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Where do I sign up?

By Owen Paine on Thursday April 7, 2011 08:44 PM

A recent post by the master of this blog, the ever-provocative high-octane Michael Conelrad Smiff, of Kornkroft Kounty Kentucky, got me to thinking.

Our father, after some complexly emblematic Darwinian business about a former girlfriend, a four-walled bathroom, a self-cornering box turtle, and rotation on the X-Y plane, all delivered at his usual suavely leisured pulpit rate -- ends with this very literal final blasto:

"Two words, Glenn: third party. That will get their attention, if anything will; and if nothing will -- as I suspect may be the case -- then you might as well at least have some fun, and enjoy the pleasure of pulling a lever without holding your nose."
I know, I know: there he goes again, just like Jimmy Carter in the Reagan debates: ever the brief slashing ridethrough on his lead hobby horse.

But as I say it got me to thinking... for once... about other parties.

*shifting to stentorian pink pedant mode*


The urge to build a third party, even when said urge erupts right here in the empire's home nation-state itself, can be either reformational in its collective aspirations or revolutional -- right?

Now if said urge is in essence reformist, as it must be if we're talking electoral action as in the post cited above... then why? I mean why build a new party... just for that... for reforming stuff. Why bother? Particularly in a de facto duopoly system like we have here and have had here since Secretary of State Marse Jeff tucked it to that lovely black gal on a bed of blueprints for UVA.

To me, it's wasteful of scarce pinko resources. I suggest:

Why not an attempt to jazz up one of the existing party ops instead? Isn't that easier? You know, head one of these fired-up reform movements at a few of its candidates by running your own brand of Democrat or Republican -- I particularly like the idea of running Republican.

Of course the third party is an electoral threat made real. It has the nice feeling of building something, and it has in the past -- long past -- levered a takeover or two of the jackass party, and even tweaked the GOP in several spots. One can think constructively of the populists and the progressives, hell, even the socialists in this light.

But I repeat -- isn't it easier just to run candidates with a reform movement backing?

Okay, you're right, it happens all the time already. Then I guess, like my doctor said about building a child, "if it hasn't worked so far, well it ain't cause your shootin' blanks. Just keep firing, Owen."

After all, even if you succeeded, and built the next prohibition party, or greenback party, or anti-masonic party or know-nothing party -- they all pass; like kidney stones, perhaps, but they pass. Even the green earth party shall pass.

These are movement organizations -- softball outfits suited up to play party hardball, and even if they are catalytic, even if they might be sufficient, they are neither easier or more effective then taking strat shots at one or other of the Orthrian heads.

Twice in the last 120 years the jackass party -- the national one, that is -- was taken over by its democratic wing, as that wooden decoy with an MD from Montpelier called it.

Yes, sure, some professional gadfly-type activists want a permanent home base, a headquarters, not only to hang their hat at, but "run" between useful splurges of effort on one or other of their dirty rotten social change tricks.

But I say, let movements be movements, not failed all-purpose outfits. Lots of good spirited folks like visiting the mall of reform now and again -- you know, go over there, hit just the change-op specialty shops they hanker to help, work for, or at, or whatever, and skip the rest of the bedlamite delusionists that happen to be rocking it up at the mall around them.

That said, now, unlike Father's squeeze's turtle, let us turn ourselves 180 degrees in the X-Y plane.

If -- I say, IF -- the urge is... revolutionary, then fellow children of the night, the project at hand, whether we know it or not, has gotta be a vanguard party project. Or at least that's what my own north star of an inner ruling narrative suggests to me.

Yes, I am fully aware a project of that dimension heft and presumption will meet resistance from all sides -- that is, if it ever gets itself to being more than a toy of a few college campuses and the red-nose reindeer sections of Manhattan and San Francisco.

The inchoate urge is there, and it's everywhere, every day, every time an activist tries turning a struggle formation like, say, the Wisconsin recall fight, into something that can outlast the specific struggle that brought that particular ad hoc formation to life.

