We have a pretty functional horror show on our hands,
here at the planetary epicenter of boundless corporate exploitations --
what with our public choice restricted to either the corporate cheerleader party
or the party of corporate co-dependence,
here in the land of the free and white and bold.
Coverage of the popular will's spectrum gets nicely reduced to a
compact binary forking device:
every two years or so we can choose either more corporate rampancy
or a moment of corporate recovery and that's it -- that's all She-who-must-be-obeyed, Madame la Grande bourgeoisie, is gonna 'llow 'round here or ever plans to 'llow 'round here, so help her Clio.
So comes a time like now, a time of cataractic tumbling a time when
our great fleet of corporations are wallowing amid the whitecaps,
mastless hulks all -- and what do we hear coming out of the the
left side windows of our great hall of the people's representatives?
Purple-faced shouts of "No mas! Off with their heads!"?
Not quite. What we hear is more like "they must mend their ways -- they must be good boys from now on -- they must they must they must...."
Times like these, the tower trolls resign themselves to the dragooning of the Nurse Ratcheds of the big D party. It's a 12-step morning here in America -- 12 steps to recovery.
As the codependent party plunges forth to help bind the wounds these profit freaks inflicted, even they themselves undoubtedly see through this scam, this bluff,
this corporate self deception.
In their guts they know these very same abusive bastards today croaking "mea culpa" will soon enough be back up on their hind legs and at it again. But even so -- they soldier on toward squalid compromise, halfway-house socialism and detox capitalism -- ahh well, we must live together with each other somehow, right?
Why flip out at this? As the party of the second part, this is their mission, isn't
it? Even as they strain at their own internal bonds, even as their rank and file grow restless, even as their big tent -- their ultimate mission-impossible triumph --
their gruesome mirage-infested prisonhouse of the exploited gets so riven
with contradictions it yanks at its stake posts --
even with all this, and maybe even the possiblity of an explosive sundering of their blessed party in pieces -- the party of Marse Tom and Andy and Bill and Franklin itself
-- in other words, even if it means the end of 'em -- they are preparing to lead us in
a wave of forgiveness and forgetness sessions to reconcile with our limited liability tormentors.
And don't some of our most ardent radical Ricks rage like Jerry Lewis playing King Lear, at the sight of this coming our way?
Not much point in all this raging and fuming and fussing
-- unless as Father Smiff recomends, it's out there in corporate traffic
yer fussin' -- out there making realtime bad shit happpen right inside
one of our corporate profiteering carnivals.
So whence this outrage at the very thought of healing "reforms" that preserve the system?
It's simple enough really. Father Smiff's hero Doug Henwood gets it.
Some radicals have reform phobia -- fear of any reforms that will
preserve the existing system. If all this moment of crisis produces
are reforms that lead back to corporate rampages, then we're fools
to push for 'em. And horror of horrors, these half-assed thoroughly
compromised spongospinal reforms might be just enough to keep
"our system" in operation through another few dozen laps around the sun.
The radical Ricks present a bold choice:
go for system-changing reform,
and condemn anything less. Maximum plan or nothing! In-between is pure delusion.
Quite naturally, as courageous hardened ready-for-combat social souls,
prepared personally to storm the local Winter Palace at the first sign of
hesitation by the royal guards, they hardly quake at fierce struggle but -- the masses! The poor benighted kulak masses! The hyperpinks fear them too --
fear their easy natures, their policy ADHD, their gullibility, etc. etc.
What's a hardened cadre to do but try, by cargo-culting and rain-dancing and Tinker Bell wishing, somehow to bring on the radical conditions for change in the hearts and minds of the wage smurfs. And if that's not working too swiftly, maybe we could
whip up a decent majority out of minority helots of all flavors and conscience-stricken plebs and meritoids.
Now since our missions always get mediated by our various character types,
Radical Rickery too often, in my experience, gets expressed through rage-a-holic
temper fits, banging of little fists and stamping of flat feet -- tantruming for revolution, so to speak.
The rage is often directed against some group of oafs, cowards, nitwits and
Sybarites who in their cynical selfserving lassitutde and willful cretinism are prepared to settle for a few twigs broken off the doggy-dog tree of corporate
In times of change like today -- these great forerunners of a better world
"demand" we citizens of the world not take a corporate agent's compromised
handout, but rip up as many roots of the tree of corporate life as possible.
Call it revolution, one root at a time.
Mates! Brothers and sisters! Don't "settle" for a little branch removing here
and there! Hell, that's pruning! Why, by taking that crumb pile and returning to quarters, you're actually giving this parasitic organism that soaks up the sweat and blood of the toilers of the earth another lease on life! You're helping horror
thrive -- in spite of itself!
Now hyperpinks are harmless enough, of course, in themselves.
The record shows 'twas ever thus. But there's an interesting assumption often behind calls for radical reform, that needs exposure here because it exists inside many
minds out there beyond the set of hyperpinks.
Take a recent example: the call for single payer health care.
Obviously we will get there someday. Its superiority is obvious to all but its corporate opponents -- and in fact it's probably obvious even to them.
But agitprop along the lines of "we need to stab the HMO's in the heart,
sweep 'em away all at once, or else" simply confuses reform with revolution.
This is a reform process, right? No one thinks hacking away the HMO's will bring the New Jerusalem. Single payer is far from a threat to the "entire corporate system".
Put a stake in the HMO Dracula's heart, and fine, he's gone -- till some one else pulls the stake out in the sequel.
Surely the friggery going on around Social Security for the last 26 years proves that nothing stops the bastards. We can win a sweeping reform, but if the corporate system wants by its "spontaneous nature" to reject that reform -- it will try and try and try. And somehow, someday, it will get its agents to remove any Glass-Steagals in the way.
Such calls for sweeping reform grossly misplace the center of the revolutionary process, which does not exist inside maximum reformism, comrades. Reforms are a theater of struggle we take one by one. They are not an integrated whole. They are by definition second-bests -- all of 'em. So you push as hard as you can, but learn to move on when you hit a structural wall.
And one always arrives eventually at a structural wall.
Structural walls only fall under their own weight, and most often only just before revolutionsary situations arrive. Structural walls are interconnected, by definition, eh?
Reform movements only rearrange partitions. Reform movements you take one by one.
You unite opportunistically where you can, and move forward as far as you can.
Hence popular fronts (rather than class fronts) are a reform strategy. Hyperpinks too often act as if pushing their quixotic demands for radical reform is making revolution, and as a consequence they never grasp the role of either reform or revolution in the history of class struggle.
They read Lenin and say,
come the next reform struggle,
"out with the cadets!"
Like the woeful knight,
they see revolutionary opponents in windmills,
and revolutionary allies in windbags.
Radical reform is not a tabletop way to social revolution.
A revolutionary context arrives after
the old regime has effectively gone into convulsions of potentially terminal disfunctionality.
If the regime can reform itself, it will, and obviously, it will then survive to exploit another day -- alas, another Biblical day, another horror-rich interval of indefinite period.
The final conflict is not about this radical reform or that radical reform.
It's about taking the rare Clio-given opportunity to build the system itself
If someone's so pink as to feel a thirst for radical change so powerful that
the paultry harvest of reform movements just enrages 'em --
well, maybe they'd best get themselves as near as they dare
to an actual revolutionary situation,
Why waste your energy on rallying the walking dead of
Broadway? There are always points of struggle on this globe
where fundemental social change is aborning.
Get thee to a deeper sharper class struggle,
dear hyperpinks. Leave this ulcer-building act,
here in the belly of the beast,
to more supple, less self-aggrandizing combatants.