Friday, May 12, 2017

Isms and Asms: Orgasmic Politics

In my last post, I talked about the progressive “committed minority” that drives social change.  That brings us immediately to “identity politics” and a whole range of contradictions.

Obviously there are many “committed minorities” – with specific identities -- feminists, LGBT people, blacks, Latinos, the old, the young, Democrats and Republicans , Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. etc.  Not to mention, “political people’-- Democrats and Republicans. 

How about the 9 percent at the top -- loosely referred to as the “Upper Middle Class” – the elite who own a huge chunk of the nation’s wealth -- perhaps 40 percent?    This is the “professional” class – academics, administrators, lawyers, business owners, doctors, media people and assumed to have tremendous power.  

Some of these “minorities” constitute more than 9 percent of the population --registered Democrats, for example.  

But “Identity” groups including the Privileged --cannot be agents of change .

Because any group that you can label – feminist, black, white, middle class, working class, Democrat, Republican, or Elite (“Privileged”, “Upper Middle Class”) – and soon on – is defined by not just by that label --but by the special interests and ideological underpinnings their social denominator connotes.

By definition, they therefore cannot be “populist” – a term that is increasingly bandied about -- important --but poorly understood.  "Identity" groups self-define as extra-ordinary or exceptional -- not as "ordinary".  In some sense, this is a very American thing since the country touts its own "special" identity, with it own needs paramount.  This is a country where Identity=Individuality.  And "individuality" is what separates you from others -- not what connects you.  Fuck you, Jack.

A committed minority that wants change is a "minority" only in terms of the changes that it wants -- say, women's suffrage or civil rights.  Their actions are not expressions of individualism -- but collective.  So,  they do not emphasize being different from others or exceptional -- but the same -- and they insist that the change they want is for everyone, not for just them.

This is quite different from, say, "Feminists"  who concern themselves almost entirely with their own gender and  occasionally appear misandrist, as with Julian Assange or even Donald Trump.


The "committed minority" I am talking about - the one that generates progressive change is "populist".

Populism is about people --in general – most, if not all of all them. “Progress” or “change” must reflect their interests. It reflects our basic social nature, as cooperative animals, rather than (say) solitary predators.  15,000 years ago it was sine qua non that you got by with a little help from your friends  -- or died.  

Of course, the Nine Percent at the top sneers at populism  as somehow vulgar.  Hillary used the term “deplorables”.  When Nancy Pelosi was told by a student at a Town Meeting that polls indicate that about half of young people are not committed to capitalism she replied, “We’re capitalist – that’s just the way it is”.  End of discussion.  

End of the Democratic Party, too!

Trump is a narcissist.  So he thinks he is the People. He does not ridicule their vulgarity -- he  glories in it and tries to out-vulgar them.

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans  represent the  commonweal, the public, the people  -- but only themselves and a narrow, socially privileged class: nine percent and above.

The nine percent below -- the ones that actually create change are not privileged --or at least not corrupted by privilege or opportunism -- are focused on basic change , undistracted by ideologies such as
Capitalism, Socialism, Centrism,  even patriotism.   

Ordinary people aren’t interested in “isms”.  You can't eat an ism. You can't fuck it.  It won't keep you warm..

Fundamentally people are not "intellectual" -- they feel -- they  do not think.  All human beings are basically visceral, which of course explains why you  have Trump as President and not Hillary and why politics is entertainment until it begins to hurt.

If anything most people want  “asms”, not "isms.  

Spasms. Orgasms  Completion.  Action. Satisfaction.  Yes, the Internet is mostly porno .

So the "committed minority" that gets things moving must be ordinary people, concerned not so much with ideas as with making things work, where the focus is visceral -- things like food, shelter, sex, security and the like.  

A good example is in the UK where the Labour Party has expanded hugely with thousands of new members.  These new members are often derided as not really "Labour" -- but rather "radical socialists", "Trotskyites", and so on -- "extremists".    In fact, they are not the Ultra Left or Extreme Left -- so much as students, housewives, restaurant waiters, garbage men, small business owners, dog walkers, accounting clerks and officeworker --"ordinary" people who will never be rich or powerful and  have rejected ideology -- "isms" -- in favor of things such  income and housing security, better healthcare, and free education.

Tony Blair (like Barak Obama) wanted to be rich and powerful and shifted all over the political map to get where he wanted to go.  His politics were all about his success, nothing more, nothing less.

If  Jeremy Corbyn wanted anything -- it was probably just a new bicycle .  The Media paints him as either a doddering incompetent or a psychopathic ideologue.    But he was always on the right side of history.

Many in the public disagree.

New members have flocked to Labour because they see in Corbyn a man who wants the same basic things they do.  We all want a new bicycle.  And Corbyn is a man whose honesty and commitment has been proven again and again over thirty years of service. 

Corbyn's platform in the upcoming UK Election is straightforward, practical -- and non-ideological.  The basics:  income security, housing security, health security, education and so on.  It is also supported by most Brits. 

That unfortunately does not mean that the British will vote Labour. 

Old habits die hard.

Still the good thing about member of a "committed minority" is the commitment part.

Corbyn has said that he will not resign if he loses.  And the extreme bias of the MainStreamMedia (MSM) and the Parliamentary Labour Party will contribute to radicalization of the nine percent -- and after that -- the majority. The Young quickly become the Old.  The Center will not hold.

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