portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

media criticism

Liberal Disillusionment

Outrage over the activities of our government has lead to increased activism and awareness. However, a side-effect is the growing disillusionment and fragmentation of progressive activists.
United, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a great line in Star Wars where the evil emperor encourages Luke Skywalker to act upon his anger and take revenge for his friends, afterwards he mocks Luke by stating that with every moment that Luke allows his anger to consume him - he becomes more and more a disciple of the 'dark side.'

Many of us may identify with Luke's position, we feel outrage and are in a position of making a difficult choice - do we fight fire with fire, or do we clear our minds and develope a plan to save our friends.

~~~

Let's take this time to begin a new era of progressive political work. Those in power would like us to believe that 'resistance is futile' and that it is our obligation as citizens to go along with the status quo. This is an illusion. Stop watching corporate media and the illusion will disappear.

However, if we proceed in a manner that is fragmented and burdened by in-fighting - the corporate magicians have already won.

Find positive channels for change, link to others with similar ideals, live your ideals.

United, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.
Star Wars Episode 3: PEACE MARCH! lol 19.Nov.2002 23:11

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

The fact that you are comparing our real situation to a sci-fi space opera flick is typical of white middle-class activism. Gee isn't it FUN!

This is not STAR WARS(tm). This is real. But let's continue with your Star Wars analogy, absurd as it is. Luke ended up mounting a violent revolution. He didn't petition the Empire with thousands of Ewoks' signatures, or have a protest march, or rule by his Father's side in order to "change the evil empire from within." Luke did not ask stormtroopers for permission to march. He sliced their heads off and blew them up by the thousands. He ended up throwing the guy who asked for his rage down what looked like a bottomless pit. And good for Luke. Down with Darth Vader. And down with the Emnperor Bush.

Do you look forward to Star Wars: Episode 3: TATOOINE PEACE PROTEST?

There is no in-fighting or bickering, there is discussion of tactics. And it seems that liberals are taking it overly personally and getting very defensive. But you must understand, Young Jedi, that capitalism = constant war = Evil Empire. We must act EFFECTIVELY, and THAT is why we discuss plans.

I'm glad that liberals are getting disillusioned. Let go your comfortable illusions of the effectiveness of "protests" - which is essentially putting yourself in a humiliating postion of powerless begging - and is not even as useful as begging for money. At least begging for money achieves its goal - getting money.

Hit them where it hurts - hurt their profit margin - ignore their corporate media - disobey their unjust laws - don't patronise multinational corporations - and BLOW UP their fucking death star.

Don't worry, obedient guy, It'll get done with or without the comfort-seekers:

"Social and economic well-being will become a reality only through the zeal, courage, the non-compromising determination of intelligent minorities, and not through the mass."
-- Emma Goldman

"Liberties are not given; they are taken."
-- Aldous Huxley

By the way, if "the force" blows your tripped-out mind, you might want to study it, but not under its show-biz name. Here on Earth it's called Taoism.

There is anger there 20.Nov.2002 06:31

Sean Henderson lohan1@msn.com

Heh, actually I'm just scraping by myself and I have explored eastern philosophy. Do you really think my goal is to make light of our situation (to say it isn't valid to feel outrage?)

The stars wars analogy is a light-hearted attempt to objectify something in the mind.

Name-calling is not a discussion of tactics.

Anger makes it harder for ~ to get anything productive done.

What is your proposal for action?

To be angry is very good 20.Nov.2002 09:53

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

"To be angry is very good. It burns out things and leaves nutrients in the soil. You should always be ready to be angry at injustice and cruelty."
-- Maya Angelou

"Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear."
-- Zora Neale Hurston

"The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough."
-- Bede Jarrett, The House of Gold

Everything I've called you, you are. Deal with this. Don't avoid facts. I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to THINK, and to provoke thought. You are an obedient, typical white comfort-addicted middle-class activist. These are easily deduced FACTS, not vicious name-calling. It's not like I'm lying. You must face these facts. Either you care enough to make a committment or you don't. Since you can't seem to come up with a game plan of your own, I'll be happy to tell you what to do. Some people demand direction, so I oblige them:

Quit using gas, or use less gas - don't drive so often, or quit driving a gas-hog (i.e. SUV) or use biodiesel fuel.

Ride a bike instead. It will get you in shape for many of the later steps.

Quit consuming animal products, and genetically-modified foods.

Respect women. Don't objectify them.

Quit fearing people who don't share your skin color. It's all just corporate media fear-mongering to keep everyone from uniting.

Quit patronising multinational corporations. Or any corporation that works only for the bottom line (which is almost all of them).

Ignore the corporate media.

Be the independant media. This includes informing your friends of what's up. And strangers too.

Quit buying so many things - fix things - only own what you can use.

Good magazines to read: COVERT ACTION QUARTERLY, INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW. There are a LOT of good sources out there. Start with these two and move on, as per your tastes. Laughing Horse books (non-profit bookstore on Division & SE 37th) is known to have these two mags on their shelves, Powells too.

