WTM #1024: Wrecking Political Erections [with noise?]

wReck thiS meSS / Radio Patapoe 88.3 / Amsterdam
Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies
PTP in the ether: 88.3FM

11 august 2008 // 17.00-19.00

A few people who take some creative initiative (think of the
first civil rights sit-ins) may ultimately have a far greater effect than if
they had put their energy into campaigning for lesser-evil politicians. At best, legislators rarely do more than what they have been forced to do by popular movements. A conservative regime under pressure from independent radical movements often concedes more than a liberal regime that knows it can count on radical support.
• Ken Knabb, “The Joy of Revolution”

The term spectacle has maintained current value to allude to many contemporary (economic) practices apart from political ideologies. For the contemporary globaliized film markets, media event and media hypes are indispensable for generating sufficient attention. Thus media is not only the interface of the product sold, but also the factor essential to successful sales. The media factor is the x-factor of all film systems, making the objects in the business sexy and wanted.
• can’t remember source

Welcome to the NHK Wasteland > Arklight [1]
I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK > Bi Rain  [2]
A Bottle Labeled Loser’s > Eugene Chadbourne [3]
Storelights > Arklight [1]
Constantly Conscious > Arklight [1]
Convention of Mercenaries > Eugene Chadbourne [3]
Yodeling Operatic Contralto > Shumann-Heink Millocker [4]
Starsailor > Tim Buckley [5]
Inside > COH [6]
Poesia > Oregon [7]
Georgia on my Mind [8]
Blue Yodel No. 9 > Louis Armstrong vs Johnny Cash [9]
Plan Your Revolution > John Mayall [10]
Field of Motion > Arklight [1]
I Need A Little this A Little That > Dr. Hook & His Medicine Show [11]
Jodel Jump > Zware Jongens [12]
Lying > COH [6]
Lying in My Bed > John Mayall [10]
Lost > COH [6]
Nathan la Franeer > Joni Mitchell [13]
Chameleon > Trentemøller [5]
Battle of the Odds > Snorkel [14]
Divine Toe / Grope Need … Medley > Fugs [13]
Who’s in Charge > John Cale + Bob Neuwirth [15]
I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK > Bi Rain  [2]
Chicken Yodel > Owen Blundell vs Rex Dallas [16]
[1] Welcome to the NHK Wasteland on Little Furry Things. The future of music is more enticingly gruesome than we ever imagined.
[2] I’m A Cybord, But That’s OK. Great video clip of a wonderful yodel by a mega-pop-star. And he’s Korean!
[3] Country Protest onFundamental vinyl.
Weird wax from Waxidermy. Wavy is Hugh Romeny doing his best LSD Lord Buckley.
 Necessary Intergalactic Cooperation on Hammerbass
[4] We Are All From Somewhere Else. Crazed serious yodeling on the high edge of acceptability.
[5] Starsailor, Straight, 1970.
[6] COH Plays Cosey, Raster-Noton, 2008. Ivan Pavlov vs Cosey Fanni Tutti of Trobbing Gristle fame on vocals.
[7] Winter Light, Vanguard vinyl.
[8] EF Live in Sweden, yodeling.
[9] LA was a guest on the Johnny Cash Show and they did this Jimmie rodgers number, a song that LA had blown trumpet on in 1930.
[10] Empty Rooms on Polydor vinyl.
[11] With Ray on yodeling
[12] Yodeling with a post-techno “jumpin” beat.
[13] Songbook, various artists on Warner Brothers vinyl.
[14] Glass Darkly, Slowfoot, 2008.
[15] Last Days on Earth, MCA, 1994.
[16] Duelling Yodelers, Selection, 1994.

The Eternal American Elections: The world has gone loony and desperate. I feel sorry for the world that so many people in America but also elsewhere [like reports here of ghetto kids in the banlieux of Paris cheering  for Obama as the hope of the future]. We must be aware that putting our hopes in political heroes is a treacherous relation at best and leads to the Mugabe-Reagan-Castro factor of totally screwed up leaders who take the popular support and twist t to their own maniacal needs. So best not to put our hopes in single individuals to cure our social ills. Especially someone so underwhelmingly creative and lukewarm/grey/beige in his early years where he appeared more interested in appeasing the right by showing how reasonablly right wing he could be. Now he is proposing policies that Nixon and Rockefeller proposed or would have in their time as Republicans and would today be seen as liberals for.

