enemy. Romney is a cartoon that the enemy produces to scare us. Whoever wins the White House, plutocracy will run the show for the next four years. The vote counts only in that by refusing to vote between two plutocrats, voters can signal to each other that they reject the whole nine yards of it. That's not much. But that's the most one can get from Presidential elections right now.
Glen Greenwald spent the last four years chronicling the reconstruction of the US as an open air Super-max. But as a libertarian liberal, Greenwald does not understand that this is not the result of bad politicians. As capital prepares for crisis,and as Greece is the model of how every Western governing elite is going to handle a deep crisis of profitability, give and take some details, the maximum security state is a necessity of capitalism. Civil liberties (for white folks--others never really had them) are no longer compatible with capital accumulation and it is not a difficult guess to figure out which gets thrown overboard. The fundamental issue is not civil liberty but accumulation, who gets richer and how. Here is an insightful set of articles about Obama's role in accumulation, and why Obama is not even the lesser evil. In fact, he is probably the bigger evil.So far, he has been a worse President than George Bush. Please share with people who consider voting for the candidate from Goldman Sachs.