Support unions.

Learn about DIRECT ACTION.

DIRECTLY ACT.

MY POINT: If you can't see how U.S. capitalism leads to constant war, then as an activist, you are a useless corporate tool and you really should give it up because you are just as much of the problem as Ronald McDonald, depite any part-time feel-good pro-capitalist activism. Once you start seeing how "democracy" is a sham, how voting is useful to the vote-counters and not the voters, and how careerist public-leeches ("politicians") who claim they can reform an institutionally corrupt system but are the problem not the solution, and how there is NO difference between democrat or republican, then you will be on the MOST EFFECTIVE track. Otherwise, you are running your hamster wheel and getting nowhere, simply doing what the ruling elite WANT you to be doing. It's your choice entirely.

My prescription:

1. wake up

2. live right

3. direct action

4. violent revolution

Doing all this will take bravery and integrity, and hence isn't for everyone. But I highly recommend it for anyone else who is at a loss for what to do.

LOVE, SOLIDARITY, JUSTICE!

Start by reading this article:


To Sean 20.Nov.2002 10:41

working class lefty

If you are sincere in your desire to learn about alternative approaches to change, open your mp3 player, kick back, and listen to this plan:  http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=2702

Otherwise, you and your fellow marchers should keep getting yourselves herded down the street like animals by the cops while the mainstream media ignores you or grossly underestimates the size of your crowd and gives all your hard work their usual negative spin. Don't forget about the fact that the vast majority of Americans have never heard of Indymedia and will never have a chance to hear your side of the story. And don't forget the intermittant beatings and arrests of people in your march who look "too radical" or "too dark-skinned".

My point is this (mis-placed anger aside) 20.Nov.2002 10:48

Sean Henderson lohan1@msn.com

Have I said anything advocating complacency or denial?

You are proving the point that I AM trying to make - that anger and aggressive approach undermines the peace effort.

Got Facism in your psyche? 20.Nov.2002 10:49

nasruddin

Thank you Gringo Starrs. We need strong, authoritative leaders to tell us what to do and who have no doubts about their own omniscience and moral rightness. Wait ... isn't that what we're protesting against?

Personally, I think we should encourage everyone in whatever forms of action that feel ready to do. There were people at the march on Sunday who probably don't feel safe coming out for other actions where there's a higher chance of being pepper-sprayed, etc. But they might at some point if they're not driven away. Much of this discussion over the past few days seems to me like telling people to dive into the deep end of the pool or go home. Like "We don't have time for you to learn how to swim or grow older or become more confident in your abilities, etc." And maybe it is too late in the game historically. But that type of haste/fear/anger energy is not what is going to build a new society - that type of energy IS what the Bush administration is thriving on and riding on!

in agreement with GRINGO 20.Nov.2002 12:09

working class lefty

To "Sean Henderson" - Not attacking the *root causes* of war undermines the peace effort.

To "nasruddin", your comments are a series of ad hominems. There was nothing in GRINGO's post promoting an authoritarian society or rule by a dictator, and what's so wrong with having a sense of morality and having enough balls to figure out how the world really works and spreading that knowledge?

I can understand the anger with which GRINGO expresses his point of view and others who agree with him. Whenever the topic of fundamental change is brought up, reformists, peaceniks and other liberal types can't bring themselves to have the common courtesy or decency to engage in an open and honest discussion and actually consider incorporating different ideas. Instead of learning and evolving, liberal types attack and run whenever they hear something that makes them feel uncomfortable whether it's said in anger or not, just like little kids (and conservatives). It's more frustrating because they purport to be on your side.

These cards are always tossed out by guilt ridden middle class libs whenever someone calls attention to their active participation in the oppression of others and the destruction of the planet. White-middle class privilege is driving the belief that one is entitled a certain immunity from scrutiny because they call themselves progressives, go through the right motions, and use the right PC lingo. It's up to those who really give a shit to point out these hipocrasies. That's all.

Dear Nasruddin 20.Nov.2002 14:27

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

As Working Class Lefty astutely pointed out, I am AGAINST authoritarianism and actively work against it. George The Second is a dictator and the problem is that almost no one opposes him, which disturbs me. Sean asked me "What is your proposal for action?" and I obliged him with an answer. I know that society trains people to hem and haw and side-step and mince when putting out their own opinions, but I think it is more useful to simply say what I think or feel. If this seems like "fascism" to you, you are missing the point. The whole concept of leader-follower is what made the mess we're in now. If someone is disgruntled with our government and asks me what to do, I will oblige their question with an answer. It's not difficult to see that undermining and not taking part in the fascist consumerist culture is a crucial first step. Hurting their bottom line hurts them A LOT, and is literally revolutionary, since it steals their power base: money and manpower.

MY POINT: If you are a reformist "liberal" who is against this one particular capitalist war against Iraq, yet you are FOR capitalism, you are working AGAINST YOURSELF, and hence practically useless. This is not opinion, this is fact. It is our heartless economic system that creates constant war, and if we don't change that, we will wage war constantly.