The annoying details of this election mount daily: There is almost NO coverage of the other races of those who are suppsed to keep a populist president in check. There has been almost NO coverage of the other voices/candidates running for president. CNN did a 4 minute peace profiling Nader as old and the Libertarian as lacking the charisma to pull voters. Never mind that he is promoting the very same things the Republicans [and Democrats] have been falling over themselves to pass and now distances themselves from as the economic crisis due to their policies become obvious.

Other annoying details include: If Obama is such a dynamic idealist then why did he not speak up for the other candidates who were axed from the televised debates — such as thorn in their side Kucinich. Not a one of the major candidates spoke up during those highly questionable debates. A Dutch analyst has just aptly portrayed the entire election campaign as a big expensive reality show where the candidates mst act presidential and act as if they are real but somehow must refine their humanness so that the human flaws do not mess up the image of that very ‘real’ man as image creator. Telegenics times 10

There is VERY little criticism about the very issue of how much is being spent on this election especially given the crisis. And how long it takes! The whole world is watching. The drama unfolds so slowly and at such great cost that by now the whole world is watching and the fact that 93% of the French and 87% of the Dutch and similar figures for other nations – excpet the US itself and Israel, which is staunchly for McCain. The high approval figures among Europeans can only work in Obama’s disfavor however as we know – as does Obama – that any attention paid or acceptance of this sort of approval is tantamount to being a traitor, which leads right into an Op-ed piece by John Vinocur [someone I don’t often agree with] in the IHT about how Obama will only disappoint his many European fans because he is much less an appeasing internationalist than an american patriot-opportunist who has stated his major goal as reinstating America as the number one power nonpareil. Not what the world needs but certainly something promised that will aid your electability among the secret jingoists. Never mind, progressives, that he is FOR the death penalty, is not about to apologize for the wrong-headed policies that have steered the US and the world down a very wrong path for far too long [let’s not just blame Bush, I mean pretty much everyone in America was on his side when it seemed the US might actually win the war in Iraq and on terror], never mind that Obama was FOR the bail out of the billionaires at the tax payers’ expense, never mind his lukewarm tinkerings with the health care system, never mind his insistence on America’s veto rights in the UN and enforcing its right to act unilaterally as World policeman, never mind the votes and opinions of the rest of the world. He has no real intention of listening to the rest of the world if it in any way threatens American lifestyles. Only 2 of every 10 Obama supporters, according to Vinocur, thought that the US should try to make the effort to appease or come closer to Europe. Anyway, either Europeans are more hopeful than they are given credit for or are even stupider than Americans for so overwhelmingly thinnking that Obama will bring instant results in terms of softened international relations. As Democrats and hopeful people should be aware of Clinton and Carter and Johnson all ended up as disasters in their own ways. That Clinton may be the most overrated president other than Reagan should make people stand up and take another look at their desperate euphoria.

Limiting this charade to a total of 8 weeks and a few million dollars would go a long way toward making the US a modest member of the world’s league of many nations. This doesn’t mean that Palin-McCain are a worthy alternative. Quite the contrary. That they have any chance at all is already scary enough.

This was forward to me by Dave Mandl from WFMU/The Rail:

