Tuesday, January 01, 2008
A Poetic Article "He did so many films on the impossibility of sainthood,...people trying to do good...and it's impossible to do good. In 'The Weight' it's the same thing." -- Robbie Robertson, commenting on the films of Luis Bunuel and the lyrics of "The Weight" "Crazy Chester followed me and he caught me in the fog He said 'I will fix your rat if you'll take Jack my dog' I said 'Wait a minute Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man' He said 'That's okay boy, won't you feed him when you can?'" -- Some lyrics from "The Weight" "Back in the Sixties, The Band done did a lotta good with that song 'The Weight'" -- Vietnam veteran being fed at a soup kitchen, 2007 Special Note: For those who can't easily rise above the frills here, please note that this is an article about the attractiveness of solidarity in action, unencumbered by obsolete notions concerning proper forms for protest/change. The feathers about the neck of this animal of an article seem necessary to me because the direct prose calling for action "out there" at present seems inefficacious, to say the least. My aim is to uplift, and move to action immediately. We activists are weighted down. Let me explain: It would be nearly impossible, and it is certainly improbable, to hit a person over the head with an axe handle while holding the business end of the instrument. Anyone who has actually put an axe to work knows that it is the weight of the thing, as much as the sharpness of the blade, which does the work. Focus on strength while chopping wood and you are certain to run out of energy. Instead, one uses gravity and momentum; in a single-bit axe the tool's potential resides in the heaviness of the hammer-end of the iron. Hit a person with the blade and you are almost certain to kill him. Hit him with the dull end of the bit and it will be remarkable if the person survives. Remarkable, yet possible. The idea here is to reform Our System to death, as it were, without actually killing it. The latter --as the historical record makes quite clear-- would necessitate massive violence. Which would be, of course, not only totally unacceptable and (most likely) "ineffective" in the long run, but unnecessary. However, at present, it's as if we've got an axe in our hands, and we're incessantly debating which blade would be the sharpest to attach to the axe handle. Ron? Hillary? Barack? Dennis? Et. al. First of all, presidential blades can't be sharpened sufficiently to ensure even...a superficial cut. We can sharpen that bit to death and get nowhere. We've got to forge anew. Elsewhere. I recommend the realm of California. Vote your conscience nationally, if you like, but get into the Smithy's Workshop on the West Coast where the usual pig iron can be transformed into wrought iron. Truly functional for our purposes, unlike the telegrams, petitions, street theatre, and vigils which have taken us/can take us only so far. Go ahead. Choose. Call your congressperson. Or follow me here down a very Yellow Brick Road, pregnant with possibilities, festooned with colorful children's dreams. Spend virtually ALL of your heartbeats on the Lesser Evils, or follow your most blissful thoughts. Get a governor in the Executive Seat in Sacramento --a governor who has the "intentions" of Robbie Robertson's (see opening quotation) Impossible Saint*-- and watch what miracles are wrought. Even without the cooperation of The Legislature initially, California's Governor can have a huge enough impact unilaterally to send positive solidarity ripples throughout the nation. *I personally know at least ten people --not politicians-- who would do a job that'd be bang-up better than any governor in the history of the Golden State. (1) For one, he/she could conduct regular "news shows" and "educational hours," during which --to cite one possibility-- select contributors to ZNet and Counterpunch take turns encouraging self-education in ALL realms. Those "spots" could replace mainstream outlets of news/misinformation in short order. Because of the Guv's imprimatur. Particularly if said governor (with a compatible Lt. Guv) were elected in 2010 without any dependence on media coverage or fundraising. How would that be possible? That's for me to know, and for you to find out about by arranging a meeting with this author in confidence. A Core Group is forming --as I write-- and we expect one and all to honor the element of surprise...which is an important arrow in our collective quiver. I personally loved Michael Albert's Istanbul Talk for Istanbul METU Alumni Association (http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=14581), but I do not think "we need a movement which has a hundred million participants." To clarify, we don't require such a reasonable goal...for starters. More modest numbers concentrated in California, not spread out among our hinterlands and urban hovels, would do quite nicely. Five million, and for all practical purposes we'd take over California. Give it a totally new shot of adrenalin. Inspire the world. I just came from a dinner party at which someone asked how it would be possible to cull supportive voters from registered and/or