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Instability: Bring it on

By Michael J. Smith on Friday June 16, 2006 12:15 PM

Martin Luther had, what was it, 96 theses that he tacked to the church door in Wittenberg. A very great man, and the only thing I have in common with him is that I, too, in my own small way, have the Whore of Babylon in my crosshairs. I also have a few theses of my own:

I. The two parties together form a homeostatic system.

The two parties contend fiercely for the spoils of office, but at the most fundamental level they collude in maintaining the American social order and carrying out the purposes of its dominant elements. This collusion is usually not consciously acknowledged or understood by activists and adherents within the parties, but it is nonetheless real.

II. The system is not static; it is in motion.

The American political order is remarkably stable, but it is a stability in motion rather than a stability in stasis. It is not the purpose of our masters to maintain the status quo, but to expand their own wealth and power at our expense, and the expense of ordinary people everywhere in the world. Hereafter, we will refer to this purpose of expansion as the Empire Project.

III. It is moving in the wrong direction.

The Empire Project is going forward like gangbusters, don't you agree?

IV. The Democrats are helping move it; they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The Democratic Party, in spite of its humanitarian handwringing, does not oppose or retard the Empire Project, or make any serious attempt to do so. Indeed, it provides vital assistance in advancing the Project, not least by absorbing and neutralizing the energies of people who sincerely believe that they are opposing it. Once more, this aspect of the Democratic Party's structural function is not consciously understood, much less intended, by the vast majority of the party's apparatus and supporters, but once more, it is nevertheless quite real, as any clear-sighted person can attest who has watched the eternally-recurring Co-optation of Activists, a process as dependable as the running of the shad or the swallows' return to Capistrano.

V. The system must be disrupted. Instability is desperately needed.

Since the stability of the American political order is a stability-in-motion, and its motion consists in the furtherance of the Empire Project, it follows that those who oppose the Project are obliged to disrupt the stability of the system as best they can.

* * *

I have a few ideas about how to create instability, though these hardly rise to the dignity of theses:

  1. Third parties create instability, which is why the big-party apparatchiks hate and fear them so. Dynamical analysis of a two-body system is straightforward, but it becomes very hard in a many-body system. The reliable verities of two-party politics become unreliable when there are more players on the field.
  2. If either of the major parties declines to the point of insignificance, that will create instability. Each party is full of fault lines and mutually antagonistic and suspicious elements, kept in the containment vessel only by their loathing of the Greater Evil in the other party. Remove the external pressure of the other party, and the remaining party will explode like a deep-sea fish brought too suddenly to the surface.
  3. But the very best kind of instability arises when people get sick of the electoral game and take their political energies elsewhere. What our masters, and their administrative cadre in the parties, hate and fear more than anything else is a thoroughly riled and irate public, no longer content to express its dissatisfaction only in the decent obscurity of the voting booth. It hardly matters what exactly you do, as long as you get out in the street and block traffic, paint slogans on walls, boycott your classes, and generally raise hell.

Comments (9)


we need a ....direct action...third party


National Popular Vote proposal...raising hell?

Would this qualify?

The corporate media have effectively put the "american people" to sleep. The "nuts and bolts" of the process is beyond my comprehension but I am shocked and dismayed at whole liberal communities that are sound asleep.

It will take a shock to politicize the american people to start a third party - like a military draft or economic collapse. But I fear the elites are ready this time with the various Patriot Acts, NSA, etc. I believe they are willing to unleash SOA tactics internally

Predatory capitalism or the Empire project is in a very advanced stage and that is when its internal contradictions start to unravel.

The Other Campaign in Mexico is the purest result and reaction to the Empire Project but they are already dealing with the unraveled contradictions. Chavez and Morales are really still working within the Neoliberal model.

It is a global situation. The best reaction to the gloablization of capital is the globalization of labor.

Hillary for war goddess. At least the neoconservatives know that GWOT is a neoliberal construction.


One more for you........hello New Jersey.........
"New Jersey Demands Data on Phone Call Surveillance and Is Sued by U.S."......

Tim D:

MJS - absolutely brilliant.

By the way, for the sake of historical accuracy, it was 95 theses.


Tim D -- I was probably thinking of '96 Tears.' After a certain age everything blurs together.

js paine:


hey why not
first past the post
better a
mody dick of
a mechanism
then the actual
house of representatives


jspaine.....just trying to be helpful. Spell it out for me a little better... Speak plainly like the Decider! I am not good with nuances or prose for that matter...I been down here in TX toooooo long!


I'd just disagree with 1: I don't believe the Democratic Party "contends fiercely for the spoils of office" any longer. They discovered that candidates and staff can do nearly as well (with less work) merely campaigning without expecting to win a plurality (power). The donations, media status, acclaim and illusion of influence remain nearly the same, but the effort is greatly reduced and, best of all, you can blame the Republicans for everything that goes wrong.

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