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Godwin redivivus

By Owen Paine on Thursday April 24, 2008 11:31 PM

In comments somewhere I recklessly promised a post on this very oddly spongiform-looking chap, Gar Alperovitz. Here it is, without references, as they take time better spent hunting for snacks my domestic partner has hidden from me.

The man mostly writes and thinks about what's best for us, not what's actually in store for us. He's a nearly perfect practitioner of the over-the-rainbow confectioner's art. His particular vision of the sweet heart at the center of candy cane country is a fast emerging "commonwealth sector". His favorite supporting fact: about as many folks jobble these days at a coop or Aesop or corner do-wop than hold down a unionized pri-sec job -- both being in the 8 million range by Gar's last count.

As the corporate pri-sec union job herd takes a further trans-nat culling, who's to say the co-opers won't soon outnumber what we humorously call "organized labor"?

Beyond this observation, the Applewitz top-ten to-do list looks like about every one else's top ten list -- at least those list builders comfortably to the left of, say, the Miami Cuban community.

So what's this commonwealth sector? You might call it Godwin 2000, with all that that implies and doesn't deliver.

You know Bill Godwin, the Pecksniffian ultra-libertarian parasite of a prig that Parson Malthus trashed on his way to the largest spree of plagiarism in Regency English letters.

Gar's commonwealth sector is the grass roots of a new society, built on and out of small, local, communal, very very green, totally for no-profit-only productive assemblages -- like a gathering of angels.

Comments (15)


Alas, Mr. P....silly as it may be, I still like, as a utopian proposition, Gar's ideal, dream state society far better than the Marxist utopian dream. But that's just unrealistic, rainbow-y me. I sometimes wonder if the only thing worse than a society run by corporate raiders is one run by vicious, infighting political purists. You can ban me now. (turns red)

Al Schumann:

I'd ban Brian, as a public safety measure -- and for his own good, of course -- but I also think he deserves the chance to redeem himself through self-criticism sessions and a few years of rustication.


Well...I eat too much. I drink too much. And I have in the past voted for an adult film star for governor of California. (Not the current clown, btw)


"the Marxist utopian dream"

a triadic contradiction in terms


pure has nothing to do with it
ban u ???

why mate we'll "toast" you

Al Schumann:
Well...I eat too much. I drink too much. And I have in the past voted for an adult film star for governor of California. (Not the current clown, btw)

An excellent start! Rustication may have to wait a while, but you're definitely salvageable.

In a more serious vein, Brian, imputing utopian dreams -- Marxist, anarchist, social democrat, whatever -- to Stop Me people is like scolding people who are treading water in the ocean for their rosy views on the possibilities offered by sharks.


I know. Mea culpa guys. Ignore my more phlegmatic mutterings (which you all, of course, do)


I haven't read Gar's book, but I saw him speak once at a GP state convention. His point was that people are already trying to salvage these old abandoned plants/factories and make them profitable again. I don't think this is pie-in-the-sky as there are some successful worker-owned/operated companies in my state right now, one of which is an aluminum recycling plant. People are doing the same thing in Argentina now as well: link.

Although as someone with fairly far-left views, I'm sympathetic to Harry Magdoff's (http://www.monthlyreview.org/0705magdoffs1.htm) criticisms of "market socialism" models that envision workers owning and operating capitalistic enterprises. Magdoff's point is that this system doesn't solve the problem of competition between workers in these enterprises nor between workers of different regions...


"the problem of competition between workers "

its a problem ??

like any game
maybe it needs
rules and umps....

under any for seeable conditions
markets will exist

ur- markets are ...

they will grow spontaneously
and universal-y

as " products"
of any and every proccess
ever more socialized production

a cancer to be vanquished by the "state "???

i suggest clio's telemetry
signals "nope" ...

so far
markets and competition are
---as doctor frank's monster might say---



"Pie-in-the-sky" professional rainbow-cotton-candy
ameliorists are the worst. They are always professorial types, incredibly self-revering, who must be popping anti-psychotics on the DL. There is a list at least 100 strong of the type who seem to be Names, lecturing fantasists, who must protect their precious cranial membranes in hermetic cellophane each night so as not to let in any slivers of doubt. McKibben, Hedges, Nader, the law firm Cockburn-Hitchens, and yes, the "Go team, go team" cheerleader Alperovitz.

Tim D:

I don't know. I really liked Alperovitz "The Decision to Use the Bomb". That book alone earned him a place in my heart.


Well, mjosef, I'm not so sure YOUR side, the fervent proletarian revolutionaries willing and able to spill the blood of millions for the revolution, are much better than the "ameliorists." Forgive me for believing that that "ameliorism" is almost always the best we can ever do.


Hey Brian, nice try! My side - let me look at my uniform - damn, nope, no proletariat on me - sorry. Revolutionary - Moi? Yeah, then how do I pay my cable bills? Willing and able to spill blood - ah, no, that would be the OTHER side there, Brian. I'm no good at fighting, at all.
Yet thanks for the "ameliorist" note - that is precisely what I am saying, that that pessimistic smallness of effect is all we can have - not the cotton-candy folk music wonderland the probably otherwise okay anti-nuclear spongiform "activist" Gar (it's actually a fish) with an endowed professorship posited in some Beyond Capitalism book. Thanks, though - Man, I really sound that Maoist?


Hmm. This review was a little harsh. It actually kind of reeks of papal infallibility. While I'm a big fan of this blog, the economic commentary can at times be a bit...hmmm elitist?? i'm all for unionizing the private sector, but the next logical step is getting rid of the CEOs, who are so much dead weight. no?? In fact, I don't even follow what your strategy is OP...why are coops silly fantasies for you? yes, there are incredible forces arrayed against us, but it doesn't mean they are unbeatable...


Probably not, at least usually, mjosef. :)

Besides, who am I to judge anyone?


"the economic commentary can at times be a bit...hmmm elitist?"

"In fact, I don't even follow what your strategy is OP"


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