The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Core Of Class Struggle From Below

Is just “all our lives will be good, or yours won’t be.”

Since there’s always some idiot who reads these posts and thinks they’re smart, no this doesn’t mean everything turns out identical or that some people won’t get cancer.

It means everyone gets enough if society has it, and gets treated fairly. It means that if a rich or powerful person gets cancer they get the exact same treatment the poorest and weakest person in society does. It means money and power can’t get you anything that actually matters: not education, not health care, not food when other people are going hungry.

“No one gets seconds until everyone has had firsts.” And no one gets thirds till everyone who wants them has had seconds.

The job of actual class struggle is to make it so that the rich and powerful can’t enjoy their wealth and power until everyone is taken care of and treated the same.

This is why the gays got Obama to support gay marriage by the way. It seems to be forgotten by Obama was an anti gay marriage bigot who recorded a call against gay marriage and whose chaplain for his inauguration was anti-gay marriage. So the gays, a lot of whom had carried water for  him during the election did two things: they cut off the donations, hard, and they went after his wife: broke into a fundraising party and made her life miserable.

Oh, the squeals. The hand-wringing.

But it was pretty mild, she gets to be famous and rich because of her husband and she carried  his water, for sure. She can take a little screaming and if she can’t, too bad.

But as I said, this is mild. Things will be serious when people start saying “if you make one of us dead or homeless, we make one of you dead or homeless.”

We’re all in the same life raft, or we aren’t and if we aren’t, then the only solution is to put us in the same raft and make the powerful bail and drown with the rest of us.

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Schooling Kills Creativity And Then Work Buries It


Open Thread


  1. Scott Stiefel

    Then it’ll have to come from an armed populace. People in disarmed countries don’t have a shot, and scraggly bands of vegan pacifists won’t even try.

  2. Mark Level

    I mean, over 100 Dems voting with their ReThug Pals that “Socialism is Evil.” That says it all. The Ruling Class is glad that the Overton window has moved so far right and that the miserable & immiserated populace can be distracted with silly culture war garbage and will never fight for any material improvements while their lives become more precarious and squalid. (This goes right to Ian’s point about Gays supporting Obama, I guess coz “Rs are worse” even while Obama brought in that hate-filled LA mega-preacher who’d said on camera that Being Gay is the same as bestiality. And then lied about having said that . . . & whose gay son committed suicide some short time after that. (Was dad proud? Happy??) I mean, when shit gets too miserable people usually rise up, but ‘Muricans, like Germans, seem to be what an old co-worker of mine called “authority dependent”, & others call “conflict averse.” Our ruling class voted unanimously it’s a crime to be too close to Brett Kavanaugh’s mansion & call him out for the dead woman from a botched, illegal abortion. Her feelings never mattered! Brett’s do. Perhaps Americans will go to the work camps or meat processing facilities (they themselves being the Soylent Green) as compliantly as some glib, shallow historians fault German Jews for going to the Camps.—- PS, not endorsing that view, that is a very complex subject– I’m not right at this moment ready to buy a gun as commenter # 1 advises, however, I might get there eventually. However, I will agree with many, the folks who gun fought the Nazis to death in the Warsaw ghetto at least took some of the bastards with them; they certainly died with more dignity than those who were stripped and sent into the showers.

  3. jrs

    The most armed populace in the world, almost zero real resistance. And if there was any, many of the armed people would take up arms and be vigilantes *AGAINST* those wanting to change things for the better, the first line of defense of the status quo. With friends like that who needs cops and military, but we have plenty of military and cops armed like military too. How is that working out for you as they say.

  4. mago

    One has to wonder.
    Grimmer grows the picture with the same old background.
    Classic class divisions accelerated in these times what with degeneration of elements and all the rest that springs from that.
    Enigmático I know.
    Comment matters little.
    It’s what happening that matters.
    Look out your window for a weather report (assuming you have a window from which to look.)
    What’s that you see?

  5. bruce wilder

    The threat of violence from the isolated individual is kinetic often enough, but it won’t change anything fundamental about how the polity is governed. The key to the success of class struggle from below is organization, the ability of large groups to both understand their circumstance, and understand their place in economic conditions as a common, shared experience following from “the rules of the game”, and also act in concert to negotiate the rules of the game. Organization to act in concert is missing from mass politics in the U.S. as is any depth of popular understanding of economic issues and institutions.

    Nostalgia for Marx does nothing to answer the need for understanding. That there is no ecology in Marx barely begins to indicate the vacuum.

    The breakdown in community under the onslaught of television and neoliberal individualism and frosted with the sweet delights of woke psychosis forecloses concerted action.

  6. Willy

    I call it “fertile ground”. The old Rush song “The Trees” assumes that “noble laws” would keep all the trees equal, by hatchet, axe, and saw.

