We are losing. All we need to do to keep losing is to keep on doing what we are doing. Simples.
Reflecting on the mirror-image of master and slave
We can see it in our opponents. And if we denounce them for their condescension and silence, well, our tribe rewards us for seeing it and saying it. What’s that Buffalo Springfield lyric –
What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say “hooray for our side
What we see in our opponents is the top-down model, the assumption that what people lack is information, and that they – our lords and masters – have that information, which they will nobly inject into our heads.
And what that achieves, of course, is the shutting down of debate. Our opponents do it deliberately, because it suits their political needs; prevent awkward questions, remind everyone (including themselves) who is the boss, remind everyone who it is who – quite literally – sets the agenda.
We see it in those people, and we rightly condemn them for sharp practice, for wilfully blind, wilfully deafening devices.
And then we turn right around and do EXACTLY THE SAME THINGS ourselves. We let our own lords and masters, who run unions and campaigning groups, do the exactly the same thing. And we lack the courage, patience, clarity, persistence to do anything about it. Well, actually, I lack the cpcp. Maybe you don’t.
First: The strike I’ve been part of. The energy on the picket lines, the humour, the talent, the connections? All pissed against the wall by specialists without spirit, unimaginative technocrats who sit us in rows, take no interest in building our bonding capital, our capacity to act as networks. Not leaders then, but shepherds.
And we take it.
Second: A room full of people, some of whom have mingled. The meeting leader calls the meeting to start. he announces that there will be five consecutive films, totalling fifty minutes. Then there will be a panel discussion, mostly of men. Then he starts showing the films. No effort to get us to meet a stranger (so why is it called a meeting, ffs?) No breaks between films to discuss. Just us sat in rows watching and listening.
And we take it.
Nobody complains, nobody protests. That’s just the way we do things… I invoke the law of two feet. Of course I do. I always do. Too heart-sick, too tired now.
Same behaviour, different motives. But same consequences
But although the behaviour is the same, I suspect the underlying motivation is different. Unlike our lords and masters, there is no deliberate attempt to shut down debate. Sometimes, yes, there are egomaniacs who just want to be the centre of attention- cynosures (the word I learnt last week).
But I suspect that that’s not what was going on in the two examples above. It’s just that organisers don’t know any better, or dare not innovate (nobody ever got fired for buying IBM).
But then, the followers don’t demand more. And in the absence of demand, then I guess you’re a fool to expect innovation (which is risky) or hopeful monsters that might survive.
We are losing. We will continue to lose. We will continue to be atomised, demoralised, prey to incompetents, Judas Goats and egomaniacs, until we insist on better institutions (both in the ‘cultural norms’ AND the ‘real existing organisations). sense. Which means, since this will not happen, that we will continue to lose.
Blathering about my bloody sterilisation for the hundredth time
In December 2004 I had a vasectomy, so that I wouldn’t have to explain to a child of mine how we fucked it up for them, how we were handing on a planet stripped bare of its extraordinary diversity, a semi-inhabitable slagheap.
People used to think I was a whackjob for believing that. I don’t get that quite so much these days. We can see the future from where we stand (or sit, in rows). If we choose to see it. Most of us, understandably, choose to listen instead to soothing blandishments.