There are always these projects, these intense brief lovely system-tasking activities, and with them always comes the emergent hope of something bigger -- organization-wise, that is; something that can gain strength each time it fights to a win and can survive both its class enemies' dogged unyielding hatred and its own leadership's periodic utter idiocy.

Comments (26)

In all seriousness, Owen, when have vanguard parties* ever reproduced their promised returns?

The Commune? Not even that august moment was led by an enfactioned substitute.

Which begs the question, further, as to why the "Stop Me Before I Vote Again" camp is now pondering its pinky toes en pirouette, or testing electoral waters.

* - Political ones, or the revolutionary.

Al Schumann:

I think he's bored and looking for trouble. He used to slip lurid pictures into Trotskyist newspapers and chuckle as the poor saps sold them at demonstrations.

Paul Alexander:

See, I've been thinking that instead of trying to take over a particular party, someone (not me of course, I don't have the energy) should start a letter writing campaign to Mr. Obama. If a lot of people, I'm thinking at least 50 or 60 people, wrote some really impassioned letters outlining the reasons why the things he's doing are, uh, bad, I really think there's a shot at getting Him to come over to this side of things and get those things taken care of. Quick. With a party you're still having to deal with a multitude of minds, and although adherents to the Democratic Party exhibit groupthink, they still operate in different shades of liberalism making them more susceptible to some issues over others. But what if we (I'm including myself now) could take over the mind of the Big Cheese himself? He has the ability to set the lines of debate for those on the "left". And he also has access to nuclear weapons, which work terrifically as tools of coercion. Just imagine if he'd used the threat of total annihalation on the Republicans during the debate on the healthcare bill instead of pussyfooting around talking about bi-partisanship.


"Just imagine if he'd used the threat of total annihalation on the Republicans during the debate on the healthcare bill instead of pussyfooting around talking about bi-partisanship"

why this feller has more then an inclination'he has a knack for tactical thought

i like him

and as for u ALfredo .....
those were familly pictures of my
home schooled judy paine



and an update :

as 56 year old
cocktail fly
cherry cherry paine



"The Commune"

which one ???

paris '71 or shanghai '67

I do believe Cherry's doin' the Cosmo.

Nepal is a excellent example - for my point. It's like they haven't learned anything from the schismatics of earlier eras. They're currently in the process of fragmenting into multiple substitutionist vanguards.


crow we are all "substitutes " for our selves

we are our own he agent as much as our own principal

formal dialectics 101

uiniversal from hegel to lenin and byond

i wish you weren't such a poisoned aj ayerian

such a dogmatic
pyhronic anti- pantalone
of the grassy dome witching hour

join us in the dance !!!!


OP, I'm afraid this particular endeavor wouldn't spread beyond the H&H Bagels/Oberlin/Chez Panisse precincts.

You've traveled ive or so decades down this road to pretend, now, that you don't know what substitutionism is, OP?



your croak is as old as revisionism itself


for once just pretend you didn't read this post

let less crippled minds chew it over


second thought crow
surprise me
come out from the bushes
and put into words
your indictment of the VP paradigm

substituting a reference to substitution
is really not very serious

if its easier just provide a link
to a presentation of all this
you endorse


You've got a little flame going here, OP, but we need some heavier kindling. What would a vanguard issue be? We've tried war; immigration; health care; taxes; habeas corpus; freedom from surveillance; global warming; social security. It seems that the American public can adjust to any deprivation given time.

As for unions and union rights, they just don't have the fizzle as an issue anymore. Hey, what about impeachment, or what's it called, when a first-term President has to undergo a primary in his own party? If people can't get excited about their own rights and interests, maybe we should focus on the icons, the mythic ones, the gods of the nightly news.



i really think we are
in a post V party interval here in norte amigo
not even pre V party

however its always V party time
somewhere on the planet what is really only very very difficult always seems impossible ..until some group pulls it off

btw apropos the nepal rev and its V party

this mile stone paper is now 70 years old



Sign me up!

