Thursday, December 08, 2005

Lesser Of Two Evils

Okay, first off we have entered a new realm in regard to the term "work", as our economies slip in and out of country's borders around the globe in the big innevitable slide to the bottom. We are running out of work because manufacturing jobs are disappearing as industry moves away. We're not only losing wages, but our pensions we placed hope in are disappearing as well. We are faced with a huge and very serious problem as a new pardigm continues to transpire at an alarming rate. The problem is so serious, that our societies, and their existing structures, will ultimately become threatened. As the wealth/poverty scale continues on it's course of imbalance, millions of once comfortable workers will find themselves in a place they only thought was possible in some third world country. Our displaced workers will begin to see firsthand the struggles and hardships once witnessed of smaller third world societies. What's that you say? It'll never happen to you? What's that you say? Your country and it's elected leaders are more intelligent than that, and there's no way they would ever let that happen to it's citizens? Au contraire, vous de foi infinie!

We now find ourselves in an advancing technological world here in North America. Society's labor saving initiatives through the use of advanced technologies and outsourcing have placed us within a unique position as manufacturing disappears and the majority of the jobs left are mainly service oriented positions. Now we have the capabilities to produce practically anything we need by using only a small fraction of the labor force we once required. Our social and economic systems have created these conditions of a labor saving society with our approval. Okay, maybe we didn't approve of the directions, but we didn't actively oppose it either. Why? Because we have been an integral part of the system. We put our faith in what we were told was the best system in the world, or at least, we were told our's was better than any other system throughout the globe. A "lesser of two evils" form of thought. This "lesser of two evils" thinking has been our downfall in my opinion. It has supported our docile nature and left most of us with a sort of "Que SerĂ¡, SerĂ¡" attitude. This dumbing of society by the status quo has been instrumental in our race to the bottom.

This "lesser of two evils" almost always boils down to the comparison of the imperfections of two economic systems, capitalism v. socialism. By limiting our choices and pitting just two economic systems against one another, we create binary "in the box" thinking which is the basis of capitalism to begin with! Yeah, the elite would have us believe that these are the only two systems available guys! This makes shopping much easier and is definitely supportive of the "lesser of two evils" conditioning which has been literally forced on us in a deep throat fashion. What is so saddening is, the majority of us have been trained to resist the gag reflex. Damn, now I feel abused and the urge to vomit is becoming uncontrollable!

In my humble opinion, as long as big business interests rule "our" government through the use of funds and monetary rewards, "our" government will continue to be saturated with corruption through the actions of personal enrichment, "our" politicians will remain as career seekers and leeches on our society, and "our" voting will continue to be nothing more than a sort of "feel good" safety valve which continues to lull us into thinking we actually have some control and input into this system of corruption. And of course we will always here about how miserably communism failed as another argument for our existing system. I have to agree that we should forget about communism, at least in North America, even though around a quarter of the world's population still lives under Communist Party rule. To quote Frank Zappa, "Communism will never work because people like to own stuff." And besides that, the mere word scares the hell out of most North Americans. We've been so grafted by capitalism/consumerism that the extreme forms of socialism are not attainable here in my opinion. Not during my lifetime anyway! Capitalism/consumerism is like a degenerative disease which has genetically altered our collective minds and we just keep passing it on down the line. Damn, now I feel like I've been endowed with a mental birth defect!

We must examine alternatives to the two systems we are being offered as the only forms of social structures. Some propose the "a little bit capitalist, a little bit socialist" ideas or middle ground philosophy. A balance of the power between capital and labor. A "capitalocialist" structure where we socialize certain social elements which would give everyone the basic necessities of life. Such as actually getting something for the taxes paid; as in 2 month paid vacations, universal full medical coverage, rent and food subsidies, equal educational structures, etc. But in this proposal, I'm afraid it just isn't possible to reach a balance of power, as there would still be only an elite few with the majority of the power! I think we've already tried this approach, as we still are, and it keeps failing the working people in our societies. As seen in the "biz union" form of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" form of relationship, capital always comes out on top. Except for the exclusion of a few corporate bought and paid for officials within our unions, the majority of us just end up with less! We are all too aware of how balanced this approach is and we are gradually watching our taxes going to compensate "corporate welfare" more than addressing the working people's concerns!