    More accurate, is that the powerful oaks passed their own ‘noble laws’ so they’d capture all the fertile ground for themselves, relegating the maples to desert, swamp and tundra. In the latter world the stray maple seed would only have a chance if it just happened to be planted in the oaks fertile territory, the only situation where the lyrics in that song might start making sense, if it wasn’t the oaks who also controlled all the hatchets, axes, and saws.

  7. Ché Pasa

    Getting to the Overclass from below is almost impossible in most of the West, and it is harder in the US than almost anywhere else.

    Why is that? Why should it be? Part of it is the cult of celebrity. To the extent they are known, our Overclass are treated as celebrities with fans and devoted followings and rabid defenders, much like royalty is treated these days. It’s a performance project. We’ve been down this road before during the earlier gilded age when Ford and Carnegie and so many other plutocrats were widely worshiped. Those who despised them were a minority.

    Now we have an anomaly, however, wherein certain elements of the rightist-fascist political movement have taken to attacking the corporate Overclass and they are gaining a following. Hm. Sure, they would, but still it seems odd until we get some clarity. A faction of the Overclass is busy behind the scenes engineering these attacks in an effort to mollify and gain the support of the petite bourgeoisie — until recently, a growing proportion of the Underclass. It is strategically wise to launch attacks on say Disney or JP Morgan. They’re certainly big enough to withstand the petty insults of politicians, and ultimately they stand to benefit if the rightist-fascist insurrectionists succeed. Win-win, right?

    So here we are. There is no People’s Uprising from below. If there were, it would be crushed. There is no way to organize a People’s Uprising using modern internet tools due to massive surveillance. A rightist insurrectionist movement (largely pretend at the moment) has been under way for years and it is close to complete success.

    What do we do? Is it too late for resistance?

  8. NR

    And if there was any, many of the armed people would take up arms and be vigilantes *AGAINST* those wanting to change things for the better,

    Truer words were never spoken.

    A very recent anecdote: I briefly stepped back onto the cesspool that is Twitter (I know, that was my first mistake right there) and I happened across a tweet about the recent toxic train derailment in Ohio. Someone made a very sensible comment to the effect that the free market had failed in this case. And that tweet got tons of responses from people saying essentially the same thing: “The free market didn’t fail, the railroads are socialist and run by the unions!”

    Now I know these people are just regurgitating what Fox News and the right-wing social media influencers they follow are telling them, but still, it was depressing to see so many people without even a basic understanding of how companies work. The idea that people so ignorant would pick up their guns and use them to make the country a better place is absolutely ridiculous.

  9. Mel

    “The free market didn’t fail, the railroads are socialist and run by the unions!”

    I dunno. I’m prepared to believe that that was all paid political advertising.

    Anyway, the Devil’s Scorekeeper is saying “Ohio down, only 49 left to go.”

  10. Carborundum

    I’ve spent five decades and a bit watching this simple (not bad, to be clear) idea crater ever more spectacularly.

    What suggests “this time will be different”? Seriously, morals- or theory-based “should” perspectives are totally useless to me (to say nothing of their utility to those without the insulation of assets and reliable wage employment) – even a much less good “will” would be spectacularly more useful…

  11. anon y'mouse

    we just had a pandemic in which the vaxxed were preaching that the unvaxxed not receive medical care, or receive it only at their own full expense.

    the overclass, with their testing and schools and “meritocracy” has devised a great chain of being in which everyone believes they deserve to get ahead of everyone else, and that those they have gotten ahead deserve nothing.

    there isn’t going to be any revolution from below. there’s no solidarity, much apathy and distraction.

    and when you do encounter these people, they are yammering about whatever bullshit meat the TV has given them to bitch about “those people” yet again, for whatever minor thing. even my own compadres are dumb enough to fall into that rut again and again.

    damn, maybe i need new compadres.

  12. NR

    I dunno. I’m prepared to believe that that was all paid political advertising.

    I suppose it’s possible. But the sad reality is that the CEOs don’t have to pay anybody when there are millions of people out there who believe those things and are perfectly willing to say them for free.

  13. capelin

    “The most armed populace in the world, almost zero real resistance.”

    Which, I think, indicates that real power lays elsewhere. Tools are important, to be sure, but they don’t mean much without knowledge, desire, belief, inspiration, etc, which comes from freely connected healthy communities.

    And that’s exactly what’s been targeted. Don’t gather. Be fearful. Do everything via a screen – from childhood to death. Fantasy worlds, kaleidoscopic sexuality, lab-food, small buisness shutdowns, override of the nation-state. And nearing-total control of economic, interpersonal and social communication methodologies.

    Open resistance, or even protest, is pretty sparse, and of course is suppressed, and if that doesn’t work, demonized hard. Think Truckers.

    Organizing, building, sustaining a viable alternative in the face of the status quo – woof. That’s not a capacity I’m seeing much of.

    The state is always gunna outgun the people. Plus, it’s a super toxic (environmental, social, allocation of resources, etc) arena that diverts resources and energy from the real powers that the people have actual superiority in – knowledge, desire, belief, inspiration, etc. And numbers. They’re nothing without us, etc.