non-registered pools, from the voter groups and non-voter elements. And the answer I gave is something I believe will serve for one and all from now through the next three years: "Don't worry about all of that, unless you're interested in being part of some serious recruiting on behalf of our efforts. If you're primarily interested in just being a part of what's coming down, then simply make an individual commitment to being registered...and then vote for the T Party. You don't have to know all the nooks and crannies involved with keeping you informed, soliciting input or making sure that you get to the polls utilizing our cells of core activists. No, you just have to register and vote." This will not make sense to everyone. But although we have an interest in voters 'cross the board, we're not worried about appealing to each and every soul, or even spending much energy on everyone. Rather, we're focused on reaching people who are truly fed up with politicians, totally disenchanted with the role that money and the media play in the electoral arena, and disgusted at the fact that voting machines may be rigged. Potential voters who know that there won't be enough difference between whatever candidates are run by the two major parties. Citizens who understand that all "other parties" are doomed to marginalization and failure, including the inability to lay down significant seeds for the future (as per recent revelations about the Green Party in http://www.counterpunch.org/murphy12282007.html). These are people who can be drawn into our orbit. They are the majority of potential voters. All a given voter has to do is vote. Thinking about matters that one is not ready to take responsibility for will only culminate in an "excuse" for not participating. We don't need people to work themselves up into a fever over putting up signs, collecting money or anything of the sort. If they want to recommend that someone speak to us directly, fine. If not, fine. We've got "specialists" already lined up for the requisite signature work. Readers who have already lumped this concept into the same bag as past voter recruitment drives, are missing the boat here. This has absolutely nothing in common with those admirable efforts. Too little, I should say. In every case --EVERY case!-- throughout U.S. voter history such attempts have relied primarily on the same traditional means for drawing people in, and for following through...up until payoff day, Election Day at the polls. With us, ten people are going to be recruited and nursed by a core person who is a personal friend. And those Core Angels are only going to have to commit to five hours per year for three years. No burnout. No fiery speeches. No posters. No begging the media. No frantic this or that. No opportunity to be sucked back into Apathy or Cynicism. No salesmanship. You want stuff to be different? Have you given up in your heart of hearts on what's possible within the status quo? Well, here's an opportunity to pick your own candidate. To contribute to your own platform. Something other than having both of them dumped on you on cue. In Cormac McCarthy's Child of God, there's a smith who overestimates his powers and the ability and desire of his student. After heating and tempering a bit (while carefully explaining all nuances involved, step-by-step), McCarthy has his smith, a typical teacher, experience great frustration: "It's like a lot of things, said the smith. Do the least part of it wrong and ye'd just as well do it all wrong. He was sorting through handles standing in a barrel. Reckon you could do it now from watchin'? he said." "Do what, said Ballard." I don't pretend to be a great teacher. But my frustration with Our System has helped me to create a true alternative to all else that's being embraced at present in the realm of electoral politics. In addition, I'm proud to say that I don't look upon the citizenry as morally-challenged dolts, incapable of self-educating (like Ballard). They can easily pick and choose what's best for them and their community if given a little help, a boost from the proper, compassionate people. The thing is, we can't allow the forging of a new powerful implement to be advertised excessively...prematurely. That would lead to the smith's quarters being closed. So...this article begs for direct, private contact. It's so outlandish, all of this, that even if so and so got wind of what we were attempting, it would be laughed at. In much the same vein that readers will tend to be dismissive. But let a best friend sit down with the same reader/same material, and my heartbeats are betting that there will be a different result. The catch is that we can't wait any longer. We've only got three years, and I can't hit you upside your head any harder than I've have here. Footnote: (1) And two of them sing like angels. Not a bad talent to have as you're closing your Nightly News from Sacramento. One can play the sax way better than Clinton. A few soulful notes can travel a long way. Marcelle Cendrars can be reached at email@example.com. Elaboration on any of the points above is available upon request, of course.
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