However, some devout Marxists see no opposition between capitalism and socialism, but rather these two structures are merely successive stages of a society's social evolution. An evolutionary social structure which evolves from (feudalism / capitalism / socialism). Social evolution of this order, unless I'm mistaken, hasn't happened as yet. So if we look at the evolution of societies according to Marxism, how can we say socialism has actually failed? However intelligent Marx's theory is, isn't this merely another theory which continues to keep us in some sort of laboratory box and limits the use of our own collective minds? I personally believe herein lies our problem of gettng our heads around "alternative" thinking as existing theories limit us to other's thoughts and through this, a certain level of control is maintained and we continue to discuss in a circular motion rather than a spiral form of thought. I'm not intelligent enough to have the answer, but collectively, I believe we have an untapped knowledge, and with this knowledge, we have the ability and resources to continue upwards on this path of knowledge in order to create our own alternative social structures or (non-structures)!

As I was pecking out this piece and thinking about these alternatives, I read a post in a forum on MfD from one of the administrators, siGGy. It was in response to one of my previous posts about anarchism. I'm adding my response because I think it's relevant to the discussion of social alternatives. In the post she stated:

siGGy's post:

Anarchy needs to be sweeten'd up. Where are the rewards and celebration for anarchy? answer me that.

My reply:

Sweeten'd up according to whose defintion of rewards? If we talk about rewards from the perspective of the existing structure, ("material rewards"), we move nowhere and we fail to come to grips with this very important quote you gave us, "First comes a new way to think and then comes new thinking". The material reward is described by Chomsky as "A kind of pathology, I believe, like the kind of pathology that leads some to take pleasure from torturing others."

Rudolph Rocker describes very well what anarchism isn't!

Anarchism in not a fixed, self-enclosed social system but rather a definite trend in the historic development of mankind, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life. Even freedom is only a relative, not an absolute concept, since it tends constantly to become broader and to affect wider circles in more manifold ways. For the anarchist, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all the powers, capacities, and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account. The less this natural development of man is influenced by ecclesiastical or political guardianship, the more efficient and harmonious will human personality become, the more will it become the measure of the intellectual culture of the society in which it has grown.

I see this as freedom of each of us to strive to reach our full potential of empowerment without the interference or conditioning of the corporatist, political machines. Freedom for all of us in society to gain an education which seeks to provide a thread or means for each of us to travel in our own way(individual). Rather than limiting us to a prescribed, structured menu, society should offer us the buffet table and let us decide what we are hungry for. In this way, I think our society will begin to expand and evolve (r-evolution) beyond the box we find ourselves and as far as the rewards, well, under the possibilities this "new way of thinking" would offer, I'd have to say the rewards are absolutely up to us to decide! We have begun to educate ourselves via the web and I personally believe there is absolutely no ceiling on what we can accomplish by using our collective minds!

As for the celebration. I celebrate every day that I maintain access to the web. I really believe this is the key to our collective intellectual growth and it's key to the futue of mankind. It's not the "magic bullet", but it's certainly the gun that will fire it.

Our target is the future of mankind and our goal should be determining what our definition of humanity should be and then re-thinking and re-defining the definition of work and how the working people collectively fit within the new definition. Work should be creative, imaginative, and uplifting. Not oppresive and meaningless. Work should allow people to do something they are passionate about, something they believe in. There was a definition of work which appeared in an editorial from the New York Times: "The way Americans work has to be rethought from the ground up." We need a wholesale, integrated, organic, new construction of work, with new instruments to make up for the shortage of jobs and to assist in the redistribution of wealth." Work should have "purpose" in that those involved should be inspired by their work. The people need not only feel their work has purpose, but it should be interesting and they should feel that the work itself is benficial in creating power, not only for themselves, but for our social future of the collective. I believe if given the chance, people would rather do work that helps other people, and contributes to the betterment of humanity. Hierarchies, which place superiors (managers) on the top and inferiors (workers) on the bottom, have to be disassembled and participatory structures have to take their place. Participatory is the key word in our search for equity, solidarity, diversity, and self management.

We can continue to make decisions based on the current structures or we can collectively strive to build a much better world through our collective contributions. I'm not saying this will be a simple task, but it does contain purpose, and it is very interesting, imaginative, creative, inspiring, unoppresive, and it definitely has meaning for all of humanity! What better work can there possibly be?


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