 Roughly speaking we can distinguish five degrees of “government”:
     (1) Unrestricted freedom
     (2) Direct democracy
     (3) Delegate democracy
     (4) Representative democracy
     (5) Overt minority dictatorship
The present society oscillates between (4) and (5), i.e. between overt minority rule and covert minority rule camouflaged by a facade of token democracy. A liberated society would eliminate (4) and (5) and would progressively reduce the need for (2) and (3). . . .  In representative democracy people abdicate their power to elected officials. The candidates’ stated policies are limited to a few vague generalities, and once they are elected there is little control over their actual decisions on hundreds of issues — apart from the feeble threat of changing one’s vote, a few years later, to some equally uncontrollable rival politician. Representatives are dependent on the wealthy for bribes and campaign contributions; they are subordinate to the owners of the mass media, who decide which issues get the publicity; and they are almost as ignorant and powerless as the general public regarding many important matters that are determined by unelected bureaucrats and independent secret agencies. Overt dictators may sometimes be overthrown, but the real rulers in “democratic” regimes, the tiny minority who own or control virtually everything, are never voted in and never voted out. Most people don’t even know who they are. . . .
In itself, voting is of no great significance one way or the other (those who make a big deal about refusing to vote are only revealing their own fetishism). The problem is that it tends to lull people into relying on others to act for them, distracting them from more significant possibilities. A few people who take some creative initiative (think of the first civil rights sit-ins) may ultimately have a far greater effect than if they had put their energy into campaigning for lesser-evil politicians. At best, legislators rarely do more than what they have been forced to do by popular movements. A conservative regime under pressure from independent radical movements often concedes more than a liberal regime that knows it can count on radical support. (The Vietnam war, for example, was not ended by electing antiwar politicians, but because there was so much pressure from so many different directions that the prowar president Nixon was forced to withdraw.) If people invariably rally to lesser evils, all the rulers have to do in any situation that threatens their power is to conjure up a threat of some greater evil.
Even in the rare case when a “radical” politician has a realistic chance of winning an election, all the tedious campaign efforts of thousands of people may go down the drain in one day because of some trivial scandal discovered in his (or her) personal life, or because he inadvertently says something intelligent. If he manages to avoid these pitfalls and it looks like he might win, he tends to evade controversial issues for fear of antagonizing swing voters. If he actually gets elected he is almost never in a position to implement the reforms he has promised, except perhaps after years of wheeling and dealing with his new colleagues; which gives him a good excuse to see his first priority as making whatever compromises are necessary to keep himself in office indefinitely. Hobnobbing with the rich and powerful, he develops new interests and new tastes, which he justifies by telling himself that he deserves a few perks after all his years of working for good causes. Worst of all, if he does eventually manage to get a few “progressive” measures passed, this exceptional and usually trivial success is held up as evidence of the value of relying on electoral politics, luring many more people into wasting their energy on similar campaigns to come.
As one of the May 1968 graffiti put it, “It’s painful to submit to our
bosses; it’s even more stupid to choose them!”
–Excerpts from Ken Knabb’s “The Joy of Revolution.”
The complete text is online at http://www.bopsecrets.org/PS/joyrev.htm
My intention in circulating these observations is not to discourage you from voting or campaigning, but to encourage you to go further.  Like many other people, I am delighted to see the Republicans collapsing into well-deserved ignominy, with the likelihood of the Democrats recapturing the presidency and increasing their majorities in Congress. Hopefully the latter will discontinue or at least mitigate some of the more insane policies of the current administration (some of which, such as climate change and ecological devastation, threaten to become irreversible).  Beyond that, I do not expect the Democratic politicians to accomplish anything very significant. Most of them are just as corrupt and compromised as the Republicans. Even if a few of them are honest and well-intentioned, they are all loyal servants of the ruling economic system, and they all ultimately function as cogwheels in the murderous political machine that serves to defend that system.  I have considerable respect and sympathy for the people who are campaigning for the Democratic Party while simultaneously trying to reinvigorate it and democratize it. There are elements of a real grassroots movement there, developing in tandem with the remarkable growth of the liberal-radical blogosphere over the last few years.  But imagine if that same immense amount of energy on the part of millions of people was put into more directly radical agitation, rather than (or in addition to) campaigning for rival millionaires. As a side effect, such agitation would put the reactionaries on the defensive and actually result in more “progressives” being elected. But more importantly, it would shift both the momentum and the terrain of the struggle.  If you put all your energy into trying to reassure swing voters that your candidate is “fully committed to fighting the War on Terror” but that he has regretfully concluded that we should withdraw from Iraq because “our efforts to promote democracy” there haven’t been working, you may win a few votes but you have accomplished nothing in the way of political awareness.
In contrast, if you convince people that the war in Iraq is both evil and stupid, they will not only tend to vote for antiwar candidates, they are likely to start questioning other aspects of the social system. Which may lead to them to challenge that system in more concrete and participatory ways.  (If you want some examples, look at the rich variety of tactics used in France two years ago — http://www.bopsecrets.org/recent/france2006.htm .)
The side that takes the initiative usually wins because it defines the terms of the struggle. If we accept the system’s own terms and confine ourselves to defensively reacting to each new mess produced by it, we will never overcome it. We have to keep resisting particular evils, but we also have to recognize that the system will keep generating new ones until we put an end to it.  By all means vote if you feel like it. But don’t stop there. Real social change requires participation, not representation.
P.O. Box 1044, Berkeley CA 94701, USA

One thought on “WTM #1024: Wrecking Political Erections [with noise?]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s