You fail to address reasonable objections, OP. Since you're only looking for cheer leaders, have fun diddling with yourself.


Cheerleaders really
You're satisfied with that response
I asked for a why
I recently reviewed Tony clliffffff on sub theory so we might have a go round
But once again you fire off a fart and flee the arena

You can be quite tiresome Jack

Come on surprise me
Get into it
For once

You came close on the Marx dialectic but turned shy when the texts
Came in to play

One thing I won't do is provide your arguments for you
So far you in effect simply cried Stalin Stalin Stalin


Jc some how I missed your comment on Nepal

Schismatics ?
Any org faces splits every time the rev road comes abruptly to a strategic fork
These are the hazards of success as well as failure

Let me submit this

They overthrew the old regime by protracted struggle
Now they face the intricate series of tests any rev org faces in power
Or even sharing power

I take it these quite expected trials allow you to write off the revolution there
Well you have that luxury

Thank Clio the Nepalese don't
at least not without consequences to themselves

The struggle destroys us all at some point
units as well as.
Collevtives no matter how well and or tightly articulated
In fact the more tightly articulated the more likely the crisis of disfunctionality

Institutionalizing the revolution
Is like taking ex lava when it's spontaneously cooled down enough
And trying to
make structures out of

Even if it never becomes rock
It's some clay like substance
And this is both the good and the bad of it

Mal shaped as it inevitably is it can perhaps still be remolded
Or if too dried
It's easy enough to smash up
And once
smashed up into shards
Once no longer functional for good or I'll or some mix of both
Of course the process of re heating begins
Jc to look only at selected intervals is to suggest we're not going anywhere
Because all intervals of progress end and are even forced into reverse

If you are simply sbaying we're in some sort of collective orbit as a social species
Then I think you aren't an anarchist like prince K
But a simple nihilist

I'm content with you that way
It serves a great purpose to try to bust up everything
That's why I like you but make it clear you have no hope outside
The utter damneg if I know
A rather frail reed to proceed on
Better to hunker down and minimize the local suffering


Some nifty typos above
I pat myself on the back
If all typos are Freudian slips
We do need
earish and eyerish language

To decypher the represseed communication

We ought have a separate blog on the emerging lessons of Nepal
And Eritrea and the farce and Hugo etc etc
The existing efforts to beat the devil
At least the ones that are after state power or
Have that nasty tiger by the tail


The old distinction between orbit and spiral comes to mind

The movement in a third dimension which of coursebitself can be re contained in a sphere of limits maybe elastic but ever the
The point is to find a dimension where change can be measured
A dimension of unit freedom perhaps but some dimension or index of dimensions

Utlitarians have failed in their efforts to cardinalize human well fare
Or it seems even ordinalize it collectively
But that's an example of a presumption of social progress at least as a possibility

You jc seem always on the verge of declaring the meta proposition
It's are drarkness in the end
That may correspond well with your unit take on the whole ball of wax
But there are other takes
And given your skeptical mannerisms of thought
Once that skepticisn turns itself on itself

that must give you pause on occasion

Sen and op, my own personal idea of the "What is to Be Done?' for a new VP is (hold onto your knickers) "progressive survival."

I know we hate both those words here, and for good reasons. But, IMHO, the great American we don't have a prayer of getting to the 21st C with institutions and priorities as they are.

When I fancy myself a Lenin, I fancy myself haranguing people about what it will take to preserve the upsides of science and technology in the coming ecological shifts.

Meanwhile, we await Crow's attempt to explain his sophomore's evasions of op-san repeated inquiries regarding further explanation...


daws "progressive survival....preserve
the upsides of science and technology "

you put me in mind of the irish monks that preserved western civilization
during those long dark years
father smiff is wont to bathe in

famous last words:

new dark age ...nutz to that


substitution theory indeed

hidden ball trick
is more like it

Well it is not easy as you think it is. You need to work so hard to gain it.

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