    If 30% of a population just said “no”; just sat down till some changes happened, well, changes would happen. Not saying it’s gunna happen, but just look at that power, there for the pickin’, for a bunch of people to have a belief.

    And, if we’re thinkin’ long term, it’s a lot easier to mend a society after a sit-in than a shoot-out.

  14. Willy

    In theory, if you took out the plutocrats and converted the evangelicals back to Christianity, we’d practically be a democratic socialist nation. Personally, I ‘d keep exposing and shaming the elites, which might lead to things more practical. We can’t do enough of that. When Chappelle brought Musk (the Musk who was sitting next to Rupert Murdoch at the Super Bowl) on stage they were soundly booed. Their kind clearly care about nothing but manipulating others for their own greed.

    As for the evangelical conservative horde, it’s in decline. A lot of pop-atheists have been praising their current behaviors as being the best sales pitch possible for atheism.

    But I’d advise against debate let alone trying conversion without expert knowledge of deprogramming. I mean, if you’ve ever been an open-minded agnostic humanist respectful of the emotional/spiritual benefits of religion, who’s suddenly finding himself being called a “satan worshipping pedophile”, it should be obvious that some of these people have lost their fucking minds. I mean, if I was certain I’d be spending eternity with my creator in total bliss what would I care about what happens during a few short years of mortal existence? So yeah, they’re best either ignored or mocked mercilessly.

    Now, as for the rest with class struggle concerns, the far more reasonable and corrigible …

  15. Ché Pasa

    Difficult but not impossible.

    There’s very little class consciousness in the US. There was very little class solidarity (initially) in Paris (1789) or Petrograd (1917) — initially. Until a catalyst appeared and forced the issue.

    Capturing the king/tsar and the royal family was a big factor. Showing, in other words, how vulnerable and weak these rulers were. Are our rulers so weak and vulnerable? Well, yes and no. They don’t intend to suffer the fate of the French Bourbons and Russian Romanovs, but we saw, didn’t we, that in the end, they don’t have that much — if any — protection from the raging mob. Especially not when their erstwhile protectors are on the side of the mob or would be with only the slightest shove.

    This is what the rightists-fascists are counting on, and not without reason. Any significant percentage of the military or law enforcement favoring their cause means more than likely they win, no matter what the People might want. The “left” or what passes for it has no support at all within the ranks. None.

    On the other hand, most of these goons are cowards. The slightest armed resistance and they crumple, back to barracks and hide. This is the consequence of more than a generation of “force protection” being the prime directive. Those who have nothing to lose are not so afraid.

    Is it possible to develop class consciousness and solidarity where it doesn’t exist? It must be. It’s happened many times over. And the Overclass has an abundance of it, no?

  16. Trinity

    Love Rush. My favorite was always Limelight.

    “the vaxxed were preaching that the unvaxxed not receive medical care, or receive it only at their own full expense.”

    This was just to sell more mostly useless, sometimes harmful vaccines. But I agree, the heavily armed populace are more likely to turn on each other.

    I’m still of the opinion that cracks in their plans are beginning to show. Rhe unionization continues, right alongside the mega firings (Disney now, and Big Tech’s massive layoffs to “prove who is boss”) in an endless push/push back cycle.

    It’s never a bad thing when good people push back against bad behavior. The problem for the bad people is that they aren’t learning from it, instead they double down. At the very least, no one is going to “win” (resource depletion, climate change, etc.) and I can’t decide if that’s the worst possible outcome. I don’t think it is. The bad people have much, much more to lose.

  17. mago

    It’s all smoke and mirrors and just enough to deceive the proles into thinking they might have a foot up.

    And here’s a word from our sponsor:
    Take a piss and a good look at what’s going down. Then give a shit.

    Salty sweet and sour not to mention bitter, then toss in some piquant and you’ve captured the five elements.
    That’s the art of cooking.


    Esoterica if you’re a human or animal starving and shattered in Syria Turkey or—toss a dart at the world map and see where it lands.
    Your backyard, baby.
    See what you want to see and believe what you want to do . . .
    “And it’s all over now baby blue”

  18. capelin

    “The job of actual class struggle is to make it so that the rich and powerful can’t enjoy their wealth and power until everyone is taken care of and treated the same.

    “So the gays, a lot of whom had carried water for  him during the election did two things: they cut off the donations, hard, and they went after his wife: broke into a fundraising party and made her life miserable.”

    This is exactly what the truckers did. Textbook. Maybe they read Ian’s blog. They peacefully made their way as close as possible to the center of power and made the governement’s life miserable. And got results.

    So the slapdown had to be hard. Emergency Powers now normalized, to be used as needed whenever the riff-raff gather enough steam to threaten the status quo.

    I had to laugh, tonight on CBC, Justin Ling, who’s “reporting” formed part of the Gov’s “intel” to justify the Emergencies Act, is introduced as an “independant” reporter, and then goes on to report on the Inquiry.

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