Democrats started WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War, and the Balkan War, and they continued to wage wars in all of the Republican-initiated wars. So fooling yourself by taking part in the ruse that is our representative government (consiously designed to keep local ruling elites in power/money since the Founding Father$), is only deciding to lessen the impact of anyone prepared to make real changes. The Founding fathers pulled off quite a trick when they got the colonies to rebel against Britain yet not against the ruling elite. Immediately after the Revolution, the U$A started acting just like the British did, many times even worse. Read Howard Zinn's "A People's History of The United States" - it is a great history on this period, amongst others.

It is Democrat Joseph Biden that wants the U$A military to have the power of arrest here on our own soil, and even Homeland Security-type public-leeches ("politicians") like Tom Ridge is against such extreme measures. NONE OF THEM ARE ON YOUR SIDE.

Nasruddin, it is the lack of morality in our political elite that makes them useless and harmful. They use morality like a fashion accessory, using it when it suits them and abandoning the same morality when it will make money for themselves or the corporations that paid for their re-election campaigns.

This is a particularly disgusting era in the U.S. and to pretend otherwise is to bury your head in the sand. Quit acting the ostrich. If you're not angry, it's only because you are buying what the corporate NEW$ is selling. Activism is not entertainment, so Sean, if you get "turned off" I should point out that this isn't sex or something meant to entertain you. I am justifiably angry. Why aren't you? I am COMPLETELY turned off by what is going on. That's why I'm doing something. Just don't have any illusions: working against the Iraq war while working FOR capitalism is the equivalent of two steps forward and two steps back. You're not going to get anywhere. It would help if we got MOVING.

This might illuminate things, Nasruddin:


it's time for your break cointelpro pig 20.Nov.2002 14:28

it's time for your break cointelpro pig

it's time for your break cointelpro pig

Email me, North PDX 21.Nov.2002 11:29

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

North PDX, notice that I always include my email address in my posted comments. Don't be scared - email me. My mind is crystal clear and drug/alcohol-free. Are you African-American? (calling me Honky leads me to believe that, you think?)

The fact that any African-American would enjoy this police state, this slow but sure genocide and imprisonment of people of color, this subtle but sure apartheid - is baffling. I guess you think things can be changed by the system. No one can help you but yourself.

African-Americans are more friendly to a message of real change than white people are. I suspect you ARE white, and trying to perpetuate the corporate-news-endorsed myth of the violence of African-Americans. I am in mostly-black neighborhoods regularly, and feel no fear because I don't believe the hype. I will "talk my trash" everywhere I go. Your freeping is typical.

Reply to Sean: YES you have advocated complacency and denial. Complacency = peace (go look it up). And you deny that war is an integral part of our economic system, and that it is the economic system that must be changed. Acting peaceful will not bring about peace in Iraq - it will only bring peace to you. Don't be so selfish and maybe you'll be more effective in the anti-war movement.

Have any questions? Read this and email me:


Let go of anger before acting 21.Nov.2002 12:08

Sean Henderson lohan1@msn.com

Gringo Starrs - man, my message is hope and constructive action. I think letting frustration and disillusionment get the better of you makes you less effective and just distracts from getting things done. Now what good would violent protest accomplish?

Revolution, not Protest 21.Nov.2002 16:57

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

Revolution would accomplish what you want: no war on Iraq, but it wouldn't stop there -- it would also mean NO MORE WARS! No world wars, no vietnams or koreas or colombias or panamas - It is the ONLY WAY to stop the madness that is U.S. capitalism. It is the ONLY WAY to cure the warmongering systematically, not symptomatically. If you (and you won't with BS police-led marches) somehow stop thee Iraq war, another will happen without fail BECAUSE OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEM DEMANDS IT. I don't want to protest - I want to destroy our economic system and its government. It's called SMASHING THE STATE. From a post I've seen you make you seem to think any violent revolutionary is COINTELPRO. WHY would THEY want to derail a defanged and ineeffective, and easily discounted/ignored by their media, peaceful mode of protesting? COINTELPRO has YOU where they want you - spinning your wheels keeping yourself peaceful - That's great for them because that will enable them to go slaughter Iraqis like they have been doing all throughout the peacenik movement. If I was COINTELPRO, then WHY am I counseling to bide our time - COINTELPRO would agitate for immediate and suicidal actions. Do you know ANYTHING about the black panthers? They were prepared to be violent because they had to. Note how the agitators within always wanted to act NOW NOW NOW. I know for a fact that more people haveto wake up. It's not nearly time yet. Direct Action, yes - but not yet time to defend ourselves from the ruling elite. Go read all my other posts and see what you think.

On another note: It is the already prepared to do violence groups who are infiltrated, not the peacenik ones - peaceniks are already practically working for the state anyways, since their begging for peace is so ineffective.

And yet another note: It's good to be paranoid. Like BANKSY (look him up) I don't trust people who aren't paranoid because when you are paranoid, you have all your senses and mind working at top speed, working through all possibilities and avenues.