Happy hour at the Cliff bar


From comrade Mike Flugennock, of course. His comment:

Well, folks, it’s time once again for our Crisis Of The Month Club, this month featuring a slab of lame kabuki theater called “The Fiscal Cliff”, yet another round of cheap drama to provide cover for the Democrats’ and GOP’s collusion on the dismantling of Social Security and Medicare. And, of course, you know what this means, everybody — time to PANIC! GO ON, PANIC! FREAK OUT! CRAP YOUR DRAWERS! SCREAM AND CRY! RUN AROUND LIKE HEADLESS CHICKENS! OH GOD WE’RE GOING OVER THE CLIFF!

I can’t heeear you

I am not even tempted to listen to any election coverage.

This is a little surprising to me, actually, since I’m usually much given to morbid curiosity. I’m the guy who slows down to take in the gory details of a six-car highway crash. And the combination of grisly and comedic is something I usually find irresistible.

So you’d think I’d love an American election, wouldn’t you? Yet I don’t. I suspect it’s because my contrarianism is even stronger than my relish for the grisly and horrible. That is, anything I’ve been told to care about — told over and over — I am determined not to care about, no matter how gruesomely diverting it might be if I had found my own way to it.

Court, schmort

A nice debunking, over at Counterpunch, of the perennial Supreme Court bogeyman. Excerpt:

Of course, we have been living with a Court with a majority of Republican appointees for decades now, and Roe v. Wade has remained intact ever since that landmark 1973 pro-abortion decision, which was delivered by a 7–2 majority from a court with 6 Republican appointees, including the notorious conservatives Lewis Powell and Warren Burger

The … court has been no more immune to political and social forces than any other branch of government….

Roe v. Wade was a conspicuous case in point. The pro-abortion ruling was not the result of seven elderly, mostly reactionary, mostly white patriarchs suddenly discovering their inner feminist soul—it was, rather, the fruit of the rapidly intensifying social and political ferment of the late sixties and early seventies. The tempo of attitudinal change was dizzying on all social fronts, not least of all among American women and in general views about their role in society:  in 1968, only 15 percent of Americans believed that women had a right to an abortion. By 1971, the number had skyrocketed to 50 percent. In 1970, New York State, acceding to growing pressures, became the first state to legalize abortion. By 1971 women were marching in major national demonstrations to demand the right to choose. Roe v. Wade emerged out of clamor of thousands of women in the streets, not out of the wizened skulls of seven patrician gents in robes.

The landmark decisions of the postwar liberal Warren Court owed just as much to shifting social attitudes and pressures. Keep in mind that Earl Warren was a Republican governor of California appointed to the high court by Eisenhower, yet he presided over a sweeping series of progressive rulings in civil rights and civil liberties, most notably in Brown v. Board of Education. But that pivotal 1954 decision, which overturned racial segregation in public schools, was inspired more by geopolitical self-interest than any pangs of conscience by the court. 

Good stuff. Go read the whole thing.

Stay home tomorrow…

… especially if you live in a swing state.

I’ve always said that it’s OK to vote, as long as you don’t vote for one of the duopoly candidates. But now I’m reconsidering. I think purposeful abstention actually makes a much stronger statement than voting for a third party. Abstention constitutes a critique of the whole foolish charade of American ‘elections’, and third-party voting does not.

Abstention also drives pep-squadders crazy, which is always fun. It is amazing how affronted people get by a display of indifference to their manias, whatever those happen to be.

In the case of election mania, there is a certain moral indignation besides the injured amour-propre, a mix which can produce some extraordinarily puerile behavior. One correspondent of mine responded to one of my fleering drive-by facebook posts with the comment that “there’s a real world out there beyond the claustrophic confines of your little coven.”

I’m not quite sure where my friend is getting her information about conditions here in the coven, since she has never attended one of our Black Sabbaths, as far as I know. I personally would describe it as cozy rather than claustrophobic.

Another correspondent, more amusingly and edifyingly, responded with a fine link to old Dr Marx’s essay on ‘Indifferentism’, which of course, like everything else the incomparable Moor wrote, is well worth a visit. It’s a polemic, delivered with the great man’s usual brio, against Proudhon’s rather sweeping contempt for all kinds of working-class struggle, including strikes and so on.

Of course — I think I can confidently speak for the coven on this topic — we’re with Marx and not with Proudhon as regards any kind of real and substantial popular struggle. We were quite giddy about OWS, for example, which Proudhon would surely have deplored.

Hey, we wouldn’t even discourage people from voting if there were anything of consequence to vote about. Our beef with the electoral charade is precisely the fact that it constitutes an illusion of struggle, which supplants the real thing, like a cuckoo’s egg in a robin’s nest.  

I find it very difficult to imagine Trier’s most distinguished son exhorting people to vote for Obama. This is, after all, the fella who coined the phrase ‘parliamentary cretinism’.